8/26/2015

1920s Oscar Schmidt-made Block Rim Banjo Uke




I finished one of these a few weeks ago and this one came in on the weekend for sale so I picked it up to "do up" as well. You can get the low-down on this build style and the interesting internals of its double-rim construction at the post for the last one, but suffice to say these are genuinely quality banjo ukes with a sound all their own. They're somewhere between the choppy resonator banjo uke sound and the folky "California style" banjo uke designs but have about the same volume and presence as your more-typical 7" or 8" openback jo-uke with slightly more focus and an interesting "plate reverb" sort of throwback on the high frequencies from the double-rim air chambers.

This one just needed a fret level/dress, new bone nut, new bridge, and general cleaning/setup to get it going. I also went a step further and swapped the original wood pegs (often annoying to use) for some modern-style friction pegs. The strings are Martin fluoros and the action is spot-on at 1/16" at the 12th fret.






The neck is two-piece maple with a mahogany center-strip. Note the new bone nut and new tuners.


I've taken advantage of the comfy, Hawaiian-uke-style neck width by spacing the strings a little wider at the bridge (uke-style rather than jo-uke style).



The original skin head is in good shape but has a ton of little doodles all over it.


The bridge is old German stock, "minstrel style" in shape, and uses fiddle-bridge-style maple. They're nice and always sound great for jo-uke compared to most other bridges I've been using. I use them where I can.



The turned maple resonator is very, very cool.

This uke does have plenty of use-wear throughout... but almost all of these I've worked on have a ton of minor scritchy-scratchy all over.








The clever tailpiece allows for tied-on (gut/nylon) as well as loop or ball-end steel strings. I joint two granny knots together and simply tie-off that way. If you were curious about steel -- it'd work on this uke. The neck is certainly strong enough.

2 comments:

Captain Simian said...

I'm a little confused. The link on the for sale page said this was for a tenor banjo but then leads to this soprano banjo uke. Is this one for sale or was there a mix up?

Jake Wildwood said...

It is -- just an accident on the link.