View Full Version : found a Giannini Baritone Ukulele at yard sale

04-23-2012, 10:47 AM
my parents found this little gem at a yard sale in Phoenix over the weekend for 20 Bucks! is this a good baritone uke? i would love to hear any and all opinions! i cant really read the serial number does anyone have any idea on when it was made?3678236783

04-23-2012, 11:13 AM
How does it sound? How does it play? Is that bridge original?

04-23-2012, 11:49 AM
my parents found this little gem at a yard sale in Phoenix over the weekend for 20 Bucks! is this a good baritone uke?

Well moab,

This is not a good Baritone. 20 dollars was not really a fair price.

This is a GREAT Baritone and you STOLE it!

I don't have the definitive rating for all Baritones ever made - Favilla and another New York brand I can't recall at the moment were both excellent.

Still, I've played a number of them, and I'd put the Gianninis up with the best! Sweet, clear, I usually tuned mine with a reentrant d string.

I remember taking one over to a luthier in Virginia when I lived there - a guy with a full shop. This one needed some work. We decided to go ahead, but it took a while to get it back.

When I finally got it, he told me why. "Once I had it strung up, I couldn't stop playing it. I still can't see how they get such a beautiful sound out of this little thing (not an ukulele man). Finally I realized I wasn't getting any work done and figured I better get the damn thing out of here!"

I think they started making these in the late '50s and coninued through the early '70s (something like that). They were Mahogany, and they made both solid and laminate. They really did a nice job on the laminates - the sound is every bit as nice as the solids.

The bridge does look replaced. Hopefully it's a nice, hard resonant piece of whatever it is. If so, you've stumbled on a real gem!

04-23-2012, 12:01 PM
Hello moabchad,
Your Dad didn't say you could have it yet did he? Please give me his address and he can make a couple of bucks if you don't think you like it. HaHa!!

04-23-2012, 12:46 PM
They are awesome, mine was an eBay find. It was rescued from a basement in Colorado and was just missing a tuner, and so I put new cheap Gotohs on it. The only thing I have considered doing is to put on a new nut to adjust the string spacing inwards a hair, the outer strings are easy to push off of the narrow-ish fretboard if you get to really bending them. I have not heard anything better in a bari yet. I have it strung up with Worth brown medium tenor strings so it is linear tuning, and tuned to A (up from standard bari G, and down from standard C tuning). My cousin's husband, new to ukes but a professional musician, played my Kamaka concert and loved it, but then when he played the Giannini he couldn't put it down and wanted to take it to the recording studio.

04-23-2012, 07:01 PM
That's great to hear thanks Dirk! I can't wait to get it and see how it sounds, I'm flying down to visit the family in a few weeks, it's going to be a long couple weeks of waiting lol. Thank you everyone for the replies. When I get it I'll upload some more pictures and a sound sample.

04-25-2012, 06:03 PM
I am glad to know there are others who come across treasures worth far more than the buying price. I have two, and would not sell either one for less than $350.00
Dirk has the years of manufacture correct. Look up under the bridge to see if there is a bridge plate. There is a bridge plate under the two I have. I have drilled a #70 sized hole (1/32) in the gulley between the back of the bridge and the bridge saddle. The strings then are run through the body so the end is pulled up through the sound hole--knotted, then pulled forward to spool around the tuners. (one of mine has PEGHEDS)
www.PEGHEDS.net By stringing through the body, the sound is even better, and you will never need worry about the bridge pulling off. You have a non-Martin Holy Grail

12-31-2012, 03:15 PM
so I put new cheap Gotohs on it.


New member, here. I have a Giannini bari just like the one in the picture. It was given to me in 1971, and it's been well cared for. No cracks or splits in the wood. The button on one of the tuning pegs cracked and came off, so I need to replace that peg -- and hence, the other three. Unless I have some prayer of finding a replacement button for the one peg. Any ideas on this? If not, can you point me to the specific Gotoh pegs you bought?

Also, does anyone have thoughts about retrofitting an instrument like this to accept gear-driven tuners? I know that this involves drilling or reaming to expand the holes. Is it worth it? Any downsides?

Thanks, and Happy New Year!

01-01-2013, 06:44 AM
I've never stumbled across a Giannini uke but I had a Giannini classical guitar from the early 70's. It had been someone's "beach guitar" in Florida, there was even sand in the case. It was in pretty rough shape, the top had bellied up from moisture and someone had filed the saddle down almost flush with the bridge to compensate and even then the action was a little high. Still, I loved that thing because the sound was just awesome. It wiped the floor with the other classicals I've owned (none of which were "premium" but all were decent).

Unfortunately, in the much dryer climate here in Texas it deteriorated pretty rapidly over the next year or so. The top settled back down so I replaced the saddle. Then it started cracking even though it isn't that dry here (no problem with any of my other guitars, etc.) - I figured it had just been way to wet for way too long and the wood had taken too much of a set. Eventually the frets started falling out. It finally got just too bad to justify putting any more money and effort into. But, it was sure a great sounding guitar while it lasted!