Songbird Stringed Instruments is redefining banjo ukuleles a.k.a. banjoleles and guitar banjo hybrids
with exclusive design features that are unparalleled in the industry.
Discover the perfect combination of classic and modern with our exceptional Banjoleles and Guitar Banjo Hybrids. You'll get a truly beautiful sound that's perfect for your next performance.
What is a Banjolele?
A banjolele, banjo ukulele or banjo uke is a hybrid instrument that is created by combining the ukulele with a specialized banjo body. This instrument utilizes the same traditional ukulele string tuning, either GCEA tuning for a tenor or DGBE for a baritone banjo ukulele. The instrument emerged around the turn of the century but gained quite a following in the 1920’s and 30’s. These earlier designs utilized a small banjo rim that paired with a short neck mimicking the size of the most popular soprano ukuleles of the time. Today, the playing style, tastes and needs of modern players are evolving. Songbird Stringed Instruments is re-thinking banjolele design to meet this contemporary trend.
Why play the banjolele?
As you may know, ukuleles are a wonderfully versatile instrument that are reasonably easy to learn. They happen to carry the same tuning intervals as the first four strings of a guitar as well. They’ve become quite popular in the last 20 years, even gaining some traction in the mainstream music scene. So, the question that one might ask is why venture off into the banjo hybrid variation of this fantastic instrument?
First, as artists in the medium of music, we are always able to benefit from different tools of expression. Creativity can often be invigorated when we try something new. Banjo variants definitely have a sound all their own and can be a welcomed addition in the right music. Some music can be embellished with this sound while other styles of music really require it. For example, if you wanted to venture into performing bluegrass, old-time, folk or ragtime styles. You would be very well suited to cross over from the standard ukulele into banjo ukulele territory with the right instrument.
Second, consider the ease of playing a banjolele because of its native tuning. Traditional banjos can be difficult to learn, when you come from a ukulele or guitar playing background. It’s not that the standard banjo tuning is a disadvantage to the beginner. But learning the banjo when you’ve become proficient on the ukulele or guitar first, is an uphill battle for sure!
This is where Songbird Stringed Instruments banjoleles really shine. This unique hybrid design was created to bring the familiar tuning of a ukulele/guitar into a proper open backed banjo format. Giving the player a larger body, longer neck, full size banjo hardware and re-entrant tuning closer to what would be found on a traditional 5 string banjo, allowing the uke or guitar player (because of the similar tuning), the ability to easily achieve a very distinct banjo tone. Traditional banjo playing techniques like clawhammer style and 3 finger rolls now sound fantastic on this new design. This hasn't always been the case previously, especially with 6 string guitar banjo hybrids of the past.
In addition to this innovative design, our banjoleles are always built to exacting standards with the serious musician in mind. Each instrument is meticulously crafted using only the very best materials and hardware. Every banjo ukulele is built by hand, as a labor of love, to provide a lifetime of enjoyment for the player. We hope that you will give our new take on the banjolele a try, unleash your inner banjo picker, and see for yourself what makes these banjoleles so special!