Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 25 of 38

Thread: Help!!:I have aqquired an Unmarked unnamed 7 string banjolele

  1. #1

    Question Help!!:I have aqquired an Unmarked unnamed 7 string banjolele

    Help!!:I have aqquired an Unmarked unnamed 7 string banjolele . There are no identifying marks externally how can I identify banjolele with no serial number?Click image for larger version. 

Name:	16185840612745948810234329881103.jpg 
Views:	64 
Size:	354.0 KB 
ID:	193605Click image for larger version. 

Name:	16185841202291544947824166524032.jpg 
Views:	53 
Size:	310.6 KB 
ID:	193606Click image for larger version. 

Name:	16185841638238338997102208453322.jpg 
Views:	49 
Size:	359.7 KB 
ID:	193607

  2. #2

    Default Re: Help!!:I have aqquired an Unmarked unnamed 7 string banjolele

    The tuners are German made- so it was probably made somewhere in Europe. It's hard to give a date- probably after WW2 and possibly in the Eastern Bloc but I am surmising from those tuners. Tuners like those have circular buttons of celluloid before WW2- the buttons make me think 1950s.

  3. The following members say thank you to NickR for this post:


  4. #3
    Professional Dreamer journeybear's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    Key West
    Posts
    12,822
    Blog Entries
    2

    Default Re: Help!!:I have aqquired an Unmarked unnamed 7 string banjolele

    Hello, and welcome to the Café!

    I'm not sure why you call it "7 string." It clearly has 8 tuners, and even 8 strings.

    Also, it looks like a banjolin (or mandolin-banjo), not a banjolele. Someone is bound to correct me if I'm wrong, but I believe banjoleles are ukuleles with a banjo-type body, and have four nylon strings tuned ukulele-style. The intent is to enable a ukulele player to make banjo sounds with a familiar instrument. By the same token, a guitjo enables a guitar player to make banjo sounds, and a banjolin enables a mandolin player to make banjo sounds. Also, these are metal strings, strung in double courses, with the thickest (ie, lowest) strings on the bottom, whereas ukuleles have their highest string on the bottom.

    Anyway ... it looks pretty cool, especially the headstock. I like that swoop - it's almost avant-garde.
    But that's just my opinion. I could be wrong. - Dennis Miller

    Furthering Mandolin Consciousness

    Blues Mando Social Group
    Gibson Mandolins Social Group
    North Florida Mandolin Players Social Group

    The big blowhard in his conch shell blowing championship form

  5. #4
    Registered User Ranald's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2017
    Location
    Ottawa, Canada
    Posts
    871

    Default Re: Help!!:I have aqquired an Unmarked unnamed 7 string banjolele

    I'm no expert but I have to ask, is this not a banjo-mandolin, or banjolin if you prefer? All the pictures of banjoleles that I see on the internet have four strings, like a ukulele. Your instrument has eight strings, in sets of two, like a mandolin. It sure looks like a banjo-mandolin.
    Robert Johnson's mother, describing blues musicians:
    "I never did have no trouble with him until he got big enough to be round with bigger boys and off from home. Then he used to follow all these harp blowers, mandoleen (sic) and guitar players."
    Lomax, Alan, The Land where The Blues Began, NY: Pantheon, 1993, p.14.

  6. #5
    Professional Dreamer journeybear's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    Key West
    Posts
    12,822
    Blog Entries
    2

    Default Re: Help!!:I have aqquired an Unmarked unnamed 7 string banjolele

    I took some time to scan through google images to see if I could find a similar instrument. I found this - the one on the left - and elsewhere a closeup of the headstock. It's not an exact match, and it looks like a bigger body. But you could continue in this way and see if you have luck. I've been having a bit of fun with this, but I've been procrastinating on some chores, and really must get to them.

    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	Melody Major Banjolin.jpg 
Views:	18 
Size:	386.2 KB 
ID:	193608 Click image for larger version. 

Name:	GH&S_Melody_Major_Banjolin_headstock.jpg 
Views:	19 
Size:	27.2 KB 
ID:	193609
    But that's just my opinion. I could be wrong. - Dennis Miller

    Furthering Mandolin Consciousness

    Blues Mando Social Group
    Gibson Mandolins Social Group
    North Florida Mandolin Players Social Group

    The big blowhard in his conch shell blowing championship form

  7. #6
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Location
    High Peak - UK
    Posts
    3,171

    Default Re: Help!!:I have aqquired an Unmarked unnamed 7 string banjolele

    Quote Originally Posted by journeybear View Post
    Hello, and welcome to the Café!

    I'm not sure why you call it "7 string." It clearly has 8 tuners, and even 8 strings.

    Also, it looks like a banjolin (or mandolin-banjo), not a banjolele. Someone is bound to correct me if I'm wrong, but I believe banjoleles are ukuleles with a banjo-type body, and have four nylon strings tuned ukulele-style. The intent is to enable a ukulele player to make banjo sounds with a familiar instrument. By the same token, a guitjo enables a guitar player to make banjo sounds, and a banjolin enables a mandolin player to make banjo sounds. Also, these are metal strings, strung in double courses, with the thickest (ie, lowest) strings on the bottom, whereas ukuleles have their highest string on the bottom.

    Anyway ... it looks pretty cool, especially the headstock. I like that swoop - it's almost avant-garde.
    Just to be pedantic, the term “Banjolele” is a trade name coined by Alvin D Keech. If it’s not made by Keech its either a banjo-ukulele or a ukulele-banjo; take your pick!

  8. The following members say thank you to Ray(T) for this post:


  9. #7
    Professional Dreamer journeybear's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    Key West
    Posts
    12,822
    Blog Entries
    2

    Default Re: Help!!:I have aqquired an Unmarked unnamed 7 string banjolele

    Quote Originally Posted by Ray(T) View Post
    Just to be pedantic, the term “Banjolele” is a trade name coined by Alvin D Keech. If it’s not made by Keech its either a banjo-ukulele or a ukulele-banjo; take your pick!
    Well, now! One learns so much around here from so many different directions. I did not know that. And now knowing it, I vow never to so misuse the term again. Uh huh, yeah, right! (There's a whole long tangent we could go into, concerning commonly-used terms which are actually brand names and trademarks, such as zipper, bubblewrap, and dumpster, but let's not. ) Sometimes ease of saying and/or writing and especially being understand are more important concerns than 100% correctness. Whatever that may be.

    And IMO you're not being pedantic, nor even persnickety, but precise. I 'preciate it.
    But that's just my opinion. I could be wrong. - Dennis Miller

    Furthering Mandolin Consciousness

    Blues Mando Social Group
    Gibson Mandolins Social Group
    North Florida Mandolin Players Social Group

    The big blowhard in his conch shell blowing championship form

  10. The following members say thank you to journeybear for this post:

    Reywas 

  11. #8
    Mando accumulator allenhopkins's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Location
    Rochester NY 14610
    Posts
    16,632

    Default Re: Help!!:I have aqquired an Unmarked unnamed 7 string banjolele

    Thanx to journeybear for the research! Appears what you have, looks quite a bit like a "Melody Major" mandolin-banjo; if so, it was made by Geo. Houghton & Sons in the UK. I've looked at a couple of examples on Google, and those don't have the same flange plate or tailpiece as yours, so I'm hesitant to offer a firm ID. Definitely looks European or English made, though all the Houghton instruments I've looked up have been fairly clearly marked, and yours isn't. Perhaps it could have had one of those "Melody Major" badges on the headstock, which became detached.

    Here's one that was recently auctioned. Don't get excited and think yours is worth $3,900, though; the one Bonhams sold came from Eric Clapton's collection, hence the ridiculously inflated auction price. As far as I know, Clapton never recorded with it...
    Allen Hopkins
    Gibsn: '54 F5 3pt F2 A-N Custm K1 m'cello
    Natl Triolian Dobro mando
    Victoria b-back Merrill alumnm b-back
    H-O mandolinetto
    Stradolin Vega banjolin
    Sobell'dola Washburn b-back'dola
    Eastmn: 615'dola 805 m'cello
    Flatiron 3K OM

  12. The Following 2 Users Say Thank You to allenhopkins For This Useful Post:


  13. #9
    Professional Dreamer journeybear's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    Key West
    Posts
    12,822
    Blog Entries
    2

    Default Re: Help!!:I have aqquired an Unmarked unnamed 7 string banjolele

    Also regarding price, that auction is a benefit fundraiser.

    The Melody Majors I've seen (only a few, admittedly) have a distinct tailpiece, not the generic clamshell type here. But that headstock ... I wonder if the mfr made some instruments for different companies, which then put their logo on it, as well as other appurtenances. I understand this was common with bowlbacks; could that be the case here?
    But that's just my opinion. I could be wrong. - Dennis Miller

    Furthering Mandolin Consciousness

    Blues Mando Social Group
    Gibson Mandolins Social Group
    North Florida Mandolin Players Social Group

    The big blowhard in his conch shell blowing championship form

  14. #10

    Default Re: Help!!:I have aqquired an Unmarked unnamed 7 string banjolele

    Bonhams got the date on that banjo mandolin somewhat wrong- it has a lion on the headstock which George Houghton began to use in the mid-30s It's an instrument that you would be lucky to make £100 in a sale but it has that special cachet of being from Eric Clapton's collection. The last instruments that George Houghton- or his son made, were in conjunction with John Dallas and they were sold under the Dallas brand in the early 60s. I think this instrument has a very "German" looking tailpiece as well as the tuners. George Houghton did use German made tuners on his 1930s banjo mandolins but they had a very different tailpiece style.

  15. #11
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Location
    High Peak - UK
    Posts
    3,171

    Default Re: Help!!:I have aqquired an Unmarked unnamed 7 string banjolele

    It’s incredible how much instruments on e owned by famous musicians can make. A, now retired, luthier friend of mine once made a steel bodied resonator ukulele for George Harrison. Apart from wondering what happened to it after his death, he always claimed that he regretted cashing the cheque.

  16. #12
    Registered User Ranald's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2017
    Location
    Ottawa, Canada
    Posts
    871

    Default Re: Help!!:I have aqquired an Unmarked unnamed 7 string banjolele

    But to get back to my comment #4, above, is this instrument a ukulele mandolin or a banjo mandolin? The OP calls him or herself a "newbie" so this is very important information to know.
    Robert Johnson's mother, describing blues musicians:
    "I never did have no trouble with him until he got big enough to be round with bigger boys and off from home. Then he used to follow all these harp blowers, mandoleen (sic) and guitar players."
    Lomax, Alan, The Land where The Blues Began, NY: Pantheon, 1993, p.14.

  17. #13
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Location
    High Peak - UK
    Posts
    3,171

    Default Re: Help!!:I have aqquired an Unmarked unnamed 7 string banjolele

    The presence of 8 (4 pairs) steel strings makes it a “banjo-mandolin” or a “mandolin-banjo” or even a “banjolin” if that floats your boat; however, they’re better known in these parts as “an instrument of the devil”!

  18. The following members say thank you to Ray(T) for this post:

    Ranald 

  19. #14

    Default Re: Help!!:I have aqquired an Unmarked unnamed 7 string banjolele

    Thanks for highlighting My typo clearly it's a 8 string instrument I'll refrain from calling it the incorrect name as well cheers .

  20. #15

    Default Re: Help!!:I have aqquired an Unmarked unnamed 7 string banjolele

    Thanks for the info I'll do some research

  21. #16
    Registered User Sue Rieter's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2020
    Location
    New Hampshire
    Posts
    659

    Default Re: Help!!:I have aqquired an Unmarked unnamed 7 string banjolele

    Okay, while we're being precise with names here, mine has been converted from 8 strings to 4. (you can still see the filled holes where the other tuners were removed, and it's been fitted with a new nut and bridge). Is it still a banjo mandolin, or is it now something else?

    I call it a resto mod.

    (And oh, by the way, she is offended at being called an "instrument of the devil" )

  22. #17
    Professional Dreamer journeybear's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    Key West
    Posts
    12,822
    Blog Entries
    2

    Default Re: Help!!:I have aqquired an Unmarked unnamed 7 string banjolele

    It's still a banjo mandolin. If precision drives you, perhaps calling it a "single string banjo mandolin" (or banjolin) will suit you.

    When I was having tuning issues with my EM-150 electric mandolin and went single string to solve the problem, I still called it an electric mandolin. Every now and then I'd get asked if it was a ukulele - still get that with my Ryder solid body, which is indeed built as a single string - as people tend to associate instruments with four single string with ukuleles.

    Around these here parts, any hunk of junk consisting of a fretboard stuck onto a drum often gets referred to in dismissive terms - usually in fairly good humor and more or less with tongue in cheek. Don't take it personally. Tell her that, too. To tell the truth, when I was new here I thought it strange, unkind, and un-called-for, and had to ask. I've learned to play along. I think some people actually mean it, but most people don't, and are just having a bit of fun. After all, mandolins and b****s spend a lot of time together in some circles, especially in bluegrass, where their fates seem inextricably intertwined.
    But that's just my opinion. I could be wrong. - Dennis Miller

    Furthering Mandolin Consciousness

    Blues Mando Social Group
    Gibson Mandolins Social Group
    North Florida Mandolin Players Social Group

    The big blowhard in his conch shell blowing championship form

  23. #18
    Registered User Sue Rieter's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2020
    Location
    New Hampshire
    Posts
    659

    Default Re: Help!!:I have aqquired an Unmarked unnamed 7 string banjolele

    Ha ha, I don't really care about a precise name. I'm just prodding at the linguists among us
    I fully realize it's all in good fun

    When I arranged to buy it (without first informing my DH) I asked the seller if he thought I could just say I left my car unlocked and someone put it in there.
    He felt that was legit

  24. The following members say thank you to Sue Rieter for this post:


  25. #19
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Location
    High Peak - UK
    Posts
    3,171

    Default Re: Help!!:I have aqquired an Unmarked unnamed 7 string banjolele

    Quote Originally Posted by Sue Rieter View Post
    Okay, while we're being precise with names here, mine has been converted from 8 strings to 4. (you can still see the filled holes where the other tuners were removed, and it's been fitted with a new nut and bridge). Is it still a banjo mandolin, or is it now something else?

    I call it a resto mod.

    (And oh, by the way, she is offended at being called an "instrument of the devil" )
    If it’s one (few) of a kind - which a 4 string banjo/mandolin may well be - you’re fully within your rights to call it exactly what you want.

    Whether yours falls into the “instrument of the devil category” will depend on the noise it produces; i.e. does it just make a noise or is it a full “unholy noise”.

    I was once tempted to buy a vintage Vega but the string alignment between the tuners and the nut was so bad that tuning one string made another go out of tune. It was quite a good price but it stayed in the shop.

  26. The following members say thank you to Ray(T) for this post:


  27. #20
    Registered User Sue Rieter's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2020
    Location
    New Hampshire
    Posts
    659

    Default Re: Help!!:I have aqquired an Unmarked unnamed 7 string banjolele

    Quote Originally Posted by Ray(T) View Post
    Whether yours falls into the “instrument of the devil category” will depend on the noise it produces; i.e. does it just make a noise or is it a full “unholy noise”.
    It might depend on who you ask. I like the sound of it, but my husband might be inclined to go with "unholy noise"

  28. #21
    Professional Dreamer journeybear's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    Key West
    Posts
    12,822
    Blog Entries
    2

    Default Re: Help!!:I have aqquired an Unmarked unnamed 7 string banjolele

    Quote Originally Posted by Sue Rieter View Post
    ... I asked the seller if he thought I could just say I left my car unlocked and someone put it in there.
    He felt that was legit
    That does refer to one of the all-time greatest banjo jokes.
    But that's just my opinion. I could be wrong. - Dennis Miller

    Furthering Mandolin Consciousness

    Blues Mando Social Group
    Gibson Mandolins Social Group
    North Florida Mandolin Players Social Group

    The big blowhard in his conch shell blowing championship form

  29. #22
    Registered User Sue Rieter's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2020
    Location
    New Hampshire
    Posts
    659

    Default Re: Help!!:I have aqquired an Unmarked unnamed 7 string banjolele

    Quote Originally Posted by journeybear View Post
    That does refer to one of the all-time greatest banjo jokes.
    Yeah, I learned it here

  30. #23
    Professional Dreamer journeybear's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    Key West
    Posts
    12,822
    Blog Entries
    2

    Default Re: Help!!:I have aqquired an Unmarked unnamed 7 string banjolele

    Of course!
    But that's just my opinion. I could be wrong. - Dennis Miller

    Furthering Mandolin Consciousness

    Blues Mando Social Group
    Gibson Mandolins Social Group
    North Florida Mandolin Players Social Group

    The big blowhard in his conch shell blowing championship form

  31. #24
    Professional Dreamer journeybear's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    Key West
    Posts
    12,822
    Blog Entries
    2

    Default Re: Help!!:I have aqquired an Unmarked unnamed 7 string banjolele

    Quote Originally Posted by Ray(T) View Post
    Whether yours falls into the “instrument of the devil category” will depend on the noise it produces; i.e. does it just make a noise or is it a full “unholy noise”.
    I picked one up when I was in a jug band, and fearless leader wanted to bring that sound into our arsenal. He called it "the happy sound," which it kind of was. It was utterly impossible to play anything bluesy on it. It was great on upbeat, bouncy numbers and ragtime tunes; slower, slinkier stuff required the mandolin. I didn't know about this "devil's instrument" designation, nor any other dismissive designation of denigration. But I did say it was "utterly devoid of subtlety."

    This was a Vega Little Wonder with a plastic head. It never needed amplification. Somehow I found a vintage one with a smaller head made of skin - much quieter, even sweeter, bless its heart - and traded for it. Sadly, when that head broke and my luthier said it needed more work, especially to fix its slightly warped neck - which would have cost twice what my buy-in had been - I left it at his shop and said I'd think about it. I was no longer in the band, so I wasn't terribly motivated. That was 25 years ago or more .
    But that's just my opinion. I could be wrong. - Dennis Miller

    Furthering Mandolin Consciousness

    Blues Mando Social Group
    Gibson Mandolins Social Group
    North Florida Mandolin Players Social Group

    The big blowhard in his conch shell blowing championship form

  32. #25
    Registered User Sue Rieter's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2020
    Location
    New Hampshire
    Posts
    659

    Default Re: Help!!:I have aqquired an Unmarked unnamed 7 string banjolele

    Hmmm. I think I'll go with "A happy sound utterly devoid of subtlety" vs. "unholy sound".
    Now, if I can only convince my husband.....

    I wonder if your instrument was left with attachment issues due to abandonment?

Tags for this Thread

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •