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

Ukulele? For a Penny ?!?

posted 16 Aug 2018, 09:08 by Lardy Fatboy   [ updated 16 Aug 2018, 15:18 ]

JR Stewart LeDomino
Supetone with a partial Duco finish
Yael Peacock
Someone is having a "Giraffe"!!
No a Peacock actually; that is officially what I paid on eBay for the Chinese Concert with the laser etched peacock! Of course there was postage on top so in reality I paid more than a penny but when I saw it as an auction item with a starting price of a penny I thought "thats got to be worth a punt, even though I am bound to be outbid, but that's ok, after all I really don't need another starter level Concert and of itself it's not that spectacular". But no one else bid so it stayed at £0.01 for 7 days! As I said it's not that spectacular on its own, though I am sure it will be perfectly playable, but I will always see it now without the postage cost and "the 1p Ukulele" and with that story it's kudos is, in my book, sugnificantly upped.
Strangly enough though, (or maybe not?), I saw the same model in a "buy it now" offer with free delivery for exactly the same ammount as the postage on mine and the extra penny? (Same peacock and everything but this one was branded Yael so unless there is something else on mine - it was sold as unbranded - I will call it a Yael and look for information about the factory that makes them).

The other two cost me a lot more than a penny (though I still think they are a bargain). What happened was someone based in the UK put both of them up as single lots; the first one which is the one that really caught my eye, is the JR Stewart made Le Domino. This is, in my opinion, one of the coolest Ukuleles ever made, and has been in the top 10 of the Ukuleles I wanted ever since I started collecting them; even the slightly less cool, but still black, Regal made ones, (the later natural Regal made ones are nowhere near as nice and smack of Regal just having some old decals to use up), but ideally the original JRS ones. Usually when I see them, they are on sale in the US, often in poor condition, and for a lot more than this one was offered at so there was no hesitation in my sending an initial invite to Ukulele Corner.

While looking at it I saw than the same seller had another US made Ukulele of a similar vintage up for sale as well. This was a Supertone that I had only seen small blurry pictures of before, with a decoration that was referred to as "Duco". Of the few that I had seen, most were fully covered with the speckles, but I had seen one that was only part covered; like there was a protective cover put over the top so only part was over painted. Having only seen one of these before, and not a good picture at that, I had a closer look and close up, the painting was so crisp that I thought it must be a recent referb job. Thinking this might be the case for why the Le Domino was so pristine looking too, I contacted the seller and asked if it had been refurbished? The seller told me that he didn't do it and the person that he got it from, the person who had imported it into the UK some time ago, didn't do it either. I would have liked this too but it was listed as finishing before the Le Domino, which I wanted more, and which I fully expected the price to double on before it was finally sold. If they had come up the other way round I would have waited, and if I didn't get the Le Domino, I would go for this. as it was the wrong way round though, and I was reluctant to spend a lot on this, and then have to spend a lot more for the LeDomino, I tried putting a cheeky offer in to buy both of them now. As, up to this point and it was a couple of days after the auctions started, (everyone know all of the serious bidding only happens in the last few seconds on an auction), no-one had bid on the Supertone and I was the only bidder on the LeDomino, the seller took up my offer if I was willing to be a little less, (but still I think quite), cheeky. So off went the invitations to the both of them and I wonder gleefully now how many snipes have been thwarted but the auctions ending early?

Something Old, Something New...

posted 29 Jul 2018, 15:20 by Lardy Fatboy   [ updated 14 Aug 2018, 16:17 ]

Juan Gomez
tanglewood Mini
And I have no good rhymes to finish the poem off because nothing is borrowed and nothing is blue either.
So the old, this is a pre Civil War Spanish Soprano from Juan Goméz of Barcelona, (if he was ever a real person?) I'm very interested to compare this with my José Alvaréz, (who we know was not a real person, just a branding). I have long suspected that they were both made by the same factory in Barcelona because most of the examples I have seen look very much identical? I can see that there is a bit of a comparison issue here as it looks like this Goméz has had its golpeador removed, (hence the black above the sound hole), but in many ways this is good because my Alvaréz doesn't have a golpeador either, (I suspect it did have once but there is far less evidence that it was there, due the the emulsion paint when I got it hiding and then removing any trace as I had to strip it right back to the wood). The Goméz also comes with wooden pegs, which are no help in identification and I shall replace with proper tuners as soon as I can because I don't like wooden pegs.

And the new, this is one of Tanglewoods latest range of Tribal Spirit Ukuleles and is mini scale, so its the "Tiny Tanglewood Tribal Spirit" (no poetry but a little illeteration). Having pulled the trigger and "brought it now" I read some of the reviews for it and they were all pretty unflattering. Oh well it was very cheap, (I thought), and I do love a Mini so I will wait and see before passing judgment.

I'm suppose to have retired

posted 25 Jul 2018, 17:04 by Lardy Fatboy   [ updated 27 Jul 2018, 17:02 ]

JHS Vintage AMG3 tricone Guitar
Puka Rosette Series Concert
But...
there was a big (100+) Guitar auction today that also had a number of other instrument and musical paraphernalia. Sadly I had to go out in the middle of it and missed a number of bargain Guitars but I was there for a lot of it and I did manage to invite a couple of things including a JHS Vintage Tricone Resonator, (I know I have a JHS Vintage Single Cone Resonator, but I have always wanted to get a Tricone to hear the difference in sound) , a 24 track digital Portastudio and a
Drum Kit!!!
Alesis Lite
That's right an Alesis DM Lite electronic drum kit!! Now the last electric drum kit I had, I beat to death within a year because I was way to heavy handed but that was 30 years ago and electronic drum kits have come a long way since them, (and hopefully I have mellowed too?)

Then on top of all thing I had my offer accepted on a Puka Rosette Series Tenor Ukulele so that is coming too.

Actually not so short...

posted 20 Jul 2018, 16:25 by Lardy Fatboy   [ updated 21 Jul 2018, 17:28 ]

ShortBass One
for a Uke Bass even though it is called a ShortBass One! 
Marketed by Aquila, though I believe actually made in China this has a scale length of 23 inches. longer than the Kala UBass, (20½ inches) but still in the Baritone Ukulele type of range and much shorter than even a short scale Bass (32 inches). The purpose for Aquila commissioning this was for putting on some new, (at the time) "red" series strings, and the extra length is suppose to make it's acoustic performance better, (I shall see when it gets here). 

The reason I invited it was because it was on eBay at a very bargain price because it is a factory second, (there is a repaired crack above the soundhole), and because I wanted one!

Latest eBay Refugees from Trumpsilvania

posted 12 Jul 2018, 15:16 by Lardy Fatboy   [ updated 18 Aug 2018, 15:42 ]

Zim-Gar
Bruno Lyra
My success on US ebay auctions is continuing, What I have managed to invite now is a 1960's Zim-Gar Pirles, actually made in Japan but imported for one of the major US retail firms of the time. The other one I have invited is a 1920's Bruno Lyra which may well have been made by the original New Jersey Oscar Schmidt Co. 

They're Here!

The Zim-Gar is a fine example of 60's Japanese craftsmanship. I didn't realise, until I got this, that Pirles was a fairly significant name in the Japanese home market though apare from the instruments Gar-Zim, (the name of the Zim-Gar distributor), imported I don't think many were sold overseas. It is fully laminate, but then it set out to be a fairly budget instrument and the black binding is just paint. Mine has a little bit of wear on the top part of the lower bout, but apart from that it's immaculate, no signs of wear on the plastic fretboard, the bridge or the very nice sharks toothesque, (not a direct copy of the Harmony one and I think a little better looking), tuners. The strings that came with it need trimming, (or possibly replacing? They feel quite new but they don't feel like the highest standard), and then it's ready to Rock'n'Roll.

The Lyra is even more immaculate given its greater age. The neck is tight, all of the frets are there, even the 12th, the bridge is firm and there is no splitting of any seams. And of course no cracks, not even any bad scratches! I think it is probably made of birch and just stained to look darker, but it has come up beautifully with a polish. It came with one old gut string and one tuning peg but I've quickly got rid of those and put some nice new steel friction tuners on, (they look the part other than the cross head screws). And the biggest question? Well its certainly not Regal, Harmony, or any of the other big Chicago makers, not with those chunky braces, (or the bridge, or the headstock), but I would like to see some more Oscar Schmidt's of this sort of tongueless, one piece backed but maked up level of Oscar Schmidt before I could say 100%

Interesting

posted 7 Jul 2018, 14:05 by Lardy Fatboy   [ updated 18 Aug 2018, 16:51 ]

Flying Wedge
Well to me anyway I like the different body shape, I also like the single pickup that's by the bridge in kind of a Gibson / Gretsch Jnr. position, but mainly because I don't know who made it!? Teisco made a similar looking Bass they called "the Flying Wedge", similar but this is not one. Eko made a Bass called "the Rocket", it's not one of those either. The headstock, bridge and tailpiece do look 1960's / 70's MiJ but I can't find anything that looks like this? I don't really know how old it is either, it could date from the 60's but it could, from the picture just as easily be post millennium? Country of origin, also a mystery, but maybe there will be more clues once it gets here?

It's Here

and there is not a lot of answers. The only thing about it that is marked is the pickup, and that is actually quite a pleasant surprise. It's a late 1960s Baldwin, (Gretsch), made dearmond humbucker, (which on it's own, if it works, could be worth more than I paid for the Bass). From this first clue I looked at the Bassess using this pickup at the time. I couldn't find anything that looked like this but it does appear that it also has a Baldwin Burns bridge. The neck has no headstock logo but it looks like a 70's Fender Jazz copy neck and I know that FugiGen made a number of basses with that kind of neck. Armed with this information and the fact that the body looks more home made that anything else all I can say is my bass is either an early prototype of the Burns Flyte, (highly unlikely), or some kind of "Frankenstein" made up from the remains of a 700 series Baldwin Burns, a MiJ neck and some original woodwork, (much more likely).

I have been looking further into the original Burns Guitars story and it's a right mess. At one point, I believe before the Baldwin Burns partnership, he had a partnership for a while with another Englishman named Henry Weill forming Burns Weill. after the partnership broke up Henry changed the name to Fenton Weill and made a number of Guitars and Basses over the next few years, initially using up old stock from the partnership, and then getting or making his own parts. What I have seen in this period was a number of instruments of a very similar standard to the body here (I still think the neck has nothing to do with Burns, Baldwin or even Weill but I have read that the Burns and Weill necks were notoriously poor with some not even having a truss rod! so replacing one would be no surprise) I have also found a number of Burns related Guitars and Basses using this type of tailpiece. Moving on past the demise of Baldwin UK firstly there was a big sell off of all of the Baldwin parts (grist for the home made option?) I have also seen Shergolds with single pickup bass designs and with control panels similar to thee one on mine so there might be more than I first thought to the idea of some kind of Prototype with a nod the the Steinburg designs? 

The Ubiquitous 60's MiJ Banjolele

posted 27 Jun 2018, 12:55 by Lardy Fatboy   [ updated 29 Jul 2018, 01:06 ]

Sheltone

This model of Banjolele was branded and sold by just about every distributor of the time; and sometimes it wasn't even branded! The one I have invited was branded and sold by Fletcher, Coppock and Newman as a Sheltone. Now I have been looking for a nice example of this particular model, just because it's so Ubiquitous, but ideally it would have the Shelltone branding, partly because this is the same as Brian May's (and he is supposed to have used it on some of Queen's recordings), but mainly because as part of the branding FCN invented a special import and distribution company called A.L. Schitnasty & Co. Clearly this was meant to be a comment on their view of the Banjolele but also its meant to be a joke; and I think a good one. I don't expect it to be the greatest player but I do hope its not that Nasty and Schit.

It's Here

And it's not to bad. OK it's not a Ludwig or a Monarch but the 5 brackets do a fair job of keeping the tension and it's very solidly made and reasonably loud. It is what it was meant to be, a nice little Banjolele for pootling about on and annoying the neighbours.

The American Invasion continues

posted 21 Jun 2018, 00:50 by Lardy Fatboy   [ updated 29 Jul 2018, 05:56 ]

Regan
L+H Camp
Winner
Keith Urban Tenor
I have had a bit of success on eBay recently, bidding on Ukuleles that are "over the pond" in Trumpsilvania. What I have invited is, from left to right, a 1951 Regan Soprano, a 1924 Lyon & Healy "Camp"Soprano, a probably Regal, (or possibly Slingerland?) made Manhattan Band Instrument Co. "Winner" Soprano and a 2017 Keith Urban, (his own brand), Tenor.

They're here!

Well it is a long way to come, but they are all safely in the Corner.
The Lyon & Healy Camp has a small crack on the top and some very old nylon strings, ((which I am tempted to replace but in themselves they are ok and they do give a nice tone). The monkeypod is a nice wood and even though this isn't supposed to be the top L&H brand, the craftsmanship is excellent

The Winner is a little more damaged, one of the top braces has come off and the is some seem splitting. I'm not convinced about the authenticity of the sound hole decal but the others are very nice and definitely original

The Regan is perhaps a bit plain and of interest only to a geek like me, but Ukulele Corner is hosted by a geek very like me, (so similar as to be indistuingous), so it's very welcome and is an interesting addition to the field of post WWII ukulele production

The Keith Urban Tenor is big! That is it has a bigger body than most Tenor and thankfully came with it's own gig bag, because it's to big for a standard one. Strangely for the size of body, the tone is a little lacking in bass, but apart from that it quite nice for a laminate. speaking of laminate, the ash top is quite pretty and the overall build is very nice, I just wish it had a better name.

It's OK but I should perhaps have done better?

posted 16 Jun 2018, 15:55 by Lardy Fatboy   [ updated 15 Jul 2018, 07:19 ]

Fairie Queen
11 fret spanish
JHS Falcon FG100R
There were a number of Guitar and other musical instruments auctions over the weekend including a big two day one that I managed to miss the first day of, and looking back at what some of the lots went for that is why I say I should have done better. I also managed to miss a Kumalae Ukulele in another auction when I was called away 10 lots before it came up and didn't get back until seven lots after!!

What I have managed to invite though, (and some of the pictures are pretty awful so I am not 100% on the quality), are a nice pearloid John Grey Banjolele; it doesn't say "Faerie Queen" on it and I don't know if the resonator is covered in pearloid or not, (no pictures of the back and too late to ask), but I believe, if it is one of Barnett Samuel's entries into the "Great Pearloid War" this is what it was called.

Then in a different auction I saw a pre civil war Spanish 11 fret Ukulele the auctioneer didn't even know it was a Ukulele so I got no more information than the crappy picture, I'm hoping it's a Jose Benedid but more likely its a Manuel Lopez. The Ukulele was in a job lot with a JHS Falcon redburst dreadnought Acoustic Guitar that appears to be in need of a good clean.

They're here!

I drove out to collect the job lot but got a bit lost on the way and decided to have the banjolele shipped to me rather than get lost again. When it arrived I found that it does have a pearloid resonator; and the hoop is all covered in pearloid too. there is no doubt it is the same as the Faerie Queen, same headstock, same tailpiece, 8 brackets, it just doesn't appear to have ever had the Faerie Queen plaque above the John Grey one? As well as the possibly missing plaque, there is a definitely missing tuner button and I am not sure I can match it so I may decide to replace the lot?

I have removed the strings and cleaned up the Falcon and it does look a lot better clean. I have also removed the old gut strings from the Ukulele and that looks a lot better too. I have compared it to pictures of Manuel Lopez Ukuleles and the one picture of a Benedid Ukulele that I have and it does look more like the Benedid picture than the Lopez pictures so I'm going to go with that until anythig comes up to change my mind.

 

I got carried away!!!

posted 14 May 2018, 04:38 by Lardy Fatboy   [ updated 14 Jun 2018, 08:51 ]

Supro 2010BZ

Gibson SG
Freshman FU1S
There was a reasonably large, (35+ guitars and some other chordophones), instruments auction, as the bulk of lots were Pianos but there was quite a few other instruments as well, some of which looked new, I suspected that it was a Piano shop that had closed down for some reason and was selling off it's stock. While I had no interest in the Pianos, I did like the look of a number of the other instruments, some of which I put in a cheeky bid and some of which I just marked to watch as see. The very first Guitar I liked the look of was a reissue bronzed Supro Jamesport, and this came just after the Pianos. Now the auction did start with a minimum opening bid, (so I couldn't be that cheeky), and on this Supro I wasn't going to go much higher than the opening bid. When it came up no one bid against me so I won it at a reasonable price. as this was the first of the guitars and I had won it, so was already looking at shipping, I tried quite hard on the subsequent lot's knowing that more lots lowered the shipping cost per unit, however unlike the first there was a lot more interest on them that on my Supro and they were all going through at more than I was willing to pay. This included a Gibson SG that I had put the initial bid in but had been overbid already but, and this is where the "carried away" comes in, when the live bidding started, after it sat for a bit with no further bids, I decided to put one more bid in before it sold. The next increment was much higher than I really wanted, but I never go the chance to put a smaller bid in. I'm not sure if this was a blessing or not? While I had bid a bit more than I had intended, the big next step over my bid seemed daunting enough to put everyone else off; so I invited a 2005 "Classic" Gibson SG, (that's an SG with P90 pickups rather than the normal humbuckers). Finally after the Guitars there was a couple of new Ukuleles as lots to sell. I had looked at them in the catalogue prior to the auction and didn't especially need any of them But I carried on watching just to see how they went. As it happened they didn't go very well, but the first 2 were already represented at Ukulele Corner so I didn't bid. Next up was one that I didn't have an example of,  a Soprano Freshman model FU1S. Whilst this was never one of my "must have" Ukuleles, they had a good reputation and were not cheap to buy new, so when bidding opened at less that 20% of the retail price and no one else was bidding I decided to have a go; after all I was already getting 2 guitars shipped. Still no one else bid so I got it for the maiden bid price, and even with the shipping costs this still looks to be a serious bargain.

They're Here!!

And I would say the Supro is brand new! It certainly looks it, there is not a mark on it, the strings are new and it came in its original box, (which is also in pristine condition) It's a little heavier that I thought but I do like the colour and the pickup cover, it's all very retro and well as being very new.

The Freshman looks quite new as well and is certainly at least as good a quality Ukulele than I had been led to believe. it has a solid top, all of the binding is spot on, no blemishes or extraneous glue that I can see, and it has a good and loud tone. the only things that let it down as the nut and saddle look like cheap plastic, and that the g string goes out of tune much faster and further than the rest. I have looked at the tuner but I can't see anything amiss?

Finally the Gibson, it's a kosher as a foreskin on the floor. I checked the serial number and it came back with the right model number and that it was made in July 2005. OK so this one is not new and there is a bit of buckle rash on the back, but it does look like it has been cared for and all of the hardware, including the electrics work perfectly.

1-10 of 10