FOR SALE - BANJO UKES


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ABBOTT ‘MONARCH’ DE- LUXE Banjo Uke (c.1973). An absolutely outstanding early example of the the work of Jack Abbott (Junior). His early 1970’s banjo ukes were of traditional bottom-tension (hook and nut) design and are highly desirable - if you can find one! What a stunner! £4,000. SOLD


ABBOTT ‘MONARCH’ Banjo Uke (c.1974). Another rare and early example of a bottom-tension Abbott ‘Monarch’ banjo uke made by Jack Abbott (Junior). This banjo uke is another bottom-tension Abbott ‘Monarch’ banjo uke, this time the standard nickel-plated version. £2,250. SOLD


ABBOTT No.1 Banjo Uke (c.1928). This is a rarely found example of one of J. G. Abbott’s three ‘entry model’ banjo ukes, and it is in amazing condition throughout! Replacement friction tuning pegs. Mahogany neck with ‘J. G. Abbott & Co, London, No.1’ stamped into the side of the neck above the heel. Straight neck with almost no wear to the frets or the fingerboard. Fifteen-fret fingerboard inlaid with three mother-of-pearl position dots. Eight tension hooks, shoes and nuts. Open back with no resonator. All plating in excellent condition and the original finish of this instrument is still in remarkable condition given its age. Excellent vellum in great condition. This is a light to hold and very easy to play banjo uke which is ideal for someone wanting to learn to play on a vintage instrument made by a famous maker. It makes a really nice sound. Comes with only a basic cardboard ‘case’, but modern cases are very cheap to buy. £350.


BACON No.2A BANJO UKE (1926). ‘The Bacon Banjo Company Inc.’ was founded by Frederick J. Bacon in 1906 but the majority of his instruments were made by other companies until 1920 when his company moved to Groton, Connecticut. Here, at long last, he was able to produce his own instruments to the high standards that he wanted, and in 1922 he was joined by banjo designer David L. Day from the Vega company. Fred Bacon & David Day went on to produce a range of some of the finest banjos, mandolins and banjo ukes ever made, some of which continued to be named ‘Bacon’, whilst others were called ‘Bacon & Day’ or ‘B&D’. Best of the lot were their ‘Silver Bell’ range of instruments introduced in 1927. In about 1925 the Bacon company introduced their Style No.1 and Style No.2 banjo ukes which were made of mahogany and flame maple respectively, but whilst the Style No.1 sold for $27 the Style No.2 was a far superior instrument and sold for just over twice the price at $55. To put this into perspective, $55 was ten percent dearer than the top-of-the-range gold-plated and hand engraved Ludwig banjo uke which retailed for $50, so Bacon banjo ukes were very expensive instruments. By 1927 Bacon had added a Style No.1A and a Style No.2A to their range which both had an extended resonator (or ‘tone chamber’ as they called it), and they had also introduced the Style No.3A Silver Bell banjo uke which sold for $75. Their top-of-the-range ‘Silver Bell’ banjo uke sold for an eye-watering $250! Many early Bacon Style No.2A banjo ukes (like this one) had ‘No.2’ stamped onto their perch-poles because they had already been produced as Style No.2’s before they first had their resonators fitted, after which they were advertised in their catalogues and sold as Style No.2A’s. Later Style No.2A’s were sold stamped as such.


With the serial number 19855 stamped onto the perch-pole and onto the inside of the pot, this is a wonderful example of a Bacon No.2A banjo uke from its first year of manufacture in 1926. It was the top Bacon banjo uke model of its year before the advent of their ‘Silver Bell’ models in 1927. Pot, neck and resonator made of flame maple with its original dark finish (‘sunburst’ on the neck and resonator). Inlaid with wooden banding on neck and resonator. Straight neck and no wear to the frets or to the bound fifteen-fret ebony fingerboard. Ebony heel-cap. Original ‘Grover’ tuning pegs. Maker’s name inlaid into the top of the peghead in mother-of-pearl. Multiple original decorative mother-of-pearl inlays in the fingerboard. Pot fitted with the highly desirable half-round spun nickel-plated caps around the top and the bottom (very rare). Eighteen original tension-hooks, shoes and bolts with original recessed bezel. ‘No-Knot’ tailpiece & securing nut and bolt. Extended flame maple resonator with nickel-plated flange and original ‘Bacon’ labels inside. All Bacon banjo ukes were originally made with the fingerboard extending over the pot which gave a playing action perfect for using a plectrum as originally intended. This example has had the neck professionally lowered to make a perfect action for playing in a ‘finger style’ or ‘George Formby’ style which is much more desirable. Great example of a beautifully made, gorgeous looking and really fantastic sounding vintage banjo uke from one of the very best vintage makers. This instrument has fittings which allow the attachment of a shoulder strap and it comes complete with a modern lockable hard shaped case with grey velvet padding and an internal pocket. £1,650.


BACON & DAY No.3A ‘SILVER BELL’ Banjo Uke (c.1927). The rarest and one of the most desirable banjo ukes ever made, and this wonderful example was once part of the amazing and magnificent collection of Akira Tsumura in Japan. With a serial number of 20737 it dates to late 1926 or early 1927.


During the period of manufacture of this banjo uke (the late 1920s) most American musicians considered Bacon & Day to be the finest banjo maker of the time. They were based in Groton, Connecticut, and they produced a variety of banjos, mandolin-banjos and ukulele-banjos (or banjo-ukes) in the 1920’s and 1930’s, and their instruments were prized for their exceptional volume and cutting power as well as for their beautiful craftsmanship and top quality materials. It is generally considered that the quality of their instruments is unsurpassed. In 1927, their top-of-the-line banjo sold for $900 (US) – a huge amount of money in its day, and this banjo uke sold for $75 (US), which was dearer than the most expensive Ludwig or Gibson banjo uke, which were $50 and $55 respectively.


The Bacon & Day Company was established in 1921 as a partnership between David Day (who had been plant manager of the Vega Banjo Company) and Fred Bacon. Prior to his association with Day, Bacon had banjos made for him by Vega, and by Rettburg & Lange. While these early Bacon-brand instruments were of excellent quality, it was the Bacon & Day ‘Silver Bell’ line of instruments that established the Bacon name as the zenith of craftsmanship. In today's market, Bacon & Day ‘Silver Bell’ banjos, mandolin-banjos and banjo-ukes are highly sought after as collectors’ items and command higher prices than those by any other maker.


 The only change to the original specification of this instrument is that the neck has been lowered in order that the top of the fingerboard is level with the top of the ‘pot’ where the neck joins the body. Originally, these instruments had a short length of fingerboard that extended over the top of the ‘pot’, which gives a raised playing action ideal for playing with a plectrum. For most modern players and British players in particular, this is most undesirable because modern finger styles of playing music on a banjo uke (including the older ‘Formby’ style technique) become very difficult with a ‘high’ playing action. Therefore, most modern players prefer the arms on ‘Bacon’ and ‘Bacon & Day’ banjo ukes to be lowered. This modification has been properly carried out, and in my opinion it in no way detracts from the value of this instrument, indeed it may well enhance it by making it appeal to a wider market due to its suitability to modern styles of play. Many American banjo ukes (such as Ludwig’s and Gibson’s) have to be modified in a similar way in order to enhance their playability, and such modifications have been commonplace and have definitely enhanced their values.


This particular instrument was purchased by its current owner from John Bernunzio, a long-standing and well-known musical instrument dealer in Rochester, New York State, USA, and it is a superb example of its type in excellent original condition and with excellent original plating, complete with its original hard shaped case. It is an extremely rare and highly desirable instrument, and being in such superb condition it will command a premium price. Everything is as it should be, including the correct original resonator mounting thumbscrews (often lost or missing). All the parts (apart from the vellum, the string and the bridge) are original, and it is unusual to see it complete with the original armrest. Some of these instruments were fitted with an optional ‘mute arm’, but most were not, and this one shows no sign of ever having had one. The neck is straight and the frets and the fingerboard are both in excellent condition, as is the general state of the instrument. This is a very, very nice example of one of Bacon & Day’s top-end banjo ukes, and as such it is extremely rare and desirable. £8,500.


RON BEDDOES ‘NEW CONCERT’ Banjo Uke (c.1979). Outstanding original condition. SOLD


ERIC BEHARRELL ‘MONARCH’ Banjo Uke (2015). Serial Number 052. This instrument is in absolutely outstanding original condition and I can’t find a single blemish on it! I have seen and played some ‘Beharrell’ banjo ukes that I didn’t like and there is no doubt that these instruments can vary a lot, but this one is in fantastic condition, it’s light to hold, easy to play and it produces an absolutely tremendous sound. Straight neck and no wear to the frets or the fingerboard. Sixteen-fret fingerboard inlaid with three position dots. This instrument is based on the pre-war Abbott ‘Monarch’ banjo uke and it has a parabolic neck profile to match. Vintage ‘Nashville’ tailpiece. Fourteen tension hooks. ‘Crown’-shaped cut-outs in the flange. Decorative heel, and tobacco sunburst finish on the back of the resonator. I have never played a ‘Beharrell’ as good as this one. It comes complete with a made-to-measure hard shaped case with attractive dark green internal padded lining with ‘Monarch’ moulded into the top of the case lid. This banjo uke is a real bobby dazzler and it offers unbeatable value for money. £850.


DALLAS ‘D’ MODEL Banjo Uke (c.1941). This is a truly excellent example of these popular and well-made vintage banjo ukes and this one is in wonderful original condition. Serial Number D/1362. Body, neck and resonator made of attractive bird’s-eye maple, with an ebony fingerboard inlaid with multiple mother-of-pearl dots. Original tuning pegs. The top of the  peghead  has its original ‘George Formby Registered’ metal badge. Straight neck with no fret wear, but some wear to the first two fret spaces (caused by long nails!) which in no way affects the playability of this instrument and looks worse on my photos than it does in reality. Except for the vellum, the strings and the bridge, this instrument is in great original condition inside and out, and the all the metal plating is in stunning condition for its age. Perfect playing action and lovely sound. Comes complete with its original black hard-shaped case with a dark blue lined interior and an internal storage pocket and lid. £795.


DALLAS ‘D’ MODEL Banjo Uke (c.1944). Serial number D/1610. £825. SOLD


DALLAS ‘D’ MODEL Banjo Uke (c.1947). Serial Number D/1869. Green Case. £825. SOLD


DALLAS ‘E’ MODEL Banjo Uke (c.1942). This is a nice top-of-the-range example of these popular and well-made vintage banjo ukes and this one is in great condition. Serial Number E/1128 stamped into the back of the peghead. The top of the  peghead  has its original ‘George Formby Registered’ metal badge. No wear to the frets or the fingerboard. Inlaid ebony fingerboard. Walnut veneered body and resonator. Original tuning pegs. The metal plating is in stunning condition for its age. Lovely playing action and this instrument makes a great sound. Comes complete with its original black hard-shaped case with a dark blue lined interior and an internal storage pocket and lid. £800.


DAVIDSON ‘GIBSON STYLE’ Banjo Uke (2014). Fabulous looking and great sounding banjo uke made by Phil Davidson - one of this country’s greatest luthier's. Phil has been making top quality instruments for years and this banjo uke is no exception. Made of beautiful ‘flame maple’ throughout, it has a straight spliced neck with an ebony heel-cap and there is no wear to the frets or the fingerboard. Friction tuners with black thumbgrips. Phil Davidson’s initials inlaid into the peghead in mother-of-pearl. Ebony fingerboard inlaid with multiple mother-of-pearl dots. Fifteen-fret fingerboard bound in ivoroid along both sides and all the peghead. Position dots inlaid into the binding along the top edge (for a right-handed player). Fourteen-tension hooks, nuts, shoes and bezel are all heavily nickel-plated, and the hooks recess into the ‘scalloped bezel’. Fitted with an attractive vintage style ‘Nashville’ tailpiece. Ivoroid binding around the base of the body and around the edge of the flat resonator - which is also inlaid with an attractive w/b/w circular inlay. This instrument is beautifully set up with a great playing action and it makes a terrific sound. It comes complete with a ‘Black Ice’ padded gig bag with an attached carrying handle, padded back-straps and an external zipped pocket. This instrument is just like new! £1,500.


GIBSON UB-2 Banjo Uke (c.1927) (A).  Another terrific example of a vintage pre-war ‘Gibson’ banjo uke from one of the greatest vintage manufacturers, and fitted with all of its original parts. Straight neck with some ‘long nail’ wear between the two middle strings at the first position of the fingerboard, and a genuinely tiny amount of wear to some of the first few frets, neither of which affects the playing of this instrument in any way whatsoever. Made of North American maple throughout. Original ‘Grover’ tuning pegs with cream-coloured thumb-grips. ‘The Gibson’ in gold colour at the top of the peghead. Three mother-of-pearl position dots inlaid into the fingerboard. All the parts (except the vellum, the strings and the bridge) are original to this instrument and some of the metal parts have been beautifully re-plated in nickel. The wooden parts of this instrument appear to have their original vintage ‘Gibson’ finish which is in excellent condition for it’s age except for some very, very light ‘crazing’ on the top of the flat-plate resonator. Eight-inch diameter ‘pot’ fitted with an excellent calf-skin vellum. This banjo uke is  a great example of its type. These Gibson’s are always light and easy to hold and this one has a perfect playing action. Best of all, it makes a great sound. It comes complete with a modern, lockable, hard shaped black case, with black internal plush-velvet padded lining and an interior pocket and lid. £1,500.


GIBSON UB-2 Banjo Uke (c.1927) (B). Here is yet another gorgeous example of a vintage pre-war ‘Gibson’ banjo uke from one of the greatest vintage manufacturers. This particular instrument was originally was exported to India and sold in T. E. Bevan’s shop in Kolkata (Calcutta), whose nameplate is fixed to the top of the back of the peghead. Straight neck with no wear to the frets or the fingerboard. Made of North American maple throughout. Original ‘Grover’ tuning pegs with cream-coloured thumb-grips. ‘The Gibson’ in silver colour at the top of the peghead. Three mother-of-pearl position dots inlaid into the fingerboard. All of the external metal parts (except for the tuning pegs and the tailpiece) have been beautifully re-plated in nickel. The wooden parts of this instrument have been professionally re-finished but there is some ‘crazing’ on the top of the flat-plate resonator. Eight-inch diameter ‘pot’ fitted with an excellent calf-skin vellum. This is another lovely example of a Gibson banjo uke, which are always very popular because they were well-made, they are light and easy to hold and they usually produce a great sound. This one is no exception, and it has a great playing action as well. It comes complete with a rectangular case with a black exterior and strengthened corners, and a dark green padded interior. £1,400.


GIBSON UB-3 ‘Big Resonator’ Banjo Uke (c.1928). These ‘Big’ Gibson’s are absolutely superb and this type of Gibson banjo uke was played by many professional artists past and present including George Formby (who had four ‘Big Gibson’s and a total of at least nine Gibson’s in all), Tessie O’Shea, Alan Randall and Andy Eastwood. If you (like me) think that Gibson UB-2’s and UB-3’s are great sounding instruments, then the addition of what Gibson called their ‘Professional Extended Resonator’ provided them with even greater power, depth, resonance and sustain!


This is a truly fantastic sounding banjo uke which rates as one of the finest sounding Gibson banjo ukes that I have ever heard. It produces a tone, a resonance and a sustain that puts it amongst the very best and the playing action is perfect. For its age it (nearly ninety years old!) it is also in great original condition inside and out. There is some playing wear to the original stained finish on the back of the neck but the original varnish covering the wood has remained intact. There is some very minor wear to the frets and the fingerboard, neither of which affect the playability of this instrument and both of which show that over the decades it has been played and loved. Straight neck and original tuning pegs. ‘The Gibson’ in silver at the top of the peghead with ‘snowflake and diamond’ mother-of-pearl inlay in the middle. Fifteen-fret rosewood fingerboard inlaid with multiple mother-of-pearl position dots. Ivoroid binding along both sides of the fingerboard. Laminated maple pot with sixteen original tension hooks, nuts and shoes. Original tailpiece. Diamond-shaped cut-outs in the flange with a three thumbscrew system to allow the easy removal of the resonator. Resonator bound around the bottom edge in ivoroid. All original nickel plating in excellent condition. Comes complete with its original but rather worn hard shaped case with an internal pocket and lid, which was manufactured for Gibson by Geib and Schaefer. Absolutely fantastic Gibson banjo uke. £2,750.


JEDSON Banjo Uke (c.1928). This lovely little banjo uke was made in the USA by ‘Slingerland’ and was their No.20 ‘May-Bell’ model, but ‘Jedson’ (John E. Dallas & Son) imported it into England, put their own badge on the peghead and sold it as their own instrument, and it is still in superb condition. The number ‘20’ is stamped into the wood on the inside rim of the resonator and on the top of the back of the pot. Made mainly of maple with a veneer of attractive birds-eye maple around the pot and on the gently domed back of the resonator. Sixteen-fret mahogany fingerboard with three mother of pearl position dots, and a thin veneer of mahogany on top of the peghead. Straight neck with no wear to the frets and only the very tiniest amount of wear between strings two and three at the first position. Original tuning pegs. All original bezel and tailpiece with sixteen tension hooks nuts and shoes (one hook and nut is a replacement). Light to hold and lovely to play and with a bright and lively sound, this is a very good and well-made banjo uke from the late 1920’s. Complete with original hard shaped case (with re-placed handle and brackets). £475.


LUDWIG Banjo Uke (1929/1930). ‘Pyralin Peghead’ model with ‘Ludwig’ in red on the top of the peghead. Straight neck and no wear to the frets or the fingerboard. These were the last Ludwig banjo ukes ever to be produced. Great condition with original Ludwig hard shaped case with internal pocket containing an original Ludwig tension key, and a an original Ludwig badge attached to the inside of the lid. SOLD


LUDWIG ‘Wendell Hall Professional’ Banjo Uke (1927) (A). Ludwig banjo ukes are well-known for producing a fabulous sound and this example is no exception. This instrument is in lovely condition and it belies its age. Straight neck with just a genuinely tiny amount of wear to the frets and the fingerboard, which are so minor that neither of them have any adverse effect whatsoever in the playing of this instrument. Replacement four-to-one geared tuning pegs, ‘Wendell Hall’ transfer on peghead, and heel-cap. Beautiful nickel-plating throughout. Sixteen top-tension bolts. Original tailpiece and detachable armrest. Comes complete with a modern lockable hard shaped case with padded green internal lining and internal pocket (containing the lock key). This instrument plays beautifully and makes a great sound. £1,950.


LUDWIG ‘Wendell Hall Professional’ Banjo Uke (c.1927) (B). With vintage hard shaped case and Ludwig badge. Full details and Photos to follow.


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