Musical Instrument Specialities Co.

Banjo ette Banjolele Ukulele  gumby head
Banjo-ette Elkhart
MISCO U-King copper Banjolele Banjo at Ukulele Corner
My Copper Finish MISCo
A rather unprepossessing name for another of those pre-depression major musical instrument manufacturers that have since almost disappeared into obscurity. The firm was based in Elkhart, Indiana and in 1927 was reputedly the biggest producer of metal bodied Banjos in the USA. This was the firm that actually made all of the Maxitone Banjoleles for Bruno. As well as making Maxitone Banjoleles for Bruno they must have made all of the identical models branded by PMICo, and T&D, plus all of the unbranded ones and are probably the people who marketed them under the Banjo-ette, Elkhart brand name? After all the location is right. Plus if they were a big producer of metal Banjos it seems reasonable to assume they produced the original Maxitone Resonators, the banjoleles that are just marked with Concert that are identical to the Maxitone deluxe range, and the U-King tailpiece that is often mistaken for an instrument brand name and seen on the Maxitones and Banjo-ettes too?

The problem I have though is, I have one very good 1927 article about them delivering the biggest ever Banjo Ukulele order for Bruno but I can find no other references to them anywhere. It is possible they weren't an independent company at all but a short lived division of one of the big Brass Band Instrument manufacturers that are well documented as being based in Elkhart at the time like Elkhart Band Instruments, Martin Band Instruments or any of the others that were founded by ex Conn employees, (Not Conn though as they owned Ludwig and Leedy both of whom made Banjos until Conn brought them and shut Banjo production down). This would also explain why so many of the unbranded ones were imported into the UK at the time given that Harmony, Regal and the like weren't, Brass Band instruments were imported from the US at that time so why not their Banjos too?

A couple of things I am sure of though is they came in the nickel or copper finishes to the metal drum and 8 different colour schemes for the overall instrument, including orange, pink, lavender, blue, black, red, green and white. Also whoever did make them, they made a lot of them because there are a lot still left around

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