4/29/2011

c.1950 Harmony Baritone Ukulele


Harmony baritone ukes are like the baritone uke bread and butter: all solid mahogany, simple and rugged build, and after a good setup... they play like butter and sound fantastic... that is, if you're talking the c.1950-1960 types... early 60s and onward and the quality starts to suffer just like all the rest of the Harmony builds after the 50s. That isn't to say they aren't good instruments... it's just that they're not as good as a 50s bari, like this one.

This particular bari happens to be on the early side of the 50s as the neck profile is slimmer, both the nut and saddle are bone, the quality of the mahogany is better (and the top is thinner), and the Brazilian rosewood bridge and fretboard are both good quality as well. In addition, it has the "made from genuine mahogany" sticker on the back of the headstock, confirming its earlier origins.

All these details add up to a sweet, rich, mellow, and yet very "ukulele" sounding instrument, with good volume. It has almost that samba-sounding guitar overtone, which would make it ideal for a jazz player looking for a different tone.


My work on this uke was: fret dress, saddle and nut adjustment, lots of cleaning, setup, and also the patching of some small drill holes on the back of the instrument (totally bizarre, can't figure out why they were there) as well as some drill holes leftover from strap buttons at the heel and "end pin" area.


The uke shows plenty of use-wear but has come out much better than many of these old baris. The finish still has a bit of satiny shine left and it really pulls out the gorgeous mahogany used on the instrument.


Bone nut, brass frets, old-style Harmony logo.







Simple one-ring rosette.


New Grover tuners work dandy. The originals were somewhat worse for wear.



Tortoise binding & the leavings of a strap button hole. Would be really easy to install buttons if you're a stand-up character!


Just a pretty bari! I love the neck profile on these older Harmony baris... very fast and comfortable. No stress at all to play it as it holds the hand so nicely.

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