View Full Version : Islander on ebay

01-25-2010, 11:15 AM
Ran across this today:

This is not mine and I have no association with the seller.

If posted in the wrong section I aplogize.

01-25-2010, 11:21 AM
I saw one of these at an antique store over the weekend, but it had one of those push-button chord things on the neck...not in good shape though.

What's the history on these?


Chris Tarman
01-26-2010, 07:01 PM
I have an Islander soprano and the much rarer (I believe) baritone. They were designed by Mario Maccaferri in about 1950. He also designed Django Reinhardt's guitar. They are actually pretty nice instruments. I think they have a nice full sound, and good intonation. Maccaferri moved to the US in the late '30s or early '40s and got really involved with plastics. He designed and marketed plastic reeds for wind instruments, injection molded toothbrushes, and held a patent on a plastic clothespin. He also designed a plastic guitar, but I have only seen photos of that. I think the guitar is pretty collectable. I have a hunch my bari is too, since I have never seen another. They sold about a bazillion of the plastic sopranos, but a lot of them have been bashed to bits by little kids over the past 60 years. They're still pretty common though, so I think you can get one in good shape for not a lot of money. The push-button chord thing SHOULD come right off, unless someone glued it on or something. It was designed to be held on with rubber bands. The one I bought had that thing too, in its original box. Oh, and Arthur Godfrey endorsed them.

Chris Tarman
01-26-2010, 07:10 PM
Here are front and back shots of my Islander Baritone. Genuine Mother-of-Bowling-Ball! I really love this instrument. It has a beautiful mellow tone, like a classical guitar. It's small for a baritone. More like a tenor-size I think. I tried it with tenor tuning and it didn't work so well, so I put a set of Aquila baritone strings with an unwound high d. The frets are plastic, and I didn't want to risk wound strings.

01-27-2010, 01:03 AM
Ahhhh...been after one of these for a while.

There's a "Special" version with a fancy shaped bridge and scalloped end to the fret board....lots of my gui**r player friends are big Django freaks and they would be mightily impressed with a maccaferi uke!

Is it not something like Djangos 100th birthday this year?

Chris Tarman
01-27-2010, 12:13 PM
Yes, Django's 100th birthday was last week I believe. I heard a story about it on NPR.