Friday, November 11, 2011

My Latest Adoption: Vintage Lanai Model #50

I confess to having U.A.S. (Ukulele Aquisition Syndrome) There's a few spots on the web where I'll hunt for ukes on a regular basis. Most of the time I get outbid-not to mention I think the bid gets to be way more than the particular uke is worth. Every now & again,I luck out & win a uke at opening bid. That's what happened with my Lanai. For a mere $17.50 & a shipping fee of $8.00,this little gem was now mine. It arrived yesterday and I have already named this little uke "Waldorf". Everyone take a gander at Waldorf!
Now there's a few pointers I'd like to make here on shopping vintage ukes online. I don't regret winning this one,but I will say had there been close up photos and had I been more rested when I was looking at this listing,I would've passed it up. Here's why: There was only one photo in the online listing and it was taken at a distance with no zoom features. While the seller mentioned it looked to have been repaired,they never mentioned it was indeed a sloppy repair job at the bridge. Here's a look at the bridge repair:
I wouldn't be caught dead doing that sloppy of a glue job,and what this grey stuff is I haven't a clue. I'll be more certain in a few days when the new strings stretch out,but there seems to be an intonation problem tho the overall sound of Waldorf is very full and sweet. I have a feeling I'll need to remove the bridge and put it on right.
Hint #2 in the listing which my mind didn't catch. Needs new strings,the listing said and plays great. OK,my mind just believed that tho it's illogical. If the uke has no strings,and is filthy from being in the garage or wherever,how would they know it plays great?? It's scary what the mind will blindly believe when you read something and you want to believe it. Had I been more rested,I would've asked the seller how they knew it played great when there's no strings on it? (I have done that on other listings & never got a response,which meant in those cases I never bid)
The reason I'm sharing my little errors in judgement is I want to save you,dear readers,from making these mistakes. All to often a super cheap price will make us jump and bid before we analyze the description of the uke.
Do I regret buying Waldorf? No. I'm wanting to learn more about uke restoration and repair,and if indeed I need to remove the bridge and replace it,at least it's on an inexpensive to me model.
Waldorf is a great take along to work or any other place ukulele when you want an instrument that you won't get worried about when someone just picks it up & starts plunking or leaving in the car trunk when you're rambling about. This uke was played a lot by someone as the back of the neck is smooth as butter and the feel is wonderful. Only issue with the uke is the bridge.
So when you're shopping online,remember this: if there's only one photo at a distance,ask the seller for more close up shots. If they ignore you,do not bid.
If the uke has no strings on it & the seller states it plays & sounds great,write them & ask how do they know that when there's no strings on it? A lot of dirt & grime on the uke is also a tell tale sign of not being played in a long,long,time. Again,if you don't hear from the seller just pass that listing up.

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