What I have invited here is a spruce top, plastic backed Mini from Enya. I believe it is part of their Kaka brand but it only says "Ka" on the headstock and it has a laser etched and cut pony as a sound hole. I still have a very soft spot for Minis and I thought the Pony was a sign, (and it was very cheap - once again I was looking in the buy it now section of ebay for some Uke of the day pictures, was going to use this as it looked cute but then thought "never mind just liking the picture, at that price I might as well "buy it now" and now it on its way to Ukulele Corner incorporating the Pony Guitar Sanctuary)
Super quick and delivered on a Sunday! It must be the Pony Express.
It is a Kaka, (all of the factory packaging says so even if nothing on the Ukulele itself does). It is a Mini, scale length 286mm (or a fraction over 11 inches), and the spruce top is laminate, (but for the price I paid that's not a surprise). The plastic back is very solid and rigid, and looks like it and the neck was all cast as one piece? It is surprisingly heavy for a Mini but it is surprisingly loud for a Mini too, with a lot more tone for it's size. I don't know if this has anything to do with the volume but it has come with, without doubt the biggest, highest factory saddle I have ever seen on a Ukulele. This gives it quite a high action and doesn't help the intonation up the neck, I am going to have to reduce it by a half probably, (If I could cut it neatly enough I could probably make two sensible saddles from it; but I'm sure its too hard to cut). It also came with quite a funky vinyl Kaka branded carry bag, not padded, but quite thick so offers some protection.
All in all I'm very pleased with this, the Pony is not "Pony" at all
But what about the 59 I'd had a punt on? well I'd forgotten about it messing about with the 64s and it must have had some kind of "forget about me" hex on it because no one else picked up on it and a few hours later I had the 59 too! Quite a bit cheaper than the 64 but this one is being shipped so the shipping costs put the price up a bit. So like I said at the beginning, "I Dano what came over me" but within a week I've gone from no Danelectros, (apart from the Honeytone amp), and no major ambition to get one, to inviting two! I still need to invite a Baritone Guitar though...
And they are even more lovely than I was expecting. They both look almost new though I was told the 64 is a 2008 model and the 59 is at least 5 years old and I'm loving the almost matt, kind of plasticy (without being cheap) finish on them along with the gun metal anti chrome metalwork. They do look distinctive and unlike any other Guitar. They feel like quality to play too, very solid but very light definitely more robust than the originals. The electrics are reliable too with no hums or crackles just a great sound (well as good a sound as my talent allows). I am very impressed with the re-issue Danos and with their distinctive styling I can easily see how one can end up with a collection of them. I would have no trouble inviting another one, especially if it was a Baritone; or the 6 / 12 double neck, and on the quality of these I wouldn't say no to a Bass either, (Still think I wouldn't get an original without having a good go on it first)
There is a very large Guitar auction tomorrow and I have sent quite a few invitations to Ukulele Corner incorporating the Pony Guitar Sanctuary. If they all come, this will seem like a very small post!
Anyway chickens hatching, birds in bushes and all that, there were 3 auctions today that also featured nice chordophones and whilst I got nowhere in a couple of them I did have some success in the last one
First, and the one that I was originally after, was a nice looking Dallas B Banjolele with the George Formby headstock and its original case. I'm no fan of the George Formby headstock, (apart from the one on the E's), but apart from that I'm sure its a nice London made instrument from the time Dallas still produced their own Banjos. after winning this there was a couple of 5 string banjos I was vaguely tempted on but they started at the low estimate, (which was to high for me), and the auctioneer past them unsold rather than drop the price to a level I would have bid on (after all I would have to go there anyway to get the Dallas - I since I am going there I may enquire about the fate of the unsold Banjos?). Then came a J.G.Abbott 5 string Zither Banjo (with the hidden channel and the 6 tuners; supposedly for symmetry) Now I know Abbott is suppose to be the best British Banjo maker of the time and that the instruments usually go for a lot of money, so when the auctioneer started at the low end of the estimate, (and they didn't know Abbott was suppose to be the best so even the high end of their estimate was very low) I thought it was worth a punt. As with the other Banjos, no one else bid, not even the person who had bid against me for the Dallas, so with the maiden bid the J.G. Abbott is coming to Ukulele Corner incorporating the Pony Guitar Sanctuary too.
While we are on the subject of no-one bidding against me, later in the day I had the same thing happen on an eBay bid. In this case its a Ron Jon Surf Shop Soprano (I believe they are small Sopranos but I will have to check when it gets here). Now I know these are suppose to be very crappy tourist trash but they are very colourful and I have always kind of liked them: after all it's not the first time I have invited tourist trash to Ukulele Corner.
Well the Guitar Auction Storm is over and it turned out to be a storm in a teacup! 280 Guitars plus amps , spare parts and other Guitar related stuff; and none of it is coming to Ukulele Corner incorporating the Pony Guitar Sanctuary. Those chickens never hatched.
Those that I did win: well the Banjos anyway. While I was out collecting the Banjos the postman came with the Ron Jon but as I wasn't in and it needed signing for he only left me a note and will come back later with the parcel.. The 2 banjos are here though because I went up and collected them. The Dallas is in reasonable shape, it does have a dodgy replacement tuner, (or possibly three replacement tuners? I don't know which is original but they are all fairly old). It also has a big rip in the vellum so it will need replacing; as will the strings it came with. The Abbott is really lovely though, it didn't come with a case but it is still in very good nick with reasonable strings on. It also has a surprisingly good tone, far better than I was expecting; the Abbott reputation is well founded it would seem. The only issues are the frets could do with dressing and someone (from the look of it years ago) stuck a hook into heel of the neck where the stamp is, to attach a strap. not much of a problem but it did go in right where they stamped the model number and I would like to have known the model number
The Ron Jon is here too and it is very colourful but as I suspected, not very high quality. Still it is better than some of the tourist affairs that live at Ukulele Corner and does function perfectly well even it the action is a bit high and it doesn't sound that great The tuners work and hold fine, the intonation is ok and the bridge is both solid and actually quite good. Speaking of quite good, the other thing that has impressed me about this Ukulele is the quality of the decoration on the soundboard! It is spot on and far better than the decoration on some more expensive models.
Next day, the auction, 26 Guitars plus some amps, (now I really need a Bass combo, the Fender doesn't like it at all when I put a bass through it), and a good drum kit, (yes I looked at coming out of retirement!!!)
Most of the Guitars and amps; and the drumkit, (so I'm still retired), turned down my invitation to Ukulele Corner incorporating the Pony Guitar Sanctuary But not all. What is coming is a semi-hollow Tanglewood TomKat TE6JH from about 2000, (now discontinued) and a Gremlin Blue Moon BM05 Mandola with a solid spruce top, (it's possibly made by Hora and also discontinued
And they are all very lovely. The Mandola is Chinese made so it not from Hora so I don't know if its solid top or laminate? It doesn't really matter though it sounds good and the extra size makes it a lot easier for me to play than the Mandolins with their tiny fretboards. I think this will be the one that I learn to play the mandolin on. it also came with a good gigbag that will take any of my Banjoleles if I need it to; which is handy
The Traban is definitely quality, great electrics great spalt maple veneer but it is a big bass with a great BIG shiny bridge. Good job I have that Bass combo at the moment though, because this can seriously rumble!
The TomKat on the other hand seems quite small for a Guitar? Maybe because I have been playing all of those big Archtops recently? what is certainly the case, and this is something I read in the reviews, it is very light for a guitar. I'm not convinced yet about the whammy bar, it seams a little flimsy after the Bigsby on the WildKat. I can't judge too much at the moment though as it badly needs new stings, (if nothing else there is only 5 of them). It also needs a good clean, (as does the Mandola but the Traban is not too bad), so I'll strip off the old strings give it a good clean and put a new set on then fire it up and see if the whammy bar does perform
Normal because it was a standard ebay auction not a buy it now, so waiting for a week or so to see if I'd brought it, (and normal because its a bit of a clunker with a couple of frets missing and some damage on the back that may have been repaired?) So what I bid on, (and won), this time is a 1920's Regal black logo Soprano with a perloid fretboard. I know its 1920's because Regal had started using the blue logo by 1930 (but I don't know exactly when the change was). It was one of those auctions where I put in the first bid and knew I wasn't going to go much higher because of the damage, and because it was coming from Trumpton so the postage was already quite high. However it when the full course of the auction and no one else bid, so I got it for the starting price. There was a slight issue at this point because when I paid I saw the seller had said they weren't going to ship internationally(!), but it was going through ebay international shipping, so via Kentucky and I now have a tracking number for it so it must be on the way
and I am right back to normal because it's a lot of a clunker! As well as the two missing frets, the neck is loose, (hence the missing 12th fret), there are 3 fairly poorly fixed cracks on the back and the nut has been replaced with a small piece of metal On the plus side though I'm told the neck, (which was what I was most worried about), can be easily reset, the trickiest part being unsticking the pearloid tongue that goes onto the body. the cracks may not be that pretty but they are solid and once again I can get a new nut made. The black logo is nice and clear and there is a good inner soundhole label too which all add to the overall look of the Ukulele as a nice early vintage Regal
Speaking of Hollow bodies I have invited one of my all time favorites, the Epiphone WildKat Royale.
Bumbling around ebay last night waiting to see if my current invitations are accepted and not finding any good newly listed Ukuleles I ran a search on WildKats, as it is one of my favorite Guitars and I have always said I will get one one day. The search turned up a few that were "collection only" and nowhere near Ukulele Corner and a lovely Royale that was "buy it now or make an offer" and the seller was willing to post. It was also very near the end of the buy it now listing and clearly up to now had not had a lot of interest shown in it so I thought I would put in a very low offer, (what did I say a couple of posts ago about steering clear of buy it nows?!), just for fun. My first offer was automatically rejected so I thought "what the heck" and put in a second offer, a few quid more. This time it didn't get rejected out of hand, but I was still quite a bit lower than the price. When I logging in today to see the status of my invitations, this offer had been accepted along with one of my auction bids.
hat I won at auction was a 5 string semi-hollow Bass made in China and branded KTone. Now I hadn't come across KTone before bidding on this one but it turns out that its one of those Chinese brands that don't have a website or anything like that and sell internationally through eBay and Amazon, (I have a number of Ukuleles branded like that and I have generally been very happy with them but KTone don't do Ukuleles just Guitars and Basses) I didn't get it direct from the maker though mine is second hand and was being sold with a buy it now price as well as an auction. Though the buy in now price was pretty good there wasn't long left on the auction and up until me no one had bid on it so I thought that it was worth the risk of bidding the auction start price and hoping I got it cheap. After all I wasn't that sold on it because of the branding and, for a change not that excited by the hollow body, (whilst I luv big ol' hollow body Guitars I'm less keen on Basses), it was because it was a 5 string and if I didn't get this, there would be others coming up in much the same circumstance. (I also thought about going to collect it too as it was only an hour, hour and a quarter away, but the seller would post and shipping wasn't that high) Anyway, like I suspected no one else bid on it so in the end I got it for the start auction price which was a lot less than the buy it now price. So now a 5 string Bass is coming to Ukulele Corner, incorporating the Pony Guitar Sanctuary, I've never played a 5 string Bass before but as I'm not much cop on a 4 string one i don't think the extra string will make me worse.
and that low B has a mighty rumble!!
The WildKat came first in a spectacular guitar shaped cardboard box, (which I have kept), but it's not a 3 year olds Christmas the contents were even more spectacular. The WildKat looks like new, brilliant white with shiny gold metalwork and some fancy gold sparkle binding and it plays and sounds great too. Not sure about the whammy bar, I love the look of a Bigsby but I don't really know how to use it to enhance the playing? Whenever I use it I just sound even more crap! Still practice makes...
The KTone came in a slightly less spectacular guitar shaped box, (I haven't kept that), is not so shiny and clean and doesn't look as new; though it does look very fine (and will look even better once cleaned). Luckily for the little Fender amp I am borrowing, (with an option to purchase), a Peavey Microbass combo, because that low B would have seriously "upset" the Fender. It did upset my tuner, if the B string was a bit flat, (and it was to start with) the tuner wouldn't register so I had to use octaves, but once it was close I could tune it open, (this was good because I had heard after inviting it that the wooden bridge of the KTone in not great for intonation, especially on the B string. I've not checked this out yet but if it is a problem it looks like a very straightforward job to change the saddle for an adjustable one)
Anyway they are both here now and they are both Gorgeous and very welcome at Ukulele Corner incorporating The Pony Guitar Sanctuary
A Queen Victoria commemoration tile, four commemoration mugs with a vase, a collection of brass and...
Yes I've been bidding in an auction again and all of this junk was lumped into one lot listed as "A Miscellaneous Collection of Items". Why they all got put into one lot I can't imagine? It's not like the commemoration mugs were commemorating the same thing as the commemoration tile; and the manual of seamanship isn't commemorating anything, (and I don't even know what "a collection of brass" is? Scrap? Monkeys? Boiler fittings?) What there was though, and the reason I bid on it, was a George La Foley Soprano in its case. Yes George La Foley, one of the, if not the best British Ukulele manufacturer of the 1920's. Of course mixed in with all the other crap it hadn't been picked up by anyone else online. Someone in the room did run me up a bit and it would be interesting to know, (but I never will), if they were after the La Foley as well or they wanted something else. Whatever they weren't that keen and dropped out after a couple of bids leaving me to invite the La Foley to Ukulele Corner. But hopefully not the other crap, I will try and get the auction house to put that all in as a lot in their next auction so maybe someone who appreciates brass; or commemorative mugs can have it.
Well the La Foley and case are here, the auction house has agreed to put the rest of the stuff back into the next auction. Who knows. maybe an old seaman will want to relive his boyhood and I'll make money; but I doubt it. As to the Ukulele well its in reasonable condition, there is no seam splits, no frets missing and one small crack on the top by the bridge that I'll have to see about getting repaired the strings, well the 3 that were there, were fairly horrible, more like twine(?) so I had them off and in the bin straight away but they must have been on since the 40's or maybe 39. There was an old (empty) Keech brand string packet in the case with a bit on it apologizing for the wartime quality of envelopes, (and I'm loving this little bit of Ukulele ephemera). The case itself is a bit battered, but I have seen worse, and from the 1930 advert for La Foley I've see it looks like it is probably the original one. all in all its a fine Ukulele to come to Ukulele Corner incorporating the Pony Guitar Sanctuary and I look forward to restringing and playing it, (crack permitting)
Two months later and another one came up at a reasonable, (equally, if not more so bargain), price. This one had everything, (well not the case), resonator all the brackets, all the tuners even a bridge and strings. The down side was it was "collection only" and the other side of the country. Well I have had sellers recently say collection only was a mistake and they were willing to post so I wrote and asked; and the seller said yes he would post. He didn't change the listing though so no one else bid and now it has been posted to Ukulele Corner. It looks pretty perfect and won't need any spare parts from the first one but the one oddity is the red fretboard. I have never seen a Jolli Joe with a red fretboard before so this might be some aftermarket work? the effect is quite striking though so unless I have to I will leave it red. There was no case this time though and like I said the case is rarer than the Banjolele so if nothing else it was worth getting the first one for the case
Because it was listed as collection only there was no price for postage so the seller was going to invoice me separately through paypal for that and in looking on ebay for this invoice a new "Buy it Now" listing was brought to my attention presumably because this like the Jolli Joe had postage free in the listing, (in this case it was postage included and no issue of whether I had to collect or not). What it is is an unbranded vintage, probably British, certainly European somewhere, sunburst Soprano in very good, (from the photos and description), condition. The buy it now price was very reasonable (again read bargain). Reasonable enough that even though there was a make an offer option I didn't quibble and paid the full asking price. It's almost certainly from the 30's, (the only doubt in my mind is it looks in such good condition, and with no case, it looks newer) and from the headstock and bridge I was thinking George Houghton though the sunburst finish makes me think of Dallas and maybe continental? Possibly I will find out more when it gets here but wherever it comes from it, and the second Jolli Joe, are very welcome at Ukulele Corner
And the Jolli Joe is missing two brackets; I wonder where I can get replacements from? I know, my other Jolli Joe! Apart from that it is pretty much as good as I hoped it would be, the bridge, which looks old enough to be original, has a bit too much wear in the string slots to work properly but I can sand down the top and put on fresh new slots. the colourful finish may not be original but it was done a long time ago and has been done very well. It nicely and evenly coloured with no flaking or yellowing and developed a good patina. The only thing I have seen so far that gives away that it is aftermarket is the black paint, (the headstock front has been coloured black), encroaching on the edge of the logo plaque. The string though pretty new are rather stretchy nylon and I will probably replace them once I have done the bridge.
And the unlabeled sunburst one is a small Concert with a scale length of 360mm (14¼ inches) rather than a Soprano, even given the fact that I don't think it is the original bridge, (It looks newer and there is a fair amount of glue around it), the nut to 12th fret length bears out this should be the scale length. Now its here I am leaning more towards Barnett Samuel being the maker though because its not the original bridge identification is harder. It does look to have been of a reasonable quality when it was made though, with a good original nut, a good seperate fretboard, (and brass bar frets suggesting it might even date back to the 20's?) the tuners are original too (though a couple of screws have been replaced; probably when the bridge was done) and at that vintage only good models had friction tuners and not wooden pegs. Again the nylon strings that are on it are pretty naff and I should probably replace them too.
Bugsgear had suggested to me they might like me to review one of their new Bluetooth Eleukes. I, of course , said "yes I would love too" but heard nothing more until this arrived. Its the new Eleuke BCP-T steel strung, 490mm (19 inch) scale, solid body Baritone. Now I have needed(?) a solid body electric Ukulele for my collection for some time now as I didn't have anything like that; I was even contemplating commissioning one, and as its steel strung that is also new for the Corner, (I have steel strung Sopranos, Concerts and Tenors but no Baritone - until now)
Now its here I shall certainly review it thoroughly and my first impressions are it looks like a nice piece of kit but the factory setup it well off so I will have to set it up properly, (they have included hex allen keys for this purpose) and the case is SERIOUSLY padded (at least twice as thick as they normally are)
Why am I paying? Well I saw this lovely and colourful 1930's Harmony made Waterskiers stencil Soprano branded by P'MICo as a Collegiate with a very reasonable "Buy It Now" price in US$. Very reasonable in dollars but the post brexit pound is so weak against the dollar that it's now some 30% more expensive than it would have been but for all of those xenophobic, jingoistic idiots who can't see past their own bigotry!
Anyway enough common sense; it is by far the most colourful example I have seen and I have invited, (bought) it now even if it has had the bridge reattached rather crudely and its on its way to Ukulele Corner escaping the Trump supporting, KKK endorsing, misogynistic, narrow minded, bombastic, proud of their own ignorance, halfwits from across the pond. Sadly only to be met by the petty, small minded, equally "proud" halfwits from around here (Ukulele Corner is still a safe and sensible Corner though)
and its every bit as colourful as the picture. Yes the bridge has been reattached and then painted over with some much more matt black paint than the rest of the body so particularly in the right light it is rather visibly different. Sadly the fretboard is not pearloid but just painted silvery grey, but the paintwork here is effective and I do love the little painted fret markers And also unfortunate is the back has a few scratches, including some previous custodian scratching "Miami Fla. 1939" ,and there is a couple of, what looks like small off white paint blobs too. Structurally it is perfect though, no cracks, no seam separation, solid neck, good authentic working tuners and all the frets in place with no need for dressing, (Clearly it hasn't spent that much time in Florida) all of the P'MICo. branding on it is perfect too and I haven't invited anything from the P'MICo catalogue to Ukulele Corner before so this is nice. It has arrived with three of it's, if not original pretty old, gut strings on. I'm no fan of gut strings, not for authenticity, not for playing, (and certainly not boiled up for tea!) so I will have them off and a set of fluorocarbons on before it gets very much older.
Ok so I've looked a little closer now while I gave it a good clean and wax before restringing and photographing it and there is a little seam separation with the back at the base, but it doesn't look like it will be much of an issue to reglue
We then had an email discussion about lowering the price on the Pennant and how I like some of the other ones he had for sale, particularly a stencil painted Regal and a couple of days later he dropped the price so I would be under the import tax threshold if I invited it; so how could I not? He also put a number of other nice experienced American Ukuleles up for sale, so watch this space...
Well the Pennant anyway and its a little more beat up than I'd hoped with some seams going, a small crack on the top and a couple of small cracks on the bottom, plus a chunk of the bridge has gone and this is going to make it hard to put an A string on. Oh and the 12th fret has gone too. Still with the nice perloid headstock and fretboard, and all of the nice decals, front and back, it is very decorative and it has always been invited here for it's decorative merits rather than as a great player. The Regal is here now too. and it's quite a fatty when I tried putting it in a case. This one is in better condition than the Pennant, but doesn't have any tuners or a nut, (I knew about the tuners but not the nut). I have a set of cream button friction tuners that go quite nicely so I've fitted them but I don't have a nut that I can use , and when I looked online for a replacement, I couldn't find anything appropriate so a new one will have to me made
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