George Houghton 4 string Melody Major Banjolin at Ukulele Corner

My Big Fat Major

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Tuned g~C~E~A

GH&S Melody Major Banjolin

I like 'em fat like that!...
Banjo Mandolins that is, and what I have invited here is a 4 string George Houghton and Sons "Melody Major", which is currently nylon strung and tuned as a Ukulele, but was almost certainly originally made as a Banjo Mandolin. This one is 4 strings only, (so a Banjolin), from the outset, (I don't remember seeing one previously that wasn't the full 8 strings), and has recently been nicely refurbished with a new vellum, new tuners, new bridge, the works. I'm not sure the pickguard is original though, I've not seen one on any before? I'm not sure also, if the two tone veneer on the drum is original either but it has been nicely done. It is open backed, as they were meant to be, and especially fat with an 11 inch (280mm) diameter drum (normally on Banjoleles the drum is 6 - 8 inches it's only Banjo Mandolins and Banjolins that are this big). I wasn't sure if I was going to get another GH&S Banjo as I already have two, but the Melody Major is one of my favorites, (because of its fatness), along with the Ivory Queen, (because of the pearloid) so I put in the opening bid, (which was about as much as I wanted to pay) and no one else bid

It's here now and it's every bit as fat as I thought it would be. It's neck is a bit wider than the Melody Ukes though so there is still a question mark on whether it was sold as a Banjolele or a Banjolin? It came with nylon strings and a Ukulele tuning but the nylon strings don't seem to drive the head enough so it does sound a bit flat and weedy for its size. I'm sure I have some steel strings to put on, and that will sort out the weediness. I don't know what the pickguard thing is all about? Its in totally the wrong place to be useful as a pickguard, though it does seem to mark out where the bridge should go? Given it's size if the referb'er wanted to stick extra bits of metal to the rim, an arm rest would be a lot more useful. (I may have to see about getting one as the arm on the head doesn't help with the weediness either) Looks wise I really can't fault it though, (apart from the pick guard and I can take that off; the only reason I haven't yet is I am still trying to work out if it is there to do something and I just haven't worked out what yet?)