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View Full Version : New Vintage Uke Day



RyanMFT
05-16-2012, 08:16 PM
Well, UAS sometimes rests, but never dies. I took on A LOT of extra work and made A LITTLE extra money.....so I bought this. A Marca Aquila ukulele, made 1890 -1910 by the Favilla family, before they called their instruments Favilla. Solid Mahogany, simple, clean little ukulele. I don't see these come up very often, so I jumped on it when I could. Quite early for mainland built ukuleles! I'm a sucker for the old stuff.

Wasn't quite this pretty when I got it, but I just spent the last few hours cleaning, replaced the tuners as the ones on it were cheap-o's from the 50's, and then strung it with Martin Fluro's. Sounds great, intonation is perfect. Quick pick with iPhone after I got it cleaned and playing.

http://i827.photobucket.com/albums/zz199/RyanMFT_photos/Vintage%20Ukuleles/IMG_3608.jpg

Hippie Dribble
05-16-2012, 09:10 PM
oh Ryan, it's gorgeous mate and in great condition by the looks of it.. You sure have a keen eye for these old beauties. I love it.

Bet it sounds wonderful. Sincerest congrats brother, great job on the tidy-up too. :)

ukuloonie
05-16-2012, 09:14 PM
I really like the shape of the body of this Ukulele.

mm stan
05-16-2012, 09:54 PM
Aloha Ryan
Congrats it cleaned up well..wow you dressed it with new martins and tuners...holy moly..what a score
must had alot of grime from over a century old..Happy strummings

kvehe
05-16-2012, 11:44 PM
Beautiful! Such understated elegance!

roxhum
05-17-2012, 03:32 AM
It looks to be in great condition. If only it could tell it's story over the last 100+ years. Congratulations on a great find.

Mandarb
05-17-2012, 03:57 AM
Congrats - enjoy!

RyanMFT
05-17-2012, 05:53 AM
Thank you all . Funny thing is with a recent thread about shipping being such a nightmare, I kind of expected there to be a problem. However, it came a day earlier than scheduled on USPS! I was kind of expecting an extra few days or so. Also, the seller packed it incredibly well.....

I really like this ukulele, and it sounded great from the moment the new strings went on, which is great. Doesn't look to have been played in a long, long time, which is exciting for me because my very old ones which haven't been played sound better and better as I play them.

I really like the shape too. That wide lower bout is pretty cool, and a different shape from any others I have. I wish I had the original tuners as the originals in these were pretty cool, but they are long, long gone.

Thanks for the really kind things you have said, I feel pretty lucky to have found this little guy!

TheOnlyUkeThatMatters
05-17-2012, 06:57 AM
So glad that classic beauty is singing again. Have a blast with it!

flyingv8
05-17-2012, 08:51 AM
That is just beautiful Ryan! So good to know it has a loving home at last! Enjoy!

Tommy B
05-17-2012, 09:39 AM
Congratulations, Ryan! Nice new score. These Marca Aquilas belie the myth that ukes didn't come to the mainland until the 1915 Expo in San Francisco.
By the way, the original tuning pegs on Marca Aquilas were really interesting: They had brass shafts that were held into brass sleeves with friction, kind of like a metal version of the violin peg. I'd never seen anything like them on another uke:

RyanMFT
05-17-2012, 09:49 AM
Thank you all!

Tommy, thanks for the picture! Mine has the brass inserts....but not the friction pegs like yours. I wish I had the originals, but it seems like it is the same as why many wood peg uke's come with no pegs, they came out at one point and were separated from the uke. I doubt I will ever come across a set, but the picture helps!

I wrote to Tom Favilla to get any thoughts he might share about my ukulele.

There were plenty of ukuleles on the mainland before 1915. Martin made their first ukuleles in 1907, but didn't put them into production for another ten or eleven years. Ukulele had been around for over 20 years by 1915. When I get my Jim Tranquada/John King book I hope I will learn more about the earlier history.

RyanMFT
05-17-2012, 05:31 PM
Just thought I would add a little better photo....
http://i827.photobucket.com/albums/zz199/RyanMFT_photos/IMG_3608.jpg

Jnobianchi
05-17-2012, 08:05 PM
Holy COW, Ryan - that's the best early Favilla I've ever seen - heck, it's also the earliest I've ever seen. Wonderful score and it couldn't be in better hands! :)

808boy
05-17-2012, 08:25 PM
Aloha Ryan,
Nice score for sure Bruddah, it couldn't have found a better home.
Oh, I seen your vids on FB, cool.....maybe I'll join in sometime, when I'm in Cali. that is....still on Maui.

RyanMFT
05-18-2012, 10:59 AM
Wow guys, thank you for the kind words!

How nice to say that it is in good hands, that makes me feel really good. I feel like I get to care for, love, play, and improve my vintage ukuleles for the time I have them. I know they have belonged to others before me, most of whom remain unknown. I hope they loved them as much as I do. When I am gone, I hope they pass into hands which will show them the respect they deserve.

I emailed with Tom Favilla and here is what he has to say about it;

"Looks like you made quite a nice purchase on the marca Aquila uke. Can only date it between 1894 and 1915 when that label was used. My grandfather John (Giovanni) was one of the earliest manufacturers of ukuleles in the States, he had a number of Portugese seamen as clients who introduced him to a native (Portugese) instrument which was the for runner of the modern ukulele. Many of them spread it to the Hawaiin islands where it took firm root just after 1900."

Bo, you are so welcome to come play with us anytime! Stay in Maui with your beautiful wife as long as you can though!

OldePhart
05-18-2012, 11:22 AM
Wow - sweet old uke in great shape! That's a piece of playable history, there. I'm glad a player got it so it doesn't just end up languishing in a trophy case somewhere!

John

RyanMFT
03-22-2013, 06:28 AM
Update-
I have been looking all over for a replacement set of tuners for this ukulele, but they seem impossible to find since they were so unique. They are a tapered brass peg tuner that fits into a tapered brass sleeve which is fixed in the headstock. It works just like a wood peg tuner, and there is no screw holding it in, so mine were lost.

Thanks to eBay....a set popped up, and I grabbed them. When they arrived, they fit perfectly. I cleaned them and now my Marca Aquila is complete! Here is a quick photo.

http://i827.photobucket.com/albums/zz199/RyanMFT_photos/6D586FFE-D6F7-4F8F-AA90-144FE529B0FB-286-000000C8A49F8C8F_zpsdea0586a.jpg

UKEonomics
03-22-2013, 06:48 AM
Totally awesome score! Hope you love it!

RyanMFT
03-22-2013, 06:55 AM
Totally awesome score! Hope you love it!

Thank you, I do love it. The color of the buttons isn't quite that bright a green, but they really got bright with the flash of the camera. This ukulele is 100 years old and the tuners are pretty uncommon so I am just over the moon to have found a set.

bmacir
03-22-2013, 07:03 AM
Just thought I would add a little better photo....
http://i827.photobucket.com/albums/zz199/RyanMFT_photos/IMG_3608.jpg

I love the peanut-like shape. It looks to be very thin. Could you post a side pic?

Great score!

iplayguitars
03-22-2013, 09:05 AM
love the look of those old style ukuleles with the fretboard level with the body. congrats!

UKEonomics
03-22-2013, 10:15 AM
Thank you, I do love it. The color of the buttons isn't quite that bright a green, but they really got bright with the flash of the camera. This ukulele is 100 years old and the tuners are pretty uncommon so I am just over the moon to have found a set.

I hear ya. I like the green! Gives it a little kick.

RyanMFT
03-25-2013, 11:18 AM
I love the peanut-like shape. It looks to be very thin. Could you post a side pic?

Great score!

It is pretty thin! I will take a side picture and post it when I get home.