5/23/2012

c.1915 Hawaiian-made Koa Soprano Ukulele





Update 2013: This was recently traded back to me in lieu of payment for repair jobs, so it's now back on the market. It looks exactly the same except for a K&K pickup that was installed internally with a jack installed in the "electric guitar" position on the lower bout treble side. Here's a pic of the jack -- note that the "cup" strap-button part of the jack can be removed if desired for ac leaner look.


This unmarked, peanut-shaped soprano uke is clearly of Hawaiian manufacture. First, it's made entirely of koa wood, second it has a typical Hawaiian-style body shape and bracing, single ring rosette, neck width and depth, and of course a Spanish heel with a typical two-piece construction.

My work was simple: reglue the bridge, install a 12th fret to replace a missing one, do a fret level/dress and setup, make a new nut, and install a fret saddle to replace a missing wood saddle in the bridge. I also installed new friction tuners, too, since the original wood pegs were long gone.


This uke had seen some other work in the past -- multiple body top/back side seam reglues are evident and they're not the best work but are plenty sturdy. In addition the bridge looked like it had been reglued maybe at some point, too, but not very well.


Here's the headstock with its new bone nut and tuners.


All except the replacement (12th) fret are narrow, bar-stock brass, typical on older Hawaiian ukes.


The simple brige works nicely.


Note the small hairline cracks on the upper bout -- both previously glued up and one cleated. There's also a hairline on the back that's fixed up as well and tight.



This koa has a pretty sort of chocolate-orange tone.

And speaking of tone -- it has that sweet, pronounced, vibrant koa sound along with a nice fast but wide (side to side) neck for fingerpicking or strumming both.




These are good-quality modern friction tuners.



Koa looks so nice, even in this plainer (non flamed) format.




There's an "endstrip" as well.

2 comments:

silvermorgon said...
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Andrew's Music said...

That ukulele looks amazing...wished i saw more ukes like that.