PDA

View Full Version : Question about Roy Smeck ukuleles



Captain Simian
10-30-2014, 03:35 PM
I've never seen one in person just pictures. On some of them I see a sticker that says, "Made Of Genuine Mahogany." Are they actual solid mahogany or laminate? Are the Smeck's with a plastic fingerboard laminates and the ones with wood fingerboards solid?

IamNoMan
10-30-2014, 06:10 PM
Many performers and entertainers prior to say 1950 would enter into contractual agreements with instrument makers to endorse their product. The artists would sign and other wise promote the sale of these instruments. Smeck is associated with Vita-ukes and Harmony tradenames. Although he is listed as an inventor his performance and promotional schedule was very hectic. He may have well come up with some innovations for the banjo and uke.

Early "Smeck" products were probably "solid mahoghany" As plastics came online c.1959 laminates would have become more prevalent, (competitve). There are some Roy Smeck instruments that become available from time to time that were actually owned or played by Roy. These have intrinsic historical added value.
I suspect that all the wooden fingerboards/necks are solid.

http://www.ukulele.org/?Inductees:1997-1998:Roy_Smeck

Rick Turner
10-30-2014, 06:51 PM
In Smeck's time and even up into the 1960s, it was often cheaper to use solid wood than plywood, especially with small instruments. Until fairly recently, "genuine mahogany", that is Swietenia macrophlla (Honduras mahogany) or one of the other Central or South American mahoganies, was no big deal. It was relatively cheap, very plentiful in very large logs and boards, and very easy to work.

And as Mr. No Man points out, endorsements went to the highest bidder. Probably the most successful endorser of all times in the music industry would have to be Les Paul...who did not design the guitar bearing his name nor the most commonly used pickups for them. He got paid...very well...for a signature for many decades.

CeeJay
10-31-2014, 01:41 AM
In Smeck's time and even up into the 1960s,

The rest I absolutely agree with Rick...and am amazed at the Les Paul anecdote ... I believe he was more of a recording technique pioneer , developing certain methods and effects like overdub,echo into a highly developed form?
Nah ..my question is as above ..you wrote in "Smeck's time and up into the 1960s" The wizard died in 1994 ...so to be clear ...are we actually talking about up to 1960 or beyond to the late 20th C ?

CeeJay

Pukulele Pete
10-31-2014, 01:57 AM
I've never seen one in person just pictures. On some of them I see a sticker that says, "Made Of Genuine Mahogany." Are they actual solid mahogany or laminate? Are the Smeck's with a plastic fingerboard laminates and the ones with wood fingerboards solid?
I have two of these ukes with the plastic fretboard. the are solid mahog,
sound OK in the first position. Makes a good starter uke.

hmgberg
10-31-2014, 04:12 AM
They are all solid mahogany regardless of the fingerboard. I have two with frets in the neck. The brass frets were not crowned, so I crowned them on both. Much nicer to play. I like these ukes.

Captain Simian
11-01-2014, 08:14 AM
They are all solid mahogany regardless of the fingerboard. I have two with frets in the neck. The brass frets were not crowned, so I crowned them on both. Much nicer to play. I like these ukes.

Awesome. Thanks for answering my question.