c.1955 Favilla Baritone Ukulele

Update: The new owner of this bari supplied me with dating info...:

"Did some research. Tom Favilla posted on FleaMarket Music site this:

Hi Chuck, Just saw Dougs posting about his Favilla Baritone Uke. Its an early to mid 1950's manufacture. Very early Baritone's 1940's to 1953 had no serial numbers. Serial numbers were first used 1953 to 1957. After 1959 the familiar gold label inside the body bore the model and serial number. Best, Tom

So, this uke is probably c.53-57."
Thanks for that! And now back to the original post...

This is truly the cleanest old Favilla (made in New York) baritone uke I've come across yet: no cracks, minor scuffs and scratches, a perfectly straight neck, good satin finish (though, of course, fine weather-checking is seen throughout), and all-original parts. I'm guessing that this one was built between 1955 and 1960 as it's got that late-50s feel.

It also plays brilliantly after a light fret level/dress and setup at the nut and saddle. Strings are Martin fluorocarbons and it plays at a hair over 1/16" at the 12th fret.

Nice-quality mahogany (and thin!) used throughout. There's some picking-wear (from fingernails) on the upper bout to the treble side of the fretboard. What a typical uke player!


Bone nut, good crisp Favilla logo.


Rosewood fretboard with plastic dots and side dots. Frets are in great shape and only needed minor leveling to come out perfect.

Bone saddle, rosewood bridge.

Nice, simple, one-ring rosette.

The proportions on these old Favillas are "just right."

If Favilla serials become useful as dating information, then this may help in some future historical project...

The major "scuffs" are seen here where the finish isn't clean... the lower one actually has a tiny bite into the wood like it was bumped up against something. Considering the usual state of Favillas (needing a number of hairline repairs to start with and usually a very worn, muddy finish) I consider these a very minor point.

Simple friction pegs.

These ukes are really every bit as good as Martin baritones and (to my eyes) are more aesthetically pleasing.

It even has a nice new violin-style hard-foam bari case. Lightweight and sturdy are the key words, here.

1 comment:

Andy Martin said...

I just got one on ebay, looks pretty dirty but might clean up. lots of checking. looking forward to comparing it to my Martin.