The banjolele combines the tone and acoustic design of the banjo with the scale and playing style of the ukulele. This results in an instrument that is played like a ukulele but sounds and has the same volume as a banjo.
In this review, we will be looking at some of the Top 10 best banjoleles currently available. With the aim of helping you find the perfect banjolele for your needs and budget.
So, let’s go…
- Top 10 Best Banjoleles On The Market 2020 Reviews
- 1 SanDona Banjolele
- 2 Gold Tone Banjolele-DLX Banjo Ukulele Deluxe
- 3 Deering Goodtime Banjo Ukulele Concert Scale
- 4 Gold Tone Little Gem Ukes
- 5 Oscar Schmidt OUB1 Ukulele
- 6 Kmise 4 String Banjo Ukulele
- 7 Gold Tone BUB Baritone Banjo Ukulele
- 8 Kmise 4 String Banjo Ukulele
- 9 Kala KA-BJN-BKC Concert Banjo Ukulele
- 10 BanjoUke SideKick Tenor Banjolele
- Best Banjolele Buying Guide
Top 10 Best Banjoleles On The Market 2020 Reviews
1 SanDona Banjolele
We’ll start off with this lovely little banjolele from SanDona. SanDona actually stands for ‘enthusiasm’, ‘happiness’ and ‘vivacity’ which the company brings to life with this banjolele.
It combines quality ukelele craftsmanship with a banjo body, allowing this banjolele to achieve more volume while keeping the distinctive banjo sound.
It’s crafted with Maple for the headstock, rim, back, and the fingerboard. And features high-quality strings and a Remo drum head which is attached to the body with 12 head brackets to make sure it is well secured. These brackets can be adjusted in tension with the included hardware to perfectly suit your tonal needs. It features a quality oxbone nut.
The use of these quality materials ensures that the SanDona banjolele produces a rich, impactful sound with great projection.
The smooth fingerboard contains 18 nicely polished frets with position markers at the 5th, 7th, 10th, 12th, and 15th frets. This helps you to identify the location of the frets easily.
Sandona also includes a 100% satisfaction Money-Back Guarantee with this banjolele. Therefore, there is no risk at all with this purchase, if for whatever reason you’re not completely happy with it, just return it to the seller.
There you have it, in summery, the SanDona Banjolele offers high build quality and a great sound for a mid-priced instrument. Recommended.
2 Gold Tone Banjolele-DLX Banjo Ukulele Deluxe
Gold Tone designed this instrument in the mold of one of the most popular banjoleles ever made and it is an upgrade from their earlier open back design. The new closed-back design offers more volume and sound projection than the original model.
It combines a one-piece flange and a deep-wall resonator to deliver increased volume. But, it’s not just about volume, you also need great tone. And this is provided by the instruments maple construction. The neck and bridge are also made of maple, the neck features an ebony fingerboard, the bridge has an ebony cap
This is a concert size banjolele. And, has an 8-inch rim and 16 brackets hold the drum head securely in place. It also uses a rolled brass tone ring. And to ensure durability and rust-free use, all the hardware is chrome plated.
Tuning and keeping the strings on this instrument tuned is easy. It has Grover-style tuners, upgraded from the former friction pegs. The recommended tuning is G C E A with 0.023, 0.030, 0.036, and 0.025 strings.
For increased comfort during play, it comes with a Vega-style armrest. It’s a superb instrument to enjoy the ukulele’s ease of play with the acoustic delivery of the banjo.
Our Rating: (3.9 / 5)
3 Deering Goodtime Banjo Ukulele Concert Scale
This Banjo Ukulele from Deering features a compact design. Though somewhat small, it is a concert scale instrument with a full 11-inch rim. Due to being compact and lightweight, it is easy to carry around to enjoy playing it anywhere.
Deering makes this lovely instrument from top quality materials. Including the 3-ply Violin Maple construction with its maple neck and Deering’s patented bridge and bridge plate. The fact that it is made in the United States further assures us of its quality.
And, it does not stop there.
A top quality Renaissance Head covers the full-size rim and 16 brackets hold it securely in place. These features produce an instrument that delivers a full rich tone.
It’s compact and lightweight and is very comfortable to hold. However, adding the Aquila Super Nylgut strings further improves its ease of play. Playing is fun because the nylon strings are very easy on the fingers.
Our Rating: (5 / 5)
4 Gold Tone Little Gem Ukes
We now move on with a completely different style and look, the Little Gem from Gold Tone. This is a very untraditional banjolele design and strangely the company call it a ukelele, even though it has a drum head on it? As we said… very strange?
Anyway, we’ll call it a banjolele, because that’s what it looks like and sounds like. While on the subject of how it looks and sounds, we love the way it does both, it’s funky and cool without a hint of ‘traditional’ styling.
And we’re not the only ones, this little banjolele received a “Best in Show” award at the Summer NAMM (North American Music Mass, one of the largest trade shows in the world) in 2020.
It features a composite see-through 8″ acrylic rim and resonator. And is available in 4 funky “gem” colors – Diamond (clear), Ruby (Red), Sapphire (blue), and Amethyst (purple).
The Little Gem is a 15″ Concert Scale banjolele and features a smooth maple neck with sealed guitar-style tuners. And produces a well-rounded penetrating tone.
It comes with a quality gig bag with a single shoulder strap.
It’s a superb fun instrument for those looking to stand out and the colors make it very popular with children of all ages. And as we all know, if a child loves their instrument, they will practice more and improve on it quickly.
5 Oscar Schmidt OUB1 Ukulele
The Oscar Schmidt OUB1 Ukulele is a concert size banjolele. It delivers the best of the ukulele playing style along with the tone and resonance of a banjo. It brings you the best of both worlds.
Oscar Schmidt built this instrument with quality materials to ensure both durability and sound quality. Its bound mahogany neck features 18 frets on the rosewood fretboard.
But, that’s not all…
It comes with an open gear tuning system which helps you keep your strings in tune. This is attached to the maple headstock and tuning is easily achieved with the pearliod buttons.
At the other end, you have the main body with the attached Remo head, which is secured by 12 aluminum brackets.
Below this, you’ll find the bound mahogany resonator and back-plate. You have the option of removing this if you do not need the added resonance it offers, allowing you more tonal options.
Oscar Schmidt offers a limited lifetime warranty on this product. This is a great indication of the quality of this lovely little banjolele.
Our Rating: (4.4 / 5)
6 Kmise 4 String Banjo Ukulele
This Banjolele from Kamise is a four-stringed instrument with a fretted concert size ukulele neck and small banjo type body. Banjoleles were very popular in the 1920s & 1930s, but have seen a resurgence in their popularity over the last 15 years.
This Kamise model features the distinctive sound of a banjo and the small scale tuning and playing style of a Ukulele. The instrument uses standard ukulele tuning of G-C-E-A.
It looks superb with its blonde maple neck, back, and sides. Which contrasts very nicely with the jet black 8-inch drum head in the center of its body.
It also features a maple fingerboard which contains 18 copper frets. The neck has black plastic block fret markers and is nicely bound.
It has chrome geared closed tuning pegs which make sure the strings are easy to tune and also maintain their tuning.
It comes pre-strung with high-quality Premium Aquila String which are Made In Italy.
It’s a very well-built and good sounding banjolele for the inexpensive price. And is also one of the best to look at in our review. For these reasons, we would definitely recommend it.
7 Gold Tone BUB Baritone Banjo Ukulele
This is a baritone banjo ukulele. What this means is that it’s neck has the longest scale length of any banjolele at 19 inches.
As with all banjo ukuleles from Gold Tone, this has an 8-inch rim construction. Furthermore, it has a Remo Weather King head that covers the maple pot. 12 brackets hold the head securely in place.
Below that and to complete the acoustic chamber, you have the resonator. The plate-style resonator is also made of maple.
The designers also decided on maple for the neck of this baritone banjolele but opted for rosewood for the fingerboard. A two-way adjustable truss rod can be found in the neck, which allows it to be adjusted if needed. And to help you keep the strings in tune, they added Grover-style geared tuners.
This is a baritone scale banjolele, with its 19-inch scale length and 20 frets, weighs about 3 pounds. Which makes it not too heavy for a baritone.
Lastly, a hard shell case is provided with your order. This will provide both secure storage and an easy and safe way to transport it.
Our Rating: (4.1 / 5)
8 Kmise 4 String Banjo Ukulele
This is a 23-inch concert Banjolele from Kmise. It’s a very affordable banjolele, making it a good choice for anyone who just wants to try out the hybrid instrument.
Kmise mainly uses Sapele in the construction of the instrument. The neck, sides, and back being made of the wood. Sapale is a lot cheaper than the usual maple used for the instrument.
However, they used rosewood for the fingerboard. This ensures both ease of play and durability. Additionally, they improved the fretboard’s durability by adding abrasion-proof copper frets.
The head is attached to the sapale resonator using twelve brackets, which hold it securely in place.
This banjolele is easy to tune and to keep in tune with the closed, geared tuning system. The chrome tuning pegs offer easy control for quick and simple tuning.
It comes supplied with a set of high-quality premium Aquila strings from Italy.
All of these features and factors combine to deliver a lovely banjo-like sound with good volume. That makes the Kmise 4 String Banjo Ukulele a great sounding and playing banjolele for the low price.
Our Rating: (4 / 5)
9 Kala KA-BJN-BKC Concert Banjo Ukulele
Kala offers ukulele players who want to also enjoy the sound of a banjo this concert banjo ukulele – the KA-BJN-BKC. This is a closed back model with an option to remove the back. Doing this turns it into an open back banjolele, giving you more tonal options.
Kala made this instrument from good quality materials. The body and back (resonator) from 5-ply maple and the neck from mahogany. The fingerboard is made from walnut. The saddle is made from maple with an ebony cap
Its standard banjo headstock features open gear tuning machines for tuning the strings. And unlike any other banjolele in this review, all the hardware is made from brass.
It features an excellent quality Remo WeatherKing head which is secured with 12 brass brackets.
The tonal delivery all these refinements produce is gorgeous and quite loud.
Our Rating: (4.1 / 5)
10 BanjoUke SideKick Tenor Banjolele
This banjolele from BanjoUke is an open back model with a tenor scale length. It delivers a full bodied sound that is warm and rich.
The whole instrument is built around the drum which is made of seven layer birchwood. Attached to the drum at the top is a high impact polyvinyl head, which is available with two options – plain or one with a polynesian tattoo.
Attached to the drum is an 18 fret neck which is made of solid mahogany. It has a rosewood fretboard with mother of pearl inlays, which give it both functionality and beauty. Furthermore, it comes pre-strung with Aquila Supernylgut strings which are attached to a non-adjustable Nashville tailpiece.
This banjolele comes with a lot of extras to make sure you have a great playing experience with the instrument.
To start off with, it comes with a gig bag. Now, this is not a flimsy gig bag that offers no protection. It is well padded and will protect your instrument from damage.
Secondly, when you are gigging or even just playing with friends, you may need to stand up which will require a strap, which is also included.
That’s not all.
You also get an electronic tuner which helps you get your instrument perfectly in tune.
And finally, you will also get a neck adjuster, a tuning peg tightener and a drum head tensioner. Making this a well thought out and fully loaded package deal.
Our Rating: (3.8 / 5)
Best Banjolele Buying Guide
A banjolele is a unique instrument, being a combination of a ukulele and a banjo. A lot of uke players wish they could enjoy more volume, this instrument offers them that.
The banjolele, which is also called a banjo ukulele, is built to play like a ukulele. The tuning and style of play is that of a uke. However, the design of its body resembles a banjo, which enables it to deliver more volume and resonance.
As with all instruments, it is important to know how to choose the right one. This guide has been specially written to help you do this.
We have looked at the Top 10 best banjoleles currently on the market. But, how do you decide which is the right one for you? That is the question which we aim to answer here.
We will now look at some factors to consider when choosing a banjolele.
So, let’s get to it…
This is the first consideration. There are four major types of banjoleles. These are soprano, concert, tenor, and baritone.
When talking about the types of banjoleles, we are actually talking about their sizes. What differentiates one from the other is their scale length, the full length and the number of frets. So, let’s break it down.
A soprano banjolele will have a full length of about 21 inches, with a scale length of 13 inches, and about 12 to 15 frets.
For a concert banjolele, its full length will be 23 inches, with a scale length of 15 inches and about 15 to 20 frets.
A tenor banjolele will have a full length of about 26 inches, with a scale length of 17 inches, and about 15 to 20 frets.
Finally, we have the baritone banjolele, which has a full length of about 30 inches, a scale length of 19 inches and no fewer than 19 frets.
The information is important because different banjoleles are tuned differently. You need to tune the soprano and concert banjoleles to GCEA, while the tenor and baritone are tuned to DGBE.
And obviously, different tunings mean you have to learn and play completely different chord and scale shapes for each one. So, for example, an experienced soprano banjolele player would struggle to play a baritone or tenor without learning how to play it, but he could play a concert model superbly without any problems.
So you need to decide if you want to go for the higher sounding soprano and concert models or the lower sounding tenor and baritone ones.
You will need to look at the quality of material used in the construction of any instrument you purchase. The banjolele is no different. Therefore, spend some time going through the materials used.
This is important because the quality of the materials used has a massive effect on the tonal quality of the instrument. As well as, on its durability.
Other Important Factors
There are a number of important factors that will make your banjolele perform well. Some of these include the type of tuning machines, the quality of the bridge, the strings, the quality of the resonator head, etc.
You may also want to consider the design, which can be either open-backed or closed-backed. Some closed-back designs have a removable resonator back, which can turn them into an open back banjolele. This allows you to get the sounds of both types from one instrument.
If you’re not sure which will work best for you, you may want to get a model with a removable back. This way, you can test it with the back on and without it, to determine which you prefer.
There are a few other things you may want to consider such as the way it looks, etc. And even though very important, these are personal, so we can’t really comment on them.
We have however looked at the most important factors. If you carefully consider these, you should be able to make the right choice.
It’s been an interesting ride through the world that crosses a uke with a banjo. And we have looked at the Top 10 best banjoleles currently available. Each of the products we looked at offered great sounds and good value. However, they were not all of the same quality.
After carefully reviewing each of these instruments, there has to be a winner. Which is the…
…Deering Goodtime Banjo Ukulele Concert Scale.
It beat the rest, because of the good quality materials used in its construction, the well-balanced tone, and the fact that it’s made in the United States.