Tuesday, 22 January 2013

Beltona/Francis ukulele model


Collaboration Ukuleles

Limited Edition of 7

These are a collaborative effort between Steve Evans of Beltona and Tony Francis of Tony Francis Instruments.  

For the last few years, Steve has been experimenting with, making and selling non-resonator ukuleles made from the fibreglass moulded back and sides that are used for Beltona resonator ukuleles with the addition of a tone wood top to replace the fibreglass top and resonator cone.  The range of woods for the tops includes New Zealand Kauri, Tasmanian Blackwood and Mahogany - all with great results but had yet to try Koa wood.

Tony makes wonderful Weissenborn style guitars using nothing but Hawaiian Koa wood.  The leftovers from his tops and back shapes are pieces just the right size and quality for making uke tops.  The combination of Tony's koa tops and the Beltona fibreglass moulding produces the best tone yet in these experiments.  The Koa still has the lovely resonance and life that characterises it and the resin back and sides gives the ukes volume and sustain with a nice crisp attack
  • The tops are Hawaiian Koa Wood 
  • The backs and sides are a "Bakelite" pattern with a matt finish echoing the Maccaferri  Islander ukes.
  • The necks are mahogany and the fingerboards are rosewood.
  • Concert 14 3/4" scale length
  •  The headstock is a pearloid veneer with matching fret dots.
  • Gotoh tuners and Hilo strings
  • Price- $US700 including case and shipping

 All the ukuleles are individual and details differ.  A couple are shown here and photos of others can be supplied.

Here are a  couple of sound samples of one of these ukes being played by string maestro Rob Matthews

Wednesday, 9 January 2013

Tiny Tim's Ukulele Part 3

Tiny Tim’s Uke     Part 3

Fortunately another customer came to our rescue:  Colin McCubbin, a collector and documenter of all things resophonic purchased the uke.
 His website www.notecannons.com is the  repository of wonderful pictures and information concerning National, Dobro and other resonator instruments of the past.
I think that when he first saw our Beltona uke Mr Tim hadn’t seen a resonator uke. Being a nickel plated brass uke it was obviously heavier than the wooden ukes he played. We installed a stud in the waist of the instrument so he could attach a saxophone type strap that balanced the uke and made it possible for him to use both his hands in gesticulating and the uke would hang there waiting for him .
Tiny Tim was a genuine eccentric and was accepted for it in the mainstream music world in his heyday. This would be difficult to achieve now in this much more fragmented world where you can be an eccentric star in a small group for a short time but not an eccentric star on the scale of  Mr Tim for a prolonged period of time.
Thanks for viewing