1/25/2009

c.1920 Unmarked Banjo Ukulele


Here's a fun little banjo uke that I've restored for a local customer. It was his Grandmother's instrument and she was apparently left-handed as it was strung that way to begin with. These first three pics are the "before" pics. Here you can see the headstock with its mismatched tuners -- the two (original?) black bakelite ones are just fine but the two replacements (probably c.1960) are eating away at the headstock.


Grimy frets -- and every single one needs to be filed at the ends so as not to rip the fingers up while playing up the neck.


Pot has tarnish and some ancient tape is on the heel. Parts are in generally good shape, though. This all just needs shining up. The head will need to be properly tensioned, as well.

And here are the "after" pics:


Looking a fair bit healthier already, no?


She's all spruced up! Original bridge was fine but the string spacing was a little narrow for a uke. This Grover non-tip has been recut and now gives proper uke string spacing.


Headstock. I've removed the old washers and used new brass washers, for starters. I've also recut the nut a little for better play.


And here I've used my parts-bin to solve the other problem: I removed the two old replacement tuners and used some 50s-era tuner shafts, button, and screws, combined with some top-side ferrules, to make an efficient and "vintage" looking replacement pair. I'm pretty convinced that this uke had wood pegs originally, as I've seen this same model of uke almost exclusively with wood pegs in deteriorating shape in many online auctions.


Polished and lookin' good -- also the fretboard conditioned nicely. These are the new Martin fluorocarbon strings that I'm enjoying quite a bit lately. They sound pretty much the same as clear Worths and are well worth the $3.50/$3.80 or so. I turned my back on nylon a long time ago!


Here you can see the newfound cleanliness of the pot and hardware.


Pot inside.


Glam shot!


And here you can see how a certain bit of ancient tape is thankfully missing!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

we purchased a banjo like the one you have pictured from a yard sale and would like to get any information you could give us i can be reached at joeski114@yahoo.com thanks for any help you can offer.