10/10/2013

c.1930 Oscar Schmidt Stella "Gambler" Soprano Uke


This cute little soprano uke came by way of a Uke Underground member who wanted it spruced up. Work included installation of a new bridge, new (vintage) 12th fret as it only had 11 from the factory, a fret level/dress, new tuner pegs (it had weird 30s guitar-style ones retrofitted), brace, crack and seam separation repairs, cleaning, and setup. It's come out of work just as enjoyable as my own little (red version) of this same basic Stella uke design -- which is to say, not loud or impressive but cozy and comforting.

It also looks great and (now) plays beautifully, with spot-on hair-over 1/16" action at the 12th fret.



This is an all-solid birch uke with a mahogany-ish brown finish. The binding on the top edge is actual celluloid white binding, though the "rosette" and the gambler decals are just that... decals.


The uke is original with the exception of its bridge, 12th fret, and tuners.


I added the 12th fret from my vintage parts supply since this uke must've had only 11 frets shipped from the factory (I had to cut a new slot to fit it).



The under-bridge area had tear-out damage from a previous "bolt" or "screwed on" fix, presumably to the original bridge. I cut this to the same size as the bridge on my own 20s Stella uke but fashioned it in the same way I fashion most of my replacement bridges... out of rosewood and with a fret saddle and "through top" stringing. This generally improves stability, tone, and longevity to the bridge area.

I was thinking of using a vintage bridge from my bin but the previous damage to the top required me to install something with as large a foot as I felt comfortable with. Fortunately the rosewood mixes nicely into the brown finish!






These are new $10 Saga tuners that function like $25-30 "fancy" uke friction pegs via Grover products. Love em... and the white buttons happen to match the trim.



Cute!

2 comments:

charlie said...

That's delicious!

Tekoa Jones said...

Awesome! I own a similar Stella and considered the decals to been added by a previous owner. Thanks!