View Full Version : Incredibly fortunate NUD

08-09-2011, 06:33 PM

So I was talking to a customer at work and somehow the conversation turned to ukes. He mentioned that he had an old uke he got about 40 years ago that had been sitting on his mantle ever since...and he would sell it to me if I liked it. He brought it in today, I didn't know anything about it except it was very old and needed strings (and a good tuneup).

I bought it and did some research. It has a pearloid headstock face with "John-- Ma-vin Pr-f-ss--al Tenor" in barely legible print, along with a Harmony badge on the back of the headstock. It also features an airplane bridge. The body is either flame mahogany or koa (I can't really tell and there's nothing inside the body that would point either way).

BUT...I'm pretty sure that it is a Harmony G350, Johnny Marvin Professional Tenor (i.e. modern concert) uke, circa 1928-1930. Pics to come, but I've just spent the last 2 hours polishing at least 70 years of grime off of it and uncovered a stunning piece. It feels incredibly solid, despite its age and the fact that it has had the neck snapped off of it in the past. I'm going to go get some Aquilas in the morning, string it up, and take some pictures to post tomorrow.

08-09-2011, 06:45 PM
Rad! I love it when a ukulele gets rescued from a mantle/closet/attic. Let us know how it sounds as well, yeah?

08-09-2011, 07:12 PM
...I'm pretty sure that it is a Harmony G350, Johnny Marvin Professional Tenor (i.e. modern concert) uke, circa 1928-1930...

That's it all right. Johnny Marvins are nice!

08-09-2011, 08:49 PM
Congratulations! You've made a neglected ukulele very happy! I can't wait for pics!

08-10-2011, 03:30 AM
Nice find i cant wait for the pics.

08-10-2011, 03:44 AM
Nice buy! Pics indeed! Another uke with a history brought back to life. :D

08-10-2011, 06:20 AM
Added pics :)

I strung it up with Martin Florocarbon something-or-other, I can't really remember but no one had Aquilas and I couldn't wait to hear what it sounded like all tuned up. The tuners are extremely old and wouldn't hold tune at first, they definitely needed to be tightened up. A quick twist of the screwdriver held things well. This is my first experience with friction tuners, and I don't really feel any issues dialing in the right tune (except every time I tighten it I feel like the uke is going to explode on me).

The sound is much, much more Hawaiian than my tenor. It is exactly what I wanted out of a new uke...bright, happy, trebly, warbly. It sounds very, very nice. It is also LOUD. Despite being thinner and smaller than the tenor, it just blasts it out of the water volume-wise.

I've got to go to work so I can't give a full review, but I'll be back later to play more and possible record something for you all.

08-10-2011, 08:34 AM
She's a real beauty, enjoy!

08-10-2011, 08:50 AM
What a great find! Glad it is with you, and I bet the Martin strings are a good fit. Congrats, enjoy that great uke! Airplane bridges are hard to find!

08-10-2011, 09:27 AM
Congrats to both of you!

08-15-2011, 02:40 PM
Just a quick update, I decided to switch strings from the M600s to Aquila Nylgut...the M600s sounded a little plinky to my ears and they didn't feel all that great either, kind of hard and brittle. The Nylgut sounds much fuller and still has that brightness that I liked out of the 600s, which I'll take to mean that the concert body is pretty bright overall.

I've taken this uke pretty much everywhere since I got it, and it gets tons of compliments. I haven't quite gotten around to recording a clip for you all, but rest assured it is coming as soon as I bust out the condenser mic and get a camera worked out.

In the meantime, here's a cool clip I found of a guy playing his Johnny Marvin much better than I can...