Sunday, 25 September 2011

Windsor Whirle

i have just spotted one of these on ebay, so i thought i would share one of the ones i've had.

The Windsor Whirle, made in Birmingham in the 1930s.

A good solid uke, well made with nice fittings.

Now i dont know if its the case with all Windsor ukes, but the two i have had, both attached the strings through the bezel instead of using a tailpeice.
this works well although in theory it should reduce the tension on the skin, however i found them to be excellent ukes at around the £100 mark.

They look to be made from Rosewood, which polishes up very nice
This model has an 8 inch pot with 8 tension hooks, also of note are the quite unusual all metal tuners and inserted resonator.

Gibson UB-1

This is a really great uke, its also the one uke i wish i had kept.

Made with solid but only 6inch pot. lovely backplate resonator. original grover tuners too. with "the gibson" on the headstock. this dates it from1920-30s though im not sure exactly. i believe the older ones had "the gibson" then newer models just had "gibson"

a Superb instrument, easy to hold and play but with a powerful sound.

Dont be fooled by its looks.
This one even had its original (if a bit tatty) case.

The Melody Marvel

Heres a budget uke with a difference.

The Melody Marvel came from a range made by George Houghton & Sons
other models included the Melody, and Melody Junior.

i've recently restored a few melody ukes, i'll show those soon.

anyway, this uke the "marvel" is an open back with a chrome wrap round the pot. made with beech neck and lightweight pot. this was a budget uke with 6 tension hooks. This one was restored and fitted with extra hooks, now it has 10. giving it better tension & tone.

all the wood has been re-finished, fitted with new vellum & tuners. looks nice now, sold to a satisfied ebayer.
These ukes come up on ebay quite often, i found the addition of the extra tension hooks really made the difference.

Tuesday, 20 September 2011

The Broadcaster

The Broadcaster range, made by Margolin in london.
These were very ornate looking instruments, although in reality were just covered in a thin pearlesque veneer. although the resonator plate is quite nice, but it didnt really fit very well.
Very similar to the Sunray range of BUs
Decent enough to play with a ok sound, better to look at really!

This particular uke caused me no end of trouble!
i sold it to a guy in France, posted it off as usual. a week later he tells me it hasnt arrived. 3 months later and endless phonecalls and emails i find out it is being despached back to the UK. next day i get an email from someone in Liverpool. turns out i had re-cycled a cardboard box and the courier posted it to them! Kindly he returned it to me, and i used a different courier to re-send it back to France. The buyer got it in the end, and was delighted with it, and delighted that i never gave up in sorting it out. A very satisfied customer from the Ukulele Restoration Barn!!

a late model post war Dallas-C

Here we have a interesting model C.

There are some thoughts that the post war made Dallas instruments were made up from left over spare parts, also the factory burnt down at some point, and they were then made by other makers?
Either way some models were different from the pre war ones, and this is an example of them. The model serial numbers were stampted on the heel, and the metal work and finish was different.
This looks more like a George Houghton & sons Melody uke to me.

If anyone has more info on Dallas ukes i would be interested to know

i do banjos too!

Heres a few pictures of a Barnes & Mullins Tenor Banjo.

All loving restored woodwork, re-finished with Tru-oil.

on this one i really began to learn to put down a nice finish on the wood.

See the nice finish on the back resonator plate, that was smooooooth!

thanks to Timbuck for fixing the perchpole on this too

Sunday, 18 September 2011

Current Jobs

here are the latest ukes fresh from the barn!

This nice long scale keech has just been sold,

and the other uke is up for sale at the moment.

a SS Stewart/Slingerland model 28.

nice 3 peice stripe neck
12 tension hooks
solid pot
complete with hard case

i like wooden ukes too!

Heres my Uke collection.

from left to right,

Ken Timms Soprano
Sky lark Palm tree decal Soprano with original box
My Glorious wifes Limeted edition Koa Mahalo ( its my wife thats glorious, not the uke!)
Eleuke Electric Soprano
Mahalo "les paul"
Kala Sopranino Mahogany
Republic Resonator
Custom made job, cant remember who made it! made from meranti and something else!
Kala Archtop- an awesome uke!
unbranded Baritione- tuned GCEA, i know, im too lazy to learn it in Bari tuning!
my slingerland maybell and an original keech BU, gave to me by the guy who owned it from new!

i have added a few to that collection, more of them later

A Rustic Old Uke

This uke was one of the early jobs. it was an unbranded uke, with nice brass fittings. decent quality, with perchpole through the pot. nice 8.5inch head, 12 tension hooks. lovely brass tailpeice.
i had a few issues with it, and had to replace a few of the parts. But on the whole a nice instrument that sold for decent money to a happy new owner

Restoration! This is what its all about

this next post shows the full restoration with photos.
the uke in question is a George Formby endorsed Dallas-B

They made 6 models in all, A, B, C, D, E & Special model E

The model B is one of my favourites to restore. i've restored 5 so far. its also a great player and a model i would recommend to anyone who wants to buy a first BU.

John Croft, at the also recommends them as a first uke

any way lets get on with the restoration

First Ever Restoration Job!

Here is the first uke that started this whole thing off!

This was around 4 years ago

A "Dick Barrie bands" branded uke. simple cheap uke, with shiny pearlesque veneer stuck around the pot and covering the fretboard.

Ones that got away!

Delving into my photo archive, i'm trying to find the first uke i restored.

Anyway i came across this picture, which compares the various shapes, sizes and designs of the BU.

In this picture there is (l-r)

A Dallas-C
My own Slingerland Maybell, the first BU i bought, this one is my "keeper"
A Jetel with lovely inlay
and lastly a Gibson UB-1. i wish i had kept this one. an absolute belter of a BU, with only a 6 inch pot, but what a uke!

The Jetel is now in the hands of a Dr in Austria, he kindly send me a picture of him playing it on the top of a mountain. a satisfied customer!!