View Full Version : Harmony Baritone - Call me crazy!

07-15-2013, 04:04 AM
Sometimes I do things that just do not make good fiscal sense. This is one of those times.

A few weeks ago, I won an eBay auction for a Harmony Baritone. Having heard so many good things about them, I was excited to get it. My excitement was short-lived, however, once I unpacked it. I found that although it was in pretty good shape, it was in dire need of a fret job. All of the frets showed pretty good wear, but the first three were so worn that the uke was almost unplayable. Also, I suspected that it had a loose brace because it buzzed when held at certain angles and played. Additionally, the neck was in the very early stages of separating from the body.

I could have tried to return it to the seller, but chose not to. Instead I took it to my luthier and asked him to take a look at it. He thought is was a great instrument and suggested that I repair it. He did a fantastic job getting it back in full working order and I'm very pleased with his work.

I had him install a set of Martin strings on it and it sounded very nice. But, after reading so many good things about Southcoast Strings, I ordered a set and installed them. These strings really made this ukulele come to life. These strings are tuned to Bb rather than G, so they are much brighter. However, because of the size of the body, it still has plenty of bass. I really love the sound of these strings.

I now have $286, including auction price and all repairs, invested in this instrument. I know that I could have bought two of them for this price, but I liked the idea of saving this one rather than just setting it aside to collect dust. Overall, I'm very pleased.

07-15-2013, 04:06 AM
good for you for saving a vintage uke! Where's the pic's?

07-15-2013, 04:20 AM
Glad that worked out for you. Many have had similar baritone uke experiences with Southcoast Strings.....more than most, optimized for the baritone scale length, not just lenghthened.

07-15-2013, 04:23 AM
Pictures! Pictures!! PICTURES!

Sounds like a cool uke, and I'm with you re: saving an oldie is better than buying new.

07-15-2013, 04:27 AM
I'll have to take some pictures this evening and post them.

07-15-2013, 04:35 AM
That's great that you rescued a Harmony from the wild! Thanks for the tip on the Southcoast strings. I also have an eBay Harmony baritone - I'll give the Southcoasts a try.

07-15-2013, 05:58 AM
Okay. You are crazy, but I like your kind of crazy. I have the Southcoast flat wound Bb strings on one of my baritones. Excellent strings and it's nice to have a Bb tuned instrument on hand when I don't feel like transposing, when I'm searching for a certain/different sound, just because, etc. As a matter of fact, I think I'm going to get it out of the case and play some. Enjoy your Harmony baritone.

mm stan
07-15-2013, 02:24 PM
I have a vintage green label harmony baritone..it had only a broken tuner, otherwise it was hardly played and in great condition...I threw on some red GHS strings and dropped tuned it
it sounds amazing and I was quite shocked how great the tone and playability is on these lower budget vintage ukes....worth every cent....BTW mine was 75.oo I really stole this one.. :)

07-15-2013, 02:55 PM
You have created an heirloom. Pics, please!

07-15-2013, 04:28 PM
Ok, here are a couple of crappy photos taken with my iPad. Notice that the original brass frets were replaced with nickel frets. Otherwise, it's all original. He also repaired a crack in the top that is now barely visible. The light has to hit it just right to see the repaired crack. He also repaired two cracks in the back. The photos don't show any of the cracks because they were so well repaired. The original nut had to be replaced as well.



07-15-2013, 06:29 PM
I don't think you are crazy. $286 for a vintage ukulele which you love, and which sounds great, that is a good deal in my book. Plus, you will always feel good knowing you brought it back to life, which you don't get buying a new, perfect ukulele.

I have put some repair money into vintage ukuleles which might exceed their market value given what I paid to get the uke, but those are my favorites. Enjoy, the Bari looks great!

Johnny GDS
07-15-2013, 06:52 PM
I agree that its super cool to give a new life to something that could have been retired. Money well spent if you ask me! Think about how much enjoyment that uke must have given to have frets so worn that they needed to be replaced!

07-16-2013, 03:10 AM
Here's a quick sound sample with th Southcoast strings.


07-17-2013, 12:35 PM
What size fret wire did you use? I want to re-fret my dad's 1956 Silvertone Harmony-made bari.

07-17-2013, 12:39 PM
BTW... I just put DAddario Titanium Baritone strings on today, tuned to linear G (DGBE) and it sounds great. I don't mind the squeak of the round strings. I'd had a weird mixed set of Worth Browns and Aquilas that were just too loose and floppy.

07-17-2013, 02:35 PM
I think it is so cool you restored it! I echo your kudos for Southcoast Strings. I put a set of the medium linear flat wounds on oneof the Lanakai gambler's special baritones from Butler music, and have been amazed at how good it sounds! I hope to buy a Pono MB soon, and can't wait to try a set on one of those.
Enjoy the fine results of your Harmony!

07-17-2013, 03:44 PM
Way to go. I have a Kent baritone that I plan to repair myself. So it will cost me less, unless you figure the value of my time.

07-17-2013, 04:09 PM
What size fret wire did you use? I want to re-fret my dad's 1956 Silvertone Harmony-made bari.

I don't know what size he used, but it looks to be the same size as what was originally on it. If you are doing the refret yourself, I would guess that whoever you are buying the wire from would be able to tell you what size to get. Sorry I couldn't be more help.

07-18-2013, 05:29 AM
Here's a quick sound sample with th Southcoast strings.


Nice! I love those strings!

mm stan
07-18-2013, 06:01 AM
yes your harmony sounds real nice too....happy pickings..

07-18-2013, 07:56 AM
Here's a quick sound sample with th Southcoast strings.


Nice sound! Love that song too.
I think your acquisition was meant to be.