View Full Version : This came in the post today!

09-16-2014, 05:12 AM
I got a copy of an old ukulele tutor book totally out of the blue in the post today. Someone clearing out their house in a move had found it and sent it to me knowing I play ukulele.

It was published by Francis, Day & Hunter a UK music publisher and was priced at 3/- (three shillings old money, = 15p current money) though it looks as if it has had a raised price sticker on it at some time.

There is no publication date or copyright notice though there is a catalogue number so it should in theory be possible to trace the publication date. My guess at the moment is that it dates from between just after WWII to the mid 1950s when the guitar really began to take over big time.

Of interest, it suggests:
* three alternative tunings, GCEA, ADF#B and BbEbGC with ADF#B clearly being the base tuning.
* stringing it using best quality [gut] violin strings. E strings for 1st & 4th strings and A strings for 2nd & 3rd. Interesting thought and may still be a valid idea.

Chord diagrams are based on ADF#D with instructions on transposing to the other tunings.

There is a selection of songs

I've scanned some pages in. Images below.


09-16-2014, 05:17 AM
That is really cool. I love stuff like that...

09-16-2014, 05:23 AM
I got a copy of an old ukulele tutor book totally out of the blue in the post today ... lucky old you :)

Pity they didn't include it's associated instrument ;)

If you've got the time (and inclination) to scan the rest of the booklet I'd certainly appreciate it, as may well others. I do enjoy browsing through old instruction books (for various instruments) to see how attitudes have changed. There seems to be a lot less molly-coddling in the old books ... I suppose it'd be called "dumbing down" these days. It's almost as if it was assumed that people had a basic knowledge of music and just needed instruction on how to apply that knowledge to a new instrument!

09-16-2014, 05:24 AM
That is really cool. I love stuff like that...

Couldn't have said it better myself. Neat!

09-16-2014, 05:33 AM
I did a little more searching.

There was a copy on eBay (UK) recently and the seller reckons it dates from the 1920s seems entirely possible. It went for 3.20 btw

I also fond this You Tube clip of the author, Sydney Nesbitt singing "Hey Mister, Have you met Rosie's sister?".


In the comments there is a brief biography which I reproduce below.

He was born in Great Britan, but moved to Canada as a youth. During his greatest years of populaity as a singer and uke player, he was based out of England. He later moved back to Canada and the U.S. and had a deep fascination with aviation and was a skilled pilot. By the early 1980s he was retired and living in Florida where he developed a new passion for art and painting.