6/04/2016

1940s Favilla Mahogany Soprano Ukulele





I just recently worked on this same-model uke, from approximately the same timeframe (late 40s/early 50s). This one was another "Jake purchase" and was, aside from a hairline crack next to the treble side of the bridge, in structurally excellent shape. It has plenty of scratches, however, which really show up on the satin nitro finish on these old Favillas (just like they show like crazy on old Martins). Favilla ukes (made in New York) like these are, to many players, just a rung down from a good Martin style 0. Ears-wise, these sound very similar (but a bit more airy/dry) to Martins, and when setup correctly feel and play on the same level as well.

Work included gluing-up and cleating that top crack, cleaning, a very light fret level/dress, strings, a couple replacement (same-type as originals) tuners, and a setup. It's a spot-on player at 1/16" action at the 12th fret and it's strung with fluorocarbon strings.


Obviously, this uke kicked-about durings its "first life," but all that finish weather-checking and love-bite scratching does give it a certain air.



The dots are cream celluloid and the original frets are, as usual, quite low and small.



The neck angle was good on this and so the original, full-height bridge/saddle remains intact.




I mixed and matched original tuner bits from my parts-bin to yield functional, practical friction pegs. I tend to also add an extra washer under the button and against the headstock so that these turn more smoothly.







These Favillas have flat backs, rather than the induced-arch backs you'd find on a Martin. Interestingly, Gibson started using flat backs on their later uke production, too.


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