Original Weltton Ukulele Banjo Mandolin

My Original "Weltton" Banjolin
was there ever a fake?

east german banjolin banjo mandolin at Ukulele corner
DDR east german banjolele banjo at Ukulele corner
DDR banjolin banjo mandolin at Ukulele corner
Currently tuned g~C~E~A with nylon strings but as they are pretty poor and the overall tone is not a great as I hoped for I will replace them, maybe with steel strings and try a mandolin tuning?



Original "Weltton" (Banjolin)

The invitation this time is for an old communist to come and join the Ukulele Collective. But I'm not sure if the Ukuleles are a collective? a collection yes, maybe a herd or a flock? maybe even a parliament (like a parliament of owls) anyway what's coming is an Original "Weltton"  (the logo includes the quotation marks around Weltton), made in the DDR before the wall came down, (maybe even from before the wall went up but I think it's probably a bit later than that, the 60's or even the early 70's). I've always like the look of the chunkiness of these old East German Musima made Banjoleles, (I believe all large scale production Musical Instruments at that time were made under the Musima umbrella and these days, certainly with chordophones, people are starting to think something good did come out ot the DDR) and this one has a nice rear resonator pattern too, simple but not just a plain wood one.

Now it's here and it is VERY solid but also very pretty. It has quite a narrow neck too so I'm wondering if it was originally made as a Banjolin? Musima was OEM for the last of the Dallas "George Formby" Banjoleles and for some US distributors at the time, (of course they could have been selling them as Banjolins too; but the Banjo Mandolin was even less popular than the Banjo Ukulele at that time?) Whatever, It's lovely, very well made, has a few small knocks from life's rich pageant, but basically in fine condition and very welcome at Ukulele Corner. It has a very high action though with a big, (but very nice 3 feet and a separate saddle insert), 5/8in bridge and no option to compensate for this on the neck or resonator slot? The tone is a bit of a disappointment too; I can, and have replaced the bridge with a smaller one, lowering the action and making it a lot more playable but the tone is still not great. I can replace the strings on it, after all the ones it came with are pretty naff, and see how much difference that makes? I'm also tempted to try steel strings, and maybe a mandolin tuning too as I think it did start out as a Mandolin