Saturday, January 21, 2006

The Singing Treholipee

Check it out my very own Singing Treholipee! I picked this up yesterday morning during my rounds at the Santa Cruz Flea Market. Apparently Treholipee means "Tre" for "three" and "holi" for "holes" The "pee" part remains a mystery. These long instruments were one of a family of nutty ukes that were pretty popular in the 60's and became a small sensation. The Treholipee was the most bizarre looking with it's long headstock. The concept was that when you went out surfin' you could stick it in the sand and it would be waiting for you when you got out of the water. These things were made by Swaggerty Co. Swaggerty was a San Clemente, California company who also made the Surf-a-lay-lee and the the Kook-A-Lele.

I am pretty stoked about this pick up. I have wanted one these obscure bits of beach culture ever since I first saw one at Uke Fest West! One of the perfomers Mark Kapner was playing his Kook-a-lele. I totally dig the lil surfer dude graphic on the back of the neck. Tiki King has confirmed it is a Rick Griffin design. So that adds extra coolness points in my book.

There are a few things wrong with this Treholipee. Two of the tuning pegs are busted so I have to find new ones, which is starting to look like it could be difficult and take time. So I may have to fabricate my own. I don't really want to start crankin on the other ones for fear of breakin' them. It is also missing one of the long strings and the others are soundin' flat. I don't have any idea of how hard those strings will be to find. The plastic fretboard is faded but not cracked and some of the fasteners are a little rusty too. Otherwise it is in pretty good shape and sound fairly bright when you pluck at the remaining strings. I am going to retire it as a playable instrument and let it become a prized wall hanger.
You can find more info, buy and see more pics of these crazy ukes at these links:


Elderley Instruments

My Treholipee Post On Tiki Central

Flea Market Music Collector Uke Yak


Anonymous said...

Check out There is one up for acution and its current bid is $24.50.


Anonymous said...

Swagerty was my beloved Grandfather. He was a very interesting man.

I am glad that you found this uke and that you are enjoying it on display.

Best regards,
Lorien French

Anonymous said...

I also have one in almost perfect condition, it has 1 white dot missing on slightly faded fret board, I receved mine from my father who probably got it at a swap meet, It hung on the wall in his house for about 25 years and I have it for about 15 years.

Rachel said...

I also have one that I got in the 60's. One peg is broken so I haven't tuned it for years (decades). It is hanging on the wall, but I would like to replace the peg and play it again.

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