4/20/2017

1920s Harmony-made Supertone Canoe Decal Soprano Ukulele





It's hard to believe that 8 years have passed since I last worked on this uke. Shortly after I did, though, I gave it to my father-in-law who attempted the craft of ukulele for a short spell and -- ever since -- it's sat. We're all busy, so I get it -- but I think half of the battle is that he needs something with a longer scale length so his fingers will fit -- and now I'm on the lookout for that.

The uke came back needing another neck reset (it'd come in contact with grandchildren, I assume), some minor seam repairs, and a good setup. This time around I did my "new normal" reset which includes knocking the neck angle farther back and pinning this type of neck (which is simply joined to the body with one small dowel) with a countersunk screw/bolt through the heel to keep it pat. I did a light fret level/dress after that, added side dots, and set it up to play with spot-on 1/16" action at the 12th fret.

The strings are old but still sound decent, though the A is starting to get zippy and so I'll be needing to replace the set in the near future. These peanut-shaped, all-birch Harmony products have a distinct midrange presence and a mellow, plunky, sweet sort of tone. They're like the anti-Martin, so to speak -- in a good way.



I also added a new, ebony nut.



While the body has no cracks, a couple of seams are not perfectly matched-up on the back, mostly, due to old repair jobs before my time.


At some point I must've added this fret saddle. Perhaps the old wood saddle was getting worn-down.




The friction pegs are still going strong.


The discoloration of the finish near the bottom of the heel hides a countersunk screw/bolt to reinforce the joint. Unless one is installed, these dowel-jointed ukes can have the bottom of the heel lift on the owner if the uke gets handled unkindly.






The Supertone label now bears some family history -- "To Bob, From Jake."

1 comment:

Nicholas Ratnieks said...

I bought this exact uke not so long ago- in absolutely mint condition- in an interesting ancient home made case- and it had its own hand made special material bag with poppers as well- somebody loved it, which is why it is in such great shape. I'm looking after it- following your father-in-law's example and leaving it in the case! My dog has fleas- but I don't! I will keep children away from mine- the little lad next door is learning the uke but I intend to keep this little box pristine!