4/24/2016

1960s Japanese-made? Unmarked Baritone Ukulele




This is a customer's instrument in for some work and as far as baritone ukes go, it's quite interesting: it's all-solid mahogany with a Brazilian rosewood fretboard and bridge, bone nut and saddle, a lightweight, ladder-braced build, longer 19 7/8" scale length, and 12-fret neck joint (something I associate with German baris). I get the feeling it's probably Japanese-made but one can never be sure. If someone knows -- please tell me!

At any rate this needed a number of smaller hairline cracks cleated, a brace reglued, the frets leveled/dressed, the saddle area shaved-down, and a good setup and restring. It's all done and it has a good, warm, simple sort of robust tone to it that reminds me a bit of Giannini (Brazil-made) baris. Chords up the neck mesh a little better than some other makes, probably due to the bridge location activating so much of the lower bout.


This uke has some moisture-damage to the finish on the lower bout, though I've managed to clean a lot of it up, more or less.



The dots are pearl, the neck is a comfortable and fast C-shape, the board is flat-profile, and the frets are roughly "mandolin-sized" wire. I'm using standard GHS black nylon/silverplated strings -- cheap and functional.



The bridge is classy and not overdone. I see so many baritone bridges that are far heftier than they need to be (read: almost all of them).





These tuners, interestingly, can be found on some European-sourced instruments I've worked-on (as in: tenor banjos from the same period). This is another point in the "non-Japanese" category.









The endpin also reminds me of the brown-red plastic pins I'm used to seeing on banjos and mandolins out of Europe in the 60s/70s. Sigh!

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