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Barnes and mullins ukulele review

  /  News & Reviews   /  Barnes and mullins ukulele review

Barnes and mullins ukulele review

This week’s instrument one of those ones
that really divides people
keep watching
yeah welcome back got a ukulele it’s
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okay one of those divisive instruments
and it’s a ukulele banjo banjo-laylee
some people absolutely adore them go
nuts for them some people just want to
burn them with fire
and i don’t know why that is i mean they
just are really it is really that black
and white
it’s really odd but the ukulele banjo is
inextricably linked to the history of
the ukulele particularly in the mid
mid 20th century on both sides of the
atlantic people went nuts for these they
were really popular as popular as any
but people are just in two camps i don’t
review enough of them

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i’m not a fan um although i’ve liked
some of them
this one is from british brand who make
chinese instruments
this is the barnes and mullins ubj ii
soprano banjo ukulele uh somewhat
unusual for that because it is a soprano
so it’s got a really small little pot to
and i think looks really cute and smart
i love the look of it
they also make a ubj one which is a
bigger pot
uh it’s got a resonator on the back but
as you can see this is an open back
really simple little soprano ukulele
um okay so six inch pot that’s small as
i say sometimes these are
eight or ten um six it’s tiny it’s
um fitted with a remo head which come on
barnes and mullins you couldn’t even get
the head on straight that
is setting my ocd off like nothing else
and that would be a real pain to shift
around possibly a new head because i
don’t think you get enough material
the rim of the pot is made of maple ply
and like all barnes and mullins
instruments there’s always a bit of
scruffiness in the
in the in the staining or the painting
that irritates me
uh all right okay aluminium tone ring
with a chrome cover on it which is hold
which is held in place by these tension
screws which allow you to
adjust the tension of the drum head the
strings go over a very traditional
banjo three footed maple bridge with an
oven gold top and then they run over to
this tail piece where they’re tied
off all very banjo or very traditional
you either love it or you hate it
the neck is made of maple it’s got a
very small stack on the heel there and a
very well hidden joint up at the
uh and it’s attached into the body with
the usual pole piece
uh through there this is not an
adjustable neck usually you can adjust
these for height but it’s actually as
you can see
bolted in twice so there’s a fixed bolt
as well so this is
it is what it is you can’t adjust it um
some people may be annoyed by that i
don’t know i’m not a real banjo
what i will say about this neck though
is it is more than broom handle
it is almost oval on the back and i know
that’s kind of the way things are with
ukulele banjos but it’s just not for me
it’s also really narrow at 34 mil 27
from g2a
again banjo aficionados may say that’s
the way they’re supposed to be maybe it
is but i struggle to play it
uh it’s topped with an oven coal
fingerboard which is edge-bound in cream
meaning the 19 frets have absolutely no
sharp edges and i love the way that
the fingerboard i like less there are
some real sort of dry
cruddy patches around the frets it’s
just a bit grim look down there you see
facing out our position dots at five
seven ten twelve and fifteen
and thankfully black dots on the side to
complement those
as well uh beyond the bone nut
is i like this wavy topped headstock
with the barns of mullins logo as a
screen print which looks old-timey and
although it is a bit large and those
tuna bushings on the front look really
i think something like the boley
barnes and mullen soprano had would look
great on this
talking of tunas these are unbranded
open gears but they are actually
really good quality you can tell that
from the quality of the metal work
on the worm gear small chrome buttons
it comes with nylon strings because they
took an age to settle
a spanner to adjust the tension hoops uh
and comes in with an rrp of 199 pounds
uh although i see it discounted quite a
bit if you shop around so it’s not a
huge amount of money for a banjo uh
and as i say i do like how cutesy it
looks the fingerboard is in a terrible
state there’s a bit of staining marks on
on the body here uh that headstart looks
a bit
lost a bit too big um
but i do like the overall look of it of
course it’s heavy because it’s a banjo
uh so it’s 1.04 kilograms it’s always
gonna be heavier than a wooden
instrument but it’s balanced really well
and you know what it’s quite comfortable
to hold as well for a banjo because it’s
so small in the body the pot
so swings in roundabouts so far
to set these up you’ve got to set this
bridge so that the distance from the nut
to the top of the 12th is the same
distance from the top of the 12th to the
bridge i’ve done that
i’ve also checked the tuning at the 12th
um and it’s absolutely bang on so
this is in the right place yet it still
plays to my ear
a bit out of tune now i find all ukulele
banjos do that it’s one of the reasons
i’m not a huge fan of them
um but it does sound a little bit out of
tune it’s not helped by the fact that
the nut is too high so i’m getting uh
sharp first position chords first
position notes because of the action of
pulling these strings down too much
plus they’re stretchy nylon strings so i
don’t like the sound of it i’m telling
you that now
but one of the reasons i don’t like
doing ukulele banjo reviews is i don’t
really know what makes for a good sound
of a ukulele banjo i play enough wooden
ones i know that
um if you’re a ukulele banjo aficionado
you may be listening to this and saying
that sounds spot
on you may be listening to it and saying
that sounds awful and try and tune
out from the intonation issue because it
needs a setup it needs the nut taking
but i can assure you this is in the
right place
um i really don’t want to do this
it is a loud instrument as all banjos
and being open back
all right so we’re all bang on in tune
being open back you can sort of move it
away from your body
but yes it’s got a real bark and it’s
got virtually no sustain which isn’t a
complaint because
it’s a ukulele banjo they don’t have a
lot of sustain
thin uh echoey sound um
fun bouncy
i find this not really too narrow for me
to play
i much profound the more mellower sound
of something like the magic fluke
this is just to a little bit too brittle
of course i’m not playing tunes here
that suit the ukulele banjo but i’m
doing what i always do with videos so
you can compare and contrast
they’re not my thing um i think people
could have fun with it
um do you know what i love the overall
look of it it’s not a lot of money
it needs some setup work particularly on
the nut i think
a few little finish marks in it but um
there’s something about it i really i’m
don’t worry i’m not going to start
playing the banjo um
but there’s something about it i like
and i know a lot of people do like these
things so i think it could be attractive
for them
the barnes and mullins ubj
soprano ukulele soprano banjo ukulele
um from the uk brand made in china
uh not absolutely terrible it’s just not
really my sound kind of thing i don’t
play tunes that suit the ukulele banjo
um you might like it tell me what you
think be really interested to see
your thoughts in the comments and i
think they’re probably going to be
divisive people saying put it in the bin
and some people saying oh i love it
um you let me know anyway i will be back
next week
loads more reviews coming your way take
care this week
stay safe and enjoy the sunshine and i
will see you
soon bye