Two New Ukuleles

I check Craigslist once a day for ukulele sales. I got lucky last week when I discovered a local musician not only had two ukuleles for sale, they were both unique and handcrafted. I present to you my new banjo ukulele and cigar box ukulele.

Let’s start with the banjo ukulele because it’s the first instrument that caught my eye. The banjo ukulele is what Matte, the musician who built it, calls a “canjolele” because the head is made from a cookie tin can. Can + Banjo + Ukulele = Canjolele. It has a stained poplar neck and is 15″ long or so with an electric pick up and sounds tremendous through my Roland Microcube amp.

This banjo ukulele is the same length as a concert ukulele but the head is so small it can't fit snugly in my instrument stand, instead resting on the carpet.

This banjo ukulele is the same length as a concert ukulele but the head is so small it can't fit snugly in my instrument stand, instead resting on the carpet.

The banjo body gives the uke a metallic, tinny sound. But this is no banjo skin, but rather a cookie tin. The effect is still the same, however.

The banjo body gives the uke a metallic, tinny sound. But this is no banjo skin, but rather a cookie tin. The effect is still the same, however.

Uke creator, Matte, entitled this instrument "Forsaken Orchard" after the pears on the banjo head. Don't worry, those paint cracks aren't real, but just part of the oil painting design on the tin.

Uke creator, Matte, entitled this instrument "Forsaken Orchard" after the pears on the banjo head. Don't worry, those paint cracks aren't real, but just part of the oil painting design on the tin.

The banjolele also features an electric pick-up. Notes come out quite staccator through the amp, but in my limited knowledge of banjos I can't recall hearing one which resonates all that much in the first place.

The banjolele also features an electric pick-up. Notes come out quite staccator through the amp, but in my limited knowledge of banjos I can't recall hearing one which resonates all that much in the first place.

I went to Matte’s to buy the banjolele but ended up falling in love with a cigar box ukulele. The cigar box uke he listed had already sold so he made me this one just in time for my visit on Friday. It has a sealed poplar neck, an electric pick-up, and is around 15″ long. I’m actually even more excited about the cigar box uke than the banjolele, but I think that’s because I’m more familiar with its sound and am still figuring out fingering technique on the banjolele.

I've taken to calling the cigar box ukulele "The Ashton" after the cigar imprint on the box. It's the lenght as a concert ukulele and fits in the instrument stand quite nicely.

I've taken to calling the cigar box ukulele "The Ashton" after the cigar imprint on the box. It's the lenght as a concert ukulele and fits in the instrument stand quite nicely.

The body features two sound holes, each covered with an ornate decoration.

The body features two sound holes, each covered with an ornate decoration.

The Ashton cigar box still opens, a hinge keeping it closed on the bottom, so one can store their capo, tuner, etc.

The Ashton cigar box still opens, a hinge keeping it closed on the bottom, so one can store their capo, tuner, etc.

The Ashton also features an electric pick-up and sounds tremendous through my amp.

The Ashton also features an electric pick-up and sounds tremendous through my amp.

I have my mother’s old soprano uke from her high school days, the concert size uke she gave me for Christmas in 2005, my shiny black Lanikai electric concert uke, an Oscar Schmidtt baritone uke, and the gem of my collection, a Lanikai electric tenor ukulele. With these two new, handcrafted beauties becoming ukuleles #6 and #7, I truly have UAS – Ukulele Acquisition Syndrome.

I've set my two new ukuleles next to my tenor uke for size comparisons. Both the Ashton cigar box uke and the banjolele / canjolele are the length of a concert ukulele.

I've set my two new ukuleles next to my tenor uke for size comparisons. Both the Ashton cigar box uke and the banjolele / canjolele are the length of a concert ukulele.

-nm

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3 thoughts on “Two New Ukuleles

  1. These are really beautiful. I fear that I am getting that ukulele acquisition syndrome, too. How much did you have to pay for these lovely instruments?

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  2. Marta, I think it was around $140 total. If you’re in the Twin Cities area, Matte puts new instruments on Craigslist every once in a while.

    Good luck on your UAS. It’ll slow down, but it’ll never go away. 🙂

    Like

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