This Aloha resource was made possible by the generous contributions of
information and time by Mark Kesterson, Chico, California, USA.
The word "Aloha" appears on a number of instruments and there are
contradictory claims about the brand including one that states
Aloha was a Hawaii-based manufacturer of guitars and amplifiers-it made a
sandcast aluminum lap steel (circa late Forties-early Fifties). I
cannot find anything which confirms that Hawaiian made instruments were made
after the 1930s. Please send info that would help with this.
According to Mugwumps
an Aloha Manufacturing Co existed in Honolulu, Hawaii from 1911 to around
1927. The Aloha Publishing Co, was founded 1935 in Chicago Illinois.
A confounding issue is that very similar headstock logos are seen on a range
of instruments claiming to be from 1920 to 1973 at this
Japanese web site
Aloha Ukulele Manufacturing Co
Perhaps the Aloha Ukulele Manufacturing Company and Aloha Manufacturing Co
are one and the same. This ukulele made in the 1920s bears the the
following marks [Source:
"ALOHA / HAWAII" with a coat of arms under which it states "UA MAU KE EA O
KA AINA I KA PUNU", .Decal on back of headstock states "SAM F. CHANG / UKULELES - GUITARS - CURIO
What will tell you if you have a "real" Aloha
is a wood-burned stamp inside the instrument that says "TABU-MADE IN
HAWAII", usually- but not always- accompanied by the cursive signature
'AKAI' . Akai was the psuedonym used by Alohas' "master builder", a
Image Jeff Mercer
Aloha Musical Instrument Co. (Chicago)
Michael Wright Vintage Guitar Magazine 1996
in the 1950s the Alamo Co performed OEM manufacturing of guitars and
amps for Aloha. In about 1956, Aloha start it's own amp-making operation,
but the company continued to buy Alamo products and Aloha acoustic
guitars were sourced primarily from Chicago-based Harmony.
Amps from Magnatone according to photos
below. Magnatone also made the Ray Meany model lap steel seen
Brad's Page of
Another view is suggested on The Steel Guitar Forum : " Aloha in Chicago NEVER built anything. All they sold were rebrands built by others. That S Halsted St address was a studio operation in a theatre building at a major transit corner/terminal. Some Aloha folios from Chicago are actually reprinted Manolff material and Manoloff was one mile due west of Aloha on S Ashland Av. Manoloff never sold his own instruments either. They were all rebrands, usually the cheapest Regal or Kay products. I have never seen or heard of any factory-produced electric guitars or electric steel guitars made in Hawaii during the time period in question. There may have been some other connections between the Chicago Aloha and Manoloff...
There probably was an Aloha "Conservatory" or "Music Studio" in every town big enough to support then back in the day.
I've seen 1930s Aloha/Chicago branded stuff and it's ALL Kay or Regal. Never seen an Aloha amplifier that was NOT made by some other manufacturer either. And I grew up there and worked in the music industry and researched it way back when nobody cared about any of this stuff. "
Images courtesy of Mark Kesterson, Chico, California, USA
click on Ad at left for full size.
Guitar -Aloha Musical Instrument Co
guitar was purchased on June 5, 1939 for $39 dollars and the buyer paid
one dollar a week on the amount. The invoice states that the buyer did
not choose to take the lesson program that was part of the Aloha Guitar
Company's business model. They sold an 'instrument plus lessons' package
and this is mentioned on the invoice. According to George Eberlein, the
current owner, "this is a very high quality instrument, reminiscent of a
prewar Martin 0-18. It sounds incredible and records very well."
Description included: "...an old Lapsteel guitar by
Magnatone. I think that this is very similar to the later Dickerson
models. Based on what I've seen on the net, this should have been made
around the late 40's or early 50's. The front of the guitar is labeled
"ALOHA Music Company Corpus Christi Texas." The rear has a metal Magnatone Stamp. The tuners are Kluson Deluxe and have the original
plastic knobs...The color is gray Mother of Toilet Seat...The old
cardboard case is included as are some old strings.
At some stage ?1940s and 1950s
a sand cast aluminium guitar also became available. Any
information on this would be appreciated.
The following Ray Meany's Aloha Hawaiian Steel guitar and
matching amp was purchased April 12, 1950 in Fresno Ca for $150.60
on the installment plan. It was subsequently sold by the
original owners son in August of 2008, in Lubbock, Texas. The ebay
description included the following: "This
Hawaiian Steel guitar was bought for my mother new in 1950 by my
grandmother. The Steel guitar has a hard case lined with dark blue fake fur.
The wood is finished in a light honey stain and the tube amp is working. All
picks are included as well as the slide and the original sales slip. The
strings are included and are installed as well. The case is a wooden case
that latches closed. The guitar measures 29in by 7in and is in working
condition with a good sound. The neck is not warped and the finish is
unmarked and smooth with the fret marks clear and numbered from 1 thru 28.
There are no missing frets and no tarnish on the frets and no rust or
pitting on the fittings and both knobs are attached and working with no
broken fittings. The case appears to have come unglued along the back side,
but other then that the case is intact. "
The Ray Meany Aloha model was made by Magnatone in the 1950s
and 60s. [Source:
Brad's Page of
Steel]. As can be seen from the amp panel photo below the amplifier
is certainly a Magnatone.
This beautiful set now
resides in Chico, California, USA. Information and images courtesy of
Aloha Conservatory of Music was in Fresno, California per above certificate
is a report of
an Aloha Conservatory of Music Detroit in 1938.