GH&S Melody-Uke Banjolele banjolin ukulele banjo mandolin

My GH&S Melody Uke



It has GHS nylon strings on and is tuned g~C~E~A like a Ukulele not as a Mandolin

george houghton melody banjo
Resonator
George Houghton melody uke Ukulele resonator
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George Houghton and Son Banjo Mando Melody Uke
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George Houghton and Son Banjo Mando Melody Uke
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George Houghton melody uke Ukulele resonator
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GH&S melody uke resonator off
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GH&S Melody Uke

George Houghton & Sons was a Birmingham Banjo Manufacturer who started in 1888 and shut down in 1962. They started making the "Melody Uke" in the early part of the 20th century so I'm not sure of the exact date for this but if the planetary tuners are original I think it would be sometime in the early 1930's. They made the same basic model for a number of other people who then re-badged it and sold it as their own, sometimes with a different tailpiece, or different tuners or a better lined case.

This was brought as my first Banjolele and it has been the one that has taken most effort to get it to sound playable. I had to get a new bridge, new (Aquilla Banjolele) strings, tighten the vellum and reset the tailpiece. I also had to superglue one of the (lovely) planetary tuners because the bakelite had cracked so it wouldn't tune. But it's all done now I think it plays well and sound nice. The neck is quite thin for a Ukulele because this Melody Uke was actually, despite the name, a Banjolin, (that is a 4 string Banjo Mandolin), but I have given it a Ukulele tuning so I can play it. This kind of banjolin is often referred to as a "Melody Banjo" too, hence the GH&S brand name they did make a number of variants with different necks, as well as for different people over the years, (and this model was in production for before 1930 until the factory closed in 1962), so there are plenty of proper Banjo Ukulele variants about.

When I got it it had a goat skin on which worked ok but it did split after a couple of years (for some reason along with the heel of the neck - but not, as far as I could see, along any old join?). I have had the skin replaced with a proper calf one and it does sound a bit nicer, (and had the neck fixed - all good as new - Thanks to Mark Fletcher of Butser Mountain Music for the fine restoration work)