c.1965 Northern Soprano & Concert Triangle Ukes

These hilarious triangular plywood boxes were made in Japan for J. Chalmers Doane's school ukulele program that found itself running all the away across Canada. Much more info on that can be had here and here.

This pair came by way of some trading (and were an unexpected "bonus") and they sat in the workshop neglected until I had about 45 minutes of free time on Wednesday between a half-dozen neck resets. Work-wise, there wasn't much to do on the soprano: I just had to knock its bridge off and reglue it in the correct place, move one of the "string trees," and give it a setup. On the concert I just had to make a new nut and bridge and also give it a setup as well.

Both have a sort of mid-volume and bright sound to them but the concert is definitely brighter. The concert has the mahogany-veneer plywood body. I have to admit I like the pin-load/floating bridge configuration. It reminds me of Portuguese instruments.

The concert's scale is 14 5/8" if I remember correctly and it has a fairly wide neck (though thin and flattish front to back).

The soprano, which has a warmer voice and a long-ish 13 3/4" scale,

This is the soprano's headstock... I had to cut down the original nut a whole bunch and also had to relocate one of those "string tree" screws to get it to hold the C string.

The concert's headstock uses some curious drilled holes as string trees... fair enough... but sometimes when you tune down the strings get a little stuck and you have to tune it farther down for it to slip down to pitch and then tune up again.

...new rosewood bridge for the concert. I didn't spend the time to really clean up and polish my new additions to this guy (bone nut and bridge) as that would've been out of character for the uke, anyway.

It's pretty funny but someone had previously glued-down the floating bridge on the soprano at a crazy angle.

Anyhow, these are practical little instruments and perfectly suited to tossing in the back of the car and whatnot. They'd make a perfect instrument for a beginner or as a picnic-going friend.


Gim said…
I've got a concert Northern - it's a rugged beast and very playable - once you get used to the 1x3 neck.
Unknown said…
I saw your post and decided to make my own with some designing of my own. Very fun project as it is very easy to build these since there is no steaming and bending of side boards and quick glue up. Thanks for the inspiration. Ken