3/05/2014

c.1930 Sam Chang Koa Soprano Ukulele




Oh, man, this uke is in such good shape and it sounds so good! Loud, bright, chimey, but also warm and round on the bottom. Can't beat that! Lardy's database has further maker info, but suffice to say the Sam Chang (Honolulu-made) ukes I've worked on/played have all been really great little rigs. I've been itching to get another one in my hands since working on one for a customer recently.

This uke arrived on my doorstep very nearly "ready to play," though I did cleat a tiny hairline crack to the treble side of the bridge, gave it a fret level/dress, replaced missing tuners with some fun vintage ones from the parts bin, and set it up lightly at the nut (the bridge was "dialed in" at 1/16" height at the 12th fret from the get-go -- hee-yaw).



The body size, shape, and scale length all borrow from mainland Martin-made ukes while the neck joint (Spanish heel) borrows from the Hawaiian tradition and the quite thin front-to-back and fairly wide side-to-side neck profile does as well.

I think Mr. Chang bumped it up a notch vs. Martin products in the volume department, though, as this thing just has a super amount of cut and stand-out for "band use." Well, for a uke anyhow.


Koa nut, too, and the familiar "Aloha" decal that Mr. Chang applied to many of his ukes.


Brass frets...


...understated rosette...


...and a bridge with a separate saddle!


Though the koa isn't fancy, it is that lovely medium orange I tend to like. The finish is also in great shape, too. As stated... the only crack on the whole thing is that (repaired) 1" next to the treble side of the bridge.





The cool triangular black friction pegs are from my parts bin and were originally off of a 1920s/30s British pony banjo. I added some extra plastic washers to them and fit them to this guy, which originally came with wood pegs (of which a couple were missing/useless)..




Can't say enough about this little thing... and I'm going to have to think a bit on it before I make any decisions about listing it for sale!

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