3/25/2012

c.1930 "California Style" Banjo Ukulele



This is a customer's instrument that I did some work on to get it playable. This style banjo uke was sold by the multiple dozens to retailers "back in the day" and could be had for between $1.50 and $2.00 through the Sears catalog and the like. Nevertheless -- after a bit of work -- they turn into nice players with a good, plucky tone.



This uke was probably made by Globe Manufacturing.

My work included: new Grover tuners, a fret level/dress, a new (vintage, parts bin) skin head, new bridge (also vintage parts bin), and setup.


Unlike a typical banjo head where I'd have to fuss with pulling the skin around and up through the flesh hoop and tension hoop, one simply plops the wet skin over the interior of the rim and presses down with the tension hoop over it, installs the screws for tension, and lets it dry. The disadvantage of the design is that the screw-holes eventually will strip if the player needs to tighten the head a lot for inclement weather.

I mounted this in the morning today and after sitting around near the stove it's actually perfectly dry and ready to go -- and furthermore -- sounds great.



This has a typical round-back "f-hole" resonator on the rear that's glued on. Unfortunately this one was "re-glued" and has some sort of gross glue marks and crumbly edges that are harder to see in the pics. To keep the cost down for the customer I didn't go to the trouble of removing it and regluing it nicely since it has no effect on playability or durability.


New Grover pegs.

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