1920s Oscar Schmidt Presentation Flamed Koa Ukulele

Oh, my! Well, due to a nasty crick in my neck today (and Thursday conversationalists), I didn't get much done -- but what I did get done (the last Gretsch uke and this honey) makes up for that, I suppose. This one was sent in by a good customer of mine for some work and, after recovering from my slack-jawed surprise at its pearl-encrusted bling, I gave it a strum and said to myself, "that's the ticket."

This was made by Oscar Schmidt in the 20s and has the general design and style of their high-grade rope bound ukes save that... everything... is blinged-up by about a hundred notches. It's just... intense. Where there should be wooden rope binding there's pearl block binding and abalone purfling. Where there should be generally nice flamed koa there's ultra-deluxe flamed koa. Where the top should be a little thicker (it's an OS build, after-all) I find a Kamaka-style thinly-cut top. It's... superlative! The sound is familiar, however, to period OS uke owners: mids-heavy and a perfect contender for ADF#B tuning as the stiffer "peanut-shaped" box really shines a step higher where it gets ringier and punchier.

While the top and body have been buffed-up and/or oversprayed a little, the originality of the uke shines through.

Work included a bridge reglue (and small modification of the string-load slots), a fret level/dress, fill/reprofile/reslotting of the original bone nut, some tuner parts swap-out, a tiny bit of cleaning, and a setup. The action was almost perfect "out of the gate" and needed only the tiniest tweaking at the saddle, however.

Yes, the headstock is absurdly-fancy, too...

...and the fretboard...

...and the rosette. Don't you love how the "rope" effect is done in contrasting pearl types? Black and white for the "rope" binding and abalone for the interior trim...

Even the dang bridge has figure to it!

This is one of those instruments that just looks like it's on fire.

Just to rub some salt in our wounds -- it also came (and is going back home) with a blue-lined original hard case.


Greta said…
WOW what a beauty. And sounds nice too.