View Full Version : New-to-me Kumalae

03-20-2012, 02:55 PM
I recently became the new owner of a somewhat-neglected Kumalae. I don't know much about it, but it appears to be a 'Model 22', with the fancier rosette, but no binding around the body.

Overall it's in mediocre shape, with a fairly large crack that has been repaired at some point. The top has a pretty severe warp around the sound hole too, but I'm hoping it might flatten a bit when I get strings on it. I should be able to tell how well the crack was repaired at that point too... The neck looks very straight.

I have one question about the tuners. From what I read here, wooden friction pegs are standard, but I thought I read somewhere that metal tuners could be ordered as an option from the factory. This uke has metal tuners, but they appear to be pretty old, and I can't see any evidence that the anything has been modified. Does anyone know what 'original' metal tuners look like, or have any way to tell if these have been put in after-the-fact?


03-20-2012, 03:37 PM
Congratulations on your new ukulele. I don't know anything about Kumalae ukuleles, but it might help those who do know something about them respond to your question if you could post photos of the tuners/headstock. Good luck!

03-20-2012, 04:11 PM
I believe I read that one could upgrade tuners with an ukulele from the big Chicago retailers. I have no doubt one could get friction tuners installed at a shop when these were new. As far as this being an option directly from Kumalae, I doubt anyone knows. I don't know why one couldn't get them as Kumalae made ukuleles until sometime around the 40's I believe.

mds725 is right, pictures would help as one can often get a general idea of the age of a tuner, basically when each style tended to be used.

Not sure why a warp would flatten with string tension.....but I hope it does, I'd like to see some pics!

03-20-2012, 06:16 PM
Do a little browing here:


03-20-2012, 09:21 PM
Thanks for the link, that helps a little.
I've had trouble posting pictures, so I'll try to use links to others' until I can get it to work....
First, that should have said 'Model 2', not '22'. Whoops.
Second, I thought the string tension might help the warp, but maybe not. If that doesn't do it, maybe the added humidity in it's new environment will help. :)
Third, I guess it's a pre-1922 model, based on the info here: http://ukuzoo.com/detail/4/273/kumalae-kumalae-jonah-soprano-style-1
Mine has the same rectangular white interior label (minus the mildew and pencil scribbles, thankfully). The tuners are similar to that one, as well as this: http://ukuzoo.com/detail/4/274/kumalae-kumalae-jonah-soprano-style-1 but slightly different. Mine are a bit slimmer and have a metal 'collar' under the black buttons instead of being molded as one piece. The collars are fairly tall (mayeb 3/8"), straight-sided cylinders with two parallel grooves machined into them. I haven't found any other pictures of Kumalaes with the same pegs, so maybe these aren't original. On the other hand, I haven't found any modern pegs that match either, so at least they weren't put on yesterday!

Anyway, I can't wait for the new strings to arrive!

mm stan
03-20-2012, 09:44 PM
there was a member here who had damaged Kumalae and used the neck to make a cigar box uke..at one
time he wanted to sell the tuners...do a search on kumlae or cigar box uke to find him his user name was e something..can't remember,, good luck

03-21-2012, 04:53 AM
I finally found a picture of my tuners (almost). These are very close to what I have: http://www.ebay.com/itm/Antique-Signed-Jonah-Kumalae-Hawaiian-Koa-Wood-Uke-Ukulele-Gold-Award-1915-/220893037748
Mine have black buttons instead of white, and they are slightly different on the top side of the head, but that's them.

Does anyone have information about the different labels used inside? I'm inferring that the rectangular white one was used until 1922, but is there any more that can be used to determine ago (although between 1915 and 1922 is pretty close, I guess).