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View Full Version : Kaka ukuleles - "Kamaka" lookalike!



kissing
09-03-2014, 10:05 PM
I was at a music store in Melbourne today that has some ukuleles, and I spotted what looked a lot like Kamakas at a glance.

Upon closer inspection, they were Chinese ukuleles called "Kaka".

Generally I'm not a fan of knock-offs, but at a distance or through a grainy webcam, it may fool some unsuspecting eyes :cool:

http://kakaukuleles.com/product/pics/20130810/201308101376098568796.jpg
http://www.kakaukuleles.com/product/html/?65.html


Tone and playability were pretty average for a laminate Asian ukulele, similar to your Kalas, Oscar Schmidts, etc.


I'm not sure whether these are the exact same models I saw in store.
The store ones were actually labelled as being "Traditional Hawaiian Koa", but I didn't take a photo.

janeray1940
09-03-2014, 10:26 PM
Few Kamakas have slotted headstocks, and the sopranos have a very differently shaped headstock. And Kamakas don't have that cheesy abalone rosette - so I'm hoping nobody who knows Kamakas would be fooled!

There was a recent thread about these poking fun at the name :)

mds725
09-03-2014, 10:27 PM
I wonder if "kaka" means anything in Chinese. maybe someone needs to tell the people who are marketing these ukuleles what that word generally means in English.

thenewb
09-03-2014, 10:47 PM
Kaka doesn't really mean anything.
Janeray1940 is right, slotted headstocks are quite rare on a Kamaka. In fact the slotted headstock looks similar to some of the Chinese made ukes. To me the body of Kaka ukes are very similar to other Chinese ukes. If you have the time, try visiting www.taobao.com and do a search on 'ukuleles'. (taobao is Chinese ebay). Plenty of different companies but very similar body shapes (at least to me). But brands are still important. Despite having similar shapes, some have better materials quality control and setup than others.

janeray1940
09-03-2014, 11:09 PM
As for knockoffs, though, these (http://www.kakaukuleles.com/product/html/?68.html) sure look like Ovation Applause knockoffs.

Skinny Money McGee
09-04-2014, 01:51 AM
Heck yeah, I want a Uke called "Crap"... lol

Slow Eddie
09-04-2014, 03:47 AM
I bet they sound like Kaka.

PereBourik
09-04-2014, 05:04 AM
Heck yeah, I want a Uke called "Crap"... lol

Truth in advertising. That's rare these days.

Nickie
09-04-2014, 06:59 AM
Cheesy....I wouldn't want a knockoff anything....not a sports car, not a handbag, not a dress, not a phone, and certainly not an ukulele!

Radio Flyer
09-04-2014, 07:22 AM
come on guys, it's pretty hard not to make a 'knock off' of a ukulele. they are ALL knock offs of the original design and very few 'originals' have been produced since. the use of slotted headstock and rosette says they are not trying to copy a kamaka, looks more like a copy of the kala. maybe kaka in chinese means top quality, i don't know. if someone on the forum has one and can give a review, lets not be too quick to condemn, 90% of the uku's out there are chinese knock offs. by the way, i likey the chessy rosette and slotted headstock, but then again it's possible i'm just a chessy sort of guy.

markm
04-17-2015, 07:38 AM
I have a pocket Kaka and it is a great little uke. Love to play it with my uke group it is one of the best projected sounds in the group and I am sure that most of those others cost a lot more than mine.

kohanmike
04-17-2015, 07:57 AM
One of my best playing and sounding ukes is a Chinese made acacia koa tenor cutaway I found through the Chinese "Amazon" site Aliexpress.com. Slotted head, two hole, abalone binding, very light weight. I added Worth CT strings, a preamp/tuner, strap buttons, and give it a nice polish job.

http://www.fairfax67.com/images/Uku uke 2 sideways.jpg

niwenomian
04-17-2015, 09:07 AM
Maybe it's a custom made by this guy http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kak%C3%A1 Didn't realize he was into ukes, too.

jer
04-17-2015, 09:18 AM
LOL...I couldn't help but laugh when I saw the name...

I wonder if they come in a nice hardshell case like this:
http://www.periodbath.com/pdshop/images/VBT073013-05c.jpg

Luke El U
04-17-2015, 08:25 PM
I met them last week at the Music Expo here in Guangzhou. They're also made in this province of Guangdong - just outside of Hong Kong - what many of us Westerners learned as Canton. Here's another website which lists the wholesale prices of their products:

http://www.jiyimusical.en.alibaba.com/productlist.html

Kaka brand is their beginner model. They have nicer professional models under the "Enya" brand name. What gall that Irish singer has to rip off not only their brand name, but even the same stylized font! ;p

Hammond
04-18-2015, 04:53 AM
I am sure the "KaKa" means nothing. If there must be one reason, I rather believe the mainland China people are inspired by "Kala". But likely not.

In China, the information from the outside world are very limited, they know Kala much more than Kamaka. Even, it is very hard for them to access this forum, and other websites (like Uke brand's website, or HMS), to learn about Kamaka & other ukulele related things.

Luke El U
04-18-2015, 10:29 AM
I am sure the "KaKa" means nothing....In China, the information from the outside world are very limited, they know Kala much more than Kamaka. Even, it is very hard for them to access this forum, and other websites (like Uke brand's website, or HMS), to learn about Kamaka & other ukulele related things.

Well, at least you got the first part right. Kaka means nothing here in mainland China. Sounds have different meanings to different people. When, for example, Croatian shops advertise "cold drinks" to thirsty summer visitors from Slovakia, the Slovaks can't help but read it as meaning "hungry vagina." (Though a more vulgar word is imagined.)

As for "information from the outside world being very limited" here in the mainland, I think a better word would be "controlled." It is not North Korea here. Educated, inquiring mainlanders know very well what is going on in their country and abroad. I can think of many of my fellow Americans who would not be able to find Hong Kong nor Adelaide on a map.

I've had no problems accessing this site and other uke sites from mainland China since I've joined this forum some years ago. But, then I'm a native English speaker. Mainlanders have their own uke site in Mandarin, they don't need this one.

ichadwick
04-18-2015, 10:33 AM
...they are ALL knock offs of the original design and very few 'originals' have been produced since. ...

Danger! Danger! Logic in use! Reason circuits activated... poster may not fly off into a rant unless reprogrammed. Danger! Danger!

Luke El U
04-18-2015, 10:36 AM
One of my best playing and sounding ukes is a Chinese made acacia koa tenor cutaway I found through the Chinese "Amazon" site Aliexpress.com. Slotted head, two hole, abalone binding, very light weight. I added Worth CT strings, a preamp/tuner, strap buttons, and give it a nice polish job.

http://www.fairfax67.com/images/Uku uke 2 sideways.jpg

BTW, I looked for that model when visiting them at the Music Expo last week. They no longer make that model, except as a special order. I was bummed, because I was hoping to get one. Yours looks fantastic.

Hammond
04-18-2015, 06:23 PM
Well, at least you got the first part right. Kaka means nothing here in mainland China. Sounds have different meanings to different people. When, for example, Croatian shops advertise "cold drinks" to thirsty summer visitors from Slovakia, the Slovaks can't help but read it as meaning "hungry vagina." (Though a more vulgar word is imagined.)

As for "information from the outside world being very limited" here in the mainland, I think a better word would be "controlled." It is not North Korea here. Educated, inquiring mainlanders know very well what is going on in their country and abroad. I can think of many of my fellow Americans who would not be able to find Hong Kong nor Adelaide on a map.

I've had no problems accessing this site and other uke sites from mainland China since I've joined this forum some years ago. But, then I'm a native English speaker. Mainlanders have their own uke site in Mandarin, they don't need this one.

You are right, they don't need this forum & HMS, they got their own brands and sites. China got their own controlled everything, which duplicate & replace the others. The inside internet is simply a second copy of the internet itself. For example, Google, ebay, YouTube, are all filtered out, replace with China's own search engines, "TaoBao" (replace ebay), "YouKu" (replace YouTube).

You are lucky to get access from there, the experience of mine and my friends, are once we get into the border, we are almost immediately lost large part of ability, to access outside, include Hong Kong. Or perhaps I didn't take the risk to use some magic apps to get pass the firewall.

Luke El U
04-18-2015, 09:04 PM
You are right, they don't need this forum & HMS, they got their own brands and sites. China got their own controlled everything, which duplicate & replace the others. The inside internet is simply a second copy of the internet itself. For example, Google, ebay, YouTube, are all filtered out, replace with China's own search engines, "TaoBao" (replace ebay), "YouKu" (replace YouTube).

You are lucky to get access from there, the experience of mine and my friends, are once we get into the border, we are almost immediately lost large part of ability, to access outside, include Hong Kong. Or perhaps I didn't take the risk to use some magic apps to get pass the firewall.

We get eBay, UU, HMS without a VPN. Google had been available until last year. Most western social media was shut down after the riots in Tibet in 2008 - said to have been inspired by a video purporting to show the police beating a monk. And you are right, the Internet, like Hong Kong itself, has largely been taken over by Beijing. This article, available here in the mainland, explains the pros and cons for China.

http://edition.cnn.com/2015/03/25/asia/china-internet-censorship-kristie-lu-stout/index.html

For me, the thing that really sucks for me is the cultural difference in the approach to music making here and in the West. Most American musicians I've known are eager to play music any chance they get regardless of whether or not they make any money. I envy all the uke groups available in the West. There is nothing here. But it is better in Taiwan, where they like to copy the Japanese, who like to copy the West. I wish I could live in Taiwan.

avetik
07-01-2015, 03:36 PM
Maybe a good instrument, but the name is so bad I would never buy it.

blue_knight_usa
07-01-2015, 07:45 PM
I wonder if "kaka" means anything in Chinese. maybe someone needs to tell the people who are marketing these ukuleles what that word generally means in English.
ROFLMAO! Their marketing person is Machugana!

Hammond
07-02-2015, 03:06 AM
I am a little surprise this thread has been bumped up again.

I don't know if this information is helpful or not.

They seem to believe that "ka" is Hawaii royal's family name. They were trying hard to convince local people, that the brand name somehow "has something connecting to the Hawaii".

Below is from their statement.


About the Brand Story

Ka is a Hawaiian royal family surnames, but also Hawaiian ukulele cultural iconic phrase, as one of the oldest brands Hawaii 4K ukulele including KA.

We use kaka as the ukulele name, for the first reason is for the love of royal hawaii,respected the spiritual of spread ukulele! Second, kaka ukulele will always adhere to the most primitive traditional Hawaiian production process so that each kaka ukulele have original sound of pure happiness Hawaii.

Like LOGO including lush trees inside. kaka ukulele hope have Hawaiian royal blood, launched various series of classes for a variety of needs ukulele products, with superior quality and reasonable price try to spread the simple,convenient,freedom music to this the world.Bring the happy of ukulele to every one. Let this part of Hawaiian ka ukulele be a big family to the world.



I sent them message discuss "kaka" could mean something else in english.

Warnerbran
06-20-2016, 10:38 AM
come on guys, it's pretty hard not to make a 'knock off' of a ukulele. they are ALL knock offs of the original design and very few 'originals' have been produced since. the use of slotted headstock and rosette says they are not trying to copy a kamaka, looks more like a copy of the kala. maybe kaka in chinese means top quality, i don't know. if someone on the forum has one and can give a review, lets not be too quick to condemn, 90% of the uku's out there are chinese knock offs. by the way, i likey the chessy rosette and slotted headstock, but then again it's possible i'm just a chessy sort of guy.


Hi!
So a lot of people are bagging on these kaka ukes because the name is funny and seems to imply they are a knockoff of another brand. As someone pointed out though, most of the brands of ukes we recognize are made in china anyway. I bought a kaka the other day on amazon because the reviews were overwhelmingly favorable, all 4s and 5s, and many of the reviews said that these kakas play like much more expensive instruments. And wow! This uke rules! I bought it for $85 with bag and tuner and spare strings and etc. Only since playing this uke do i realize how high and tinny my Luna and Hola ukes sound. The tone is rich and full, the craftmanship is perfect. This is an extremely nice uke for the price. The model i got is KUS-70, not even one of their nicest ones. The back has that roundedness like the back of a violin... I seriously recommend buying one of these before the prices start going up. Cheers! And thank you, radio flyer, for keeping an open mind. Buy this ukulele!

sam13
06-20-2016, 10:49 AM
Hi!
So a lot of people are bagging on these kaka ukes because the name is funny and seems to imply they are a knockoff of another brand. As someone pointed out though, most of the brands of ukes we recognize are made in china anyway. I bought a kaka the other day on amazon because the reviews were overwhelmingly favorable, all 4s and 5s, and many of the reviews said that these kakas play like much more expensive instruments. And wow! This uke rules! I bought it for $85 with bag and tuner and spare strings and etc. Only since playing this uke do i realize how high and tinny my Luna and Hola ukes sound. The tone is rich and full, the craftmanship is perfect. This is an extremely nice uke for the price. The model i got is KUS-70, not even one of their nicest ones. The back has that roundedness like the back of a violin... I seriously recommend buying one of these before the prices start going up. Cheers! And thank you, radio flyer, for keeping an open mind. Buy this ukulele!

How about posting a sound sample? Your comments kind of sound like a company pitch ... as this is your first post ... I would be really interested in hearing it. Thanks.

jollyboy
06-20-2016, 10:49 AM
I might get one to go with my Poono...

sam13
06-20-2016, 10:51 AM
:rotfl::rotfl::rotfl::rotfl:

guitarsnrotts
06-20-2016, 12:08 PM
http://www.ukuleleworld.com/kaka-KUC-MAD-Solid-AAA-Mahogany-Top-Sides-and-Back-with-Factory-Gig-Bag-Terrific-Uke.html

Snargle
06-20-2016, 12:25 PM
How about posting a sound sample? Your comments kind of sound like a company pitch ... as this is your first post ... I would be really interested in hearing it. Thanks.
I hope you're not holding your breath. :rolleyes:

PhilUSAFRet
06-20-2016, 12:35 PM
I don't really see the Kamaka similarity.

jollyboy
06-20-2016, 12:45 PM
I hope you're not holding your breath. :rolleyes:

Holding your breath might actually be advisable while waiting for someone to produce a Kaka sample.

sam13
06-20-2016, 03:28 PM
Holding your breath might actually be advisable while waiting for someone to produce a Kaka sample.

You beat me to it. Lol.

I shall be holding my breath for sure. Rotfl.

mm stan
06-20-2016, 05:57 PM
I see no comparison to a kamaka in anyway too ?

Kyle23
06-21-2016, 04:48 PM
I don't see it either. My first thought was the bridge reminded me of an Oscar Schmidt.

jollyboy
06-23-2016, 09:17 AM
... reminded me of an Oscar Schmidt.

There's a cockney rhyming slang joke in there somewhere.

Nickie
06-23-2016, 03:01 PM
I would almost buy it just to hear all the chuckling and snide remarks....

UkerDanno
06-23-2016, 04:50 PM
http://www.aliexpress.com/w/wholesale-kaka-ukulele.html
More expensive Chinese ukes like Kala are made in China and sold by a distributor that has an office in the USA, if you find out that buying direct form China works for you, you can cut out the middle men and save some cash and not have to pretend you are buying from a USA company which is really just an office in a USA city.

they look nice...solid koa top concert with slotted headstock and shell rosette for $80?!

Booli
06-23-2016, 05:53 PM
Holding your breath might actually be advisable while waiting for someone to produce a Kaka sample.


You beat me to it. Lol.

I shall be holding my breath for sure. Rotfl.

I would be holding my breath AFTER the kaka sample - just in case it stinks bad. :)


http://www.aliexpress.com/w/wholesale-kaka-ukulele.html

When you buy them direct from China, the box arrives wrapped in tape with Chinese written all over it in 4cm red letters on tape, probably says "fragile" or something similar. So if you like to get a response or make a scene, pick one up from China direct and use the box as a case for a while, take it to the uke group. I am not sure if the USA will get the prices shown here in Australia, but if you set aside the quality of the English descriptions, and realise that a set up may be required, it may be worth the risk to do the experience of buying direct from China to see how it goes and what happens.
More expensive Chinese ukes like Kala are made in China and sold by a distributor that has an office in the USA, if you find out that buying direct form China works for you, you can cut out the middle men and save some cash and not have to pretend you are buying from a USA company which is really just an office in a USA city.

While some of what you say here may be accurate I was under the impression from all the reading I've done and the massive amount of videos, that Kala is run by Mike Upton, the CEO out of Petaluma, CA and is in fact a USA corporation, which has traditionally had most of their ukes in the past manufactured in China, and since Winter NAMM 2015 has put out a NEW line called their 'ELITE' series, which are supposedly all hand-made by their in-house luthery staff in the shop in Petaluma.

The 'ELITE' series has been discussed here on UU many times, and the higher price seems to reflect that fact that these instruments are not Asian imports. Maybe we are all being scammed?

In several videos with Aldrine Guerrero (one of the founders of UU), Mike Upton has confirmed these observations numerous times.

So, my point is, that I do not think that Kala is just a distributor for cookie-cutter Asian-factory-made ukes like these 'Kaka' ukes.

shalomjj
09-16-2016, 11:16 AM
I ordered a Kaka KUT-MAD thanks to the advice from someone on this forum. I am blown away by it! I got it for $99 with free shipping from Amazon. This thing is set up really well. Low action, no buzzing, and the intonation is really good. But, what is best, is that it is built light and with the solid sapele it really resonates and plays loud but warm. Yes, there are a few cosmetic flaws and the tuners aren't the best, but work fine. I can live with that for the price! It also came with a gigbag, strap, strap buttons installed, and even an extra set of aquila strings (thought the Enya installed ones are really good). The tuner that comes with it too is really cool as unlike snark, it lights the whole display green only when it hits pitch. What can I say? These ukes are a deal. Now, I'm scratching my head how they do it. By the way, I compared this to the Cordoba 22T which I also just ordered off amazon. It has a brittle sound and not nearly as much tone and projection as the Kaka. Needless to say I'm sending it back and keeping the Kaka. I plan on ordering more Kaka's for my family. I also like the name. Hey, it's funny, but that is good. Makes you smile :) God is good!

Dean Beaver
06-21-2017, 03:17 AM
I bought a Kaka KUT-25 (Tenor) for my girlfriend as a first Ukulele. It's the laminate Mahogany model. The action was good straight out the box, but I lowered it just a touch as she has delicate hands at 50 years plus. The Uke is light, sweet in tone, playability seems very good to me and I think it plays nicely for what it's worth, I wouldn't have given a crappy Ukulele to my girlfriend to learn with as a first Uke, that's just not on.
For those who are wondering about the actual definition of "Kaka", it's the name of a large parrot type bird in New Zealand, it's a genuine name.

stevepetergal
06-22-2017, 03:39 AM
I don't think they look like Kamakas at all. But, they have one model, the KUT-70, that looks like they were looking at Jake Shimabukuro's custom Kamaka.

Dean Beaver
06-22-2017, 07:03 AM
Well I personally don't know much about Kamaka ukes at all, but I did a bit of research and cross referencing prior to purchasing the KUT25 , from what I could tell it seems likely the Kaka ukuleles are affiliated with the Enya Ukuleles, in a similar way that Makala is affiliated with Kala etc, although I'm not certain it seems likely. Personally I actually think they are pretty good.

pritch
06-22-2017, 12:24 PM
There was a recent thread about these poking fun at the name :)

My first thought was the obvious. Yeah I'm shallow. Still, it's an unfortunate choice of name.

Sharpshin
06-22-2017, 04:55 PM
Dean,

You are a patient bird man. Welcome, I think your mojo arrived quite a while back.

Rllink
06-23-2017, 02:53 AM
Back in the days of the Chevy Nova everyone in Puerto Rico would laugh at them because Nova translates to "doesn't go" in Spanish. That was a long time ago though, and I don't know if people didn't buy them because of that. But I do remember people making fun of people who did.

I don't know why I started reading this thread for the first time today, but the very first post the OP thought that the Kaka looked like a Kamaka. Now I have not paid particular attention to Kamaka ukuleles, but don't they just look like ukuleles? I mean, most traditional styled ukuleles look the same to me, unless they have some distinctive headstock or something like that. How do you produce a knock off of a traditional styled ukulele?

janeray1940
06-23-2017, 04:34 AM
I'm not sure if Kamaka have this bridge design, I really don't know, and I don't know why anyone would think they are a Kamaka, unless they are perhaps illiterate or dyslexic, in which case they may think it's any brand with a K and an A in it, I think there is quite a few.

Kamaka does not have this bridge design. As someone who has owned more than half a dozen Kamakas over the years, I can assure you that the ukes in this thread bear less than zero resemblance to Kamakas, which you can see the full lineup of here (http://www.kamakahawaii.com/instruments.html). It's always kind of puzzled me that, nearly three years ago, this thread started because someone thought they looked like knockoffs. The only resemblance IMO is that they are ukuleles :)

The Hawaiian alphabet has only 13 letters. Five of those are vowels, and the K consonant comes up really frequently because the Hawaiian words "ka" and "ke" are sort of like the English word "the."