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Thread: Banjolele tuner ID please…

  1. #1
    Registered User Simon DS's Avatar
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    Default Banjolele tuner ID please…

    Please help!
    Just inherited this beauty but discovered that the tuners have been changed.
    Can anyone give me more info on this dandy looking instrument and where to get nicer looking or more original tuners?

    Also, is the tail piece standard? Any other comments (fifths conversation) welcome.
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    Last edited by Simon DS; Aug-25-2021 at 5:56am.

  2. #2
    Registered User Simon DS's Avatar
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    Default Re: Banjolele tuner ID please…

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  3. #3
    Still a mandolin fighter Mandophyte's Avatar
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    Default Re: Banjolele tuner ID please…

    Simon,
    Google reveals a whole of stuff including this: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kelvin_Keech
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    Moderator MikeEdgerton's Avatar
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    Default Re: Banjolele tuner ID please…

    Unscrew the tailpiece. If there are no other holes hidden assume it's original to the instrument. Banjo uke tuners generally aren't real complex. I have no idea if they are original to the instrument. There were a ton of these instruments made by different companies. The good news is that there are many uke tuner options available, even Waverly from Stewmac.

    https://www.stewmac.com/parts-and-ha...ning-machines/
    "Bargain instruments are no bargains if you can't play them". These are the words of J. Garber.

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    Default Re: Banjolele tuner ID please…

    I played something similar decades ago. I put steel strings on it, geared tuners, and tuned it like a mandolin. Lots of fun. Just gave it to my grandson last Christmas.
    THE WORLD IS A BETTER PLACE JUST FOR YOUR SMILE!

  8. #6
    Mando accumulator allenhopkins's Avatar
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    Default Re: Banjolele tuner ID please…

    Informative article on Keech ukuleles, and on Kelvin Keech himself.

    British made, probably by Dallas; Keech built no instruments, but branded instruments built for him (and his brother Alvin) by others. When I first saw the pics I thought "British," and appears first impression was correct.

    What you have are termed "patent tuners," metal friction pegs with an adjustment screw to make them turn more or less easily; lots of ukuleles of the period have them, and it would be period-correct to keep 'em, assuming they work OK. However, if you're planning "fifths conversion" with steel strings, they'll be a bear to work with, and you should find a set of geared pegs.

    I'd also caution: much more string tension with steel strings -- especially tuned in fifths -- so keep 'em light, and watch out for any damage. I have a li'l S S Stewart Collegian ukulele-banjo, and I tried steel strings on it at first. Intonation was poor, and the instrument seemed to be "struggling," so I went back to nylon, and "Stewie" is quite happy.

    Aquila makes fifths-tuned nylon ukulele strings, and you might consider those. However, they're for a concert ukulele, probably a longer scale than your Keech.
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  10. #7
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    Default Re: Banjolele tuner ID please…

    No longer relevant

  11. #8

    Default Re: Banjolele tuner ID please…

    Those are the second nastiest type of friction tuner (imagine how bad the nastiest are!).

    Something like these will work well:

    https://www.ebay.com/itm/322275573069

    Note the metal on metal contact, rather than the plastic cup, and these will have spring washers in the circuit.

    Grover 4B tuners are 4x the price, and will be even better.

    Either will be similar to what was originally on the uke, but probably better quality.

    You can buy nylon strings for 5ths tuning, Aquila make a set. I wouldnt recommend steel strings, though it might stand up to them, but then the friction tuners will barely be adequate.

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    Default Re: Banjolele tuner ID please…

    Mine had a set of light gauge steel strings on for 30 or 40 years. Played very nice when I gave it to my grandson. I put the nylon back on for him, as he is younger. I did make a bridge of different woods to warm it slightly. It was a fun instrument to play. Mine had a different back on, but had the back on the pot like yours does. I put inexpensive geared tuners on and with the light strings they worked fine all these years, and still do.
    THE WORLD IS A BETTER PLACE JUST FOR YOUR SMILE!

  14. #10
    Registered User Simon DS's Avatar
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    Default Re: Banjolele tuner ID please…

    Thanks I appreciate it.
    I’ve bought a set of nylon fifths strings which sound great on a Kala ukulele, will probably go for it and buy the hardwood Grover tuners for the banjulele.

    Obviously it does sound very ‘banjo’ compared to the octave mandolin but when played gently with certain picks it has a lovely warm tone too.

    Thanks also for those interesting links.
    Last edited by Simon DS; Aug-26-2021 at 1:52am.

  15. #11

    Default Re: Banjolele tuner ID please…

    This one looks to have some original tuners and as suggested up above, they were probably and still are not very good!

    https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Vintage-K...hoCO_8QAvD_BwE

  16. #12
    Registered User Simon DS's Avatar
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    Default Re: Banjolele tuner ID please…

    Quote Originally Posted by NickR View Post
    This one looks to have some original tuners and as suggested up above, they were probably and still are not very good!

    https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Vintage-K...hoCO_8QAvD_BwE
    The heel, ouch!
    Looks as though the drum was used in a desperate bar fight.
    These instruments have a lot of charm, they were apparently made under licence(s), and this particular one probably sounds really nice.

    I don’t think those tuners are original though.
    -it’s like a lot of us, the original tuners would not have survived what the rest of the body seems to have been through.

  17. #13
    coprolite mandroid's Avatar
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    Question Re: Banjolele tuner ID please…

    Rather than replace the original friction pegs I upgraded to a 4:1 mini planetary. on my banjo uke project -- Gotoh made ..

    But as a result I have 4 friction pegs ,(Grover Champion?) Yours for only the cost of postage ( from Oregon) ..

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  18. #14
    Registered User Simon DS's Avatar
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    Default Re: Banjolele tuner ID please…

    That is so kind Mandroid, I’ll message you.

  19. #15
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    Exclamation Re: Banjolele tuner ID please…

    given unknown international shipping cost.. it's kind of unrealistic ..

    I'm not a mail order business..


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