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’ DE-LUXE Banjo Uke (c.1976). £1,250. 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. Once again, the first person to see it, play it and hear it, will buy it. £795.  


BEHARRELL ‘ABBOTT MONARCH COPY’ Banjo Uke (2015). £850. SOLD


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.1943). 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 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’ MODEL Banjo Uke (c.1943). Further details and photos to follow.


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.1927). Lovely all-original fourteen-hook example. Straight neck with no wear to the fingerboard and light wear to the first few frets. The Gibson’ (in gold) at the top of the peghead. Original Grover tuning pegs with cream-coloured thumbgrips. Original cream-coloured nut. Fifteen-fret rosewood fingerboard inlaid with three mother-of-pearl position dots. Original bezel, shoes, tension hooks, nuts, and Grover ‘Nashville’ tailpiece. Ebony-tipped ‘non-tip’ maple bridge. Nickel-plating in excellent condition for its age. 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. It is fitted with a rather un-cosmetic looking but musically highly desirable ‘slunk’ calfskin vellum, containing opaque and translucent patches. These always sold at a premium because players knew that they produced the very best sound. It comes complete with a modern lockable ‘Viking’ black hard shaped case with padded plush black lining and an internal pocket and lid. £1,500.


GREENFIELD ‘BIG GIBSON’ STYLE Banjo Uke (c.2005). £995. SOLD


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.


KEECH ‘ALTO’ Banjulele Banjo (c.1926). This rare instrument is in fantastic condition. It was specially designed by Alvin D. Keech to supply the need for a deeper and fuller toned instrument and is ideally played in the  key of ‘C’.  With an eight and a half inch diameter internal pot and an eight and a half inch scale length, it was sometimes referred to as the ‘Orchestral Model’. Two similar examples were supplied to H.R.H The Prince Of Wales. Straight neck with virtually no wear to the frets and no wear whatsoever to the fingerboard. Original parts throughout (except for the bridge, the strings and the vellum - and perhaps the tailpiece). Original tuning pegs, and ‘Keech’ shield on the peghead with ‘Banjulele Banjo’ and the instruments patent number clearly stamped below. Walnut neck with thick ebony fingerboard with seventeen frets, beautifully inlaid with multiple mother-of-pearl decorations. Fingerboard underlain with sycamore. Maple veneered body inlaid with two patterned parquetry strips. Heavily nickel-plated interior and exterior metal fittings. Ten bottom-tension hooks that recess into holes in the scalloped bezel. Easily removable domed and polished external resonator decorated with a matching parquetry patterned strip to the two on the body. The internal and external resonators both contain an etched autograph of Alvin D. Keech. This instrument comes complete with a modern black hard shaped case with plush grey lining and an internal pocket. Inside the case is an original advert for ‘Keech’ Banjulele Banjos, including this model. £750. ON HOLD


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


Web site founded in 2001


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

Tel: (+44) 01691 828850

Email: theukuleleman.com@gmail.com

... Details about my new Book can be found by using the links immediately below this animated marquee ...