Lardy's Database of Ukulele Makers

Pre Loved "Mandolin" style Acoustic

Harmony Vita "mandolin" Acoustic Soprano circa 1930

Harmony Roy Smeck "Vita"
Reputedly the best sounding Harmony Ukulele of the period

Regal Soprano circa 1928
Regal
Oscar Schmidt
Band-o-Uke
Roy Smeck was a big Ukulele star of radio in the 20's onward plus a few film cameo's and this ended up as his siginature Ukulele, The Vita part was taken from the Vitaphone Movie Shorts he made to promote the Ukulele and because of this, this type of Ukulele is often called a Vita even if it is not a Harmony Roy Smeck product

PMICo by Harmony

The idea for this body shape came from the "A" style flat backed Mandolin body and was taken up by a lot of the major manufacturers, (particularly ones who also made Mandolins) in the late 20's as a way of making the Ukuleles louder. The idea was, like a pineapple, with the bigger rounder Lower bout you get more volume, (and this is certaimly true of my Clearwater Mandolin Ukulele) and the idea was also used on other instruments like Guitars

By far the most famous was the Roy Smeck endorsed Harmony model but other makers also had a go. The idea was also tried with other shapes like the Lute/bowl back Mandolin "Teardrop" but to less effect. it also didn't really travel outside of the mainland US and died out with the ending of the first phase of Ukulele popularity. It didn't come back at all in the second wave of popularity but a fondness for the old Roy Smeck Harmony's has brought it back in the latest wave along with calling all Ukuleles based on this shape "Vita" like all Round ones are "Camp", all resonators are "Dubro" and all Vacuum Cleaners are "Hoover"