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Thread: Help Identifying a Ukulele and advice getting it to play again.

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2017
    Location
    Austin, TX
    Posts
    9

    Default Help Identifying a Ukulele and advice getting it to play again.

    Howdy,
    I picked this beat up old uke for $10, and am wondering if anyone has any advice on identifying it, and some pointers on fixing the issues. I bought it to teach myself some basking set up and repair skills.

    Judging by the story from the previous owner I would be surprised if this thing is from any later than post 1990.

    Issues I want to fix:
    Missing Nut
    Missing wire between 2nd and 3rd fret.
    Some tuners are sticky, one is very loose.

    Let me know if other pics would be more helpful. Any pointers are appreciated!
    IMG_20170815_192214.jpg
    IMG_20170815_192225.jpg
    IMG_20170815_192235.jpg
    IMG_20170815_192424.jpg
    Last edited by EWeiss; 08-16-2017 at 09:21 AM.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Location
    Somewhere out there
    Posts
    7,416

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by EWeiss View Post
    Howdy,
    I picked this beat up old uke for $10, and am wondering if anyone has any advice on identifying it, and some pointers on fixing the issues. I bought it to teach myself some basking set up and repair skills.

    Judging by the story from the previous owner I would be surprised if this thing is from any later than post 1990.

    Issues I want to fix:
    Missing Nut
    Missing 2nd Fret
    Some tuners are sticky, one is very loose.

    Let me know if other pics would be more helpful. Any pointers are appreciated!
    IMG_20170815_192214.jpg
    IMG_20170815_192225.jpg
    IMG_20170815_192235.jpg
    IMG_20170815_192424.jpg
    Welcome to UU!

    I am no expert, but if the body and neck are sound, that uke shouldn't be too hard to repair.

    I am glad you are going to try to give it a new life! I love it when abandoned things or abused things are restored!
    Jan >^..^<
    (AKA Chopped Liver)


    You say 'Crazy Cat Lady' like it's a bad thing!

    "Out of clutter, find simplicity." Albert Einstein

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2014
    Location
    Little River, California
    Posts
    1,981

    Default

    Sure that thing is easily fixed and might make a great little ukulele.

    Nut: Just go on Amazon and order a replacement from China. Cost: Pocket change.
    Tuners: Adjust the loose tuner with the set screw. Loosen or Lubricate the others so they don't stick
    Missing fret: Easiest thing is to probably order a foot of fret wire from StewMac.com and cut and hammer a fret in there. File it level. No big deal.

    You could fix this thing with no trouble. Don't forget new strings!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
    Location
    Canberra, Australia
    Posts
    506

    Default

    That is one cheap looking uke. Painted fretboard with paint over the frets!
    The tuning peg adjustment is by tightening or loosening the screw on the back of them. I have added small friction washers to ultracheap tuners like this to improve the friction control. No small friction washers? Icecream container lid holepunch and heated nail or small drill will get you some free ones. Lubricating the thread of the screw on the tuners will help too. They are called friction pegs for a reason, try not to lubricate the contact surfaces too much. Just unscrew pull apart clean and put back together.
    I have used everything from leftover leg of lamb bone to plastic chopsticks to pine offcuts to make nuts All they are is a small squarish rod with notches to keep the strings in order.
    You can bypass buying fretwire by pulling one out from further down the fretboard. Just lever it out gently with a sharp blade till you can get at it with pliers. Anyone who plays past the 5th fret is probably not going to be bothering too much with that uke anyway.
    I used to keep a uke very much like that in my car and it was the only uke I have ever had stolen from me.
    Have fun. If worse comes to worst you can always use it for firewood.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2017
    Location
    Austin, TX
    Posts
    9

    Default

    Thanks everyone! I'll probably update this post when done. I'm guessing this my be the uke I keep next to my desk at the office.

    Do I just use mineral oil to lubricate the tuner, or is there a better recommendation?

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
    Location
    Canberra, Australia
    Posts
    506

    Default

    Use what you got. Anything from vaseline to wd40 will do. But I would not lubricate anything but the lscrew and the hole in the shaft it goes into. Everything else just needs to be pulled apart and cleaned. If the tuner is sticking loosen the screw if it is twirling freely tighten the screw.

    It is possible with those cheap tuners that the ledge in the button has stripped. This can be diagnosed by the shaft not turning while the button is turning. You can get matching replacement tuners off ebay and the like for less than $2. You can upgrade to geared tuners for less than $3. though you will have to drill/ream the holes out to 6mm. If doing this with a power drill, run the drill in reverse to avoid the drill bit catching and acting like a screw rather than a drill bit, which will run the risk of splitting the headstock. I even used the fish scaler on my swiss army knife to ream a hole out like this on my build a ukulele with a pocket knife instructable.

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