10/04/2016

1940s Favilla Mahogany Soprano Ukulele





Like usual, I'm on the Favilla hunt at least once a week. I like to have good ukes in the shop! This is their standard 40s fare and is, essentially, the Favilla take on a Martin style 0. Compare to a Martin, it's probably a hair wider and the quite-light build and flat back remind me more of 40s Gibson ukes. It also has a "breathier" voice, if that works as a descriptor -- slightly drier and woodier than a Martin -- and plenty loud.

It has no cracks and is entirely original but I did do a bit of work on it including many seam reglues (top/sides, back/sides), a couple of brace reglues, a fret level/dress, and a bridge shave/mod to get the action down to hair-above 1/16" at the 12th fret. It plays beautifully and easily.


The instrument is made entirely of solid maghogany except for the fretboard and saddle, both of which are rosewood.

I've currently got it strung-up with Aquila Nylguts, which give it a lot of oomph. Something like D'Addario Titaniums or Martin fluorocarbons might give this a bit more of a round, bell-like, sweeter tone, though the Aquilas have nice up-front kind of sound on this one.





The "rosette" is little more than 3 scored/routed lines in the top.


The color of the bridge actually matches far better than it looks in the glare of the pic. See here:


The face of the bridge is recut in an older Hawaiian-style mounting design (used by Kamaka and Weissenborn, among others) where the strings run down in back-angled slots to their mounts and emerge at the right height in front (in this case on top of the cut-down rosewood saddle). This was the most expedient/practical way to shift this for lower action.




The original tuners work fine but they are slightly sticky. I'm going to put a few washers under them to improve their movement in the morning.

Here's an interesting note, by the way -- this uke has allowed me to solve a question about a P'MICo branded uke (and tenor guitar) I'd worked on years ago. I now know, judging on the build similarities and design style (headstock rear, thin/light build and bracing, heel shape), that said P'MICo was actually made by Favilla.



The satin finish of the uke is pretty darn clean but there are a few light scratches on the back.








It comes with its original canvas case, though the handle has come off on one side.

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