Vintage Mickey Mouse Lunchbox Ukulele

This lovely little lunchbox was found at the Pasadena Rosebowl flea-market, which is known for its antiques.  The woman who sold it to me actually gave me a better deal after I told her what I was planning on doing with the lunchbox.

This was the first lunchbox I converted into a ukulele, so I learned a lot by simply doing.  The body is, of course classic Disney; I love the illustrations on the sides, but my favorite detail is the country jamboree bears on the back, playing what looks like cigar box guitars and other homemade instruments–the theme fits right in with the fact that this lunchbox is now a ukulele.

The neck is hand-carved mahogany, a constant fingerboard width of 1.5 inches, but with a tapering neck thickness, akin to traditional ukuleles.  Tenor scale length, with 16 frets, no fingerboard markers, but side dots made from toothpick wood on frets 5 and 12.

The fingerboard, nut, and bridge are all from the same piece of rosewood, while the headstock features maple ears in addition to the mahogany center.  The headstock is initialed with paint, and uses open-gear tuners for added lightness.  The bridge is not glued down, to allow for intonation adjustments, but can be fixed in position upon request.

The sound is comparable to an old radio, very tin-y, but the tailpiece is of leather, screwed down with a strap button, which helps to soften the tone.  There is a soft rattle when played: the lunchbox’s lid vibrates against the body to make this buzz, which I’ve grown to like and specifically use this instrument for its character.

Fun fact: this uke can stand upright on its own without the help of a stand.