6/12/2013

c.1920 Harmony-made Canoe Scene Banjo Ukulele


This cool little soprano banjo uke was made by Harmony -- probably in the early 20s. It's got a maple neck, pot, and f-hole "resonator" rear plate and is darn clean and all-original. My work on it included a fret level and dressing, cleaning, and setup. This included removing the head, tightening up the big old screw inside the rim which attaches the neck, and also installing a secondary tiny screw to help keep the neck snug and aligned well with the body.

It sounds great and has that dry, wispy sort of tone I associate with these "California" style (inline head) banjo ukes. This one is a little nicer than normal for these, though, and has a brass hoop tonering under the head's outside edge (which improves tone and volume response) as well as a bound top and bottom edge and closed back.


Tension is adjusted on the head via the set screws on the tension hoop.


Original rosewood nut and wood pegs. I used a bit of violin peg dope on these guys and they work just fine. New users, beware, though: one needs to lightly "push in" the peg as you tune up to get them to hold well. It becomes second nature pretty quickly and I'm a big fan of wood pegs as they look cool and lighten the headstock.


Nice canoe scene decal on the original head. The bridge is original, too.



The black celluloid binding gives a "smart" look to the instrument.




That's a solid one-piece flamed maple back. Isn't that cute? Looks great!


Curiously enough, I recently worked on a different banjo ukulele with this Portland, Oregon headstock sales marker.




I had to replace the tailpiece hanger screw so I installed a new strap button when I did.

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