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

A big Thumbs Up

posted 17 Sep 2017, 18:31 by Lardy Fatboy   [ updated 22 Sep 2017, 12:22 ]

Lindert Conductor
Starosvitska (Ukrainian Folk) Bandura
A couple of auctions ended this evening and in both cases, apart from me there was very little interest.
The first, (and it wasn't an ebay auction; I think it would have got a lot more interest if it was), was a 1990's US made Lindert Conductor electric guitar with the thumbs up headstock. It was in a timed auction and only one other person bid, (and they only bid once) Lindert is a very different and fairly rare series. I am told they are quite good and I will find out as I did honor my bid and invited it to Ukulele Corner.

The other is a small Ukrainian traditional instrument called Folk or Starosvitska Bandura. It appears, (if you believe wikipedia), to have had an long and varied history where it has been a symbol of Ukrainian Cossack nationalism whose popularity has waxed and waned with the relationship between the Ukraine and Russia. There have been historical massacres because of it in the bad times and orchestras made up of different sizes of it in the good times. What I don't know however, is how to play it? Do you play chords on the longer neck bit? Do you strum it or pluck it? But no one bid against me in the ebay auction so I'll have a better idea when it arrives.

The Search Continues...

posted 13 Sep 2017, 17:54 by Lardy Fatboy

Regal Blue Label Soprano
For a nice Blue Label Regal.
So I have a nice black label Regal, I have a number of Regal made Ukuleles from this era that have been rebranded by others, (Tonk Bros, Wexler Wabash, B&S Michigan...). I had a nice looking Blue Label Regal but I had to give it away to the Ukulele Doctor, then I had another even nicer Blue Label Regal but unfortunately it met with an "accident" (sic). So now here I am inviting another; I hope it not going to be the Spinal Tap Drummer of Ukulele Corner! This one is a nice late 30's or so, sunburst standard with no major issues; and hopefully once it gets here it will stay that way

OK, not enough Mystery Ukes

posted 10 Sep 2017, 15:39 by Lardy Fatboy

Maruha Gakki Seizo Soprano 14
Everything I know about this Ukulele if from the seller and the pictures so I should verify it, but I'll write down what I know at the moment. It was made in Japan in the late 1950's by Maruha Gakki and maybe the Ukulele, maybe the person who made it is called Seizo (Maruha)? Alot of this information comes from the label so is probably correct as far as it goes. The seller tells me that it came to him via California and has had a lot of restoration work done on it; certainly from the photos I can see it has new tuners. The seller also says that it is a handmade Ukulele from a luthier called Seizo Maruha but the Gakki in the name suggests to me that it may be a bigger organisation than one man behind it? Whatever the case it is a striking and unusual Ukulele with an arched back and I am looking forward to it arriving at Ukulele Corner. I will also do a bit more investigation before it arrives too.

Enough Mystery Ukuleles...

posted 1 Sep 2017, 16:22 by Lardy Fatboy   [ updated 20 Sep 2017, 14:03 ]

kays MiJ semi-acoustic Guitar
Lets invite a mystery Guitar? 
Now this was labeled as a Kay Audition on eBay but when I looked a bit more into the listing I found that the seller thought it looks like a Kay or Audition and that he doesn't know who the exact maker is? What he does know is that isn't the original finish, and that the tuners have been replaced. I have had a look at the vintage catalogues and it does look like a Kay; but not quite! The body shape and pick guard are identical to the 775 Jazz II but not the pickups, bridge, or tailpiece; plus the selector switch is in the wrong place There are a number of Kay models that do have this tailpiece though, but they are all single cut or no cut bodies. Though he says it's not the original finish I did see a finish very much like this as a standard finish (it was called Spring Green) in the 1956 catalogue and the pickguard looks right for both the Jazz II and the Swingmaster models so I think it is Kay made. Kay did make sme models for audition but I have only seen solid body models the is a Teisco made Audition that has some broad similarities but when you look closely it is clearly a different guitar. I'm still stuck as to exactly what model it is but I think it looks cool and I'm glad it's coming to Ukulele Corner incorporating the Pony Guitar Sanctuary

Go Large ...

posted 28 Aug 2017, 12:54 by Lardy Fatboy   [ updated 16 Sep 2017, 17:25 ]

K and K (of New York) Baritone
Barnes and Mullins the Gresse spruce spalt maple Tenor
It was one of those times when two eBay auctions ended fairly closely and I managed to win both of them! In both cases they were listed as "for parts only" so damaged, (but I've brought enough clunkers in the past).

The first, and coming from the US, is a 1960's K&K Baritone with no strings and a broken top brace. Well to be exact the brace from just below the sound hole has fallen out but the seller still has it so it's included in the sale and I just need to get in stuck back in, (and then restring it). It's not one of the K&K branded Favilla Baritones, but it is one of what I call the "Mystery Baritones". This is a model of Baritone that was sold in the US by a large number of distributors in the 60's and was apparently very good, but I don't know who was actually behind the making of them. Some of them were replacement models for a United Guitar Co made Baritone that looks a lot less well made and always has a "made in the U.S.A." stamp in the sound hole. This range doesn't so it almost certainly wasn't made by the United Guitar Co. It never has a "made in Japan" sticker on the back of the headstock either, and I have only ever seen them originally being sold in the U.S. so I'm not sure where they come from even? Maybe some of my questions will be answered when it gets here?

The other is a Chinese made spruce and spalted maple Tenor branded by Barnes & Mullins and called "the Gresse" this one is pretty much new and has only been out on display. The damage listed is that it has a bowed neck, (which is unlikely to be able to be straightened), but doesn't look that bad from the pictures of it taken side on. Barnes & Mullins Ukuleles are pretty reasonable quality, the Ukulele itself looks quite pretty and even if it is unplayable I can always have it for display; this is why I bid on it, (that and it had a very, VERY, VERY low starting point). So I put in the opening bid and, possibly because of the damage listed, no on else bid so I ended up getting it for a lot less than it was going to cost me to ship, (and the shipping wasn't particularly expensive). All I can do now though is wait until it arrives so I can see how bad the neck is; hopefully not too bad.

Another Oldie

posted 27 Aug 2017, 07:51 by Lardy Fatboy   [ updated 11 Sep 2017, 14:42 ]

pre-war Harmony Soprano
From Harmony this time; now I know I have already invited a few old Harmony Ukuleles but this one isn't a Supertone or branded by one of the Jobbers This one is a proper Harmony with a proper Harmony gold and red logo. Now I'm not sure when Harmony changed to the gold and green logo but I know they were using gold and red in 1928 when the Johnny Marvin came out. So no plastic fretboard on this one and I'm not sure of the quality or wood involved but the is a nice striping front and back, and not to much fixing up needed

Its Here

And I have seen a lot of newer Harmony s that were in a lot worse condition than this one! OK so it does have new tuners on but they don't look out of place (unless you go up really close and see the Phillips head screws), and It does have pretty naff strings (but they appear to be fairly new and they would be easy enough to replace anyhow) Apart from that there are no missing frets, no splits or cracks, not even any bad scratches and it has a very nice "dark tiger stripe" effect front and back. it would be nice to know when Harmony switched from the gold and red logo to the gold and green one so I could date it more accurately, (but I would like to know that anyway?) All in all this one is a fine veteran Ukulele and it's good to go. 

Yeee Haa!

posted 20 Aug 2017, 12:13 by Lardy Fatboy   [ updated 27 Aug 2017, 17:59 ]

Regal made Carson Robinson Cowboy Soprano
Its one of the original Cowboy Ukuleles. Carson Robison started out with Wendell Hall but went on to become one of the founders of the whole country music scene; and he was also an endorsee for Montgomery Ward. MW started selling Carson Robison branded Guitars made by Regal in 1930 and went on with a number of different variants, (and a change of manufacturer to Gibson), until 1941. During this time there was a Regal made Tenor Guitar for a couple of years and from 1936-40 there was a Regal made decorated Soprano Ukulele, (alas, they never got Gibson to make the Ukuleles)

It's Here!

and for an 80 odd year old Ukulele the graphics are in remarkably good shape. There is a bit of seam splitting at the base and it looks like the bridge has been reglued at some point but apart from that, and needing new strings, it is a fine example of a pre war Ukulele and very welcome at Ukulele Corner

I wasn't expecting that... Twice

posted 12 Aug 2017, 16:16 by Lardy Fatboy   [ updated 29 Aug 2017, 17:52 ]

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?

They're Here

And the first to arrive was the Banjo. I can tell from the remnants of steel string on the tuners that this would have been the Cavaquinho; However as I have some nylon strings to put on it that won't matter. Now it is well enough made but some of it, like the tuners, look a bit cheap, so I'm not sure how they justify the RRP?  Like I said I have a set on Ukulele Strings for it and an old 2 foot bridge so I need to string it up and see if the sound can justify the RRP?

The Gold Top package is here now too. The amp has a nice clean tone but is a bit smaller than I was expecting? (still bigger than the Honey Tone and runs off the mains though) It's the best jack lead I have ever seen and has Fender branding all over it; it will become my main lead. The Gator case is OK but is a bit less padded than I was expecting and has a dent by the lower bout of the Guitar, and the is an amp foot switch lead that doesn't fit the Yamaha amp?? And there is the Guitar; its very gold, and heavy enough that it feels like gold too! It feels and sound like its good quality and this is everything I wanted from a Gold Top that doesn't say Gibson.

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.

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

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