1920s Nu-Way (Gretsch-made) Banjo Ukulele

This cute little thing is a well-loved old banjo uke from the '20s. While it's branded Nu-Way at the headstock, it's a Gretsch-made product. The headstock shape, volute, and general build suggest that. I've gone through it and it's now playing quick and easy, though it does have a peculiar thicker/round neck profile with tighter side-to-side spacing over the fretboard.

I like banjo ukes and use them for all sorts of things when recording -- as a "chop" sound for chords reminiscent of tenor banjo or mandolin, a fingerpicking-style similar to classical banjo technique, a clawhammer style that gives an "old time" banjo sound, and a strummy, chordy, vaudeville-style, classic uke approach with more muting behind the head for a twangier uke sound.

One interesting feature is that this instrument has an original No-Knot/Elite-style tailpiece still extant. Another is that neat hula/flapper drawing on the original skin head.

Repairs included: a fret level/dress, side dots, new nut, cleaning, setup, etc.


Rim wood: unknown

Tonering: none

Bridge: vintage wood

Fretboard: ebonized maple

Neck wood: poplar or maple


Action height at 12th fret: 1/16" overall (fast)
String gauges: D'Addario EJ99T fluorocarbon

Neck shape: medium-big C

Board radius: flat

Neck relief: straight

Fret style: small/low


Scale length: 13"

Nut width: 1 1/4"

Head diameter: 7"

Depth overall at rim: 2 1/2"

Weight: 1 lb 12 oz


Condition notes: it's a bit beat up with plenty of wear and tear throughout. Several hooks, nuts, and shoes are replacements (but vintage stock). The bridge is a vintage replacement. The very end of the fretboard was missing and has been replaced with some inlay. The nut is new and bone. I added side dots and some extra washers for the friction pegs. The original friction pegs turn and hold just fine but are not as nice as modern uke pegs like Gotoh UPTs or GraphTech Tune-A-Leles.


It comes with: no case, sorry.














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