Kumalae Style 1 Soprano Ukulele , c. 1920

Kumalae  Style 1 Soprano Ukulele ,  c. 1920
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Item # 9403
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Kumalae Style 1 Model Soprano Ukulele, c. 1920, made in Hawaii, natural finish, koa wood body and neck, black gig bag case.

This is a nice early Kumalae soprano ukulele, plain-looking but in generally well-preserved condition. The Style 1 was the lowest graded Kumalae with no ornamentation except a contrasting wood ring inlay around the sound hole. This is a fairly early example, bearing a nice "Gold Award P.P.I.E. 1915" headstock decal celebrating an honor bestowed at the Panama-Pacific Exposition that year. This is a simple but still fine-sounding Hawaiian uke from the era of the first ukulele craze!
 
Overall length is 20 1/2 in. (52.1 cm.), 6 in. (15.2 cm.) wide at lower bout, and 2 1/2 in. (6.4 cm.) in depth at side, taken at the end block. Scale length is 12 13/16 in. (325 mm.). Width of nut is 1 3/8 in. (35 mm.).

This is a very clean uke overall considering its age, and does not show much play wear at all. There are several relatively inconspicuous tight repaired grain cracks to the top, and one large and fairly noticeable one on the lower bout. This last was sealed up long ago solidly but somewhat sloppily, and so is plainly visible. These sorts of dryness cracks are very common on these ukes made 100 or so years ago out of unseasoned island koa wood!

The rest of the instrument is very neat, including an unusually intact and functional set of original roughly carved wooden friction pegs. The original nut is cut a bit eccentrically (the string spacing is not quite even) but is authentic and could be easily replaced if desired. The uke still plays well and sounds great; a neat living piece of island history. Very Good + Condition.