9/05/2015

1920s Gibson Style 3 Soprano Uke




I have a lefty customer who sends all manner of nice old ukes to me for various degrees of work. This gussied-up Gibson was a pleasure to have in the shop and boy -- she sure is a beaut and sounds good, too! This is about the cleanest style 3 I've seen while browsing the net for old ukes but it did need a light bridge shave/reglue and fret level/dress plus setup to get the most out of it.

In addition, Gibsons tend to have a dry and snappy sort of sound (and an excellent feel to the necks), but that's enhanced on this one even more with a set of genuine gut strings. Listen to the clip and you can get an idea of what gut sounds like -- they're a little poppier and has really defined mids compared with nylon or fluoro strings and Aquila Nylgut does a good job of capturing that but not quite.
  

The uke is solid mahogany with fancy multi-ply binding, a multicolored rosette, bound rosewood fretboard, and fancy pearl inlay. The interior makeup is, however, very similar to the simple style 1 Gibsons from the time with perhaps a bit more attention to a clean interior box and lighter bracing. It's not at all like the ultra-light Poinsettia Gibson I worked on last year, though. That was closer to verging on a Martin sound.

The finish has UVed to a very dark brown that's almost black from a few feet away. It's original, though, and I'm sure it hasn't been oversprayed as it looks exactly right for an old Gib -- though there's evidence in the soundhole that someone in the spray room didn't shove enough newspaper in the hole when they were coating it.


Nice, right?

Original bone nut.


Not only are the inlays classy, but the binding job on the board is top-notch, too. Gibson always did a nice job of sanding-over the edge of the binding to keep it fluid with the cut of the instrument itself.



After adjusting the height of the bridge, I also reglued it. I did notice that the bridge was misaligned to begin with and corrected that when regluing... but it did leave a tiny spot to the bass (for right-handed folks) side of the bridge with a less-glossy finish. I didn't see it indoors but it's easier to see in slanted afternoon sunlight with zoom!







It's just hard to argue with such a classy uke. This is easily a "suit and tie" kind of instrument.




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