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#Get expert ukulele advice at the Collector's Uke Yak

Uke Yak Fans,

Chuck "Frets" Fayne has been the resident expert for "Uke Yak" since 1998. Since that time he has answered almost 6,000 questions related to vintage ukuleles. Over many years, Chuck assembled his own world-class collection of vintage Hawaiian and Mainland ukes, including some amazing one-of-a-kind pieces. It was Chuck’s collection that made up the majority of the ukes in my book, "The Ukulele-A Visual History." Although Chuck has retired from the Uke Yak, his extensive knowledge and unique sense of humor live on in this searchable archive. Enjoy! Search the Uke Yak.

Jumpin’ Jim

Chuck Fayne

Flea Market Music Uke Yak (1 of 296)
(Chuck "Frets" Fayne has answered the following 5919 questions.)

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-->Question asked by: Ray lew
Subject: Kamaka concert turners changeout
Question: Chuck, I got the Kamaka concert (2004) you suggested 10 years ago and much later a Martin. Do you think it would be a good idea to change out the friction tuners on the Kamaka for a set of new 4 to 1 Gotoh tuners available from Kamaka for $90 plus shipping. It would require drilling a larger hole. Would it affect the value. Thanks.

Answer: Ray yes it would affect the value, but only if you were going to sell it...duh I personally wouldn't do it but be sure and keep the original tuners. It can be bushed and the holes made smaller. Kamaka still one of my favorites...thanks for writin in c
- Tuesday, June 10, 2014

-->Question asked by: Mark Reddy
Subject: Chuck returns!
Question: So thrilled you're back Chuck, I've sorely missed your musings. They keep me amused during the dullness of the working day. And I just keep learning. Here are three of my babies. Manuel Nunes soprano, Pete Howlett concert and a Kumalae sopranino. Keep writing.... Mark.

Photos: Photo 1    

Answer: mark...thanks for the kind words. What a beautiful trio. I want them all...send as soon as you can...chuck
- Tuesday, June 10, 2014

-->Question asked by: Howard Greenberg
Subject: Glenn Miller/Maui Music
Question: Peter Lieberman has been building ukuleles as well as guitars in Maui for decades. After a fire destroyed his shop in 1998, he resumed building as a one-man operation. His post-fire ukuleles are unique (unusual) designs often with an oval sound hole, whereas those made before the fire are more traditional and characterized by a wave-shaped head stock. The serial number on my concert begins with "5" and was produced in 1995. I would think the soprano ukulele in question was issued in December of 1998, however, given that 1998 was the year of the fire, it may have been made in 2008. I don't know how Peter distinguished between the decades in terms of the serial numbers. But, if it has the wave headstock, my guess would be 1998. More recently, Peter has made some ukuleles using the older design and refers to them as "retro" models. Maui Music ukuleles are very well made and have a quintessentially Hawaiian sound. My concert is fantastic in every way and I certainly do appreciate the fret board radius. While I have heard that some prefer those made before the fire to the later ones, the new ones I played while visiting Hawaii were very impressive. Hint: I'd buy any Maui Music ukulele in good shape for $400.00.

Answer: Thanks Howard. I will publish this in the hopes someone has an instrument you would be interested. Thanks for the info..always appreciated.....chuck
- Tuesday, June 10, 2014

-->Question asked by: Frank
Subject: 1971 Kamaka Uke
Question: My mother gave me a Kamaka Uke for high school graduation, stamped inside with Feb 3 1971. It has two stacked "K" decals. I have not downloaded a picture of it yet. Can you provide me with some background, value etc.? My mother has passed away and I never asked her about it.

Answer: Hi...send pics or dimensions, Kamaka made many sizes and styles...chuck
- Thursday, May 22, 2014

-->Question asked by: willis poe
Subject: uke not in good condition but old
Question: Hi my aunt gave me this uke I realize it is not in very good shape but I would like to know how old the uke is and about how it would be to restore it or how much it would be as is

Photos: Photo 1    Photo 2    Photo 3    Photo 4    

Answer: Im afraid, from what I can see from your myopic pictures, more than it would ever be worth. It has substantial damage and finish issues. I would take it to a luthier for a final analysis....chuck
- Thursday, May 22, 2014

-->Question asked by: kevin sheridan
Subject: suzuki ukulele model p1
Question: While going through my storage I found my ukulele given to me by my grand father I have not been able to find any information about this item anywhere on the internet nor has anyone been able to tell me about it. It is need of some work, has all original parts, the pineapple paint is chipped and coming off, the label is in perfect shape. It has come apart at the base and neck and obviously needs work. Is this a rare item? should I seek an expert to repair/restore? Can you give me a range of values for a restored one of this model? thank you for your time and assistance!

Answer: Picture???????
- Thursday, May 22, 2014

-->Question asked by: Mark Reddy
Subject: The Hui Nalu. A little ukulele/surfing bit of history.
Question: Hello again Chuck...here's a curious case rather than a ukulele. I thought folk my be interested in this little bit of ukulele history. It has 10 signatures on it- Hiram Anahu, 'Tough' Bill Keaweamahi, Chuck Daniels,Bill Kahanamoku, Sgt Kahanamoku, Louis Kahanamoku,,John Kauha, Peter Mahia,Geo. Harris and what looks like John De Jr. Some of these names I know...members of the Hui Nalu Gang who surfed and played the ukulele on the beach in front of the Moana Hotel in the early 1900s. Does anyone out there have more knowledge of these names? The uke by the way is lovely,if a little battered. It has "Moana" on the headstock, a Tabu stamp and a Nunes moustache on the lower bout. I will send you an image of it when it returns from a little , gentle restoration. Regards Mark.

Photos: Photo 1    Photo 2    Photo 3    Photo 4    

Answer: Your going to have to do a little research on the names. You can do that through the Hawaiian museum whose name escapes me at the moment. You can look it up on google..Write them with them with a list of names and see what they say. Please let me know,...I am interested...thanks...chuck
- Thursday, May 22, 2014

-->Question asked by: Tyler B
Subject: Unidentified Banjolele
Question: Hello, I was just wondering if you could shed any light on this little banjolele? It has a faint marking on the skin as pictured but i am guessing it is just a past owners address. No other identifying marks that i can see. Any guesses? Thanks!

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Answer: Tyler...It is a standard banouke...there are thousands of them. I don't know who made them, but every retail store in the 50's had them for sale. Play it...see how it sounds....thanks...chuck
- Thursday, May 22, 2014

-->Question asked by: Thomas Favilla
Subject: Michael's Wimbrola question
Question: Hi Chuck, Good to see you back. In answer to Michael's question about dating the Wimbrola. We have an easy one. That particular label (green and silver) was only used between 1930 and 1933 (give or take two years). Best wishes. Tom

Answer: Nice to be back and as always nice to hear from you my best to you and yours...thanks.. chuck
- Thursday, May 22, 2014

-->Question asked by: Michael Nigro
Subject: Favilla Idenification Needed
Question: Hi: I am trying to date this Favilla Wimbrola 6 string Concert Ukulele. Can you provide any information of the year of manufacture? Thanks for any help you can provide. Mike

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Answer: Michel...I think if you look through the answers already given, I have covered the Wimbrola. It was the brain child of Dave Wimboll..I Will look back and see what I have stay posted. Tom, I need your help as usual and how are you...Chuck
- Saturday, April 19, 2014

-->Question asked by: brandon
Subject: mystery ukulele
Question: Hello I got this recently but can not find a thing out about it, across the sound hole is what appers to be the letter M and inside it reads koa handcrafted by (hard to tell signature) Melvin E. Lopes moa o mele #57 dated 10/31/99. If you could give me any knowledge as to estimated value or what I have and its history I would be very thankful

Photos: Photo 1    Photo 2    Photo 3    Photo 4    

Answer: I have never seen one like it. The answer I would assume, would be in Hawaii. The M on the sound hole has something to do with the maker The words are also Hawaiian. I will ask a couple friends and see what they have to say...thanks for the question..curious charlie
- Saturday, April 19, 2014

-->Question asked by: Glenn Miller
Subject: Maui music uke
Question: Hi! I have a chance to buy a SK style soprano uke made by Peter Lieberman. It is like new with case for 400 dollars. the serial number is 812316. Any advice please? Thanks, Glenn

Answer: Glenn, How is the rest of the band. Love your music. I have almost no knowledge of modern ukuleles. If one of the yakkers out there knows anything, I would appreciate help on this one. As a matter of fact, Jim and I are looking for someone to help with Uke Yak...If interested, please email Jim Thanks for writing in...chuck
- Saturday, April 19, 2014

-->Question asked by: TONY HUGHES
Question: Hi Chuck I just bought this uke on eBay for £9-00 about $15 and I'm trying to identify the make and likely age. I'm still waiting for it to be delivered so these are the only photographs available. Hope you can help Thanks Tony

Photos: Photo 1    Photo 2    

Answer: Tony...Its hard to tell much with just a picture.What is on the headstock decal..Any name on the inside. I would write the seller and ask if he has any information...At first glance, it appears to be a souvenir sold to tourists in Hawaii. Let me know.....
- Saturday, April 19, 2014

-->Question asked by: Lester Brandt
Subject: Stay well
Question: Aloha Chuck, Stay well. Many thanks for your help over the years. Regards from Lester

Answer: Lester, ...Thanks for the kind words. Keep lookin, I will answer some of the questions. Want a job?
- Saturday, April 19, 2014

-->Question asked by: adam
Subject: ????????
Question: can you tell me what i have and whats its worth? or if intrested call me at 540-405-1770

Photos: Photo 1    

Answer: I'm assuming you are not a professional photographer. Adam, Its a ukulele and it seems to be unidimensional. Perhaps a couple of other pictures from different angles plus clarity , and I could be a little more specific. Ansel Fayne
- Saturday, April 19, 2014

-->Question asked by: pepe
Subject: jmg uke
Question: hi chuck,i have a jmg uke australian made , its a gem , great sound , well made ! and just wondering what the stamp number3354 on head mean! thanks chuck !

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Answer: Pepe....I have no idea what the numbers mean, but it is one of the first ukuleles made in Australia. I will look back in the archives and see what I have on it. I know that the uke was fashioned after a violin and there was a chamber running around the inside that was suppose to trap and magnify the sound. It did neither. It is a curiosity and they do not pop up often. If the uke has the patent number as mine did, you can write to the patents office and they will send you the patent info. Good find. I could only make it play Waltzing Matilda frets
- Saturday, April 19, 2014

-->Question asked by: Steve Pepper
Subject: Formby ukes
Question: Chuck I'm going to be re-doing my kitchen this year and will have to get rid of a full set of George Formby ukes all in reasonable condition for their age and all playable. Any idea of what they'd be worth in today's market as a full set a, b, c, d, and e models Steve

Photos: Photo 1    

Answer: Steve...I would place them on the marketplace and since you own a complete set, you are sure to know more about them than I do, it would be easier for you to set a price. I can see then selling. People love to buy collections. Unless you have a very small kitchen, I wouldn't look to make an even trade, unless you find a kitchen man who collects Formby. A complete collection should include a lamp post...chuck
- Saturday, April 19, 2014

-->Question asked by: Ron Neely
Subject: Kaholas ukulele
Question: I picked up this Kaholas uke a few weeks back on ebay. I thought it would be an interesting uke to own and despite the general opinion that Kaholas ukes were made by Gretsch, I feel that this one may actually be of Hawaiian construction. I'd like to find out exactly who made this uke and when, if possible.

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Answer: Ron..I have never heard that Gretsch made Kaholas. The fact that the heel cap is part of the back, tells us it is Hawaiian made. I always thought they were made by Kumalae. Learn something new every day...chuck
- Saturday, April 19, 2014

-->Question asked by: Evelyn Anonsen
Subject: Please tell me what I have
Question: Can you please tell me about this ukulele, including what type it is and what it is worth? The inside reads "C.F. Martin & Co., Nazareth, PA. Thanks!

Photos: Photo 1    Photo 2    Photo 3    Photo 4    Photo 5    Photo 6    

Answer: Evelyn..It is a Martin soprano Style 1 ukulele, and the first incarnation. The tuners have been changed, they were originally pegs. Made 30-40s..Hard to date exactly as martin made many subtle changes. It is also hard to give you a firm price, as the market varies a lot, but 750-1000 in good condition would be a close guess. If you have an original case, add a couple hundred more. It is my favorite player of all the martins made. Enjoy it and pay it...it deserves to be played.
- Saturday, April 19, 2014

-->Question asked by: Evelyn Anonsen
Subject: Please tell me what I have
Question: Please tell about this ukulele and what it is worth (what type of ukulele is it?) The inside says "Ukulele O Hawaii, made by Leonard Nunes, Los Angeles, CA. Thanks!

Photos: Photo 1    Photo 2    Photo 3    Photo 4    Photo 5    

Answer: Hello Evelyn again. It is a ukulele made by the son of one of the original uke makers in Hawaii, Manuel Nunes. He moved to Los Angeles, year unknown, and made a very good ukulele. I would be interested to know if the label says " Leonard, or Leonardo...Thanks...chuck
- Saturday, April 19, 2014

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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. -