We Review the Best Banjoleles for Players

The best banjoleles for players will be ones that are easy to play and don’t require extensive knowledge to begin.

Once the banjolele is tuned and tightened, the player will be able to get a rich, warm sound from the instrument.

We’ve chosen some of the best banjoleles for our list. These are some of the best looking and best sounding instruments on the market.

Luna Ulu Concert Banjolele

This is a beautiful banjolele that was inspired by the plants of Hawaii.

The ukulele originated from the islands, and the Luna company used laser etching to create a design on the banjo that reflects the artwork of the people.

The banjolele has a see-through head so that the etchings are visible as the musician is playing the instrument.

Features & Specifications

  • Maple body
  • Chrome hardware
  • Rosewood fingerboard
  • Tobacco finish

In our review, we included a video made by the company to test out the instrument.

You’ll love the way this sounds more than you’ll like the look of it. Instead of leaving it on the wall as purely decorative, this instrument will be one you can’t stop playing.

Read our full review of the Luna Ulu Concert Banjolele


Gold Tone Banjolele

This is a lovely instrument that is the perfect size for children or those who want a lightweight, compact instrument to take with them on trips or to a friend’s house to jam.

The banjolele is a great hybrid instrument that has a twang that makes it great for playing in bands. You won’t have to compete to be heard with this instrument.

That’s mostly because it has a resonator that transmits sound.

Features & Specifications

  • Ebony fingerboard
  • Curly maple headstock
  • No knot tailpiece
  • Compact and lightweight

The Gold Tone Company has been making instruments for musicians for years. They have a reputation as a good company with quality products.

This lightweight, portable instrument is just the right size for traveling – whether it’s to your music teacher for lessons or to a friend’s house for band practice.

Read our full review of the Gold Tone Banjolele


Kmise 4-String Banjolele

This is a compact banjolele that measures 23.03 inches and has an 8 inch drum. The small profile of the instrument doesn’t impact the sound of the banjolele at all. You’ll get a full, rich sound that can compete with any other instrument in your band.

Features & Specifications

  • Remo head
  • Sapele mahogany
  • Rosewood fingerboard
  • Included tuner and bag

One of the best things about this banjolele, aside from the great materials and incredible sound, is that it comes with a tuner as well as a bag.

You can learn to tune the banjolele yourself without having to resort to taking it to a professional. Although, you might want to do that if you’ve never tuned an instrument before.

The person will likely be glad to teach you how to tune it yourself.

Read our full review of the Kmise 4-String Banjolele


TFW Banjolele

This instrument has a resonator, which gives it a distinctive twang that you’d hear with many banjos, but it sounds more like a uke.

With the beautiful woods, this instrument has a rich, dark color and has an incredible tone to it.

From mahogany to rosewood, this instrument has some of the best woods available.

Features & Specifications

  • Rosewood bridge and fretboard
  • Mahogany back and sides
  • Total length 24 inches
  • Remo head

This lightweight instrument weighs less than 4 pounds even with the resonator. You can carry it anywhere you like without feeling as if your arm will break.

The floating bridge and some other parts of the banjolele have to be adjusted after you receive the instrument, but it’s a banjolele made by a company that cares about quality. 

Read our full review of the TFW Banjolele


Kala KA-BJN-BKC Concert Banjo Ukulele

If you want an instrument that brings you back to a time where people played banjos on their porch or entertained each other in their parlor after dinner, this is the banjolele you want to purchase.

It looks like it came from someone’s great-grandfather. It has a nostalgic feel as well as being a rich, strong instrument when it comes to tone.

Features & Specifications

  • Concert length
  • Antique brass hardware
  • Black finish
  • Old-timey head
  • Includes bag

When choosing a banjolele, you’ll have to decide if you want one that sounds more like a banjo or one that leans towards the ukulele sound.

While this one is more uke, you can also change the strings to get the sound you most desire.

Read our full review of the Kala Concert Banjo Ukulele


Conclusion

These are the best banjoleles for players whether they’re just starting out on an instrument or if they’ve been playing for a while.

The smaller profile of the banjolele means that you could introduce your child to an instrument that they won’t struggle to hold in their small hands.

Beginners and experienced players will be satisfied with any banjolele on this list if you’re purchasing this as a gift. They won’t be disappointed.

Kala KA-BJN-BKC Concert Banjo Ukulele Review

This is a banjolele that feels like it was created back in the early days of the banjo when animal skin was used on the head. The finishes are antiqued and really quite rich and warm.

The Remo Weatherking banjo head recreates the charm of old-time banjos.

Feature Pick

Kala Ka-Bjn-Bkc Concert Banjo Ukulele

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Specifications

  • Old-timey head
  • 8” hoop diameter
  • Black finish
  • Concert length
  • Antique brass hardware
  • Bag included

First Impressions

This banjolele is an easy to play banjo and ukulele hybrid. If you play a banjo or uke and want to add another instrument to your musical repertoire, this is a great banjolele to try.

It sounds incredible and looks even better. Customers have nothing but great things to report about the Kala Concert Banjolele. They love the tone as well as the appearance of the instrument.

When players describe the tone, it’s always with words like warm and rich. You’ll end up with a instrument that sounds more like the uke than the banjo. Most banjoleles fall on the spectrum of sound leaning towards the banjo or the ukulele, and this one really sounds more uke.

If you don’t like the sound right away, you can also fiddle with the strings, bridge and tightening the head a little. All those tweaks will bring about a sound that fits your needs.

Required Setup

Every instrument that is shipped to a person’s home has to be tightened or tweaked in some way. The bridge will be loose or out of the instrument completely. The strings won’t be tightened. The head might need adjustments.

Overall, the banjolele you receive will need work. Don’t judge the sound until you’ve tweaked it yourself or had a professional musician make those adjustments for you.

Once the instrument is tightened and tuned, you’ll hear the sounds and tones as they were meant to be heard. It’s a little unfair to judge the instrument directly out of the box.

Customers who understand the process have had amazing things to say about this instrument. We believe it’s a great choice for those who are new to the banjolele, but make sure you’re able to tune the instrument or bring it to a professional.

Instrument Materials

The back and sides of the instrument are made of a hard maple ply. The bridge is maple as well, but it has an ebony cap on it. The neck is hard maple and the fingerboard is rosewood.

Layered over all the wood is a lovely, black satin finish. The hardware is antiqued brass and the tuners are covered with black buttons. The Remo Weatherking head looks like stretched animal skin even though it’s a modern material that won’t have you feeling bad for tiny animals.

Overall, the materials and look gives the entire banjolele an old-timey feel. This is an instrument you’ll want to stick on the wall to admire when you’re not playing it.

Here is a selection of popular banjoleles that we recommend to anyone looking to take up the hobby!

Resonator or Open Back

Feature Picks

Kala Ka-Bjn-Bkc Concert Banjo Ukulele

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Gold Tone Little Gem Ukes 4-String Ukulele Right, Blue Lg-S

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Tfw Banjolele Starter Kit – With Case And Accessories

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Luna 8″ Banjolele With Ulu Design, Tobacco Burst

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Most banjoleles are small concert-sized ones with a short scale length. This makes them small and portable. They’re usually pretty lightweight, too.

That’s true even when there’s a resonator on the back of the instrument. The resonator is what adds weight to the instrument, but it’s the reason that the banjolele is able to make itself known in a group of people playing instruments.

The resonator can also be removed from this banjolele. There’s hardware holding the resonator to the back of the banjolele, so you can have the hardware loosened to remove the back.

If you’re uncomfortable with that process, there are plenty of music shops where you can have work done.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can this be restrung to be left handed?
There’s no reason why instruments can’t be restrung to be used by either hand. It requires some work in the beginning, so it’s not something that can be done all the time, but you can certainly restring it once to fit your needs.

Does the instrument come with a case?
It comes with a gig case that can be used to carry the instrument. It’s a soft case, so if you want a hardshell one, you’ll have to order separately.

How many frets and what’s the scale length of this instrument?
It’s 14.75 inches and is 19 frets long.

Conclusion

The Kala KA-BJN-BKC Concert Banjo Ukulele is an instrument that looks like an old-time banjolele that would have been played by your great-grandfather or his father.

While you might not have had an instrument passed down in your family, that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy this instrument and imagine that it was played by members of your own family generations ago.

It’s a beautiful-looking instrument with an incredible tone and sound.

Luna Ulu Concert Banjolele Review

The banjolele comes from a company that believes instruments should be inspiring to their players as well as providing a great sound.

Feature Pick

Luna 8″ Banjolele With Ulu Design, Tobacco Burst

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Specifications

  • Maple body
  • Chrome hardware
  • Clear head
  • Rosewood fingerboard
  • Sealed tuners
  • Tobacco burst finish

First Impressions

We might have saved the best looking banjolele for last with this beauty. The Luna Ulu Concert Banjolele has an open drum head that allows you to see the beautiful etchings on the back of the resonator.

It was inspired by the traditional design seen on many Hawaiian quilts. When the ukulele was introduced to the people of Hawaii, it was around the same time as missionaries had brought fabrics and steel needles to the islands.

For this banjo, the Luna company was influenced by the taro plant, which is also called the KALO. The people of Hawaii were taught how to make patchwork quilts, but they branched out to make beautiful quilts with their own unique twist.

They would fold fabric like people fold paper to make snowflakes. This design is what you’ll see on the inside of the Luna Ulu instrument.

Luna Company

The people behind the company started the business with the idea that the instruments should be a reflection of the musician playing them. The company was co-founded by an artist named Yvonne de Villiers.

Her acclaim as a stained glass artist helped her visualize a company that would create instruments like banjos and guitars that had delicate inlays or designs that reflected nature.

There are often laser cuts on the instruments. The makers of the guitars, banjos and ukuleles are artists or inspired by artists.

Here is a selection of popular banjoleles that we recommend to anyone looking to take up the hobby!

Required Setup

Every stringed instrument that leaves a manufacturer will leave with loose strings and a bridge that isn’t attached. If the banjolele was packed with all its pieces tightened, the result on the other side of the transaction would be a broken mess.

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When you receive your banjolele, it’s highly likely that you’ll have to tune the strings and place the bridge.

If you’re not comfortable making these adjustments yourself, you can bring the banjolele to a professional who can do that for you.

Plus, you’ll want to show off this beauty to everyone even if you don’t know how to play yet.

Instrument Materials

The neck and body of this stunning banjolele are made from lovely mahogany. This is a great tone wood for instruments because it really enhances the sound from the strings.

The fretboard is made from walnut and there are pearl dot inlays. While the wood with its Tobacco Burst finish is stunning, it’s the back of the resonator that’s visible through the clear head that makes this little instrument shine.

We should take a moment to talk about the clear head. Usually a banjo head is a material that resembles animal skin because that’s what was used back in the day.

This head is a clear material from Remo Weatherking that allows you to see the design specifically.

We’ve included a video from the Luna company that shows off the distinct sound of the banjo. Even with the clear head, it sounds exactly like a match of banjo and ukulele.

Resonator or Open Back

This banjolele has a mahogany resonator that can be seen through the clear head of the instrument. We love how the design on the resonator doesn’t impact the sound of the banjolele itself.

Frequently Asked Questions

Does this banjolele have geared or friction tuners?
The chrome tuners are open geared.

What is the tuning of the instrument?
It’s a standard concert ukulele tuning of G-C-E-A. Some customers changed the strings to Aquila concert ones that changed the tuning to C-G-D-A, which can be done by a professional if you like.

Are the strings on this banjolele nylon or steel?
The strings on this instrument are nylon like most ukuleles. It helps to create a loud, banjo-like sound for this banjolele.

The Luna Ulu Concert Banjolele is a great instrument if you’ve been playing the uke or the banjo and want a different sound. It’s a beautiful melding of the two instrument’s sounds.

While you get a lovely sounding instrument, you also get one that’s almost a work of art. The laser etching on the back of the resonator will make this a banjolele you don’t want to hide in a closet or a bag.

Hang this baby on the wall of your living room. When people comment on its beauty, you can pull it down and play for them. They’ll be just as impressed with the sound.

Gold Tone Banjolele Review

The sound that comes out the instrument sounds enough like a banjo to be pleasant, but people hearing it will wonder what you’re playing. It’s a sound that will perk up a listener’s ears.

Feature Pick

Gold Tone Banjolele Banjo Ukulele (Maple)

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Specifications

  • Ebony fingerboard
  • Resonator
  • Curly maple headstock
  • No knot tailpiece
  • Lightweight

First Impressions of the Banjolele

The Gold Tone Banjolele is a lovely old-time vintage looking instrument that’s a cross between a ukulele and a banjo. It leans more towards the banjo side of the spectrum, but has a sound that is distinctive enough to make people wonder what you’re playing.

This is a great banjo and ukulele hybrid instrument that has the head of a banjo and the fretboard and neck of a ukulele. It’s a terrific instrument for children since it’s shorter. They’ll be able to easily reach some of the positions towards the top of the fret.

Standard stock tuning is featured with this concert, scale-length banjolele. Concert scale means that it’s approximately 15 ½ inches in length with 18 frets. It’s tuned to G-C-E-A.

Gold Tone Company

The Gold Tone Company makes an incredible number of musical instruments from guitars to mandolins to banjos and ukuleles. They even have a list of instruments they call “folkternative” like banjoleles, banjolas and mando-guitars.

The company cares about its products, and when Wayne Rogers founded the company, he wanted musicians to be able to express themselves through music without distractions from the instrument.

Whether you’re a person who plays for your own enjoyment or for the enjoyment of the audience, the company has an instrument that fits your style of play.

Required Setup

Every single instrument that leaves a manufacturer and arrives at the final destination will need to be adjusted. The company cannot send tightened instruments to the buyer.

They would end up with a splintered bunch of wood with broken strings. It’s unfortunate, but the instrument shouldn’t be sent in ready-to-play condition.

When you pull the instrument out of the box, you’ll have to take some time to set it up properly. The bridge will have to be inserted and the strings tightened.

You’ll need to tune the instrument, too. There are other adjustments you might make based on your personal preference if you’re an experienced player.

If you don’t know how to set up the banjolele or you don’t feel confident in doing so, you can bring it to a trusted musician friend or a local music shop. This person can easily set up your instrument and tune it for you. It won’t cost very much, either.

Here is a selection of popular banjoleles that we recommend to anyone looking to take up the hobby!

Instrument Materials for the Gold Tone Banjolele

The Gold Tone Banjolele is made of maple with other tone woods as accents. The other woods include ebony for the material used in the fingerboard.

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The headstock is made of curly maple while the resonator and flange are made of maple, too. The materials and the color of the stain over the wood give this banjolele and old-time vintage feel.

Lightweight and Portable

The banjolele is one that can be taken with you anywhere that you want to play. You can travel while you’re still learning and want to practice at a friend’s house, or if you want to perform with a group at a local venue.

This instrument weighs approximately 4 pounds, which is lighter than some other instruments like full-size banjos. You will still want to have a bag for the banjolele to ensure that it’s not banged up when traveling.

Resonator or Open Back

This banjolele has a resonator attached. While the back can be taken off the instrument, you’re going to alter the sound considerably. The banjolele leans towards a banjo sound with its twang and considerable volume.

Without the resonator, you would be taking away one of the attributes of the banjolele that make it sound great.

Frequently Asked Questions

What kind of strings does this instrument use?
The banjolele uses the same kinds of strings that a banjo would utilize. You can purchase nylon if you’re unsure and want to change.

Is there a warranty for this banjolele?
The company covers all of its instruments, which is why we’ve featured a few of their instruments on this site. It comes with an initial warranty, but you can also purchase an extended one that might be worth the investment.

What kind of tuners does it have?
It’s a vintage looking banjolele, but it has modern conveniences like geared tuners.

The Gold Tone Banjolele is a quality instrument by a company that takes pride in the instruments provided to their customers. The uke player who wants a louder instrument will adore this banjolele. It’s a great hybrid instrument that you’ll have fun playing solo or with a group.

Kmise 4-String Banjolele Review

This revival has brought back a fun, unique instrument that can be used to play a variety of musical styles. The beauty of an instrument is finding one you love and adapting your favorite songs to the tone of the instrument itself.

That’s before you start writing your own songs and playing them on the instruments.

Feature Pick

Kmise 4 String Banjo Ukulele Uke Concert 23 Inch Size Sapele With Bag Tuner

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Specifications

  • Remo Head
  • Closed chrome tuners
  • Drum size 8.46 inches
  • Length 23.03 inches
  • Sapele mahogany
  • Rosewood fingerboard
  • Tuner included
  • Zippered bag

First Impressions of the Kmise 4-String Banjolele

The Kmise 4-String Banjolele is constructed from quality tone woods that will bring a rich sound to your music. It’s a beautiful-looking instrument that sounds even better than it looks.

It doesn’t seem possible, but it’s true. When you first strum the strings of this instrument (after tuning, of course), you’ll be blown away by the sound it produces.

After some time learning the chords, the next people blown away by the sound will by your appreciative audience.

As a banjo ukulele, it has a unique sound. While it leans towards the banjo side of sound, it is a blend of sounds that will be something nobody else in your circle has heard before.

As a musician, you likely want to do something different than all your friends. It’ll help you in a group or a band if you can do something aside from strumming a guitar like everyone else.

Required Setup

When you receive any instrument in a box from the manufacturer, you’re going to need to make some adjustments like fixing the bridge. If the company left the bridge in place with tightened strings, you’d end up with a broken instrument when you lifted it out of the box.

While we’d normally recommend that you take this untuned banjolele to a professional to tune for you, this instrument comes with a tuner.

You can easily learn to tune the banjolele yourself. Once you’ve learned to tune an instrument, you won’t have to rely on anyone else to tune any of your instruments.

The bridge is easily slipped under the strings. Turn it sideways then flip it upright once it’s under the strings. Each string will be cradled in one of the grooves.

You might have to loosen the strings to get the bridge under it, but then you can tighten them to hold the bridge.

Here is a selection of popular banjoleles that we recommend to anyone looking to take up the hobby!

Instrument Materials

The instrument’s fretboard is made from a material that is traditionally used for these parts of stringed instruments. That material is rosewood.

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The rest of the banjolele is made from a wood that isn’t as common, which is Sapele mahogany. It’s a hardwood that is used to replace mahogany in some cases.

It’s originally from tropical Africa, and has an interlocked, wavy pattern that resembles the mahogany that many instrument creators use in their production.

Along with being a great tone wood, it’s a material that is very durable and resists decay. That’s important in an instrument since you want it to last for years.

You could easily pass this down to your children after you’re done with it, or when you’ve moved on to a more expensive instrument.

Remo Head for the Banjolele

When you purchase a banjolele, you can expect it to have a head stretched across a rim. This part of the instrument is what resembles a banjo.

It’s also where the resonator is attached if the banjolele comes with one. They usually do. The Remo head on this Kmise Banjolele measures 8.46 inches.

Resonator or Open Back

The Kmise Banjolele has a resonator to increase the volume of the sound produced with this instrument. The resonator is normally used to increase the volume and project the sound forward towards the listener.

There isn’t really another reason to have a resonator. Some people like having the extra volume while others would rather not have one. Most resonators can be removed quite easily to change the sound.

Frequently Asked Questions

How is the banjolele tuned?
The tuning is G-C-E-A.

How much does the instrument weigh?
The banjolele is incredibly lightweight. It weighs 3.84 pounds.

Is there anything else included with the banjolele?
The instrument comes with a tuner as well as a zippered bag for carrying the instrument.

Conclusion

This banjolele from Kmise is a beautiful instrument that melds the best parts of the banjo and ukulele to create a unique instrument that you’ll thoroughly enjoy playing with friends or your band.

Once you learn to make music on this instrument, everyone will want to see you perform with it. It’s also lightweight enough to be taken everywhere you might want to go.

TFW Banjolele Review

The player of this instrument doesn’t have to know how to play either to get started. It’s a fun, little instrument that’s bold and a bit old-timey, which is what most banjo players want in their instrument.

It’s a fun sound and play, and that’s what ukulele players want. It’s the best of both worlds!

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Specifications

  • Rosewood bridge and fretboard
  • Mahogany back and sides
  • Total length 24 inches
  • Ukulele-sized banjo
  • Remo head

First Impressions

The banjolele has a drum like a banjo but has a sound like a ukulele. At the same time, you’ll hear the difference between a banjo, banjolele and ukulele once you hear them played.

This one has the twang of a banjo with the sound of a ukulele. It’s a unique instrument that’s really quite lovely sounding. If you want a banjo with the sound of a ukulele, this is the right instrument for you.

People will be astonished when you pick up this instrument. They think they know exactly what they’ll hear, but you’ll surprise them.

Part of what gives this such a distinctive sound is the drum. While a uke looks like a tiny guitar, this instrument has a stretched material across a rim.

It’s a beautiful instrument that you can order, set up, and play within a few days of receiving it. There are limited amounts of this banjolele produced each year, so they sell pretty fast, too.

Keep an eye out for this instrument when it’s available and make your purchase quickly.

Here is a selection of popular banjoleles that we recommend to anyone looking to take up the hobby!

Required Setup

Every stringed instrument you purchase from a manufacturer and not through a music shop will have to be set up properly for play. You’ll need to tune the instrument before it’ll produce the beautiful chords that you want.

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If you’ve never tuned your own instrument, you can learn with a tuner and a few instructional videos on YouTube, or you can bring it to your favorite musician friend to do the tuning for you.

If you plan on being a player of a stringed instrument, you should learn to tune them yourself at some point.

You’ll need to set this up as if it were a banjo from the middle down to the head. That means the bridge needs to be placed, and the head tightened.

The frets and tuners are more like a ukulele, so keep that in mind. There are other adjustments that will need to be made as you learn the play the banjolele and become accustomed to how it feels in your hand.

Some customers find that they need an armrest while others might need to sand down the nuts.

Instrument Materials

The back and sides of the instrument are made from a stunning mahogany. It’s rich, dark color makes it an instrument that stands out in the crowd.

Some customers have reported that they would love to hang this on the wall and never take it down because it looks great, but they can’t resist playing it because it sounds even better than it looks.

The bridge and fretboard are made from rosewood. This is a common material for the fret since it produces an incredible sound.

Resonator or Open Back

There is a resonator on the back of this banjolele, and it’s a beautiful mahogany that we mentioned previously when discussing materials.

The resonator is used to project sound forward towards the audience. It’ll give this instrument the twang that banjo players and their audience love to hear.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is there a recommended case for this instrument?
It’s hard to find a case for this instrument because it’s a melding of two styles. Some customers have found that a hardshell A style mandolin case works. It’s best to measure your instrument and find a case that matches.

How much does the instrument weigh?
The banjolele is incredibly light even with the resonator. It’s 3.35 pounds. You can take this instrument anywhere with you since it’s so lightweight. That makes it incredibly portable.

Why isn’t the bridge attached to the instrument?
The bridge is a floating one that must be added after the instrument is received. If the manufacturer added a bridge before shipping, the instrument is at risk of breaking.

Conclusion

This TFW Banjolele is a fun instrument that produces a sound that will make the audience laugh with delight. They’ll wonder how you’re producing a sound like a ukulele from an instrument that looks like a short banjo.

As a player, you get the fun of a banjo and a ukulele in one compact instrument. It’s lovely, and while you might be tempted to keep it hanging on the wall, you should bring that instrument out to play as often as possible.