Build Quality:4.5 out of 5 stars
Hardware:4.5 out of 5 stars
Sound:4.5 out of 5 stars
Value:4.6 out of 5 stars
Average:4.5 out of 5 stars

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BanjoUke SideKick Tenor Banjolele ukulele

Pros:

  • Lightweight and comfortable
  • Nice design
  • Great accessories
  • Good sound

Cons:

  • High bridge
  • Tuning issues

It is not that hard to find inexpensive instruments. After all, the market is pretty much plagued with instruments that prophesied affordability, comfort, and great sound. While these promises sometimes are quite true, you should be careful in choosing an affordable instrument. First of all, you have to be aware that no matter how good the instrument is, it probably will not compare to something in a higher price range. If you are getting a $200 banjo ukulele and comparing it to an $800 one, chances are the latter will win. But, if you are looking for a comfortable and easy to play, budget-friendly banjolele that also comes with a couple of handy accessories than you might want to consider the BanjoUke SideKick Tenor Banjolele ukulele.

Build

While this is not the most expensive of banjo ukuleles on the market this tenor banjolele does offer quite a few high-quality perks. What you get with this open-back model is solid mahogany neck with 18 fret rosewood fretboard. The fretboard is very nicely crafted and polished. Along with the mother-of-pearl inlays, this neck configuration offers a pretty solid and playable experience. The drumhead is made of high-impact polyvinyl, a great durable material that adds a lot to the overall sound. The good part is that you can also tweak the design, you can either choose a plain design or a Polynesian-inspired tattoo design. In its entirety, this banjolele only weighs about 1.5 lb making is a perfect fit for traveling musicians, kids, or beginners who do not want to hold up a heavy instrument.

Hardware

When it comes to the hardware, this model offers an interesting headstock design which is also a comfortable and non-adjustable tailpiece. The bridge is quite high and kind of ruins intonation and overall playability. I have heard quite a lot of people complain about that but it is also an easily fixable issue. Of course, if you are a beginner, which I would say this instrument is the fittest for, you might have a hard time fixing the bridge, therefore I would either suggest going to a shop which also means an extra expense.

So you will have to keep in mind this extra cost when purchasing this instrument. There are also complaints that it is hard to tune this model and it does not stay in tune too well. While I have not had trouble tuning it (maybe just a lucky shipment) there is, of course, an issue with tuning. If you have never had a string instrument before, this issue really subsides the model you play.  This banjolele also ships with Aquila Supernylgut strings, Naomi electronic tuner, padded gig bag with fully adjustable shoulder strap, tuning peg tightener, Allen head neck adjuster, and, finally, drum tensioner.

BanjoUke Tenor Sound

Since this is a banjolele with a lot of extra accessories and quite a low price I did not expect much sound-wise. To be honest, I actually thought it was one of those “get this instrument with thousands of accessories to make to impulse buy” but thankfully this instrument is so much more than that. With GCEA, this model has great tone, pretty mellow sound, and nice volume. Of course, as an open-back model, it will not offer the same amount of sound as a resonator banjolele, but it has a nice volume for this design and size.

Conclusion

BanjoUke SideKick Tenor Banjolele ukulele will be a great fit for beginners and intermediate players who want to take the instrument to places. This model is pretty lightweight so you can practice without tiring for hours (well, you might be tiring other people but…). At a pretty low price you will also be getting quite a few accessories and most of them you will actually be using. That along with a pretty nice construction adds up pretty well and makes for one of the best banjoleles in its price range.

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1 COMMENT

  1. I have just bought one of these sidekick tenor banjoleles, and I agree with you; for the price it’s a stunning little instrument. I also have a concert banjolele and various other uke’s, mandolin, 5 string banjo etc. but this is one of my best buys for some time. The only issue I have with mine is that the head sagged drastically under the bridge when I first tuned it up. After slackening the strings and tensioning the head as much as I dare it has improved a bit but is still sagging. I used the handy little tensioning key that comes in the kit and tightened each bracket a quarter turn at a time to a total of about two complete 360 degree turns. As I said that was about as much as I dared as the tensioning key was twisting under the strain. I still don’t think it’s tight enough but I’m worried if I try to go much more something’s gonna pop! Any thoughts, tips or advice would be much appreciated.
    Paul.

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