Banjo vs. Ukulele: Pros and Cons

I’ve always said that I’ll never end up with a tattoo because if there’s an extra $300, there will always be another drum to buy. And I tend to spend an inordinate amount of time planning these next instrument purchases – quite often three or four instruments into the future.

Before my lovely Fender Strat was purchased in 2003, several people caught me – often at work – quickly and embarrassedly minimizing pictures, as if I had been perusing what 90% of the internet is filled with (cats).

It has been long determined that my next venture will be a banjo… That is until recently, when somebody began a campaign to turn the tide to uke. And the guy in that video up there (Jake Shimabukuro – uke master and possible Jedi) is pretty convincing.

Time for a list…

Pro – Flexible. Used in rock, folk, bluegrass, jazz and more.
Con – Blood. Lots of blood.

Pro – Ease of play.
Con – Choice of aspiring young YouTube stars everywhere (mostly girls).


While the banjo may ring playfully through any major cacophony of drums and guitar fuzz, attempting to learn said instrument will obviously shred my fingers beyond their already numb state. But then... Bela Fleck.

And the uke? Seems like more of a joyful solo celebration. Can you even amp one of those? It must get loud somehow, as Eddie Vedder’s recent uke album had some pretty swell songs (like this one).

While the girlfriend has not only put up with, but seemingly enjoyed, everything from congas to guitar, keys, vibra-slaps, blocks, slide whistles, musical frogs and harmonicas (the cats hate that one), either of the two discussed instruments played over and over and over are bound to test the sanity of anybody living in the vicinity of my musical bubble (is that a thing?).

That’s it. I’m getting both.

Oh! And a mandolin.



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  • So "The Jam Room" must be where you store it all huh?

  • In reply to radstarr:

    And very slowly try to record my own "Dark Side...".

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