after i had the chance to play a real banjolele i somehow got hooked by the banjo sound and started looking a bit closer at banjo ukuleles and prices. the market is rather small so it doesn’t take long to find the firefly incl. lots of positive reviews.
to cut a long story short: i saw this one being offered second hand basically unused, in pristine condition for a bargain price – and couldn’t resist. the previous owner didn’t like the banjo sound and was happy to get rid of this beauty. lucky me 🙂
at a mere 428g it weighs nothing compared to the massive banjolele (somewhere in the +2kg range) which is almost impossible to hold and play without a strap, even when seated. soundwise i still have to compare both side by side, but i don’t expect much difference. the firefly is indeed a banjo in soprano size. and even better: a lightweight banjo without these snappy steel strings in standard ukulele tuning 😉
positioning the bridge is easy with the pencil markings; intonation and playability are on the usual high level of all magic fluke instruments. the firefly is an instrument where i enjoy the factory fitted aquila strings, their distinctive “brash” sound really fits to a banjo. i just cannot imagine softer strings, not even fluoros on this one. maybe i’ll swap the white aquilas for some red aurora strings from my spares box one day (just for the looks). you will notice the tuner on the pictures, it is my usual “have one on every uke” planet waves mini. on the banjo ukulele it can even be fitted inside the head on the “rod” or on the rim.
the gigbag is nicely padded with a small accessory pocket on the front and a single shoulder strap on the back. fully sufficient as a gigbag, but for sure not enough for check-in baggage on a flight.
And actually this song triggered me to want some banjo sound: