FOR SALE - BANJO UKES


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ALL ABOUT THE BANJO UKE by John Croft (2018). Fabulous quality large hardback book (with attractive dust jacket). All 16 chapters and 300 pages are printed on very high quality paper in order to show the detail in all the photographs, and everything is held together with a high quality stitched and glued binding - which all combine to give it a hefty net weight of over 1.9 kg. The history of the banjo uke is told, from its invention by John Bolander, its early development by the Keech brothers, through to the great vintage manufacturers of Ludwig, Gibson, Abbott and Bacon (including Bacon & Day). Colour photos and details of the companies and the instruments that they made abound, and there is much more information and photographs about other great makers past and present. This book also incorporates a lot of information about the great case makers, as well as about the ownership of George Formby’s banjo ukes, and it is also full of interesting facts and stories about a multitude of people (including George Harrison) and instruments. After seven years in the making I’m very proud to have been told that this book is a genuine ‘MUST HAVE’ for anyone interested in the banjo uke. £40.00. More details about Payment and Postage can be found HERE.


VEHICLE NUMBER PLATE ‘843 UKE’ FOR SALE. The vehicle number plate 843 UKE is for sale. For further details and for a direct contact with the vendor please telephone me on 01691 828850, or email me at theukuleleman.com@gmail.com.


BACON & DAY ‘SILVER BELL’ STYLE 3A Banjo Uke (1926). (Photos provided by the owner).  Unbelievably rare banjo uke. In the past forty-five years I have only played three examples and seen photographs of just a handful of others. For anyone interested in musical instruments just to see one is truly memorable experience, and this one is in absolutely superb condition for its age. When it was new this banjo uke would have cost you $75.00 (USD) compared to $55.00 (USD) for a gold-plated Gibson UB-5 banjo uke, and $50 (USD) for a gold-plated and hand engraved Ludwig ‘Display Instrument’ banjo uke just a year later. I once saw and played a gold-plated and hand engraved Bacon & Day ‘Silver Bell’ No.7 ‘Montana’ banjo uke (which were only ever made to order) - so goodness knows how much that would have cost when it was new!!! Bacon & Day’s top-of-the-range banjo was their ‘Silver Bell’ ‘Ne Plus Ultra’ No. 9. It was gold-plated, hand engraved, enamelled, and jewelled, and its equivalent UK price today would have been a fraction under an eye-watering £34,000 (GBP)!!!


Frederick J. Bacon founded the ‘Bacon Banjo Company Inc.’ in 1906 but other companies produced the majority of his instruments. In 1920 he moved his business to Groton, Connecticut, and in 1921 he achieved his lifetime ambition of opening his own factory to produce his own instruments to the high standards that he had always wanted. In 1922 he was joined by David L. Day, a highly talented musical instrument designer who had previously worked for ‘A. C. Fairbanks & Company’. Instruments labelled ‘Bacon & Day’ and pre-1930 examples labelled ‘B & D’ were of tremendous quality, and instruments in their ‘Silver Bell’ range were the best of the lot.


Although this banjo uke is heavy, the good news is that the neck on this example has been lowered to make the top of the 16-fret ebony fingerboard flush with the top of the vellum. Even better news is that these stunning banjo ukes are capable of producing a sound that is superior even to that produced by a Ludwig banjo uke - and that is a marvellous compliment! Body and spliced neck made of American flame maple. Straight neck with no wear to the frets or to the fingerboard. Grover tuning pegs. Wonderful multiple mother-of-pearl inlays in the peghead and the fingerboard. Sides of neck bound in ivoroid, with five position dots along one of the sides. Eighteen tension hooks, shoes and nuts, with the hooks recessing neatly into the top of the bezel. Highly desirable nickel-plated overspun maple pot. Grover ‘Presto’ tailpiece with hinged cover. Ebony-tipped maple bridge. ‘Hot Dog’ armrest. Four-point mounted extended resonator, plated on the top and pierced with 24 ‘f’-holes, with wooden back into which are inlaid two decorative circles. Original label inside the resonator. Matching serial numbers (20737) stamped onto the inside of the body and onto the perch-pole. Maker’s name and model type also stamped on perch-pole. Comes with a padded hard shaped case with internal pocket. A fantastic banjo uke. For further information please phone me on 01691 828850 or email me at theukuleleman.com@gmail.com.


BEDDOES ‘NEW CONCERT’ Banjo Uke (c.1972). In the late 1960’s and through most of the 1970’s, Ron Beddoes produced a range of well-made, very attractive, light to hold and very popular banjo ukes, and they had the added bonus that they produced a great sound. The great player Peter Moss really loved his ‘Beddoes’ banjo uke. This banjo uke is one of his very popular ‘top-tension’ designs, influenced in many ways by the ‘Ludwig’ banjo ukes of the late 1920’s.


This example is in superb condition. Straight neck with no wear to the frets or to the fingerboard. Original tuning pegs (one pair of which has replacement screws). Plated metal ‘NC’ (New Concert) logo on the peghead. Original nut. Spliced neck  with heel cap, and genuine ebony fingerboard inlaid with multiple mother-of-pearl position dots. Scalloped bezel with sixteen top-tension bolts. Original tailpiece. Thirty circular holes cut into the integral flange. Extended resonator secured to the pot via four screws. White binding around the bottom of the side of the resonator. Attractive flame maple back on resonator. The plating on the flange and pot is superb, but there is some wear to the plating on part of the bezel, but this does not detract from what is a really nice instrument. Comes complete with it’s original Beddoes mid-brown coloured hard shaped case. £1,195.


BEDDOES ‘NEW CONCERT’ DE-LUXE Banjo Uke (c.1975). £1,350. SOLD


BEDDOES ‘NEW CONCERT’ GIBSON UB-2 STYLE Banjo Uke (c.1975). This is another superb sounding example of a Ron Beddoes ‘New Concert’ banjo uke, and this one is the bottom-tension design based loosely upon the Gibson UB-2. Straight neck and no wear to the fingerboard. Minor wear to the frets. Serial number ‘01’ stamped twice onto the inside edge of the pot. Original tuning pegs in very good condition and still work well. Plated ‘NC’ (New Concert) metal logo on peghead. Spliced neck. Sixteen-fret ebony fingerboard inlaid with a multiple mother-of-pearl dot position pattern. Sixteen bottom-tension hooks that recess slightly into the bezel. Sixteen attractive shoes around the pot. Tailpiece fixed to the body therefore it will always remain in the same position. Original bridge and original vellum in great condition. Gibson UB-2/3 style resonator with and cream-coloured ivoroid binding around the outside edge. Old case in a sorry state! Beddoes ‘New Concert’ banjo ukes have always been popular, and this is another one with a great playing action and it produces a fabulous sound. The first person to see it, play it and hear it, will buy it. £795.


CLIFFORD ESSEX Banjo Uke (c.1936). Very rare. Clifford Essex made high quality instruments, and their higher end banjo ukes are very rare. This one is a lovely example with a professionally repaired fingerboard. For full details about this instrument please contact me by telephoning 01691 828850 or emailing theukuleleman.com@gmail.com.


DALLAS ‘A’ MODEL Banjo Uke (c.1939). Light to hold, easy to play and really great sounding, this little banjo uke has been hugely improved by a professional restoration that has included the addition of three extra tension hooks on each side of the pot, making fourteen in total (compared to the original eight), thereby adding huge strength and stability to the pot. The replacement tuning pegs have a far superior action than the original ones. Straight neck with no wear to the frets or the fingerboard. Original ‘George Formby Registered’ metal badge on the top of the peghead. Original nut. Sixteen-fret fingerboard inlaid with three position dots. Original bezel, with replacement shoes, hooks and nuts. Replacement Grover ‘Nashville’ tailpiece. Eddie Uttley ‘non-tip’ maple bridge. Stained walnut neck, body and resonator (with ‘f-holes’ and central metal button). Resonator attached to the body using screws, with plated spacers to separate it from the body. All nickel-plating in excellent condition. Comes complete with its original Houghton black hard shaped case with blue interior and internal pocket and with the original Houghton label (worn) on the inside of lid. Fabulous sounding - and if you don’t believe me, come and try it! £295. ON HOLD


DALLAS ‘B’ MODEL Banjo Uke (c.1945). A beautifully refinished ‘B’ Model banjo uke (by Eddie Uttley). Straight neck, with no discernable wear to the frets or the fingerboard. Serial No. B/1761 stamped into the back of the peghead. Replacement tuning pegs. Original ‘George Formby Registered’ metal badge on top of the peghead. Ebonised sixteen fret fingerboard inlaid with three mother-of-pearl position dots. Wooden pot with eight tension hooks, shoes, and nuts, with original flanges, bezel and tailpiece. Extended resonator attaches to the body using the (earlier) central threaded bolt system. Well-made, light to hold and easy to play, these banjo ukes are very popular, and they are also ideal for those wanting to learn to play the banjo uke. Comes complete with a padded ‘Pod’ Gig Bag. £350.


DALLAS ‘D’ MODEL Banjo Uke (c.1939). Producing an absolutely stunning sound and made from highly patterned Bird’s Eye Maple, this is a really attractive and desirable early example (serial no. D/1261) which is in fabulous overall condition (un-restored), as is its original black hard shaped case. Straight neck with no wear to the frets or to the fingerboard. ‘George Formby Registered’ metal badge on top of peghead. One (vintage) replacement tuning peg. Sixteen-fret ebony fingerboard inlaid with multiple mother-of-pearl position dots. Twelve tension hooks (which recess neatly into the bezel), shoes and nuts. Tailpiece with hinged cover. Original tone-ring system complete and in superb condition (no rust) as is the rest of the inside of the instrument. Nine diamond-shaped holes cut into the metal flange. Attractive resonator bound top and bottom in black ivoroid, and  secured by the two original rotating wing-nuts. The chrome plating is in exceptional condition throughout.


Despite the vellum having been fitted upside down (!) the good news is that it is a wonderful (and very rare) example is what is called a ‘slunk’ vellum, containing opaque and translucent patches. What these vellums lack in visual attractiveness is more than compensated by the fantastic sound that they can produce, explaining why they were always sold at a premium price. On the automated photos page for this instrument check out the 1961 Auction photo of George Formby’s ‘Big’ Gibson UB-3 (tagged Lot 455) and you will see that it had clearly been fitted with a slunk vellum.


This instrument comes complete in its original black lockable hard shaped case with blue internal lining and an interior pocket with lid. £795.


DALLAS ‘D/E’ MODEL Banjo Uke (c.1941). This banjo uke is essentially a lovely re-furbished Dallas ‘D’ Model that has been fitted with the flange from a Dallas ‘E’ Model, and very nice it is too. The original serial number has been partially removed during the re-finishing process, but I know from experience that this is a fairly early example. Straight neck with no wear to the frets, and only the varnish has been lightly removed from a few small areas of the first three playing positions. Original tuning pegs. Original metal ‘George Formby Registered’ badge on top of the peghead. Ebonised fingerboard inlaid with multiple mother-of-pearl position dots. Twelve hooks recessed into the top of the bezel. Original tailpiece with hinged cover. ‘E’ Model flange with arrow shaped holes cut into into it. Extended resonator with side bound top and bottom in black ivoroid. Very pretty ‘Bird’s Eye’ maple on side and back of resonator. Plated internal tone ring. This instrument has been fitted with black nylon strings, and it has an ebony tipped maple bridge made by ‘Ludwig’. This instrument is in super condition inside and out and it produces a really lovely sound. It comes complete with a black hard shaped case with padded black internal lining and an internal pocket with lid. £795.


GIBSON UB-1 (c.1935). This little UB-1 banjo uke (with a 6-inch diameter pot) s far from a perfect example, but it nevertheless produces an absolutely tremendous sound! Straight neck and no wear to fingerboard. Replacement modern tuning pegs. Original ‘Gibson’ scroll-style logo at the top of the peghead. Replacement nut. Rosewood fingerboard with three inlaid mother-of-pearl position dots. Small position dots on one side of the neck. Ten flatted hooks, hexagonal nuts, and shoes, with ‘Grover’ ‘No-Knot’ tailpiece. Plated bezel. Replacement flesh ring. The small, slightly raised resonator, appears to me to be a replacement, as are its washers and the four screws attaching it to the body. Two cracks in the veneer around the body. Three footed ebony tipped bridge. Re-plated in recent years, but a very good job has been made of it. This Gibson is an ideal size and weight for a beginner or for an older child to learn to play on, but whoever buys it will find the sound that it produces absolutely mesmerising. Fits beautifully into a black ‘Kinsman’ ukulele case with black padded interior lining and an inside pocket and lid. A bargain at £450. ON HOLD


GIBSON UB-2 (1925/26). A very early example, which from their introduction in 1925 until about late 1926 were fitted with twelve tension hooks, shoes and nuts. From late 1926 onwards, fourteen became the norm, although all ‘big resonator’ Gibson banjo ukes were fitted with sixteen tension hooks). Straight neck, with just the tiniest evidence of wear on the first two playing positions. ‘The Gibson’ (in silver) at the top of the peghead. Period replacement Grover tuning pegs. Original black nut. Fourteen-fret rosewood fingerboard inlaid with three mother-of-pearl position dots. Original bezel, shoes, tension hooks, nuts, and Grover ‘Nashville’ tailpiece. Non-tip maple bridge. Nickel-plating in excellent condition. Resonator secured by four original Gibson screws (with the four original nickel-plated spacers creating the gap to the body). Original cream-coloured ivoroid binding around the outside edge of the resonator. This Gibson is in great condition, and it produces a wonderful sound. Very unusually it comes with a superb all-original and made-to-measure Gibson black hard shaped case with original leather handle, purple internal lining, and an internal pocket with the Gibson embossed diamond shape on the lid. This case is in wonderful original condition for its age. Lid secured by three external clips. £1,500.


GIBSON UB-2 (c.1925/6). This is quite a rare early Gibson UB-2 with twelve hooks and nuts, which are harder to find than the much more common fourteen hook variety. Neck, pot and resonator made of northern maple. Some of these early Gibsons were made with this ‘blonde’ finish, and this example also has ‘The Gibson’ in the far less common gold colour at the top of the peghead (most are coloured silver). Replacement tuning pegs. This Gibson has been restored beautifully by Eddie Uttley. Replacement nut. Straight neck with no wear to frets or to fingerboard. Fifteen-fret rosewood (?) fingerboard inlaid with three mother-of-pearl position dots. Twelve hooks, nuts and shoes. Original bezel and original Grover ‘Nashville’ tailpiece. All metal parts beautifully re-plated in nickel. Beautifully figured resonator with replacement (and quite attractive) binding around the edge. Lovely looking and great sounding, this Gibson has a lovely playing action, and it comes complete with a made-to-measure black hard shaped case with ‘UB-2’ moulded into the top of the lid, and internal maroon coloured padding and padded neck support. £1,450.


GRETSCH Banjo Uke (c.1930). Very pretty vintage American banjo uke beautifully restored in 2013 by the great Eddie Uttley. Straight neck and no wear to frets or to fingerboard. Friction tuning pegs with cream-coloured thumbgrips. Ebonised top of peghead inlaid with several patterned mother of pearl decorations. Mother-of-pearl decorations inlaid into the fifteen-fret fingerboard. Ebony-tipped maple bridge. Spliced neck with ebonised heel cap. Original bezel and twelve original tension hooks, shoes and nuts. Original Grover tailpiece. All metal parts beautifully nickel-plated. Body with thin decorative black line around the base. Gibson style flat plate resonator (with small gap to the body) which appears to be bound around the edge with black ivoroid. Comes complete with a modern black hard shaped case with padded black internal lining and a padded neck support. This vintage banjo uke is in wonderful condition, it has a great playing action and produces a really lovely sound. £750.


LUDWIG ‘WENDELL HALL PROFESSIONAL’ Banjo Uke (c.1927). £1,850. SOLD


LUDWIG ‘WENDELL HALL PROFESSIONAL’ Banjo Uke (c.1927). £2,000. SOLD


LUDWIG ‘WENDELL HALL PROFESSIONAL’ Banjo Uke (c.1927). The finish on Ludwig banjo ukes can be often be prone to crazing and flaking, and this one has been beautifully and professionally re-finished, including an attractive and very pretty ‘sunburst’ pattern on the back of the neck and the back of the resonator. Made of American Walnut throughout. Straight neck, with no wear to the frets and a fingerboard that has had a few traces of wear professionally filled to a very high standard. Vintage (period) Grover friction tuning pegs. Replacement ‘Wendell Hall Professional’ transfer on the peghead. Spliced neck. Four mother-of-pearl position dots on the fingerboard. Original bezel, top-tension bolts (sixteen), tailpiece, detachable armrest (very slightly bent), pot and flange. A small part of the original Ludwig label remains on the inside of the resonator. Original nickel plating is in excellent condition with the exception of a small amount of wear on parts of the armrest (which is made of steel and particularly prone to plating wear). Near the top of the side of the resonator is a decorative gold-coloured line running all the way around, and the original Ludwig ivoroid binding runs all around the bottom edge. This banjo uke has been lovingly restored. With a great playing action and superb to play, it produces that unmistakable and highly desirable Ludwig sound. Comes complete with a modern hard shaped black lockable ‘Viking’ case, with padded black plush interior lining and internal pocket with lid. £1,850.


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Over 45 years of Experience and Expertise with Ukuleles and Banjo Ukes


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John Croft, Glan Tanat, Llanyblodwel, Oswestry, Shropshire, SY10 8NQ, England.

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Email: theukuleleman.com@gmail.com

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