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View Full Version : ebay Favilla purchase- did I screw up?



natchez
10-21-2015, 07:12 AM
I have a very nice Opio concert ukulele I have been learning on, but wanted to try a soprano, so I bought this off of ebay auction # 151852216097

Did I screw up? Looks to me as if the tuning pegs were replaced and the action is a bit high, but otherwise it looked okay to me. The wood looked nice. I would probably date it to the 1960s. What do you folks think? I am new to ukuleles, but have other instruments. All comments welcome.

Kayak Jim
10-21-2015, 07:42 AM
Looks in great shape. If you're happy with the uke and what you paid then you didn't screw up.

I missed out on a Favilla soprano here a few months ago.

Patrick Madsen
10-21-2015, 08:19 AM
Wow! you got a great uke. Favillas are wonderful instruments. It's worth taking to a luthier you trust, not guitar center, and have him check the frets and lowering the action.

Many of us have sold vintage Martins in favor of a good vintage Favilla. Congratulations! If there is a label inside the soundhole and no serial number, it's late '50- early'60's. No label is early '50's to around '55. I may be wrong as I just know abvout their baritones.

Here's Herks site on the history:http://www.catfish1952.com/favilla.html

natchez
10-21-2015, 08:40 AM
Thanks for the information link and the tips. I will look for someplace other than the Guitar Center; do they often do a poor job? Leveling frets and reducing the saddle and/or nut height does not seem too complicated a job. I have done the saddle and nut on some vintage guitars over the years and it was not that hard. That is, if the saddle and nut cooperate and come off :-).

CTurner
10-21-2015, 10:10 AM
Favillas are often a real find among older ukulele models. We've had a couple in our house and they were very nice. I agree about getting it checked out with someone who can fine tune the tolerances.

lakesideglenn
10-21-2015, 10:50 AM
I made an offer on this very uke that was turned down. Looks like a good-un!

Booli
10-21-2015, 11:11 AM
I will look for someplace other than the Guitar Center; do they often do a poor job? Leveling frets and reducing the saddle and/or nut height does not seem too complicated a job. I have done the saddle and nut on some vintage guitars over the years and it was not that hard. That is, if the saddle and nut cooperate and come off :-).

Common wisdom here on UU has been that GC is either inept or apathetic for most things ukulele, and therefore should be avoided unless they have a 'specialist' guitar tech at your local store that has a reputation and experience for doing good work with ukuleles.

Otherwise taking an expensive or vintage uke there is like actually ASKING them to damage it due to lack of skill, carelessness, or ignorance.

I have done setups on ALL my ukes that needed it myself. High action is common since it's considered easier and better to sand the bottom of the saddle to lower the action, as opposed to having to use shims underneath the saddle to raise the action if it is too low.

To this day MOST factory ukes come with taller action, and the common thinking is that this is done specifically to enable to action to be adjusted down more easily.

Sometimes you get lucky and the uke is just right 'out of the box' and other times it needs to be altered specifically to YOUR playing style and comfort level, which is likely a bit different from everyone else.

Taking the action down is really nothing to complain about - that's like getting into a new car and not adjusting the seat and mirrors, and suffering with a physically uncomfortable and maybe even dangerous experience, i.e., OF COURSE you will adjust the car to suit you--- instruments are the same.

Accepting that you have to play an instrument that is not set up comfortably is a self-inflicted experience, especially when it is so easy to remedy.

All you need to take down the height of a nut or saddle is some sandpaper, and lots and lots of patience, it's not complicated, but slow going if you are going to to it right the first time.

There are TONS of videos on YouTube that can guide you, all though mostly for guitar, but the process, technique and result are nearly the same.

However, some folks are afraid of these kinds of things, and for that you might want to seek out a luthier or guitar tech that is known for deftly handling ukulele setups -- many folks on this forum can help if you share your location.

Either way, please report back how you make out, and CONGRATS on the new acquisition! :music:

natchez
10-21-2015, 12:51 PM
Common wisdom here on UU has been that GC is either inept or apathetic for most things ukulele, and therefore should be avoided unless they have a 'specialist' guitar tech at your local store that has a reputation and experience for doing good work with ukuleles.

Otherwise taking an expensive or vintage uke there is like actually ASKING them to damage it due to lack of skill, carelessness, or ignorance.

I have done setups on ALL my ukes that needed it myself. High action is common since it's considered easier and better to sand the bottom of the saddle to lower the action, as opposed to having to use shims underneath the saddle to raise the action if it is too low.

To this day MOST factory ukes come with taller action, and the common thinking is that this is done specifically to enable to action to be adjusted down more easily.

Sometimes you get lucky and the uke is just right 'out of the box' and other times it needs to be altered specifically to YOUR playing style and comfort level, which is likely a bit different from everyone else.

Taking the action down is really nothing to complain about - that's like getting into a new car and not adjusting the seat and mirrors, and suffering with a physically uncomfortable and maybe even dangerous experience, i.e., OF COURSE you will adjust the car to suit you--- instruments are the same.

Accepting that you have to play an instrument that is not set up comfortably is a self-inflicted experience, especially when it is so easy to remedy.

All you need to take down the height of a nut or saddle is some sandpaper, and lots and lots of patience, it's not complicated, but slow going if you are going to to it right the first time.

There are TONS of videos on YouTube that can guide you, all though mostly for guitar, but the process, technique and result are nearly the same.

However, some folks are afraid of these kinds of things, and for that you might want to seek out a luthier or guitar tech that is known for deftly handling ukulele setups -- many folks on this forum can help if you share your location.

Either way, please report back how you make out, and CONGRATS on the new acquisition! :music:

Thanks for explaining the GC bit and the other advice :-). I will report back with the end result of the acquisition.

brimmer
10-21-2015, 01:03 PM
Looks like a really nice uke. I hope you enjoy it.

Maybe someone can me a thing or two about Favilla sopranos. I know many players here love them. Are there any Favilla soprano fans out there that can tell me why they are such special ukes? Tone, playability?

Nickie
10-21-2015, 01:42 PM
Congratulations! I'd say you did very well. The GC here is almost totally of the school that ukes are toys, however, the one across the Bay treats them like instruments, has a whole ukulele department....even had a Stu Fuchs Workshop last year. it depends on where you live!

iamesperambient
10-21-2015, 02:13 PM
I have a very nice Opio concert ukulele I have been learning on, but wanted to try a soprano, so I bought this off of ebay auction # 151852216097

Did I screw up? Looks to me as if the tuning pegs were replaced and the action is a bit high, but otherwise it looked okay to me. The wood looked nice. I would probably date it to the 1960s. What do you folks think? I am new to ukuleles, but have other instruments. All comments welcome.

its never a screw up to get a vintage favilla you did good!

Patrick Madsen
10-21-2015, 02:23 PM
For me, only baritones, the specialty is it's dark quarter sawn mahogany, a bit of a chubby neck and the deep. smokey blues sound they throw out. I've yet to find another with that Favilla deep resonant sound.

I've played a few sopranos and they had the same drive my bari did. Dang, now you have me thinking about where to find another Favilla baritone.

Ukejenny
10-21-2015, 04:13 PM
It sure does look nice!!!

Sanfe
10-21-2015, 04:56 PM
You are allowed to buy an old uke and just play it and forget about how much it cost and not bother with what year it was made.

Yeah, that's me. I desired a Favilla some time ago and almost forgot about it until one popped up on my local Craigslist. It wasn't a bargain, but I figured the opportunity to play it before buying it was worth the extra money. I knew exactly what I was buying before purchasing, so there was no anxiety. And it came with a nice case.

The thing brings me such joy, the cost of it never crosses my mind. The thing is so old and beat up that I don't even worry about being careful with it. I just play the s**t out of it.

natchez
10-21-2015, 05:08 PM
It looks good. If you are going to adjust the saddle height and nut height, buy a new blanks to shape, keep the originals safe. On an old uke which does not have a problem, I would not let anyone remove metal from the frets immediately. Play the uke for three months or so before you do much to it.
My Favilla is still as it was when it arrived in 2007?, apart from a very thin wipe with linseed oil and a week in a dark cupboard for the linseed to dry a bit. It has cracks and is old, but still has a sweet tone. The tuners are criminally hard to set, but don't need to be adjusted too often. I did once try to find out more about it, but my attention span lasted about a day so I have no idea which year it was made. You are allowed to buy an old uke and just play it and forget about how much it cost and not bother with what year it was made. If I ever sell it, the buyer can worry about that stuff, the cracks make a high resale price unlikely.

Thanks for the tip on keeping the original saddle and nut safe. I would not likely have thought of that.

natchez
10-21-2015, 05:10 PM
Yeah, that's me. I desired a Favilla some time ago and almost forgot about it until one popped up on my local Craigslist. It wasn't a bargain, but I figured the opportunity to play it before buying it was worth the extra money. I knew exactly what I was buying before purchasing, so there was no anxiety. And it came with a nice case.

The thing brings me such joy, the cost of it never crosses my mind. The thing is so old and beat up that I don't even worry about being careful with it. I just play the s**t out of it.

Now this is advice I can easily embrace :-). I intend to enjoy playing it way more than owning it.

Teek
10-21-2015, 08:13 PM
I have an earlier one missing it's 12th fret, I just fret against the end of the fingerboard. It is louder and sassier than my 1940 Martin Style 3. It likes Worth browns. Mine has an ebony nut, and also has a super thin ebony saddle. I would look up proper specs and how to do a setup and then be careful, mine was pretty well acceptable and was an attic find. Because it was so thrashed I sanded all the old ugly finish off except the logo and let the humidity close the two cracks on the top. it's a sweetheat!

natchez
10-29-2015, 06:09 AM
Here are a few snaps of the new to me Favilla soprano. It is a U3 model with inlaid dots on the fret board. Top looks to have been polished up and is showing some play wear, some of which is mine :-). The tuning pegs are not original and the action is quite high. But, the tone is divine! It is off to the luthier today for a set-up and I think some replacement tuners. But, all in all not a bad little ukulele.

ukuleleden
11-15-2015, 02:01 AM
Looks as though you made a great purchase, Natchez! What you have effectively done is stoke the flames for the rest of us longing for a Favilla ukulele for our ukulele playing pleasures! I hope you're very much enjoying your newly acquired Favilla!

strumsilly
11-15-2015, 04:28 AM
I love the older favilla baritones. I had a soprano, which I liked ,but I'm not a soprano guy so I sold it. Their build quality is not quite up to Martin standards, but the sopranos have the "bark" and the baris have a neck and 19" scale[the pre paper label] i like. beautiful one piece mahog top and backs too. can be had for about 1/2 the price of the martin and gibby.

ukuleleden
12-10-2015, 03:08 PM
I love the older favilla baritones. I had a soprano, which I liked ,but I'm not a soprano guy so I sold it. Their build quality is not quite up to Martin standards, but the sopranos have the "bark" and the baris have a neck and 19" scale[the pre paper label] i like. beautiful one piece mahog top and backs too. can be had for about 1/2 the price of the martin and gibby.


Greg of the group The Edukated Fleas exclusively uses a Favilla Baritone that I have seen and heard many times and it sounds wonderful!

Here's a video that you can hear it in...:
http://youtu.be/SaQ9fYG4cmM