Gibson Uke-3 Soprano Ukulele , c. 1928

Gibson  Uke-3 Soprano Ukulele ,  c. 1928
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Item # 11641
Prices subject to change without notice.
Gibson Uke-3 Model Soprano Ukulele, c. 1928, made in Kalamazoo, Michigan, natural mahogany finish, mahogany body and neck, rosewood fingerboard, original black hard shell case.

This is a nice example of the 1920s Gibson "Uke-3," the company's top-of-the-line soprano ukulele in the 1920s. While this model was the fanciest and most expensive soprano uke Gibson offered as a stock catalog model, the company would occasionally build hand-painted custom models on special order. These are exceptionally rare, and even this Uke-3 is not a common piece.

Gibson's ukulele line wasn't even launched until 1926, which was quite late in the game. The company likely missed thousands of potential sales by sitting out the uke craze of the early 1920s, allowing Martin to dominate the higher end of the market. By the time Gibson ukuleles were on the dealers' shelves the craze had started to wane, making these Kalamazoo-made ukes are much rarer than the equivalent Martins.

The Uke-3 listed originally at $20 (plus case) but is somewhat stylistically similar to the more expensive Martin Style 3, even a bit flashier. It features all-mahogany construction with a very dark finish, triple-bound body, colored wood sound hole ring and a bound, pearl diamond-inlaid rosewood fingerboard. The nut and saddle are bone and the headstock has silver paint stencil "The Gibson" logo above pearl diamond inlay. It is fitted with Grover no.76 "barrel" friction tuners, typical of 1926-8. Vintage Gibson ukuleles can be somewhat inconsistent but this one is very nicely built, a fine playing, nice-sounding uke and an awfully cute piece of 1920s Gibsonia!
Overall length is 20 3/8 in. (51.8 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 uke is all original, showing some general wear to the finish but nothing really heavy. There is some checking mostly to the top and small dings, dents and scrapes overall. The back shows a more deeply scratched/scuffed spot in the center, while the back of the neck has a small ding behind the 5th fret and some deeper ding/scrape wear behind the 7th. There are two long repaired grain splits to the upper back, solidly sealed with no overfinish so visible. No other cracks are evident. This is an excellent-playing uke with a nice sound -- punchy, but still sweet. It is currently housed in the original HSC, worn but solid, which added considerably to the cost when new! Overall Excellent - Condition.