Lamiré Banjo Cavaquinho Banjolim

My Lamiré (Casa Dos Pianos) Banjolim

Lamire Banjo Cavaquinho Banjolim
Banjolim from Lamiré Casa Dos Pianos

Lamiré Banjolim

Its not one of those old Banjo Mandolins that crop up on eBay regularly labeled as a Banjolele by the misinformed (though it does come from ebay and was another one of those "buy it now" bargains that come up if you are lucky - or spend far to much time looking at eBay) It is an 8 string Banjo Cavaquinho aka Banjolim that is on its way from Portugal; and coming for Portugal it was correctly identified. I don't know a lot about it, it isn't new and it doesn't look APC or any of the other Portuguese luthiers I know made. It has Lamiré Casa Dos Pianos as a label on the back of the headstock but this is a big music shop in Porto and not the maker (though they do look like they only stock quality instruments) This also tells me something about the age as the the shop was founded in 1979 and wasn't the House of Pianos to begin with (though I don't know when they started using that name but it must be after 1980?) Anyway back to the newly invited Chordophone it all looks in good nick but I have some worries about what strings it will come with?

It's Here...
And I have lots of questions? Starting with how do you tune it? It came with the strings reasonably tight and though it was out of tune the closest I could work out was E~C~F~A (?) Now I was expecting D~G~B~D but that seemed to be to high, particularly trying to get the top two notes (as how old are the strings is another question?) so I have settled on a G~C~E~A a it was half way there and this works quite nicely (though I'm not sure the strings arn't a little slack?) and makes it easy for me to play. The quality of build seems pretty good. It has a beautiful raduised fretboard, great machine heads; the whole neck is really high quality, the drum is good but not quite as good. Still there is no damage anywhere, no splits on the skin and it all works perfectly (so long as I am happy with the tuning). There is no makers mark on it though apart from the House of Pianos sticker and given the amount and ingrained-ness of the dirt I would say it definitely over 10 years old probably closer to 20? and it is lovely