6/04/2011

c.1925 Stella "Crackle Finish" Banjo Ukulele


This banjo uke is similar to a half dozen or so other Oscar Schmidt-made ones I've worked on. It's essentially the same as this one I fixed up recently (click here) except it has a white celluloid heel cap and white binding on the bottom of the rim, and sports a (new for the mid-20s) black "crackle finish" which was apparently all the rage when it came out on OS instruments around c.1925. The Sears catalog for 1926 mentioned it as a "new option" on their OS-made ukes.


This one also has its original nut and a good set of Grover Champion uke pegs with white celluloid buttons. They work great!


I've given the frets a dressing, and like other OS-made uke instruments, they're very low but this makes slides and sliding chords very comfortable -- and considering nylon/nylgut strings don't put wear on metal frets... not an issue at all.


Original head. New Grover non-tip bridge, newer repro no-knot tailpiece.




The crackle finish is pretty cool. Gives it a funky aesthetic.



I really like the band of white binding on the bottom of the rim.




Heel cap, too.


And even the dowel has "crackle!"


With this type of neck brace, you hammer it down into a wedge-shaped slot, then pop the screw in to make sure the friction-fit doesn't loosen up.




And here are the strings tied-up/wrapped around the no-knot pins.

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