Thursday, November 23, 2006

Lunch with Robert (and Peter Pan)

Every week or so, Robert Wheeler (the Founder of Ukulele Consciousness), and I get together with three or four ukuleles from his collection and a six pack of beer. After a round of discussion and ukulele strumming and comparison, we usually go to lunch at the incomparable Paddock Lounge, a Ukuleletown institution.

The ukuleles Robert brings over each time usually represent some interesting node of ukulele conscious, a swirling trend or some graceful historical arc.

(Stay on-topic, Craig) This week Robert brought over four ukuleles from the Chicago makers of the 40s. All soprano figure eights and all wood, three of them shared the same well-know black one piece tuning machines that were on so many ukuleles coming out of the Windy City at that time. The first two were unmarked and played with a period sound that was immediately identifiable, but still musically useful. The third ukulele had a weird amorphous blob of a logo on the back of the headstock that read “American Conservatory” inside. Better made, the sound was charming, yet still “of that period”.

The stand out piece of the group was the fourth one, stamped inside a “Peter Pan Ukulele”. Most probably made by Regal in the 40s and distributed by Progressive Musical Instruments. The Peter Pan had lovely upscale Harmony type tuners, a separate saddle, excellent mahogany and a care and craftsmanship that is usually associated with Martin ukuleles. Whoever had crafted the ukulele was certainly very familiar with Martins. Plain, no binding, but extremely well done. It had a sound that was bright, but with that nice mahogany “throat”.

I think it’s charming to name a ukulele after Peter Pan, because, after all, none of us wants to grow up.


No comments:

Top 50 Ukulele Sites