1920s Kay (Stromberg Voisinet) Clarion 8" Rim Banjo Ukulele

Update 2021: I worked on this back in 2014 and sold it to my friend Rick. He's traded it back recently (how many banjo ukes does that guy have anyway?) to help offset repair costs. I've updated the post entirely with new pictures, a video, and full description.

I've worked on a lot of these Kay/Stromberg-Voisinet-made banjo ukes and they're often favorites of the folks who go on to own them. They feature a slightly-longer scale length than usual for a soprano banjo uke (13 7/8" or 14" vs a more-normal 13") and this style has the larger 8" head diameter. These features combine to give the instruments a lot of volume, good punch, and good snap.

They'll do Formby in a pinch but sound best for folksy fingerpicking or even clawhammer use. I've always liked the way they handle and feel -- they're sturdy and practical and don't mind moving-about with you. They're not fussy at all.

Repairs included: previously a fret level/dress, new bridge, new bone nut, 2 replacement hook/nuts and 1 shoe, tailpiece hanger, and setup. Recently I fit a new (salvaged 1920s material from a larger banjo) skin head and set it up again as the original had split at some point.

Made by: Kay (Stromberg-Voisinet)

Made in: Chicago, IL, USA

Rim wood: maple or poplar

Tonering: simple thin hoop

Bridge: Grover 2-foot ebony/maple

Fretboard: ebonized maple

Neck wood: birdseye maple

Action height at 12th fret: 1/16" overall (fast)
String gauges: Martin fluorocarbon

Neck shape: medium C/soft V

Board radius: flat

Neck relief: straight

Fret style: small/low

Scale length: 13 7/8"

Nut width: 1 1/4"

Head diameter: 8"

Depth overall at rim: 2 1/2"

Weight: 2 lbs 8 oz

Condition notes: it has one replacement shoe, two replacement hooks, and a replacement bridge and nut. There's average wear-and-tear throughout with associated fine scratches and a ding or nick here and there. The "rim cap" at the bottom of the rim has split/hairlined in the past and been reglued here and there, but is stable. The tailpiece hanger is a replacement. The head is also replaced, but is from a same-period tenor banjo (cut and refit).