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View Full Version : vintage uke ID?



Mike Anderson
05-30-2012, 09:14 AM
Hi all, wondering if anyone can provide some details about this ukulele belonging to a woman my wife works with. She is in her 90s and says she bought it when she was in her early teens, but really has no idea as to brand, etc. I am pretty sure it is a mass-produced instrument.

I have pixelized her face for privacy's sake. Thanks for any thoughts on this!

38415

Tsaw
05-30-2012, 09:19 AM
No idea what it could be, but it looks like fun to play and I bet everyone in the room is wearing a smile when this 90-something year-old gal is strumming her uke!!

Good luck with your research.

Mike Anderson
05-30-2012, 09:21 AM
No idea what it could be, but it looks like fun to play and I bet everyone in the room is wearing a smile when this 90-something year-old gal is strumming her uke!!

Good luck with your research.

Thanx Tsaw! You bet they do. She knows a huge number of old Hawaiian and swing standards etc.

janeray1940
05-30-2012, 09:29 AM
There are better experts here but if I had to guess, I'd say 1930s Regal or Harmony. Both companies made a lot of painted ukes.

PedalFreak
05-30-2012, 09:48 AM
There are better experts here but if I had to guess, I'd say 1930s Regal or Harmony. Both companies made a lot of painted ukes.

Or Silvertone. I've had several like that. None were black though.

stevepetergal
05-30-2012, 09:59 AM
Yes, that's definitely a Silvertone. It was made by Harmony in Chicago, and purchased from a Sears and Roebuck store. The stenciled paint job is a signature of Harmony, but the rounded headstock is not. That's one they made for Sears. These were great little instruments. Even though they may look like toys, they had a very nice, conventional Hawaiian sound, terrific intonation, and are among the easiest ukuleles to play. Your friend's looks like a really old one, made before they started using the plastic fret board with the zero fret.

MutinousDoug
05-30-2012, 10:03 AM
I think it's a Harmony or Silvertone called a "Canoe" model after the canoe stenciled on the lower bout. The ones I've seen referenced have a plastic fretboard and a zero fret not quite like this one but these may be later models.

Mike Anderson
05-30-2012, 10:20 AM
Yes, that's definitely a Silvertone. It was made by Harmony in Chicago, and purchased from a Sears and Roebuck store. The stenciled paint job is a signature of Harmony, but the rounded headstock is not. That's one they made for Sears. These were great little instruments. Even though they may look like toys, they had a very nice, conventional Hawaiian sound, terrific intonation, and are among the easiest ukuleles to play. Your friend's looks like a really old one, made before they started using the plastic fret board with the zero fret.

Thanks a million Steve and Doug for this, and everyone else for chiming in - that's what I can instant gratification! :)

If she's right with her dates the uke was purchased in 1935, but she's not sure. I'm only sorry I don't have a better pic - this was taken by my wife with her cel phone.

mm stan
05-30-2012, 10:36 AM
here it is....http://toronto.kijiji.ca/c-buy-and-sell-musical-instruments-string-1950-Vintage-HARMONY-UKULELE-Green-Palm-Tree-Stencil-yyuupp-W0QQAdIdZ364585369

Mike Anderson
05-30-2012, 10:50 AM
here it is....http://toronto.kijiji.ca/c-buy-and-sell-musical-instruments-string-1950-Vintage-HARMONY-UKULELE-Green-Palm-Tree-Stencil-yyuupp-W0QQAdIdZ364585369

Very similar all right, but lacks some of the design at the upper bout (birds?), and no zero fret on the '50s one. But the rest of the design is identical from the look of it. Nice find!

MutinousDoug
05-30-2012, 11:40 AM
38459

This is a Harmony/Silvertone uke my wife brought home a couple of weeks ago from a 2nd hand store for $6.99. I think it had the original strings on it by the look of the crazing on them and lack of wear anywhere on the body. The fret markers at the 1st, 5th and 13th fret are flat head screws. I'm guessing 1950-60's? Anyone with a better guess?
Probably give it to the grand kids when they get here later this summer. Sounds OK with Worth Browns on it but it's fussy to tune with friction pegs.

Mike Anderson
05-30-2012, 11:44 AM
Wow, hand stenciled Deco-y design, nice!

RyanMFT
05-30-2012, 12:05 PM
38459

This is a Harmony/Silvertone uke my wife brought home a couple of weeks ago from a 2nd hand store for $6.99. I think it had the original strings on it by the look of the crazing on them and lack of wear anywhere on the body. The fret markers at the 1st, 5th and 13th fret are flat head screws. I'm guessing 1950-60's? Anyone with a better guess?
Probably give it to the grand kids when they get here later this summer. Sounds OK with Worth Browns on it but it's fussy to tune with friction pegs.

Actually, the fret markers are the screws which hold on the fretboard. That is a pretty pristine example of a cool 50's ukulele. It could sell for upwards of 125, so maybe grab a Makala Dolphin for the grand kids and keep this nice vintage uke!

MutinousDoug
05-30-2012, 03:38 PM
38476RyanMFT,

It's pretty clear the screws hold the fretboard onto the neck.

While I see some of these for sale at ridiculous prices, I don't see so many bidders.

I'll take your advice and look into a Dolphin for the kids.

I have to find one that looks like STRONGBAD though.

Doug