View Full Version : Old Ukulele

09-06-2013, 03:04 PM
After several weeks of looking and considering and gathering information on the internet and on Ukulele Underground, just last weekend I bought my first ukulele - a beautiful concert Mainland mango. I am having such a great time with it, learning chords - it's so much fun! But already I can see that one day I will want to get another ukulele, and then another, and another.....

And then, today, I noticed in my hometown newspaper that there will be an auction at a near-by town tomorrow, where an old ukulele will be sold. Can anyone here on the forum tell me anything about this ukulele by looking at the link I posted here? How reasonable is it to buy an old ukulele?


09-06-2013, 03:15 PM
How reasonable is it to buy an old ukulele? My oldest is from the 1890's, then 1910, 1915, 1920's, 1930's.....and so on. Many of us love vintage ukuleles, and they can be wonderful.

The one you are looking at appears to be mainland made, with a Regal body shape. The inlay and binding is kind of unusual, I like it. If I were to guess I would date it sometime in the 30's. It has good quality tuners on it, which sometimes indicates a better instrument.....or they were upgraded at some point. If I had a shot at it I would go for it.

09-06-2013, 03:37 PM
But already I can see that one day I will want to get another ukulele, and then another,

Welcome my friend. You are in good company!

There seems to be no label in the sound hole or on the headstock so really can't ID it. That doesn't mean that isn't a sweet uke. Any chance to get it in your hands before the auction? If so, try it out and figure out what it's worth to you. If the auctioneer won't let you touch it I'd pass. There may not be much of a resale value (unless it has some markings) but if it's a player for the right price you won't let it go!

Keep us posted

09-06-2013, 05:16 PM
That looks great..........if you don't at least try you will always wonder "what if". Not sure how to advise though......solid or laminate??
PS A great Uke will not make you play better but it will make you happy.
Good Luck!

Chris Tarman
09-06-2013, 07:10 PM
I have a similar ukulele (different headstock and tuners though) which is from the '20s or '30s. It sounds great! There's nothing at all wrong with old ukuleles if they are in decent condition, sound good, or (in some cases) just look cool and are affordable... (Says the owner of two 85+ year old Martins, an 80+ year old Gibson, and another Martin that's 60-ish).

09-07-2013, 04:06 PM
what did you decide?

mm stan
09-07-2013, 09:25 PM
Yes No Name Vintages offer a good price if they sound good....they may never appriciate in value but if they sound good, they will bring you years of enjoyment..
would'nt go over 250-300 though.....if possible ask if you can play it before the auction...good Luck

09-07-2013, 09:39 PM
I agree with everything everyone has written, including to buy it as a player rather than collectible and price. I think Ryan hit it--I owned a Regal brand (Wendell Hall model) from 1930 and it looked very similar to that one you mention. Regals tend to have the one piece necks with flat soundboard end (just a final fret before the soundboard, nothing ornate). If it is a Regal, and I am judging only from owning two, the one I mentioned, plus a Regal Ditson that I am now restoring, It is likely worth $300 in pristine condition, and less if dinged, etc. A Wendell Hall or other "name model" Regal would go for maybe a hundred bucks more.

You are new to ukes, and if you have any questions after seeing it (is the intonation right? Are these frets loose? Is this crack fixable? etc.), just stick to new for now and put that coin toward a new, warrantied beauty.

As I read this post, it sounds like I know what I'm talking about, even though nine times out of ten I just wing it. Cheers!

09-08-2013, 03:20 PM
Well, I am very sad to report that I didn't buy the old uke. I did go to the auction hoping that I might be able to, but I just wasn't sure how much I should be paying for it, and I let it get away. When I looked at it, it seemed to be in good shape except for the strings. One was missing and two were damaged - so only the A string would play. When I picked at the one string, the uke sounded good to me, but, at the same time, there was a lot of noise all around me so I had to hold the uke up by my ear to even hear it. I tried to determine whether the body was solid or laminate wood. My guess is that it was solid mahogany, but then my experience is so limited, I just wasn't sure. It was very pretty, though, and I really hoped the price might not go up too high. It sold for $120. In retrospect, I wish I had stayed in the bidding a little longer. Today I'm thinking I would have paid more than that if I had it to do over again. But the auction process doesn't give you long to think about it, and I'm just beginning my ukulele adventures. Oh, well... Next time...

09-08-2013, 04:01 PM
Look at this as a learning experience. If you had second thoughts well then you were right to pass on this one. When there is a next time you will be ready.
PS Early on I passed on numerous Ukes simply because I felt that I was inexperienced...and I still am!

09-08-2013, 10:58 PM
That ukulele looks a lot like the no-name in my signature (I call her "Miss Terry"), but mine doesn't have that fancy inlay going up the fretboard to the top of the headstock. So, probably a higher-level model than mine.

This was not your last chance, I'm sure. Old ukuleles like these -- and better -- do show up from time to time. Before I got mine, I'd passed up an old, labeled ukulele because I was in no position to take on a fix-it project. It was fixable, and I knew it, but it was not the Right One for me. I ended up paying a lot more for one that came professionally repaired.

(MM Stan's $250 -$300 estimated price is right on the ... ummmm ... money.)