FOR SALE - BANJO UKES


 *** I HAVE INSPECTED AND APPROVED ALL BANJO UKES PRIOR TO THEM APPEARING FOR SALE BELOW ***


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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.


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ABBOTT ‘MONARCH’ Banjo Uke (c.1927). At over ninety years old these instruments are very hard to find, but they are highly desirable. This vintage Abbott ‘Monarch’ banjo uke was made by J. G. Abbott in London in about 1927. A similar example was owned and played by the great entertainer George Formby. This particular example was made for the Liverpool company ‘Rushworth & Dreaper’, and it comes complete with its original black hard shaped case with the ‘Rushworth & Dreaper’ label still attached to the inside of the lid. Straight neck with a genuinely very small amount of wear to the fingerboard (mostly at the first playing position between the 2nd and 3rd strings) and only a very small trace of wear to the frets (only beneath the third string on the first two frets). Mahogany neck with ebonised headstock and heel. Original Grover ‘Simplex’ No.71 tuning pegs. ‘Monarch’ stamped onto the back of the headstock with a ‘Rushworth & Dreaper’ circular logo inlaid into the top of the front. Original ebonised nut. Lovely wide, shallow, 17-fret fingerboard inlaid with three position dots, and with a parabolic profile that makes the instrument absolutely wonderful to play. Normal seven and three-quarter inch (outside diameter) pot with fourteen original hooks, shoes and gently domed nuts. Original bezel, flesh hoop and spinning, with the ‘Sailors Hat’ shaped holes cut into the flange. Original Grover tailpiece. Ebonised side to the resonator. Ivoroid binding around the inside edge of the rear of the resonator, and central decorative ivoroid button. This banjo uke is a ‘shallow spinning’ model but this particular example is one of the nicest that I have ever seen or played. The superb vellum looks as though it has been on the instrument for decades and is very tight, and there clearly remains plenty of room for further tightening. This banjo uke is in great original condition, it is light to hold and easy to play, and it produces that wonderful and distinctive ‘Abbott’ sound. £4,250. SOLD


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.


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’ 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 ‘B’ MODEL Banjo Uke (c.1953). £295. Further details and photos to follow.


DALLAS ‘C’ MODEL Banjo Uke (c.1957). £375. Further details and photos to follow.


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). £795. SOLD


DALLAS ‘E’ MODEL Banjo Uke (c.1958). A fine example of the top-of-the-line Dallas ‘E’ Model banjo uke complete with its original black hard shaped case with blue brushed cotton internal lining and an internal pocket. Straight neck and no wear to the frets or the fingerboard. Grover ‘Champion’ tuning pegs. Facsimile ‘George Formby’ signature in gold on top of the peghead. Sixteen-fret rosewood (?) fingerboard inlaid with multiple mother-of-pearl decorations. In great original condition inside and out and in fine condition for its age - including the chrome plating and the internal (plated) tone-ring. A really lovely sounding ‘E’ Model. £795. ON HOLD


GIBSON UB-1 (c.1926). Very light to hold and easy to play, this vintage Gibson UB-1 is ideal for anyone wanting a fun, easily transportable instrument. It is absolutely ideal for any youngster of between the ages of about  9 to 14 who wants to learn to play a banjo uke. Straight neck with no wear to the frets and barely any wear to the fingerboard. Original Grover tuning pegs. Original silk screened ‘The Gibson’ logo in silver colour at the top of the peghead. Three mother-of-pearl position dots inlaid into the fingerboard. Original Gibson bezel, tension hooks, shoes and nuts. Original Grover ‘Nashville’ tailpiece. Replacement resonator with ivoroid binding around the edge. The UB-1’s six inch diameter laminated wooden pot produces a gorgeous sound and this little Gibson is a delight in every way. Comes complete with a black hard shaped case with attractive blue interior lining. £550. 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. ON HOLD


GIBSON UB-2 (1926/27). This lovely Gibson banjo uke would have been one of the first UB-2’s to have been fitted with fourteen tension hooks, shoes and nuts (instead of the original twelve) because it is still fitted with the earlier black Grover No.74 tuning pegs and black nut. By 1927 Gibson had changed these to cream coloured which they remained thereafter. Straight neck with no wear to the fingerboard and just a small trace of wear to the first fret. The fifteen-fret fingerboard and the wonderful Gibson neck make for ideal playing, and this banjo uke produces a fantastic sound. Original ‘The Gibson’ silk screened logo in gold colour at the top of the peghead. Original circular flat back resonator bound with cream coloured ivoroid. All original - including the vintage Grover ‘Nashville’ tailpiece. Comes complete with its original (and rather ‘tired’) Gibson black hard shaped case with purple brushed cotton interior lining and internal pocket with the Gibson diamond shape embossed onto the top of the pocket lid. In great condition for its age, and it plays well and sounds lovely.


* Now the bonus! Inside the case pocket are some very old strings and their fascinating packets, plus a very worn black leather case tag showing the name and address of the music shop in Memphis (Tennessee) from which this instrument was originally sold. Typed on the thin cardboard label inside the tag are the details of this music shop, on the reverse side of which is what I believe was probably the name and address of the original owner of this instrument - a Mrs. Frank Calvert, together with details of her address and telephone number! In December 1927 this shop suffered a very serious fire that almost ruined the business, and this instrument was probably sold just a few months prior to that fire breaking out. I find it amazing that after about 92 years, this instrument, its case, and the label have remained together. Everything can be yours for £1,500.


GRETSCH Banjo Uke (c.1930). £750. SOLD


LUDWIG ‘WENDELL HALL PROFESSIONAL’ Banjo Uke (c.1927). This lovely banjo uke has been beautifully and professionally re-finished and includes an attractive and very pretty ‘tobacco 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. ON HOLD


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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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