6/12/2014

c.1935 Harmony-made Mahogany Soprano Ukulele




This is the plainest of the plain mahogany ukes Harmony made in the 30s and 40s. It doesn't even have a fretboard! Still... these things have that 30s sound. This one, boosted by a set of Aquila Super Nylguts, has a good warm fundamental sort of tone without a lot of extra overtone ring. It makes a nice simple strummer that doubles as a folky-sounding fingerpicker.

It needed the usual work: the doweled neck joint had let up so I reset the neck and replaced the one central dowel with three smaller ones in a triangle formation (this = much superior joint that should hold up nicely for the future), the frets got a leveling and dressing, and the bridge got a reglue. The back braces got some gluing and a small "puncture" crack in the back was filled/stabilized. That, by the way, is the only crack extant. It's in good stead now and plays nice with a hair-over 1/16" action at the 12th fret.



The solid mahogany all over the body has a bit of flame/curl in it throughout. It looks way flashier on a sunny day but we've just had rain, rain, rain for the last few days so here you get to see it in subdued light.



The "dots" are just bits of paint. The frets are all in decent shape, too, but curiously enough the 1st fret appears to have been misplaced just a hair too close to the nut. I'm not noticing intonation woes while chording so... it's not something that's going to hurt your playing. A proper setup, string height, and bridge reglue location work probably helps, too...


The only bit of binding? One ring around the soundhole.

The finish on this uke is that satin/semi-gloss stuff Harmony used right up through the 60s.


...original bridge...




These are the original bakelite-buttoned pegs and they work fine. I added extra washers so they'd turn a bit more smoothly, too.



Here's that devilishly-hard-to-see little puncture crack on the back. It's all good to go.





Bottom line: who needs flashy?

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