1930s Slingerland-style Concertone 8" Banjo Ukulele

In the banjo uke world, most modern ears prefer the sound of larger-rimmed instruments like this 8" diameter-rim Concertone-branded soprano fella. You get a bit more oomph, often a tad more warmth, and a less compressed tone out of them. Granted, there are plenty of a 6"-7" instruments that have killer projection, but the extra size does give these their own sound that seems to work better with old-time and trad music as opposed to straight-up vaudeville or "popular" music. When you stack that up with a larger hoop-style tonering as found on this one, they can really kick themselves out there.

This one came in via a consignor and it'd been "worked-on" in the past, but un-professionally. It came with a few replaced hooks, a replacement head, replacement bone nut, newer friction pegs, and an old tailpiece that was digging into the head which was mounted just a tad low. I did what was needed to make it a slick player -- gave it a fret level/dress, added side dots, gave it a nicer vintage bridge, hid a bolt-reinforcement addition behind the original neck brace, and gave it a proper setup. It's playing on-the-dot with 1/16" action at the 12th fret, has a straight neck, and is rock-solid.

The specs are interesting on this one. Often, the bigger rims feature a longer, 14" scale for a soprano banjo uke, but this has the older-style 13 1/8" scale length more common to wood-bodied instruments. That shorter scale puts the bridge in the sweet spot on the head. Otherwise, it's similar to many other Slingerland-style/sourced banjo ukes and has a 1 1/4" nut width and medium, soft-V neck profile.

The replacement skin head is good-quality, older stuff.

The headstock veneer and fretboard are rosewood. Note that the bone nut has a minor chip-out on its top-edge near the G-string slot, but it's of no concern.

I used Martin M600 fluorocarbon strings on this guy.

The neck and dowel are maple in a natural finish and the rim is multi-ply maple with a birdseye maple veneer.

While this one reads "Concertone" on the dowel, many of this same-model instrument feature Slingerland/MayBell branding.

The newer friction pegs are boring but work just fine.

The neck brace is a heavy-duty unit and my favorite design as far as neck braces go. It's mostly for show, however, as I've also added a bolted reinforcement that's hidden behind the neck brace's "shield" which is pressed-up against the rim's interior.

The bit of foam tucked under the dowel is just to cut overtones a bit.

The tailpiece (from a different, period banjo uke) accepts ball or loop-end strings. One could string this up with steel if desired, too, though a different, compensated bridge would be required. Note the small puff of muting foam under the strings at the tail -- this is to cut down on overtones.