View Full Version : New (Old) Uke

05-29-2012, 12:07 PM
So I had a family dinner at my grandparents last night. Brought my banjo to noodle around with and came back one uke heavier p:

It's been sitting in my grandmother's closet for years (ouch). Apparently, my great great aunt was a uke player.

Not that it's in playable condition, whatsoever. There seems to be a lot of damage to the sound board. The nut is gone, it's got three tuning pegs, and someone saw fit to stuff a violin tuning peg in the fourth hole.

If it's too far gone (as I suspect it might be) it'll turn into a cool decoration.

Also, the label was ripped out, so I have no idea what it is. Any ideas at all? I'm not very well versed in old ukuleles.

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05-29-2012, 12:10 PM
I think soimething cool as that should be restored

05-29-2012, 12:13 PM
It's definitely a keeper with that rope binding.

05-29-2012, 12:33 PM
Congrats! Whether you ever get to play it or not, it's a great conversation piece, and an heirloom, to boot!

05-29-2012, 12:39 PM
That's awesome I just found a style 3 Martin in my grandparents garage

05-29-2012, 12:55 PM
Cool....I wish I would find one in a closet!

I can tell you a bit about it. Mainland made, likely in Chicago in the 20's or 30's. Bar frets date it to that time. The nut and tuners are not a big deal to address, but the heel lifting is your biggest problem. The cracks on the soundboard can be addressed but it depends on how much you want to spend to make it playable. Is it missing the 12'th fret where it joins the body? If you could get the neck off the ukulele, clean up the joint and then glue and clamp it, you could help that ukulele a lot. If it were mine, I would try to bring it back to playing condition, but if you don't address the neck you are wasting your time with other repairs.

From the photos, looks like the issues that must be fixed to make it playable are;
* Reset the neck
* Make and install a new nut
* Fix the cracks on the soundboard (and any other cracks)
* Install new tuners

If you can do much of that yourself, you could save a lot of money....and have a very cool old ukulele

On the other hand, you could sent it to me for "safe keeping" :)

05-29-2012, 01:28 PM
Thanks everyone (: I'm pretty psyched about it, regardless of whether it will be playable again or not.

Thanks for the background info! I just took a closer look, and it does appear that there used to be a 12th fret there. I wondered if the neck might be a problem. I'd be hesitant in making any repairs myself, but my mother seems pretty keen on getting it repaired, so fingers crossed.

05-29-2012, 01:52 PM
Everything Ryan wrote is true, except the part about sending it to him. You should send it to me, I'll keep it much safer. Seriously, it's a decent uke, not a gem like the aforementioned, garage kept Martin 3. But worth a shot at repairing and playing. Indeed, the biggest, potentially expensive, challenge is the neck. These Chicago uke necks are often held on with a dowel, as opposed to a dovetail, though, so they come apart easier.

05-29-2012, 06:31 PM
Find a luthier and get them to have a look at it. They'll be able to tell you how much it will cost to bring it up to scratch and then you can decide whether it's worth it. It's a beautiful old uke and it may well be worth it.