Here is the latest news on Ukuleles that may come to live in the Corner

and anything else that happens there
Ones That Got Away
maybe next time
My latest eBay bids
I hope I win it and get it cheap

This is what education gets you

posted 25 Jun 2016, 10:13 by Lardy Fatboy   [ updated 25 Jun 2016, 10:15 ]

What is on it's way to Ukulele Corner this time is a 1970 Villafan Soprano made in Paracho, Mexico for a teaching music on the Ukulele project run in the schools of Corpus Christi, Texas. I know all of this because I did some research on them, and I did some research on them because I had bid on the Ukulele having seen it on ebay, marked it for watching (as I had seen a couple on ebay over the years and so the brand was on my list of brands to research) and then seen it, despite the low starting price, be unsold and relisted. Given the low starting price and the fact that it was not a Japanese made Ukulele (not that there is anything wrong with a lot of Japanese made instruments of the period its just you see so many that they are not that interesting to get, especially all the way from the US), I thought I would have a small punt - not very much as shipping and import tax, (though this was still cheap enough there was no import tax), puts the price up - but no one bid last time so I thought it worth the starting price. And as no one bid the last time I thought I should find out more about it in case no one bid this time and it came to Ukulele Corner. I found out about the project in 1970 with Corpus Christi Schools and the Mexican Guitar maker Geronimo Villafan, which I added the the database; and no one bid again so it's on it's way.

Not only but also...

posted 23 Jun 2016, 14:00 by Lardy Fatboy   [ updated 24 Jun 2016, 08:15 ]

Fender DG10 12 string folk Guitar at Ukulele Corner
So a real auction with real bidding and the Dean wasn't the only thing I got carried away on. I say all of the "Big Name" Guitars didn't go for a bargain price but that's not strictly true. All of the big name electric Guitars weren't bargains but there was this one and it's certainly big, it's a 12 string dreadnought; and it's a Fender too. It may not be the best of the Fender acoustic range but it's above a Squire. I have always fancied a 12 string, I don't know why? And with all these Guitars it will certainly look like I can play the Guitar. It certainly looks like I should sort Ukulele Corner out properly too, and whilst I still want to actually be present at an auction I must remember not to get carried away with bargains. there is only so much stuff I can bring home.

It's Here!!

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 ;

I did a real auction.

posted 23 Jun 2016, 12:19 by Lardy Fatboy   [ updated 24 Jun 2016, 08:41 ]

Dean electric acoustic VCO_NT vee Guitar
Its one of those things that I have always planned to do - go to a real auction - and I almost did it. It was a entertainment speciality auction and it wasn't that far away. there were some interesting lots, (and a whole raft of old tat, used concert tickets, old flyers that sort of thing), including a white label Kamaka a 50th anniversary Telecaster and a couple of Les Pauls. I couldn't go because I had a dentist appointment, one I had been waiting for for 6 months, to have a couple of teeth pulled but I could watch online and I could put in some pre-bids just in case... So I went through the catalogue and put some pre bids on the Les Pauls and the Tele; way less than they were worth but just in case no one else was watching and they went for a "bargin" price? I also put a pre -bid on the Kamaka in case I didn't get the online thing to work  and a couple of other interesting Guitars; again just in case they went for what I thought would be cheap.  I did get the online thing to work though, and I was back from the dentist in plenty of time for the lots that I was interested in.  The Kamaka and the big name Guitars didn't go for a bargain price though, however some of the others did, including the "other " that I was most interested in which was this acoustic electric Dean Vee! I still can't play the guitar but this does look like something I can pose with big time and like some of my Ukulele this does look a lot of fun I'm looking forward to getting it.

It's Here!

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)

When it's gone it's gone.

posted 20 Jun 2016, 13:27 by Lardy Fatboy   [ updated 24 Jun 2016, 10:05 ]

laka vintage jhs butterfly soprano ukulele vus75
What is pictured here is the JHS "official" picture (photo but maybe with some photoshop or other image treatment?) of the Laka VUS75 "Butterfly wood" veneered Soprano, You don't see it on the JHS website now as the model is now discontinued but I have always thought it was a striking looking Ukulele and had always had it vaguely on my wishlist - it's wasn't that expensive and it wasn't that rare (still isn't) something to get if it was a bargin, (and I have come "second" on a couple of ebay auctions for them). Well when I was doing my research and asked JHS, they said "the VUS75 is unfortunately now discontinued, but we do have one left in our showroom and if you would like it you can have it for just..." Well The price was good but not spectacular and I do know of a few places to get hold of one, but nevertheless what i would be getting was the official last one ever. How could I say no? I haven't seen the actual Ukulele yet so I can only hope it is one with some dramatic patternation, after all showroom ones usually are, and it might even be the one used for the official picture. Whatever when it arrives I will love it and it will be the official last one so that will always add to its kudos (if ever it needed more kudos)

It's Here

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

It's still Ukulele Corner, Honest

posted 4 Jun 2016, 09:02 by Lardy Fatboy   [ updated 7 Jun 2016, 01:55 ]

Nonchalantly walking past the pawnbrokers again, (as you do; not deliberately walking past the pawnbrokers in the hope that someone has had to pawn a nice ukulele...), and I noticed they had some new stock in. So having run the errands I was in town to do, and having spent less than I thought I was going to have to getting the skycar  M.o.T.ed for another year I thought I would just pop in for a look; after all one of them was a Banjolele. One of them was a nice USM Washburn B9 Banjo too, and in very nice condition nearly new looking, (not a mark that I could see on it) with a good Stagg Banjo hard case and at what I thought was a real bargain price. So much of a bargain price I thought "it won't stay around for long" so I asked about it; and as it's a pawnbroker's I asked for a fairly hefty reduction on the bargain price. Now I went in look expecting to have to come up abit and meet in the middle but they said yes to my first offer so it's the second Banjo in a month coming home with me to Ukulele Corner, (and even with 2 banjos in a month it's still Ukulele Corner). Perhaps I should have been even more optimistic with my first offer? (I will bear that in mind when I go back for the Banjolele...)

It's Here!

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!!)

Bit of a cheeky one

posted 3 Jun 2016, 07:38 by Lardy Fatboy   [ updated 9 Jun 2016, 08:50 ]

Mexican Martin laminate 0xb soprano at Lardy's Ukulele Database
When I first saw one of these I thought it was some kind of fake. A coloured Martin! And in red, green or blue!! Surely that should be "Martin Smith" or something? Surely they can't be faking the logo that much again? Surely something odd?!?  Anyway I checked it out and it is legit! One of Martin's 2015 special limited editions is in the 0X series and is a laminate Soprano in three colours and made of Bamboo (Bamboo is always laminate you don't get strips big enough to make anything from a single strip; but the technology is well proven, see the 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?

It's Here!!

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

Yes I'm back in business...

posted 17 May 2016, 08:49 by Lardy Fatboy   [ updated 24 May 2016, 02:49 ]

fender52 telecaster concert ukulele
With Ukulele Corner providing a safe home for Ukuleles and other fretted chordophones, (and probably unfretted ones too if they need a home)
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

It's Here!

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 the Mandolin Collection has started too!

posted 1 May 2016, 03:59 by Lardy Fatboy   [ updated 1 May 2016, 06:00 ]

Cumbus Mando
Well as I was out inviting the Banjo to Ukulele Corner the purveyor of "stuff" at the pawn shop told me he also had a little "Lute thing" in that was going "very cheap" Now very cheap are always words to perk up my interest so I said I would have a look. He got it out of the window and I was quite taken; what he had was not a lute thing but a Cümbüş wooden flat backed Mandolin Looking at the label it said it was their "Napoliten" model but it included a reference to the website so it wasn't that old. Now I didn't know Cümbüş made wooden instruments but I knew their Banjo range and that they were Turkey's foremost instrument manufacturer so I was very interested especially at the what was "very cheap" price. It was in bad need of new strings and had led a hard life previous to ending up in the shop so I said I would think about it having just invited the Banjo and left the shop. I did think about it too... I though "I pay less than that for buns in the week; it's an interesting looking chordophone from a maker I have always said I was interested in the wares off and I had always said to myself I would start a Mandolin collection one day", (obfuscating to myself again as I already have 4, 5 if you count the Bandolim - how can I say start? - thats a bigger collection than most people, whatever) I thought about it for all of 20m down the road before i turned around and went back. He even knocked another pound off the price so it got an invitation to Ukulele Corner too and "Officially" started the Mandolin Collection

Its Here

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

Looks like the flood gates have opened!

posted 1 May 2016, 03:57 by Lardy Fatboy   [ updated 2 May 2016, 14:35 ]

And the 5 string Banjo collection has started too!!
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.

It's Here!

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.

It's all starting over...

posted 30 Apr 2016, 07:14 by Lardy Fatboy   [ updated 9 May 2016, 12:25 ]

Buying clunkers, not having anywhere to hang them the whole shaboo...
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!

It's Here!

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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