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

Yeee Haa!

posted by Lardy Fatboy

Regal made Carson Robinson Cowboy Soprano

I wasn't expecting that... Twice

posted 12 Aug 2017, 16:16 by Lardy Fatboy   [ updated 13 Aug 2017, 07:48 ]

Musikalia 504 Banjo Ukulele / Cavaco
Wstfield Gold Top
The first invite is a Musicalia 504 Banjo, as it has no bridge or strings I'm not sure if its the Banjo Cavaquinho or the Banjo Ukulele? Since they both have the same model number in the Musicalia catalogue, just with different reference letters at the end (C for cavaquinho and U for Ukulele) and the only difference in the specs is the strings I suppose it doesn't matter (apart from the 504 with no letters after it is the Banjo Mandolin but as that does have 8 tuners and 8 strings I know its not one of those) The reason for the invite? Well apart from the obvious, I would like something from the Musikalia factory to see how well made they are so I can assess how much I would be willing to pay for some of the more exotic chordophones they make? After all being made in Italy they are all quite expensive usually. The other of my triggers came into play, it was a right bargain! I must have done my Ukulele search on ebay very shortly after the seller put it up because not only did the auction start at a very very low starting price, but when I went in to bid I found it also had a very very very low buy it now price that wasn't a great deal higher than the start price. Certainly not enough to warrant letting the auction run as it would have certainly sold for well above that price if I let others bid on it; so I bought it now and its on the way to Ukulele Corner. As I said previously it will arrive with no bridge or strings so as I have spare Ukulele strings and bridges already, it will become the 504U Banjo Ukulele once I string it up.

The other invite was from a proper auction, and is a Westone XL10 Gold Top in a good flight case and with a 10 watt Yamaha practice combo. It was one of those auction
that have a bit of an online auction feel as you can put in pre-bids un until the physical auction, and it will tell you if you are currently winning. Now first thing in the morning I received a message that I was now not the highest bidder along with a reminder that today was the day of the physical auction so I logged in to see what the top bid was now and if it was still worth inviting? I saw that I had only been overbid by one increment, but I was already pretty close to my max price so I thought I'll go one more and if I wasn't top I would leave it at that. I went one more and it did put me on top but I then noticed there were 10 other people watching and the price still wasn't really that high when you added the case and the amp in, so I thought with that much interest I will be outbid once the auction starts and the only other lot I had any interest in was an old Tenor Banjo that I had put a tenner on and so far no one else had bid, (but if it stayed that the only bid was a tenner I wouldn't be surprised if the auctioneer withdrew the lot and I wasn't that interested that I would go any higher). Given this set of circumstances I decided to not watch the auction so I wasn't tempted to go over my limit. I checked after the auction though, just in case no one else did bid on the Banjo and the auctioneer was willing to sell it for a tenner. What I found though was others were interested and the Banjo sold for quite a bit more than a tenner, however even with all of the apparent interest no one else had bid on the Guitar so my invitation was accepted! the problem now is getting it, the auction house is a good 3 hour plus drive away and I have no prices for shipping! In hindsight with the usual sort of shipping quote I had probably bid too much; especially since I wasn't that fussed about the amp, and in investigating further I had found that this wasn't a Matsumoku Guitar. It was from a period between 2010 and 2012 where a German distributor had started using the name again on some Chinese made Guitars. The reviews generally say they are not bad but its far less valuable and collectable than a 1970's Japanese made one). On the plus side though, and the reason for the original invite is that it is a Gold Top and the Gold Top Standard is my favorite Les Paul. the question now is, (apart from how much to ship and do I have to go and get it?), do I still want to keep the Encore? and if I do get rid of it do I want to get rid of a couple of the pawn shop strats too?

The Gamble paid off

posted 1 Aug 2017, 15:45 by Lardy Fatboy   [ updated 17 Aug 2017, 15:29 ]

Albert Houdlett & Son Nu Way Banjo Ukulele
What is coming now is an A. Houdlett "Nu Way" UKulele Banjo. Now the two things I know about this firm  are that a) this was the firm where Fred Gretsch started out before founding his own company, and b) this particular model was supplied to Ditson to re-brand. and Ditson didn't put their name to anything that wasn't top notch, so I'm hoping that although a bit plain it will be well made and very good tonally; we shall find out when it arrives

The gamble was, this was one of those ebay auctions where they was a buy it now price as well as the opening price for the auction. The buy it now price was very reasonable and I was tempted to go with that, but in the end I just put in the opening bid  for the auction. A risk certainly, you never know if someone is willing to pay more for it?. No one did though so I got it for the opening bid which was less than half the buy it now price; result!

It's Here

and it has had some "interesting" repairs! I thought the skin looked like it had a tear in, but it seemed to sit oddly, like it wasn't a tear just some kind of blemish? Now its her I can see it is a tear but someone has glued what is left of the vellum to the pot! Now it needs a new vellum but I fear getting the old one off with all of that glue. it is also missing the bit on the back of the pole that enables the neck angle to be changed; and that would be a bugger of a job to find a replacement.

A suspicion confirmed

posted 10 Jul 2017, 16:05 by Lardy Fatboy   [ updated 13 Jul 2017, 06:18 ]

Cold War Musima Soprano
It has always seemed odd to me that the post war East German musical instrument manufacturing conglomerate, (that was reputed at one point to be the largest instrument maker in the world for a while?) made Banjoleles for themselves and for a number of other people, (including J.E.Dallas and B&J), along with all of the other things; Guitars, Mandolins, Banjos, Violins, Woodwind, Brass, Pianos, Drums, percussion and the like,but didn't make standard wooden Ukuleles. Up until now I had never seen or heard of one though. Possibly because like a lot of the Musima output, they were unbranded and fairly nondescript, and with the sharks tooth tuners that I haven't seen on German made Ukuleles before, I would have thought that this was a Japanese Ukulele of the period. I know this is Musima made though because it comes with the original Musima paperwork and when I saw it on ebay I knew I would make a serious effort to bring it to Ukulele Corner so I could study it further and bid possibly more that an instrument of (from the photos) this quality. I needn't have worried to much though as no-one else was willing to overpay for it so I did get it for a sensible price and now it's on the way to Ukulele Corner.

It's Here

Along with its guarantee paperwork and an old songbook. The Guarantee is nice and says the Ukulele left the factory in 1970 , the old songbook is a piece of crap and I don't know any of the songs

Clunker time again

posted 4 Jul 2017, 16:30 by Lardy Fatboy   [ updated 20 Jul 2017, 03:07 ]

Cole and Dundas Marigolds Soprano
I'm not 100% sure who made or marketed this Ukulele but I'm a sucker for perloid and I did like the marigold decals so I put in the opening bid as it was still fairly cheap. I thought I would be outbid because at some point because it was quite pretty and cheap, (especially if it didn't need shipping across the pond), but no one else bid? Maybe because it is a bit of a clunker and is going to need some work done on it. there is a noticeable crack in the back and most of the frets are missing, (in fact there are only 4 left - I think it will probably be better to remove the original 4 and completely re-fret it), and as is often the case with this sort of clunker, there may be other problems that I haven't noticed? 

Having invited it I thought I would do a bit more research into its origins. It is superficially unmarked and at first, (when I bid on it), I thought it was a Harmony; after all it's definitely not a Regal, but when I looked more carefully it clearly wasn't a Harmony either. After comparing the photos with other Chicago makers, (I'm pretty sure its Chicago made), my best bet now is that it was made by Richter for one of the local distributors, probably Targ & Dinner or possibly even Cole & Dunas before T&D took them over. I'm hoping I will know more once it gets here (Richter sometime stamped their name inside the ukulele at the neck block and I hope I will find this?) but I'll have to wait and see. 

It's Here

And it is as experienced as the pictures suggested! there are the frets, (or lack of them), the split in the back, and on top of that the end seam has come apart, taking with it the top and the bottom joints at this point so the whole bottom will have to be reglued. What it doesn't have though is any internal stame saying Richter or anything else? As it is here though I can directly compare it most of the contemporary Chicago makers and it is different from all of them in dimensions, bridge design, heel shape and the like so we come back to the makers I haven't got, Globe,  Richter or something completely new to me? Things like the decals and the perloid make me thing it is not from a small maker and the design still looks more like Richter to me comparing it to Known Richter photos so I stick with that until I find anything further either way; but I'll keep looking...

And I don't even think he's Funny

posted 27 Jun 2017, 10:05 by Lardy Fatboy   [ updated 7 Jul 2017, 14:53 ]

Emenee Jimmy Durant Hot Cha Cha plastic Soprano
Jimmy "Schnoz" Durante that is, but when I saw his endorsed "Ho Cha Cha" Ukulele from Emenee in, (from the photos and the description), immaculate  condition I, despite what I have said in the past about not getting any more plastic Ukuleles, thought at that low starting price it's worth a punt. To be honest I wasn't going to go much higher than the starting price, but as is sometimes the case, no one else bid so my initial bid won. Of course, as it's coming from Trumpton postage and import tax put the price up a bit so I hope it is as immaculate as the seller said

It's Here

and it is every bit as immaculate as they said. The action is a bit high but I don't know if it was made that way or there has been a little warping of the neck over the years? Apart from that its probably in as good a condition as any plastic ukulele of the period I have ever seen. The strings on it are new but don't look the greatest of quality so I may replace them later but that would be my only other comment on the quality

If at first you don't succeed...

posted 13 Jun 2017, 08:11 by Lardy Fatboy   [ updated 12 Aug 2017, 09:44 ]

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.
Bandola de Venezuelao

Well it's still not here!! But being the sucker that I am I have now also invited a real Bandola de Venezuela coming from Carcass too When I did this I thought I was going through a different Venezuelan distributor, (clearly they were made by the same firm), but it turns out it's the same one just using different names, (which is never a good sign). The only plus at the moment if the Bandola is being shipped through DHL whereas the Cuatro was shipped through Fedex so maybe it will turn up?

Hopefully they both will, but with no tracking information it has to be soon for the Cuatro

Well the Cuatro has arrived but thanks to Fedex careful handling the bass side and half the bottom have been completely smashed in taking a lump off the soundboard  too! I have taken the carcass to the Ukulele doctor but he doesn't think it is repairable - a pity because I can see that it was well made and would have been a nice instrument if it hadn't been smashed.
And Fedex have the gall to send me an invoice for importing it including an admin fee  - well they can take a fat run

the state of play now though is the chap that sold it to me agrees that it wasn't packed sturdily enough, (but that doesn't let Fedex off from their vandalism) and says he will send me another once the Bandola arrives

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 27 Jun 2017, 09:42 ]

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

It's Here

And for all it's looking a bit beat up, it is a much better quality than I was expecting. Yes it needs new tuners and something needs to be done about the bridge, but there are no cracks, all the frets are there and I think its solid Koa, (well the body at least) there is a sound hole label but the middle is missing so I have to guess the middle word; it starts with a H and ends with a an.  So it says Victor Brand,  H_____an, Ukulele and there is no other information about its original maker. So far I have found nothing on Victor Brand Ukuleles but I will keep looking, (along with fixing the bridge and fitting new tuners)

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

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