Top replacement


Aug 9, 2009
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A friend of mine has an old Harmony baritone ukulele. The top was smashed and he asked of I could fix it. I found some mahogany that would work to replace the top. But I've never done a repair like this.

Does anyone know what kind of neck joint the Harmony may have? dovetail? or glue on? I figure I should remove the whole fret board, but I've seen some videos that cut the fret board at the 12 or 14th fret where the joint is...Not sure I like cutting the fret board in half.

The glue on the kerfing is pretty sloppy brown stuff and really brittle from what I can see so far.. Is this era ukulele built with hide glue?

The last unknown is the finish used on the ukulele. I have no idea what was used originally or what to possibly use if I do replace the top.

I am hoping this will be a good learning experience for me. But I'm hoping some of you out there can help educate me on the things I've mentioned.

Thank you in advance for any advice.
I can't answer any of your questions on this particular uke. I've replaced a couple of cheap soprano tops with solid wood and the top on one of my own tenors: I removed the fretboards but I've seen many videos where its cut at the 12 or 14th fret.

I'd simply like to add to your list of concerns. You need to make sure you retain the shape as the sides may tend to wander. The (vertical) neck alignment will also be disturbed, affecting string height/action/saddle height. If you are aware of these issues then you can take the appropriate action to avoid any problems.
If you are aware of these issues then you can take the appropriate action to avoid any problems.

I've only done this operation twice and both were on my own ukuleles. That takes a lot of pressure off since if you screw it up, you own it. Know what I mean? It is one thing to shrug and say: that's the way it goes. Live and learn. And another thing to hand your friend a thing that looks like a failed science project. Screw it up for somebody else and that is a whole different kettle of fish. Both times for me it worked fine, fine no problemo, but things can get ugly and tense in there. Like making sausage: not pretty, but tastes good in the end. Advice: Go slow. Watch your edges. Preserve that edge at all costs.
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