6/14/2013

c.1920 Lange "Banner Blue" Banjo Ukulele



This adorable, no-frills soprano banjo uke (13" scale on the dot) was made by Lange in New York (makers of Orpheum and Paramount) and the "Lange-made" stamp on the dowel confirms my suspicions that a good number of unbranded but similarly-built ukes were probably also made by Lange. It also puts credence to the idea that a number of often unmarked lower to mid-range tenor and 5-string banjos of similar style may have been made by Lange as well.

At any rate, this uke is all original save a new Grover bridge and a replacement (vintage parts bin) skin head which I installed this morning and let dry over the afternoon. Tomorrow all the moisture should be gone and the uke will sound even better than it does now, which is already quite nice and mellow. Work included the head and bridge as well as a cleaning, fret level/dress (just a very light one), and setup.


This has a pretty-typical 7" head.


Simple headstock, ebony nut.


Here's the Banner Blue decal.


No dots, nickel-silver frets, and the board was originally dyed/painted black. The frets are set directly into the surface of the neck, rather than in a separate board.



The hardware, except for the bridge, is all original.






This has a good-sized heel for stability over time. The neck brace is rather simple -- you just screw it down to tighten the neck up to the rim. Just in case, I added some very slight shims to make sure it seated well and snug.




This version of this Elton tailpiece uses tabs rather than the bizarro "hooks" like on later models. This makes it infinitely easier to string with loop or ball-end strings.


The entire time I was working on this, Oona was saying things along the lines of, "you working on a little banjo...? For the little girl?" -- "What little girl, Oona?" -- "The little girl, so she can play it. That little girl, the big sister!" -- "Oh, you mean Oona?" -- "Mhmm." -- "Well, we can share it after work." -- "I share it!" ...and here's the snapshot of that sharing...!

But, fat chance "little girl," you already stole my old red 20s Oscar Schmidt uke and won't give it back!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Ain't she sweet.
You must be a lucky guy.

Frank