Three-in-one Banjo, played like a ukulele

An advertisement appeared in Popular Mechanics of February 1928 (page 230) for an aluminium ‘thing’:

Features of a tenor banjo, a banjo mandolin and the ukulele banjo are combined in a recently introduced instrument which has a metal keyboard [fretboard?] to simplify playing, an aluminum bridge in place of the ordinary wooden one and several other distinctive details. It is strung like a ukulele and is constructed like a banjo. A metal resonator and an adjustable metal tone chamber and head tightener are special features. The calf-skin head is adjusted with a nut. The instrument is said to be very easy to play and produces a wide variety of pleasing tones.

Marginal notes in the magazine indicate that the ‘thing’ was called a Tivolette, and it was distributed by Bee-Jay Products Co at a price of $9.50.

Published in: on January 4, 2010 at 8:52 am  Leave a Comment  
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Popular Mechanics and the Ukulele

I was browsing through google books and came across this article: ‘A Homemade Hawaiian Ukulele‘ in Popular Mechanics June, 1917 (pages 946-947). 

S.H. Samuels gives instructions on making a cigar-box ukulele.  If you’re handy, it might be worth a look.

In 1917, Samuels could say, “This neat ukulele was made at a cost of 30 cents, by careful selection of materials from the shop scrap stock.”

Published in: on September 21, 2009 at 8:29 pm  Leave a Comment  
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