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Banjo: Windsor' Whirle '

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Dave Hanson 21 Feb 04 - 10:47 AM
Dave Hanson 22 Feb 04 - 06:12 AM
GUEST,Eugene Judge no cookie 22 Feb 04 - 07:46 AM
Geoff the Duck 22 Feb 04 - 09:01 AM
Leadfingers 22 Feb 04 - 02:45 PM
Davetnova 23 Feb 04 - 03:54 AM
Dave Hanson 23 Feb 04 - 04:15 AM
Geoff the Duck 23 Feb 04 - 04:32 AM
Dave Hanson 23 Feb 04 - 06:25 AM
Davetnova 24 Feb 04 - 03:30 AM
Geoff the Duck 15 May 04 - 07:45 PM
GUEST,N3il 22 Dec 08 - 01:51 PM
The Vulgar Boatman 22 Dec 08 - 05:38 PM
Geoff the Duck 22 Dec 08 - 07:56 PM
ThreeSheds 23 Dec 08 - 05:17 AM
Leadfingers 23 Dec 08 - 05:27 AM
bubblyrat 23 Dec 08 - 05:43 AM
banjoman 23 Dec 08 - 09:02 AM
Dave Hanson 23 Dec 08 - 09:10 AM
GUEST,mark 11 Feb 09 - 04:27 PM
Leadfingers 11 Feb 09 - 04:37 PM
GUEST,Neovo 12 Feb 09 - 03:37 AM
GUEST,Banksie 12 Feb 09 - 04:28 AM
Leadfingers 12 Feb 09 - 06:55 AM
DannyC 12 Feb 09 - 08:03 AM
GUEST,Liz 12 Feb 09 - 11:14 AM
frogprince 12 Feb 09 - 01:35 PM
markymark 16 Feb 09 - 03:24 PM
Geoff the Duck 16 Feb 09 - 04:50 PM
GUEST,Alan 21 Feb 09 - 08:08 AM
GUEST,CHRIS EVANS AUSTRALIA 06 Mar 09 - 06:09 PM
GUEST,Teneeyl 19 Mar 09 - 09:00 PM
GUEST 30 Apr 09 - 04:04 PM
GUEST,yogi the tractor 18 Jul 09 - 10:02 AM
The Sandman 21 Aug 10 - 11:55 AM
GUEST,Rob Burkinshaw 20 Nov 10 - 12:12 PM
Geoff the Duck 20 Nov 10 - 04:25 PM
Geoff the Duck 20 Nov 10 - 04:37 PM
GUEST,Novice 22 Nov 11 - 06:08 AM
Big Al Whittle 22 Nov 11 - 06:31 AM
The Sandman 22 Nov 11 - 06:51 AM
Dave Hanson 22 Nov 11 - 08:25 AM
Geoff the Duck 23 Nov 11 - 04:40 AM
GUEST,Novice 23 Nov 11 - 04:50 AM
Geoff the Duck 23 Nov 11 - 04:56 AM
The Sandman 11 Jan 12 - 04:36 PM
GUEST,Windsor whirle c 4 string 1928 22 Apr 12 - 04:53 PM
GUEST,Carol Morden 24 Oct 12 - 10:22 PM
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Subject: Tech: Windsor' Whirle '
From: Dave Hanson
Date: 21 Feb 04 - 10:47 AM

I've been offered a Windsor Whirle banjo for £60.00 apart from the fact it's English can anyone in Mudcatland give me any more info.[ I haven't seen it yet ]
hanks in advance, eric


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Subject: RE: Tech: Windsor' Whirle '
From: Dave Hanson
Date: 22 Feb 04 - 06:12 AM

refresh


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Subject: RE: Tech: Windsor' Whirle '
From: GUEST,Eugene Judge no cookie
Date: 22 Feb 04 - 07:46 AM

Here's some info on Windsor. I've seen a "Whirle" for sale on the Net for a lot more! Any old banjo is worth having as a piece of our musical heritage but I'm biased as a "5 stringer".

'British Makers Ancient' was abstracted from the The Banjo Story by A.P.Sharpe serialised in the B.M.G.Magazine 1971-1973

WINDSOR
As a young man, Arthur Octavius Windsor acquired a thorough knowledge of wood and metal
working and by 1887 had a small factory in Birmingham for the making of coffin 'furniture'.
He played the banjo as a hobby and when the instrument started to become universally
played he made some instruments after his own design. He had his own bench in a corner
of his factory where he fashioned the instruments that carried his name as maker.

His banjos proved popular and in three years he had set up an instrument factory in Newhall
Street and was employing a staff of twenty-five, all making banjos. Very soon his range
of instruments included most of the fretted instruments. He made the first mandolin
banjo with a back built up of separate segments and in 1893 took out a patent to use
the same method for the backs of zither-banjos, although he continued to use one-piece
backs on his cheaper models.

At school, Arthur Windsor had been called 'Castle' and he adopted the silhouette of
Windsor Castle as a trade mark and called his premises in Newhall Street 'Castle Works'.
(In addition to the Newhall Street factory, he had sawmills and a wood-working plant in
Mott Street). In the early days, Windsor tested every instrument before it left the factory.

In March 1892 he teamed up with Arthur J.Taylor, a prominent Birmingham teacher and player
of the banjo and the firm of Windsor& Taylor came into being.
Taylor had begun to teach the banjo in 1881 and had first met Windsor in 1885 whilst trying
to find a good banjo of English make to sell to-his pupils. They-did business together for
some time before entering into a deed of partnership. It was at this time the firm started
to make open-back banjos. In January, Windsor & Taylor organised the Birmingham B.M.&G.
Orchestra which gave its first public concert in March of that year. These concerts became
regular affairs (at which the leading soloists of the day appeared) and the orchestra also
visited such places as Coventry, Leamington, Liverpool, London etc. Windsor and Taylor
entered the publishing field and this, coupled with the public appearances of A.0.Windsor
and A.J.Taylor (both of whom were first-class banjo soloists), did much to publicise the
instruments they made and a studio was set aside for him in the factory to enable him to
carry onwith his teaching activities. The fact that Oakley changed to zither banjo and was
playing a 'Windsor' did much to boost sales.

Unlike other manufactures of the day, every part of the instruments made by Windsor &
Taylor were fashioned in the Newhall street factory, including all the metal parts used.
The latter were always 'non-standard' so that a replacement could only be purchased from them.
In 1896 the firm published a 50-page booklet How a Zither-Banjo is Made. Given away free
of charge it helped sell the instruments which were already a household name.

In 1901, Taylor left the firm and then the title became Arthur 0. Windsor. He had a stand
at the British Industries Fair, White City, London, which was most impressive and did much
to make the Windsor products known to overseas buyers. In 1928 Windsor brought out his famous
'hollow arm' zither-banjo with its revolutionary resonator-type back. Windsor made
instruments for other firms and would copy any design or model. They also supplied
many of their cheaper stock instruments branded with the retailer's name as maker.
The firms range of banjos, zither-banjos, banjolins and mandolin-banjos was wide because,
they offered a large discount on catalogue prices, their lower-priced instruments
became known in the trade as 'pawnshop banjos'. These instruments could always be
found in pawnshops throughout the country where they would be offered for sale for
as much as 50%, below the catalogue price. The firm ceased to exist in December 1940
when the factory was destroyed in an enemy air raid. Up to that time Windsor was
probably the largest maker of fretted instruments ever known in this country. The
output of the Newhall Street factory in Birmingham must have been many thousands of
instruments each year.

Cheers

Eugene


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Subject: RE: Tech: Windsor' Whirle '
From: Geoff the Duck
Date: 22 Feb 04 - 09:01 AM

Assuming that the instument is complete and not "damaged" - ie. warped bowed or twisted neck, all frets there and fairly "true" I would have regarded £60 for a vintage Windsor a fair or good price 20 years back.
Sounds like a bargain unless it suffers from the above defects. In that case it might be worth repair - if you can find a competent craftesman repairer. You might also wnat to pay that for a wall decoration.
Acording to their websites Hobgoblin have ones for sale at £350 and for £450, so the price is excellent if the instrument is playable.

Some useful links :-
http://www.andybanjo.com/faq_2.htm
British Banjo Makers Part 4
Somebody's links page
Quack!
Geoff.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Windsor' Whirle '
From: Leadfingers
Date: 22 Feb 04 - 02:45 PM

As Geoff said £60 for a Windsor in reasonable condition is definately a bargain. I already have too many banjos but if I was offered a playable Windsor for that money I would buy it as a spare, if not as an investment. And is it a Tenor or a Five ?? Either way I might be tempted to take it off your hands if you dont want to keep it.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Windsor' Whirle '
From: Davetnova
Date: 23 Feb 04 - 03:54 AM

Was there a standard design for the whirle range. The reason I ask is that I've got a banjo mandolin, banjolin or what, That has an 11inch pot, smaller tonering and resonator. The only pictures I've seen of them Have been backless without the tone ring but I have seen a windsor popular with an identical body to mine. I know nothing about banjo's (or much else) and wondered if it is a marriage of bits, everything seems to be original.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Windsor' Whirle '
From: Dave Hanson
Date: 23 Feb 04 - 04:15 AM

Many thanks y'all.
eric


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Subject: RE: Tech: Windsor' Whirle '
From: Geoff the Duck
Date: 23 Feb 04 - 04:32 AM

I don't know the Whirle, but Windsor made assorted models of banjo over the years. They are likely to have made tenor, 5-string, uke, Mandolin versions within a design and "name". Some of the different models will have been similar to other "names" of model, possibly built in a slightly different period, or offering modified features.
They also made banjos for other "brand names". I own a Barnes & Mullins 5-string. Although they sold banjos with their name on, the firm didn't actually make the models sold, they contracted the manufacture to other companies, one of which was Windsor.
Over the years I have seen a lot of Windsor banjos, and in general they were well-made and sound instruments.
Quack!
Geoff.
p.s. Davetnova - did you lose a bit of pub-prop at the Globe?


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Subject: RE: Tech: Windsor' Whirle '
From: Dave Hanson
Date: 23 Feb 04 - 06:25 AM

Most of the ones I've seen have been ' zithers ' but the others I've seen seemed to be very well made. I've got a feeling I've seen the ' Whirle ' and it's an open back.
Thanks Geoff, eric


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Subject: RE: Banjo: Windsor' Whirle '
From: Davetnova
Date: 24 Feb 04 - 03:30 AM

Geoff - I do seem to be missing my adaptor from my pub prop so it could be mine. If you don't mind hanging onto it for a bit we're going to try to make the yorkshire mudcat gather and I could collect it there.


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Subject: RE: Banjo: Windsor' Whirle '
From: Geoff the Duck
Date: 15 May 04 - 07:45 PM

One of these turned up at a session last week.
An interesting banjo.
Quack!
GtD.


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Subject: RE: Banjo: Windsor' Whirle '
From: GUEST,N3il
Date: 22 Dec 08 - 01:51 PM

I have a whirle tenor banjo and it is an 18 fret, it has "the president no.3 written on the head of it. Was wondering if anyone knows what model it is.


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Subject: RE: Banjo: Windsor' Whirle '
From: The Vulgar Boatman
Date: 22 Dec 08 - 05:38 PM

The Windsors came in whole range, from one sold through the Co-op to some very fine models indeed. I believe the President, and possibly the Emperor were at the top end. I had a "Popular" and it served me well for a lot of years - picked it up in a junk shop in Birmingham in the sixties.
If anyone was watching Larkrise the other night, they would have seen a Whirle tenor accompanied by a melodeon...both probably well out of period.


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Subject: RE: Banjo: Windsor' Whirle '
From: Geoff the Duck
Date: 22 Dec 08 - 07:56 PM

I thought I recognised the emblem on the headstock. I thought it was a Whirle.
Thanks for confirming what I thought.
Quack!
GtD.


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Subject: RE: Banjo: Windsor' Whirle '
From: ThreeSheds
Date: 23 Dec 08 - 05:17 AM

Anyone know much about Jedsons?


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Subject: RE: Banjo: Windsor' Whirle '
From: Leadfingers
Date: 23 Dec 08 - 05:27 AM

I think Jedson was one of the old American banjo's which are now mass produced out East ! I would think an original in good nick would be a good buy , but the modern ones are a bit of a moveable feast !


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Subject: RE: Banjo: Windsor' Whirle '
From: bubblyrat
Date: 23 Dec 08 - 05:43 AM

I played a "Windsor" banjo for years,mostly when I was in the Navy.I gave a bloke from Sidmouth £10 for it in 1966.I remember that it was quite heavy for its size,had a wooden resonator,and the headstock had 5 tuning-pegs, the fifth string being led down a tube at the point where a "normal" 5th-string tuner would be.It souded very good, was much admired,and an oft-heard remark was " That banjo wasn't MADE, it was BUILT !! " Well, it did seem a bit over-engineered to me too, but that helped it survive three years aboard HMS Eagle and numerous soakings in Tiger beer (and other fluids ).I hadn't realised that Windsor was a maker----I thought that it was a generic term for that style ( 5th string tuned at headstock) of banjo, but now, today, I know different !! ----Isn't the internet a wonderful thing ? !!! And the banjo looked COMPLETELY out of place in "Larkrise" !


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Subject: RE: Banjo: Windsor' Whirle '
From: banjoman
Date: 23 Dec 08 - 09:02 AM

grab it with both hand - its well worth a £60 punt. Even if its had a hard life it would be a great banjo to restore as bits and pieces are easily sourced (I have a few bits myself)
Good Luck
Pete


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Subject: RE: Banjo: Windsor' Whirle '
From: Dave Hanson
Date: 23 Dec 08 - 09:10 AM

This thread was started nearly 5 years ago, it may have gone now.

eric


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Subject: RE: Banjo: Windsor' Whirle '
From: GUEST,mark
Date: 11 Feb 09 - 04:27 PM

Hi there! I have a Whirle of Windsor "Little gem" 5 string banjo for sale. It has been passed down through my family for years. I believe it is from the 1930 era. It is in original case, but will need new strings. I live in Essex, England. What is it worth?


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Subject: RE: Banjo: Windsor' Whirle '
From: Leadfingers
Date: 11 Feb 09 - 04:37 PM

Mark - If you are serious about selling it , join Mudcat (Its FREE) and that will give you Personal Message facility ! PM me and we can discuss . I DONT like putting things like E Mail addresses in open forums !


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Subject: RE: Banjo: Windsor' Whirle '
From: GUEST,Neovo
Date: 12 Feb 09 - 03:37 AM

Windsor also made C tenor saxophones. Not sure how many they made as I've only ever seen one but as somebody has said about the banjos, it was considerably over-engineered compared to the American Conns and Beuchers of the same era.


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Subject: RE: Banjo: Windsor' Whirle '
From: GUEST,Banksie
Date: 12 Feb 09 - 04:28 AM

I have a Windsor 5-string, which has 6 machine heads - the 5th string emerging at the 5th fret through a tunnel.

I also have a Matthews 7-string banjo, which I bought for £30 at an `antiques' (ie assorted junk) auction a few years ago. It was in a bit of a state but it is now in a playable condition. I currently have it tuned the same as guitar open-G (DGDGBD), following advice on the subject from Ivor Mairants. But I'm sure there must be other options. I'd also be interested in what strings/guages people might recommend for it as the advice I got suggested I should use only the lightest guages to stop it `folding up' under string tension. That does make it quite difficult to play as the strongs are very easy to pull out of tune.


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Subject: RE: Banjo: Windsor' Whirle '
From: Leadfingers
Date: 12 Feb 09 - 06:55 AM

When I bought my Temlett 7 string , Clifford Essex still had a shop in London , so I took it there for advice . The suggested tuning was standard 5 string , with a Low C and G for bass runs , to make it easy for Song Accompaniment .


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Subject: RE: Banjo: Windsor' Whirle '
From: DannyC
Date: 12 Feb 09 - 08:03 AM

I worked for years with a top-notch banjoman (tenor) by the name of Peter Fitzgerald (from Navan, Co Meath). For a good while Peter's instrument of choice was his 'Windsor'.


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Subject: RE: Banjo: Windsor' Whirle '
From: GUEST,Liz
Date: 12 Feb 09 - 11:14 AM

This is all very interesting as I have just been given a Windsor Zither on permanent loan and am working hard trying to get the hang of playing it. Should it be played bluegrass style? That is the book I've bought, no doubt the first of many!!


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Subject: RE: Banjo: Windsor' Whirle '
From: frogprince
Date: 12 Feb 09 - 01:35 PM

Guest Banksie: Something you might consider; if you put "Frank Proffitt Banjos" in the search line right at the top of the threads, and select refresh for 1 year, you'll find how some folks have found fishline to be a good alternative for some banjos.


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Subject: RE: Banjo: Windsor' Whirle '
From: markymark
Date: 16 Feb 09 - 03:24 PM

Hi. I have a Windsor Whirle "Little Gem" 5-string banjo in original case for sale. If anyone is interested please let me know, thanks.


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Subject: RE: Banjo: Windsor' Whirle '
From: Geoff the Duck
Date: 16 Feb 09 - 04:50 PM

Guest Liz - there is no reason why you cannot play any style of music you wish on your Windsor zither banjo. That said, people who play bluegrass usually like a "brighter" more crisp or sharp tone from their instrument. A zither banjo is likely to produce a more mellow sound. This does not mean that you cannot play bluegrass on it if you should so wish. You pays your money and you takes your choice...

I would suggest that your Windsor is more likely to sound good playing clawhammer style, but I am biased by the fact that I like clawhammer, and learned on a zither banjo which, although not branded as Windsor, is one which they will have made.

Zither banjos have been played as both melody and rhythm instruments, finger style (classical banjo) and with a plectrum. When it comes to choice of what style you learn, the key is to listen to as much music in different styles and decide what sound grabs you the most. Once you have decided what you want to sound like, get back to the Mudcat and depending on where you live, someone may have suggestions for who to contact for advice, either live or online.

Quack!
Geoff the Duck.


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Subject: RE: Banjo: Windsor' Whirle '
From: GUEST,Alan
Date: 21 Feb 09 - 08:08 AM

Hi

i have a 5 string Windsor premier by Arthur Windsor made in Birmingham and the back of the skin when you open it up is signed Arthur Windsor. it was played by my father who never played it again after the 2nd world war. Can anyone tell me anymore information.


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Subject: RE: Banjo: Windsor' Whirle '
From: GUEST,CHRIS EVANS AUSTRALIA
Date: 06 Mar 09 - 06:09 PM

I HAVE A MODEL 'D' 8 STRING IN FAIR CONDITION.
ANY IDEA OF VALUE PLEASE?


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Subject: RE: Banjo: Windsor' Whirle '
From: GUEST,Teneeyl
Date: 19 Mar 09 - 09:00 PM

I live in Australia and have recently come across a 1928 windsor banjolin. I dont much about these things but it has the original purchase receipt, original carry case with purple velvet & all the original strings etc, its as if someone has bought it in 1935 and never touched it. Would anyone know what an approx figure this would be worth , i had a freidn give it to me and am unsure if its valuable or not. Any information would be appreciated about it.

Thanks

teneeyl


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Subject: RE: Banjo: Windsor' Whirle '
From: GUEST
Date: 30 Apr 09 - 04:04 PM

Please can some one tell me about the windsor whirle recco150220 and how much its worth many thanks mark


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Subject: RE: Banjo: Windsor' Whirle '
From: GUEST,yogi the tractor
Date: 18 Jul 09 - 10:02 AM

-i have a ukulele banjo windsor whirle 16 fret 4 string it is for sale where do i sell it can anyone help


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Subject: RE: Banjo: Windsor' Whirle '
From: The Sandman
Date: 21 Aug 10 - 11:55 AM

i have just bought a windsor whirle ambassadeur supremus 5 string for 50 euros, it has a real nip/tang to the tone, and seems playable


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Subject: RE: Banjo: Windsor' Whirle '
From: GUEST,Rob Burkinshaw
Date: 20 Nov 10 - 12:12 PM

I have an old Windsor 'Whirle' with the words 'Emperor Supremus' stamped on the head. It is a beautiful instrument and I gig with it regularly. Unfortunately the gearing has started to go on one of the tuning pegs. I would be grateful for any advice on where I might find a replacement. I can be reached on 07973898569. Thanks Rob


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Subject: RE: Banjo: Windsor' Whirle '
From: Geoff the Duck
Date: 20 Nov 10 - 04:25 PM

GUEST,Rob Burkinshaw - A quick web search seems to suggest there were a few different models with varying neck/head and tuner arrangements, plus 5-string, tenor and uke whirles. If you wanted a matching single replacement, you would need to find the right one. Depending on your banjo, it might be possible to find a set of pegs which would do the job, but wouldn't look like your originals.
There are arguments for and against replacing original parts with something different, but having an instrument you can play may outweigh it not being 100% authentic.
Quack!
GtD.


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Subject: RE: Banjo: Windsor' Whirle '
From: Geoff the Duck
Date: 20 Nov 10 - 04:37 PM

There are Mudcatters who may know a repairer who stocks vintage parts, so keep watching the thread.
Another place to ask might be at http://www.banjohangout.org/
Quack!
Geoff.


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Subject: RE: Banjo: Windsor' Whirle '
From: GUEST,Novice
Date: 22 Nov 11 - 06:08 AM

Found the comments interesting and helpful.Just bought a Whirle 5 string in need of strings and vellum. would welcome any advice on recommended strings and vellum.Thanks.


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Subject: RE: Banjo: Windsor' Whirle '
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 22 Nov 11 - 06:31 AM

I love Barbara Windsor!

http://www.bigalwhittle.co.uk/id58.html


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Subject: RE: Banjo: Windsor' Whirle '
From: The Sandman
Date: 22 Nov 11 - 06:51 AM

the main problem with them if i understand correctly is lack of truss rod in the neck


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Subject: RE: Banjo: Windsor' Whirle '
From: Dave Hanson
Date: 22 Nov 11 - 08:25 AM

Barbara Windsor ? I'd give her a ' Whirle '

Dave H


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Subject: RE: Banjo: Windsor' Whirle '
From: Geoff the Duck
Date: 23 Nov 11 - 04:40 AM

GUEST,Novice - As you have a Windsor, I am assuming you are UK based?

I've had good sets of strings from various brands.
D'Addario, Ernie Ball, La Bella, Vega strings (now seem to be Martin/Vega), The Music Room at Cleckheaton sell Redwing, which are good quality and inexpensive. Eagle Music at Huddersfield also offer their "own brand", which I haven't tried, but would expect to be decent quality.
Only you can decide if you prefer light, medium or heavy gauge strings. They can give a different feel and tone to a particular instrument.

As for the vellum. you need a heavy thicker vellum specifically for banjo (Eagle Music will sell you one). A drum skin may be thinner and not take the pressure of strings pushing the bridge down. If you need advice on actually fitting the vellum, ask here. The subject has been discussed previously, and it should be possible to find the discussion without having to repeat it all here.

Quack!
Geoff the Duck.


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Subject: RE: Banjo: Windsor' Whirle '
From: GUEST,Novice
Date: 23 Nov 11 - 04:50 AM

My thanks to Geoff for his prompt and very helpful response.


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Subject: RE: Banjo: Windsor' Whirle '
From: Geoff the Duck
Date: 23 Nov 11 - 04:56 AM

No Problem.
Quack!
GtD.


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Subject: RE: Banjo: Windsor' Whirle '
From: The Sandman
Date: 11 Jan 12 - 04:36 PM

i had to spend 50 euros extra on mine, the action is not great but its playable and it has a real whang, cost me 100 euros total, i have it tuned low cfac capo on second fret


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Subject: RE: Banjo: Windsor' Whirle '
From: GUEST,Windsor whirle c 4 string 1928
Date: 22 Apr 12 - 04:53 PM

Hi i have just bought a Windsor whirle 4 string ukulele/banjo ,it cost £100 and it is in mint condition ,i am not a good player but i know what sounds good and i love playing it ,beautiful instrument ,the owner who i bought it off tells me it was made in Birmingham 1928 and wow could he play it ,made it ring like a bell ,the only fault i can find is the edge of the frets are a little sharp but there is a tool ,so i am told that can put matters right ,the instrument came with a wooden case ,i am not sure if this is the original ,i can honestly say i would not part with this beautiful instrument for the world,like someone said it was not made ,it was built ,best wishes Brian


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Subject: RE: Banjo: Windsor' Whirle '
From: GUEST,Carol Morden
Date: 24 Oct 12 - 10:22 PM

Hi, my great grandfather was Arthur John Taylor, who founded the BM&G orchestra and also founded Windsor and Taylor. I'm researching my family tree and would love to know more about Arthur. I have no family members or records to turn to and wonder if anyone out there has photos or information about the days when AJT was involved in Windsor and Taylor and the BM&G orchestra. Many thanks


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