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View Full Version : Harmony Roy Smeck Vita Uke



OldePhart
01-28-2011, 12:16 PM
So, what are these things worth and were they good players?

There is one for sale in my area that looks a bit rough cosmetically and apparently has some repaired cracks but overall it looks like a decent player. I'm not gaga over vintage instruments but this one looks kind of cool so if it's a good player and I can get it without paying too much I might take a whack at it.

John

hmgberg
01-28-2011, 05:11 PM
Wack away! I got one recently-in pretty good shape, a small side crack that I repaired, but otherwise very clean. It sounds really great-very unique, not like any other uke I have. I paid a pretty high price for mine, but it is worth it. BTW- I usually don't like Aquilas on solid sopranos, but they sound just right on this instrument. Buy it! Buy it! If you decide you don't like it, you can send it to me. I'd have another one no problem. If you do get it, make sure to let me know what you think.

franulele
01-29-2011, 02:17 AM
I've seen Roy Smeck Vita Ukes for for anywhere from $250-$800. Full concert uke sound with a soprano scale neck, and comfortable to hold. Often the seal shaped soundholes have chipped. I have an old Vita Uke that was my grandmother's, soundholes intact, but a massive side crack because no one in my family had a clue about the storage of wooden instruments. BUt, I did get the cracked fixed, put on Worth brown medium strings and it sounds terrific!

Ataraxia
01-29-2011, 06:50 AM
Wack away! I got one recently-in pretty good shape, a small side crack that I repaired, but otherwise very clean. It sounds really great-very unique, not like any other uke I have. I paid a pretty high price for mine, but it is worth it. BTW- I usually don't like Aquilas on solid sopranos, but they sound just right on this instrument. Buy it! Buy it! If you decide you don't like it, you can send it to me. I'd have another one no problem. If you do get it, make sure to let me know what you think.

Just curious, what strings do you prefer on your solid sopranos? I was thinking of trying something different when I change my strings, using Aquilas right now. I've heard mixed opinions on the Worth Browns.

hmgberg
01-30-2011, 09:02 PM
Hi Ataraxia: I use Worth Clear Mediums on my sopranos. I've tried Worth Browns, but I like the somewhat brighter sound of the clears. To me, Aquilas tend to sound more guitar like. The Worths ping. You'll have to get used to them b/c they are thinner than the Aquilas and will feel tighter. Certainly "Worth" a try though. BTW-I've tried all kinds of strings and like these the best.

Ataraxia
01-31-2011, 12:03 AM
Thanks a lot! :D I'll definitely give them a try, I've played guitar for about 7 years but uke for only half a year so far (and guess which instrument now gets played more? heh). I agree, I like the volume the Aquilas seem to bring out of the ukulele but the tone seems a bit harsh at times. I appreciate the advice!

marymac
02-01-2011, 10:43 AM
Hey I saw a new Ukiyo version of this vita uke yesterday on the Blue Guitars site. http://www.theblueguitar.com That's the first one I've seen besides on the Marc Shoenberger site. Granted it's $850 but it's the nicest reproduction of the original vita-uke that I've seen.

Jnobianchi
02-01-2011, 11:28 AM
I'm a convert to these. If you can get it for your price, even with the repaired cracks, I do think it's worth it! Let us know how it plays out.

OldePhart
02-01-2011, 12:18 PM
They both went for more than I was willing to pay sight unseen. The one that was local wouldn't let me inspect the instrument before the auction closed. If she had, and if it was a good player, she would have got more than she did for it. :shrug:

John

hmgberg
02-01-2011, 04:10 PM
That's too bad Phart. Maybe another will come up. Best of luck.

Jnobianchi
02-02-2011, 04:43 AM
Yeah - I don't get the sellers that won't let you see things ahead of time or take photos on request. I was in communication with a lady selling a Le Domino banjo uke, which has a small resonator that detaches by removing one bolt. She would not, under any circumstances, unscrew the bolt to look at the interior condition. I walked her through how to do it, but she was convinced it would 'kill the value'. In the end, the seller she had lined up wouldn't give her what she wanted, and she ended up selling it for about 100 less than it might have gotten.

You can hardly ever save people from a self-inflicted case of the stupids.