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..

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!

Saturday, 7 June 2014

Ron Beddoes "Gibson ub-2 style"

Ron Beddoes, a small scale maker began making banjo ukes in the early 1970's.
I believe this to be one of his early models. Based on the classic Gibson ub-2.

14 tension hooks on a very solid, well made pot. The uke is so very well made, a sign of Ron's excellent workmanship, due to him being a retired engineer. It does remind me of my "Ken Timms" instruments. Also excellently engineered.

The tailpiece is not a standard design, looks almost to have been hand crafted.
And the bezel has notches in the top for the hooks to sit. Similar to the Dallas ukes.

Pleasantly chunky 3 piece neck, very thick fretboard. This model has a zero-fret fitted. The tuners are decent quality friction tuners, the same ones usually found on later Dallas-D&E's.

The veneer on the resonator and around the pot is in very good order with a clear grain showing.

Finally the case looks to be original too. Very retro 70's look to it! Red padded velvet lined inside, although its not a snug fit for the uke.
The uke is for sale, and is listed below on Andy Eastwoods's excellent site.
Gibson ub-2 Style

Superb Original condition

Chunky Retro hard case

Unusual design tailpiece

Slight wear on tailpiece, only mark on the whole instrument

"New Concert" by Ron Beddoes

Thursday, 8 May 2014

4 Ludwig "Wendell Hall" Banjo Ukes!!!

At present I have 4 of these brilliant ukes, and when i looked at them i thought it'd make an interesting post.

There are 4 of them, and each one different. You know that the "crown cut" models had lots of variations in the finish, and the "Wendell Hall" (from now on i shall name WH, as it'll save me about 1000 words!)
had a few subtle distinctions.

They seemed to have different models of tuning pegs used too. Black or White Grover pegs, Eltons, again in different colours. Probably some decent geared pegs went on too.

And the band of inlay around the bottom of the resonator. Ive seen Black & Cream lines. The transfer seems to be the same pattern around the pot, and the peghead decal is the same with the gold writing.

Now on the back of the resonators there are a few that pop up with a lovely transfer on the back of the resonator, or is it inlaid?. The polished up American Walnut looks fantastic as it is.
On one of these ukes i had stripped down the old cracked finish and french polished the back. It looks stunning!

Starting 1st Left,
Sunburst finish, with white Grovers. It had been badly set up.

2nd, My own instrument. i am the second owner, it was bought from new in Chicago. Then after the war it was packed away in excellent condition. Fitted with Black tuners which are the same as on some of the Gibsons, not the common Grovers, but another style. Has a white stripe round the resonator.

3rd, A uke restored by me. it was in terrible shape when i bought it, and it still shows signs of heavy use.
I thought it was like a blank canvas as i had to strip it so far back. so i decided to give it a bit of a custom finish. Obviously gold plated, which i did myself. it looks very good in the flesh. New tuners fitted as it had very battered white Eltons on it. And a Black stripe round it. I'm hoping to get a transfer for the resonator too. The wood was finished with many coats of Tru-oil giving it that great finish, which i prefer.

4th, Another restored by myself. This one is in excellent condition, apart from a tiny bit of transfer missing, it looks perfect. All original chrome, apart from the armrest which has been re-plated.
Black Elton tuners, and a Black stripe round the pot. A fantastic sounding uke!
1st to 4th Left to Right.

4th is closest to camera

My own uke on the Right, notice the different nuts too

Dark woodstain "Sunburst" on the right, and the White stripes

See these 2 have the Black stripe round the pot.