Hollywood Tenor Ukulele, made by Schireson Brothers , c. 1930

  Hollywood Tenor Ukulele, made by Schireson Brothers ,  c. 1930
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Item # 9261
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Hollywood Model Tenor Ukulele, made by Schireson Brothers, c. 1930, made in Hollywood, CA, natural varnish finish, mahogany back, sides and neck, brown chipboard case.

The Schireson Brothers of Los Angeles sold and sometimes made an interesting variety of fretted instruments in the 1920s and '30s, most of them sadly obscure today. They were the builders behind the pioneering, if doomed, 1930s Volu-Tone electric pickup and also created the Hollywood line of resonator instruments and acoustic Hawaiian instruments starting in the 1920s. This ukulele is from that period and is a very Hawaiian-style instrument despite its Los Angeles origins. It was termed a tenor uke in their advertising; by Martin standards it is closer to a concert size with a 15" scale and lower bout under 8" wide.

The general design with a narrow waisted body, "zipper" binding and sound hole marquetry and an arched back is very Hawaiian in style; the conventional neck joint betrays its mainland roots. The instrument is built from good-grade mahogany with a light honey-brown finish intended to make it more resemble actual Hawaiian koa wood. The long neck has large pearl dot inlay, marquetry binding on the edges, and a fairly elegant headstock with a "Hollywood" decal banner across the face. This is a rare and historically interesting larger-bodied ukulele, a fine player with a very good sound.
Overall length is 23 1/2 in. (59.7 cm.), 7 7/16 in. (18.9 cm.) width, and 2 1/2 in. (6.4 cm.) in depth at side, taken at the end block. Scale length is 15 in. (381 mm.). Width of nut is 1 3/16 in. (30 mm.).

This uke shows some general wear and tear but remains in very nice playing condition overall. There is a noticeable repaired grain crack on the top along the treble side of the fingerboard, and a couple of tightly sealed less conspicuous ones behind the bridge. The thin varnish finish shows dings, dents, and scratches, as well as some fogging on the back and sides, but has a nicely aged patina overall.

The bridge is old but not original; it is a variation of the "Smile" design seen on period Lyon & Healy instruments and looks to have been installed long ago. There are some scars from this operation around the bridge base. The workmanship on this uke is a bit rough in spots, quite like the genuine Hawaiian instruments it emulates but it plays well and sounds great. This is a very rare and cool authentic period piece, a sweet uke to play in a nice modern case. Very Good + Condition.