Wednesday, February 24, 2010

A couple of Ebay Auctions

#1 A tin can ukulele!

This is not just a cheap neck stuck to a can or cigar box, this is a new mahogany and walnut neck made to fit this instrument. The body is an italian espresso can with a mahogany bridge. Aquila strings, soprano scale and gotoh tuners. How does it sound? Well kind of like a ukulele made out of a tin can! I will post a youtube video for all the curious out there so you know what you are getting.

Great playability, unique look and sound. You know your collection is missing this!

#2 A Vintage Reed Ukulele (thanks to Antebellum Instruments for an introduction to this brand)

A bug in my ukulele!

I have restored a lot of old instruments over the years, and I often find weird stuff inside of them. Pencils, gum wrapers, beer tops, huge dustballs are the norm. Today I unwrapped an old ukulele for restoration that I got off ebay. I unpacked it, took it downstairs and started working on the bridge and saddle. a few minutes later, what did I see? A box elder bug crawling through the soundhole! Its not from here, because its winter in Colorado so its pretty much bugless. what a shock!

Monday, February 22, 2010

Re-built Soprano Uke- Chicago made?

Here is a soprano ukulele most likely made in Chicago in the 1920's. It is made of a beautiful flamed mahogany with a new walnut bridge and fingerboard. It has checkered rope binding and a mahogany neck with new tuners and aquila strings.

Here is the deal: I bought this uke in pieces and it needed major work. I essentially re-built it from the inside out. It has a great sparkly vintage sound but with modern playability and nice sustain and volume for such a small body. When you look close you will see the evidence of all the small repairs needed to get this uke solid again. Despite these small aesthetic issues, the uke is rock solid and a dependable player.

Here is what I did:
-repaired and patched back and front cracks
-re-braced the entire instrument with cedar bracing and added a cedar bridge patch
-added new kerfed linings
-patched small holes and gaps with mahogany and did my best to keep as much old binding as possible
-pulled the old frets and added a mahogany veneer to the neck to make it straight
-added new walnut fingerboard, bridge, saddle and nut
-new tuners and strings
-re-finished with a light oil finish

It's on ebay

Sunday, February 21, 2010

DIY Friends Volume 1

Last night we played with a great band Dovekins. They play cool psychedelic folksy stuff and I love them. They also make cool homemade merchandise to sell at their shows. Their price list should give you an idea of what they do:

As you can see, they are selling Cds, bowties, patches, aprons, fossils, shirts, buttons, sweaters and shells. Most of it is handmade and assembled by hand. Folk on Dovekins!!!!

Thursday, February 18, 2010

My Wife's Etsy Site

My sweetie Nicole makes all kinds of art and craft creations out of felt and recylced materials. Check out her etsy site here

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

My Embroidery Sampler

Nicole and I went to Fancy Tiger tonight to take a basic embroidery class. Just like millions of crafty people before us, we learned our basic stitches by making a sampler. All the women on my mom's side have engaged in old timey hand work like this in their day. Quilting, tatting, embroidery, sewing, etc...And I really like it too.

When we were doing the stitches I felt like I new most of them, probably from sleeping under the wool crazy quilt my great grandma made. The only one I suck at is the feather stitch. I even made up some of my own stitches and enjoyed thinking creatively about it.

Below is both our samplers. Can you guess which one is which?

We bought a few more supplies including a book of patterns. I wonder what I will make next?

Monday, February 15, 2010

New Banjo Uke on Ebay!

I just finished this great baritone scale banjo uke. Here is a link to the ebay auction.

It has a vintage 10 inch spun over banjo rim with a new baritone scale (19 inches) banjo/ukulele neck. It is is strung with nylon strings in re-entrant dgbe tuning, but I could also string it with steel strings if you like.

The new neck and dowel stick are made of two piece honduras mahogany with a rosewood fretboard and koa headplate. There are small brass dots at the 5,7, 10 and 12th frets. It has grover short shaft guitar style tuners with a 14:1 ratio.

The 10 inch vintage pot has new hooks, nuts, tailpiece, tension hoop, head and dowel stick hardware.

Bone nut and maple bridge.

The 10 inch pot is bigger than a banjo uke but smaller than a tenor banjo. When this is combined with the 19 inch scale, it creates a very warm and mellow banjo sound that still can cut through a jam. With the nylon strings it will feel very comfortable for any ukulele player.

The following tunings would be possible with steel strings:
cgda, dgbe, dgbe re-entrant or maybe even gdae (octave lower than mandolin)

The following tunings would be possible with nylon strings:
dgbe, eac#f# or fBbdg re-entrant or linear

and many more!

Please ask any questions, I can also send a short video of the banjo for you.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Another restoration- Gibson Tenor Ukulele

Lizzie, who plays with Ukulele Loki's Gadabout Orchestra told me at the Denver Uke Fest that her boyfriend had her grandmother's ukulele and it needed some work. When I went to pick it up it turned out to be a Gibson Style 1 Tenor! The bridge pin holes were worn out so I plugged them, re-drilled and put new pins and strings on it. That was all it needed! This uke sounds fantastic! Bright and loud, more like a concert than a tenor. Notice the unique body shape and the 12 fret neck. The only thing I don't like about these is that Gibson used the same headstock for soprano and tenor, it seems small for a tenor! The original keystone shaped tuners still work great, fyi!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Denver Ukulele Festival

Denver uke fest was great again this year. Sold out and lots of fun! IT is great to throw a big party next year and have Swallow Hill and the general public support it so much! Highlights include: great collaborations with BAS and James Hill, Danielle Ate the Sandwich and the Canote Brothers. Ryan from Eleanor playing a soprano uke I built. I sold two banjo ukes and a cigar box uke. And hanging out with Char and Gordon from Myamoe ukuleles!

Also, our peeps Amy and Jason from Mad Tea Party crashed the party and we had a great time!

I know Gordon and Char of Mya-Moe Ukes have been uploading video footage on their youtube page:

Here are some photo done by Brian Carney:

Monday, February 8, 2010

Two Banjo Uke Restorations

Here are two banjo ukes I am restoring for customers. The first is labeled "wizard" and is made of good quality maple and rosewood. It has a seven inch head, soprano scale and all the original hardware! There is a nice maple cap on the pot and a nice rosewood fingerboard. All I had to do was change the head and strings and dress the frets. The inside is signed by the original and only owner: Louise Ward Gaylord.

The other one is one of the all aluminum dixie banjo uke.
I love the engineering on these, too bad they don't sound like much! The neck and fingerboard are all one piece cast aluminum. The tuners are integrated and so is the nut. All I had to do is change the head.

Boulder Theater Pictures

We had a great show at the Boulder Theater on Friday that was a benefit for Pine Ridge Reservation. Elephant Revival, Laura Goldhammer and Reed Foehl also played. Check out these cool pictures, sorry they are really small!

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Some Ukes For The Denver Uke Fest

Black Concert Banjo Uke
Amber Concert Banjo Uke
Amber Tenor Banjo Uke

Mahogany Hawaiian Style Soprano
Spruce and Mahogany (red stain) Hawaiian Style Concert
Tiple (Mine!)
Cigar Box Uke
Koa Tenor (For Yannick)