Buying a vintage baritone ukulele

rqgill

Active member
Joined
Apr 3, 2024
Messages
25
Reaction score
107
As the title says, I am interested in buying a vintage baritone ukulele (Favilla, Harmony). I have seen prices all over the map from $100 all the way up to $1000. For those of you that have owned/purchased a vintage baritone, what is a fair price for a ukulele in very good to excellent condition? What should I look for, what should I avoid? Any help would be appreciated.
 
There are a lot of these!

They can cost under $100:

They can cost almost $1000:

But seriously... a ton of these were made so you need to find one in good shape because many are super beat up and some almost new looking: Go on eBay and Reverb and test the market... they come up for sale often so keep at it for a while and see what you can find!


 
I have both a Harmony and a Martin. As I said in another thread, the Martin is definitely the better instrument, but the margin isn't nearly as great as the price differential would suggest. The Harmony is a great sounding instrument with lots of warmth and excellent bass response. There are so many of them floating around that you should have no trouble finding one in good shape for $200-$300, if not less (I got mine at a yard sale for fifteen dollars). I'd be prepared to replace the friction pegs. I put Gotoh UPTs on mine and installed a K&K Aloha Twin pickup.
 
I have both a Harmony and a Martin. As I said in another thread, the Martin is definitely the better instrument, but the margin isn't nearly as great as the price differential would suggest. The Harmony is a great sounding instrument with lots of warmth and excellent bass response. There are so many of them floating around that you should have no trouble finding one in good shape for $200-$300, if not less (I got mine at a yard sale for fifteen dollars). I'd be prepared to replace the friction pegs. I put Gotoh UPTs on mine and installed a K&K Aloha Twin pickup.
Yup, yard sale and put on some Grover friction pegs. Paid more than $15, but great! condition. The history of the Harmony company is fascinating.
Not loving the Aquilas, but have some Living Waters on hand. Good luck.
 
I would second Patrick's opinion of Favilla baritones. There is no unmodified B51 Martin baritone that can outperform a Favilla. Other than a fret marker at the 9th fret instead of the 10th, it's hard to fault a good Favilla. "Good" Favilla is the key word. They are made from very thin mahogany and an uncracked one can be found but you need to be sure. as an example...one with a pick guard almost always guarantees a crack underneath...Favilla baritones have a deeper body than a Martin. They have similar body dimensions to a Harmony or a Kamaka. The body depth and thin wood are what give them their voice and volume.
As was said already, the prices seem to be climbing on them but still should be reasonable.
Harmony baritones drown out Martin baritones with their greater body volume. They are somewhat crude in their construction and have a very narrow neck. You will have to add geared tuners to all 3 brands and the Harmony has no side fret markers.
 
I've got to put a good word in for Giannini Baritones. They were made in Brazil in 80's-90's? All mahogany but also all laminate. Don't be scared off by the laminate construction. This thing is a cannon. Loud, bold, and clear. Very well constructed, good-looking, and great sounding. I recently purchased one here from a member and I have no regrets. Well, maybe one regret...I'm not too fond of the friction tuners and will probably replace them with a decent set of geared tuning machines.
 
I'm selling a Harmony baritone on the marketplace right now. If you're interested I can let it go for a discount off the listed price. Comes with a UkeCrazy case at no extra charge.
 
I'm selling a Harmony baritone on the marketplace right now. If you're interested I can let it go for a discount off the listed price. Comes with a UkeCrazy case at no extra charge.
Thank you for the offer, but I have a hard time playing any uke with a narrow neck. I'm still a newbie, so my finger placement is still a bit clumsy.
 
Top Bottom