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Thread: cracks in old ukes

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2017
    Location
    Detroit, Michigan
    Posts
    65

    Default cracks in old ukes

    Ahoy

    so pray tell, how badly do repaired cracks effect
    uke sound
    does it vary greatly

    reason asking
    have two uks with repaired cracks

    Koaloa and very old Martin
    each sound wonderful
    have i just been very lucky

    yours truly
    mac

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
    Location
    Arizona
    Posts
    2,046

    Default

    I have an old Martin with repaired cracks on the back and it sounds amazing...
    Just Play

    Sopranos: 1st uke, Lanikai soprano LU-11 - Aquilas | 30's Martin style 0 - Martins | Fender Piha'eu - Worth Browns | Lanikai banjolele - Fremont Blacklines
    Concerts: Kanile'a K-2 CP - Living Water | Islander AC-4 - Living Water
    UBass: Kala Rumbler - Pahoehoe

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Posts
    672

    Default

    People make a big deal about cracks. I suppose there are cracks and there are CRACKS. Overall a good luthier can often repair a crack so that it will be completely stable, sound fine and is nearly invisible. It may vary from one instrument to another, but I have heard instruments that have been repaired that sound terrific.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    Philadelphia, PA
    Posts
    6,697

    Default

    I have similar experiences to other posters. I have three vintage ukes, a Martin, an Oscar Schmidt, and a Regal, all of which have well-repaired cracks. The cracks are nearly invisible (I can find them if I really look), and all three ukes sound spectacular.



  5. #5
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Location
    Proxima B
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    1,868

    Default

    I have an early Martin Style 1 that had a dozen cracks , a hole , broken sound hole , now all fixed and sounds great.
    " Anything larger than a soprano is cheating "
    " I'm no luthier but ,........"

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Posts
    269

    Default

    Repaired cracks are merely a cosmetical issue, they don't affect the sound.

    'Live' cracks can cause buzzing in rare cases, but are mainly a problem for the instrument's integrity. You have them repaired to prevent further damage.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jul 2015
    Location
    Chester, VT
    Posts
    141

    Default

    I have an early Martin - about 1934 - with repaired cracks and a gold label Kamaka with similar repairs. They are great sounding instruments. The cracks made them more affordable. The Kamaka is my favorite reach for instrument.
    Martin c. 1934
    Martin OXK
    Kamaka pineapple gold label - 1950s
    Mele pineapple - koa and mahogany - modern
    Kamaka tenor - 2002
    Mele, Braddah tenor 1990s
    Slingerland banjolele Maybell - 1920s

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Nov 2013
    Location
    Stratford, Connecticut
    Posts
    1,559

    Default

    I have a little 1920's-30's Harmony that is a survivor bought from a kind soul who saved her from the junk pile. While its not a K brand or a Martin it is a very old very light uke made from old mahogany and has a heck of a bark Ive not experienced in a newer instrument.

    She is a special girl as she was split down both sides lengthwise with quite a chunk taken out of one. I believe there was a new or at least re-glued bridge and she has been drilled so the strings pass through the top plate. When I first bought her I thought she was hard to play but after a couple years of noodling it is different but just as easy to play as any.

    Strung with Aquila nylagut Ive been lazy as I want to restring it with Aquila reds. I'm interested in what the reds do to the sound of the old light mahogany. I'm used to the papery velvet like feel of the reds much more than any other type string. But now I'm rambling off topic... She rests in a soft NOS metallic vinyl case within arms reach and gets played at least every few days. One of three of my brood that is in a regularly played rotation.

    ~peace~ not-invisible.jpg
    Last edited by Inksplosive AL; 11-26-2017 at 08:48 AM.
    This space reserved for a smart or witty comment or a famous quote. It may also be used to promote my accomplishments should I ever accomplish anything worth sharing.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Feb 2013
    Location
    Petaluma, CA
    Posts
    390

    Default

    If it isn't broke don't fix it. I have some player Martins that have cracks, the cracks haven't moved in years so I play them as is. I have improved some ukuleles by repairing and refinishing the tops. This takes a little of the top material off and tunes up the rest of the instrument in the process. Also a nicely repaired instrument will be treated better by future owners.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jul 2017
    Location
    L.A. California
    Posts
    285

    Default

    I have a 40s Favilla soprano with a repaired crack and one crack that isn't repaired.
    It sounds amazing!

    Like Frianm said, it makes them affordable.
    If you do get a crack that causes a buzz the hot hide glue/percussive repair doesn't look too hard.
    https://ukulele-lessons.wonderhowto....e-glue-359032/
    Playing my Magic Fluke and grinning like a fool!

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