Friday, 27 July 2012

My Slingerland - a tinker-toy indeed

The other day I declared my intention to bite the bullet and do some adjustments to my lovely 1920's Slingerland banjo-uke. It had been sitting on a shelf staring morosely at me, stringless and with the tension hooks all loosened off for at least a month - but I did it, I removed the resonator and then the calf-skin vellum to inspect it - and have now put it all back together. Phew - not too bad at all. It really is a beauty, if a humble one, compared to the later Dallas's and the Ludwigs!

The screws inside the head all needed tightening - but I have done it - I don't know whether they're too tight, but it's done - the vellum has gone back on, in exactly the same place, and I've tightened the 16 tension hooks back up, a little at a time, working evenly back and forth around the head. It wasn't too onerous after all - it has been a few days now and it all looks and sounds ok. I scoured the internet for advice, and there is good information and advice to be had from highly respected banjo-uke people; John Croft, "the ukulele man"and the late great Dennis Taylor's website.

One thing about a Slingerland is that they are well-built, sturdy little instruments, always recommended to new players wanting a well-made vintage instrument at an affordable price. Well, I hope mine stands up to the tightening-up treatment that I've given it! New Mya-Moe fluorocarbon strings on it now, sounding very nice; they are still settling in and needing frequent retuning. In a few weeks I plan to try out the very popular GFS nylon strings...

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HI! I hope you enjoy this blog and I'd love to hear your comments! But I know you'll forgive me if I read them over before I click the "publish" button! Thanks!