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Hermann Weissenborn



1920s Kumalae style B soprano Ukulele with modern replacement tuners
Weissenborn Soprano
Weissenborn Soprano
Hermann Weissenborn was born in Germany, emigrated to New York in 1902 after the death of his wife, and moved on to Los Angeles in 1910 where he set up his workshop as a luthier and instrument repairer. for a short while he made Violins but in 1915 he met Chris Knutsen who was in Los Angeles to make instruments for music publisher and teacher Charles S. DeLano and had too much work making DeLano-branded Kona Hawaiian guitars and this is how he got into making Hawaiian style instruments including the slide Guitars he is famous for, (but Knutsen actually invented) and Ukuleles.

In 1921 his son also called Hermann, (from his first marriage in Germany), came over from Germany and joined him. The instrument making business continued to expand and in 1923 they started the Weissenborn Company, Ltd and set up a factory to build instruments, (by this time they had fully taken over the DeLano contract and had a contract with Henry Stadlmair for East Coast distribution under his Miami branding).

in 1926 Hermann Jnr. died and for a short while Rudolph Dopyera was factory foreman, and in 1928 the contract with Stadlmair ended and Tonk Bros. took over national distribution with no more rebranding

The decline in the musical instrument business and the great depression led to a decline in his fortunes, his output and the size of his factory in the '30's and Hermann Weissenborn Snr. died at the beginning of 1937 heavily in debt.

Apart from the soundhole stamp (which is sometimes covered over with a Miami soundhole label), Weissenborn made Ukuleles generally have a distinctive "no saddle" bridge a plain headstock with a simple curve in the top and sometimes, innovative for their time, offset rectangular fret markers at the 5th and 7th frets.

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