Prewar ukulele-banjos are becoming harder to find nowadays. This playable yet tiny 4-string instrument with 16 brackets, nuts and shoes has a period or original skin head, an old bridge with ebony “no tip” section. The tailpiece is a “Grover Patent” that is surely a replacement since it’s a 5-string part. The headstock shows normal chips from careless (or perhaps casual) placement around the edges.
The stained wood headplate is stamped “Maybell” with a star on each side of the name. The 2nd string grommet covers part of the logo so the tuners are undoubtedly replacements -- they are metal, ungeared machines with black plastic buttons. The pearwood fretboard hosts 6 mother of pearl diamond markers in 4 positions. Yes, this piece shows the normal scratches and signs of use and wear one associates with being 81 years old, including that most of its finish is missing from the originally black back of the rim; there is right now more wood showing than there is black finish. There is a chip of wood out of both sides of the bottom of the fingerboard below the last fret but mainly on the bass side.
Inside the rim is the original wooden square dowel stamped “Slingerland Maybell” which abuts the neck with a metal tensioner. Our shop has performed its professional setting up, cleaning up and restringing and it is now both charming and delightful. It is indeed ready for decades of fun fun fun like the carnivorous daughter of a dedicated vegan whose daddy takes her t-bone away.
On the wooden square dowel that runs down the back it is pressure stamped first with the name "Slingerland" and then a star, then the word “Maybell” is encircled with a star on each side, and then the number “24.” In our opinion the greatest possibility is that "24" is the model of this instrument, however it occupies the place in which a serial number is stamped on just about every banjo that we have seen that has a wood dowel with a stamped number. One website (which could probably use a refresher course in spelling) has the following listing: "Slingerland MaBelle [perhaps they also made telephones] Banjo Uke serial number 24 in excellant condition... Solid hardwood resenator back. No case. Original conition." Love that spelling. This tells us that "24" is not only the name of a TV show but it's also most likely the model of this uke banjo and not the serial number. I hope you find all this as interesting as we do. This banjo has its original skin head which gives it a very traditional woody old time sound.
THIS WAS $1025 BUT IS NOW ON SALE!