3/20/2015

1920s Favilla Mahogany Soprano Uke




This is a customer's instrument that was in for repairs. It's a late 20s or early 30s Favilla (from New York) and it's obviously copping a Martin style 0 uke in terms of build, sound, and aesthetics. The main difference are those frets set directly into the neck (Hawaiian-style) rather than into a separate fretboard. It's also only got 11 frets and the 12th (which would be located right at the neck joint) simply "isn't" and "never was" to begin with.

All that said, it's a gorgeous-sounding instrument and very much comparable to a Martin style 0. Work included reseating a bunch of the frets and wicking glue into their tangs so they won't move in the future, cutting of a new bone saddle and nut, installation of (provided) Waverly tuners, and general setup. She plays great!


The top is quite thin and solid mahogany is used throughout.


Don't those new Waverly pegs look slick?


Original brass frets, here. This type is T in shape but has no barbs on the "tang" (the bottom of the "T") so they tend to come up over time (6 of these were popped up at their ends) and won't simply pop back down and stay as there's nothing on the tang that "grabs" the wood of the fret slot.

This necessitated wicking a lot of thin superglue into the fret slots and then clamping up frets one by one. The result is good: I only had to do a very, very light level/dress after finishing work.



This came to me with a nice bone saddle but it was simply too short. I made a similar style one that's a little taller and puts action right at 1/16" at the 12th fret.




The new koa-buttoned Waverly tuners look great and function well, too. These are spring-loaded so as you adjust tension on the button the spring keeps everything firm while also meaning you don't need to apply as much pressure to keep the tuners from slipping. Thus: they turn more easily than normal friction pegs.