c1925 Jonah Kumalae Plain model all koa
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This is a Previously Sold Instrument.
Jonas Kumalae was one of the earliest commercial ukulele builders in Hawaii. He started out as a carver and at some point had an epiphany and chose from then on to build Ukuleles. It seemed he had a gift for the art of Ukulele construction and in 1915 won a P.P.I.E Gold award.
"What is P.P.I.E.," you ask? Well I can't say for sure but inside on the label is says "Awarded Gold medal for Ukulele and Taro Patches at P.P.I.Exposition." Now I suppose it is safe to assume that Jonas was awarded the gold medal for his Ukuleles. perhaps there was one Gold medal for both and they felt his Ukuleles were better than all of the other Ukuleles AND all of the taro patches. Perhaps Jonas did a little farming on the side. Truly, I cannot say.
What I can say is that when whis Ukulele was made, the companies phone number had only four digits: 2384. The Company was located at 1719 Liliha street in Honolulu. The address is still there (I googled it) and there seems to be a building there.
But let's talk about the Uke. This it a tiny uke. 20" over all with a 9" body. The curves to the body are uneven and seem crude which adds to the charm. The bottom of the Ukes is flat instead of round. One of the sides is a smidgen deeper than the other.
This Uke has wooden pegs, not the metal tuners that were used on the later, fancier models.
The Very Best thing about this Uke is that it was played. It was really, really played. The fretboard shows really wonderful wear on it.
Why do I say such wear is good? Because the rest of the ukulele is in beautiful condition. this Ukulele has had hundreds, if not thousands of hours of playing. Wear on the neck is unavoidable when you play an instrument a lot. But the body having only the most minor of nicks and scratches means the player of this instrument took very good care of their instrument. It seems to me that this instument made one person very happy for many years as they played it. Maybe it can make you very happy too.
All of the Kumalae Ukes I have seen have been heavily ornamented with fancy rosettes and binding and curly koa. This Ukulele is very simple. The Koa is clear and straight-grained, the rosette is a simple, inlaid circle. Perhaps Jonas made this before he had the skills for the fancy stuff; perhaps he made it before he acquired the business sense to realize the fancy stuff sells for a lot more and is only a little more work; perhaps this was one of the cheaper models that he only sold locally. Whoever bought this one really knew how to play it!
Check out the pictures below and click on them to see them large. in one of them I have a picture of one of our guys, Willie, playing it. You can see what a diminutive instrument it is. It really is a sweet little Ukulele. I'd take it home if I could, but I'm running out of space! here's you chance.
on the image to see a larger version
These pictures are in our Vintage Instrument Gallery.
This instrument is not for sale.
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