This all-solid-koa Style 20 (sometimes referred to as Style 0) has a beautiful glow that’s almost reminiscent of the full moon reflecting on the ocean off the big island. If you close your eyes and strum a chord, you can practically smell the scent of exotic flowers on a tropical night breeze—this instrument sounds exactly like you’d want a vintage ukulele to sound. Now all you need is a drink with a pineapple wedge or mini umbrella.
Jonah Kumalae crafted koa ukuleles beginning in the early 1900s and continuing until his death in 1940. His instruments were presented the Gold Award at the 1915 Panama Pacific International Exhibition in San Francisco, helping to usher in a national craze for ukuleles and all things Hawaiian. The Panama Pacific International Exhibition decal on the headstock together with the black and white label would point to a manufacture date of between 1915 and about 1930, when Kumalea began using multi-colored labels.
If you enjoy watching clips of slack-key guitar virtuoso Sol Hoopii in old RKO Radio Pictures movies, be sure to keep an eye out for members of his band who can sometimes be seen playing—you guessed it—Kumalea ukes. If that’s not an endorsement for authentic tone, we don’t know what is.
Two tuning pegs appear to have been replaced at some point during the instrument’s 80-plus-year life, and do not match the others. There is one small, repaired crack between the treble side of the bridge and the body edge; otherwise the instrument is in excellent—even remarkable condition. Does not include case, but rest assured that it will be well-packed for its journey from our shop to your music room.