What to Know Before Buying Banjo Ukulele
The banjo ukulele or the ‘banjo uke’ and ‘banjolele’ as it’s more affectionately often known as is a dynamic instrument that produces a unique sound. This marriage of two instruments produces the sounds of a banjo while maintaining the smaller look of a ukulele. It’s a very simple and enjoyable instrument to play, and we’ll present you with a couple of completely different kinds below.
In our deep dive into the perfect banjolele, we recognized plenty of important features. These include the kind of banjolele it is, its color, the way it was constructed and the materials used, the number of frets, and at last, the guaranteed coverage of the banjolele. We hope you enjoy the products we’ve recognized and wish you the best in your looking for one among these fascinating instruments!
As we’ve seen, there are some incredible banjo ukuleles on the market that mix the perfect of both worlds. These four-stringed instruments sport banjo-type bodies or drum heads while the fretted necks adopt a more ukulele look. What’s unique concerning the banjoleles is that a lot of them have their personalities and reflect aspects of the cultures of their design via the usage of tattoos and intricate markings.
There may be a lot more to be taught and find out about this hybrid instrument, and we’ll now take you thru the essential info that will help you make the best choice.
Best Banjo Ukuleles Available on Market
1. Luna Guitars Uke Banjolele
The Luna Banjolele 8″ Ukulele features some unique impressed etchings on its maple back. The mahogany neck has a clean purpleheart fingerboard and a 15.5″ soprano scale. Tuned like a concert ukulele, this banjolele is certain to add some distinctive tones to your jams.
The etched patterns on the back of Luna’s banjoleles are a tribute to traditional Hawaiian quilt design. In the early 1800s, missionaries introduced woven fabrics and steel needles and taught the Hawaiian people the way to make patchwork quilts. However, the Hawaiians made them uniquely their very own.
The designs have been cut from one piece by folding material in the same approach that you would fold paper to cut snowflakes and have been based on the numerous plants that surrounded them.
- Neck: Mahogany
- Fretboard: Rosewood (Dalbergia Latifolia)
- Scale: 394 mm
- Nut width: 39.7 mm
- 21 Frets
Luna Guitars Uke Banjolele features
2. Harley Benton BJU-15Pro
All that jazz! Our Harley Benton BJU-15 is way more than only a ukulele crossed with a banjo. Sure, it’s fitted with nylon strings. However, the 15.4-inch scale length is significantly longer than the traditional concert scale length. With the correct tuning, this banjolele sounds nearly like a jazzy tenor banjolele. The flamed maple resonator is able to produce impressive volume, making the BJU-15 a serious proposition – and never just because of its luxurious appearance.
Harley Benton presents Banjos BJU-15Pro. In case you are looking out for bluegrass instruments or guitars and basses generally, then this can be a fitting selection. Our newest analysis of the music taste of people who like “BJU-15Pro Banjo Ukulele” reveals that it’s mostly preferred by people who listen to country, blues, or classic rock and are fans of Johnny Cash, Willie Nelson, or The Carter Family.
- Rim: Maple
- Neck: Maple
- Fretboard: Blackwood (Pinus Radiata)
- Fretboard inlays: Dot
- 19 Frets
Harley Benton BJU-15Pro features
3. Gewa Manoa B-CO-M Banjo Ukulele MN
The Gewa Manoa B-CO-M Banjo Ukulele MN is a best-seller with nice features and an excellent price. We compared its different prices at completely different ukulele shop websites and the best price is on the Thomann website.
This excellent banjolele is a reference for playability. All of the know-how that the Gewa brand has acquired through the years might be found in this product. This Gewa Manoa B-CO-M Banjo Ukulele MN has more playability and speed.
The excellent banjolele has an outstanding level of finish, and the back of the neck allows an optimization of the speed of the playing. Gewa’s history is reflected in this Gewa Manoa B-CO-M Banjo Ukulele MN. It blends undeniable strengths and high-quality materials with the expertise of the Gewa brand to provide balanced and modern ukuleles.
- Closed shell: maple
- 12 Tension rods
- Neck, fingerboard, and bridge: Maple
- 18 Nickel silver frets
Gewa Manoa B-CO-M Banjo Ukulele MN features
4. Ortega OUBJ100-SBK
Two years of careful preparation are history! 2014 – ORTEGA goes banjo! And we would not be Ortega if we weren’t just a little different. At the end of the development road, two fully rethought series shine like they could not be more completely different.
The brand new Ortega Raven Banjo Series calls for many who dreamed of adding the unique tone of a Banjo mixed with a modern, fresh look. With the Raven Series, we open the door to enter a world that’s at all times described as “strongly conservative”. Change it – BE DIFFERENT!
All Ravens are available in a trendy semi-satin black finish, fitted with chrome hardware together with an engraved armrest (OUBJ100-SBK has a plain, smaller armrest ) and geared up with D´Addario strings.
The RAVEN series calls out to these of you who also wish to be a little bit different; the FALCON series majestically preserves a legacy that was first named BANJO in the sixteenth century. Totally your choice!
- Resonator: Maple / Plywood
- Rim: Maple / Plywood
- Armrest: Chrome
- Black Remo Fiberskyn
5. Gold Tone Concert Banjo Ukulele w/Bag
Gold Tone is a USA brand that specializes in banjos, together with regular models and ukulele banjos. They’re renowned for placing out some respectable high-quality instruments, which, whilst not the highest end, are still fairly good quality far eastern made models.
This Gold Tone open-back concert-scale instrument is the one banjo uke at this price level to come with a factory-installed pickup for simple amplification. It has an eight-inch maple pot crowned with a genuine Remo Fiberskyn head, a hard maple neck, a graceful vintage-style tailpiece, and Gold Tone’s patented Zero Glide nut. And it comes with a padded gig bag!
The one quirk to this banjolele worth noting is the Jack socket is on the upper side of the body for a right-handed strummer. It is a little unusual and although it does not spoil any enjoyment or function; it’s worth mentioning.
- 15 5/8″ Concert-Scale
- Maple Construction
- Slim Line Neck
- Hot Dot Pickup
6. Deering Goodtime Banjo Concert Ukulele
After years of buyer requests, we’re proud to offer the brand new Goodtime banjo uke! In case you are looking for an instrument that’s fun and simple to play in any setting, then the Goodtime banjo uke could be just what you’re searching for!
Typically known as a banjolele, simply strum just a few chords and you’ll be taken to a land without the stress and distractions of the day-by-day routine. The nylon strings make playing easy on your fingers and the small dimension and light weight let you take this banjolele with you actually anywhere – the beach, the workplace, camping, boating – you name it!
The concert scale and full-dimension 11” rim produce a splendid warm yet noticeably louder and fuller sound across the perfectly balanced Aquila Super Nylgut strings. These tonal characteristics are solely further enhanced, not only by the naturally warm renaissance head but by the addition of the patented bridge plate, which will increase sustain while reducing unwanted bass frequencies.
Whether or not you’re a seasoned ukulele or banjo player or just searching for something new and thrilling to learn, the Goodtime is a surprising banjolele that everybody will love.
- Rim: 11″ Blonde 3-ply violin-grade maple
- Head: 11″ Frosted Top High Crown
- Steel tension hoop
- Bridge: 5/8″ Maple/Ebony Goodtime
- Goodtime tailpiece
- Chrome hardware
7. Harley Benton BJU-10
If the standard ukulele sound is too quiet and soft for you, you’ll love this mix of a ukulele and a banjo. It has a manageable maple rim and is fitted with a Remo’s head. The neck is made from nato wood and has a typical soprano scale length of 13.6 inches. The purpleheart fretboard has 19 frets, letting you access the higher notes with ease. This banjolele could make even the blues sound joyful!
The excellent Harley Benton BJU-10 is a well-known model with excellent attributes and an excellent price/performance ratio.
We now have compared prices on numerous musical instrument websites and the lowest price is on our partner website Thomann. This new ukulele has a remarkable degree of finish, the back of the neck permits simple playability.
Harley Benton’s past is felt on this Harley Benton BJU-10. It blends advantageous features and new materials with all of the expertise of the Harley Benton brand to create a balanced and up-to-date ukulele.
- 19 Frets
- Scale: 346 mm
- Nut width: 35 mm
- 6″ Remo head
- Open bracket with 10 tension screws
- Open machine heads
Harley Benton BJU-10 features
8. Gold Tone Little GEM Banjo Uke Diamant
In case you’re torn between a banjo and a ukulele and could not possibly decide between the 2, Gold Tone, fortunately, prevents you from yourself with the Little Gem. This banjo/ukulele mash-up has 4 strings, a normal concert ukulele neck, normal ukulele tuning, and the body shape of a banjo. And simply to be sure that this unique little instrument will get lavished with the attention it deserves, it even comes adorned with fairy lights in three different colors.
Winner of the “Best in Show” award at Summertime NAMM 2018, these Little Gem Banjo Ukes feature a composite see-through plastic rim and resonator and can be found in 4 “gem” colors (Diamond, Ruby, Sapphire, and Amethyst). The Little Gems even have maple necks, penetrating tones, and sealed tuners. Includes gig bag.
- Black ABS neck binding
- Maple fretboard
- Dot and Star fretboard inlays
- Acrylic rim
- Transparent 8 “skin
Things To Consider Before Buying The Best Banjo Ukulele
We’ve reviewed the best banjo ukes on the market and have given you some qualities about each. However, there are still numerous different things you should find out about banjoleles. It’s important to decide which type of banjo uke you like to play with, what kind of materials you feel are comfy, your preference for design, and different pertinent things like whether it comes with extra accessories. Generally, these considerations might be determined concerning shopping for your banjolele.
Usually, there’s not a big difference between the tenor banjolele and concert banjo ukulele types. The primary distinction you’ll discover instantly is that the tenor banjo is longer than the concert type. As such, its fretboard is noticeably bigger, which should make it slightly simpler to play.
The longer dimension of the tenor banjolele also implies that you’ll get extra bass and volume than from the concert. A tenor banjolele type is a good choice for novice learners or anybody that may have bigger fingers, or who simply choose the extra space. You’ll get better sound quality, and there’s extra room for mistakes when playing it.
Like anything you purchase, the materials used to create the product are a big factor in figuring out which one to purchase. In a perfect world, you’d wish to discover a banjolele that’s made from the best products at the lowest potential price. Whereas that’s not a simple process, we do see many similarities between the materials used to construct banjolele.
Since banjoleles are a hybrid between the body of a banjo and the neck of a ukulele, the body itself very much resembles the wood construction of a banjolele. Woods mostly used in a banjolele construction include maple, rosewood, and mahogany.
It’s usually accompanied by metal parts that assist to add stability to the design. The heads are normally composed of polyester, Sapele, and a few polyvinyl materials, whereas the fretboard may be manufactured from rosewood and walnut.
What’s nice about some of these banjoleles is that they’ve their unique personality and elegance. A lot of them come from paying homage to their roots, while others simply tend to include an extra neutral and classy design. Whatever it is, you’ll be able to see for yourself the range of designs and decide which one fits your style the best.
Number of Frets
For many who don’t know, frets are the number of metal strips on a banjolele’s fretboard or neck. It’s common for the banjo ukuleles to have 18 frets.
Having more frets, however, doesn’t essentially imply it’s a great or better thing to have. It comes down to which banjolele feels most comfy in your hands. What we imply by that is that within the shorter (in size), concert-style banjoleles, the frets are closer together under their neck being shorter. For the longer, tenor model banjo ukes, the neck is longer, and thus, there is a little more space between the frets.
Having more space between the frets provides players more space to finger their chords, therefore making the banjolele more beginner-friendly. Nevertheless, having more space isn’t necessarily what players search for when shopping for a banjolele as a lot of them benefit from the shorter scale concert model one offers. As you’ll be able to see, it comes down to personal preference.
Banjo Ukulele Basics
These days, you will discover different types of strings out there available on the market. The preferred are nylon strings or artificial Nylgut strings. One of many premier brands of high-quality strings is Aquila, and you already know you could have some solid strings if your banjolele comes with this brand. They produce the aforementioned Nylgut strings, and most of them contemporary banjoleles come with them.
Identical to the strings on a guitar, you’ll have to fine-tune them till they’ve finished stretching. Overall, the strings for banjoleles are strong, but like anything that has heavy wear and tear, strings are bound to break. Thus, it’s essential to at all times have some spare ones for change at hand in case this happens.
The warranties for every product vary greatly. Some Banjoleles provide amazing lifetime warranties while, on the other end of the spectrum, some manufacturers only offer you a 30-day guarantee.
Whereas there are specific conditions that must be met to be able to benefit from the lifetime warranty, having this feature in your back pocket is a definite benefit if something happens down the road to your banjolele.
When it comes to extra equipment, such as a tuner, gig bag, and tools you could need, some banjoleles include them while the rest doesn’t.
In this review let’s begin with a gig bag. This generally is a good accessory to have because it’ll allow you to transport your banjolele to different locations. This luggage, however, usually is not all the same as some include padding to guard your banjolele.
As for electronic tuners, it’s nice to have it to spend less time figuring out the way to make your banjolele sound correctly. Each banjo uke bundle is different, they usually all include different accessories, so it’s at all times best to double-check to see what precisely you’re getting other than an excellent banjo uke.
Very like with any product, you’re going to search out a variety of prices, and that’s no different with these banjoleles. You need to decide how much you’re prepared to spend on a banjolele. We’ve made it simpler for you and created three categories of pricing to provide you with an idea of how much you may expect to spend in every category.
In the lower tier of pricing for banjo ukuleles, one can reasonably count on paying below $125. These banjoleles are nice for brand new players and people which are hesitant to pay top dollar for a passion they could or might not take up long-term.
Within the middle-tier pricing, you’ll discover banjoleles in the $125-$300 range. On this range, you’ll discover an increase in the quality of materials of those banjoleles. In the higher-end scale of pricing, $300 and above, premium banjoleles, made from the highest quality materials, stay in this category.
Beginner guide to the banjo uke
The simple reply to this is both yes and no. Sure, as a result of banjo ukuleles being constructed much like that of banjos, there will probably be some similarities in the sounds which are produced in a banjolele. No, because we must not also forget that this instrument is a hybrid between a banjo and a ukulele, and thus, you’re going to get sounds that are familiar with a ukulele.
Together, they produce a unique, warm, and harmonious sound, and in case you’re familiar with each instrument, you’ll undoubtedly be capable to hear the sounds of each of them rolled into the one wonderful hybrid instrument.
This can be a quite frequent question, and it’s a necessary one to make sure since you undoubtedly don’t need to be playing your banjolele out of tune. The perfect answer to that is that it varies. An ambiguous answer indeed, however, the perfect piece of advice is that you must always be tuning and re-tuning your banjo uke often. In case you’re playing for an hour, we suggest tuning or at least checking your tune, every half-hour or so.
In case you’re a skilled player, it shouldn’t take you greater than a minute to tune it by ear. In case you’re an inexperienced player, it’s a nice idea to get a chromatic or electronic tuner that will help you quickly determine which strings should be tuned.
When it comes to the strings on your banjolele, it’s completely up to you whether you wish to change them or not. Among the banjo ukuleles we reviewed, most of them use the Aquila Nylgut strings, which are of top quality strings available on the market.
So, in case you were looking to change these, it will be hard to search out ones a lot better. A few of the banjoleles come with an additional set of strings as well if the original ones break. It additionally depends upon the sound quality you’re trying to get together with your banjolele, although we suggest that in case you’re a beginner player, you simply keep on with the strings that come with your banjolele player and change them later.
In case you’re on the more experienced side, you possibly can choose to buy around for strings that you’re comfier with in terms of the sound you want coming from your banjolele.
Each of those reviewed musical instruments has its peculiarities and provides diverse value and musical sound. Some Banjolele provided more fascinating features whereas some are pocket-pleasant when it comes to price. You decide your choice based mostly on the features you’re searching for.
Having gone through this expansive review and found the wide range of features embedded in every musical instrument, there isn’t a doubt that you’re now well informed about the perfect Banjolele for you available in the market. Right now, selecting the best Banjolele for your personal use or as a present for somebody needs to be a piece of cake.