1970s Northern Soprano Ukulele

The last time I had a Northern in the shop was 5 years ago. These guys are pretty common up in Canada where they were used via Mr. Doane's school teaching initiative, but they're a lot less common in the US.

They're a simple, no-frills, plywood-bodied design that just looks odd and is odd. This one also has a Harmony-supplied plastic fretboard rather than the "actual" frets of the ones I've played in the past. Necks are doweled-into the body and feature a bizarre down-pressure system for the strings at the headstock so that the headstock itself doesn't need to be cut at a back-angle for the string path.

My only work on this was to give it a light setup -- adjustments to the saddle/bridge and nut -- and strum away. I actually like the tone -- it's pretty dang good for what it is and roughly comparable to many modern student instruments these days -- but the down-pressure holes at the headstock are the design's biggest weakness as they "tug" a little on the strings and so it's a little more frustrating to get in tune. It'd be easy enough to swap that setup for string trees -- but it wouldn't be "original!"

The back of the neck is almost a rounded-off rectangular shape, though it's comfortably wide so chords are easy-peasy -- as you can tell, I'm not having trouble playing it in the vid despite its quirkiness.

Specs are: 12 15/16" scale, 7 1/2" lower bout, 2 3/8" side depth, 1 3/8" nut width, 1" string spacing at the nut, and 1 11/16" spacing at the bridge. Action is 1/16" at the 12th fret and it's strung with what appears to be Aquila Nylgut strings.

Woods are: cigar-box-style mahogany-like neck, ply mahogany body. It seems to be all-original except for one bridge pin.