The name of this instrument might seem like a lazy marketing intern, who procrastinated until the last moment and had to come up with a snappy name, squished banjo and ukulele together, BUT things are not as simple as that, my friend. Banjolele is an intricate instrument with decades of history and the ability to transform the dullest of your days into sunny, potent minutes that will recharge your ability to cope with routine.
And there is no better banjolele than one produced by Deering. Deering is one of the most famous companies that crafts banjoleles. Their instruments are renowned for being exquisitely made and that is why usually they also cost thousands. But don’t fret my friend! Like with most other instruments, Deering released Deering Goodtime Banjo Ukulele Concert Scale, a more entry-level and budget-friendly version of their instruments.
Deering’s ability to craft quality banjoleles does not get lost on their more affordable banjo ukuleles either. This concert size banjo banjolele features 3-ply violin maple 11” Rim along with smooth, sleek maple neck. A lot of other banjo ukuleles have 8 to 9-inch rims, which do have a big advantage but often feel too small for people. On top of the neck, you get a fingerboard with 17 frets that extend into the body of the instrument. This makes the overall construction a lot more durable, sturdy and, actually, more comfortable. The finish accentuates the grains in the tonewood, making this banjolele stand out even more. Despite being pretty sturdy and solid in construction, the instrument is pretty lightweight. This combo makes it a perfect fit for travel.
Let’s say a few words about the hardware. While this entry-level Deering model does not compare to the more expensive and pro-level models they release, it does offer quite a nice set up with good quality hardware. A patented Deering bridge plate along with a chrome tailpiece offers a solid setup while the Aquila Super Nylgut strings set adds to the balanced tone of the instrument. You also get sealed guitar-style tuners and as easy as they are to tune, they do not really retain the string tension too well. Overall, Deering went pretty basic, and not in a bad way, with their hardware. They also used synthetic nut which is not a bad thing but a lot of the other banjoleles in this price range try to aim a bit higher hardware-wise and add the bone nut.
Deering Banjo Ukulele Sound
Comparing this concert scale banjolele to its more pricey “siblings” is a bit unfair but kind of hard to avoid. And while the more pro-level, thousand-dollar instruments do sound amazing and are probably the pinnacle of quality, this banjo ukulele stands as a solid example of how to make good quality for less cost. That really shows with the sound. The warm and full sound of this banjolele along with the balanced tone is all due to amazing construction and choice of tonewood and 11” rim. The open-back design of this instrument allows for more mellow sound and it pretty great for fingerpicking.
For people who know a little bit about banjo ukuleles, they know what Deering stands for. Their immaculate reputation and strive for perfection have earned them a name that is unmatched in their industry. So the fact that they have moved to producing the more affordable instruments as well has been met with a lot of enthusiasm. Fortunately, the Deering Goodtime Banjo Ukulele Concert Scale did not disappoint and soared to the tops of the beginner/intermediate friendly lists. The close to perfect construction, functional hardware, and a no-miss sound are just a few things that make this banjolele one of the best ones in its price range.
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