Notes on playing the banjo uke (and the regular ukulele), as well as some of my favorite songs and videos, but mostly, you'll find information here on my particular obsession - the many models of banjo ukulele offered by Stromberg-Voisinet in the 1920's to 1931.

Friday, August 5, 2011

"The Rose"

An instrument that everyone who owns has dubbed "The Rose" this uke sits at the top of the line of Stromberg Voisinet banjo ukuleles. Before I get into this model, just note: I've added some photos of some of Slingerland's rarer models, the Maybell 023 and the 028, to an earlier post on some of these instruments.

Onto the Rose. That's probably not its real model name, but what else do you call something that looks like this? Still somewhat modest aside of that rose decal, The Rose is the most richly decorated S-V model, and has the most extensive resonator. Appears to be mahogany, neck is five-piece and white celluloid binding is present on resonator back edge. I'm always on the lookout for this particular model: it sounds great and looks great.

Here's a classic example of "The Rose", played by my friend, the VERY talented musician, performance artist and playwright Meghan McGeary. She says that it’s from 1930 and it was purchased from Misurgia in Brooklyn, NY. As in other examples, there’s no diamond headstock inlay.

And here's another shot, of that great decal.

Another “Rose” is in the collection of English banjo-uke wiz and great all-around musician Matthew J. Richards, who is a member of the George Formby Society and I believe keyboardist/musical director for the Society's Blackpool conventions. His is slightly different from the above example. It has the rose decal, the five-piece neck and the white binding on the resonator back edge, but also has pearloid (mother-of-toilet-seat) fretboard and peghead laminate, as well as white binding along the fretboard and neck. A lovely instrument, great sounding; see him playing the “Rose” on his You Tube channel

Here's some of the variation I keep prattling on about in Stromberg Voisinets. Same mahogany top-line model as above, but with pearloid fingerboard and head, white binding, rose! A birdseye maple inlay is here instead, a similar back decoration as you've seen previously on Style One models.

Finally, you will note that there's no "Stromberg Voisinet" logo or maker's mark anywhere on any of these ukes. Truly, I'd never seen one before this "Rose" hit Ebay last month, selling in the UK for the relatively modest equivalent of $260.00. As you can see - Tada! - a logo. This is the only SV logo I've seen of the 50 or so examples I've cataloged. I hope that another emerges. And as you can also see, there's a cat with some taste.

Next time, I hope to post some video. But until then, have a good weekend and keep strummin'


  1. Hi, I have a comment regarding your blog page, A Stromberg-Voisinet recently sold on eBay which has elements of two of the instruments shown here. Do an eBay search with this Item no#150730809719 It has the pearloid fingerboard and head with the Rose decal on the resonator. I think it's possible you may be mis-identifying the wood. At least on the eBay example the wood is American Walnut. It's common to mistake Walnut for Mahogany! As for the S-V with the headstock logo in the last pic, I don't believe that it is original to the instrument. I've never seen one as well and it just doesn't "fit"! It doesn't have the same feel as the rest of all the aesthetic elements in Strombergs that I've seen and that includes full size banjos as well. Strombergs can be very "Grand" looking but they are never gaudy or overdone and all the design elements work well together. That decal is too "over the top".

  2. Thanks for the comments! A couple of things.

    I agree that the Rose on Ebay that you point out, as well as several of those above, are likely walnut. As you'll see at the top, I wrote that the model "appears to be" made of mahogany, and when I got my hands on a Rose the first time, it did appear to be mahogany to me. Now, I've come round to your thinking. I do think that this particular model was likely stained at the factory, as the color always seems to be so consistently reddish from example to example, unlike the walnut ukes I have and have seen.

    As for the logo, I also agree. It's jarring, and its on nothing else they produced - and so far, no other uke has come up with so much as the name on it, let alone a logo. As you'll seen in my next post, the name Stromberg-Voisinet, when it does turn up on their instruments, looks nothing like this logo.

    More later... :)


    1. Yes - I'm in the lead right now... ;)

    2. Hi The s/v with the gold wrighting on use to be mine and i put the leters on the head stock they are gold stickers, i sold the uku on ebay
      so you wont see any more like it .kind regards MD