Sunday, 25 March 2018

More Dallas George Formby Banjo Ukes




Have a look on Ebay and chances are you might find a rare Banjo uke. Even one signed by George himself maybe?
OK, so they are not that rare, but they are highly collectable, and great looking.
Mostly made before the war they are of varied quality, some badly built with high actions and wonky necks.


I have restored a few more Dallas models recently and notice how the manufacture changed at some point during the run. An early model D/1070 i restored,  has the neck with attached support pole. Usually on the Dallas instruments inside the pot is a piece of wood slotted in to appear to be attached to the neck, which is simply screwed onto the pot.
Maple Dallas-D neck with attached support. Next to a Gibson and another USA made uke.




Quick Tension ring shot before the vellum goes on.

Connected to the pot with this solid fixing usually found on high end USA made instruments.










The D model has a tension ring, shown above which sits just inside the pot on small brackets.
Also note the pole through the pot actually just sits onside the pot and is screwed to the inside of the pot.



The metal Diamond cut flange plate attaches via the tension hooks and the resonator sits on top and is held on via two thumb screws.








This is a Dallas C. This is the strengthing pole i mentioned. Notice the screws where the neck is attached to the thin pot. In the background is the resonator with metal razor sharp flange. The C is cheaply made and put together, the sunburst finish adds a touch of Gibson class.



The B model. My personal favourite from the whole range. Lightweight with a 7.5 inch pot. This particular uke i had all the parts replated to give a cool chrome finish to the resonator flange.





Sanded down and ready to refinish B/2879

Re-chromed parts and new calf skin




Two cresent shaped pieces make up the resoantor flange, and the box resonator attaches via a screwthumb through the perch pole.





A Great beginners instrument. Rewarding to restore too.






Friday, 29 December 2017

Banjo ukes for sale

Not usually available for sale but i have decided to list a few to sell. I tend to list with Andy Eastwood's Ukulele Market, but i have a few in the collection and i need to make a bit of space.

Drop me a line if there is anything of interest, and feel free to share too.


1930's Dallas-B £395

Replated metalwork, new tuners. new calfskin and Galli strings. Some wear to fretboard. Stunning model.






1930's Gibson UB-1 £550

Replated metalwork and refinished woodwork. New Calfskin and GHS clear strings.

Stromberg Voisnet - The Rose £595-SOLD

Replated metalwork including Flange. New Calfskin and Galli Strings.

late 1920's Wendell Hall £1850

Replated metalwork, and restored to high sheen finish.
Original weathered finish shows on headstock as it has clouded over. Decal is complete and original.
Fitted with new Calfskin.



All posted worldwide.
Sold set up to play as seen in  photos.
Collection Welcome.

Sunday, 12 November 2017

Another Gibson UB-4


These Gibson ukes are right up there with the best vintage instruments. Made in the 1920's not too many of these come around often.
This uke has travelled around the world I've found, tracing back its ownership over the past 20 years!

The number i can make out is 655-2..


This uke arrived with a homemade looking resonator, once removed i immediately noticed the sticker from Andy Eastwood. Dated from 1992, with a vellum fitted in 1996.
A quick email from Andy confirmed this. He also told me he bought it from Sean Moyes.
Two highly regarded players as former owners, a nod to the quality of this instrument.
I bought the uke from NYC from a friend of my Banjolele buddy, John Bianchi.
Its always interesting to trace back where these old ukes have been. Who knows where it was for the other 70 years of its life?


For such a fantastic instrument the quality of the replacement resonator could not be compromised. Made by Shackleton instruments in Norfolk from Black American Walnut.

 The Uke was stripped down, all the metal parts were rechromed. The neck and pot were refinished with several layers of Tru-oil.
Once every part of the instrument had been restored it was time to reassemble.

Always a joy to put expensive ukes back together, this Gibson was no exception


Superb job on the resonator by Shackleton instruments, although i added around 10 coats of Tru-oil to complete it

Stunning finish to a Stunning Instrument

The resonator is a perfect match and looks incredible.

This ukes plays with a rich clear, loud tone. Exactly what you would expect. I will leave the pictures to do the talking.

Tuesday, 7 November 2017

100000 Visits to The Ukulele Restoration Barn



At such a monumental number i thought it was time i started adding some new restoration jobs to the blog.

Ive taken some time away from ukuleles over the past year or so, but recently due to a change in my job i found myself with some time on my hands. Those old ukes gathering dust were soon stripped down in bits in my workspace.

Currently i have around 8 instruments in various stages of restoration, and i will aim to show these during the process.

I also have a couple of cracking banjoleles hanging around that i didnt get around to showing on here.
I've developed my own techniques to achieve this clear sheen finish without using spray cans.

Slowly adding the same layered finish to the necks.

On this UB-2 even the skin ring has been replated. The new owner wont even notice until the vellum needs to be changed!

I hope to keep your interest up with lots more restoration jobs to come. If you are looking for a high end restored instrument please get in touch as i do sell my collection from time to time.

Sunday, 15 October 2017

Stromberg Voisinet- The Rose

This model is very ornate with fantastic decal pattern on the resonator. Also the pearloid covered fretboard and headstock. Great for preserving the wood on the fretboard!
The uke is complete with decal around the pot, 3 part neck with binding, a very decorative flange covering the resonator. 16 hooks provides an excellent tone to this very well made instrument.

I wont go into detail on the history of this great model. John Bianchi talks about the SV ukes on his blog here..http://theukaholic.blogspot.co.uk/2011/08/rose.html

In a sorry state

The uke was promptly stripped down and the parts sent away for re-plating.
The wood was re-finished which brought out the colour in the old decals

Well made instruments are always a joy to put back together and this was no exception. Set up with a calf skin vellum and Gali strings.




The Rose Decal

Dick Barrie Bands- 4th Edition

After a break away from ukuleles for a while i found myself buying this "Dick Barrie Bands" Banjolele. As with the other Barrie branded ukes this one is also a George Houghton & Sons model.
Its basically a GH&S Melody Junior. Made in the Uk in the 1950's.

When it came to me it was unplayable. A very badly shaped heel led the uke to look more like a bow and arrow. The action was almost an inch high and the bezel was way up above the pot.

The neck had been attached too high to the pot, i had to drill another hole in the pot and move the neck down around 5mm so it would be level with the skin once the instrument was put back together.
2 large wood screws pulled the neck tight to the pot. Notice the extra hole, thats how far out the neck was!
After i fixed the neck angle all the parts were re-finished to add a bit of shine
Mirror finish on the resonator
A new calf skin vellum was fitted, and the instrument was complete with new tuning pegs.
This is a decent beginners instrument, set up to correctly and ready to play.

This photo shows the action and neck angle.

New Tuners

A re-badged GH&S Melody Minor.


Monday, 17 October 2016

The dream turns to reality!



After many years restoring and collecting some of the finest vintage Banjoleles, I will be at the Thirsk Guitar & Uke show.


I will have a whole range of ukes available for beginners and serious collectors too.


With Prices ranging from £100 to several thousands I hope to have something for everyone.


I will also be selling strings, vellums and also have my extensive spare part list.


I look forward to seeing you there!