From the Winter 2017 issue of Ukulele | BY GREG OLWELL | PHOTOS BY ALEX RUEB
The ukes seen here are part of an 88-piece collection that Austin-based guitar-maker Collings bought from New York guitar-shop owner Matt Umanov a few years ago and now displays in the factory. Most are of the “catalog” variety, meaning that they were inexpensive ukes sold through Sears, Montgomery Ward, and similar stores that used to dominate America’s consumer culture. As Umanov wrote in a description that accompanies the collection, “These instruments appealed to me for purely aesthetic and sociological reasons, which is to say that all of them looked pretty darn cool to me.”
It’s a type of collection that makes history real and shows off how the ukulele has always been an inspiration to artists.