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View Full Version : Help me help the little ol' lady!



Mim
09-18-2010, 07:22 AM
So, a lady comes into my store bringing her very old, very sad, ukulele. It is an old Rey Smeck Uke from the Harmony company. The bridge has popped off. It looks like a clean break, so something that could be glued back on with wood glue. (Correct?). And then the plastic fretboard has melted. She kept saying "but I kept it in my closet, It can't be melted! Before the strings popped off it did actually play music." I had to explain that yes... it probably did play music... but it would not play a song in tune. It took a bit to convince her that in-fact the fret board should have linear frets, not wave-like lines ;)! The fretboard screws off. So... do you know where I might find a replacement plastic fretboard off-chance? She just wants to fix it up for her grandson to play.

Ideas? Input? I know she would be grateful and she is the cutest little ol' lady!!! It really is not worth my time for the $$$ factor, but it is worth my time for the satisfaction of helping her out! Plus I learn something in the provess!

Here are some pics of what I am dealing with:
http://i140.photobucket.com/albums/r17/AudraFelix/P1120324.jpg
http://i140.photobucket.com/albums/r17/AudraFelix/P1120323.jpg
http://i140.photobucket.com/albums/r17/AudraFelix/P1120322.jpg

mm stan
09-18-2010, 07:52 AM
Stew mac or flea plastic fretboards would need adjusting to be fitted.....

mailman
09-18-2010, 10:54 AM
Perhaps a project Harmony from eBay could provide a fretboard. They are listed all the time, and usually don't cost too much....

Mim
09-18-2010, 12:41 PM
Holy Scnikies... I looked on ebay and those boogers are expensive. I just need the fretboard. Hmmm.

cletus
09-18-2010, 01:15 PM
The Folk Shop in Tucson might have a bunch of those, if I recall. They are listed in the ukulele stores on UU.

Chris Tarman
09-18-2010, 01:22 PM
It really seems like someone ought get the mold for those fingerboards and still make them. I suppose she could look into having a wooden fingerboard put on, but that might be expensive.

mailman
09-18-2010, 02:01 PM
Holy Scnikies... I looked on ebay and those boogers are expensive. I just need the fretboard. Hmmm.

Mim, I had thought maybe you could find a broken one....a project uke....to be the donor of the fretboard. I still woouldn't give up on that idea, if I were you.

Try placing a want ad in the UU Ukulele Marketplace. "Wanted: Broken Harmony uke with intact fretboard", or some such thing....

Mim
09-18-2010, 02:59 PM
Mim, I had thought maybe you could find a broken one....a project uke....to be the donor of the fretboard. I still woouldn't give up on that idea, if I were you.

Try placing a want ad in the UU Ukulele Marketplace. "Wanted: Broken Harmony uke with intact fretboard", or some such thing....

The ones I looked up for "project" were still like $40, (they looked like hers) and I think this woman wants to let her 2 year old grandson beat it up. I may have to tell her that once it is fixed she needs to wait until he is beyond the "beat it against the walls" age ;)! I wrote the Folk store in Tucson and I will keep a-lookin'. I will try to UU Marketplace though :). Maybe I will get lucky.

Also, do re-glues bridges "stick" ok, or is there a trick to it? Learn me! I set up new ukes, but dont deal in fixing major problems, so I am learning :)!

arw
09-18-2010, 04:33 PM
Ask her what her favorite color is and buy her a Mahalo.

Mim
09-18-2010, 09:52 PM
Ask her what her favorite color is and buy her a Mahalo.

I know! Tempting! But this is sentimental to her. I may just have to tell her I can not do anything. I will try a few other places.

Ahnko Honu
09-18-2010, 10:09 PM
If it's for a 2 year old I'd just leave the existing fretboard since it'll probably get destroyed anyways. As far as regluing the bridge you have to sand down both soundboard and bridge before gluing for the glue to hold. Mask off the area around where the sanding is needed and sand lightly just the area needing the glue the tape protecting the surrounding finish.

PS. If you decide to go with a different fretboard like a new wood one I would installed the fretboard before gluing the bridge as you have to adjust the bridge location to fine tune the intonation to match the new fret board.

Hippie Dribble
09-18-2010, 11:12 PM
hi Mim,

first of all it's very nice of you to put this ladies feelings over and above any potential cost to you, so good on you for that and all power to you. Wow! That must have been one hot closet!!! I can only add to the suggestions already made:

(i) just recently I've seen some of those Harmony ukes from the 50's go for only $20-30 on ebay, intact. That would be well worth the investment to get a plastic fretboard.

(ii) an add in the UU marketplace section, like mailman said...

all the best with your hunt Mim.

mm stan
09-19-2010, 08:25 AM
Aloha MIM,
Just a suggestion....why don't you trade the old lady for a entry level uke and fix it and keep it for yourself....
I'm sure you'd get better use out of it than a 2 year old and the new uke would stand a better chance with the 2 year old.
Besides it might make a good player....can't tell by pictures if the neck is straight and how's ths action....MM Stan..

Mim
09-19-2010, 10:29 AM
Aloha MIM,
Just a suggestion....why don't you trade the old lady for a entry level uke and fix it and keep it for yourself....
I'm sure you'd get better use out of it than a 2 year old and the new uke would stand a better chance with the 2 year old.
Besides it might make a good player....can't tell by pictures if the neck is straight and how's ths action....MM Stan..

I am tempted ;) But alas, I think this was her childhood uke and she is attached to it. Whenever I am done doing what I can do for it, I am going to stress that she does not need to be giving it to the 2 year old. Wait until he is older! Or, like PP said, I might just glue the bridge back on and put the plastic fretboard back on, since she does not seem to really care about playing a song on it.

mailman
09-19-2010, 11:31 AM
I understand the lady's sentimental attachment to the uke. All the more reason not to give a uke to a two-year-old. A musical instrument at two? It'll be nothing more than a bat....

Doug W
09-19-2010, 12:04 PM
Here is the uke she should buy for her grandson to demolish:

http://stores.channeladvisor.com/TMS-Drop-Ship/Items/BC-UKO-NT?&caSKU=BC-UKO-NT&caTitle=Toy%20NATURAL%20Ukulele%20Guitar%20Ukelele %20Ukalele%20w%20Pick%20Uke