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kamira
06-13-2016, 10:36 AM
Hi there, a friend saved a uke from the clutches of an artist who was hoping to stick a nail through it ... we can't identify its make or origins but it does have some unusual features. Bowed back, s-shaped fretboard, wedge shaped machine heads, beading. The label is mostly ripped out. Can anyone help?
Robyn


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river_driver
06-13-2016, 01:01 PM
Whoa! Glad you were able to save it...but I have no idea what it is!

My gut tells me it's late 1920's/early 1930's. The tuners are not original. Somebody put a set of 1950's-60's Harmony "shark fin" tuners on it at some point.

The rope binding reminds me of some early Regals, though I don't think I've seen binding that elaborate. And the S-shaped fretboard extension is absolutely unique.

Is there any salvageable info on what's left of the paper label? A word even?

OhioBelle
06-13-2016, 01:22 PM
That's really cool! I love old instruments. This one looks like it has a story to tell, full of love songs, parties, and jazz age romance.

Hope someone here can identify it.

PhilUSAFRet
06-13-2016, 01:34 PM
those shark tooth tuners and fretboard cutout at the body should help someone I.D. it. Perhaps the binding as well. Good luck, nice find.

stevejfc
06-13-2016, 02:08 PM
Nice save! Love the tuner buttons.

spongeuke
06-13-2016, 07:10 PM
I know exactly what it is. It is a Sky Lark from the Peoples Republic of China, made in the 50s or early 60s before the cultural revolution. The fret board extension was pointed out to me as a Yin and Yang format. The tuners I had on the 2 I've owned are Kluson like what are used on the same era Martin 0s. Don't know who distributed them, I've also seen less well made ones. I really like the bindings but they were a bit over built so sound wise they don't stand up to Gretchs or Martins Still nice lookers. I have one as a wall-hanger in my Bathroom.

janeray1940
06-13-2016, 08:18 PM
I know exactly what it is. It is a Sky Lark from the Peoples Republic of China, made in the 50s or early 60s before the cultural revolution. The fret board extension was pointed out to me as a Yin and Yang format. The tuners I had on the 2 I've owned are Kluson like what are used on the same era Martin 0s. Don't know who distributed them, I've also seen less well made ones. I really like the bindings but they were a bit over built so sound wise they don't stand up to Gretchs or Martins Still nice lookers. I have one as a wall-hanger in my Bathroom.

Fascinating stuff, this is the sort of thing I love about UU! So much knowledge here. More info here (https://sites.google.com/site/ukulelemakers/multi/late-20th-c-chinese-ukuleles/20c-china) and here (http://theukuleleblog.blogspot.com/2011/07/skylark-ukulele.html).

PhilUSAFRet
06-14-2016, 01:16 AM
Is this Forum great or what?

bonesigh
06-14-2016, 01:41 AM
Yes! This is a great find (:

river_driver
06-14-2016, 04:27 AM
I know exactly what it is. It is a Sky Lark from the Peoples Republic of China, made in the 50s or early 60s before the cultural revolution. The fret board extension was pointed out to me as a Yin and Yang format. The tuners I had on the 2 I've owned are Kluson like what are used on the same era Martin 0s. Don't know who distributed them, I've also seen less well made ones. I really like the bindings but they were a bit over built so sound wise they don't stand up to Gretchs or Martins Still nice lookers. I have one as a wall-hanger in my Bathroom.

Are the lighter-colored bits on the rope binding bamboo?

spongeuke
06-14-2016, 08:27 PM
Are the lighter-colored bits on the rope binding bamboo?

Both of the Sky Larks had very different bindings. Both were very colorful and like nothing I've seen anywhere else. Kind of a Chinese sensibility as far as color combination. Tried thinning the soundboard but it made very little difference, hence wall hanger.

kamira
06-14-2016, 08:30 PM
I'm so excited! Thank you Spongeuke. How it ended up in New Zealand at a garage sale is a mystery. Now, it will avoid having the nail through it. Thank you thank you :)