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Thread: Help Vintage Ukulele/ Machete

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2020
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    Default Help Vintage Ukulele/ Machete

    Hi,
    I was left this ukulele/machete and had initially thought I would learn to play it - but it feels too delicate and Im scared of breaking it...So I want to sell it for a fair price but I have no idea what to ask for it or where. The instrument is in good condition, missing a couple of bits of inlaid mother of pearl.
    On the back of the box it says "augusto cezar ribeiro, cabinet maker, funchal, madeira" and there is a folding music stand in the box as well. I suspect it was bought by my great grandfather sometime in the late 19th century- ish...
    If you can help me with your thoughts I would really appreciate your various knowledge and then I hope it goes to a good home ( unless its a piece of old rubbish in which case I will learn with gay abandon!!)
    Thank you very much !
    I can send anywhere in world no problem

    ps sorry for this being my first post.....
    Attached Images Attached Images

  2. #2
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    Jun 2018
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    Sparta, Wisconsin, USA
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    You might want to contact Shawn Yacavone at www.ukulelefriend.com and ask him.

    This is old and may be historical. He can may be able to point you to someone who can help you with information and perhaps a value.

    It looks to be in very good shape. Best of luck.
    There is a subtle yet profound difference between the learning of something and the knowing of that thing.
    You can learn by reading, but you don’t begin to know until you begin to try to do.

    —Lou Churchill, Plane & Pilot Magazine

  3. #3
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    Beautiful instrument!! Sorry, I wish I could be of more help.

  4. #4
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    Looking at the strings I’d say that the instrument has been in use in recent years so that it’s a player rather than a museum piece. It has also been fitted with a strap pin, not sure that I’d do that to a valuable instrument - could have been supplied that way though.

    The markings on the case might have limited links to the Uke’s origin, there is no guarantee that they have a common manufacturer or are even of a common age. However, IIRC, the people that first built Ukes on Hawaii were cabinet makers by trade, so the Uke and case could be linked. Manufactures usually put a label inside the Uke, visible when looking in the sound hole. Marking the headstock (where then tuners are) is common practice too. Two of the tuners look different than the other two.

    It would help to have shots of the Uke’s side and back too.

    I think it would be worth talking to older family members about the instrument and, if still possible, to people who might have played with or listened to your great grand father.

    The Uke itself is probably quite a decent player (why else would it have modern strings on it) and to my mind that’s your way forward. Learn to play and use the instrument. If you feel it’s fragile (the best Ukes often are) then learn to play on something like a Kala KA-S (they’re not that expensive, sound fine and aren’t fragile) and graduate to the ‘posh one’ in a few years time.

    What’s it worth? Well that all depends who to, what condition it’s in and how well it plays. If it plays well then perhaps it might be worth a couple of hundred dollars to someone who wants a nice player, and if it’s collectable then perhaps a few times that or even more.
    Last edited by Graham Greenbag; 09-22-2020 at 05:25 PM.

  5. #5
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    Thank you Kenn, I will pop an email off to Shawn to see if he can help.
    In the meantime, despite myself, this is quite interesting. Following on from Graham's message, I had a much closer look; the tuners are the same - the pearl "nipple" has fallen off of 2 of them. This Ukulele was lying around in the attic of my fathers house for ages; given the dearth of musical talent in my family, I don't think it was played recently - my grandfather died in 1975 and I can't remember anyone ever playing it, but if the strings are modern? Hmmmm
    Looking more closely at the instrument, I cant see any marking whatsoever, neither within nor without, no label, nothing...this means that the ukulele is solely identified by the box. The box and accompanying music stand seem to be a set but one can't really tell. There are three stylised letters on the front of the box, but I cant find a relative with these initials, so I suspect it will all remain a mystery!
    And I really can't tell you if it plays well ;0)

  6. #6
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    Apr 2017
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    That’s all good information, a few more photos might help. If it’s really not been played since 1975 then the strings on it are Nylon, modern in the sense that they are not cattle gut. If you are able to accurately measure their diameters and give them here then someone might be able to use that information for further suggestions. The stylised initials might help in some way, they might relate to manufacture or they might relate to a possible previous (likely first) owner. If the first owner was female then the initials could relate to a maiden name.

    You might find some additional help from this member: https://forum.ukuleleunderground.com...iscussion-Blog
    Last edited by Graham Greenbag; 09-23-2020 at 08:57 AM.

  7. #7
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    A search turned up a reference to Augusto Cezar Ribeiro. He was said to be a master craftsman, a maker of fine furniture, working in the middle of the 19th century.

    John Colter

  8. #8
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    Sep 2020
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    Default Help Vintage Ukulele/ Machete

    20200923_161344.jpg20200923_161356.jpg20200924_180301.jpg20200924_180311.jpg

    So here are some more photos. My calliper must be at work , so I cant tell you the size of the strings.....
    No one in the family knows anything about the history of this instrument; my grand father died approx 40 years ago, and I suspect the instrument was just sitting in the attic since then. I suspect that he didnt play it either but theres noone left to ask.

  9. #9
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    Aug 2019
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    Fairfax, VA
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    Take a look at the machete in this article, if you haven't seen it already. Looks pretty similar to yours.
    https://www.ukulelemag.com/stories/t...of-the-ukulele

  10. #10
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    Oct 2017
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    Las Vegas, NV
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    I had a vintage guitar from my father going back to 1946. I found a luthier in New Hampshire who only restores vintage and antique instruments of all persuasions but mostly string instruments. I think he might be able to look at a photo and give you info at least as to it's origins . Here is a link to his website. https://jakewildwood.blogspot.com

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