6/26/2009

c.1950s Harmony Baritone Ukulele


This is a nice early 1950s Harmony baritone uke made entirely from solid mahogany save the rosewood bridge and fretboard. It's all-original save new pegs (original buttons) and has a bone saddle and nut. It also (now) plays great and sounds fabulous. What more?


Decoration is simple: tortoise binding on the top and a simple, tasteful rosette recalling Martin ideals.


Unadorned peghead shows off some mahogany grain. This old-timey Harmony logo is far better than the space-age 1960s one.


Brass frets on a rosewood board. MOP dots? I think.


Rosette.


Bridge is a cool lighter-colored rosewood that actually looks an awful lot like the mahogany around it in color tone. The sound is all-rosewood though! Bone saddle. The craftsmanship on this uke is good: it's lightweight, responsive, pretty loud, and is built very well.


Overview.


Side. The original finish is in decent shape, too.


Tortoise binding.


Back.


Tuners: new Grovers with the original buttons. There were screws broken in the shafts on the old ones.


Back.


Side.

9 comments:

Josh said...

Lovely thing!

I really like the "set" you use for these shots; the old box and such make a great backdrop.

Antebellum Instruments said...

Thanks! It's actually outside on the store's porch. Each week I go out into the woods and/or riverbank and gather up wildflowers to fill the box (and our many vases in the store) with. I feel a little sheepish wandering around with scissors and hands full of flowers, but ya gotta do what ya gotta do.

(And secretly, I really enjoy finding what comes up new each week!)

todd said...

i'm drooling now....baritones are my new fav....

todd

Anonymous said...

I just bought one on a whim, from a pawn shop (75.00). In perfect shape, except...It's missing the nut.
Bought a blank bone nut on the way home (6.00)
It matches my 1961 Guild M20 Guitar.

Lee said...

Beautiful instrument. I recently picked up a Harmony baritone ukulele that appears to be the same model as yours.

It's in good condition except for the tuning pegs. I was wondering - when you replaced the tuning pegs on yours, did you have to enlarge the holes, or did you find pegs that fit the original peg holes?

Thanks,

Diane

blindtoe said...

Great job of restoring.
MY mother and I gave one of these to my father in the 50's for xmas.
MY dad is not around anymore, but I have the uke.
Love playing it.
Larry [blindtoe]

Jeff said...

I just purchased a 50's Harmony Baritone Uke off the Mando cafe forum. The tuners appear to be original and work just fine. The bridge looks to be brazilian rosewood, and perhaps the fretboard is as well, although it may be plain rosewood. The mahogany gloss finish is in great shape and is beautiful to behold! There are just a few "character" marks here and there, but nothing too serious. There was a couple of cracks on the back that I glued and are stable now. It plays and sounds very good...very rich, deep, and quite loud. The intonation is decent, but the action is a little high at the 12th fret at 8/64" inch on the low D string. Still tolerable, especially since I don't play up that high anyway. The bridge is just tilting slightly ever so much forward, but appears stable as well. I put some new Aquilla strings on it, and it sounds so good! Anyway, I looked online for more info, and found this site. The style of the decal is from the 50's according to what I have read online. The fretboard and brass frets are in great shape with no wear at all. All in all, I feel very fortunate to have come across this Baritone uke. It will replace the Kingston Baritone uke that I purchased new back in 1967 as my first stringed instrument I learned to play! The Kingston was made in Japan, and is playable, although the bridge is tilting forward terribly, and the top in caving in with a brace missing inside that fell out years ago.

Thanks for listening...

Jeff

Anonymous said...

That sure is a beauty. I recently purchased a similar model but the tuning buttons are in bad shape. I was thinking of replacing all the pegs. What kind of grovers did you use on yours? Thanks, Don

Antebellum Instruments said...

I'm pretty sure they're the plainest-Jane Grover 2Bs.