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View Full Version : Tell me about this Harmony uke....



UKEonomics
08-23-2012, 12:50 PM
Found this for a few dollars at the antique store today and felt like it was my mission to save it from being inevitably destroyed by a young child. I know from experience with my two year old that this tends to happen :)

Here's some photos. It's a Harmony of some sort. Model number says RB 3521. A quick google search pulled up a couple that look fairly similar, but I'm having a hard time determining it's age. Any help? Thanks in advance for always being there, UU crowd!!!

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mm stan
08-23-2012, 02:18 PM
I'd grab it...it looks in great condition...not sure how it sounds or how it plays....slap some new martin m600 on there .....

Teek
08-23-2012, 02:51 PM
Looks like it is solid mahogany, Japanese made, guessing circa late 1970s, rosewood fretboard, I'd grab it if it's under say $80. Check that the action is comfortable because there won't be much room for adjustment, but it would likely be a great strummer and have a very nice voice. If closer to $100 then you'd be better off going with a Kala or a Mainland for a little more.

Edit: sometimes you just have to rescue them. Like a shelter animal they will always be grateful. ;)

UKEonomics
08-23-2012, 03:01 PM
It's definitely Japanese made...little label inside says "made in Japan". I was estimating somewhere around the 1970's as well. I googled the model number and found two very similar (although not the same) Harmony ukes. One from the 50's...another late 70's. So a twenty year period is all I've got to go on for the moment. I'm hoping to find a more exact time.

Anyway, the body seems to be solid mahogany...rosewood fretboard as mentioned. No cracks or splits. Just some nicks and scratches. The only problem is the nut is missing, which will be an easy fix. I did buy it. I had to! It was calling me! It was only $20 and i've seen some harmony ukes go for up to $100 on ebay so I figured I'd roll the dice...and as mentioned...sometimes you just have to save it!

1931jim
08-23-2012, 03:17 PM
You are the man. Goodygoody for you. Now just strip her down and a wee rub with your old tooth brush on the frets and a dab of lemon oil and some sewing machine oil where the metal turns on the metal (tuners) and make yourself a nut and and and. Congratulations. Your granny will be pleased. She always had the radio on they tell me. She was very musical. Even her sewing machine was a Singer. I gotta get new jokes. Oh look at the time. Cocoa and a cookie.
Jim

Chris Tarman
08-24-2012, 11:53 AM
For $20 you couldn't go wrong! A nut and a cleaning and it's good to go. Even if it doesn't sound all that great, you'll have a decent uke that you won't have to worry about too much.

stevepetergal
08-24-2012, 12:52 PM
Great deal on a very nice ukulele. Congratulations. I'd bet you're gonna love it.

ChrisRCovington
08-24-2012, 03:01 PM
I like Harmony solid mahogany ukuleles. You can get them cheap and they tend to sound pretty good. Better than most Chinese stuff for the same price. Not sure about the Japanese made ones but I'm sure it'll be decent.

UKEonomics
08-24-2012, 04:13 PM
Thanks everybody! I'm pretty excited about getting back into playing condition...even if these old Harmony ukes aren't the greatest players. We just don't find anything of this sort around my area which adds to my excitement.

Oh, and if anyone is curious...this is indeed from the 70's. Teek was right on the money with that. That little suggestion pointed me in the right direction so thanks a bunch for the help!

Ukuleleblues
08-24-2012, 11:57 PM
The RB model number prefix was used by the company that was making the Harmony ukes in Japan in the late 70's. I have a "RB" Baritone that was made (according to the label) in Japan in 1978, while the company went out of business in 1975. Some speculation that it is not really a Harmony uke. My bartone looks like solid mahogany but is a thin laminate, sound good, has a short scale for a Baritone 19".

ichadwick
08-25-2012, 03:27 AM
Around this time, most inexpensive or production-line instruments were being made in one of two Japanese factories. Even Martin was making some instruments there. In many cases, the same instrument was produced for several companies, with just a label change. Harmony was one of these. The same instruments were branded as Lyra at one point.

UKEonomics
08-25-2012, 09:14 AM
The RB model number prefix was used by the company that was making the Harmony ukes in Japan in the late 70's. I have a "RB" Baritone that was made (according to the label) in Japan in 1978, while the company went out of business in 1975. Some speculation that it is not really a Harmony uke. My bartone looks like solid mahogany but is a thin laminate, sound good, has a short scale for a Baritone 19".

very interesting. So yours actually has a date on the inside? Or just the "made in Japan" part?

UKEonomics
08-25-2012, 09:16 AM
Around this time, most inexpensive or production-line instruments were being made in one of two Japanese factories. Even Martin was making some instruments there. In many cases, the same instrument was produced for several companies, with just a label change. Harmony was one of these. The same instruments were branded as Lyra at one point.

Another great piece of info! Thanks for passing that along.

coolkayaker1
08-25-2012, 11:16 AM
I'll give you $22.50 for it.

UKEonomics
08-25-2012, 11:30 AM
I'll give you $22.50 for it.

Make it $22.51 and you've got yourself a deal!

1931jim
08-25-2012, 11:39 AM
Do I hear $23.........23 once 23 twice........$24 over to my right.......Do I hear 25.

coolkayaker1
08-25-2012, 11:40 AM
Make it $22.51 and you've got yourself a deal!

lol You pay shipping and Paypal fees, and fix the nut, and I'll give you $23.

Seriously, man, a 1970s Japanese made uke (I thought Harmony was out of Chicago) with no cracks or dents...eagle eye at flea market pays off well for Kimosabe. Post a video when you get it done.

UKEonomics
08-25-2012, 12:17 PM
lol You pay shipping and Paypal fees, and fix the nut, and I'll give you $23.

Seriously, man, a 1970s Japanese made uke (I thought Harmony was out of Chicago) with no cracks or dents...eagle eye at flea market pays off well for Kimosabe. Post a video when you get it done.

:) Will do!

1931jim
08-25-2012, 12:21 PM
By the timing of the postings #16 and #17 coolkayaker1 must be a mind reader. HaHa!!