The Latest News from Ukulele Corner and the Pony Guitar Sanctuary
Still Retired, Honest
There was the big Instrument auction at Gardener Houlgate and try as I might, (well actually not that hard as I got the days wrong and missed the first day - probably for the best though or I would be talking about at least 4 guitars and at least 5 Ukuleles coming to Ukulele Corner here), no new, (to me) chordophones are coming. What is coming, and more by accident than design, is the only drum kit in the whole auction. By accident because I forgot I put a bid in so I was quite surprised when I found I had brought it!
What it is, is a Session Pro DD505 which is a little better than my Alesis with (I think) mesh heads and (I know) a proper Bass Drum pedal
You know at some point I will try to put them together and have a ridiculous pomp rock super kit
Over the Rainbow. Weigh a Pie...
Never mind the mass of the baked goods, what is coming to Ukulele Corner is a Rainbow!
A Balnna, (has someone been stealing vowels?) Rainbow to be precise. It's flamed maple and looks very colourful; and I just can't get over it.
It's Here! and its even prettier in real life. It's very nicely made, the fret markers are solid and professionally done. It is a Concert, (there was some doubt that it would be a Soprano) and it is laminate but the top veneer is very nice and works well with the gloss staining.
This Time it's Real!!
Yes a real 100% from Cuba, once filled with fat cigars, Cigar Box Ukulele. OK I think the tuners are on upside down, I don't like the bridge much and I wonder about the bracing in the box ? But still its a start...
It's Here! and yes the tuners are on upside down, (well they were but that's an easy fix) I don't think there is a problem with bracing but the top is a lot thicker than I was expecting and I may need to do something about the bridge and saddle as it was very quiet when I played it. But whatever the issues It's here and It's real and It's very welcome at Ukulele Corner
New (to me) Name
What I have invited now is an old Soprano with a sound hole label saying its a Sirene Ukulele and a very Germanic looking trade mark, so I'm guessing it's German made? I can see it has an arched back, (a bit like a Brüko) and sadly some of the rosette inlay is missing, but both the back and the way the rosette was inlayed makes me think it is a good quality ukulele.
It's Here! and it really is a good quality Ukulele. I still can't make out what the trade mark says and the finish does kind of remind me of a 50's MiJ Ukulele but I think if it was it wouldn't have come with wooden pegs. I do love a mystery though.
I tried for years to get something from the Richter Manufacturing Company of Chicago, Illinois to come to Ukulele Corner and they very quickly after inviting the first one I have invited a very nice looking Richter Banjolele
It's Here and its much lighter than I was expecting for a metal bodied Banjolele. It also needs re-stringing, not because there is anything particularly wrong with the strings, it's just that the C string is to fat for the nut! I'm not sure about the bridge either? Again it functions but it looks home made so I try the Banjolele with a commercial one, (after I have changed the strings), and see what difference that makes to the tone.
Is it Art?
I couldn't possibly comment; but its certainly a different look! What it is, is one of Ortega's latest Keiki range, the K2. These ones are Soprano, not Mini and have a plastic back and sides, as well as the printed artwork soundboard and headstock. The pictures on the sound boards are very different from the usual motifs and this particular one is titled "Totem"
It's Here and its a nice easy player. The finish is far less glossy than I was expecting, in fat it's not glossy at all; it's matt! The bridge is a bit naff for the retail price but the open gear tuners are very good. Still can't comment on the art though
And Luthier made, but it looks very much like a Portuguese Cavaquinho to me? Though there are a few things that don't look right for it to be an APC 100, that design has changed reputedly over the years so it could be an old version? Alternatively I have seen a Portuguese Luthier made one that does look very similar. What I haven't seen is any Mexican made Cavaquinhos, lot's of other instruments yes, but not Cavaquinhos. Oh well maybe I will know more when it gets here
It's Here!! and while there is nothing to definitively tell me the country of origin, it is not an APC made cavaquinho, (which is what I feared the most). It is of a much better quality than I was expecting and is almost certainly luthier made; even if I don't know the luthiers name
So in resuming normal service for Ukulele Corner my latest invitation is the very top end of the Alvin Keech Banjuleles, a series K, just like the one Alvin presented to the then Prince of Wales, (but later an SS Major and a Nazi spy - because British Royalty is trustworthy, enlightened and patriotic like that). Not only is the the most deluxe of the Banjuleles, it is also the biggest, bigger than the Long Scales and I believe a modern Tenor scale, (I'll see when it gets here)
It's Here!! and it's a whole new level of heavy! Not only that is is a full 17 inch scale tenor with a very wide fretboard. It absolutely oozes quality, is in perfect nick and unlike the standard ones Alvin did personally sign this in pen on the resonator
No, this is my Birthday Present
As it was my birthday recently and I hadn't Invited any Ukuleles for quite a while I decided that I would get me one for my Birthday. The Ukulele I wanted most was the Fender Fullerton Jazzmaster in Olympic White with a faux tortoise shell pick guard. When I looked for one, everywhere seemed to be out of stock with an, at least 8 week lead time. The blue ones were all out of stock too, (I wanted the white but would have settled for the blue). Since I wasn't willing to wait that long for my birthday present I looked for something else and found the very nice Richter. As is always the way, 2 days after I invited the Richter, an Olympic White Jazzmaster pops up, in stock and at a very reasonable price! As I can resist anything except temptation off went the invite...
It's Here!!! and it's heavier than I thought it would be? Not that that's a bad thing, it's a sign that it is solidly made. It also sounds great and looks very pretty
I have managed to invite some new (to me) Ukuleles in 2021What I have invited are the Lemonade Nukulele, which is the only one of the set that isn't residing a Ukulele Corner and a very nice looking 1920's Richter with a pearloid fretboard. It is something special that I invited for my birthday and something from a maker I have been after for a long time
They're Here!! and they are both immaculate I did have some fears that there were some marks on the front of the Lemonade but I needn't have worried it's perfect. The Richter is in such great condition that you wouldn't think it is over 90 years old! It was quality when it was made and it's quality now
before the stupidity of Brexit. I have invited a couple of nice Ukuleles that have been living in France, an Ohana O'Nino Mini and a Nalu Hokua Superconcert. Lets hope they get here before the borders close on the 1st of January
They're Here! I don't know when they crossed the Channel but I am guessing after the border checks went up because they were delayed for a bit? Anyway the O'Nino is very tiny and tricky to play, (as are all Minis) and the Nalu is definitely a quality Tenor though I can't see where I register for the yearly set of new strings you are suppose to get when you buy one?
Not made in Japan...
And not a Kiwaya. This is made in Canada by Godin and is a Seagull Steel, (though I cant see any difference, apart from the strings between a Seagull Steel and a Seagull Nylon?) Its being sold cheap because there is a crack in the bottom. If it wasn't damaged it would be a very expensive Ukulele
It's Here and the crack really isn't that bad. The steel strings are a bit cheese gratery though so I may have a go and see if the strings are the only difference?
It must be a Star...
Well it is a Famous Ukulele!
Famous is a sub brand of Kiwaya, usually only sold in Japan so I don't know how it ended up in a charity shop in the UK? This one, unlike my last Kiwaya, is made in Japan and is a Famous FS4P Soprano
It's Here, it's Japanese made and it is real quality. No cracks, dents, scratches or marks, it looks practically new. The only issue I have is the strings, though looking as new as the rest of the Uke, are really horrible! They feel nasty and sound cheap but from the neatness of the winding I am sure these are factory fitted by Kiwaya?
That is how long ebay tells me I have had this up for sale. Well it been bought now so it's off to a new home in the West Midlands where I hope the new custodian gets on with it and its a good solid, (if a little heavy), reliable Guitar
Not sure if this is gone or not? The couriers have lost it and now I don't know if the new keeper still wants it? Well it would be welcome if it came back
Back to Ukuleles
And good ones too! Well goodish, Its one of Kiwaya's new Chinese made budget range the KSU-1L laminate Concert Scale Supersoprano
It's Here! And it is very, very good Funny though I had to redo the E and A strings as they were on the wrong way round?
It's auction time again
And once again I have tried way to hard to invite chordophones to Ukulele Corner.
This time I have managed to invite
a Luna "Tattoo" Uke Bass
a Gremlin MandoCello
a Countryman Octave Mandolin
I'm going to have to go an get them myself and I'm not sure if I can during this lockdown?
They're here now!! and It was further to go to get them than I thought. No clues to its manufacture but I am enjoying trying to play the Baglama, it's simplicity is making me rethink my attitude on getting a Strum Stick? The MandoCello is very nice but has somehow managed to get mismatched tuners; and I don't mean I side is different to the other! I mean despite there being two 4 tuner bars one side has two odd tuners and the other has one?? Not a problem for tuning but aesthetically not great, and it does suggest there is some issues with the structure of the bars? The Octave Mandolin is great but there is some kind of waxy deposit on the side. It scrapes of fairly easily but I have to be careful of not scratching the gloss finish. The Luna is just great, (but I haven't plugged it up yet)
I'm most definitely not crying
And this time it a leaving Ukulele Corner entry. Yes the ZoomP Soprano is off to pastures new, (France), and I'm glad to see the back of it even if I have lost half the money I paid for it. It really is a sack of shite!
I'm not crying
Even if you see a teardrop at Ukulele Corner, I not crying. It's the new, (to me, it dates from the 1920's/30's), Favilla Teardrop that I have invited. I have been trying to get a Favilla to come for a long time now but they haven't been accepting my invitations. This time it was one of the more uncommon teardrop Favillas so perhaps it was a more forceful invite? Whatever it's on the way from Trumsilvania and I'm looking forward to welcoming it.
It's Here! and it is in great condition. My only concern is the little white dots on the front, did they happen at the time of manufacture, (poor quality control?) or are they evidence of a later accident that coincidentally matches the colour of the rosette?
Small Versions of Famous Guitars
Well there is quite a few of those at Ukulele Corner, (along with cheap versions of famous Guitars in the Pony Guitar sanctuary), but I have invited a couple more to Ukulele Corner. There is the Vox Ukelectric 33, the Ukulele version of the Vox Teardrop with it's own built in amp and speaker, (but the previous owner painted the pickguard a horrible shade of yellow!! and that HAS to be cleaned off). Also coming is the Samick GT-1 "Mini" Guitalele known colloquially as "Wee Vee", (and I think that is a good pun)
They're both Here! and they are both great. It looks like the paint will scratch off fairly easily and the Samick needs nothing, (well possibly new strings?) it's fine as it is
What has been invited this time is an Eleuke PEANUT and a Lanikai TUNA Uke. OK very weak puns but a couple of interesting Ukuleles, the Lanikai with the adjustable independant saddles and an Eleuke with bluetooth connectivity. Both of which I am interested to play with
They're both Here! though the Peanut has had a bit of a strange trip. It also arrived with a small amp and a little effects box
Not some joke about the people across the Channel but the graphic on this Soprano. I know I have avoided most of the Ukuleles brought out in conjunction with popular cartoons but there's obviously a number of vintage ones I would like, (Betty Boop and Harold Teen for example), and truth to tell there are a few current, more obscure ones I could be tempted by, (I nearly invited an Adventure Time Soprano a while ago), especially if they were a big enough "bargin". Well this one certainly didn't need a lot of persuading and is depicting a French, (well I read that the creator was Swiss but its big in France), cartoon character so it may not be "underground" in France? but it is a bit novel around here. I just hope I don't find out it's creator is some sort of Fascist propagandist like Hilaire Belloc was with Tin Tin.
It's Here and it's very nice . It's the top end of budget in quality and the graphics are in perfect condition so no complaints with quality. It's also very colourful and I can find no fascist undertones associated with the cartoon though I don't think its something I would want to watch
Another cheeky bid pays off
I put in a very low offer on a double G 5 string Tenor (that's a fairly modern Ukulele concept, having both a low and a high G string for the G course), because I would like to have a go on one, (and have one live at Ukulele Corner); and it was accepted! So what is coming is an Aklot, (another Chinese factory /Internet only distributor branding), Tenor scale 5 string (the g course is doubled with the two strings an octave apart), Ukulele with a rather fetching carved bird bridge. The original deal included a load of other bits like a strap, some plastic plectrums, and a truss rod key, (yes apparently this has a truss rod, even if it doesn't need one). I did say I didn't need all of this when I put the cheeky bid in so I don't know if its coming too? If it does the padded case and the extra aquila string set may be useful, (and make it even more of a bargain).
It's Here after a bit of pissballing with delivery? (for over a week the distributor didn't have it, the courier didn't have it and it was in the ether somewhere!) But it's worth the wait. It's a very nicely made and tidy Ukulele. There are no issues with build or workmanship that I can find and everything is well above budget quality. My only concern is the 5 string idea, it may be because of my playing style but so far I don't think it works very well, (but its the idea, not the Ukuleles fault).
The pissballing has also paid off as they have now sent me a second one! The two of them are identical so I wont keep it at Ukulele Corner if they don't ask for it back, I'll give it to my brother as he could do with a tenor
Prepare for the Day of the Dead
Dia De Morte is coming, and so are two Sugar Skull Ukuleles. One is a Mahalo that started on eBay with a very low starting price. I had a small punt on inviting it and no one out bid me. The other is an Irin with a very low "buy it now" price that I have been vaguely considering sending an invite too for some time and since I invited the Mahalo I though I would stick with the theme and invite this one too.
They're both here, ready for the upcoming festivities and I look forward to celebrating the day of the dead with them both
There must be a catch?
A c.2000 Martin S0 with no issues! Buy It Now!! For that price!!!
Of course I was straight on the button with the invite and I'm just hoping now that there isn't a catch
It's here now and there was no catch!!!!
It's a beautiful Ukulele with nary a blemish and super tuneful. And it came with its original warranty plus a spare set of aquilas thrown in
They are all here now!
Or will be when the last three arrive. I found a place that was selling all of the Nukuleles that I haven't got but they only had one Lemonade left so I had to get that before I lost the chance and as they were being sold at a reasonable price I decided to get the others too.
It appears there was a mistake and the last Lemonade had gone so I haven't got them all. I knew it was too easy! The other two are still on the way though.
Well the two that are coming have arrived and they are both nice and shiny and new. It all looks very impressive in the corner they live in and If I got the Lemonade one it would be even better
European? With a plastic fretboard?
It has to be a late sixties Wicona Soprano from Germany then, coming soon to Ukulele Corner
It's here now and its a bit more beat up than I had hoped Oh well it's still interesting even if it's not much of a looker and it's still welcome at Ukulele Corner
Bit of a winning streak
Does it count as winning if no one else competes?
I put an opening invitation in on two nice Ukuleles, a pre war Spanish Uke by Jose Martinez, (not only have I not got one, I did't even know his given name before this!) And a Batman themed electric stick Tenor from a firm I hadn't heard of before called Yuanuke. why Batman I don't know (unless its because it looks a bit like a cricket bat?) But some research showed me that the firm is an Amazon retailer and that the design has been changed since this one was made, (in 2018), to look more like a Risa Stick, (still with the batman fret markers though). Like I said, no one else entered so now they're on the way
They're here now, both arriving on the same day and the Martinez is in spectacularly fine condition. Possibly because it has been kept in a contemporary purpose made wooden case, (that's also in spectacular condition)? The gut strings have got to go though.
the Yuanuke is just spectacular! Now I have to learn to play the Batman theme properly.
This is in no way supposed to be a replacement for the MM30, this is just an interesting looking hobbyist made, (it says in the description that he just makes them as a hobby), Canjolele with a low start price. Having sent out the invitation, I found out the makers name is Matt Lyman and as no one else bid it's now on the way to Ukulele Corner.
It's here now, and despite the steel strings it is very, very quiet. It is nicely made though, especially the neck
In reviewing the Mandolins living in the Pony Guitar Sanctuary as part of having to move this site to the Google New Sites platform I thought that this and the Chord were very similar in colour and shape but the Chord is much newer, and has a pickup, and has a pickguard! Though tradition says this is the better Mandolin, I don't find any difference in quality between them and this would be more sought after because of its name. I was right about that as it very swiftly got an invitation to pastures new.
So Goodbye, and good luck and I still haven't got any better at playing the Mandolin.
Having to move the site
Google have written to me telling me they are planning to shut down the "classic" sites soon so I should move all of the Ukulele Corner online stuff. I still haven't found a new place to host everything that does what I want at a similar sort of price so despite its shortcomings I am currently porting Ukulele Corner across to Google "new sites" Now amongst all of the other things that the new site can't do is the fact that the automatic transfer tool doesn't work in a useful manner. This means I have to do everything manually, one page at a time. It also means I have to come up with, (or abandon), the functions that don't work well like the current menu pages or this bloggy bit. I am starting with this site as the menus are less important and I can work with the simplistic built in system that is included while I work out how to do something better. On the plus side I can get the sound samples to work again on the new site so once I have everything moved across I will get to adding them again. I haven't found a good solution for doing slideshows on the new site yet though so I may have to continue doing without them still. Once I have copied all of the pages across I will then publish the new site and point the DNS records to that leaving the current site behind. At that point too, I can start redoing all of the inter site links to point to the new pages but you will have to bear with me; and the broken links until then.
As you can see here the work is moving forward. So far the "Coming Soon" section has morphed into this and, for the moment, I have changed this to the landing page, (I will see how I feel about this as I do more. The side menu is as it is because there is no way of customising it beyond "do you want black or white?" The section menu pages have become Google apps slideshows, (because the slide show function in "New Sites" is very limited) The number of sections has reduced too as there are no longer issues with the length of the menu page, though some of the sections have well over 100 pages in them now and I'm not sure how this is going to work long term. The main object pages have had a bit of redesign to make up for the width limits imposed here, but in the end they are still a bit of a cop out as I ignore all of the "functionality" of New Sites and all of the actual layout is done in HTML which I then stick into an "Embed" box. This means that the moving across to tablets and cell phone, that is supposed to be a strong point for New Sites, doesn't work very well, but at least it works on websites so I haven't lost anything, (and to be honest the rejigging for smaller screen sizes doesn't work very well anyway).
The work is still ongoing and I may, in the future, change any or all aspects of the site. One this is for sure though and that is I won't stop inviting Ukuleles to Ukulele Corner, or stop giving sanctuary to Pony Guitars