The ukulele was becoming very popular in the teens – 1920’s; in part for some of the same reasons folks love the instrument today! The ukulele was easy to carry, easy to learn, and boasted a fun joyful voice not found in other instruments. A drawback in the time before handy pick-ups and portable speakers, was that the ukulele’s small body didn’t allow for a lot of volume. By adding a Banjo style body, and a resonator at the back, the projection was multiplied mightily!
Ohana Open Back Banjoleles: TK-120BUO & CK-120BUO
The open and closed back banjo are made of the same basic materials and build. The closed back banjolele has a wooden ‘bowl’ or resonator which allows for increased projection to the audience. An open back model is held toward the player’s body, which will have a dampening effect on the sound. Due to the additional material, a closed back Banjolele is typically heavier than its open counterpart.
Tenor and concert scale Ohana Closed Back Banjoleles: TK-120BUC & CK-120BUC
The style of music being played, desired volume, and accompanying instruments might all have a bearing on your choice in style. For most Bluegrass arrangements, a closed back, resonator style Banjolele is the preferred instrument. The closed back allows for more projection against other instruments being played, and a twangier feel to the sound. An open back Banjolele might be a better choice for traditional folk music, or pieces being played claw-hammer style.
As always, at Ohana we encourage you to find a local source to try out a Banjolele or two. You’ll find they’re available across price points and materials for any player and budget!