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View Full Version : Ukiyo Vita Owners: Please post your pictures here



NewKid
07-06-2014, 05:49 PM
After looking at this instrument online for over a year, I finally acquired it from DeForest Thornburgh at The Blue Guitar in San Diego this past March. The Ukiyo Ukuleles site is no longer up so I'm wondering if my #43 is the last one Marc Schoenberger made. I really hope not. If you have one of these beauties please share a picture or video here.

Here's my Spruce/Mahogany with Aquila strings. My two younger daughters are singing in the background. My oldest daughter is recording on her iPhone. They were nice enough to take a two-minute break from watching Survivor.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f3lpidb7ZjI&feature=youtu.be

mds725
07-06-2014, 06:11 PM
You didn't post pictures, like the thread topic says. YouTube videos don't count. :)


Cool ukulele.

katysax
07-06-2014, 07:45 PM
6862468625

I've had this a while - long story how I got it. It's all mahogany. Mine is number 013. I've also got an old vita uke. Even though the Ukiyo looks like a Vita uke the sound is nothing like it, both are loud but the Ukiyo is much brighter with much more prominent trebles. Whereas in a comparison of a modern Martin to a vintage Martin to Collings I feel that even though each uke sounds different, they all share certain characteristics that are the same. The Vita uke and the Ukiyo uke look a lot alike but the sound is not at all the same. Maybe if mine had a spruce top like the original Vita it would be different. But, if anything, spruce should make the sound brighter still. The Ukiyo is still a wonderful uke.

TheCraftedCow
07-06-2014, 09:09 PM
Nope, yours is not the last, because mine is #47. I called Marc to ask for permission to put PEGHEDS on it. He thought it would add to it. He also gave me permission to have the Logo of the girl and the tree made into embroidered patches. I still have some. In my hard case, the PEGHED patch is over the head and the Ukiyo patch over the body. (I shaved the fuzzy stuff to recess it, and to get a good glue surface.

There's a story about how mine came to be here in Oregon from a dealer in New York as a brand new instrument.

NewKid
07-07-2014, 03:16 AM
It seems that one of the refinements Marc made to the design is that the body is not as wide as the original. Is that true Katysax? Mine also came with Guadalupe strings and I've read here they are difficult to get. I tried Fremont Blacklines on first but the strings kept popping off the bridge since they are so thin.

CraftedCow, will you post a picture of your Ukiyo? I was also interested in the Harmony Roy Smeck Vita for sale in Portland for a minute. However, I would rather have a second Ukiyo Vita. Do you know if Mr. Schoenberger is still building ukes? One of his Aero ukes is for sale here in Seattle at Dusty Strings.

NewKid
07-07-2014, 03:27 AM
6862468625

I've had this a while - long story how I got it. It's all mahogany. Mine is number 013. I've also got an old vita uke. Even though the Ukiyo looks like a Vita uke the sound is nothing like it, both are loud but the Ukiyo is much brighter with much more prominent trebles. Whereas in a comparison of a modern Martin to a vintage Martin to Collings I feel that even though each uke sounds different, they all share certain characteristics that are the same. The Vita uke and the Ukiyo uke look a lot alike but the sound is not at all the same. Maybe if mine had a spruce top like the original Vita it would be different. But, if anything, spruce should make the sound brighter still. The Ukiyo is still a wonderful uke.

I like your all mahogany Ukiyo! The body on your Ukiyo looks wider than mine. There is more room from the seals to the edges and the lower bout looks wider too. What case do you have for it?

SamUke
07-07-2014, 04:54 AM
I've had 2 and they really are superb instruments. If one comes up I will probably buy another.

katysax
07-07-2014, 05:06 AM
What case do you have for it?

Cases are really hard to find. When I got it it was in a flimsy cardboard concert case. For a while I had it in a gig bag. I've got a case that I ordered from Ebay that was described as a concert case but is really a hard shell long neck soprano case. One day I tried the Vita in it and it fit like a glove - However to fit it in I had to unscrew the strap button from the bottom. I've been keeping it in that case.

SamUke
07-07-2014, 05:08 AM
I ordered the rectangular concert fremont hard case from Elderly and it fit mine perfectly.

NewKid
07-07-2014, 06:12 AM
Cases are really hard to find. When I got it it was in a flimsy cardboard concert case. For a while I had it in a gig bag. I've got a case that I ordered from Ebay that was described as a concert case but is really a hard shell long neck soprano case. One day I tried the Vita in it and it fit like a glove - However to fit it in I had to unscrew the strap button from the bottom. I've been keeping it in that case.

Mine fits in a Steady soprano soft case that leads me to believe that Marc may have slimmed down the body from your #13 to my #43.

warndt
07-08-2014, 10:37 AM
NewKid...I've seen your uke for years at Blue Guitar. I think the only reason that it was there for so long is that it was in a glass top case stuck back in the corner. You had to go over to that case and look down into it to even know that the uke was in there.

I have one just like it...#044, Probably from the same batch of wood!

I also have it's spruce/koa, rope bound big brother in tenor size too!

I'm glad it went to somebody that appreciates the Ukiyo expertise and the workmanship that goes into these fine ukuleles!!

William

katysax
07-08-2014, 11:34 AM
Mine came with the Guadalupe strings. I hated them. Of course they were quite old. I hated them and put fluorocarbons on it. It looks like the body of mine is a bit wider.

NewKid
07-08-2014, 12:12 PM
NewKid...I've seen your uke for years at Blue Guitar. I think the only reason that it was there for so long is that it was in a glass top case stuck back in the corner. You had to go over to that case and look down into it to even know that the uke was in there.

I have one just like it...it's a keeper! I also have it's spruce/koa, rope bound big brother in tenor size too!

I'm glad it went to somebody that appreciates the Ukiyo expertise and workmanship that goes into these fine ukuleles!!

William

William, I kept looking at that Ukiyo for a year and could not believe it lasted that long. I'm so glad DeForest had it tucked away. Katysax's Ukiyo body looks a little wider and rounder than mine.

Please post pictures of your two Ukiyos. It looks like this is a pretty small club. I love those seals! They are surreal.

Don

NewKid
07-08-2014, 12:20 PM
Mine came with the Guadalupe strings. I hated them. Of course they were quite old. I hated them and put fluorocarbons on it. It looks like the body of mine is a bit wider.

Please tell us the long story of how you acquired your Ukiyo. I want to hear CraftedCow's story as well.

Don

katysax
07-08-2014, 12:38 PM
Try this info for Guadalupe Custom Strings.

2610 East Cesar E Chavez Avenue Los Angeles, CA 90033‎
(323) 266-2242

The story of how I got my Ukiyo is pretty simple. I found it on Ebay. It's what came after that's pretty incredible. I saw that the seller was - not local to me but - within 100 miles drive from my house. I emailed and asked him if he had more ukes. He said he was a guitar dealer and had recently picked up quite a few ukes at an estate sale. He wanted to sell all of them and I arranged for a visit to try some out and maybe buy some. When I got there it was an amazing collection of over 50 ukes ranging from a pile of junk to several vintage Martins, two Kawikas, several Black Bears, a Kanilea custom and a half dozen other interesting high end ukes. Unfortunately the owner had gone senile and many of the high quality ukes were in terrible shape. They had not been kept in cases and the lot looked like they have been in a flood. I spent the morning sifting through and playing them. In the end I bought six more ukes from the seller. This included a couple that were pure junk that he threw in. I did not take the Black Bears because they were badly damaged. In retrospect I wish I'd bought them and sent them to Duane for repair. I took only one Martin because the rest were badly damaged. I passed up a few of the high end ukes because I played them and didn't like them. I have occasionally thought about the ones I did not buy. However, while there were all a good deal the guy wasn't giving them away either. And some of the ukes really were in very rough shape. It was kind of amazing that this guy had so many expensive ukes and for the most part he didn't even have them in gig bags. It looked like he's just thrown them on the basement floor and let them get ruined. The ones that somehow or other had been in cases managed to escape the damage.

The guy also had several banjo ukes and various novelty items. No plastic ukes but odd shaped things and a bunch of cigar box ukes - some of which looked homemade. He had quite a few baritone ukes, but those aren't my thing so I passed on them. He also had a few electric guitars, but since I still have the remnants of my electric guitar collection moldering around the house I passed on those too.

NewKid
07-08-2014, 07:03 PM
Great story! Thanks.

warndt
07-08-2014, 08:07 PM
William, I kept looking at that Ukiyo for a year and could not believe it lasted that long. I'm so glad DeForest had it tucked away. Katysax's Ukiyo body looks a little wider and rounder than mine.

Please post pictures of your two Ukiyos. It looks like this is a pretty small club. I love those seals! They are surreal.

Don

Don, my Ukiyo Vita #044 literally looks exactly like yours, so a picture of mine would be kind of redundant...I'd post one if I already had a pic up and ready.

If you want Guadalupe strings, you can email Gabriel: guadalupecustomstrings@yahoo.com

Here is my Tenor...which BTW... is currently for sale here on UU Marketplace.

Tommy B
07-09-2014, 05:58 AM
Here's mine. It's spruce and koa. I also dislike the Guadalupe strings, so I put fluorocarbons on there (Martins). The problem was, the string slots in the bridge were so wide to accommodate the Guadalupes that I didn't feel the small, slippery fluorocarbon string knots were secure. I put plastic beads on the end of the strings, but this created a different problem: The tension from the first-string bead actually broke the little piece of wood between the first and second string slots, rendering both useless.

I super-glued the wood back in place, but figured it wouldn't hold tension any more. So as a workaround, I ditched the plastic beads and made a small insert out of maple that sits in the string cavity under the bridge. It has very fine string slots that hold the fluorocarbon strings securely.

For a case, I bought the Ohana Vita case, which is pretty cool and much more secure than a vintage Vita case.

68703687026870468705

warndt
07-09-2014, 06:58 AM
Thanks to TheCraftedCow, my Ukiyo Vita is sitting in one of the inexpensive soprano cases with the imprinted palm tree. All that was needed to make it fit was to unscrew the back end of the little compartment under the neck and remove it. It doesn't complain about no pocket.

TheCraftedCow also claims that the UKIYO fits nicely in a Uke Crazy case with the built in gauges, without any modifications required.

NewKid
07-09-2014, 08:46 AM
Here's mine. It's spruce and koa. I also dislike the Guadalupe strings, so I put fluorocarbons on there (Martins). The problem was, the string slots in the bridge were so wide to accommodate the Guadalupes that I didn't feel the small, slippery fluorocarbon string knots were secure. I put plastic beads on the end of the strings, but this created a different problem: The tension from the first-string bead actually broke the little piece of wood between the first and second string slots, rendering both useless.

I super-glued the wood back in place, but figured it wouldn't hold tension any more. So as a workaround, I ditched the plastic beads and made a small insert out of maple that sits in the string cavity under the bridge. It has very fine string slots that hold the fluorocarbon strings securely.

For a case, I bought the Ohana Vita case, which is pretty cool and much more secure than a vintage Vita case.

68703687026870468705


You must have one of the earlier models with the more rounded body like Katysax's Ukiyo. The Koa back and sides are really beautiful. Jason Verlinde, the publisher of Fretboard Journal had a similar model.

So far, no one who has posted has liked the Guadalupe strings that came with their uke. Strange since Mr. Schoenberger seemed to design the instrument with those particular strings in mind. I just emailed Gabriel at GCS to see if he has a new set available. I would give them another try.

warndt
07-09-2014, 11:01 AM
I like the Guadalupe strings...I'm just not sure that they are worth the price to use all the time. It is a family run business originally started by an older gentleman who since retired, then he passed the business on to Gabriel's mother and her sons who worked for him as employees. It is kind of cool to support their family owned small business, and I think Marc kind of looks at it that way also. I know Marc had a lot of respect for the old timer that started the business and they spent a lot of time together discussing the dynamics of those wound strings and the sound that they produce on Marc's instruments.

Don...If Gabriel quotes you a price per set, please pass the info along via PM.

Thanks,
William

bluesboymalcolm
06-21-2019, 06:43 PM
I have #63 119180119181

Jerryc41
06-22-2019, 01:11 AM
When was he making these? I have a modern Ohana Vita Uke, which is similar, except the seals aren't so detailed.

EDIT: I see the original post was made in 2014.

keenonuke
06-22-2019, 01:41 AM
After looking at this instrument online for over a year, I finally acquired it from DeForest Thornburgh at The Blue Guitar in San Diego this past March. The Ukiyo Ukuleles site is no longer up so I'm wondering if my #43 is the last one Marc Schoenberger made. I really hope not. If you have one of these beauties please share a picture or video here.

Here's my Spruce/Mahogany with Aquila strings. My two younger daughters are singing in the background. My oldest daughter is recording on her iPhone. They were nice enough to take a two-minute break from watching Survivor.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f3lpidb7ZjI&feature=youtu.be

The video link doesn't work. :-(

Jerryc41
06-22-2019, 01:54 AM
The video link doesn't work. :-(

It was probably withdrawn.