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Thread: $5 uke

  1. #1

    Default $5 uke

    Hi guys, I worked in a guitar shop back in the 90's and money lured me away so that today I work on piano cabinets, but the ukulele has reignited my love of lutherie. I just finished a Stewmac soprano kit that was given to me and it turned out pretty nice but wish I had something else to work on, so I stumbled upon a battered old baritone and got it for $5. There is nothing I can't handle, but I'm at a loss for the manufacturer of the instrument or approximately how old the instrument is, (but it looks really old). It's in really bad shape as you can see from the pictures and what you can't see is that the top has separated from the side on most of the lower bout. The instrument is all mahogany and the top and back are not laminated. Judging from the crack shown in the photo it seems very unlikely that the sides are laminated either.
    The saddle is wood and glued in the slot and the frets are brass and fretboard looks as if the final sanding on it was with 80 grit paper, very rough.
    In short there are some things about this instrument that are good and other things that indicate it was surely not a high end instrument, but before I launch into restoration wanted to know if anyone here has an idea about the origin of the uke.
    I have more photos and plan to post the entire project from start to finish. Any suggestions on what or what not to do would be appreciated. Part of me says to just restore and reuse everything here with theexception of bracing, and linings and then part of me says replace the top, bridge and fretboard. IMAG0046 (1).jpgIMAG0033.jpg5bucks1.jpg Input will be very appreciated. (Can you believe I took these photos with my phone!)
    Last edited by charlotteh; 09-16-2011 at 02:32 PM.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Lewistown, PA


    Looks like the Silvertone that I am about to work on. The bridge is almost identical. Mine is also solid mahogany. Your's looks a little older than mine.

  3. #3


    I looked at some Silvertone and Harmony baritone ukes and the pegheads on them were squared more like a Martin guitar headstock. This headstock is like a Kala headstock. I am pretty excited about this project since it will be a gift when completed.

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