British made Hand & co soprano Ukulele

My Hand & Co

pre war british Soprano Ukulele
Side
old british Ukulele Back .

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House (fingerpick)

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Waltzin'

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12 bar


It has fluorocarbon strings on and is tuned g~C~E~A

(I tried a~D~F#~B but that wasn't as good)

Hand & Co. of London

I have invited this poor and in need of a lot of love Ukulele to Ukulele corner to try and find out more about its origins. It is, from the photos, unmarked but it comes in an original Hand & Co box. Now I have come across Hand & Co before but I don't know if they made the instruments, distributed them or were just a London shop? Maybe by examining this, (and the box), I can learn more? Plus I don't have many pre war British Ukuleles here

Its here, and it's a lot more beat up that the listing said! Both the back and the sound board are coming away, there is a split in the back and it looks like the bridge is coming away too. I'm not sure how original the finish is either? It is quite amateurish and looks sticky without quite being sticky to the touch(?) I'm tempted to sent this one back as "not as described" but postage would cost pretty much what the Ukulele did so I'll keep it and see if I can get it restored.

In addition to being a crock of shite there are no other markings that give away anything about its origin, (though the lack of a "Foreign" or "Empire made" mark does suggest this is UK made), and nothing legible on the very old box apart from Hand & Co W1 - not even a postmark date. Well I've put the box away safely. I think, (hope), the re-glueing will be straightforward so lets see if I ever get a tune out of it

Well I don't think its ever going to be a looker again, (if it ever was?) but I have all of the splits and cracks fixed and have put some strings on. On the plus side it sounds better than I expected, though its very quiet and having strings on only highlights the damage to the saddle and nut that having steel strings at some point in the past has wrought. The bridge, though appearing to be coming away, seems pretty solid so I'm not sure what to do with it. Its a one piece wooden bridge so there is not a lot that can be done with the saddle, I could if I took the bridge off sand it down flat - but that wouldn't leave much of a saddle? The finish too I am unsure with? Its fairly horrible but if I took it off I don't think the wood underneath would be particularly attractive. you can see some gnarly old knots showing through and as it's probably all birch and maple it's not going to have any pretty grain. I'm stuck on what to do about the tuners too? One is a poor replacement and I don't have anything that would look better in my collection of old pegs. I'm very tempted to put a set of metal friction tuners on instead But is it worth it? I would be interested to see one that hadn't had quite so much "experience" to see if it was worth putting in a lot more effort? At the end of the day this is probably one of the models that my early catalogues describe as "cheap but strongly constructed with a walnut finish.... 3s 4d (thats 3 shillings and 4 pence thats not quite 17p in today's money! - or about a quarter if you're over there)