and it's very BIG!!! (and it's very dirty too). The trip up to collect it wasn't bad and the place was a veritable "aladdin's cave" with the place in full swing for a photographic equipment auction there were lots of interesting things so I didn't hang around otherwise I may have ended up spending more money. What I do need to do now is clean it, possibly re string it and practice with the 6 strings until I get a bit better because playing a steel strung 12 string is hard on my soft fingers but it does sound good when I strum it ;
And this is turning out to be a very busy day for arrivals at Ukulele Corner. The guitar is in perfect condition and came with a Dean padded soft case and a good Guitar strap, both of which I can find a use for too, especially since being an odd shape it doesn't sit nicely for playing on your lap. It does sit nicely for posing though and that is what I was going to do with it most, (I might try and resurrect my Guitar playing career too after all having invited more guitars to Ukulele corner I should try and pay them occasionally)
And very deep it is too. It doesn't have to contrast of the publicity shot, (which really makes me think the publicity shot is majorly photoshoped) but it does have some pretty dramatic graining so it does look the business. and its well made and sounds good too; I'm very glad I got the Last One. I hope I can do it justice with the photographs and with the sound clips because it really is a very nice Ukulele
Well it has been for a couple of days now after all I brought it as soon as I saw it; well maybe 15 minutes after but quick enough that I was never going to have time to do this post before getting it. I was waiting on saying "It's Here" until I had time to take a nice photo of it and as I'm still learning to use the new camera with its myriad function setting this can be a job in itself! As it is the photo is ok but I think I could do better? One thing to say about it though is it is heavy, both to photograph and to play, I'm glad it came with a strap as well as a good case, (I photographed that too! And the case is heavy too!!)
Vamboo for another example, and as a material it has very "green" sustainable credentials) Colour is a bit of a departure for Martin but they had already broken the laminate taboo for the 0XK so why not. So Martin are doing a Budget(? only for Martin would you call it budget), colourful Soprano! Now I'm a sucker for colourful Sopranos, (like many other things), so I wondered how much? After all it's very different from the normal Martins, it's a limited edition so production will stop soon and the old backpacker which was very different at the time and now unavailable has become something of a cult Ukulele and I predict this one is likely to in a few years too. Like I say, how much? I had trouble tracking one down in Europe, my usual places didn't have them but I found a top end eBay shop in Germany advertising them with a Buy it now / make an offer for the blue or green. Like I hinted earlier though, it wasn't cheap but I thought I would put a very cheeky offer in on the blue one; at least I tried. And, (and I'll remember how much under the asking price I went because they are a high end supplier so I may try again now as), my offer was accepted! I wonder if this one will smell like the Vamboo did when it was new?
And no, it doesn't smell. It does sound good though; and it's very blue. Certainly not your traditional Martin but it is quality and I think it will become a classic one day
This time I have invited a fairly new Fender '52 Concert to come and live here. When I started inviting Ukuleles I knew at least one Fender would come being a fan of the electric Guitars so I got the Hai'ola but I thought at the time Fender should, themselves cash in on the Telecaster body shape like Gibson did with the Epiphone Les Paul, and were one available I would have gone for that even though I had the Mahalo "Tele" already. Later when the did bring one out I was tempted, as I was again with the T-Bucket. When I was moving from the old Corner and the chap buying it wanted me to leave him a good Ukulele, (cheeky sod!) I did consider leaving him the Hai'ola so I had an excuse to get a T-Bucket or a '52. I didn't; I kept the Hai'ola and it is still much loved but when this one came up at a pretty bargain price I thought I would have a punt. As it was no one else bid so it's now on the way here where I can use it to play along with all the old Clash songs
And it's very Rock'n'Roll! Very glossy 2-tone vintage sunburst, built in tuner/pickup, (though it looks like the batteries on the way out; but this is the only evidence it isn't new. Well this and the fact that the strings have finished stretching so it stays in tune) This really is the Ukulele that Fender should make; and now they do. I was a little disappointed with the tone when I first played it but I'm warming to it the more I play it. I have been playing a spruce top and that has a lot more volume and a different tone which is what I was comparing it to Possibly I may still change the strings anyway? I'm not sure what is on it at the moment but I do think there is some scope still for improvement , maybe some reds? maybe some fluorocarbon? Certainly I will report back if I find a set that makes it sound better (and I may be sounding like I have a downer on it but really it's not that bad and it does look the mutt's...) I do think it's lovely and I am glad I invited it to Ukulele Corner
And the more I play it the more I like the tone and the overall playability; I'm liking it more and more!
And when I looked it up on the Internet I found it was actually a Piccolo Mandolin with a scale length of 326mm (a standard Mandolin should have a scale length of at least 350mm) This makes me even happier to have invited it, I do like diminutive chordophone even though the are harder to play and there are not many Piccolo Mandolins on the market either. Now it currently has fairly heavy strings on and so is tuned to a standard G~D~A~E tuning but the string need replacing so I will go for a lighter set and give it the high C~G~D~A tuning like a Mandola but an octave higher. After all I can't play the Mandolin so it's not going to throw me on the chord shapes (Well I can play "Sweet Home Alabama" but I'm fairly sure I can manage that transposed too). It is a bit chipped but there is no structural problems and it's not like I haven't got plenty of "experienced" Ukuleles at the corner to keep it company and it is laminate spruce but there are plenty of laminate Ukuleles too. it was never meant to be a High Class instrument but it is Class and given the maker and the size it was always going to be on my want list as soon as I knew of its existence
There is, on Ukulele Island, a lot of pawn shops not far from Ukulele Corner and I have taken to walking past them whilst out on my daily walk; and sometimes going in to look at what nice chordophones have been abandoned there. Possibly I shouldn't, after all it's mostly Guitars and I can't play Guitar (though the Gibson Les Paul in one of them is very nice and I'm tempted - but at £1200, not that tempted) Now I can't play the Banjo either but one of them had a very nice, clean Barnes & Mullins open back Banjo at a very reasonable price and I thought it would be a welcome addition to Ukulele Corner. I said to myself "if I win the lottery tonight I will invite it to the corner" Well I also thought "if I win big I'll invite the Les Paul too." Well I didn't win big but I did win; £2.60. Obfuscation I know but a promise is a promise so I have invited the Banjo to Ukulele Corner.
Now I have to work out how to play it?
I like the sound of the Banjo and I know playing one has a lot to do with finger picking, (which I am crap at) but i think there is more to it than that? Anyway...
What I have invited is a Barnes and Mullins open backed Banjo One that is quite plain and looks very businesslike which was one of the things that struck me about it. I looked at the B&M catalogue and the only open back banjo I could see was the "Albert" and this was much "flashier" than this one with florid fret markers and a much fancier headstock. Mine looks like the same basic body, size of drum, size of neck and everything; even the headstock shape is the same but I don't know if it is an "Albert" or another model. I can see it is fairly new but I don't know exactly how old, if it is a discontinued model not that it really matters I think it looks and feels really nice and it gives me the opportunity to try and learn to play Banjo and to start a Banjo collection too! Especially as it came with a good padded soft case and some finger (and thumb) picks.
I still haven't even got all of the Ukuleles to Ukulele Island never mind Ukulele Corner on Ukulele Island. This is one of the reasons I haven't been inviting new, (to me), Ukulele to live here. I must get it all together soon though not least because I have invited a new resident.
Like ƒ holes I am a sucker for perloid and this one as not only a perloid fretboard but a perloid golpeador too! I'm not entirely sure of the maker? I know it is 1930's and European, maybe British(?) made. I am assured that it is all in good order with no splits, cracks or major chips, (of course it still might be a right clunker and these assurances might not be true?) I hope that I can work out more about its maker when it gets here.
I hope I have somewhere to hang it properly when it gets here too!
And in worse shape than I had hoped - same old clunker buying.
It is missing 4 frets which I did ask about and the seller was a bit evasive over, and the soundboard is coming away at the top bout; which there was no mention of - moral never trust an ebay sellers description of an old Ukulele with no issues. On the plus side I think all of the faults are fairly easy fixes, other than these it is in remarkably unplayed looking condition and I do love the pearloid fretboard and golpeador; very period and authentic, also I think very retro and hip. I think it's old case is quite funky too and not like any I have seen before, which given that there are no makers markings on it makes it difficult to say who made it? It was clearly of reasonable quality when it was made and the bridge has a proper and separate saddle which again points to quality and also the possibility of German/Czech origins, though the perloid makes me think English and the headstock makes me think Barnett Samuel for one of the London distributors? I'll need to keep my eye out for more old catalogues, (and get it fixed)
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