10/29/2014

1950s Sorkin-made Bobby Henshaw Baritone Ukulele




Bobby Henshaw baris don't pop up all the time but they are frequent visitors to eBay. This one is owned by a local friend and it's going up on consignment so I got it ready to go: seam reglues, fret level/dress, proper setup, and new strings and... good for the road once again! It plays well and sounds sweet and relaxed.

You can read all you want about Bobby over here but these mysterious ukes were apparently not made by any of the Chicago "Big Three" as one would might assume. At first glance they look a lot like 50s Vega products but the build quality is not the same: it's more on the Harmony level (still good, though, but not as loud or big a tone) but with a nicer aesthetic appeal.



This is an all-mahogany uke (solid) and it's crack free. It's roughly the same size as any other baritone uke and sports the "normal" 19" scale length. The fretboard and bridge are both Brazilian rosewood and the nut and saddle are some old sort of plastic. As far as I can tell the uke is all-original.


I love the headstock foil-stamped graphic!


The neck had warped lightly over time but that was removed in essence via the fret level/dress as the big old brass frets left plenty of room to level the warp out.


Simple, single-ring rosette.

The finish must've started out as semi-gloss and has aged with a use-wear throughout and some crackling which is normal for this type of 50s finish.





Plenty of use-wear throughout, as noted.


The neck is set well and the angle is good.




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