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river_driver
07-10-2014, 07:22 AM
...who made 'em?

That is to say, did they all come from the same factory, with a variety of brand names?

Or were there several companies competing for The Beav's hard earned dollars? If so, are some regarded as better quality than others?

Just started paying attention to vintage plastic recently (because I certainly don't need one, and will probably have one before the month is over), and realized I don't know much about them.

iamesperambient
07-10-2014, 07:43 AM
...who made 'em?

That is to say, did they all come from the same factory, with a variety of brand names?

Or were there several companies competing for The Beav's hard earned dollars? If so, are some regarded as better quality than others?

Just started paying attention to vintage plastic recently (because I certainly don't need one, and will probably have one before the month is over), and realized I don't know much about them.



I think your referring to the Maccaferri designed ukuleles.

janeray1940
07-10-2014, 08:02 AM
This might help (http://www.chordmaster.org/plasticukuleles.html) answer your questions... or help convince you that you need one :)

More here (http://ukulelehunt.com/buy-ukulele/unusual/plastic-ukulele/).

RichM
07-10-2014, 08:09 AM
This might help (http://www.chordmaster.org/plasticukuleles.html) answer your questions... or help convince you that you need one :)

More here (http://ukulelehunt.com/buy-ukulele/unusual/plastic-ukulele/).

Great stuff! Here's another great page about Maccaferri and his fascination with plastic instruments. Some of Maccaferri's plastics were darn good instruments; he did not have the goal of creating cheap knockoffs, but genuinely saw plastics as the way of the future.

http://www.ukesterbrown.com/maccaferri-and-his-islanders.html

river_driver
07-10-2014, 09:54 AM
Jane and Rich,
Thanks for the links - I had not seen any of these before. Now I have some reading to do (instead of working!). And yes, it will probably push me over the edge and I'll end up with a plastic uke (or three).

I was aware of Maccaferri and his dream of making plastic instruments that were of equal quality to wood ones, but did not know how far his influence extended when it came to the plastic ukes.

RichM
07-10-2014, 10:12 AM
I have a Mastro banjo-uke, which is a Maccaferri product. It's really a very nice instrument. It has great banjo-uke tone, but is somewhat quieter than a traditional banjo uke, which isn't really a bad thing :).

Rick Turner
07-10-2014, 12:57 PM
My pal and band-mate, Sandor Nagyszalanczy, has one (or more) of every style of styrene plastic uke...and guitar...and fiddle...that Mario made. Sandor knew Mario, and is working on a tribute album that will have nothing but Maccaferri-made plastic instruments on it. There will be some great players on the CD...another plastic product!

Maccaferri made somewhere between 2 and 3 million ukes. 10,000 a day at peak production. He also invented the plastic clarinet/saxophone reed, the plastic clothes pin, and I believe vinyl floor tiles. In the early 1920s he was reputed to be Segovia's main rival on classical guitar, but he broke his hand diving into a lake and could never play at the high pro level again. He'd apprenticed with Luigi Mozzani, a great Italian luthier noted for his harp guitars, and so Mario went back into guitar making and design, did a deal with Selmer of Paris, and then made it onto the last ship out of Le Havre before the Germans completely took over France in WWII.

And that's just a brief look at a genius.

iamesperambient
07-10-2014, 02:34 PM
My pal and band-mate, Sandor Nagyszalanczy, has one (or more) of every style of styrene plastic uke...and guitar...and fiddle...that Mario made. Sandor knew Mario, and is working on a tribute album that will have nothing but Maccaferri-made plastic instruments on it. There will be some great players on the CD...another plastic product!

Maccaferri made somewhere between 2 and 3 million ukes. 10,000 a day at peak production. He also invented the plastic clarinet/saxophone reed, the plastic clothes pin, and I believe vinyl floor tiles. In the early 1920s he was reputed to be Segovia's main rival on classical guitar, but he broke his hand diving into a lake and could never play at the high pro level again. He'd apprenticed with Luigi Mozzani, a great Italian luthier noted for his harp guitars, and so Mario went back into guitar making and design, did a deal with Selmer of Paris, and then made it onto the last ship out of Le Havre before the Germans completely took over France in WWII.

And that's just a brief look at a genius.


I heard good things about the baritone models I would not mind picking one up one day if i could find one
but i honestly have not seen them sold anywhere.

RichM
07-10-2014, 04:51 PM
I remember Elderly Instruments coming across a big stash of Maccaferri violins a few years ago...sold them off for $100 each. It looks like the value has increased significantly... wish I'd bought one!


http://youtu.be/x_X9ryRAZr8

Tommy B
07-10-2014, 06:41 PM
Here's another site worth visiting. It hasn't been updated in years, but still is a lot of fun. (And when you're done with the plastic ukes, navigate back to the home page and check out the other goodies).

http://www.catfish1952.com/plastics.html

river_driver
07-11-2014, 07:29 AM
My pal and band-mate, Sandor Nagyszalanczy, has one (or more) of every style of styrene plastic uke...and guitar...and fiddle...that Mario made. Sandor knew Mario, and is working on a tribute album that will have nothing but Maccaferri-made plastic instruments on it. There will be some great players on the CD...another plastic product!


Rick,
Is this the fellow who was profiled (along with his huge collection) in a recent Ukulele magazine? It was a very cool article, but I wish it had had more pictures!!

TG&Y
07-11-2014, 03:33 PM
My little Carnival soprano is pictured in the group shot - the one with the long-leggity feller in white pants and red jacket. I love it and really enjoy wrangling songs out of it occasionally, but it's not the best ukulele in the world. But that's the charm - music made from such an improbable thing - which makes me love it all the more.

My mind reels at the concept of a plastic banjolele...whoah....

Rick Turner
07-11-2014, 04:43 PM
Yes, Sandor and his collection were profiled in Ukulele Mag, and he's got an article in the latest issue on the history of the uke. He, by the way, has about 430 ukes in his collection, and he knows his stuff about them all.