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Washburn Lyon, Leopard Fluke: Ukulele Window Shopping

Washburn Lyon, Leopard Fluke: Ukulele Window Shopping

I’m a bit confused about what Washburn are playing at. They used to make ukes under the name ‘Lyon and Healy’, then they syphoned off the ukuleles to their ‘folk instrument’ section Oscar Schmidt. And now they’re selling ukuleles as Washburn Lyon. And they seem to be exactly the same as the Oscar Schmidt ukuleles. If there’s a difference between that uke and the Oscar Schmidt koa, I can’t spot it.

You don’t see many leopard skin Flukes around. I suspect those bleeding-heart liberals don’t think it’s worth killing leopards to make ukuleles. Damn hippies.

I’ve been eying up this National resonator.

Photos: sad man with busted up ukulele, Shirley Temple.

View Comments


  1. Nick B-C. November 20th, 2009 7:41 pm

    …The idea of owning a National is enough to make the knees tremble…but I bet the pink lining caught your eye too…

  2. karl November 20th, 2009 8:00 pm

    Ha, brands and factories…

    Lyon and Healy used to be the company (and factory) and Washburn one of the brands they used for lines of fretted instruments. A way to remember that, is that Washburn was cofounders George Lyon’s middle name.

    Somewhere down the line (in Teagle’s awful history book on the company) Lyon and Healy bought in instruments, and mingled with the other brands and factories up in Chicago – only their concert harps remained their own production, even up to this day. The names ended up on the auction block, if I remember it right.

    Washburn was revived as a brand at least once in the 1970s, with Asian production.

    The same goes for Oscar Schmidt, which once was a factory and brand in Jersey city. Schmidt continued longer than LH/Washburn, until 1965, but folded and was reused as a brand for Asian instruments much later.

    Long story, short morale: antebellum brand names referering to US produced instruments are popular nowadays as brands for companies selling instruments made in Asia. And the even put OS under the wings of Washburn, which doesn’t really make any sense, but explains the similarity.

  3. Ron Hale November 21st, 2009 12:10 am

    Hippies probably go for the Tie Dye Fluke, & how many ties have to dye for a ukulele? Well, Jim? And how many Thais have to die for a ukulele, for crying out loud? Do the Beloffs even care?

  4. Woodshed November 21st, 2009 11:35 am

    Nick: You know me too well.

    karl: Thanks very much for the info.

    Ron: LMAO!

  5. Jimmy November 21st, 2009 1:24 pm

    That fluke is pretty hot, just saying.

  6. todd November 22nd, 2009 6:55 pm

    reso ukes…..drool….

    more power to the owners of cheezy fluke ukes….!!!

  7. Woodshed November 23rd, 2009 8:56 pm

    Jimmy: Nothing wrong with that. You be proud to be turned on by leopard skin.

    todd: I almost bought that National as my Christmas present to myself. Until I realised I’d already bought a Christmas present to myself.

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