We recently told you that plastic Ukes are making a comeback. Well, here’s one of the originals.
And this is a pretty rare find: a plastic Mastro Banjo Uke from the 1950s. It looks to be in perfect condition with its original box and song sheet.
Imgur user baldylox posted a few photos of a Mastro he (she?) has in his collection. And it’s a pretty rare one at that. It’s a Mastro issued as a promotion for Carling Black Label beer. Made by Maccaferri, I’m sure there weren’t that many produced. It may even be the only one still around.
Here’s how he describes the Mastro:
This is an old 1950’s Maccafferi Mastro banjo uke. It’s made of bakelite plastic. Maccafferi made a few of these bakelite plastic banjo ukuleles (in the US), but I’ve never seen one like this. It’s meant to be a promotional item for Carling Black Label Beer. The strings are the original color-coded nylon strings from 60 years ago. It comes with the original box and a little pamphlet with ukulele chords and a few songs, including a Carling Black Label jingle. When I got it the head was loose. The bakelite plastic ring holding it on had snapped at some point, rendering it unplayable. I tried some super glue, but the tension involved was too much for it. A little washer that holds the head together at the break did the trick. This little thing is so much fun to play. It sounds great, plays great, it’s weird. It’s an awesome little uke.
According to the Tiki King, Mastro Plastics was the name given to Mario Maccaferri’s French American Reed Company in 1964.
Maccaferri’s Mastro Plastics produced the Islander, the Islander Semi Deluxe, Islander Deluxe, (with an extended fretboard) The Islander Ukette, also known as “Sparkle Plenty”(a sort of small soprano) The Islander Baritone, The T.V. Pal, and the Playtune Senior. The Mastro line also included a Banjo Uke, and in the ’60s they even made a Beatles theme Banjo Uke (with the fab fours’ faces on the head) several Beatles theme “Jr. Guitar” Ukes, and other toy instruments such as bongo drums.
Not bad for a Ukulele that’s getting up there in years!