5/26/2013

c.1920 Aloha Koa Soprano Ukulele


This is the 7th of 8 ukes I've been working on for a customer. This one has some painted frat logo (I'm assuming) in the center of the soundboard and sports an "Aloha" decal at the headstock. This nice web resource identifies this uke as being made by the Aloha Manufacturing Company who made several brands.

At any rate, this uke is a deep cherry-orange koa creation and sounds great. The neck is lightly warped on it so I couldn't set it up to the perfect 1/16" at the 12th fret, but it plays well nonetheless. Work included bridge modifications, fret level/dress, cleaning, and setup. The tone is sweet and airy with nice fundamentals.


I love the little music note paintings!


Here's that Aloha decal.

 


I had to modify the bridge a lot. In the end I had to lower it so much that I converted it to a "modern" style bridge where one sends the string through the bridge holes, pulls it out through the soundhole and knots it, and then pulls it up to the peghead. This means the strings won't pull out of the bridge slots like on a normal soprano uke and it also adds the advantages in tone that guitar-style pin bridges have. It also means I can get away with using the same piece of (already glued-down) bridge wood to make a useful bridge for the uke.


Nice grain on the sides...



You can't get much more "typical island-made" than this uke with its arched back and peanut shape combined with a Spanish heel and flatter neck profile.



The original wood pegs are still going strong.


The light-colored contrasting endstrip looks great.

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