Maccaferri Islander Soprano Ukulele (1950)

Maccaferri  Islander Soprano Ukulele  (1950)
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Item # 10657
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Maccaferri Islander Model Soprano Ukulele (1950), made in New York, NY, natural finish, Dow Styron plastic.

Part of the 1950's Maccaferri empire of "Dow Styron" plastic instruments, the Islander uke is a simple, attractive and surprisingly good-sounding creation. These were VERY popular when new, staying in production from 1949 to 1969. This is an early example, with the first simpler "Patents Pend." peghead design used before the patent was granted in 1952. The headstock has an "Islander" logo, Maccaferri crest and diminutive Hula dancer figure on the head but lacks a "Designed by Maccafferi" imprint, another identifier of early production.

The one-piece molded back/side/neck assembly is made of dark "grained" polystyrene-(somewhat intended to resemble rosewood). The top and headstock face are made of contrasting ivory colored plastic. The dot fingerboard markers are inset into the brown plastic board. The tuners are friction pegs with plastic buttons, two changed to black on this one. This is a very nice piece of playable Populuxe whimsy, playable in the bathtub or a great "beach uke", as it is practically waterproof! This one does not have a case or box but does include the boxed "Chord Master" unit that can be attached to then fingerboard (with rubber bands) to allow one to "Play at once" with "No Practice".
Overall length is 21 in. (53.3 cm.), 6 3/8 in. (16.2 cm.) wide at lower bout, and 2 1/4 in. (5.7 cm.) in depth at side, taken at the end block. Scale length is 13 3/4 in. (349 mm.). Width of nut is 1 7/16 in. (36 mm.).

This little plastic marvel is nice overall, it shows some general light scuffing but no major wear or repair. There is some corrosion to the metal parts of the tuners; two of these are original and two presumably broke at some point and were replaced with 1920s friction tuners with black composite buttons. This gives a sort of "Black and white cookie" look to the headstock. The action is good and the uke plays and sounds very well, and there's always that push-button Chord Master one can resort to! Excellent - Condition.