The George Formby Society GFS Website

The George Formby Society is itself not a Ukulele Maker or Distributor it is a Club based in the UK set up to celebrate the output of British Music Hall and Movie star George Formby. The reason I have included it here is that a requirement of membership is that members own and play a Banjolele. As the club has been in existence for some time, has quite a few members and it has not always been easy to find a decent Banjolele to buy, over the years they have persuaded quite a few Luthiers to make Banjoleles for them. This started with Jack Abbott the former owner of the Abbott Banjo Co. and is still the case today Here is a list of others I have seen In the chronology as far as I can work it out

Harold Fallows

He certainly was a Banjo repairer, I have even seen it suggested he looked after all of George Formby's instruments, I'm not so sure he actually made them though? Some people say he made the one they own but in a lot of cases it seems he just introduced GFS members to luthiers who actually made them.

George Kempton

He came from Dartford, Kent where he had a music shop and started making Banjos around 1968. He was a trained clock maker and was an aircraft fitter for the R.A.F during his national service which is where he learned his engineering skills. He mainly made Tenor and Plectrum Banjos but made some Banjoleles while Jack was still alive (apparently he was a friend of Jack's and learned a bit about Banjo making from him), including the Banjolele used in the film Bugsy Malone and some that he branded Kemptone. Sadly the shop went out of business in the mid 70's which stopped most, if not all of his production and certainly put an end to his ambition of batch production of Banjoleles.

Richard Shellard

He was an instrument maker specialising in violins but also doing many other instrument repairs. In the mid 1970’s he was asked to make Banjo Ukuleles for The George Formby Society members (presumably Jack Abbot had stopped?). He made a few but stopped when Ron Beddoes took over. He died in 1985.


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