Jonah Kumalae was the most active and successful ukulele maker in Hawaii in the decades from 1910 through to 1940. His instruments and performers from Honolulu kick-started the global Hawaiian music craze with their appearances over the 12 months of the Pan Pacific International Exposition in San Francisco in 1915. Hence the decal stating ‘ P.P.I.E. 1915’ on all his ukes thereafter.
This Kumalae uke from around 1930 features the ‘Style 4′ decorative ‘rope binding’ made of small inlaid pieces of wood around the sound hole and the top edge of the body, together with an inlaid ‘chevron’ pattern down the fretboard. The all-Koa construction is in excellent condition apart from one thin top crack following the grain under the G and C strings above the bridge, cleated and stable. Neck set and bridge are strong, the good quality friction tuners are original and work well, the frets are in excellent condition, and the internal label notes Kumalae’s workshop at 1719 Liliha St, Honolulu. This beautiful vintage Hawaiian uke plays very well, with the response, volume and projection that only a hand-made 90-year-old all koa uke can provide.