Maybell Ukulele Banjo

© Frank Ford, 2000; Photos by FF

In the "Roaring 20s" ukulele and things Hawaiian reached epidemic popularity. So, it was natural (I suppose) that banjo companies got in on the act, making banjos with ukulele necks, to be played by uke players in their accustomed styles.

Speaking of getting in on the act, during that period virtually every producer of drums also got the idea that a banjo is basically a drum with a handle on it, so the figured they'd be able to make banjos, too.

Ludwig and Slingerland were two of the biggest and most successful in this endeavor, with Slingerland's Maybell brand available in a variety of styles and price ranges. Later, Slingerland and Maybell guitars and mandolins joined the product line.

Here's a modest but professional quality Maybell ukulele banjo, or "banjo uke."

Traditionally the banjo varieties take the first part of their names from the style of the neck and the way in which they are tuned and played. The ukulele banjo is the only one with an assortment of nicknames, including "banjo uke" and "banjolele."

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