1928 Lyon & Healy "Camp Uke" Ukulele

By now, blog followers will know my passion for these lovely little Camp Ukes! Great fret access, sparkly but full tone, a fun and curious shape, and nice build mark these all in the "A" column as far as uke design goes for me.

This one needed the usual -- tightening the neck-attachment screw, cleating of a few small top hairline cracks, fret leveling and dressing, cleaning, and setup. Like all Camp Ukes, the bridge saddle needed shaving-down, too, to get proper action. I also replaced the period wood pegs (that were half-unoriginal anyway) with some good-quality mechanical friction pegs.

The serial dates this fella to 1928-ish.

I'm thinking this uke is made from the same nyssa (black gum/tupelo) wood that most Camp Ukes were made of, but a UV-saturated, darkened original finish makes it hard for me to be sure.

Nice pressed-in "Camp Uke" logo. The nut is original and ebony.

Original brass frets are leveled, dressed, and in good order. Those are black celluloid dots in the fretboard face. Action height is great at 1/16" at the 12th fret.

These have such a cute profile.

This has a "third generation" Camp Uke back, being a simple flat back with a brace across it. Previous versions of the instrument had (first) a turned resonator back with a soundhole in it and (second) a turned resonator back glued on to the back just like this one, but protruding from the edges a little bit like a violin's edges would.

This uke's back was reglued at some point and the job is sturdy but the job shows a little bit here and there.

Patent Applied For script on the back of the headstock. These are nice friction pegs and turn easily and smoothly.

Here's the patented L&H "smile" bridge, still holding perfectly fine after all these years (it's a good design).


Jani said…
I have a "Camp Uke" just like you are showing above but the strings are missing. It was given to me about 1987 and then I forgot about it, It is in a case that has the handle goneIs it of any alue so should I just use it as a wall decoration? The number inside is 1097.
Hi Jani, email me at: jakewildwood /at/ gmail.com -- I may be interested. These have some value but not like a Martin or Gibson uke.
Laura in GA said…
Hi Jake, Laura Outler here. I, too, have a Camp Uke that looks exactly like the one you showed. My grandmother gave it to my mother who gave it to me (I have no memory of it). Anyway, I found it in a closet and am interesting in having it restored. Like some of the issues an old uke you mentioned, the back "fell" off, needs cracks fixed, new strings, probably neck adjusted and the usual cleanup stuff. I know you have a long line but I'm curious to know a rough idea of how much restoring this baby would cost. If not from you, then maybe Georgia? Whatdaya think?