c.1950 Carnival "Varsity" Plastic Ukulele

I'd been thinking about picking up an all-plastic uke from the '50s for taking out on the canoe (and also for Oona as she gets older) and have been keeping an eye out for nicer ones, but in town just the other day there was an estate sale and I happened by and picked up a new work table... and also this rough (cracked on the sides/back, missing a bit of the back, too) little old Carnival uke, cleaned it up, glued it up, popped some new tuners on, and set it up.

I'm entirely blown away with how good it sounds and how playable it is -- good intonation, after a bit of nut adjustment, plays nice, and is pretty darn loud. It has less sustain and sweet bell-like lows vs. wooden ukes, but has a "breathy" sort of drier tone which sounds awesome for strumming or quick picking.

Has some dancing college kids all over it, complete with a funky old car and a jazz band.

Red dots.

I drilled out the peghead for these new Grover friction pegs, which are oodles better than the white (somewhat broken/bent) violin-style pegs that came with it.

Back and sides are "bowling ball" swirl red/maroon.

New tuners look smart.

This is definitely not a "mint" plastic uke (I have a really nice "mint" Carnival one coming in the mail, though) but it'll be perfect to take out on the boat, in the rain, in the back of the car, and also for little miss Oona as she gets bigger.


Anonymous said...

Oona has a very musical future in store for her. Lucky girl.


Josh said...

Does anyone still make the four-colored strings that those things originally were fitted with?

Antebellum Instruments said...

Josh: Yes!! They do. But I forget who they are. I will get back to you if I can remember! :)

dianaallen26 said...

What's the price on something like this?