Sunray Acoustic bracketless Banjolele Banjo Ukulele

My Bracketless Banjolele

rose Morris Bracketless Banjolele Banjo Ukulele
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bracketless Banjolele inlaid Sunray Back banjo Ukulele
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with Sunray Veneer
rose Morris zither Banjolele Banjo Ukulele
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John Grey Bracketless Banjolele banjo at Lardy's Ukulele Database

Almost Identical John Grey
With the name plate attached
but no Sunray back

I have tuned it g~C~E~A as a Banjolele and put Mahalo strings on





Rose Morris Zither

A bracketless or "Zither" Banjolele is a kind of Banjolele body where the banjo head is entirely inside the drum of the body and there are no external tensioning rods because the zither-banjo is very different in construction from a modern resonator banjo. Instead of a rim and resonator it has a one-piece cylindrical round body with a number of Z-brackets screwed to the upper edge and reaching down an inch or two, with tapped holes in the horizontal part. The "banjo" bit consists of a flanged, cast-metal "tone-ring" and a cast-metal "bezel", which acts as the tension hoop. Flange and bezel have matching holes, through which screws are passed to screw into the bracket feet. The flange of the tone ring sits on the brackets, and the tension of the screws draws the bezel down over it, tightening the head, which has a normal flesh-hoop and is considerably smaller than on a regular banjo and mounted onto z-brackets across the opening of the body. The neck and the body are glued together, like on a guitar. (there will be a test later!)

This one is my example. There isn't any makers mark on it so it is difficult to know who made it or when? (I know the tuners which can sometime be used for dating, have been replaced recently; the chap who sold it to me replaced them). The closest things I have seen to it are the John Grey on the far right and two Banjo Mandolins from Rose Morris/John Grey dating from the early 1930's, about the time Rose Morris took over all of Barnet Samuel's (by this time renamed Decca) instrument making interests including the John Grey, (which they continued to use), and BS Dulcet, (which they discontinued) Banjo brands and factories. The headstock size and design with the offset pegs show this could have been an 8 string mandolin, and with 4 strings, this was probably designed to be either as a Banjolele or a Banjolin.

Rose Morris also owned the Savana Sunray brand and with the sunray back I'm going with its a Rose Morris unless something definite turns up, however date wise I think this was made a little earlier than the takeover and truth to tell I'm not 100% sure the veneer was not done at the same time the tuners were replaced? (If they were, it's a better job than the re-skinning!)