Haole Koa – Vintage Ukuleles

Haole Koa; as in reference to Koa Ukulele made by ” haole – White person, American, Englishman, Caucasian; formerly, any foreigner; foreign, introduced, of foreign origin”. Hawaiian- English, English -Hawaiian Dictionary, Mary Kawena Pukui, Samuel H. Elbert, University Press of Hawaii 1957

See below for a collection of vintage ukuleles

colombia-ukulele  Columbia
Distributed by the Sherman Clay Co., this Soprano features an unusual three piece neck running the length of the fret board from the heel through the headstock. The side panel which normally joins at the butt is not the case of this Uke, suggesting the joint is hidden where the neck is attached to the body. Alternating light and dark wood binding with patent tuners. Somewhat of a debate exists as to the quality of craftmanship, choice of materials and sound. Sound wise, let’s just say a Style 1 Martin it’s not. I’ll let the picture do the talking in respect to the quality of materials. Circa 1914. One of my favorite vintage ukuleles on the site.


Leonardo Nunes
From the Kohler and Chase, San Francisco edition. Apparently after arriving in Los Angeles sometime after 1913, Leonardo went on a tear and built Ukes for not only Kohler and Chase, but Lyon and Healy, The Southern California Music Co and others.


Herman Weissenborn
Soprano size, circa 1920’s. Branding in sound hole reads, “H. Weissenborn, Los Angeles, Cal.”.  A true “Haole Koa”. This Concert size Tenor was built by the Harmony Company of Chicago. One of three models in a signature series built for 20’s recording artist Johnny Marvin. A version of this Koa beauty with the “Airplane” shaped bridge and gold plated tuners was presented to the Prince of Wales by Marvin with Sophie Tucker in attendance, during a tour of England in 1928. Thus the term “Prince of Wales”. Mahalo Nui Loa to Chuck Fayne and robert wheeler, founder for the historical information.