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

And now we're off to sunny (pre Franco) Spain...

posted 28 Nov 2016, 15:39 by Lardy Fatboy   [ updated 3 Dec 2016, 16:07 ]

José Alvaréz "the Dulcet" Soprano
The latest invitee to Ukulele Corner is a José Alvaréz "the Dulcet" Soprano/Guitarico. Originating in Barcelona these were distributed by Dallas in the post WWI, pre Spanish Civil War period and must have been fairly reasonable as one was famously part of George Formby's personal collection, (though as the major endorser of Dallas Ukuleles this could just be something he was given?) My one is interesting because, though I have seen ones that don't have a golpeador, those ones had a light cedar/spruce/pine? natural soundboard and a very dark, probably ebonised, fretboard. I'm not sure from the photos if mine has had some kind of dark finish applied post sale, by José or is some different darker top wood? I'm hoping for the latter but whatever it is, it will be an interesting addition to Ukulele Corner, (though if it is aftermarket paintwork I will look to try and remove it if I can)

It's Here

And it is aftermarket brown paint!! Why, oh why, oh why? It looks awful. Thick, shitty colour, brush marks and what a pity, it all looks pretty perfect apart from the paint. Sound, straight, nice frets nice original tuners and unless the paint is hiding something no cracks. Well its straight down to the DIY shop for some gel paint remover and i hope I can get it off without damaging the wood underneath before I string it up and play it, (and photograph it properly)

How could I not?

posted 27 Nov 2016, 12:25 by Lardy Fatboy   [ updated 6 Dec 2016, 03:11 ]

Ammoon "Stripy" Concert
I was hunting through the ebay "buy it now" section looking for something new to be Ukulele of the day (Something I do occasionally if I'm behind with my posting - as a general rule I stay away from "buy it now" as it's too dangerous - as you can see...) and I saw this. Well it is pretty striking, (and stripy), and hard to miss. One look and I thought "yes that would make a fine Ukulele of the day" It was listed as Colorized 24" Wooden Acoustic Soprano Ukulele. Now to me 24 inches usually means Concert so it's either a 14 fret Supersoprano or a mistranslation? Now obviously its wooden and with no specifics here, some kind of laminate and this is borne out by the close ups that show the stripes as different laminate strips rather than just printing? Anyway instead of Ukulele of the day I invited one to Ukulele Corner, (where it can be Ukulele of the day in future after I have photographed it). Its branded as ammoon which is not a make I know much about but they do brand an identical model to my Rubin so I'm thinking another Chinese ebay distributor and probably the same oem as the Rubin and possibly some of my other modern Chinese Ukuleles, (that fret board is the same as my Cedar Tom for example). I will look into ammoon some more as I wait for it to arrive and maybe have some answers by then to go with the physical answers I will have once I am playing it. Until then, well I think it looks lovely.

It's Here

But I was "buggered" for tax before I could have it so it hasn't ended up quite the bargain I'd hoped. Anyway it is VERY colourful and the finish is very good. I'm still having to stretch the new Aquila strings on it (the E particularly seems to need a lot of stretching), but so far I'm not wild about the tone ? Hopefully it will improve once the strings settle down and it was the colourfulness that made me buy it. It's just it's ended up a little more expensive that a purely decorative Uke...
It is definately a normal Concert sized body and scale so that answers that question and I still do think it looks lovely

I knew I'd get one one day... Twice

posted 16 Nov 2016, 15:35 by Lardy Fatboy   [ updated 27 Nov 2016, 15:14 ]

Bob Headford Soprano Banjolele
Jolli Joe the UK Uke
Two Banjoleles that have been on the "if one comes up at a reasonable, (read bargain), price" There is the "Jolli Joe the UK Uke" all metal British made Banjolele from the 1920's They are always painted blue, (apart from if the paint flakes off or the varnish "yellows" and turns them green) and anecdotally they are not suppose to sound that great, but to my mind they look very distinctive and interesting, plus I have always wanted to find out more about who actually made them? Now the one coming to Ukulele Corner is a bit more beat up than I would have liked, (and a bit more beat up than I remember when I bid on it!) the obvious problems apart from the flakey paint and lack of bridge and strings are the missing resonator, plus two tensioning brackets and a tuner. On the plus side the vellum looks ok but all of the missing hardware is going to be difficult to replace, especially the resonator, without having to get another one for parts, so it's likely to be a bit of a project; but it might answer some of my questions about the original manufacturer? And on the plus plus side it's coming with, though equally as beat up, the official Jolli Joe faux crocodile case, and they are a lot rarer than the Ukulele itself, (and super hip to boot!)
Then there is also the current claimant to the title "UK Uke" a modern bracketless (probably) Soprano Banjolele from Bob Headford. This one is in perfect condition and whilst it would have been nice to get the branded head, for the bargain price of this I can go without it. This one is a bit of a surprise as I didn't realise how short the ebay auction was set so I wasn't expecting it to end today, (and being so short I was the only person who bid)

They're Here!

The Jolli Joe is certainly going to be a project but with a new tuner button (to replace the missing one) a bridge and some strings I can certainly make it playable again. I still think I may have to get a second one for parts - or use this one for parts if the second one is better. (It really is a great case though

The HeadFord is spectacularly good - fat better then I thought it would be. It is Concert scale, very LOUD but with a good tone and a nice gloss black finish. It would have been even better with some fret markers, even if just on the side, (however one of, to my mind, the best ways to decorate an Banjo is with nice ornate fret markers - maybe I could get some of those fancy "tree of life" fretboard stickers and put those on? )

Bit of a Punt

posted 10 Nov 2016, 16:34 by Lardy Fatboy   [ updated 13 Nov 2016, 16:21 ]

B&S Masters Soprano
Especially as the neck needs refixing! But not that much of one given the cost; and if nothing else it is an interesting looking case.
What I have invited this time is another Beare and Son pre war Soprano but this one is under the B&S Masters branding and is British not US made. Why I took the risk given the issues is that the bridge design and the shape of the bottom of the fretboard leads me to suspect that it was made by George La Foley. I know Beare and Son distributed his Instruments in the 30's though I've only seen them under his name not rebranded but I am hopeful and until it gets here and I can check the neck stock inside the body for his stamp I won't be sure (I didn't like to ask the seller as I didn't want to give my suspicions away). As its not very far away and I'm going to collect it I won't have to wait long to find out. but even if it isn't La Foley the neck fix looks pretty straightforward and it will still be very welcome at Ukulele Corner

It's Here

and though very lovely it's not made by George La Foley, more likely George Houghton? (I know B&S distributed their Banjos; and rebrand them too) Now I can look at it properly I see the bridge is not right, all of the neck join is wrong and there is no separate fretboard plus of course there is no stamp or other mark of La Foley inside (That said there is no mark of GH&S either so it may not be one of theirs? but there re no makers marks at all so I can only surmise as to the OEM). There is also more damage than I first thought too, The heel has an old repair as well as the current issue of needing a reset and this old repair might make that a trickier job. It looks like the bridge is lifting a little and it baaadly needs a fret dressing (The case though certainly is the mutts...)

If I needed cheering up...

posted 9 Oct 2016, 16:47 by Lardy Fatboy   [ updated 3 Nov 2016, 07:20 ]

Supertone Pep Leader
Well I don't particularly things have been going fairly well here at Ukulele Corner recently and we are all quite happy, but if we did I have just invited that old stalwart of the 1920's decal decoration Sopranos the Pep Leader. made by Harmony and usually sold under the Supertone brand this one is sadly missing the headstock decal, (that says "Pep Leader" - Regal stole a march on them with its Cheerleader design) and doesn't appear to have the usual Supertone internal labels? But it does have a fine lower decal of the classic 20's art modern man with the megaphone along with its 12th fret, all of the original tuners and all of its seams intact. So apart from the top decal it looks in very good shape and very welcome at Ukulele Corner when it gets here

It's Here

and welcome it is too. There is no sign of any internal labels but apart from that, (and the missing top decal) it is in remarkably fine condition, it just needs strings. So I'll string it up and play peppy songs on it; and if I can work out a way to make a new pep leader decal I'll put that on it too

Now I've looked more closely at it there are sadly a couple of issues; the decal is very fragile and prone to flake if I'm not very careful, the slot for the A string is a bit wide now (I found this and the fragility of the decal out while trying to string it - I have succeeded but it took a bit of work), and there is some seam separation at the top (when you play it) on the upper bout. So more of a clunker than I had hoped but still not too bad for the money I paid to invite it

It's an invasion!

posted 6 Oct 2016, 09:01 by Lardy Fatboy   [ updated 7 Oct 2016, 14:07 ]

Musima Tenor Banjo
Windsor model 2 Pyxe
That's right the communists are invading Ukulele Corner!
It has been another auction day and whilst I haven't done quite as "well" as the last time I was winning auctions I did have one success. It was a job lot of two banjo instruments listed as "an unbranded 4 string Banjo and a Windsor Banjo in various states of repair" Now I could see from the photo that the unbranded Banjo was an East German made Musima Tenor Banjo that looks to be in pretty good condition (though I have seen fancier ones) and I've been wanting a Tenor Banjo to come to Ukulele Corner for some time so it was worth a punt for that, but thrown in with it was a Windsor Pyxe bracketless Banjo Mandolin that clearly needs a new vellum. The Pyxe was one of the better Windsor "zither" Banjos and is very welcome too, (though I probably wouldn't have invited it if it was on its own). Now I know Birmingham of the 70's was very communist but I'm not sure it was in the 20's so maybe there isn't a communist invasion going on just some old chordophone uniting in their love of (poorly played) music especially as, if I don't "Chicago" tune it I can't play the Tenor Banjo either.
And it wasn't quite my only win at the auction either, though I didn't get the Fender Mustang, the Rickenbacker, the Marshall combo or the Portastudio I did, (because I ordered a new phone line today) get a funny little telephone that doubles up as an electric organ. No idea what it will sound like; or even if it works? but it was cheap and you can always tell a phone.

They're Here

Including the Telephone which does come with a sign saying it doesn't work on the local phone network, (they could have said that before I bid on it) As to the Banjos though the Musima Tenor Banjo is in fine, if a little dusty, condition the metal work needs a good polish and it's missing one string, (but the others need replacing anyway) but apart from that it rocks with nice planetary tuners, a neck adjustment screw and a nicely flamed plain resonator back that doesn't show a lot of wear. The Windsor is big, (and heavy), for a Banjo Mandolin and clearly was a deluxe model when it was new. As I already knew it has a big rip in the vellum but along with being very dusty, missing a string with the others needing replacing too, it has a couple of other small problems. It is missing one of the bracketless tension bolts and there is a chunk missing from one end of the otherwise very nice, possibly the poshest I've ever seen, bridge where the highest string is suppose to sit. As it has a separate saddle to hold the strings I think this can be replaced but I also think it would probably still work without repair though the vellum and the strings need doing before I worry about this. The phone Piano might have been a mistake but the Banjo's are both very worthwhile and welcome at Ukulele Corner

Welcome Comrade

posted 18 Sep 2016, 14:11 by Lardy Fatboy   [ updated 20 Sep 2016, 12:00 ]

Original Weltton Ukulele Banjo
The invitation this time is for an old communist to come and join the Ukulele Collective. But I'm not sure if the Ukuleles are a collective? a collection yes, maybe a herd or a flock? maybe even a parliament (like a parliament of owls) anyway whats coming is an Original Weltton made in the DDR before the wall came down maybe even from before the wall went up but I think it's probably a bit later than that, the 60's or even the early 70's. I've always like the look of the chunkiness of these old East German Musima made Banjoleles, (I believe all large scale production Musical Instruments at that time were made under the Musima umbrella and these days, certainly with chordophones, people are starting to think something good did come out ot the DDR) and this one has a nice rear resonator pattern too, simple but not just a plain wood one.

It's Here

And it is VERY solid but also very pretty. It has quite a narrow neck too, I'm wondering if it was originally made as a Banjolin? Musima never really made Ukuleles for themselves but they were OEM for the last of the Dallas George Formbys and for some US distributors at the time, (of course they could have been selling them as Banjolins too but the Banjo Mandolin was even less popular than the Banjo Ukulele at that time?) Whatever, It's lovely, very well made, in perfect condition and very welcome at Ukulele Corner.

Hooray for Hollywood

posted 18 Sep 2016, 13:18 by Lardy Fatboy   [ updated 15 Nov 2016, 16:41 ]

Hollywood style 8 Concert (with replacement tuners)
Well at least its a Ukulele this time and not another Guitar after all this is Ukulele Corner...
At Least AT LEAST! What am I saying - This, (apart from the dodgy replacement geared tuners), is one of the most celebrated pre war Ukuleles. It's a Schireson Brothers Hollywood Concert scale Ukulele. Like Ditson and Wurlitzer, the Schireson Brothers sold the best quality Ukuleles, but unlike Ditson and Wurlitzer the Schireson Brothers made their own, well had their own workshop in Los Angeles where they were made. It came up as a "buy it now" on ebay at a reasonable price and though it has seen a lot of experience in the past the seller assures me that everything has been sorted by Elderly Instruments in the US, (before somehow it got to the UK and he got it from SUS?) I did think about it for a bit because of the "experience" but I decided, as I want a Hollywood, and I can collect it on the way to get the Guitars tomorrow. The seller also said if I didn't like it when I had seen it I could have my money back so nothing really to lose then. I did have a catalogue somewhere so I will get the model number for it, all I can say at the moment is that is not an 9 or a 10 because it's the fully rope bound mahogany one. I think it may be a 5 and I will update this bit once I find the catalogue. I think I will also put a sensible set of friction tuners on it too once it is here because those geared ones don't look good

It's Here!

And my word it's gorgeous (apart from those tuners! And the chap who sold it to me proudly told me that he was responsible for them!? no accounting for taste. Still he also told me he was selling it to me with a hard case for less than half what he paid for it 6 months ago not counting the tuners; and they are, if not right for the look of the thing, at least good quality Grover tuners) It is also really nicely restored. Yes you can see it has had a LOT of "experience" but everything is very tight and solid now and it does feel very nice to play. It is also probably the cleanest Ukulele I have ever got that wasn't new, (and cleaner than a lot I've got that were new) I could quite easily photograph it now.

But those tuners have to go; as soon as I've plucked up the courage to mess about with it

Well they've gone now and it looks (to me) a great deal better Sadly the grovers I took off have left a number of small screw holes in the back of the headstock but I would rather that than leave them on

There were two BIG Guitar auctions today

posted 15 Sep 2016, 15:36 by Lardy Fatboy   [ updated 9 Oct 2016, 17:00 ]

Harmony made BL&F Pennant Banjolele
Decorated ƒ style Mandolin
S.X. Bass
Aniversary "Ricki" Hollow Body Guitar
Aniversary "Ricki" Bass
BC Rich Mockingbird
BC Rich Celtic Virgo
BC Rich Warbeast
Vester Stage Series Bass
Peavey Bass Guitar
Gretsch Electromatic Junior Jet
Ibanez Jet King Bass
And I didn't attend either so I'm paying the premium for it now with what I won watching them on the Internet.
So what did I win?
Lots of stuff; and I could easily have got more (though possibly I have got too much) From the first auction, (and possibly deliberately?) They had the Guitars at the beginning of the auction with the other one had them at the end thus allowing me, and maybe others to watch both, I did avoid buying too much as it was furthest away, What I bought from them was a 1930's Harmony made Pennant Banjolele, a decorative ƒ style Mandolin, (possibly made in Vietnam and not much cop as a musical instrument? but we'll see, it was in the lot with the Pennant?), and a Roland Synth module (It was a "Bargin, but I don't know how to cook it") I skipped all of the Guitars, Mandolins and other Banjos from this auction because they were either too expensive as they were good or I was passing them as I could always get something similar in the later auction, (and because the organisation had it with the Banjolele coming after the Guitars so I wasn't 100% I would be going when they came up) In hindsight this was a good plan as I did end up with too much from the second auction though I did pass up a couple of bargains and I am now committed to going.

In the second auction, as it was closer and it was second (so last chance of the day kind of thing) I had put in some pre-auction commission bids on the more pawn shop level Guitars in case I couldn't see the auction for any reason, with the plan that I could always cancel them before the lot came up, (sadly, and I'll need to remember this in future, that was not the case whether it was my incompetence or policy I'm not sure but once the auction started I couldn't cancel the bids). The bids I put it were very low, less than half the low estimate so I didn't think I would get that much, but whereas in the first auction the estimates were accurate for the most part, in this auction...
I won an S.X Bass Guitar (I did bid on this as I don't - well didn't at the time - have a proper Bass and this was going for £30) An Anniversary Rickenbacker 330 copy Guitar (the other I bid on in the auction this was the only hollow body in this auction and I wanted a semi-acoustic; and it was also the first Guitar up - still went for well under the estimate though). An Anniversary Rickenbacker 4003 copy Bass (get the whole Ricki Vibe) A BC Rich "Evil Edge" Mockingbird Guitar, (very metal), A BC Rich "Celtic" Virgo Guitar, (even more metal) A BC Rich Warbeast 1 Guitar (SuperMetal overload - and they are all black for some reason? - I thought I might win one for the pose maybe but not all three - granted there was a couple of other BC Riches that I didn't win because there was one bid over my very low pre bid, but they were black too? ) A Vester Stage Series Bass (I loved the finish on this, it would have been a chordophone of the day if I hadn't won it) A Peavey Zephyr C4 Bass, (I was always a fan of PeterWeazels T-40) A Gretsch Electromatic Junior Jet (it's a Gretsch even if it's not a big ol' Country Gentleman Semi) An Ibanez Jet King Bass (I like the shape and I like Ibanez) I passed up the Fender Precision, even though I'll probably never see one again that cheap and there were quite a few other bargains passed up (like the other BC Riches) but let's face it I've got enough to be going on with.

I think it is safe to say though I have more than enough pawn shop standard electric Guitars; AND Basses, to be going on with now so I think I will stay clear of them for a bit...
Unless something really good comes up!...
And I would like another more jazz type Semi-Acoustic ideally with a Bigsby...
and a "Manouche" Guitar...

They're Here!!!

All of them - a lot of driving and pissballing about and they all need a good clean; and probably new strings (Guitarists always tell me my guitars need new strings). Well the Mandolin definitely does, two of them are missing; (and yes it is a Vietnamese made - I'll have to see how it works out as a musical instrument when I put new strings on, but it will probably still be hard for me to say as I'm a crap Mandolin player) They are fun though and I have decided I love them all So now I'm going to have to change the layout of the website quite a bit to accommodate them all (and given the way that Google has been messing with Picasa I wouldn't be at all surprised it this stuffs up all the slideshows)
Luna Ulu Concert scale Banjolele
And as I'm rewriting things I'll add this here instead of doing a new "Coming Soon" entry for it, what it is, is a Luna Ulu Concert scale Banjolele that was up for Auction today at my local Auction house and as it was one of the last lots in the auction and as the auction house was kind of on my way home from picking up all of the other stuff I thought I would just swing in and see if it had gone through, (I had also popped up at the viewing a couple of days ago and put an absentee bid in to be on the safe side, still...)
I got there about 50 lots before this so I decided to wait and see what would happen, well first the very nice California series Fender Acoustic Guitar came up and as good as my word about buying more Guitars I let it go, (well not quite as good as my word, I did put a small absentee bid on the other day but it started a lot higher than that but I did resist the temptation to bid again) Next was the Luna and it went for the top of my absentee bid. The auctioneer did start lower than my maximum but there was someone else bidding and took it up to the maximum; I was prepared to bid again as it is in perfect condition and was still a lot cheaper than a new one, but I didn't need to, and as I was there and won, I paid for it there and then and brought it back too so it's here with all of the other auction winnings and very welcome it is too
Now I have a lot of new instruments, including this one to photograph and write about.

Will I get them all done before this page gets to the bottom of the list?

I saw it in a proper auction but didn't buy it

posted 10 Sep 2016, 02:42 by Lardy Fatboy   [ updated 12 Sep 2016, 07:50 ]

Beare & Sons "The Mitchigan" Soprano
So what's it doing on the coming soon page and not in the ones that got away slideshow (if it still worked)? Well to start with I didn't bid on it in that auction. The auction was in Manchester and the auction house didn't ship so if I had won it then I would have either had to find a local shippers to collect it and ship it to me, (and that service would have cost more than the Ukulele itself), or drive up to Manchester to collect it so I watched the auction but let it pass, after all I can't invite every Ukulele to Ukulele Corner. However...
the person that did buy it had it up on eBay that very evening with a £5 starting markup and a very reasonable £6.99 to ship. it also had a better condition description saying that there was a crack in the back. So clunker, but a very nice looking Regal made Beare & Sons "the Michigan" and the starting price was still very low. I bid £2 more that the starting price, (and with the crack I wasn't going to go higher), but only one other person bid and they only bid a pound more, so I won and now it's on the way to Ukulele corner but with a much lower shipping price that if I had bought it at the auction myself

It's Here

It's slightly more damaged that was suggested, there are 2 cracks on the back and a bit of the bridge that holds the A (C tuning) string has broke off. (At the moment it's still working but there is very little tension on the string so I fully expect the string to slip if I try and tune it up - I am leaving it alone while I photograph it first). Neither of these extra problems affect the look of the Ukulele and to be honest it was mainly for the looks I got it - A very nice Regal made 1930's sunburst Soprano. it was imported to the UK at the time by Beare & Sons so no "Standard Approved" label (the UK didn't recognise the "approving" body) but a lovely "Made in the U.S.A." stamp on the back of the headstock (The UK wanted area of origin on things at the time - British Made, Empire Made or Foreign Made as a minimum but the USA was proud to take the credit/blame for its exports to the UK) All in all I think it is very nice and I am glad it has come to Ukulele Corner. I will try and get the rear cracks fixed and get it in tune and playable but it will probably spend most of its time just being decorative.

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