Previous eBay bids that I didn't win
but liked and would try for again
Here is the latest news on Ukuleles that are on their way to live in the Corner
and anything else that happens there
My latest eBay bids
I hope I win it and get it cheap
Having decided to buy the Tenor Resonator I thought I would have a look to see if there was anything else I wanted that would put the total cost over the threshold for free shipping? A couple of sets of strings wasn't going to do it neither was the Noir Plastered (though I was tempted) and there was this; a Takamine Concert reduced as B Stock. Now I've been thinking about getting a Takamine for a while. Though the Ukuleles are not spectacular to look at they have a reputation for being very good, and now they are discontinued there is a bit of rarity creeping in. At some stage in the future when they are no longer obtainable will I wish I'd got one? Well no now because I bought, it I checked with Thomann and they told me it was B stock because it was shop soiled (the display one coming off the shelf as its discontinued now) so they'd knocked a bit off the price and they were already the cheapest European outlet for Takamines and by buying it I got free shipping And its my Birthday so its on the way
And my first thought was "what a crappy cheap gigbag" but I really must stop fixating on the gig bags and cases they are not important Ive got far more than i know what to do with and more than enough good cases for every scale of Ukulele there is: Leave it... it is crappy though.
The contents of the bag - what is important - is really nice. The Ukulele has a lovely neck, really smooth tuners and nice open pour satin finish and a very good tone for a laminate . As for its B stock used credentials there is the tiniest chip in the bottom at the back. apart from that you wouldn't know it was used
Sticking with the new Ukuleles theme I've actually gone back to buying new from a Shop! I was looking at Thomanns catalogue, (as you do) and i saw this one in there Its a Harley Benton so Thomanns house brand but I've not seen anything quite like it anywhere else and it ticked a number of boxes for things I was on the lookout for. First it has ƒ holes (and we all know I'm a sucker for ƒ holes) second its a resonator (and I'm a sucker for Resonators too) but more than that its a Tenor Resonator and all of my other resonators are concerts. its a wood bodied resonator and all my other resonators are metal or resin. finally its Spalt Maple and I think that usually a pretty finish (though I'm not sure how well that will work with a Resonator but its different from the usual mahogany?) As it is my birthday I thought I would buy myself a present so its on the way! Happy Birthday to me
Happy birthday to me indeed, it's lovely. It's VERY light for a resonator, especially after the Paxphil and quite small for a Tenor with a 42cm scale length, but it does have a very chunky neck and feels very solidly and nicely made. Its quite quiet for a resonator too, I think some of the spruce tops could match it for volume and quite trebly with a lot of top and not much base. Its certainly more non resonator Ukulele sounding that the other resonators. I'm thinking if I just heard it without knowing its a resonator Uke I would think it a spruce top? No just had another go and it's less harsh that a spruce top tone - I'm really liking this and I wasn't sure how much I would. It also looks very pretty too its Spalt Maple veneer on top back and sides, and whilst the spalting doesn't add a lot to the top it is very pretty on the back and even more so on the sides where there is a particularly dramatic piece of spalting
Give Up! But in the case of Ukuleles on ebay you can always hope for a second chance. And in this case I go one. This was on ebay just after Christmas and as Ive said many times on this site I'm a big fan of Resonators, (and ƒ holes and naked Ukulele playing Honeys but anyway) This was an interesting looking Resonator from Germany and after some research I found out it was a special exhibition piece for the 2011 Frankfurt show by the Korean firm Paxphil. it eventually sold for quite a bit more than I was willing to pay but thats the way of things often; lets face it If I won all of the auctions I went for Ukulele Corner would be three deep and I would be super skint. A month later and the Ukulele is back up on ebay, the person who won didn't like it and returned it saying the frets needed dressing in the top half of the fretboard. So its on again with this warning and no one bid so I got it for half the price it went for last time because a bit of fret dressing is not a lot compared to some of the clunkers I buy It still looks interesting and I love resonators
And its super shiny with steel strings. Yes the frets do need dressing but they are not that bad. I had a bit of trouble tuning it with the steel strings I couldn't work out where it was suppose to be? my first attempt was for g~C~E~A but I think an octave too high, (luckily its built like a tank and weighs about the same too) then I tried a re entrant d~G~B~E but it still didn't seem right so I've come down even more and settled on an a~D~F#~B (going right the way back to g felt a little slack) with steel strings and a Tipple Ukulele tuning it does have a bit of the sound of a Tiple. I'm happy with the tuning now but not 100% on the strings I'm not sure if the gauges are right there seems a huge difference between the 3rd and 4th (truth to tell I'm not really sure its suppose to be steel strung but as a one off exhibition piece its not something I can look up?)
Well lets be honest here it might still be an old clunker It comes with clearly fake strings so there is a possibility that it is completely unplayable ? If you look closely you can see that what it comes with is two strings that come from one tuner loop over the saddle and then go back up to a second tuner.; it might not be possible to attach four strings at the bridge end? Doesn't matter too much though, ever since I first saw one of these, (and I've seen a couple in other peoples collections) I have wanted one. I like the look of the cutaway and I've said it lots of times, I'm a sucker for ƒ holes. In fact I think its just about the coolest looking plastic "toy" Ukulele there is (apart from when they stick pictures of David Cassidy or Donny and Marie Osmond on it - but that dates it to the early 70's ) I wasn't expecting to get one "mint in box" and when it arrives I almost certainly won't keep it in there (If when I see that bridge up close I'm 100% sure that I can't make it playable then I might...But probably not) I will keep the backing card safe somewhere though and I'm interested to see what the price tag on the front says
It's Here !!
and $3.99 - Bargain
Now its here and I see it in its cellophane wrapping its more of a quandary what to do? The bridge is quite heavy duty and looks like it would take strings with no problem but the way it is on its little card, theres no way I could take it out without...
Well I looked at it again and whilst I don't think I could get it back in to packaging again and I had to damage the packaging a bit (obviously but slightly more than I wanted to) to get it out I made the decision this is not the home of Stinky Pete and Leonard Nimoy does not have to haunt my dreams. This is Ukulele Corner the place where Ukuleles can be what they were meant to be Fun and Musical (well when I sing along the musical is stretched a bit - and the Auto Tuner hasn't helped yet) Now I need to put some proper strings on and see what happens?
Its proving a bugger to string and the friction tuners aren't great at holding but I'm getting there (hopefully)
I may not have mentioned this on the site before but I am a Mottephobic (that is I have a fear of moths and butterflies - it's not irrational, I know that secretly they have great big bitey teeth and given the chance will rip your face off) so a Ukulele with a butterfly motif is not one some people would expect me to buy! Nevertheless I have bought one, the Scheonhut Butterfly Soprano. First it was very cheap, (not that most people can understand), I spent more on beer Friday night than I did for this. And second you will notice it looks very much like a Flea (when I first saw the design I even wrote to MFC and told them their design was being ripped off - they wrote back and told me the Ukuleles were being made under licence). I didn't think they would come to the UK so I didn't think I would get one but for the price it was I was interested to see exactly how Flea like it is? so I am inviting a Butterfly to Ukulele Corner and who knows, when I play it, it might cause a Tornado in Kansas ('cos thats another bad thing Butterflies do, as well as rip your face off, they cause tornados, hurricanes and probably earthquakes too!)
And its quite subtle as a butterfly Ukulele. Of course the key question everyone is asking though is how does it compare to the MFC Flea? Well superficially very well the only obvious difference when you look at it (apart from having Schoenhut written all over it) is the tuners look cheaper, I suppose it is a little glossier too. Overall the quality of the finish is pretty good and lets make no bones about it as a budget starter Ukulele this is pretty good. Despite what MFC say the flea isn't a budget starter Ukulele, its more than 5 times the price of this and, (apart from better quality tuners), the place where this shows is in the sound. The Flea is significantly louder and fuller than this. That said it was only when I had the two together I thought this, the Schoenhut sounds fine and probably would sound better with better strings (I have Aquilas on my Flea). I'm very happy with it though
The Harmony Roy Smeck "Vita" (after the biscuits Roy was also endorsing) Production started in the late 1920's and finished in the mid 1930's. Reputedly the best sounding Harmony of the period, the A style mandolin shape helps increase the volume and no-one knows what inspired the seal sound holes. So another old clunker then and once again breaking my promise to stop buying old clunkers...
Not quite - what I have invited to the Corner is a fairly faithful modern reproduction of one by Marc Schoenberger under his Ukiyo brand. I say fairly faithful because obviously its new(ish - in was made in 2006) and it has the neatest compensated saddle I think I've ever seen (and the originals didn't have that). It was also made in California not Chicago too
And it has amazing strings as well as an amazing saddle! I don't know what they are but they look like they would have confused the heck out of Roy Smeck as well as the compensated saddle. They are sort of wound nylon over a wire core? Anyway they whole Ukulele is here and it is a beautiful piece of craftsmanship. Came in a good Tenor hard case too as it doesn't fit in a Soprano one due to the big bum. Don't expect to many updates for a while I may well be playing with this quite a bit.
Ever since I saw Fat Mullet Slim's in his collection. He showed it to me as a bit of a curio as he didn't know much about it beyond the name Dixie on the headstock, and I didn't at the time it was just a weird all metal Banjolele with quite an old sound . In doing the Database
website I did some research on it and found out it is a (probably) aluminum banjolele made by Trophy Musical Novelties for the musical instrument distributors Grossman in the early 1950's It was a fairly radical new design and was patented by Josephus Thompson along with Grossman which is why it has the patent applied for on the back of the headstock.
This one is living up to its name by coming to me from Charlotte, North Carolina - you can't get more Dixie that that - It came up with a buy it now price on ebay and I thought the price was very reasonable for I brought it. It shouldn't need much doing to it, one of the tuners has been replaced (but with a Harmony sharks tooth and the last time I looked they went for $15 a pop) I will probably replace them all with a matching set , well the buttons anyway, and then re-string (and maybe a polish too?
And the best laid plans and all that - replacing the tuner is both a trickier and more urgent problem that I first thought. The tuner ends where they grip against the back of the headstock are specially designed to fit into a concave cast socket thus increasing the surface area between the metal and the plastic and generating more friction. What this means is the replacement tuner doesn't fit properly and doesn't grip enough to stay in tune and neither does my flat bottomed alternative (Also I don't have any spare cream friction tuner buttons) So yet another old clunker that I can't tune! But it does look pretty cool though - and I'm thinking i can possibly work something out with a small shaped piece of pencil eraser?
I have always said on this site and in my review that Sopraninos are really not for beginners but surprisingly some people don't seem to believe me (or perhaps they don't look at the site regularly? nah can't be that) Anyway this came up on ebay as being too small, so they were selling it. I think this site shows amongst other things that I'm a sucker for Sopraninos so even if it does look suspiciously like my Tom Thumb (except for the spruce top and the heart shaped sound hole and the bridge and the end of the fretboard - maybe its starting to sound a bit different ) and even if I'm not sure about the brand name Kaka (which must have seemed like a cunning plan to a chinese marketing executive but phonetically is, I believe, Spanish for shit) there is always a place for it here at Ukulele Corner; especially at the price I ended up getting it for. I had better start practicing "Love is in the air" or songs of a similar nature...
And to be honest it's not quite as well made as the Tom Thumb, though the wood is a lot prettier. I'm not sure they are from the same factory? This one, when compared directly with the Tom looks like perhaps the owners on this factory got a Tom, (I saw the Toms Thumbs on sale well before these) and then copied it. Like they made a mold for this from the Tom ? Anyway as I said its very pretty and thats part of what its about; and despite the name if definitely isn't shit.
I said I'd brought enough Clunkers not 2 weeks ago I even wrote it in this section and here I am looking forward to a widely experienced Scheohut Liberty bell Sopranino Banjolele One that I know needs work too! Yet again the tuners need sorting out, its going to need a bridge too and I don't know what else because it was being sold as a toy not a musical instrument... and that is partly the reason. I put the caveat in "unless it was a bargain" and this one was No one else wanted a broken toy Banjo much and because it is so small the shipping is cheap too (its another find from the good old US of A) and it is even cheap enough that ebay tell me there is no tax to pay! Liberty indeed
And I really should have kept that promise!
It arrived in two parts, the neck separated from the body! (hence the cheap shipping) and the skin is a lot slacker than the picture suggests too. Yes its repairable but its going to be a lot more work than I was anticipating. On the plus side The neck is is good order and the Scheohut liberty bell decal is in perfect order. Plus it will take a set of modern tuners without having to ream out the holes (much) I think it will be good one day,especially if I can get someone competent to fix it - who needs a website?), just not today
For those who aren't members of Ukulele Underground A chap who is had been looking into getting a Steel Strung Semi Acoustic Ukulele He had seen the Kamoa's but had also managed somehow to find East Start Musical Instrument Co. and figuring these would be cheaper contacted them about buying one direct. In typical Chinese manufacturer fashion they gave him a price for one and then a price for 20 (which was about 40% the price of 1) so he thought he would have a shout on Ukulele Underground to see if he could find some others to come in on the deal. Now I am very keen on the idea of a nice Semi Acoustic style Ukulele and design wise I like the East Start one better than the Kamoa or its oem brother the Aeirsi, mainly for the big curly tailpiece and as someone who does the odd bit of Ukulele Underground I saw the should and I was in. To cut a long story short he managed to get 19 sales including himself and me and if we brought the rather fetching looking two tone hard case (at a bargain price too) the deal was a on! Now I just have to wait for them to build it and as its kind of custom I got to pick the colour so I picked the green as I don't have many green Ukuleles I've paid the money and now I'm practising my Jazz chords