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Back to nice shiny(ish) Ukuleles...

posted 21 Oct 2018, 15:02 by Lardy Fatboy   [ updated 23 Nov 2018, 07:14 ]
Aria Prototype glossy Soprano
teisco westheimer kingston faux flame Soprano
And experimental ones at that! Well not so much an experiment as one of a number of Ukulele samples the Huizhou Quanfeng Yule Products Co., Ltd. produced for Aria. Why Aria didn't go with them I don't know? How the samples got on to the open market I don't know? what I have seen though is after being turned down by Aria they all got a soundhole label with the Vandora brand name, (one of Quanfeng's house brands) put in, and mine is the fanciest of the ones I have seen with the iridescent Aria and flower on the headstock and the equally iridescent perfeling around the body, (and everyone knows I like sparkly instruments). Maybe once it arrives I will know why Aria rejected it? And I hope its because of price or something and not quality.

Well at the time it may have been a bit experimental as the other Ukulele pictured is a Kingston, the Brand of Japanese Chordophones that Jack Westheimer used when he first started the practice of importing Instruments from overseas, (in this case Japan), and killing Harmony, Regal, Kay and most of the other less premium US brand names. I believe the Ukulele itself was made by Teisco, (who were in turn killed by Korean, Chinese and Indonesian manufacturers), and apart from its history, I have always liked the faxu flamed finish.

They're here!

And they are both quite spectacular.

The Aria, no sorry the Vandora is amazingly light and tuneful. the wood and the inlay are both beautifully done and I'm very hard pressed to see why Aria rejected them? All I can come up with is a small blemish in the finish under the bridge, the tiniest, hard pressed to see it bit of varnish missing by the nut and maybe, maybe the A tuner is a millimeter or so closer to the edge of the headstock than the G tuner? Of course I haven't seen the rest of the batch so I don't know what, if any faults they had? Still I think mine is beautifully made and I'm very glad I invited it.

The Kingston is a bit heavier and not quite as well appointed but I do like the front and back faux flaming. Its interesting to compare it to the American made models of the period an think about what part quality played in the demise of the US musical instrument industry