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nscafe
07-22-2012, 12:50 PM
My wife picked up a project for me at an antique store the other day. Based on my research (google), I believe it's what's called a Gretsch "Camp Uke". It obviously hasn't been taken care of and is missing a few pieces, as well as separating at some of the seams.

I'd love to repair it as best I can and I'm hopeful that it can be playable once again. Just from looking at it I'm guessing that someone else started working on it at some point since half of the top appears to have been sanded down a bit. The bridge is intact and in good shape, but not currently attached to the ukulele. It's missing a tuning peg and the nut.

There's some separation at the sides in places, but I don't see any cracks, and the neck appears to be straight enough. Please check out the pictures and I'd appreciate any kind of advice on how to go about fixing this.

Thanks!
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nscafe
07-22-2012, 12:51 PM
Last pic showing the bridge

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ChrisRCovington
07-22-2012, 02:32 PM
The finish looks to be pretty much ruined. However, with some hot hide glue you could easily glue the top and back on where it has lifted up and glue the bridge on. Hot hide glue is a little difficult to use at first but if you go to Frets.com there are a ton of tips. It is a much better choice for instrument repairs than white glue or yellow wood glue because a little steam from a hot iron or tea kettle and you can undo you mistakes (i've had to do that a few times already). I suppose you could strip off the old finish and finish it how you'd like (it looks to be birch maybe?) but then you'd lose the Gretsch logo on the headstock. You should also be able to get some ping tuners at elderly music to replace the missing one. Shouldn't be hard to install them either. Warning though, if you're like me, you'll start getting addicted fixing old ukuleles. It might even give you crazy ideas that with enough practice you could build one and one day be a luthier with enough practice. Avoid those thoughts at all cost :) Oh yeah and if someone who really knows what they are doing chimes in here listen to them over me!

BlackBearUkes
07-22-2012, 05:32 PM
Unfortunately, these are not great sounding ukes even in the best of conditions. The sound board is small, probably made of birch, not the best for a tone wood. These are also not very valuable or collectable, so I personally wouldn't bother with HHG. Titebond would do the job well enough unless you just have to have it all original. I have repaired several of these over the years and their original construction is fair, so just do the best you can and do fret over it Try to get the intonation better by gluing the bridge in the right location, not necessarily in the original position. You may also have to thin the bridge up a bit if the playing action is too high, which most of these were. Good luck.

nscafe
08-13-2012, 02:18 PM
Well I've got this playable at least. It actually sounds pretty decent for what it is, and it does look quite a bit better than it did. I sanded down the top, glued the bridge back on in the appropriate place, which is slightly different from where it was before, put a new nut on it, and replaced all the tuners with some white/cream Grover friction tuners. I forgot to mention in my original post that it was also missing its endpin, and I was able to pick up a nice little tapered endpin at a local music store free of charge to plug in there, so that was pretty sweet (shoutout to Art's Music Shop for that one).

I still need to refinish the top somehow. It's currently bare wood from being sanded, but I wanted to get the bridge on and get it tuned up to see if I felt it was even worth finishing, or if I should just hang it on the wall with the back facing out since that still has the original paintjob. :) Anyway, here are the pics. I'll get a little sound sample/video up at some point.

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Pete Beardsley
08-13-2012, 02:31 PM
Hey nice work Nate! I reckon I'd probably be tempted to just rub a couple of coats of oil or shellac on the top to protect it a bit and play the hell out of the thing.
You realise that now you have successfully brought this back from the dead that there is no return? You will be haunting goodwill stores and yard sales forever looking for more patients! :D

Lori
08-14-2012, 06:24 AM
If it were mine, I would be tempted to paint the top blue, trying to match the headstock. Or, if you have any artistic skills (or know somebody who does), you might paint a picture on it. See this for inspiration. Amy Crehore
http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_qY6O6h8S_Ho/SXs3__b9MYI/AAAAAAAAEH8/jjHgXeg0n4g/s1600-h/Crehorestudio3Jan23.jpg

–Lori

sim4lin
08-14-2012, 07:07 AM
If it were mine, I would be tempted to paint the top blue, trying to match the headstock. Or, if you have any artistic skills (or know somebody who does), you might paint a picture on it. See this for inspiration. Amy Crehore
http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_qY6O6h8S_Ho/SXs3__b9MYI/AAAAAAAAEH8/jjHgXeg0n4g/s1600-h/Crehorestudio3Jan23.jpg

–Lori

Those are pretty sweet ! :)

nscafe
08-14-2012, 08:25 AM
If it were mine, I would be tempted to paint the top blue, trying to match the headstock. Or, if you have any artistic skills (or know somebody who does), you might paint a picture on it. See this for inspiration. Amy Crehore
http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_qY6O6h8S_Ho/SXs3__b9MYI/AAAAAAAAEH8/jjHgXeg0n4g/s1600-h/Crehorestudio3Jan23.jpg

–Lori

Those are great! The one in the top left of that photo appears to also be a Gretsch like mine. Unfortunately I do not possess such artistic ability. It does get the wheels turning though...