10/17/2012

c.1950 Mastro "TV Pal" Plastic Ukulele




If you've ever played plastic ukes, you know that there's a wide variety of tonal response depending on who makes them. This Mastro-made T.V. Pal is among the better of the plastic ukes I've played. The scale is correct, it's lightweight, and most important of all -- the top is thin and braced like a classical guitar in a "fan" style reinforcement pattern.

This makes the uke have a good, full sound without any "choked" tone. Well, as full as plastic can sound, at any rate!

Another nice touch is that the whole thing (uke, tuners, and strings) is made from plastic, so this one really has no issue if it gets dropped out of a canoe.


Work on this fella included scrubbing it clean and setting action at the nut (zero fret) and saddle. It plays just right at between 1/16" and 3/32" at the 12th with new Martin fluorocarbon strings. I used the Martin set rather than Aquilas since the tension is lower.


Cute headstock stencil.


The weird deco-ish bridge is very much reminiscent of Mario Maccaferri's other designs -- which, yes, include those Selmer-made gypsy guitars made so famous by one D. Reinhardt.



This uke is in surprisingly good shape and Oona took to it right away. I had to "trade" her a different plastic uke to get this one back for shooting some photos of it!


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