Kumalae Style 2 Soprano Ukulele , c. 1920

Kumalae  Style 2 Soprano Ukulele ,  c. 1920
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Item # 11549
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Kumalae Style 2 Model Soprano Ukulele, c. 1920, made in Honolulu, HI, natural varnish finish, koa wood body and neck, black gig bag case.

This is a very nice 1920s Kumalae soprano ukulele in excellent playing condition. The Style 2 was a medium grade model in the Kumalae line, with the basic design spruced up by some decorative "zipper" wood marquetry around the sound hole. This is a typical period example likely dating to the early 1920s with the slightly wider waisted body shape seen after around 1918. The body and neck are koa with a nice longitudinal grain. The fluted headstock bears a "Gold Award P.P.I.E. 1915" decal celebrating the honor bestowed at the Panama-Pacific Exposition that year. At least 100 years old, this is a still an excellent playing, fine-sounding Hawaiian uke from the era of the first ukulele craze.
Overall length is 20 1/2 in. (52.1 cm.), 6 1/16 in. (15.4 cm.) wide at lower bout, and 2 1/4 in. (5.7 cm.) in depth at side, taken at the end block. Scale length is 13 in. (330 mm.). Width of nut is 1 1/4 in. (32 mm.).

This is quite a clean uke overall considering its age, showing some light wear and minor repair but none of the heavy strumming marks often seen. The finish has only light wear overall. There are a couple of small chips to the back edge of the top, nicely repaired and not conspicuous except on close inspection. A neatly sealed grain crack comes off the back edge running above the bridge. The bridge itself has been reattached and there is a small scar off the treble edge, and a small rubbed through mark below that. There are a couple of cleanly repaired cracks on the lower back as well. These sorts of dryness cracks are extremely common on ukes made 100 or so years ago out of unseasoned island koa wood, and the repairs on this one are very well done. The finish was lightly polished out in some spots but not oversprayed.

The rest of the instrument is very neat, including a very functional set of modern geared violin friction pegs, which fit with no alteration to the original holes. This makes the uke far easier to tune for most players than the original wooden pegs. The neck angle is better than many and the uke still plays very well and sounds great, with a powerful and rich tone. While the workmanship on these Kumalaes is sometimes crude by modern standards this is a very fine player's instrument as wall as a neat piece of Hawaiian musical history. Overall Excellent Condition.