Gretsch Camp Ukulele, circa 1940
The original camp ukes were made from barrel hoops and cowhide, knocked together for fireside entertainment as the pioneers’ wagon-trains journeyed into the American Wild West, during the 1800s.
By the turn of the century the design had been appropriated by several manufacturers, with Lyon & Healy creating the first of the all timber models during the mid-1920s. Some authorities state that this Gretsch version of the Lyon & Healy design was only produced during 1940, while others suggest they may have appeared as early as 1936 – regardless, this fantastic little camp uke is basically 70 years old, and looks, plays and sounds fantastic.
The back, sides, top and neck are all solid Maple, with no seam separation anywhere. The two-tone Green & Blueburst finish is in generally fine condition, with just a few scuff marks here and there, and a scattering of paint flakes missing up around the neck joint on one side, (see pic # 3).
The tuners are brand new, vintage-style, Grover ‘Sta-Tite’ replacements – undetectable from the originals – and we’ve just strung it up with a new set of D’Addario black nylon strings. Slightly larger than a soprano-size instrument, the camp uke has the sweetness of the soprano, with a little extra bottom end oomph from the extra body volume, especially in ukulele ‘D’ tuning, (A,D,F#,B).
Almost two-hundred dollars less than the last of these that sold in Australia, at just $425 this is sensational value on a lovely piece of historic American instrument-building. (It’s a Gretsch – you know it’ll be quality all the way!)
Ships in its original end-opening, tartan-lined, calico bag
Price: AUD$425.00 GST Included