5/13/2011

c.1925 Oscar Schmidt Banjo Ukulele


These '20s Oscar Schmidt ukes are some of the best value-for-tone-for-volume buys you can make. They have a very "uke" feeling neck, not narrow and deep like a tenor banjo, but wider and thinner front to back like an older uke. They're also very lightweight and have a strong, loud, but warm and sweet tone -- drier than a uke and pluckier, but not harsh.

This weight savings is accomplished in a lightweight laminated pot reinforced with two metal bands against tension... and this also adds to the tone one's looking for in a banjo uke -- heavy, big banjo-style rims with thick pots tend to add punchy and volume but also tinnier, piercing tone -- whereas this one works almost like the sides of a wood-bodied uke -- providing structure but not too much rigidity.

At any rate... I've liked every one that's come through the shop. They're real winners! This one is mostly original save that one hook & nut is replaced, the tailpiece is '20s but not original, and I've used some spare '20s bakelite-buttoned friction pegs in place of the somewhat wrecked wooden pegs that came with it.


Fresh fret dress on these brass lovelies.


New plastic nut. Nylgut strings.


Good looking skin head! Also, the original bridge. Had to re-slot it a bit, though, to give better spacing.



Note the two metal bands at the bottom of the rim -- they dress the uke up but also keep the rim from bellying out under tension.



Note the extra slots -- the spacing was too narrow with the original setup.



Simple tailpiece, but works!




Bakelite-buttoned friction pegs.

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