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View Full Version : Baritone "NUTS": Weigh In!



pdxuke
03-26-2011, 11:35 AM
Ok, I'm beginning my research for a baritone that I'll eventually buy. I played an Ohana and the nut seemed wide for me; I played a vintage Martin, and the nut was just right (kind of like the Three Bears, with Baby Bears bed being juuuuust right.)

Elderly had one and described the nut as 1-3/8" nut width.

So, Baritone lovers, get out the tape measure.

i'd like to know the width of your nut on your Barry. New, vintage, doesn't matter. I'd love to find that Martin nut without the Martin price :-)

Particularly interested in width of a Mainland, since I love the look. (I know. I could ask. But isn't it more fun for you to measure?) :-/

ichadwick
03-26-2011, 12:46 PM
My Pono mahogany baritone and Lyra vintage bari are both 1 7/16". nice, comfortable width. not sure about the Beansprout bari since it's at the local music store on consignment.

SweetWaterBlue
03-26-2011, 02:15 PM
Where are you taking the measurment - total nut width, or string width?

pdxuke
03-26-2011, 02:17 PM
Nut.String width can be set up differently.

SweetWaterBlue
03-26-2011, 03:03 PM
1.5" on my Bobby Henshaw baritone. I would prefer a smidgen smaller.

lozarkman
03-26-2011, 03:15 PM
1.5 on my Kala Spalted Maple. I really don't feel that much difference in fretting my Bari or Tenor. Lozark

southcoastukes
03-26-2011, 03:33 PM
1.5 on Southcoast.

It is needed as we are clumsy down here.

pdxuke
03-26-2011, 04:11 PM
1.5 on Southcoast.

It is needed as we are clumsy down here.

Ha! too many cajun martinis from chef paul :-)

pdxuke
03-26-2011, 04:18 PM
I measured the Ohana at the shop today, and it's about 1.5, It's not really that much off from the Martin. It could be the action on the Martin is a bit lower. Also, I think it would probably benefit from Dirk's linear uke non-wound string set.

The Aquilas on it are re-entrant, which is nice, but I had the same problem with them that I have on my key of C aquila sopranos, namely, they are sloppy (not as tense as I'd like.) Now that I know, thanks to my UkeChat (http://www.blogtalkradio.com/ukechat/2011/03/26/uke-chat) with Dirk today, more about strings, it could be that the reason I'm responding more to the Martin 600s than the Aquila is not the sound so much as the sameness of all four strings, and the fact that even in C tuning, they appear to be higher tension.

At any rate, I liked the Ohana baritone more and more as I played it.

I may start another thread for this question, but has anyone played/owned a mahogany barry made by Harmony from the 50s/60s? That nut is same as Martin's, which may have been standard.

Pippin
03-27-2011, 12:51 AM
In Ohana's line, my favorite is the BK-35, which is a really nice baritone uke. It has very smooth tone. I prefer D'Addario strings on it. On the Mainland "Classic Mahogany" baritone, Mike strung it with Aquila bari strings (DGBE) and I really love those strings. So, for the time being, at least, I am sticking with those strings. As for the nut measurement, the two are close enough to each other that there is no real difference that my long fingers can feel.

ukulelecowboy
03-27-2011, 04:55 AM
Well, here is a list of all the baritones in our collection. The closet fit to an actual Martin would be the Yasuma or the Mountain because they are essentially Japanese copies. Another option is to go with a vintage small body tenor guitar which have the same nick width with a slightly longer scale. I have several Regal tenors strung with nylon strings GCEA and they sound great. Just a thought to throw into the mix. Hope this helps.

Pono baritone. 1 1/2 "
Oscar Schmidt koa. 1 1/2"
Harmony baritone (circa 1950). 1 1/4"
Biltmore short scale baritone 1 5/16"
Favilla B2. 1 3/8"
Kala mahogany 1 1/2"
Kala koa. 1 1/2"
Lyra baritone 1 7/16"
Bobby Henshaw. 1 3/8"
Giannini baritone. 1 3/8"
K. Yasuma NB51. 1 5/16"
C. F. Mountain NB51. 1 5/16"
Vega Arthur Godfrey standard. 1 1/4"
Vega Arthur Godfrey deluxe 1 1/4"
Vega Arthur Godfrey Solo Lute 1 1/2"
Jupiter Creek Solid Body Electric (steel string). 1 3/8"
Eleuke baritone (nylon string). 1 1/5"
Islander baritone (plastic) 1 3/8"

Gmoney
03-27-2011, 05:01 AM
SNIP ... I may start another thread for this question, but has anyone played/owned a mahogany barry made by Harmony from the 50s/60s? That nut is same as Martin's, which may have been standard.

Funny you should ask... Jake at Antebellum Instruments blogged about one a few days ago:

http://antebelluminstruments.blogspot.com/2011/03/c1955-harmony-baritone-ukulele.html

According to Jake, "Harmony baritone ukes are sort of the yardstick to measure other baris by... "

ukulelecowboy
03-27-2011, 06:30 AM
Here's a couple of harmony Baritones on eBay.

This is an auction
http://cgi.ebay.com/Vintage-Harmony-Uke-Ukulele-Mahogany-Pat-627-H12-/360352807274?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item53e6b3796a#ht_6982wt_1172

And this is a BIN

http://cgi.ebay.com/Vintage-Harmony-Ukulele-case-/110667064166?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item19c4456366#ht_500wt_922

It's a great baritone ukulele with terrific vintage mahogany tone

pdxuke
03-27-2011, 07:22 AM
Here's a couple of harmony Baritones on eBay.

This is an auction
http://cgi.ebay.com/Vintage-Harmony-Uke-Ukulele-Mahogany-Pat-627-H12-/360352807274?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item53e6b3796a#ht_6982wt_1172

And this is a BIN

http://cgi.ebay.com/Vintage-Harmony-Ukulele-case-/110667064166?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item19c4456366#ht_500wt_922

It's a great baritone ukulele with terrific vintage mahogany tone

I wonder if these are bone nuts/saddles or plastic. wish the pics were closer.

Thanks to all--Cowboy, thanks for taking the time to post the list!

southcoastukes
03-27-2011, 08:36 AM
I'd take a strong look at this one:

http://cgi.ebay.com/Giannini-Baritone-Ukulele-W-Case-Made-Brazil-/180643441953?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item2a0f302d21

I see the cowboy has one. To my ears, these were the best ever made. There were laminates and solids - it was dificult to tell them apart because the laminates sounded as good as the solids!

Don't remember for sure, but want to say the nut & saddle were bone. Very melodic sound - the word is out on them and I doubt it will stay at anywhere near $46.

Gmoney
03-27-2011, 08:38 AM
... Very melodic sound - the word is out on them and I doubt it will stay at anywhere near $46.

SHHHH! Or in my best Obi-wan, "You don't want that Giannini... You want that shiny-shiny NEW Lanikai instead!"

pdxuke
03-27-2011, 09:24 AM
Funny you should ask... Jake at Antebellum Instruments blogged about one a few days ago:

http://antebelluminstruments.blogspot.com/2011/03/c1955-harmony-baritone-ukulele.html

According to Jake, "Harmony baritone ukes are sort of the yardstick to measure other baris by... "

What also interested me about his listing was this:

"I always tie knots in "regular ukulele fashion" to load the bridge rather than tie them classical-guitar style because this gives better down-pressure -- in regular classical-style the loop that serves as a knot/fastener also pulls the string up, which can sometimes have a bad effect to downpressure on the saddle."

Now, this is extremely exciting to me, because I hate the look of tied strings--it reminds me too much of a classical guitar. I always thought I had to put up with them, but now...

I tried Jake's method on the 4th string of my Ohana concert. Purty! I did have to knot it with an extra knot loop, but, man, what a difference over the tied off look.

My only nagging worry is that it somehow puts more pressure on the bridge and will pop it off. I guess I'll see...

Gmoney
03-27-2011, 09:47 AM
My only nagging worry is that it somehow puts more pressure on the bridge and will pop it off. I guess I'll see...

Not likely - Jake refurbs a LOT of vintage instruments - I'm guessing that it actually works jsut to opposite - if a saddle fits right to begin with, it should just accent the downward angle of the pressure. (IANAL - I am not a luthier!)

Check out some of his other restorations - in fact, I'd bet he'd be a great person to interview for UkeChat! We are always seeing threads about what to do w/a newly acquired vintage instrument; non-destructive cleaning, making tuners workable again, when is a crack a troubling crack & when to leave it to the experts.

southcoastukes
03-27-2011, 04:26 PM
My only nagging worry is that it somehow puts more pressure on the bridge and will pop it off. I guess I'll see...

No need to worry. We're actually about to start carrying a fancier way to accomplish the same thing. Take a look at this:

http://www.rosetteguitarproducts.com/bridgebonebeads.html

I have been testing them and think they do, indeed, make an improvement in sound. We'll have them in 4-packs (actually 5: 4 + 1 spare) in both colors for ukers.

pdxuke
03-27-2011, 04:50 PM
No need to worry. We're actually about to sart carrying a fancier way to accomplish the same thing. Take a look at this:

http://www.rosetteguitarproducts.com/bridgebonebeads.html

I have been testing them and think they do, indeed, make an improvement in sound. We'll have them in 4-packs (actually 5: 4 + 1 spare) in both colors for ukers.

Dirk, sign me up.

BTW, I bought the Antebellum Barry. Jake sent me the sound sample and it plays like a dream! I'm going to need your linear unwound set. :-)

lozarkman
03-28-2011, 02:13 AM
Cool Dirk! I use a similar thing, My wife is a beader, and I have access to literally hundreds of different types of beads. I use a bone type bead on a couple of my ukes. Also use Turquoise on one, and other different types of semi-precious stones also. The beads also give the uke a touch of "class" as well! :) Lozark

Gmoney
03-28-2011, 05:34 AM
Dirk, sign me up.

BTW, I bought the Antebellum Barry. Jake sent me the sound sample and it plays like a dream! I'm going to need your linear unwound set. :-)

Sign me up as well - will definitely want to try out "bone beads"!

And... Thom - love it that you bought the bari from Jake - the guy really knows his stuff when it comes to vintage instruments. I'm sure it is going to be a real player!