Tempo Baritone Ukelele: Toronto, Canada

Tempo baritone ukelele, unknown origin or date, Toronto, Canada. Photo 1 by Don Tai

Tempo baritone ukelele, unknown origin or date, Toronto, Canada. Photo 1 by Don Tai

This Tempo baritone ukelele came to me very broken, with the back ripped off the sides, both top and bottom, and discarded. I had to do a somewhat significant glue-up in order to stabilize the neck and get the action back to normalcy.

The back of the body had cracked at both the top and bottom, right across the body, allowing the neck to bow forward and thus ruining its action. The back is a wood laminate. A piece of wood at the base of the neck, at the back, had broken. While it is not as stressed as the back, I thought it prudent to form a piece of pine and glue it to the base of the neck and the top of the body. If I remember I’ll try to stain it, so it does not stand out as much. This uke has been lying in my basement, broken, for about 13 years. Not only did I not know what it was, but had no reason to resuscitate it until recently. Its origins are unknown. The uke is 29.5″ long. The fretboard is 19″ long, which puts it as a baritone.

The uke also did not have a bolt strap at the bottom. There is a large piece of wood at the base of the body, so I was able to drill securely into it very easily.

There are some chipped areas along its edges, as well as cracks in its wood surfaces. The fretboard does not seem used. The frets were well sanded, not sharp, and in great condition. The inlay dots in the fretboard might be mother of pearl, but and small. Action is surprisingly good. The bridge and nut look like plastic. The bridge has two “X” head screws drilled into it, and varnished in, which I assume is OEM. The edge of the sound hole is painted a pleasing alternating black and white design, which looks nice. The label in the sound hole matches the headstock and says “Tempo”, along with the number 74. Otherwise this is a simple instrument.

The uke plays pretty well, but the tuning is not so great. The tuning pegs have a bolt head which I can tighten, but it still goes out of tune. I put on some D’Addario baritone ukelele strings, clear nylon EJ65B (E/1 28 0.71mm, B/2 34 0.86mm, G/3 30w 0.76mm, D/4 35w 0.89mm), $7.50CAD for standard guitar EBGD tuning. It does sound good, but I don’t really play ukelele.

Internet searches for Tempo ukeleles reveal very little. One page linked to a now non-existent page, thought it was of 1960s Japan. This would be about right.

Tempo baritone ukelele, unknown origin or date, Toronto, Canada. Photo 1 by Don Tai

Tempo baritone ukelele, unknown origin or date, Toronto, Canada. Photo 1 by Don Tai

Tempo baritone ukelele, unknown origin or date, headstock, Toronto, Canada. Photo 2 by Don Tai

Tempo baritone ukelele, unknown origin or date, headstock, Toronto, Canada. Photo 2 by Don Tai

Tempo baritone ukelele, unknown origin or date, sound hole, maker label, Toronto, Canada. Photo 3 by Don Tai

Tempo baritone ukelele, unknown origin or date, sound hole, maker label, Toronto, Canada. Photo 3 by Don Tai

Tempo baritone ukelele, unknown origin or date, bridge, Toronto, Canada. Photo 4 by Don Tai

Tempo baritone ukelele, unknown origin or date, bridge, Toronto, Canada. Photo 4 by Don Tai

Tempo baritone ukelele, unknown origin or date, back, Toronto, Canada. Photo 5 by Don Tai

Tempo baritone ukelele, unknown origin or date, back, Toronto, Canada. Photo 5 by Don Tai

Tempo baritone ukelele, unknown origin or date, base of the neck, rear, needed some wood replaced,  Toronto, Canada. Photo 6 by Don Tai

Tempo baritone ukelele, unknown origin or date, base of the neck, rear, needed some wood replaced, Toronto, Canada. Photo 6 by Don Tai

Update 2017-Jul-11: New strings have settled down, tuning pegs have been tightened up a bit, the instrument has settled down. Somewhat lacking in bass as compared to a guitar, but very portable.

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