View Full Version : Up Close and Personal with Aldrine’s Mika (Kamaka HF-3 Ukulele)

03-24-2009, 12:52 AM

This one is for the fan boys and fan girls out there. There are a ton of graphic images of a solo unprotected ukulele named Mika. I hope you enjoy the pictures. I know I enjoyed my time with her. This will take multiple posts due to the 4 picture per post limit.


The Back-Story

So today, Aldrine was on the island of Oahu. So Dustin (Kaneohe til the end) and I hung out with him. And Aldrine needed a favor. After hanging out with us, he was going to cruise the town with some of his other friends and didn’t want to be weighed down by his uke, Mika, and he needed someone to hold on to it for a while. He had the saddest look on his face, and really needed help. So I graciously volunteered for the burdensome task. It was a long and difficult decision, and I had to consider all of the personal costs and dangers involved with possession of a Kamaka HF-3, but I agreed to help him out.

Anyway, I had Mika all to myself in my bedroom, and living room, and bathroom, even had her in the kitchen for a while. Yup, I had my fun with her on the bed, on a few couches, on the porcelain throne, pretty much everywhere. Aldrine probably won’t be too happy when he reads that, but oh well. He will have more fabulous ukes in the near future anyway. Hint hint. But I’m sure he’ll want to make the public announcement himself (although I think he already announced it in one of the live lessons,) so I’ll save that announcement for him. But basically, Mika will probably be his uke-on-the-side soon, so he hopefully won't mind the fun that I’ve had with her. I treated her well.

And now, I’d like to share an up close look at Aldrine’s workhorse, and favorite uke with everyone here.

Well, of course I played it…for quite a while…several hours. Acoustically and amplified. And let me tell you, it sounds good. I didn’t record any sound clips of it, simply because I suck, and everyone here already knows what Mika sounds like. If you want to hear her played properly, check out these links:

Aldrine’s Youtube Channel:

Comprehensive Aldrine Guerrero Lesson List

No joke, Victoria Vox suggested that I fill his case with sand, and he would never notice. Hehe. It would be premium Waikiki beach sand if I did. Check it out!

And now would also probably be a good time to send a few twitter followers in the right direction:
Ukulele Underground: http://twitter.com/UkeUnderground
ExperimentJon: http://twitter.com/JonFung
Rayan: http://twitter.com/UUrayan
Aldrine Guerrero: http://twitter.com/Aldrine
Kaneohe til the End: http://twitter.com/Dustin_The_Wind
Kateri: http://twitter.com/kdebusca
Brad Baris (Suite 408 artist): http://twitter.com/bradbaris
Danyo Cummings: http://twitter.com/danyocummings
Deach: http://twitter.com/deach
JMic: http://twitter.com/jmiclovesyou
Seeso: http://twitter.com/seeso
(Sorry, I’m sure I left a lot of people out, but I’ll probably make a bigger list eventually…or someone else can compile it.)

Anyway, onto the ukulele.

The Case
Aldrine currently has a Kala Tweed Case for Tenor Ukulele housing Mika.

Weird Hawaii sticker
Kauai with Rooster sticker
Purple skull and crossbones with glitter sticker
In and out Burger sticker
Suite 409 stickers
Storm Trooper sticker
Ukulele Underground sticker
One Love Rasta sticker
Guava Town sticker
GSUS Sindustries sticker
Arnette sticker
Some sharpie drawings

More sharpie drawings

Some metal dangly toy thing

03-24-2009, 12:54 AM
Delving Inside

The insides of the case are pretty smooth too. But what’s most shocking is how much stuff he can fit in there. Check it out.

Wine red velvet

Inner compartment:
Dollar bill folded into bow-tie
Silica Gel: don’t eat these!
A piece of paper
Keys for the case
Another dangly thing
Decapitated Mika head wtf?
Sandisk thumb drive 2gb

Headcap compartment:
GHS fretboard oil
D’Addario strings (three)
Savarez Strings (seems to be a full set)
Car air freshener: New Car Scent…yeah…
Digital clip on tuner
String winder
Ukulele strap
Maryknoll Schools visitor guest pass sticker
Some business cards
Some pieces of paper
A cable
Microfiber cloth
(seriously, how in the world can you fit that much stuff in there?)

03-24-2009, 12:54 AM

Mika started as a Kamaka HF-3, tenor. Pretty much a plane Jane. But then, got a little bit of work done on her at the Kamaka factory, and even though I don’t have an HF-3 to play back to back with Mika, from the last HF-3, I have played, this does feel quite different…yes, better. And Mika also has a Fishman Matrix pickup installed, which sounds way good…and I was just running her through a Vox 5-watt practice amp with an el-cheapo cable. And it still sounded amazing.

Check out that curl! You actually can’t see it unless you tilt the uke the right angle, and have the right kind of lighting, but its coming out. Normally, it looks like pretty plain koa. Also, note the dirty finger marks all over the fretboard.

Front (Again)
This is how it usually looks. Very orange.

As GX9901 has been very happy to discover, you can see that Kamaka uses a one piece neck. Also, you can see some pretty cool grain patterns on the side.

On the back, under the right light, and at the right angles, you can also see some curl coming out in the wood.

03-24-2009, 12:55 AM
Up Close Head

But once you start looking closer at Mika, you realize that she has been around the block a few times and has seen quite a bit of hard use…lets start from the top down.

Headplate (front)
I don’t know if it’s just me, but the KK inlay which is usually just mother of pearl seems to look more gold-colored in Aldrine’s instrument. It has the standard pearloid tuning keys. Also check out that crusty yellow stuff on the nut. Hehe.

Head (back)
Mika does have some battle damage. The back of the head shows some of the scars, with some scratches at the very top.

Head (side)
You can see the biggest chip on the side. There is also some sticky residue on the back too, that you can see in this picture.

03-24-2009, 12:56 AM
Up Close Neck

You could say that dirty hands have been up and down this fretboard…

Fretboard (Top)
This is sort of gross…Aldrine should consider cleaning this up the next time he takes his strings off. But you can clearly see that this has been a heavily played instrument. Look at all that grime on the rosewood.

Fretboard (Bottom)
Most people just have fretboard dirty marks at the top of the fretboard where most of the chords are played. But Aldrine rocks out all the way at the bottom too. Look at that dirt!

This was modified by the factory with some assistance by Jake. Not sure what exactly he did, but it sure does sound good.

03-24-2009, 12:57 AM
The Body

Mika’s body has some scars too. You can’t really see them in the pictures, but there are finger scratch marks, and some dents in places, and some finish wear, but beneath all of that, is some nice curl patterns coming out in the wood.

Kamaka Label
You can see the serial number and the Kamaka label. The date of production isn’t shown because the pickup battery blocks it, but it’s definitely a post 2000 model. (Thanks, Jon, that really narrows it down. No problem!)

Invisible Pickguard
Aldrine does have a pickguard on the kamaka, on both sides of the fretboard on the body. It traces the top edge of the body, and ends where you see in the picture.

Note the copious amounts of dust. And if you were wondering, those are D’Addario strings. Also check out how yellow the tie-part is. It’s all pretty grimy with the exception of where the strings touch. This area was also worked on by the factory and Jake.

03-24-2009, 12:58 AM

Aldrine’s Kamaka has an active Fishman Matrix pickup in it. It’s not like a custom pickup, and is offered as a factory option, but here’s what it looks like.

The Wiring
Red and black shielded wires that are anchored neatly to the left side of the uke.

The Battery
The battery compartment is attached with Velcro to the neck block of the uke. The compartment itself seems to be made of some sort of nylon material and closes with Velcro. If you were interested, the 9V battery inside is from Duracell.

The Pickup
The pickup is a red wire that goes under the saddle with a whole bunch of magical tricks to it. Something about vibrations and magnetism and currents. But that’s what it looks like, up close and personal.

The Output Jack
Standard factory installed, and coming out of the block of wood in the back of the instrument. Also doubles as an attachment point for a strap....and is also known as the female part of the uke.

So that’s pretty much all I’ve got on Mika. Hope you liked it. I sure enjoyed my time with her on the bed and the couch and the toilet (excellent acoustics in there,) and everywhere else I took her.

03-24-2009, 01:02 AM
Work horse, dang, Thanks for the hard work John, Always wondered how Mika was set up.

03-24-2009, 01:04 AM
Very cool .... in a stalker/voyeur way.

03-24-2009, 01:41 AM
Very cool .... in a stalker/voyeur way.

Yes indeed.

03-24-2009, 01:46 AM
I feel like what deach says... saw something good, but not sure if I was supposed to.

That fretboard is my nomination for the next round of Undies. Something like a new category in the line of "Major Mojo", "Look at that Uke!", or perhaps better, "Funky Fretboards". Yeah, that's it.

Thank you for that view over the wall, Jon. My dreams will never be the same.

03-24-2009, 01:56 AM
I'm just stunned by the dirt on so high on the fretboard, Aldrine really gets work done down there :D

03-24-2009, 05:23 AM
Pretty cool documentary. Thanks for the work Jon!

Fred Miu
03-24-2009, 05:53 AM
You should have filmed that with Aaron, would have made a great video documentary. THIS is a novel!

03-24-2009, 06:01 AM
Very cool .... in a stalker/voyeur way.
Be afraid Aldrine, be very afraid.

03-24-2009, 06:20 AM
Haha! Exploited to the hilt! Jon, you left nothing to be desired... Poor Mika.

Lol. Thanks for the coverage

03-24-2009, 07:06 AM
Cool write up.. I've always wanted to know more about Mika. I would have wanted to hear some sound bites of Mika being played by us Meer Mortals instead of Ukulele gods (too much??).

Now post the picks you didnt want us to see.. You know you have them :shaka:

03-24-2009, 09:13 AM
Nice work on the upclose views, i was real interested.
My twitter stuff is, http:twitter.com/nixlix
at least i think thats what it is, anyway the name is nixlix is the screen name, I'm Nick Lorusso. nice job again

03-24-2009, 09:39 AM

i would also like to see more peoples twitter accounts.. hummmm maybe a thread? or is there one already?

03-24-2009, 10:42 AM
I feel so...dirty. Not in a "ick, look at the dirt on Mika's fretboard" kind of dirty; more like a "I can't believe I just enjoyed that piece of voyeurism" kind of dirty.

Not that it's a bad thing - thanks for the undercover look at Mika!

03-24-2009, 10:46 AM
So is it the fretboard filth or the bling that makes Mika sound so good?

03-24-2009, 11:04 AM
i think you should be on some kind of uke offenders register (lol,joke)

03-24-2009, 11:18 AM
wow, interesting I never realized how much more beautiful/grimy his ukulele was from the videos.

Ahnko Honu
03-24-2009, 01:48 PM
Does Aldrine know yet that you have violated his precious Mika? :eek:;):cool:

03-24-2009, 02:26 PM
I feel dirty. You know in some countries we could be charged with “being an accessory to a ukulele infringement or violation”, just for reading this thread and not reporting it to the authorities.

03-24-2009, 04:06 PM
Does Aldrine know yet that you have violated his precious Mika? :eek:;):cool:

She didn't say a thing when I gave her back to him.

Captain Google
03-24-2009, 04:18 PM
She didn't say a thing when I gave her back to him.

I think he already knew it would happen. Do you really believe he was "going out" with "friends", not wanting Mika to "weigh him down"? He probably wanted someone to take an in-depth look and post their findings here. Doing so would likely have violated the terms of his agreement with her.

05-28-2009, 03:38 AM
Wow awesome :'D
Thanks a lot :shaka:

Now I know that sticker will stay on a tweed case, gret news.

What kind of scratchprotector is Aldrine using?


05-28-2009, 06:21 AM
wow, that is awesome.

12-26-2009, 03:51 PM
Hate how photobucket breaks all your links when you finally decide to organize your photos. But I fixed it now.

Except Aldrine is now using his Kanilea...which hasn't quite gotten all the grime on it yet...and I haven't gotten to spend time with it alone in my room yet. Although I have fondled it in a public place.

12-27-2009, 09:24 AM
This stuff really belongs in the Uke Porn thread. I better get outta here before my wife catches me...:rolleyes: