11/12/2015

1940s Unmarked Mahogany Soprano Uke




I still don't know who actually made these ukes, but many similar instruments bear the PMICo branding like this other soprano uke and this featherweight tenor guitar. I worked on this one for a customer, and like the other instruments of this type that I'm familiar with, it has a big, sweet, full voice after work was done.

I posted about this uke when it was in pieces, but it's come through just fine and the various work included: all braces reglued, many crack cleats added, seam repairs, a fret level/dress, neck reset, tuner cobbling, and a fresh setup after new Martin fluoro strings were installed.




New bone nut, too.




This uke has obviously lived a harsh life.


Three of the tuners were original and good to go but I did have to replace and swap-out parts from my bin of old bits to get a full set of these Bakelite-buttoned pegs.


Note the little "dot" -- it hides a screw-reinforcement of the neck joint that I add on all of these doweled neck joints as it's impossible to keep the joint from drifting, otherwise. Doweled joints simply are not a good way of putting the necks on these -- even though it's remained a popular way to build ukes even into the modern day.


See the "rippling" on the side wood? That's actually saw marks from when the wood was resawn! They were obviously cranking these out.

Another note on the wood: the tops, backs, and sides on these are incredibly thin and lightly-braced. This gives them a big sound but also makes them fragile.

2 comments:

Tony Hamline said...

Very nice job saving this instrument!

Jake Wildwood said...

Thanks!

The work is pretty typical for ukes of this type -- one of the reasons, unfortunately, I don't buy a whole lot of less-expensive ukes anymore. Lots of time req'd to get them going...