3/24/2018

1950s Harmony-made Silvertone Baritone Ukulele




I know I've blogged a lot on these, but the Silvertone-branded versions are a little rarer and this one's in excellent order. These are all-hog ukes with rosewood fretboards and bridges and, at this time (the mid-'50s) they had bone nuts and saddles, too. They all "come in" a bit funky but leave as quick, easy players with a woody, relaxed tone and decent volume. Newer baritones will often have more oomph but less "wood" to the voice, so these make a nice alternative to the more-modern fan-braced, up-front sound.

Work included a fret level/dress, saddle-area shave, and conversion to string-through-hole stringing at the bridge to get enough back-angle on the strings with the lowered saddle. There was also a little puncture crack in the side that I couldn't press back-out, but I did shore it up.

Specs on these are: 19 1/8" scale length, 10 1/8" lower bout width, 7 1/2" upper bout width, 3 3/8" endblock depth, 1 5/16" nut with 1 1/8" nut string spacing and 1 3/4" bridge spacing. I've set it up on-the-dot with action just a hair higher than 1/16" at the 12th fret. The neck is straight. It's currently strung with D'Addario Titanium strings, which have been my go-to bari string lately as they're very consistent.



Oh, right -- I added some retro-looking Kluson-style guitar tuners at the headstock, too. I can't stand fussing with friction pegs anymore -- can you?




The strings used to tie-up classical-fashion on the "tie block" behind the saddle. I string-throughed it, though, so it works like a pin-bridge, now. There are holes drilled into it which you put the strings through, pull them out the soundhole and knot them into a ball-end, then snug back-up from the top and pull to the tuner. It sounds complicated but it's easy and very stable.



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