How old is my Favilla Soprano Ukulele

eskimo3883

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Hi, I got hold of a little brother for my Favilla Baritone and I am hoping to learn more about it. It is a soprano but it differs from my baritone in a few areas. It looks like a miniture verson of a typical Favilla Baritone: mahogony through out including fret board, bridge and nut. Has brass bar frets. 3 white polymer dots on fret board at positions 5,7 and 10. It has no paper label but it is also has no brand or ink stamps inside, just the typical Favilla logo on the head. It has no binding of any kind. Its white tuners appear to be an older type than my 1950's baritone (see photo) and the cardboard case has a tweed like look on the exterior (see photo). Its finish has some cracking/checking like the paint in a very old painting. I am thinking maybe it is from the 1930's but actually that is just a wild guess. Would love to hear from anyone on their thoughts on it being from a particular decade.
 

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Sorry I have no suggestions - but as a fellow Favilla Bari Brother, I'm impressed. And it's curious, as you know, the Bari version has a dot on the 9th fret not the 10th. Hmm. I finally tired of trying to get used to the 9th dot and took a lesson out of Papa John's book and added a 10th dot (after drilling out the 9th and filling it with a wood filler).

Hope you enjoy the Soprano!
 
Hey congrats on the new to you Favilla. Looks like the one recently sold on Shopgoodwill. As for dating it, I've read that it can difficult to do so. There was some info someplace out there that black tuners were on pre 1945 instruments and white would be newer. Of course if the tuners were changed on this then don't go by that. 😉
 
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Years back I remember Tom Favilla saying that about the tuners, but, as mentioned, you never know if they were swapped. Hard to tell from the pics and there is not a lot of definitive info about the Favillas. If I were to take a guess, I would say 40s at the latest, but that is only a guess.

Favillas are sweet instruments and nicely made. For strings, it depends on your taste. If you like that more modern crisp ring, try Worths, either clear or brown. If you like that classic traditional tone, try D'Addario Nyltech, which are really nice. Have fun with it!
 
Found this web page using past postings on this forum and based on fret board, dots on fret board, sound hole, tuners, etc. it looks like mine is a "Model U-2, probably 1930's to 1940's." The rosewood fret board was sprayed with the same finish as the body but is currently flaking off the board near the first several frets (where it had a lot of finger contact). The uke would look better if the fret board was bare and just had an oiled finish. Any thoughts on what finish was used for these instruments? Any suggestions, short of sand paper, that would remove the finish?


https://www.catfish1952.com/favilla.html
 
Hey congrats on the new to you Favilla. Looks like the one recently sold on Shopgoodwill. As for dating it, I've read that it can difficult to do so. There was some info someplace out there that black tuners were on pre 1945 instruments and white would be newer. Of course if the tuners were changed on this then don't go by that. 😉
You have an excellent eye. Paid a bit more than I was hoping for but it has zero body cracks and generally in great condition. I think original tuners on mine were white as they show a lot of age. It came with 4 replacement white tuners that look identical to the originals but these have a slightly larger diameter shaft. If I wanted to use the shafts I would need to re-drill the head. The plastic knob portion of the replacement tuners did fit the original shafts and I did replace one cracked original knob. Had no experience with this type of tuner but tuning is holding up once I caught on to how to increase tension.
 
Many musical instruments from that 30s/40s era had nitrocellulose lacquer finishes, which often now exhibit finish cracking, due to temperature/environmental conditions. Earlier 20s/30s version, with shellac/French polish (FP) finishes didn't crack in that way, and those finishes are sometimes easier to repair with shellac/FP techniques. I dislike any finish other than some light oil on raw fretboards. If yours has lacquer on the fretboard, and you want to remove it, I'd recommend light sanding with 0000 steel wool.
 
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