Hi everyone, and welcome to my website. I have developed my interest in ukuleles and banjo ukes over the last forty-
The first really good instrument that I bought (although I didn’t know it at the time) was a Ludwig banjo uke. It was back in early 1979 and I had never seen a Ludwig before, in fact the only image of one that I had ever seen was a rather poor photograph of one at the bottom of page 30 of Alan Randall’s excellent tutor book called ‘Playing the Ukulele and the Ukulele Banjo’. I was fortunate enough to have been given first refusal on this Ludwig by Doug Parry, who ran John Alvey Turner’s shop in Great Russell Street in London which was for many years was a very good shop offering an excellent range of new and vintage Banjos and other instruments at reasonable prices. Doug wanted £140 for the Ludwig including its original case, and when when I was offered it I just didn’t know whether to buy it or not. £140 was quite a lot of money at the time, in fact I only had £140 in my savings account at the time plus my return rail ticket back home to Bath, and I didn’t even have the Bus fare to get home from Bath Spa Station! Anyway, I took a gamble and bought it, and I remember sitting in the train going back to Bath clutching the Ludwig’s black case in my hands and thinking “What have I done?” Well, what I had done was to be introduced to what I have since come to consider as the finest banjo ukes ever made, and once I had got it home and set it up, the sound that the Ludwig produced was simply stunning. Ever since that day my appreciation of Ludwig banjo ukes has remained undiminished.
In November 1979 I joined the George Formby Society (GFS), and shortly afterwards in early 1980 I became a member of The Ukulele Society of Great Britain (USGB). Before he died in 1961, George Formby had been one of Britain’s premiere stars from the mid 1930’s onwards, and for three successive years at the height of his fame he earned more than the top three Hollywood film stars put together! He had made his name by singing amusing songs with a timeless appeal and had accompanied them with his own brilliant style of playing on the banjo uke. I was privileged to have been elected Secretary of the GFS from 1982 until 1987 and President from 1988 until 1992. The USGB is much smaller than the GFS, having fewer meetings, fewer members and a rather broader musical base, but thanks to both of these societies I have had the opportunity to meet some great musicians, to make many, many friends, play some fabulous instruments to and to develop my knowledge and love of the ukulele and the banjo uke.
It was in October 1990 whilst I was President of the GFS, that I received a phone call from George Harrison (yes, the George Harrison), who wanted to re-
George Harrison was a very kind, friendly, caring, thoughtful and deeply spiritual man, and it was both a privilege and a pleasure to have known him. He was kind enough to give me a ‘Big Resonator’ Gibson UB-
Finally, a major reason for this website is to enable people to benefit from the knowledge and expertise that I have accumulated over the years (and continue to do so) by offering for sale a variety of really nice instruments that I know to be of really good quality. Over many years I became frustrated at not being able to get reliable advice about instruments and other associated products, so I have tried to put this right firstly through the medium of my website and secondly via my 300 page hardback book ‘All About The Banjo Uke’ which I’m proud to say has had a tremendous reception. Expensive or otherwise, all items for sale on my website are of genuinely good quality and are ones that I would be happy to use myself.
Website founded in 2001
Over 45 years of Experience and Expertise with Ukuleles and Banjo Ukes
John Croft, Glan Tanat, Llanyblodwel, Oswestry, Shropshire, SY10 8NQ, England.
Tel: (+44) 01691 828850
Supplier to the Stars