Notes on playing the banjo uke (and the regular ukulele), as well as some of my favorite songs and videos, but mostly, you'll find information here on my particular obsession - the many models of banjo ukulele offered by Stromberg-Voisinet in the 1920's to 1931.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Hello - and first post on Stromberg Voisinets

Hello and welcome. Just what the world needs: another blog. And - it's also another blog about ukuleles. Well, I, like you, haven't got time to read these things, so my aim here is to make this blog as useful as possible. I'm interested in banjo ukuleles, but I'm almost obsessed in collecting information on Stromberg Voisinet banjo ukes. I've had three of these instruments over time, and find that there's a bit of a mystery to them.

The company only existed under the Stromberg Voisinet title for about 11 years, and it's general manager - Henry "Kay" Kuhrmeyer - bought the company and changed its name to Kay in 1931. In the face of post depression-era markets, Kay also wisely changed the firm's design and production philosophy, and produced larger numbers of cheaper instruments. This was highly successful for Kay, but it meant that the gems they produced - like Keychord tenor and parlor guitars, as well as their fancy little banjo ukuleles - disappeared and became collectors' items.

On top of all this - there seems to be NO catalog of produced instruments, so all information on Stromberg Voisinet and the instruments they produced comes from lore that's passed from player to player, from collector to collector. That, and just looking at all of the instruments one can.

And so, taking that empirical approach, I'm going to post the information I've got on Stromberg Voisinet banjo ukulele, with any background that I can find. I may also post a few songs or videos, just so it isn't all poor archeology work. ;)



  1. Here I begin my journey. A quest to use this near holy grail of information to find more information on the tenor banjo I have in possession. Here is the tenor banjo, which was my great grandfather's that I have just recently restored and seek to play.
    I have found(google linking to your page) That it must be a Stromberg Voisinet, and will scour your page searching for more information. Would you assist me on my quest and help me discover more about my banjo? I plan on reading the entirety of your blog either way. Thank you so much, and like you said, it seems information on them are only passed from collector to collector, so you are my new found holy grail of information on them. Thank you very much!

  2. Sharps and Flats,

    Welcome! Although this blog is really only about the ukulele, you'll find I do have an entry on S-V tenor banjos that I posted a few months ago. You definitely have a Stromberg-Voisonet here, or an early production Kay, which made use of the existing SV parts before eventually creating new parts int he mid-thirties. As to the model, you'll find that there were no model names And that SV jobbed out instruments for many department and music stores and brands. So welcome and if you find more than you find here, please do share it! :)