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View Full Version : Mystery Uke - Does anyone know what this is ?



Brian1
12-02-2014, 07:24 PM
Hi,

This came from a thrift store somebody got it and gave it to me. Does anyone know what it is ? It has no label or markings other than in the picture says Aloha Hawaii with a crest. Cleaned up it could look kinda nice.

7361173612

mm stan
12-02-2014, 08:25 PM
The name on the headstock says the name vintage Aloha soprano all koa
Got one on ebay for 300.00
It's an Aloha royal ukulele probably made in Japan in the 60's

coolkayaker1
12-02-2014, 08:57 PM
http://database.ukulelecorner.co.uk/abc/aloha-mfct

If it's a genuine, original Aloha brand, it's old according to this article. It could be newer, based on tuners. Stan's the expert here. Yours sort of looks like photo 2, Brian.

mm stan
12-02-2014, 09:01 PM
You know I read that they sold the aloha decals in the stores back then..
also I think there are a number of aloha ukulele companies.. one is rumored in Japan, Tokyo instrument company ..the factory that made the kamaka keikis however there is no
proof in this ...just a rumor
another is : Definitely appears to be koa. Although the Aloha Ukulele Manufacturing Company made ukuleles in Hawaii (primarily in the 1920s) your ukulele doesn't appear to be made by them. Your ukulele was made by Sam Chang - a Hawaiian builder who made ukuleles in the 1920s through around the 1940s. I would estimate your Chang ukulele to be from the 1930s. Chang built some of his ukuleles for the Summers Brothers (Harold and Paul) who were ukulele instructors who worked out of the big hotels in Honolulu, the Royal Hawaiian and the Moana. Chang also built ukuleles under his own name, generally using the headstock decal like the one on your ukulele. These often contained a decal on the back of the headstock reading "Sam F. Chang, Ukuleles Guitars Curio, Honolulu" - is there any sign of the remnants of a decal on the back of the headstock? What is the overall length - it almost looks like it might be concert-sized (about 23" overall)? company disolved in 1930

however both of these do not seem to be yours....

Brian1
12-02-2014, 09:02 PM
Thanks.

I googled it for images of the aloha brand but the label didn't seem to match.

I don't think this one is in any condition to be $300 worth as it is. one of the pegs used to hold the strings in is not original. there are some fret issues and other stuff. They said they got it because the case it came in looked it might have been a nice instrument.

If this is a soprano it is big for one, until you said soprano I thought it was a concert but held it next to my concert and it was not quite that big, and the 12th fret is right about where the neck meets the body.

How does yours sound, this one probably gets a C- on sound quality.

Teek
12-02-2014, 09:32 PM
What's the scale length? It looks pretty nice, is that a pin bridge?? Yes the decals were common across many makers. I had a Louis Gaspar (BIL to Sam Kamaka) that had one. Is it a bone nut and saddle? It almost looks like it might be circa 1940-50...?

Brian1
12-02-2014, 09:46 PM
scale length ? I have seen that term not sure I know what it means is that from the nut to the bridge ?

yes it is a pin bridge.

I know very little about it. It is my first attempt at friction tuners, just figured out they were too tight.

I will measure it.

Brian1
12-02-2014, 09:55 PM
from nut to bridge it is like 15 maybe 16 inches I have a cheap plastic ruler that only goes up to 7" can't find the measuring tape

Brian1
12-02-2014, 10:08 PM
7361373614

As for the nut and bridge I don't know how to tell if they are bone or some type of fynalic or what

Brian1
12-02-2014, 10:29 PM
You know I read that they sold the aloha decals in the stores back then..
also I think there are a number of aloha ukulele companies.. one is rumored in Japan, Tokyo instrument company ..the factory that made the kamaka keikis however there is no
proof in this ...just a rumor
another is : Definitely appears to be koa. Although the Aloha Ukulele Manufacturing Company made ukuleles in Hawaii (primarily in the 1920s) your ukulele doesn't appear to be made by them. Your ukulele was made by Sam Chang - a Hawaiian builder who made ukuleles in the 1920s through around the 1940s. I would estimate your Chang ukulele to be from the 1930s. Chang built some of his ukuleles for the Summers Brothers (Harold and Paul) who were ukulele instructors who worked out of the big hotels in Honolulu, the Royal Hawaiian and the Moana. Chang also built ukuleles under his own name, generally using the headstock decal like the one on your ukulele. These often contained a decal on the back of the headstock reading "Sam F. Chang, Ukuleles Guitars Curio, Honolulu" - is there any sign of the remnants of a decal on the back of the headstock? What is the overall length - it almost looks like it might be concert-sized (about 23" overall)? company disolved in 1930

however both of these do not seem to be yours....

Somehow I missed this post, sorry I was taking pictures or something. I t shows no sign of a sticker on the back.

I have hardly had this out of its case for the month that I have had it, I just noticed there is something scratched into the side of the neck where it meets the body says MFD 1950-1955 (which I doubt would be a good thing to have that etched in there) I don't know where that came from or who wrote it or why.

theabsurdman
12-03-2014, 12:31 AM
Looks really good quality. I wouldn't have thought it would take much to restore the tuners and frets.
Is it playable now? how does it sound?

iamesperambient
12-03-2014, 04:43 AM
Hi,

This came from a thrift store somebody got it and gave it to me. Does anyone know what it is ? It has no label or markings other than in the picture says Aloha Hawaii with a crest. Cleaned up it could look kinda nice.

7361173612


thats pretty

Brian1
12-03-2014, 07:47 AM
Looks really good quality. I wouldn't have thought it would take much to restore the tuners and frets.
Is it playable now? how does it sound?
Thanks it is a little rougher than the pictures show, mostly dirty there are a few scuffs but I don't see any cracks on the body, the neck seems straight. The first string 6th fret has a mind of its own.

As for sound, not having any experience with peg tuners that are not geared, I give it a C- on sound. It does not have a clear sound at all it a very hollow sound.

Ramart
12-03-2014, 08:38 AM
Most of the decal seems to be a repro of the symbol inside the official state seal:

http://www.placesofusa.com/image_system/state/seal/1/0000000015.png

Brian1
12-03-2014, 08:42 AM
I think there was a royal crest or something that predated statehood, the decal has a mirror image of two people but the center part is very similar.

mm stan
12-03-2014, 08:50 AM
No I meant, they sold stickers in uke stores of the Aloha labels, brand they had in the 60's
I'm not sure yours is from the early Hawaiian Aloha ukulele company, as they shut down in 1933. I know they are building in Taiwan some ukes
With the Aloha uke name

Brian1
12-03-2014, 08:56 AM
No I meant, they sold stickers in uke stores of the Aloha labels, brand they had in the 60's
I'm not sure yours is from the early Hawaiian Aloha ukulele company, as they shut down in 1933. I know they are building in Taiwan some ukes
With the Aloha uke name
Thanks, I am guessing that is what this would be. I am trying to determine if this is worth getting repaired and brought up to date, it is boarder line playable now. Is there any more information I can offer to someone who knows to help me make a decision ? I don't think this is pre 1940's

Ramart
12-03-2014, 09:01 AM
Thanks, I am guessing that is what this would be. I am trying to determine if this is worth getting repaired and brought up to date, it is boarder line playable now. Is there any more information I can offer to someone who knows to help me make a decision ?

Isn't there some ukulele historical organization in Hawaii you could email your pix to for an assessment? Or maybe an instrument appraiser, like on "Antiques Roadshow." Be nice to know if it's valuable.

Brian1
12-03-2014, 09:24 AM
Well its was a gift so that is where the value lies.

If it can be repaired on my budget so I feel comfortable playing it, I would like to do that.