11/22/2016

1920s Harmony-made Supertone Fancy Soprano Ukulele





I've worked on about a half-dozen examples of this same model and probably dozens of its close-associate Harmony models. They're good, attractive-looking ukes and they have a "very" 1920s tone -- woody, sweet, and a bit chunky and plucky in the way they grab chords. That's a good thing if you're into the "old sound" and enjoy playing triplets and whatnot.

Work included a neck reset (via "bolt and glue" per the dodgy neck joints typical for Harmony), fret level/dress, brace reglue, bridge reglue and addition of a bridge plate (the top seems to have been cut just a hair too thin and wanted a bit of stiffening), swap-out to better-quality period friction pegs, a new bone nut, and a good setup. It's playing with 1/16" action (on the dot) at the 12th fret and is strung with D'Addario Titanium strings.


These ukes are made from all-solid mahogany throughout and these more upscaled models of the general Harmony vibe of the early 20s even have a 17-fret, glued-on mahogany fretboard. Binding is at the fretboard edges, top edge, and soundhole in two-ply black/cream celluloid.


This headstock shape is typical of Harmony-made ukes from the late-teens through the mid/late 20s.


The dots are pearl.



To set the action correctly, I shaved the bottom of the bridge a little before regluing it.

There's a darker "line" that runs in the grain and seen around the middle of the bridge in the top of the uke. It looks like a hairline crack but it's not. In fact, there are no cracks on the uke at all.




I used 20s banjo friction pegs with ivoroid buttons to replace some dilapidated Bakelite-buttoned uke pegs that came on it to begin with. These are much nicer.


At the back of the heel is a small, round, discoloration -- this is where I sunk a bolt into the neck block during the reset to keep everything "pat" down the road.

The neck joints on these early ones are a simple tenon that always fails.Harmony then moved to a doweled joint -- that also always fails. Hence the reason why I fix the problem and don't fuss about it...





Don't you love the chocolate brown look?


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