3/21/2013

c.1921 Lyon & Healy Model 1273 Early Model "Camp Uke"


As a certified Camp Uke fanatic, I've worked on a lot of them as I hunt for them. This one was brought to my attention by a Uke Underground member who was selling it and I gladly took it off his hands... thanks! At any rate, this is only the third one of this type of Camp Uke (with the no-soundhole top) that I've come across and I worked on the second one I saw last year.

These are cool versions of the basic Camp Uke and have a quite different tone -- sort of bright and sunny and clean. They're not as "woody ukey" but somewhere between a regular uke and a mellow banjo uke in terms of tone character. This makes them excellent strummers and also means that they record really easily. They also look cool as all get-out.


Ebony nut and typical L&H patent friction pegs with brass shafts. Gotta love the stamped-in Camp Uke logo.


This has black celluloid dots inlaid in the board and black celluloid binding on the top edge of the body, too. The frets on this guy are nickel-silver rather than the more usual brass one finds on Camp Ukes.

My work on this guy was pretty simple stuff: a fret level, dress, cleaning, and setup. Because this type of camp uke can have its neck angle adjusted via a shim at the top of the heel (just like a banjo) that allowed me to adjust the action for silky-smooth play without having to modify the bridge saddle (which is what I usually have to do on Camp Ukes to get them to play right).


The "smile" bridge on the no-soundhole top looks really cool. The wood used for the exterior of the rim, the turned resonator, and the top is all Hawaiian monkeypod wood. As usual, there are a couple of tight hairline cracks to the top (not easily visible) that I've cleated from behind for "insurance," though they weren't moving at all even with pressure applied.




The single-piece, turned monkeypod resonator is very cool. Here you can see how it's separated from the sides a little bit by small spacers. This lets some noise out the sides rather than all of it punching out from the soundhole in the rear.




This has a L&H style code -- 1273 -- stamped in the back as well as the usual patent applied-for marker. Note the hole at the top of the headstock: there's another one down near where an "endpin" would be. These are original and would have had a cord tied through them to serve as a strap, right from the factory.


That monkeypod sure is gorgeous!

The finish is also in excellent shape on this guy.



No doubt about it, this is a purty little uke.


2 comments:

UKEonomics said...

very cool! I take it that you'll be hanging on to this one. :)

Unknown said...

Thanks for your work. Just discovered the facts about the same Camp Uke I picked up about a year ago at a garage sale. Paid very little and its in pretty good shape although if Southern California were a bit closer to Vermont, I would stop by for you to make it even better. #855 on the back.