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View Full Version : Favilla Baritone I almost bought



Patrick Madsen
12-03-2012, 07:33 PM
Awhile ago, I started a thread that I was looking for a Martin or Gibson baritone. I got in contact with a gentleman in California who is selling his dads collection of ukes. His dad was a professional musician and had played at Disneyland in the '50s and '60's among other places.

Anyway he had a Favilla baritone I was hoping to buy but the deal never got completed for reasons not important.

I was just on Ebay and see that he has put it up for sale. One of the finest I've seen. The neck has been shaved and the fretboard radiused ( I think) by his dad with the son finishing off what the dad never got the chance to finish.

Looks really nice but I bought a very pristine vintage Martin bari. he's asking a lot of bucks for it as he has for his other dad's ukes he's posted on. May be worth it as he did customize them himself as most of the old pro musicians did back then.

http://www.ebay.com/itm/PRO-MUSICIANS-VINTAGE-1950s-FAVILLA-BARITONE-UKULELE-UKE-ESTATE-SALE-NO-RES-/230890878363?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item35c22b359b

coolkayaker1
12-05-2012, 03:01 AM
Patrick, that's a great looking ukulele. Sure, it costs twice as much as most Flavillas, but it looks mint.

I wonder, though, since he refinished it ( hence the mint look), if it got devalued. I mean, it doesn't even have a Flavilla headstock emblem now. So, as a player might be good, but 900 clams for an old player? I'm confused by this gentleman s auction.

Patrick Madsen
12-05-2012, 04:43 AM
I agree Cool. The uke was highly customized to fit his dads playing style; shaved the neck and radiused the fretboard. Last communication with the seller stated he thought the uke was done but found that his dad just had the sealer coat done. I think he took it to a luthier for the fret poslish and finish. Not sure if it was French polished or sprayed.

It does look in great condition. His ukes seem to be a bit high in price. He has a Gibson tenor for sale also for 7500. I'm sure his dad took great care of his instruments and there may be a little bit of sentimental uptick in the cost also.

MMStan suggested I wait for a Martin bari to come up and sure enough after months of dealing with trying to buy a uke from this guy and giving up, three days later, a wonderful Martin showed up on Ebay that didn't sell. I contacted the seller, who turned out to be the vintage appraiser for McCabe Music in Santa Monica, and bought it.

As much as I love my Martin there is a little twinge of regret that I didn't end up with one if his dad's ukes as I'm sure they are wonderful. He also had a vintage Kamaka and Martin bari for sale earlier but again, was a little high in price but in pristine condition. Who ever ends up with that Favilla will have a great player I'm sure. I doubt he'll drop the price at all.

coolkayaker1
12-05-2012, 05:57 AM
Thanks for the information, Patrick. I have always wanted a vintage baritone, and if I ever saw a Martin on Kamaka in person, I'd check it out. You have the opportunity to see them live and in person, it seems, and that hel;ps immensely. Sounds like you're building quite an arsenal of fine instruments, my friend.

OldePhart
12-05-2012, 02:21 PM
Looks nice but one thing put me off it at any price, let alone this rather princely one - "...The frets are in excellent condition. To provide maximum transfer of tone energy, each individual fret has been glued in with cyanoacrylate..."

Super-gluing the frets in place is not something a pro would do. If a fret is damaged they are darned near impossible to remove without damaging the fretboard - yes, it can be done but not easily and the only reason to glue frets is if they don't fit properly in the slots to begin with (probably because somebody did a hack job of removing the original frets). If the frets fit properly in the slots then no amount of super-glue, epoxy, or voodoo is going to improve sustain or tone.

Also, this is a baritone, meaning that wound strings are most likely going to be used on it and there will be fret wear. Not as fast as on a steel-string guitar, obviously, but it will happen.

John

cahaya
12-05-2012, 02:38 PM
Looks nice but one thing put me off it at any price, let alone this rather princely one - "...The frets are in excellent condition. To provide maximum transfer of tone energy, each individual fret has been glued in with cyanoacrylate..."

Super-gluing the frets in place is not something a pro would do. If a fret is damaged they are darned near impossible to remove without damaging the fretboard - yes, it can be done but not easily and the only reason to glue frets is if they don't fit properly in the slots to begin with (probably because somebody did a hack job of removing the original frets). If the frets fit properly in the slots then no amount of super-glue, epoxy, or voodoo is going to improve sustain or tone.

Also, this is a baritone, meaning that wound strings are most likely going to be used on it and there will be fret wear. Not as fast as on a steel-string guitar, obviously, but it will happen.

John

Another words, whoever buy this expensive bari will very like to pay more for fret repair later....if the new player plays this bari a lot.

I also thought how this instrument looked too "NEW" considering it belonged to a professional player. This is fine but the point raised by John should not be ignored before buying this instrument.

coolkayaker1
12-05-2012, 02:40 PM
John brings up an excellent point.

Other than a fake metal hip joint, few things in life should be superglued.

Patrick Madsen
12-05-2012, 03:02 PM
John, you're the man when it comes to baritones. I always look forward to your posts. I believe it was taken in for the re-finish, could be the luthier did it then. Yeah, that crossed my mind also; definitly made me pause for sure.. Maybe they did that back in the days when he did it.

For me, it's all about how neck the feels ; thin with a fast low action; radiused preferred. I was interested in getting one of his ukes because I wanted to feel what a pro musicians fretboard and action felt like. Who knows,I may have seen him play back in the '50's and '60's at Disneyland.

I digging my Martin. When it got to the point where I knew this deal wasn't going to happen i put it out there that I trusted the right bari will comne at the right time. Three days later I was mentioning it to Stan and he heard of a Martin that didn't sell on Ebay and to contact her. I did and turned out she is the vintage appraisor for McCabes in Santa Monica; specializing in Martin instruments and this was one she owned for years but never played. The lightness, fast low action and wonderful mahogany deep sound is cool.

I know it doesn't it exist if there isn't a photo so will post one.

OldePhart
12-05-2012, 03:13 PM
Other than a fake metal hip joint, few things in life should be superglued.

ROFL! I've got a good friend with a metal knee - he's been "back in the shop for repairs" twice in the six years I've known him. A few years ago we were playing one Sunday morning and he was filling in on keyboard (he normally plays guitar) and suddenly I noticed that he dropped out of the mix. Turned out the keyboard was at the wrong height for him and his knee had locked up and he was "stuck" and banging on his knee trying to free it up. Pretty funny to look back on but had him a tad upset at the time!

John

OldePhart
12-05-2012, 03:18 PM
...John, you're the man when it comes to baritones. I always look forward to your posts...

Thanks, but in the interest of "fair marketing" I have to disagree. I'm not a baritone expert, or even a uke expert, by any means. I can find my way around a setup on most any stringed instrument reasonably well and I've learned (the hard way, unfortunately) to read every line of an eBay listing with great care - but that's about all I'll lay claim to. :)

John