9/09/2016

2007 Beltona Soprano Resonator Ukulele





Beltona instruments are pretty well-known in the resonator world and the ukes, in particular, were some of the first "once again available" on the market in the 90s when resonator ukes were not at all available via a regular container service from China (as they are now). People refer to them as having carbon-fiber bodies, but apparently they're made from a hybrid mix, instead. This one, obviously, has a wild paint job as well -- neon green and international orange on the top and a deep sparkle-purple finish on the back/sides. The neck is almost traditional with its rosewood board over mahogany, but then it tops the headstock off with a veneer of abalam (abalone shell in sheet-form).

A friend owns this loud (in both color and volume) little uke and he dropped it by for a pickup swap-out to a K&K and much-needed taming to remove rattles and demons from the cone (what un-serviced resonator instrument doesn't rattle in just the wrong way?). It's now healthy and has a good, strong, warm tone. The resonator cones in these are a different design from a National style and have a lot of -- hmm -- accordion-bellows-looking ridges in concentric rings radiating out from the biscuit. I think this is partially what's giving the instrument more low-end thump and less high-end zip. It's interesting.

There's a date written on the dowel-stick inside reading 01/07 by which I take it to mean 2007.


The KayKraft-style 2-point body is a real selling point, methinks. It manages to capture retro without being retro.

Under the space-age look, the construction is pretty traditional -- there's a soundwell with holes cut into its rim to allow sound to go into and out-of the body and the neck is attached to a dowel stick which is screwed to the soundwell and endblock and shimmed-up to a snug fit with soundposts (or "mushrooms") braced against the back.


My eyes!

The nut is nice and wide and, as you may have noticed, I've restrung this for low-G tuning. My buddy has an assortment of re-entrant ukes and I thought this might be a nice change. In addition, resonators really like to have a bit of extra tension on them to keep the cone happily compressed in the soundwell, and the wound string and slightly-oversize nylon plains give this some good tension for GCEA tuning.



Other work I did during the setup included filling/reslotting the saddle to get action height up and adding a duct-tape "gasket" in the soundwell for the resonator's foot and also along the top edge where the coverplate rests. I then redrilled the mounting-holes for the coverplate screws as the originals were almost entirely stripped.

Amplification on resos is very tricky. The most success I've had with them has been to remove the biscuit, install K&K large-size sensors on the back/reverse of it, and run the wire through the middle of the cone and then down to a jack. One has to be careful to "tack down" any loose wire with tape to the body and dowel, as the wire can often curve around and then rattle on the underside of the cone.







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