Kumalae Style 3 Soprano Ukulele , c. 1920

Kumalae  Style 3 Soprano Ukulele ,  c. 1920
$950.00 + shipping
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Item # 9977
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Kumalae Style 3 Model Soprano Ukulele, c. 1920, made in Honolulu, HI, natural varnish finish, koa wood body and neck, black tolex hard shell case.

This is a nice early Kumalae soprano ukulele, showing some old repairs but in excellent playing condition. The Style 3 was a medium graded model in the Kumalae line, with the basic design spruced up by some decorative wood marquetry around the top and sound hole. This is a fairly early example, with the original narrow waisted body shape and the headstock bearing a nice "Gold Award P.P.I.E. 1915" headstock decal celebrating an honor bestowed at the Panama-Pacific Exposition that year. At least 100 years old, this is a still a 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 clean uke overall considering its age, showing some general wear but none of the heavy strumming damage often seen on these. There are several old grain cracks to the top, nicely repaired and not conspicuous except on close inspection. 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 top finish was polished out as part of the process but does not appear heavily oversprayed, as the varnish is consistent over the entire instrument.

The rest of the instrument is very neat, including an unusually intact and functional set of period carved wooden friction 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 somewhat crude by modern standards this is a real player's instrument and a neat living piece of Hawaiian musical history. Overall Excellent - Condition.