8/09/2015

1950s Gretsch-made Sherwood Soprano Uke




This is a customer's uke and it has the same wear and tear you see fairly often on Gretsch-made ukes from the time: tons of hairline cracks and spotty old "repairs." These "Sherwood" branded ukes were made for Montgomery Wards and are exactly the same as any other bound Gretsch uke from the time save it says "Sherwood" on the headstock decal rather than "Gretsch."

These ukes are built extremely-thin and lightweight and, as such, have an excellent tone. They're kind of dry, bright, and sparkly which is quite different from your average Martin from the same era, even though they're appointed in a similar way and built to the same thinness. This is the "flamenco" version of the Martin "classical" uke voice, so to speak. Does that make sense to you? It does to me.


The neck had been reset in the past and the bridge had been replaced with an old Harmony unit. It was coming up so I reprofiled it and reglued it in the correct spot for intonation. I replaced the missing 12th fret, did a fret level/dress, then set about replacing a broken back brace, cleating up a bunch of cracks, and regluing a bunch of seams. After that I added some parts-bin 50s tuners and, hey presto, a uke arises once again!

I used some light-tension Aquila "Reds" that add a touch of clarity to the overall tone.


Forgot: new bone nut, too.


The board is rosewood in the same way Harmony did theirs: a very thin "veneer" of rosewood rather than a 1/16" slab or similar like you'd see on a Gibson or Martin.


The soundhole has a "real" rosette and white purfling with tortoise binding on the top edge.


Unfortunately, there's a footprint of where the bridge had been reglued in the wrong place in the past.










Well, at least this beater is still kicking! It's always fun to bring caved-in old family items back up to snuff so they can play again.

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