4/28/2011

c.1930 Slingerland-made Columbia Banjo Ukulele


While this is labeled (with a burn mark) "Columbia" (a Gretsch? brand) on the dowel stick, this uke is identical in build, hardware, appointments, etc. to many, many Slingerland-branded (including MayBell) instruments, from c.1925-1930. This one has a wood-shimmed neck brace, which dates it to at the latest around 1930 or so, as I think after that one sees metal neck braces on this model.

This is a nice example of one of these fellas, though, with 100% original hardware, except for the bridge, which is a period bridge I fitted to it. I've cleaned it up, reseated a few frets, taken it all apart, put it back together, and gave it a setup. I added washers to the underside of the bakelite tuner knobs for smoother operation as well.


The neck is flamed hard maple and looks really nice but understated. Frets are set directly into the face of the neck and are narrow but tall. Rosewood nut.


Yellow/cream MOP dots in the board.



Cool plastic?-inset maple bridge (2 foot).




This banjo uke is in great shape...! Note the birdseye veneer on the resonator backplate. Also -- the rim is 1-ply thick maple, with birdseye veneer on the outside.


Original skin head with hoop-style tonering underneath (simple ring).



Trying to get a photo of that flame on the neck here... looks real nice, especially with the birdseye veneer on the pot.


All-original hardware.


Tailpiece accepts loop, ball, or tied ends, which allows this to also be strung as a 4-string (tango/melody) mandolin banjo or as a steel-strung banjo uke, as well (steel sets were used quite often for uke tuning at this time, by the way).


Bakelite buttons are in good order.

1 comment:

Jeff Hawley, Cartoonist - said...

Great to finally see another one of these. I have one, a family heirloom, nearly identical to yours, but with 5 screws on the resonator instead of 4. Dowel stick is stamped with "Columbia 5", which maybe refers to the 5 screws? The rim is 7" diam., total length 21 1/2". It's a fine player! Thanks for your excellent site.
Jeff