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

Latest eBay Bargian

posted 12 Jul 2018, 15:16 by Lardy Fatboy



posted 7 Jul 2018, 14:05 by Lardy Fatboy   [ updated 8 Jul 2018, 14:20 ]

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?

The Ubiquitous 60's MiJ Banjolele

posted 27 Jun 2018, 12:55 by Lardy Fatboy   [ updated 27 Jun 2018, 15:32 ]

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.

The American Invasion continues

posted 21 Jun 2018, 00:50 by Lardy Fatboy   [ updated 27 Jun 2018, 15:42 ]

L+H Camp
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 

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 was recently thinking...

posted 14 Jun 2018, 09:12 by Lardy Fatboy   [ updated 1 Jul 2018, 16:32 ]

L Viohl
that Ukulele Corner is not well represented with Ukes made in New York. I was however, thinking of something from Gretsch, Oscar Schmidt, Favilla or even Turturro, the big New York makers What I wasn't considering was something from the smaller workshops like D'Agostino or Viohl, but that is exactly what I have managed to invite, a top end  L. Viohl & Sons model

It's Here!!

and it is absolutely gorgeous! Yes there are a few knocks and scratches but then it is over 90 years old and there is nothing structural at all. It is made from top quality mahogany with a contrasting lighter wood and mahogany rosette and perfling on the top; none of the wood slithers are missing but the is a slight parting of the binding and the top at the waist. Tonewise it's a bit quiet but I am not sure about the strings? They are nylon and not it would appear of the greatest quality. They will need to be reapplied, if not replaced and I do think a set of Aquila Nylguts  would do a better job.

Not sure what this is, but once again

posted 11 Jun 2018, 16:18 by Lardy Fatboy   [ updated 22 Jun 2018, 14:34 ]

Kinda Coronardo
It's not the Fender Starcaster that I first thought it was!
When I first came across it, it was advertised as a "Fender Guitar" with no estimate next to it. I magnified the headstock and it said Fender and something that looked like it started with S. I could see it was a hollow body so I thought proper Starcaster and that I would have a little punt but that it would be well outbid and so didn't give it another thought. Come the auction and I still expected to be easily outbid. The it came up and I wasn't! It didn't even come close to what I had put down as my maximum and for a moment or two I was virtually dancing on air, then I looked at it again and thought "that's not a Starcaster headstock" and "isn't a Starcaster an offset body shape" so I reminded myself of exactly what a proper Starcaster looks like and this clearly wasn't one: but it did look quite a bit like an early Coronado with a replacement tailpiece (some of the early ones had dots and not bars for fret markers; and they also had a natural finish version) but it looking at it further the ƒ holes are wrong and there should be 4 control knobs not 3. The best I can come up with know is that it is some kind of Japanese hollow body, maybe with a stratocaster neck? but more likely just a fake Fender decal. I can see the tailpiece is a replacement though, there are 3 holes that would probably have meant originally there would have been some kind of whammy bar, (I did think here about the odd whammy bar that original Coronados had when I was still hoping it was a Coronado) so working out exactly who made it and what it was is going to be hard especially before it gets here so I won't try, I'll just have to console myself that it looks quite smart and it didn't cost a lot

It's Here,

and it's certainly not a Fender, it's a Frankenstein! My best guess for the neck is that it's a Squire that has had the Squire decal removed and replaced with a hooky Fender decal, because apart from the Fender, that rest of it is straight from a Squire headstock right down to the serial number, (that dates the neck to the late 80's), and the little "by Fender" byline. the rest of the body though, ??????! The is not label inside the sound hole but from the plethora of small screw holes, not only is it a replacement tailpiece, but the pick guard, the bridge and the pickups are replacements too. There are no obvious holes indicating the control panel has been replaced but I'm not going to take it off to check for sure. 
Not counting all of the replacements this guitar looks very tired and worn; all of the odd screw holes don't help either. This is definitely one I should have looked further into and avoided, but it's here now and it does play so welcome to the Pony Guitar Sanctuary, (and maybe I should loose all of the squire parts of the headstock logo and put on one of those fake Coronado decals?)

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.

I still don't know how to play it...

posted 10 May 2018, 01:11 by Lardy Fatboy   [ updated 14 Jul 2018, 05:04 ]

6 bracket banjo
But I always said I'd get one eventually.
The Ruan obviously, I can play the little Banjolele a bit once I put a bridge on it and as you can tell from the photo the two instruments came as a single lot in an auction. I bid mainly for the Ruan, though the auction house had no idea what it was and listed it as a "Lute Instrument". No cracks ,(apparently?), but the "frets" are all there, the tuners look ok and I just have to hope that if it needs a bridge it has one. I have also no clue on the strings, if it has them all and if they need replacing and if they do where to get them. I don't know a lot about Ruans but I guess I will know a lot more when it gets here.

The same can be said about the Banjolele too. I don't recognise the head-stock but with only 6 brackets I don't think its American. My best guess is its German from the early 30's and does need a bridge, probably new strings and maybe even new tuners? 

They're Here!

And the Ruan doesn't need a bridge? I don't quite know how the string vibration is transmitted, but from having a go with the two strings that are on there, it does? Anyway it does need new strings but from the nut it should only have 3, (so why the fourth tuner? a spare?) There are no cracks but there is the 5th fret, where the neck meets the body, missing and it does need a damn good clean. OK so it is a little plain after some of the ones I have seen, but its certainly interesting and I do love those big fat tuning pegs.

Further investigation tells me that this is a Yeuqin not a Ruan and one of the big differences between then is the Yeuqin doesn't have a bridge  or sound holes and the Ruan would have both. Another difference is the Yeuqin should have 4 strings in 2 courses whereas the Ruan would have 3 single courses. Clearly the previous custodian was trying to play it as a Ruan hence the 3 strings, (and the 5 holes in the bridge)

The Banjolele is, as I suspected, German and with only 6 brackets originally a little budget. It says so on the tailpiece along the the brand name Rima, (not one I have come across before?) Ah ha, you may say that could just be the tailpiece branding, and it might, but given the way it is moulded for, and tacked onto the rim, I sure it was put on as part of the manufacturing process. It is a little worse for wear, it needs a new vellum, new strings, new tuners, (the current ones are a mismatched set of push pegs; and I don't like push pegs!) a new bridge, plus a strip down to try and straighten some of the brackets, and to clean/re-varnish(?) the pot.

Something old, something new...

posted 24 Apr 2018, 15:51 by Lardy Fatboy   [ updated 30 May 2018, 14:34 ]

Talina SW-21
AG Nukulele
And something I have come across before, but it was such a bargain I thought "what the heck"!
The old Ukulele is coming from the US and was made in the 1920's in St. Charles, Illinois. It is one of Globe Musical instruments most seminal Ukuleles the "Trufret". The reason it was seminal is because it came with a one piece metal fret board that included built in frets This was, I believe , the first Ukulele to do this and so is the forerunner to all of the Harmony and Kay, el at, plastic fret boards of the 50's, and the MFC types of today.

the new Ukulele is for some reason coming from Germany via the US and originally China? What it is a solid flame maple soprano with proper wood rope binding, branded as Talina by the US importer ( and then sold on to a German re seller, (maybe because UkuleleWorld has shut down?). I know that it was originally made in China by Samwill Ukulele and Mandolin Co. and that they make damn fine Ukuleles! I know this because my Samwill pacific walnut Soprano is one of my very favourites, for looks, tone and quality of manufacture. Though this one is the same basic design the walnut one is very dark and this one is much lighter

The Ukulele I have come across before is a bottle shaped Soprano Nukulele. Like the Samwill I do already have one but this doesn't have the quality or the tone; it is basically a novelty Ukulele. Well this one is a different one of the six designs they came with and at the price it was I just couldn't go past it. I will look great on the side with the one I already have, and who knows maybe I will collect all six?

They're Here

The Samwill is every bit as lovely, well made and tuneful as I had hoped. They really are good Ukuleles, (or Mandolins), if you get the chance.

The Trufret is spectacularly dirty, but apart from that, (and no strings), it is in fine shape with no age related structural or cosmetic issues.

The Nukulele is exactly as I expected which does mean no chips or scratches, (and that is important on a Ukulele that is there mainly to be looked at). I wonder what one I'll get next? 

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