1920s Stromberg-Voisinet Modified 8" Banjo Ukulele

When I first unpacked this instrument and had its rim half-out of the box, I scratched my head a little bit as I'd never seen a gold-plated-hardware version of the standard Kay/Stromberg-Voisinet 8" banjo uke mold. After getting it entirely out of the package, I realized that it'd definitely been made-over. The rosewood fretboard is a replacement, the pearloid at the headstock (and end of the fretboard) might be unoriginal or "from elsewhere," the hardware was all spray-painted gold and the instrument itself was refinished and missing the "rim cap" at the back of the rim.

Still, it's a cool uke and snazzy in person. I gave it the fret level/dress and general fussing-over it needed to make it into a player -- and now it is. Action's a spot-on 1/16" at the 12th fret, the neck is straight save for the last three frets dipping down from the rest of the board (not my work but already there), and it has a good, slightly dark, tone to it.

The freshly-installed skin head (by someone other than myself) was put-on nicely. Like all new heads, it's a bit thicker than what would've originally been on here and so it gives a more mellow, warmer tone than this would've had when new.

The new nut is rosewood, too, and the pearloid headstock veneer is sitting on a tortoise veneer below it. This has 1 3/16" nut width, 13 3/4" scale length, and a medium-depth, soft-V/C neck shape. It plays about like a mandolin neck, to be honest.

Whoever installed the new frets must've hammered them in without a flat block to suit the flat fretboard, as their seating was genuinely all over the place, despite their having nice and tidy ends when this came in.

I blackened the rear of the rim's edge to hide the fact that the original rim cap is missing that would've hidden the unsightly multi-ply construction of the rim. Note that all the hardware on the inside of the rim is still the original nickel-plated finish.

The flamed-mahogany veneer on the outside of the rim suggests that this probably looked pretty dressy when it was new.

I have no idea why there's a light-colored layer of wood below the new rosewood fretboard, but maybe it's just for looks?

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