Founded in Chicago in 1864, George Washburn Lyon and Patrick J. Healy built their first instrument – a harp – in the year 1889. This partnership quickly became the Washburn company ‘Lyon & Healy’. Lyon & Healy’s knowledge of instrument building and unique designs was later applied to the traditional figure-eight shape of the ukulele at the turn of the 20th century, in which the company introduced a number of less traditional shapes such as the ‘bell’ and the ‘shrine’ ukulele.
Considered a mainstream competitor of musical instrument giants C.F. Martin & Co and Gibson, the Washburn company offered a number of different models, sizes, and designs both in mahogany wood and Hawaiian Koa. Perhaps one of it’s greatest appeals was the competitive price point in which these instruments were offered to ukulele enthusiasts throughout the U.S.A; typically at prices slightly lower than Martin and Gibson for comparative models. This beautiful ukulele is a fine example of a late 1920’s Lyon & Healy ‘bell’ soprano ukulele; and, along with the ‘shrine’ model was created at peak of the ukulele’s Jazz Age popularity in the late 20s and in to the early 30s. Handcrafted in Chicago, U.S.A., the ‘bell’ ukulele was constructed of mahogany wood with a simple white celluloid top and back binding and a matching white celluloid sound hole ring. It remains in wonderful overall condition with the expected patina of an instrument nearly eighty-five years in age.
Beautiful full tones and a projection that is greater than most offered at the soprano size. Excellent clarity at each note with string action that is set very well for ease of play up and down the neck. Overall center balance is very comfortable, making the instrument easy to cradle while playing. The breath of tones offered by this instrument range from accented lows due to the larger lower bout design to focused mids and crisp highs with a tighter upper bout. Very well-balanced tonally and suitable to all genres of music.