1950s Favilla Baritone Ukulele

I think this is only the second or third Favilla baritone uke I've handled that has the early, ladder-braced design that's reminiscent of a giant soprano ukulele. Most have a fan-braced pattern that gives them more of a flamenco or classical sound. For what it's worth, I like these ones just a little bit better as they have a big, woody, warm sound to them that's just like chocolate. Mmmm. They're much more "ukey" in their vibe.

A customer sent this in to get spruced-up as a recording buddy, so I did what was needed to make it a practical instrument. It's turned-out nice and has great looks and a full sound to boot. This is my first go-around with D'Addario fluorocarbon bari strings and I like them, though they definitely do feel a little stiffer than other brands. I think the slight extra tension gives them a great bloom, however. I'd love to hear what this uke sounds like with all-plain stringing, though.

Work included: a fret level/dress, modification of the classical-style bridge to a pin bridge (customer request), and installation of geared tuners at the headstock. I used a set of '30s Grover geared banjo pegs with ivoroid buttons and dang do they look classy. Action is just under 3/32" overall at the 12th fret, which is where I like it on baris lately. There's a little room to come down on the saddle, though, to bring it to 1/16" overall for a light picker.

Scale length: 19"
Lower bout width: 9 7/8"
Top wood: solid mahogany
Back/sides wood: solid mahogany

Condition notes: modified bridge, non-original tuners, weather-check to the finish throughout, but no cracks and in overall excellent shape.

The owner had seen some of my bridge modifications to old ukes and he liked the idea of the pin bridge, so I recut the top for a pin-style setup and used some parts-bin ebony pins in it after work. I like the extra oomph and back-angle on the saddle this setup gives old bari ukes.