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Flea Market Music offers an on-line community for ukulele players, informative books on the ukulele, ukulele CDs,songbooks, videos and information on our instrument manufacturing of the FLUKE ukulele. Brought to you by "Jumpin" Jim Beloff.
Roy Smeck Concert Ukulele


Original Post By: Kaleva Date: 6/30/2019 9:22:01 AM
I recently acquired a vintage Hollywood ukulele. It is 23" in length, so I believe it to be a concert style. The uke has a red diagonal "Hollywood" label on the headstock, body is mahogany with rosewood fretboard, and body and fretboard have purfling. Can anyone provide info on the Hollywood uke?
Posted By: Tom B. Date: 7/2/2019 12:37:14 AM
There have been many discussions of these ukes on this board. Use the search function and look up "Hollywood." Nice find, by the way!
Posted By: karl Date: 7/2/2019 4:27:46 AM
Ukulelezaza has a nice write-up on Hollywood ukuleles in one of his books.

Lardy's database also has an entry (https://sites.google.com/site/ukulelemakers/rst/hollywood), more of a short lemma, which I've copied below. There never were 10 styles of Hollywood ukuleles, Ukulelezaza has the correct info. It's just a case of ukulele numbering logic (like Martin's 0-1-2-3-5, or Gibson's 1-2-2andahalf-3).

"The Schireson Brothers, (Jack and Nat), formed a music retailing and distributing company in Los Angeles, CA founded in 1902. They sold all sorts of instruments.

Their main suppliers of fretted instruments were all in Chicago: Globe, Samuel Osborn and Hawaiian Mahogany. They also contracted local LA luthiers (like the Delgado Guitars) and produced a range of Mexican folk instruments in their own workshop.

Hollywood, (with the red diagonal stripe across the headstock though this may have changed in later years), was the main brand name for their instruments and this was used on Mandolins and Guitars as well as Ukuleles and Banjoleles. There were 10 styles of Ukulele in their catalogue (well I have seen 8, 9 and 10 with 10 being the best so I assume there were 10?) and most, but not all of the Ukuleles were what is now Concert scale. Mai Kai was another of their brands, (and this I believe was only used on Ukuleles) and they did put their own name, (Schireson), on some instruments too."
Posted By: karl Date: 7/2/2019 7:51:01 AM   (Updated: 7/2/2019 7:52:28 AM)
Right, I went back home just to read Ukulelezaza's book for you (it's volume #2, still available and highly recommended).

They were marketed as tenors at the time, but are more of a modern concert scale, two inches longer than standard.

The Hollywood ones were the best of the '1920s tenors' pack, built in LA and designed for Shireson by Robert E. Pearson, with a narrow waist inspired by Hawaiian ukulele shapes.

There were only four models, numbered 6 (mahogany?), 8 (koa), 9 (spruce on koa) and 10 (rosewood) - descendant Gary Schireson still has a blank order form with only those options.

Ukulelezaza's presumption is that nrs 1-5 were reserved for soprano models, but it's unclear to me if they were actually built.

Oh, and the Shireson Brothers started out as a bicycle shop! And they still exist as a family owned business, but changed their name to Volutone.

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Flea Market Music offers an on-line community for ukulele players, informative books on the ukulele, ukulele CDs,songbooks, videos and information on our instrument manufacturing of the FLUKE ukulele. Brought to you by "Jumpin" Jim Beloff. -