View Full Version : Repaired my 1915 Jonah Kumalae

Ahnko Honu
03-28-2009, 05:59 PM
I bought this old 1915 Jonah Kumalae Koa soprano ukulele over 10 years ago on eBay from some guy in Massachusetts who found it in his grandparents attic. It came with a crack on the bottom, one broken (violin) tuning peg and with steel strings which dished the top at the bridge, and popped a inner brace halfway off. I threw some cheap Hilo strings on it initially and she sounded sweet for a beater but was a afraid of further damage so removed the strings, and it sat untouched for several years. Today I brought it out and started work on her to get her back in playable condition. First things I did were to repairs the inner brace, and repair the crack in back. After research I decided to use the same glue used to put her together originally- Hide glue. It was much easier to work with than expected, and the leftover glue when diluted makes great plant food, very organic stuff. I had bought some ebony violin pegs to replace the originals especially since one was broken in half. I never liked these pegs, a real PITA to tune and keep tuned so I did the sacrilege of replacing them with inexpensive friction tuners. Pretty easy to install especially since a couple of the whole were enlarged from age and use. I had a set of Aquila Nylguts on hand so strung them up and WOW does this old girl wants to sing, loud, clear. nice projection and sustain from the old thin Koa top. I'm am impressed, and can't wait to let the strings stretch out and get comfortable on their new old home. Heres a few pictures with one before shot with my pet Honu. When I figure out how to video I shall torment you all with a sound bite.

03-28-2009, 06:04 PM
Excellent work.

To be honest, I was expecting a pineapple.

Ahnko Honu
03-28-2009, 06:07 PM
One of my few non-pineapples... :D

03-28-2009, 06:12 PM
One of my few non-pineapples... :D

Just how many pineapples *do* you have? :)

Ahnko Honu
03-28-2009, 06:16 PM
Just 5 so far, but already have plans for at least 2 more in near future, and a MP Baritone when I get rich. :D

03-28-2009, 08:56 PM
Beautiful!! Cant wait to hear how it sounds. What a treasure of a find!!

03-29-2009, 05:07 AM
Wow that's interesting and a very nice Kumalae. I repaired an "old" Kumalae also last year: new nut and bridge, repaired several cracks. It's my avatar. I play it regularly. Sounds like magic. I put Worth's light guage on her. Mine's missing the 12th fret, though and I've put violin pegs and they hold in tune remarkably, considering the very dry climate we have here in winter. Can't wait to hear your Kumalae.

03-29-2009, 05:16 AM
Looks great man!

03-29-2009, 05:24 AM
What a gorgeous uke!!! Can't wait to hear how she sounds. :-D