Sunday, 20 January 2013

Gibson UB-1

The Gibson UB-1. the smallest of the Gibson range with a 6 inch head. Dont be fooled into thinking this is a toy, or a novelty instrument. It is, i think one of the very best Banjo ukes around. With a fantastic sound i describe as "old radio" and plenty of volume too. I received in a tired state, although it still played and sounded fantastic. A testament to the quality of the Gibson range. I had all the metal re-plated, refinished the wood, and oiled the fretboard. Even the tuners were stripped, re-chromed and re fitted. Once the new calf skin, bridge and GHS clear strings were fitted it once again began to sing! This little belter is to be added to my own collection

S.S Stewart Banjo Ukulele

Here we have a USA made SS Stewart. Probably made around 1930's its an open backed uke, very similar in size and design as the Gibson UB-2. I imported this uke from the USA, i restored the wood finish, and polished it up. its a joy to play, very easy to hold and has a bright tone. I'd consider it a very underrated uke, they do pop up on, but are quite rare in the UK. Complete with 12 tension hooks and good quality metal parts.

Thursday, 10 January 2013

Here's another Dallas-B

One of my favourite ukes. The Dallas-B, endorsed by George Formby and produced from the 1930's up to the 1950's. This one was in poor shape. The old varnish finish was chipped and worn, the flange was all bent, and the old skin was shot! Brian, the owner wanted it bringing back to life, so, as usual, the varnish was removed, all the metal work was polished up and a new Calf skin vellum was fitted. This is the 7th Dallas-B I've restored. They are great little uke's, well made and a joy to play. The finish was done with 4 coats of Tru-oil, gently sanded in between to give a smooth, slightly shiny result. These uke's are not too loud, and have a clear tone. I think the B model is the best out of the range. They are not heavy like the D & E, and compare well in sound to them too. Definitely one of my favourites, so much so I think I need one for my collection now! (even though I though I had enough banjo ukes)

Musima Banjo ukulele

Here's a Musima Banjo Uke, made in the old East Germany in the 1960/70's. Paul, the owner wanted the plastic head removing and a calf skin vellum fitting. I also removed the nasty old varnish finish, and re-finished it with Tru-oil. These ukes look to be based on the Dallas design, they seem similar to the later model Dallas ukes that pop up on Ebay from time to time. Its a well made uke with a flat back resonator. They also have a metal perch pole fitted in for adjusting the neck, and a zero fret. Once completed, it sounds great. Not too loud, and the tone was very pleasant! I was very pleased with the finished job, and Paul was too.
They are easy to hold and play too. Well worth picking one up if you see one!