11/18/2012

c.1920 Kumalae Flamed Koa Soprano Ukulele




This is a gorgeous Hawaiian-made soprano uke, made by Kumalae probably around 1915-1920. The neck and sides are made from plainer, orange-colored koa but the top and back are wildly flamed yellow-orange "fiery" koa. To complete the cool look, the bridge is a chocolate-colored bit of koa for contrast.

My work on the uke included some seam repairs, bridge reglue, cleating/gluing up a top hairline crack, neck block reglue to the upper surface, fret level/dress, new nut, new tuners, cleaning, and setup. It plays great and compared to the koa Hamaki I finished recently, the tone is sweeter and mellower but with slightly less volume.


The classic "peanut" shape to the body is just lovely. In different lighting the flame just pops out in all sorts of different ways.


New bone nut, replacement tuners, and nice Kumalae decal.


Original brass frets. The 12th fret was missing so I replaced it with a vintage one from my parts bin. The scale is just shy of a typical soprano 13" type.


Fun, dark bridge! Strings are new Aquilas.


Cute, simple, 3-ring rosette. These are simply cut with a rotary tool and then back-filled with a lighter paste of some sort. Still, the small touch of a rosette draws the eye.



Pretty, huh?




The back is also quite pretty!


Here you can see the stacked, 2-piece Spanish heel design of the neck.







There's a tiny amount of edge fill on the upper seam on the lower bout edge since the seam didn't go back together 100% flush. This is pretty typical on old ukes when glue fails and it isn't repaired right away. I would have had to take the whole top off to do the job flush, which is just not worth the time. 

Besides, it's not noticeable, and perfectly secure.



The color of this uke is just lovely, as is the tone.

7 comments:

Anonymous said...

Nice uke.
When I go to your store inventory page underneath each instument it says "sound clip below" but there are no links to click to hear a sound clip.

Antebellum Instruments said...

It's because it's using a Flash player and you may have an older version. I think the writing's on the wall with that reply so I'm going to shift the clips all to straight embed tags right now, let me know if that works for you (should be up in 15min).

Thanks!

Jake

Gadaya said...

This is such a cute uke!

Anonymous said...

I can't see a sound file for this uke at all. I'm using a Droid phone

Antebellum Instruments said...

I have to record a clip for it still... thanks for the interest, though. :)

Antebellum Instruments said...

The clip is now up. And Gadaya: thanks!!!

Anonymous said...

Thanks, the links work now.