5/01/2016

1960s Harmony Baritone Ukulele




Yet another old Harmony bari, right? I've worked on dozens of these. They all have a good sound -- an while usually the '50s ones are a bit more "oomphy," this '60s bari really does have a good, warm sweet tone to it -- while keeping the volume. Aside from an area of finish disturbance/reaction on the lower-bout side, it's also in very good shape.

My work included a light fret level/dress, saddle shave, new strings, new geared tuners, and a good setup. It plays like a champ with 1/16" action at the 12th fret and a quick, easy feel. Harmony made their baris with a 19" scale which makes them feel "less tense" and dark-toned overall compared to modern baris -- many of which land around 20" or so.


The body is all-solid mahogany (so's the neck) and the board and bridge are Brazilian rosewood. The saddle and nut are synthetic and the binding is just around the top edge and tortoise.


I swapped out the tuners for Kluson-style guitar units. I've been doing this standard on baritones for a few years, now, as it greatly improves the ease-of-use for most players and doesn't look shabby on the "straight" headstocks of most old '50s-'60s baris.

Though the shaft holes looks oversized in the headstock, they're not. There were tiny press-in bushings from the old friction pegs that left a dimple just around the top edge of the holes. I drilled the holes to fit the shafts precisely.


The board is flat-profile, the neck is a smallish-medium C/D-shape, and the frets are brass. The dots are faux-pearl.



Note that I've strung this up with "balled" ends at the rear of the bridge to get better back-angle on the saddle. If one were to "tie" this classical-style, the back-angle wouldn't really be enough to suit it and it'd sound thin/thwacky.



Thankfully, there are no cracks anywhere on the uke.









This area of finish is almost "buffed-up" and looks like a reaction from the arm resting on the lower-bout. This happens a lot on old satin-finished Martin guitars, too, depending on the owner's body chemistry and preference on shirt material, hee hee.


It comes with a practical old chip case.

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