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Weird 5.5 strings banjolele

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May 16, 2022 - 6:39:58 AM

moiliryc

France

12 posts since 4/3/2021

I've found this little guy on a french website and thought it would make a nice travel banjo. It seems to be in pretty decent condition with only few parts missing.

https://www.leboncoin.fr/instruments_de_musique/2161293183.htm

As you can see, it has 5 strings on the peghead plus a 6th one on the neck. I've assumed it was English but I don't have a clue.

Does anybody know something about this kind of instrument : manufacturer, tuning, string type and gauges.

thanks

Cyril

May 16, 2022 - 7:23:13 AM

1161 posts since 1/30/2019

Looks good fun to me.
Play around with tunings, (all these relative....) try gBDGBD? Or gCEGCD?
String guage, I'm not sure about, you may have to be guided by a Uke player. I can't quite work out how big this thing is. It looks nice quality though. Have fun. What does "acheter" mean again. Maybe I just bought this accidentally! (Just kidding..)

May 16, 2022 - 8:15:03 AM

1848 posts since 5/19/2018
Online Now

I would grab that. At a 140€, it’s a steal.

No idea as to make, but the quality looks to be very high.

I would put it at possibly being English make from 1890 to 1905 or so.

How to tune it? Your guess is as good as mine.

I would tend towards synthetic gut strings and avoid steel strings on this.

Beautiful looking instrument. Certainly worth much more than the asking price.

May 16, 2022 - 9:14:42 AM
likes this

12196 posts since 10/27/2006

They may be calling it a ukulele but it's a piccolo banjo, meant to be tuned between a 5th to an octave higher depending on the scale.

I had an L&H for many years that I tuned up the octave. That banjo was a klot of fun.

May 16, 2022 - 9:21:23 AM

5291 posts since 5/9/2007

Cool!

May 16, 2022 - 9:26:22 AM

9624 posts since 8/28/2013

I don't know French and I never sign into sites I don't understand, so I can't see what this is.

May 17, 2022 - 9:16:10 AM

12196 posts since 10/27/2006

quote:
Originally posted by G Edward Porgie

I don't know French and I never sign into sites I don't understand, so I can't see what this is.


Huh… it didn't ask me to log or sign in. Anyway, no reason to be left out of the fun.


 

May 17, 2022 - 10:57:23 AM
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moiliryc

France

12 posts since 4/3/2021

Thanks Mike, I was about to post the picture myself but I got locked out for some reason... Seems to be over now.

By the way, I just bought it, I'll try to find a brand name when I receive it.
If it's not any good, it'll surely make a nice ping-pong bat (a bit expensive, though)

to be continued...

May 17, 2022 - 4:08:30 PM

9624 posts since 8/28/2013

Thanks, Mike. I waited too long, as usual, but I can say this one's a bit unusual and I have no idea about when and where it was made. I don't believe the tailpiece is original. I hope it doesn't become a ping pong bat.

May 23, 2022 - 12:12:38 PM

12196 posts since 10/27/2006

quote:
Originally posted by G Edward Porgie

Thanks, Mike. I waited too long, as usual, but I can say this one's a bit unusual and I have no idea about when and where it was made. I don't believe the tailpiece is original. I hope it doesn't become a ping pong bat.


I was thinking the same thing. Tailpiece is made by Waverly. One of those stamped sheet metal mandolin 'pieces that could be adapted to any design by folding and cutting the metal. Gibson used them on a number of banjos including this from my Kalamazoo plectrum. Heck, Gibslon, Martin and Vega even used those on mandolins.


 

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May 26, 2022 - 12:23:24 PM

moiliryc

France

12 posts since 4/3/2021

Finally got the thing in the mail !
I spent the whole day repairing and setting it up and here is how it sounds :

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yn2ekLJchbo

For now I tuned it to cCGCEG. I didn't expect the low C to sound great but I was wrong. You can really use is melodically and it gives the instrument a nice range.

I hoped to find clues to identify the manufacturer but there are no stamp, no serial number, no signature, and I dont know witch parts are original.

The complex headstock kinda reminds me of the design of certain french plectrum banjos. Maybe it's french after all but I've never seen a french made spunover rim this fine... And the shoes and hooks look pretty much like Stewart or Buckbee's, except for the giant slotted head screws holding them in place...

anyway it's real fun to play !

Cyril

May 26, 2022 - 5:58:30 PM

12196 posts since 10/27/2006

quote:
Originally posted by moiliryc

Finally got the thing in the mail !
I spent the whole day repairing and setting it up and here is how it sounds :

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yn2ekLJchbo

For now I tuned it to cCGCEG. I didn't expect the low C to sound great but I was wrong. You can really use is melodically and it gives the instrument a nice range.

I hoped to find clues to identify the manufacturer but there are no stamp, no serial number, no signature, and I dont know witch parts are original.

The complex headstock kinda reminds me of the design of certain french plectrum banjos. Maybe it's french after all but I've never seen a french made spunover rim this fine... And the shoes and hooks look pretty much like Stewart or Buckbee's, except for the giant slotted head screws holding them in place...

anyway it's real fun to play !

Cyril


Thanks for the follow up post and video link.

How cool is that? Way cool!!!!

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