View Full Version : Truetone brand uke. Any info?

01-07-2012, 03:58 PM
Spotted a Truetone soprano uke in a local thrift store. Has a made in Japan sticker and friction tuning pegs.

Anyone familiar with this brand/uke?

Seems to be a Western Auto item. Western Auto disappeared in '98, but I don't know when they stopped selling ukes.

Sharp fret ends, but otherwise in decent shape. Any value in these?

01-07-2012, 04:33 PM
Probably answered my own question. Spotted this one in a finished auction on Ebay.


01-07-2012, 04:45 PM
Finally got the upload feature from my phone figured out.


01-08-2012, 01:48 PM
For $20, I'd say go for it.

Even if it isn't playable, it's a nice looking piece of wall art.


01-16-2012, 12:28 PM
Went back and got it today. Put Martin strings on it and fired it up.

Strings are still stretching so tuning is a bit iffy.

First uke I've ever had with friction tuners, so I probably have those set up incorrectly.

The fret ends need some work, but this a loud little uke. A few minor chips in the finish, but generally in excellent shape.

01-16-2012, 01:36 PM
Sweet! I am glad you go it. Nothing special about using peg friction tuners. If you got the strings to stay on, you are good!

I think $20 is a great deal for an old ukulele like this. I dig the sunburst on it too!

01-16-2012, 01:54 PM
Aloha Oldrookie,
You did good, congrats on the uke.....great price.
AND, you got an endorsement from RyanMFT,THE vintage uke expert here.....................................BO....... .........

mm stan
01-16-2012, 06:13 PM
Aloha Oldrookie,
Congratulations on the uke and buy..yeah I was going to say grab it too...Usaully martin M600 makes them the best they can be....Just looking at it I thought the soundboard
is thin and the uke is light side...it must have a loud tone..maybe Koolau Alohi will mellow it out..if you like thicker strings...Happy Strummings..

01-17-2012, 12:42 AM
Thanks everyone. Always good to get the thumbs up from people who really understand what the instrument is.

I haven't compared the sound of this one to my daughter's Makala Dolphin, but I'm pretty sure it is a bit louder.

The strings are still stretching, or the friction tuners are sipping a bit, but it seems to need a lot of tuning. The good news is that when it is in tune it has a really nice sound to it.

Other than the nicks visible in the picture above and the sharp fret ends I mentioned, it appears to be in really good condition. Pretty sure it is solid mahogany.

Research says it was built by Kay or Harmony, but beyond that I can't find any information about it. Western Auto was sold in '98, but I can't determine when they last sold Truetone instruments.

I like oddball instruments, so is this a lot of fun to have stumbled upon in a flea market. Not as good as my friend's Martin S-1 that he got for $5.00 at a yard sale, but that's just incentive to keep looking.


01-17-2012, 06:44 AM
Just to try to help a bit....if wood pegs are slipping, you just push them a little tighter into the headstock and they will hold better.

01-17-2012, 02:06 PM
Thank you, RyanMFT,

Appreciate the help. Thought that was how they work, but I've never even held one with friction tuners before.

01-21-2012, 03:31 AM
Just A/B'd it vs. my daughter's Makala Dolphin. Interesting.

The Dolphin has a much smoother, more rounded tone to it. The Truetone is a lot louder and has more snap to the sound. Very different sounds from each.

The Truetone just--and yes I know this is probably a bad way to describe it--has an older sound to it. More like the way ukes sound in movies about the 30's-40's. I can imagine Andy Hardy playing it.

06-06-2012, 04:37 AM
I just picked one up too but it is missing a tuning peg. Ideas for a replacement source?