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Thread: NUD: Vintage Harmony Baritone

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2018
    Posts
    163

    Default NUD: Vintage Harmony Baritone

    My "new" baritone arrived today. Except for a small ding on one corner of the headstock, it is in fabulous shape, with not a single crack. A close examination with a magnifying glass verifies that it is all solid Mahogany. The neck is straight and the action is quite reasonable. I'm not certain on the date (I originally thought 1940s), but I'm quite pleased with its condition and the price I paid. I got it for only $100. I almost never find good deals. The tuners are rather tight and it needs a good cleaning, but I'll be playing this beauty by this evening.

    DSCF8238.jpg

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2013
    Location
    Pensacola, Florida
    Posts
    956

    Default

    Congratulations that’s a beauty, and for $100 it’s a steal. Enjoy.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2019
    Location
    Marin County, CA
    Posts
    563

    Default

    Looks great! As a fellow oldie Harmony Bari owner, I’m sure the tone and warmth are to die for.

    If you post a closeup of the decal on the headstock as well as the tuning machines, it might yield more clues about dating it.
    Current UAS fallout:

    Ohana SK-21A — ‘10s L. Nunes Ukulele 0 Hawaii Soprano — 1918-19 Martin 2M Soprano — ‘60s Kamaka ‘Keiki’ Soprano — ‘70s Kamaka White Label Soprano — Blue Frog Soprano — aNueNue Moon Bird US200 — Ohana SK-30L — Cocobolo Concert #382 (teak!) — Outdoor Ukulele Carbon Tenor — ‘50s Harmony Baritone


    Mead Ambassador/Horticulturist at Heidrun Meadery since 2017

    Teaching Music Together since 2019

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2019
    Location
    San Francisco Bay Area
    Posts
    285

    Default

    That sure does look great! And for $100??? Sweet. Interesting that the fret marker dots have the double dot at the tenth fret instead of the twelfth. Perhaps that was common during the ol' vintage times?
    Kala KA-TE tenor uke (currently tuned re-entrant gCEA)
    Kala APB-CTG baritone uke (currently tuned DGBE)
    Ohana BK-35CG baritone uke (currently tuned low-octave ADF#B)
    Various guitars, banjos, and basses

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2019
    Posts
    547

    Default

    Congratulations Tony, what a great find!
    Happy just to be a Newbie +, Penny

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2018
    Posts
    163

    Default

    It cleaned up nicely. I have a Gibson restoration kit, and I used it to polish the frets, oil the fretboard, and clean up the Mahogany. It was strung re-entrant, and a previous owner had cut another slot in the nut for the re-entrant string, so I made a new nut from an unbleached bone blank I had in my spare stuff. The saddle was grooved and in bad shape, so I made a new one from another bone blank I had. I now have a blister on my thumb from all of the sanding needed to thin the blank to fit the slot. I also had a set of Waverly friction tuners I had bought for another project, so I swapped out the old tuners. The Waverly tuners look good, but I already don't like them. It's the first time I have ever used friction tuners, and it will be my last.

    I put on a new set of Augustine medium red classical strings, using the 1-4 strings. I'm not sure they are the best fit for this instrument. I'm going to try a set of D'Addario rectified black strings and see if that makes a difference.

    PS: another thing I found odd is how narrow the nut is. My tenor ukes have wider nuts, and my cheap thrift store baritone has a much wider nut. Huh.

    DSCF8239.jpgDSCF8240.jpg
    Last edited by tonyturley; 06-20-2019 at 12:02 PM.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Aug 2018
    Posts
    163

    Default

    Well, I've not really cared for the D'Addario rectified black strings, either. They are dark and I don't think bring out the best in the Mahogany top. My next strings on the way are a set of GHS Hawaiian baritone strings. I'm also swapping out the Waverly friction tuners for a set of Grover Sta-tites. The Waverly tuners look great, but they are very tight and hard to tune with any degree of accuracy. If I loosen them even a small amount, they slip under string tension. $60 wasted.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jul 2017
    Location
    L.A. California
    Posts
    825

    Default

    Cool baritone, Congratulations! I always wanted a Harmony.
    Where did you find the deal?
    Playing my Magic Fluke and grinning like a fool!

  9. #9

    Default

    Congrats!! I have one of these as well, and my research puts it somewhere around 1955. These Harmony baritones are seriously underrated by uku-pundits, and were essentially hand made in the USA. I know you will enjoy yours. Totally agree about the small nut width! These were still early days for the baritone ukulele so I'm sure they had their reasons. Did you happen to measure the size of the holes when you swapped out the friction tuners?

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Feb 2019
    Location
    Marin County, CA
    Posts
    563

    Default

    The nut on mine is also surprisingly narrow: somewhere between 1-1/4” and 1-5/16” by my crude measurement.
    Current UAS fallout:

    Ohana SK-21A — ‘10s L. Nunes Ukulele 0 Hawaii Soprano — 1918-19 Martin 2M Soprano — ‘60s Kamaka ‘Keiki’ Soprano — ‘70s Kamaka White Label Soprano — Blue Frog Soprano — aNueNue Moon Bird US200 — Ohana SK-30L — Cocobolo Concert #382 (teak!) — Outdoor Ukulele Carbon Tenor — ‘50s Harmony Baritone


    Mead Ambassador/Horticulturist at Heidrun Meadery since 2017

    Teaching Music Together since 2019

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