Here is the latest news on Ukulele Corner and the instruments that are coming 

With the demise of Picasa the old show here is no longer maintainable
when i find an usable alternative i will put something here

If at first you don't succeed...

posted 13 Jun 2017, 08:11 by Lardy Fatboy

Authentic Venezuelan Cuatro

Well "Give Up" is my usual mantra, but in this case what I have invited is an authentic Cuatro Venezuelo all the way from Caracas.
I did try to get one a while ago but it never arrived; if it was ever shipped? Well I've decided to try again and this time for one with a cutaway; I've never seen one with a cutaway before. I think this one is fairly mass produced as the seller said he had 3. (and I did see what appeared to be someone else? selling something that looked identical) I'm sure the factory that made in is in Caracas, Venezuela though and I will find out more when it gets here

Now I can spell it...

posted 8 Jun 2017, 10:38 by Lardy Fatboy   [ updated 21 Jun 2017, 10:16 ]

Ecorda Bouzouki
I thought I should get more Bouzoukis
What I have invited this time is a heavily decorated, bowl backed, Greek made Bouzouki that is branded Ecorda. 

It's Here!

And its very impressive to look at. There are a couple of chips if you look up close and it really needs some new strings but it is very striking. I also like the straightness of the neck even though there is no truss rod. It may have cost 6 times as much to ship as I bid on it but I did get that part very cheap and I think it is still worth it

Another Obscure American Ukulele Brand

posted 1 Jun 2017, 15:43 by Lardy Fatboy   [ updated 17 Jun 2017, 17:10 ]

Victor brand Soprano
And this time one that even I don't know about?!
This is a Victor Ukulele and all I know, (beyond the specific it's not in the best of condition and needs a little love), is that it is a U.S. mainland made Ukulele from between the wars. The advert says it's made of koa but I will reserve judgement on that until I've seen it "up close and personal". Where in the U.S. it was made I havent a clue? Or exactly when? But I would guess it was pretty early, from the first half of the 1920's. Now it's coming I will step up my research on the brand, and hopefully when it gets here it will be able to tell me something too.

Right now there are some "difficulties"  about it going through Customs, (or alternatively not putting my address on it and just shipping it to Kentucky). I do hope it still gets here though

The weekend roundup

posted 27 May 2017, 16:41 by Lardy Fatboy   [ updated 5 Jun 2017, 15:07 ]

60's Archtop Guitar
Revelation RTJ-60B Baritone Guitar
Cas Mir Bandurria
Its been quite a busy weekend with quite a few lots finishing on eBay and a couple of physical auctions going on and had I got them all I would have had to put the credit card into intensive care, (as it is it still took a bit of a beating)
First to be invited was a 1960's sunburst (possibly) archtop acoustic Guitar that came from an auction. Now when I first saw it I liked the look of the ƒ foles and the overall look of one of those 1950's German archtops that I like. There wasn't much about it the description just read "an acoustic Guitar" and a couple of fairly poor pictures. Having liked what I could see I signed up and put a very (very) small opening bid on it and then started going through the rest of the catalogue to see if there was anything else worthwhile. There wasn't. this was the only chordophone, but by the time I had finished looking I had forgotten that I had bid on it so I never asked for any more information like if it was a proper archtop and what the logo on the headstock said? Having forgotten that I had bid on it I didn't watch the Saturday auction and only found out when I was looking at what some guitars in another auction went for; even before the auction started. No point asking all the questions now though I will just wait until it gets to Ukulele Corner and find out then how lucky I was.

After that it was all ebay and having come second on a couple of invitations, it was time for a Fernandes Baritone Guitar with a 27" scale. Unfortunately, despite having been winning for five days I was outbid at the death, but in telling me I had lost it also suggested a couple of other Guitars I might be interested in one of which was a Fender Modern Player, (so Chinese made) Stratocaster, collection only but only 10-15km away, still under £100 and with only 5 hours left on the auction. Now I wasn't sure of the quality of the Modern Player range? were they better than Squires? were they better than MiM's? So I left ebay and did some research; and while I was away a couple more of the items I had bid on, (but stopped watching because I was thinking about getting a cheap Fender), and was winning went through. With the Cort Guitar I was outbid at the death but the other one was a Spanish made Cas-Mir Bandurria that I had put the opening bid on because I love the stumpiness of Bandurrias, and up to that point no one else had bid. And while I was off looking at Chinese Fenders still no one bid so my opening bid for this won. Now I am not sure of the quality of the Cas-Mir Bandurrias, when I did some investigation of them all I found was a couple of people (including the seller of this one) who brought them back from Spain as souvenirs; so maybe tourist tat but they didn't play so I had no serious reviews. Once again I will know a lot more once it gets here?

The other guitar that ebay recommended after the Fernandes was a Revelation Baritone that is kind of a cross between a Jazzmaster and a Bass VI This was a couple of quid more than my maximum for the Fernandes but only a couple of quid; and it was a 30" scale rather than a 27" (and the bigger the better as far as I was concerned) This one only had 3 hours left on the auction and up to that point no one had bid. Now I had seen the same model of guitar with as buy it now price £6 less than the opening price for this, and toyed with the idea of getting that one but I thought it was too much well this one was probably too much too but still stinging with the loss of the Fernandes, and justifying the asking price because the Pickups and the tuners had been upgraded, (and the scratchplate had been painted white - though I'm not sure that was an improvement?) I said yes to the opening asking price (after all its not much of a problem to strip the white paint off the scratchplate if it does look bad) and it stayed there until it accepted the invitation to Ukulele Corner incorporating the Pony Guitar Sanctuary

 I did bid on the Fender in the end but that ended up going for a sensible price for a Fender, so a lot more than I was willing to pay

They're Here!!

And in their way they have answered all of my questions about them.

The Mystery Archtop is an Egmond (made for J.T.Coppock ltd.) Antoria. This has some interest as the Antoria branding was much more famously used on some of the early Japanese imports to the UK and much of the information on the Internet about them says this was when it started, not realising that prior to the Japanese imports Egmond was supplying them, (but the most of this information also says that Coppock went out of business, not that in 1965 it amalgamated with two other UK distributors to form Fletcher, Coppock and Newman; so much for their research!) Anyway on to the Guitar and as well as answering the questions I had it poses a couple more, like what is the sticky stuff that is all over it? (Maybe I don't want to know that). Did it come with nylon strings, as it has them now? And was the bridge suppose to be like it is or is the lower part an aftermarket extra? Regardless of this, what is surprising though is the tone! It is much, much better than I was expecting, (so good that I will stick with the nylon strings - I may fiddle with the bridge though) I have always been put off by the look of Egmond Guitars, I always thought they looked rather crude and cheap, but on the basis of this one I will have to look at them again. Yes it's not the best looking 50's Archtop, (and yes it is an archtop for the answer to that question) but it's overall tone and playability is spectacular and it's very welcome at Ukulele Cornerincorporating the Pony Guitar Sanctuary

Carrying on with the Homemade Theme

posted 21 May 2017, 16:36 by Lardy Fatboy   [ updated 27 May 2017, 04:15 ]

Homemade Cigar (actually Trinket) Box Soprano
Coming to Ukulele Corner now is a small Soprano scale (No) Cigar box Ukulele. I say No Cigar because though it is a one off home made Ukulele using a reclaimed box for a body, the box in question has never held Cigars. I now quite sure what it was in a previous life? I thought it was a pencil box to start with, the type with the sliding lid, but I can see that it's not so I'm thinking now some kind of trinket box?I asked the maker but all he would say "yes, the box was reclaimed". The maker is a chap who has retired and has taken to making cigar box type instruments as a hobby. Though he makes them to sell he's not looking to make a lot of money from them, so for that reason it was very cheap. The box is a little plain but I have always wanted a proper "home made" reclaimed box Ukulele but I was never going to make one myself so this is the next best thing.

It's Here

and I still can't work out what the box originally was? What I can say though is it is very solid and the neck is very nicely carved; far better than I could have made. on the minus side, that very solid soundboard is very thick, I'm guessing it was originally the bottom of the box. The nut is also very high too and solidly glued to the end of the fretboard so I cant remove it and file down the base to get the right action; and the action is currently VERY high. It is also very quiet and a little plain, (I may have to break out the Sharpies or get some king of interesting label to stick on?)I do like it though, it does very much have the "look I wanted; and the "vibe", (and it stands up nicely on its base - which is always handy)

There was a big Banjo auction today

posted 18 May 2017, 15:56 by Lardy Fatboy   [ updated 2 Jun 2017, 15:41 ]

Windsor Whirle Victory Tenor Banjo
George Houghton & Sons open back Tenor Banjo
Keech type A Banjulele
Well that's not quite true, it was more of a Violin auction but it did include 26 Banjos of varying flavours; including Banjoleles, and a couple of nice Ukuleles too, (one was a 1920's Martin S1 and another was a Mainland Tenor; but I didn't get either). Obviously my interest in the auction was on the Ukuleles and the Banjoleles, (including an Abbot Snr. Monarch - that ended up going for £2½k + 24% auction fees!) I steered well clear of the Banjo Mandolins, the Zither Banjos and the 5 strings, but there were some reasonable Tenor Banjos that I thought were worth a small punt with a pre auction bid. 
Come the auction and I didn't do well on the really good stuff even though the auction house clearly didn't know what they were selling, (they listed all the Zither Banjos as 6 string Banjos, and the Martin S1 as a Banjo Ukulele with a guide price of £30-£50!! Still went for well over £300 + fees). I did get a Keech type A Banjulele that looks in pretty good nick, though I did pay as much as I was willing to go to; so It wasn't that much of a Bargain. Having brought one thing I was a bit more bullish that I would normally have been on subsequent lots and when the Windsor Whirl open backed 19 fret Tenor Banjo started out with my low pre auction bid; and very nearly sold for it  too, I was spurred into action and bid again a couple of times eventually winning at the top of what I was willing to pay. After all I didn't have an open backed Tenor Banjo and it does have a nice looking whirl plaque on the headstock. Then a few lots later and it was the turn of Birmingham's other Banjo Maker, George Houghton & Sons with their open backed Tenor Banjo. This too started low with my pre auction bid but, possibly because the auction house once again didn't know what they were looking at and listed it as "unknown maker" even though it had the Lion and "British Made"  clearly marked on the headstock, this time no one else bid. Had they done so I would have let it go because I had already got the Windsor, which is probably the better quality instrument and I didn't need two open back Tenors really. Need no, want yes and now they and the Keech are on the way to Ukulele Corner.

They're Here!

I've been at the Biscuits again!

posted 13 May 2017, 15:49 by Lardy Fatboy   [ updated 18 May 2017, 13:53 ]

Cig-R Guitars Soprano Canjolele
Actually that's not true, the confection in question this time is a Dundee Cake and it has "by appointment to the King" on it, so Elvis must have eaten the cake that came in the tin? (that's my story and I'm sticking to it!)
Seriously though, what I have invited this time is a Soprano scale Cookie, (or should that be Cake?) Tin Canjolele made by a maker calling his instruments Cig-R Guitars and specialising in Cigar and other repurposed soundbox instruments. I didn't actually get it from him though, it's traveled about a bit more than that, (the actual maker is not that far from Ukulele Corner) so as a Canjolele its second hand but the tin has been around, certainly chronologically, a lot longer as its more than 60 years old

It's Here...

and it is very well made; far better than I was expecting, especially the neck which is a nice, well made D profile. The tin is very cool too, perhaps a little more faded than I first thought from the photos but it has a great patina and all of the logos and things  are clearly legible, especially the "By Appointment" one on the heel. Like the seller said, it is very quiet, but its loud and tuneful enough for messing about on and I don't want to mess about on it too much in case I damage what's left of the finish

A good day on eBay

posted 6 May 2017, 11:59 by Lardy Fatboy   [ updated 18 May 2017, 13:19 ]

APC 101 L Cavaquinho (with the English tuners)
Ukranian Domra
Dean 12 string Banjitar
But probably not for my Bank Balance?!
What happened today is 2 auction wins and a negotiated down Buy it now. The buy it now was invited first and is an APC 101L ray mouthed Cavaquinho with "English" tuners. Ive always fancied getting something with them because I think they look so different and I was vaguely thinking a Fado Guitar or something because I already have a number of Cavaquinhos, but when I saw this one with a buy it now or best offer price, and the buy it now wasn't ridiculous I thought it worth an offer. My first offer was rejected, but countered so after a couple of iterations of offer and counter offer, we agreed a price, coincidentally on the same day as a number of auctions for Chordophones I was trying to invite. One was a, (possibly Ukrainian?) Domra. Now I don't know a lot about Domras beyond they are an eastern European Folk Chordophone, usually with a bowl back, 4 strings and smaller than a Guitar. I think there may be size differences and I have seen them, (or something very similar), with diatonic fretboards. Anyway a woman was swelling two of them on eBay with a 99p starting price, one ready to go and the other, (which I actually liked more), listed as "for spares or repair" I asked what was wrong with it and was told it needed a new nut. Well thats not a difficult job so I thought it worth a punt, and though I ended up going to my maximum, it was still fairly cheap and now its coming to Ukulele Corner. I hope it is just the nut and it is an easy fix, then I can find out how to tune one and play some rock and roll on it.
The third item I invited is a Dean "Backwoods" 12 string Banjitar. I have always liked the idea of a Banjitar and so have tried to invite one on a number of occasions, but I was particularly interested in this one because the 12 string variants are much rarer with only a couple of firms selling them, and I believe this Dean one is now discontinued, (the 6 string Dean Backwood is still in production but not as far as I can see the 12?). It accepted my invitation, again at my maximum, so now its on the way to Ukulele Corner incorporating the Pony Guitar Sanctuary. It will be interesting to see how the 12 string works as I've not heard one. and wonder if the tones are why they are not more common?

They're all Here

And they are all lovely.
The Domra is only missing the nut so the only problem here, (apart from what strings? and how do you tune and play it?) is that the neck is very narrow and I think all of my spare Ukulele nuts will be a bit wide? (they are) ,there are not splits cracks or busted seems and everything is solid if not highly crafted the tuners are obviously not both original as one side is white and the other black and on a raised rail, (probably originally to fit over a thinner headstock?), but the buttons are the same design, if not the same colour and this gives an interesting, and not wholly out of play look to the headstock. The other end is interesting too. The tailpiece is not a tailpiece as such, it is more like 4 bridge pins, but on the base, (and thankfully they are all there).

I'm loving the APC too! Yes the intonation is a bit suspect especially on the G string but you've got to love that headstock and I find the "English" tuners are better and easier than friction tuners. I will have to watch out for specialist strings that are loop end on both ends though as I don't think single loop end strings will work very well. I am doing the cavaquinho "solo" tuning on it so D~G~B~E (rather than the D it should be for proper Cavaquinho tuning) I am also a little perplexed by the model number? I thought when looking at the APC catalogue online this was a 101L though there wasn't one listed. The ray mouth and the unstained soundboard are the same as the 101 and on some of the other models shown, when the have English Tuners rather than geared ones the model number gets an L suffix. Now it's here I can see on the sound hole label that it's a 105 model; no L and it also doesn't appear in the current catalogue?

The Dean is a lovely bit of kit too. Solid and well made so it feels the part as well as looking the part. I can see why 12 string banjitars are not common though, the extra strings make it quite hard to play as the gap between courses is very narrow because the floating bridge needs it that narrow. also, as its a kind of Banjo the tone definition is a bit muddy and you don't really get all of the tonal nuances that you would get from a 12 string Guitar. I'm glad I got it ,after all if I didn't have one and had a 6 string I would still want one but I guess I still need a 6 string Banjitar and I would be much more likely to play it

I tried and I tried...

posted 18 Apr 2017, 17:07 by Lardy Fatboy   [ updated 22 Apr 2017, 08:38 ]

G4M Harlem V 6/12 double neck Guitar
Rally Blizzard II
But in the words of the Borg, "resistance is futile".
I had the urge to invite a multi necked chordophone to Ukulele Corner incorporating the Pony Guitar Sanctuary. I don't know what they are like to play but they look like they are good to pose with, (and not having played one before I am curious about them). There aren't that many about though, and most of the ones I see for sale are Guitar based, (either a 6 string electric Guitar with another chordophone, Bass, Mandolin even Ukulele, or the 6 string plus another Guitar option, Baritone, 12 string, 7 string, even electric / acoustic). When I went looking though I couldn't find any real 2nd hand bargains; I did see a nice electric-acoustic but it was a bit expensive. So the only other option was to look at new and there are a few Chinese made and branded ones out there that are not that expensive, (so they are probably ponies; but it is the Pony Guitar Sanctuary) .The one I liked best was the Harlem V 6 /12 doubleneck, not quite a Gibson V copy, but still more distinctive than most (though for some reason only available in Black) The only problem, as far as I was concerned was that it was branded by Gear4Music with their naff name and even naffer logo - but I could always paint over it or try and remove it, (I have read you can do this with Brasso?) still it did put me off buying one straight away. I thought "Gear4Music are a big chain so there is no rush to get one. I could wait until I had a lottery win, or possibly see something better?" so I waited.
What I did find in the waiting period though, (and maybe this was a good thing?) was that I would see other Guitars and be a bit tempted, but would then think " do I like this more that the Harlem?" and decide not to buy. None of them were good 1 time offers though, (so I still might get a Squire Baritone Jaguar at some point in the future); none of them until I saw the Rally Hurricane IIAR with its distinctive body shape and the aluminium full body scratch plate. Now I know Rally Banjos are good but I'd never really looked at their Guitars; apart from anything else you do really get Rally Guitars in the UK.  I'd never seen one before and new that I would be unlikely to see one again, and that with the buy it now or best offer pricing it wouldn't be long before someone else saw it and bought it. As there was a Best Offer option I thought it was at least worth a cheeky bid. My first 2 offers were rejected but the seller then countered with a price that was slightly lower than what I was going to go to next, and a bit cheaper than the full asking price. I thought I had better buy it at this price but still had the "do I like it better than the Harlem?" quandry  I solved this quandary by deciding to buy it as well . After all I did win the lottery last week, (even though its win a free ticket, its still a win) and when these two turn up it will feel like I have won the lottery again.

They're Here!!

And the double neck is a bit of a beast! Well it's a lot of a beast actually and the Rally is a beast too. They are both quite heavy, clearly very solid and the shape is a little awkward. The Rally doesn't stand up very well and you have to be careful of the sharp corners of the metal. The Double Neck is not easy to play sitting down, particularly the 12 string neck and I am having trouble with the bridge pickup on the 12 string. I'm not entirely sure how you are suppose to switch between necks, it says on the publicity specifications the is a switch for this but I cant find one? I can get some switching between necks though, (though clearly only one at a time will play), if I tun down the volume on the 6 string neck the 12 string bridge pickup works and if I turn down the volume on the 12 string neck or switch to the neck pickup(?) the 6 string pickups work. If I leave both necks turned up, the one that was working last will work?? I have contacted the distributors about this and am waiting to see what they say, I had better not try and get rid of the Gear4Music logos yet though in case I have to send it back.
And in case I didn't make it clear the Rally works perfectly on all of the electrics - no worries there

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