Hawaiian Ukuleles

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Paul F. Summers
From a 1930’s Paul F. Summers brochure, “six easy lessons…guaranteed to teach you how to play Ukulele for $10.00”. The Summers studios where located at both the Moana and Royal Hawaiian hotels. These Soprano’s have the brass plaque stamped with “Paul F. Summers, Famous Waikiki Ukulele, Honolulu” and the “Tabu” wood stamp on the back of the headstock. His upper end models had some of the most figured Koa available at the time. Trust me, as hard as I’ve tried to do it right, I’m still not happy with the photo. This Ukulele was the first instrument that many players picked up, and it’s significantly less expensive than some of the other categories, like Martin Ukuleles, for example.

 

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Ernest K. Kaai Koa Soprano
Undoubtedly one of the most influencial and successfull musicians in early Hawaiian history. Jim Beloff’s “The Ukulele, A Visual History” says it all in the chapter “The Great Hawaiian Players”. This very plain Style O has wood tuning pegs, bar frets, “Tabu” stamp in the sound hole and a very ornate gold leafed Ernest K. Kaai, Ukulele, Honolulu, Hawaii decal on the headstock. Circa 1903-1917. Newer than the Taropatch models.

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Kamuela K. Kamaka

This circa 1918 Koa Soprano has a two tone wood inlay on the binding, up the sides and middle of the fret board and through the headstock. A “cigar band” decal to the butt joint simply says K. Kamaka Honolulu, Hawaii. The Tabu stamp was placed at the back of the headstock. This is probably not going to earn me any points in some circles, but I never did get caught up in the Kamaka, Ka-Lai pineapple frenzy, so this is the only Kamaka in the collection. This one from “the Man” himself and one from the Nuuanu Ukulele Company of the early 1900’s are certainly two of my favorites.

 

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Paradise
This rare Koa Soprano was built by the Paradise Ukulele and Guitar Works, Ltd. a company listed in The Honolulu City Directory of 1918. Their address was 946 Punahou St. and was owned by A.W. Mather, H.A. Bishaw and A.A. Feiereisel. It was formed “to take over and conduct the business… heretofore carried on by Ernest K. Kaai” A diamond shaped paper label reading “F and B, Paradise Ukulele and Guitar Works, Honolulu, Hawaii” is in the sound hole. The letters AR made of Pearl are inset on the unusual headstock along with bar type frets, wood friction pegs and alternating light and dark wood binding on the top and rosette.