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)
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
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)
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? )
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
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...)
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 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.
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
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.
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
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
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...
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)
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?
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 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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