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View Full Version : Martin Style 2 - "Prince Wong"



Jnobianchi
01-22-2012, 02:29 PM
Here's my blog entry on the 1920s Martin Style 2 I picked up in December, which may have belonged to Asian-American vaudevillian George Wong Ah Louis - Prince Wong: http://theukaholic.blogspot.com/2012/01/prince-wong.html

RyanMFT
01-22-2012, 03:25 PM
Super cool.....can't imagine why it would be strung "righty" but the printing placed where it is.......maybe painted on the uke after his passing to remember him? I am sure there is an answer but it is likely lost to time!

Do you think it had peg tuners originally? The tuners look old, but quite big for the headstock......possibly an upgrade from many years ago?

By the way, I really enjoy your blog! I'd like to get some advice on buying a vintage banjo ukulele someday!

zac987
01-22-2012, 03:57 PM
Maybe Prince Wong painted his name on the wrong side, and by the time he realized it, it was too late to change it? :P

mm stan
01-22-2012, 06:20 PM
Aloha John
Nice blog and story..you are fortunate and lucky to get a piece of such of historical value and a precious ukulele
thank you for sharing...

Jnobianchi
01-23-2012, 05:20 AM
Do you think it had peg tuners originally? The tuners look old, but quite big for the headstock......possibly an upgrade from many years ago?

By the way, I really enjoy your blog! I'd like to get some advice on buying a vintage banjo ukulele someday!

Ryan - I know that Martin made ukes with violin tuners in the 20's, and I feel like this might have originally had them, BUT - those big tuners on mine are not only very old, they're of a type I've never seen before. Though they're big, they're not geared in any way, and the entire assembly, including the plates, turns as though it's all a peg. So it's like a cross between a violin peg and a friction tuner. Here's a shot:

32734

I'm sure my friend Peter at Retrofret is going to know these, but they're new to me.

Thanks for the kind comment. I'm happy to help, anytime

Jnobianchi
01-23-2012, 05:22 AM
Thanks, Stan!

Zac - that explanation is as good as any other... :)

garyg
01-23-2012, 06:06 AM
Jon, great story and congrats on the uke. My late 20's M2 has some friction tuners that I had never seen before but they're clearly very old and likely original. The button and shaft mechanism has a kind of metal cup just below where the button ends. I couldn't see that back of yours but we could compare photos if you're interested. ciao, g2

RyanMFT
01-23-2012, 06:36 AM
My friend has a style 2 from the same era and now looking at the picture of the tuners, I wonder if yours are the same as his. I will look at them when I see him tomorrow. Either way, they are clearly very old, and very cool!

Jnobianchi
01-23-2012, 06:43 AM
Yes, Ryan - they're definitely old, and if not original, installed pretty soon after building.

Gary - Definitely I'd like to see your photo. If you click on the shot above, you can get a larger picture - click on it again, and it gets even larger.

John

garyg
01-23-2012, 07:08 AM
Hi Jon, I can't seem to find the pic that you're talking about. The one's on the blog only show the top of the headstock. Where am I going wrong? cheers, g2


Yes, Ryan - they're definitely old, and if not original, installed pretty soon after building.

Gary - Definitely I'd like to see your photo. If you click on the shot above, you can get a larger picture - click on it again, and it gets even larger.

John

Jnobianchi
01-23-2012, 08:01 AM
From above in the thread - here:


Here's a shot:

32734

garyg
01-23-2012, 09:35 AM
Jon mine are different, here are the scans http://personal.negia.net/grossman/Martin M2 headstock.jpg
http://personal.negia.net/grossman/Martin M2 tuners.jpg

Hmmm, when I cut and pasted there was some funny code in the addresses, let's see if these work. cheers, g2

garyg
01-23-2012, 09:39 AM
okay forgot, no spaces these should work. If anyone else knows anything about these tuners please chime in. TIA, g2
http://personal.negia.net/grossman/MartinM2tuners.jpg
http://personal.negia.net/grossman/MartinM2tuners.jpg

garyg
01-23-2012, 09:39 AM
Okay third time is a charm http://personal.negia.net/grossman/MartinM2headstock.jpg

Jnobianchi
01-23-2012, 02:13 PM
Interesting. They also look really old, definitely not the same as mine, but they don't look like other vintage friction tuners I've seen. You've also got those little pink gaskets on the front of the headstock as well. You can't see them in my pictures, but they're there. The whole assembly turns, including the plates and fairings, everything except for the pink gaskets. Do yours work that way as well?

garyg
01-24-2012, 03:06 AM
Hi John, I own 9 vintage ukes (Martin, Gretsch, Favilla and Gibson), from 1920 on and I've never seen these tuners nor have I seen them in a photo of an old uke but I've just been watching and learning for six months. Ed Ball or some other old stringed instrument expert told me that in those days ukes were hand made and there was variation among workers so there is less consistency. Maybe different uke builders for the same company had different "favorite" tuners, but this seems somewhat unlikely to me. They also could be very early replacements, say changing wooden tuners out for very early metal ones. Yes, everything on mine turn except the gaskets. Ciao, g2


Interesting. They also look really old, definitely not the same as mine, but they don't look like other vintage friction tuners I've seen. You've also got those little pink gaskets on the front of the headstock as well. You can't see them in my pictures, but they're there. The whole assembly turns, including the plates and fairings, everything except for the pink gaskets. Do yours work that way as well?

Jnobianchi
01-24-2012, 09:55 AM
Yes - I think you're right/he's right. They look like replacements for the violins Martin usually installed in the mid-20s.

But - in other shops, variations happened a lot. On my two Gibson banjo ukes, the tuners are completely different, but I have no reason to think these aren't the original friction tuners - and we know that the craftsmen in Kalamazoo made variations based on some personal preferences or perhaps - seemingly - whim. Once seen, who can forget the (horrible) rhinestones some vintage Gibsons have? Bottom line - hardware varies from instrument to instrument in certain shops and from batch to batch in others. And then again, at places like Martin, variation is pretty rare. :)

Pukulele Pete
01-24-2012, 10:36 AM
I remember this Uke or another like it offered on Ebay about 3 ? years ago. I think it may be the same one.

mm stan
01-24-2012, 10:48 AM
okay forgot, no spaces these should work. If anyone else knows anything about these tuners please chime in. TIA, g2
http://personal.negia.net/grossman/MartinM2tuners.jpg
http://personal.negia.net/grossman/MartinM2tuners.jpg

Got those tuners on my mid thirties style 1 concert.. yours could have been an early repacement.... sometimes in shops too they slap on what they have lying around the shop and use up the
inventory....

Jnobianchi
01-30-2012, 04:21 AM
I remember this Uke or another like it offered on Ebay about 3 ? years ago. I think it may be the same one.

Interesting, Pete! I found myself wondering - if it was Prince Wong's uke - how it got out of his family's possession in Oregon and into a Pawnshop in Lancaster, CA? But if there's a couple of Ebay links in between, that would certainly explain some of it.