Hawaiian Makers from the early days to WWII click for more

Cunha Musica Hawaiian Soprano Ukulele
Cunha Music
In researching the early period of Ukulele manufacture in Hawaii from 1890 to the Second World War, I come across a lot of referenced to small or short lived manufacturers some of whom were one man luthier shops, some tried to be big business but now there is not much to show from them beyond footnotes in someone else's biography or perhaps that dusty old Ukulele you find in the attic? If you look at the Ukulele Hall of Fame reference section you will see a number of Hawaiian Ukuleles from this period whose maker is "Unknown" perhaps they are examples for some of the people I have found reference to here?
(I should also note that some of these may actually be the brand names of Mainland makers who were pretending to be Hawaiian. After all this practice is what lead to the need for the Tabu mark, and if it was difficult to find out where the actual Ukulele was made then, it usually hasn't got any easier!)

Cunha Music

I have no information on this firm?

Earnest Ka'ai

Ernest Ka'ai was the Ukuleles first superstar. He is most famous for his playing and teaching, (he wrote the first how to play the Ukulele book in 1906 and invented a lot of the notations and chord diagrams that are seen today), and in 1909 he started the Ernest Ka'ai Manufacturing company making Ukuleles. In 1917 he sold the company and bought shares in the Aloha Ukulele Manufacturing co. but the Ernest Ka'ai factory carried on without him for another three years. I have seen Ukuleles that don't have a Spanish heel and a wooden round bodied model both looking mainland made but bearing the Ka'ai headstock logo? As far as I can find out they were made in the Ka'ai factory in Hawaii. What I don't believe is the case though is that the Larson Brothers, had anything to do with the Kaai enterprise. They spent all of their working lives in Chicago and though famous for Guitars and Mandolins don't seem to have made many Ukuleles. I also think the numbers after "Special" on the sound hole labels is a serial number and not a date

Unis & Co.

I have no Information beyond the sound hole label saying Honolulu

click for more

Please contact me if you have any information or pictures that would improve the page

contact Web Administrator if you think your copyright has been infringed