5/11/2013

c.1930 Harmony "Bare-bones" Soprano Ukulele




This bare-bones, no-frills, soprano uke was made by Harmony around 1930-35. The tuners and bridge are off of a similar-period (totaled) Regal uke, but the rest is original to the instrument. This would have "shipped" with wood pegs to begin with.

What's funny about these really simple guys is that they were built to fill the same sort of market that $30 ukes do today. However, these are nothing like those terrible hunks of plywood misery...! The scale is correct and intones well, the entire instrument is made from solid wood (birch, in this case), and it's actually got a cool rather than dorky look, what with that styling suntan-burst finish.

Work included many seams reglued on the top and back, a replacement (period) bridge, replacement tuner pegs (also period), light fret level/dress, and setup. It plays spot-on and has a sweet, open tone.


Both Harmony and Regal sopranos from "this end" of the market (low-end) tended to have thicker top plates and no bracing (as does this one). This works just fine tone-wise, though it doesn't have the sculpted, sweet-as-summer-rain soprano sound that a nicely-braced mahogany instrument would have. It's plain and unadorned, shall we say, but perfectly useful.


Wood nut. I love how the sunburst is carried throughout various sections of the instrument.


12 brass frets all in good order!


This bridge, borrowed from a busted-up 30s Regal soprano, works nicely and is (humorously) mismatched with its painted-tan color.








So: overall? A rugged, sweet little uke, perfect for campfires, summer outings, and... recording!

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