Crawls Backward (When Alarmed)

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1950s Silvertone Harmony Baritone Ukulele

It may have seemed like there was a lull in the action here in the Crawfish blog, but in reality, I have been scheming behind the scenes.  I should add, in case you're wondering, that I am still testing transistors for the Red Pepper fuzz.  I have enough in hand to make one, but I want to plow through and get them all tested.

Anyways, in the interim, I snagged up a baritone ukulele!  I am hankering big time for a vintage Martin, but until I have enough money to get one, I decided to tide myself over with a less expensive vintage uku.

This one is a Silvertone, made by Harmony, probably in the mid 1950s.  Very much Martin-influenced - the shape is very similar, and it's also solid mahogany.  A decent quality piece for not many dollars.

I haven't played a baritone uku - my others are all tenors (and one Gretsch soprano to be resurrected).  I'm very interested to see what it sounds like.

You can see it's in good shape, but came to me minus strings.  There are also a few things that need attention.

First is the nut.  Someone replaced the original one with a really hokey plastic one.   I'll get some better closeups when I get it off the ukulele, but you can see how they also hacked up the peghead in putting it on (or in removing the old one).

So I need to make a new one, and I also want to fill the chips.

While I'm at it, I'm going to make a nice bone saddle too.  I love bone saddles.  I'm almost positive this is the original - and it's plastic.

Bone = tone.
Plastic = spastic.

Or something like that.

In Harmony's defense, these instruments were made to a price - and plastic is much cheaper than bone.

Another Martin-esque touch is the faux-tortoise binding.  I really dig this stuff.

The back is in nice shape - just a few scratches.  The finish is all original, and I don't see any body or top cracks at all.  It sounds nice when you tap the top.  Hopefully it will sound good once it's all finished.


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