- the official website of Andy Eastwood, international entertainer, recording artist and ukulele nut




Roy Smeck


Roy Smeck (1900-94)

Known as the 'Wizard of the Strings'

Roy Smeck, the self-taught 'Wizard of the Strings', was born in Reading, Pennsylvania in 1900.

From an early age, he became fanatical about music, taking up the banjo, guitar, ukulele, Hawaiian guitar, autoharp and harmonica. He spent every spare moment practising his technique and became one of the most accomplished uke players of all time.

In his twenties, Smeck broke into the Vaudeville circuit. His routine would include dazzling displays on each of his instruments in turn, but it was the uke which wowed audiences the most, and it quickly became the highlight of his act. Smeck was as much a showman as a musician, and he incorporated many visual gimmicks into his playing - for example, spinning the uke, playing it upside-down, and blowing across the soundhole!

Fortunately, Smeck's performances survive on record and film, and it is easy to see why he became something of a star in his day! As well as his records and radio broadcasts, Smeck wrote many instruction books, and had instruments produced under his name; the Harmony Company sold 'Roy Smeck' ukes in their thousands.