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View Full Version : What's the deal with Harmony and TV Pal Uke's?



J_Tay81
12-05-2010, 11:25 AM
I see 'vintage' harmony ukes and plastic TV Pals ukuleles on eBay all the time. If I'm correct, the latter was associated with Arthur Godfrey's children's show from the 1950's. Are the Harmony and TV Pal ukes any good as players? Are they collectible? Just curious!

RyanMFT
12-05-2010, 12:35 PM
Vintage Harmony ukulele's can be good players. I have a Silvertone, a sears branded Harmony from around the 50's and it is fun to play. The sound on the vintage Harmony ukulele's isn't what one would find on a much higher grade uke from the same time but I think they did a pretty good job for the cost. Those Harmony uke's were pretty inexpensive.

I have never played a TV Pal but there are some people here on the forums who really love vintage plastic uke's. If they are still in good shape, that is the neck hasn't warped from being somewhere it is too hot, they are players, not just a toy. I have plastic Mauna Loa uke which was great fun until a family member decided to drop it on the hardwood floor!

Sounds like you are getting the vintage uke bug? VUAS is a particularly strong strain of UAS, I should know, I love vintage ukulele's!

J_Tay81
12-05-2010, 12:49 PM
Sounds like you are getting the vintage uke bug? VUAS is a particularly strong strain of UAS, I should know, I love vintage ukulele's!

Ahh! Don't say that! I don't need anymore ukuleles. Although there was a beautifully refurbished Harmony I found online recently...Must...stay...strong!

cletus
12-05-2010, 01:21 PM
Check out plastic ukes at chordmaster.

J_Tay81
12-05-2010, 01:47 PM
I went to chordmaster - lots of info on the plastic ukes. I didn't realize there had been such a market for them in the 1950's. Does anybody here have a TV Pal and play it regularly? How does it sound? What kinds of strings do you have on her?

Chris Tarman
12-05-2010, 02:12 PM
I have two Maccaferri Islander plastic ukes from the '50s, a soprano and the much rarer baritone. They both sound really great, and play very nicely. The baritone, particularly, has a great tone. I've never had a Harmony, but have wanted one for a long time. Actually, I have a pretty interesting one on the way from an eBay purchase. It's the green one with the canoe and trees stenciled on it. I got it for $62, and there is an identical one listed on Elderly's site for $250. I've played a couple in antique stores, but that was before I started playing much (I bought a cheap-o uke a few years before I really started playing). They seemed over-built and heavy. From what I've read though, some of the older ones were pretty good instruments. I don't expect much out of the one I just bought, but it: a) was pretty cheap for a vintage uke; and b) is GREEN!

cletus
12-05-2010, 02:50 PM
GUGUG and UKISOCIETY on youtube for more plastic uke fun.
I would think you should take care in restringing one of the old plastic ukes, slow and easy increasing tension...

JT_Ukes
12-05-2010, 02:53 PM
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NaC2I66XUjc


love my Carnival.. sounds good with aquillas

J_Tay81
12-05-2010, 03:11 PM
JT_Ukes:

It looks like your uke here has friction tuners. How well do they work? Can you tighten them down if they begin to slip like you can on a Fluke?

JT_Ukes
12-05-2010, 03:23 PM
JT_Ukes:

It looks like your uke here has friction tuners. How well do they work? Can you tighten them down if they begin to slip like you can on a Fluke?

all you can do is push them in tighter, no set screw in there, all plastic. they hold pretty well for their age. ( don't we all though?)

that video was made when it still had the original red strings. :)

Ukester Brown
12-05-2010, 04:35 PM
I have another YouTube channel for all ukes plastic: http://www.youtube.com/user/plasticukuleles

kenikas
12-06-2010, 05:21 AM
I had a friend give me her old Harmony soprano from the 50's, made of poplar (I think) with the plastic fretboard and painted on binding, with the original case. Pretty sad sound until I put a set of Aquila's on and tuned it up to "D", now it plays and sounds great especially for tunes from that era, (Cliff Edwards, Johnny Marvin etc.).

Chris Tarman
12-06-2010, 02:06 PM
My Harmony arrived today. Here's some pictures of it and my Maccaferri Islanders. Now to get some strings!

cletus
12-06-2010, 02:34 PM
My Harmony arrived today. Here's some pictures of it and my Maccaferri Islanders. Now to get some strings!

Cool green uke and the Islander baritone is really awesome! Congrats.
What strings are you using on the plastics?

J_Tay81
12-06-2010, 02:48 PM
Really classy-looking Harmony. I too am curious what you will choose for strings.

Chris Tarman
12-06-2010, 04:58 PM
I don't know what I'll put on the Harmony. I'll probably put Aquilas on it eventually, but for now I'll use whatever I can find locally (which isn't MUCH... if ANYTHING). I have Aquilas on the two Islanders, including a reentrant Baritone set with an unwound high D on the baritone.

pastyman
12-07-2010, 09:41 AM
Just might be worth mentioning here that there is an eastern based company selling ukes in the UK under the name of "Vintage". I bought a Vintage "laka" which was not a cheap instrument, Is is a tenor with a very nice tone too.
Just not to confused with "old" vintage instruments.

themax
08-19-2012, 05:12 PM
This thread is old, but I wanted to add another data point. I have a TV Pal strung right now with Kamaka standard strings, which I think give it a nice, plunky sound. I am getting ready to try some other strings, just to see how they sound.

It is a player for me. It is the one I have been taking to strumalongs and workshops lately. It had a crack in the top between the bridge and soundhole that I sealed with superglue. We have bonded.

The intonation is not as good as other ukes I own, but I love its sound. There was some discussion about the tuners. The TV Pal has plastic tuners. They all stay in tune great except the 1st. I have noticed I have to re-tune this string after a few songs.