1890 Jose do Espirito Santo Rajao


Considered one of the parent instruments, “the mother”, of the modern day ukulele, the ukulele is believed to have received its current tuning of G-C-E-A from the Madeiran Rajao, which is tuned D-G-C-E-A. To my knowledge there are only a few examples of these early historical instruments in existence that have been made in Hawaii.

This extremely rare 1890 Historical 5-String Jose do Espirito Santo Rajao is a world class collectible over 100 years in age. The instrument originated on the island of Madeira, Portugal and was handcrafted in Hawaii by Jose do Espirito Santo – one of three Portuguese cabinet makers; Jose do Espirito Santo, Augusto Dias, and Manuel Nunes upon their arrival to Hawaii who were attributed with the creation of the ukulele. This rajao was made in Hawaii, being that it was handcrafted entirely out of Hawaiian Koa wood although it is a Portuguese instrument.

A very serious collectible piece which many museums have never seen. The face, back, and sides were handcrafted of Hawaiian Koa wood. It’s extremely light in weight and very resonant. There have been some repairs done to the instrument over the course of its life. All in all, it’s an amazing historical piece with a very unique tone and personality all its own. ID#:230020


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