[Ansteorra] ISo Laurels of Instrumental Repute

Michelle Dodd lygabrielerdb at hotmail.com
Tue Nov 30 19:24:27 PST 2010

I don't know how accurate this is. I found it in a magic book of information. You can find this at; http://www.fretlesszithers.com/bowed.html
Good luck with it. 
Ly Gabriele
The violin-uke was the flagship of the entire Marx line of instruments. Like ukelins and Hawaiian Art Violins, there seems to be one of these in every closet in the country. The range of its melody strings differs from that of the ukelin, in that it is tuned in two diatonic octaves of G, rather than C. They were offered in several different finishes, as shown below. For a more detailed look at violin-uke types, see Kelly Williams's excellent Violin-Uke Page. I am indebted to Kelly's untiring record-keeping for most of the information I give below. I have cited his reference numbers for the various forms of violin-ukes shown below.
Even an instrument this distinctive in form was not spared the flippant use of its name by the company; other instruments of totally different form also bear the identity "violin-uke" on their labels. One example of these variant types is given below.
It appears that within only a few years after its introduction the violin-uke evolved to its most familiar form: gold finish with diagonal stripes ranging in color from purple to green. Following a logical trail of evidence, the earlier forms are documented in the first row below. In regard to dating various features, actual sales slips or receipts are the only valid source for this information.
violin-ukes, early forms (c. 1929-34), left to right:

 1. Earliest form, dark brown finish, International soundhole decal, no logo decal, body has gold pinstripe around edge of body, black pinstripe around edge of tailpiece, early-type tuning labels, left melody label double-wide, tailpiece's outer edge is curves. Kelly Williams has documented a receipt as early as 1929 for this form. (Williams: form 1a) 
2. Same as No. 1 but tailpiece's outer edge is straight lines and an arc. This particular instrument has a receipt from 1931. (Williams: form 1b) 
3. Transitional form, first step away from earliest type, early features retained: dark brown finish, pinstripes, early-type tuning decals; new features: peacock soundboard decal, Marx instrument logo decal, soundhole decal deleted (Williams: form 2a) 
4. Transitional form, one more step toward later form, same as previous but with late-type tuning decals, orange-brown sunburst finish (Williams: form 2b) 
5. Continuing toward later form, the peacock soundboard decal is replaced by the large form of the "Conservatory Quality" decal, pinstripe around the outer edge of the body deleted but that of the tailpiece retained. The large form "Conservatory Quality" decal is assumed to be earlier than the small form, as it appears both with and without the pinstripe edge border of the body. (Williams: form 2d) 
6. Still evolving; orange-brown sunburst finish retained, soundboard decal is the small form of the "Conservatory Quality" decal, pinstripes deleted altogether. This instrument has a dated sales slip from 1934. (Williams: form 2e) 
violin-ukes, later forms (c. 1934-72), left to right:

 The violin-ukes in this row are later types. The ones with the black foot or tail piece also came with black bows. The two pictured here both look to have come from the factory auction, suggesting that these may represent the very latest form of the violin-uke.
7. Commonest finish; gold base color with diagonal maroon/purple stripes, no soundboard decal; Kelly Williams reports that this form appeared as early as 1934 (dated by receipt.) (Williams: form 3a) 
8. Commonest type; gold finish with diagonal maroon/purple stripes, the later form of the "Original Marx Instrument" logo decal; This form appears to have made its debut in 1951, according to Kelly Williams (dated by receipt.) (Williams: form 3b) 
9. Red sunburst finish, "Original Marx Instrument" logo decal, black tailpiece; this and the following instrument are from near the time the Marxochime Colony closed in 1972. (Williams: form 4) 
10. Light brown sunburst finish, "Original Marx Instrument" logo decal, black tailpiece (Williams: form 4) 
violin-uke, alternative form

 As mentioned earlier, labels claiming the violin-uke identity are found inside a variety of instruments, some of which bear little if any resemblance to the symmetrical, roughly fish-shaped types shown above. One example of such an instrument is given here. Though dissimilar in body style to the more conventional types above, it is the same from the functional standpoint, both types being key of G bowed instruments with four chords. (Williams: form 5a)


> Date: Tue, 30 Nov 2010 12:56:16 -0600
> From: pookyloves at gmail.com
> To: ansteorra at lists.ansteorra.org; mikea at mikea.ath.cx
> Subject: [Ansteorra] ISo Laurels of Instrumental Repute
> Fortunes of knowledge and felicitations regarding educational
> opportunities be inherent to the bailiwick of Ansteorra's Masters and
> Mistresses of the arts and of the science,
> I, Your beloved Pooky, just purchased on of these:
> http://cgi.ebay.com/ORIGINAL-MARX-VIOLIN-UKE-INSTRUMENT-MARXOCHIME-1930-40-/320597880152?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item4aa51f6d58
> It has one broken string. Others are far from harmonic. Are there any
> amongst You whom tune and or possibly replace the strings of one of
> these musical nick-knacks?
> Is the replacing of strings a good thing to do? Is it tantamount to
> polishing the patina off ancient brass?
> Separate subject: Within the cumulative knowledge of your mutual
> enkýklios paideía I yearn to find an engagement of allurement to my
> SCAdian future.
> Respect and Gratitude,
> Pooky
> Every moment within the SCA is a precious gift. A precious gift
> wherein we might create the memories of every lifetime. Every lifetime
> of happiness and joyful memories is The~Dream!
> ~ Pooky
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