1970s Conrad Baritone Ukulele

This general model of uke can be found mostly at flea markets and thrift stores and came in a variety of names and trim changes. I see them most with the Carmencita brand, but this Conrad label also seems to be popular. It's a very basic all-ply, student-level baritone instrument and made in Japan. These instruments look a bit of a mess but they actually sound pretty decent, if a little tubby.

A customer sent this in for work and due to the nature (and price point) of the instrument, repairs were on-the-cheap and meant to get it back in working order without fuss. The neck (and part of the side) had come detached from the neckblock, the bridge was starting to come up, and the frets were in a bit of a state.

Work included: "resetting" the neck via a couple of screws and glue. The bridge also got a quick hidden third screw. I leveled and dressed the frets and installed a set of old Grover mini-Rotomatic tuners to replaced the original, terrible, friction pegs. After that I strung it up with all-plain fluorocarbon strings (the low G D'Addario tenor uke set) for standard DGBE tuning and set it up. The neck is straight, it has hair-under 3/32" action at the 12th fret, and it plays spot-on. The all-plain strings retain a "uke-ness" to the tone and feel that baritones usually lose with the standard 2-wound, 2-plain setup. This could handle normal baritone strings just fine, however, if the owner wants a more-tense feel.

Condition notes: it's beat all over and has numerous finish flaws that, frankly, just make it a little more friendly.


Unknown said…
Was wondering if you would mind sharing the cost of your restoration. I currently have the same instrument in the hands of a luthier. As I know nothing about string instruments, I am hoping his price is fair.