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Joyful Uke
10-05-2016, 06:00 AM
As the Kamaka anniversary year is coming close to the end, I've been thinking about whether or not I'd want an anniversary Kamaka.

It would probably be a concert, though I guess my questions would apply to all sizes.

Of course, there is variation from one ukulele to the next, even with the same brand and size, but with that in mind:

How much variation is there from one Kamaka to the next? How is intonation? (That's a big issue for me.) Are sound and build quality pretty consistent? How do those concerns compare to non-anniverary models, (should I wait until next year if I want the best quality, since I would assume they'll build fewer ukuleles then?)

I'm guessing that the prices will stay the same next year, and not go down even though it's not a special headstock next year. Does that seem like a reasonable guess? (I realize no one but Kamaka knows the answer for sure, though.)

PhilUSAFRet
10-05-2016, 06:19 AM
Hopefully, mmstan will chime in.

lfoo6952
10-05-2016, 06:26 AM
Hi Joyful:

I can't answer your questions but I can tell you that your window for ordering one will soon close, based on a conversation I had with a local Kamaka dealer in my area. The dealer said he will soon place his last order with Kamaka for the anniversary models soon. So you shouldn't delay too long if you want one.

Luke

Joyful Uke
10-05-2016, 06:31 AM
Hi Joyful:

I can't answer your questions but I can tell you that your window for ordering one will soon close, based on a conversation I had with a local Kamaka dealer in my area. The dealer said he will soon place his last order with Kamaka for the anniversary models soon. So you shouldn't delay too long if you want one.

Luke

Thanks, Luke. That's why I had it on my mind. It's now or never for a new one, if I decide I want the anniversary headstock.

sam13
10-05-2016, 06:35 AM
I have two Kamaka Ukes.

A Long neck Concert which is a 2015, and a Long Neck Tenor 100th anniversary model.

Both have wonderful tone, consistent build quality and I love them.

I really wish they had a radius but ... well, what can be done. I have recently requested details on a custom and the prices were off the charts ...

Mivo
10-05-2016, 06:35 AM
Good questions. I have been considering to buy a Kamaka all year, but I feel that a driving force behind that desire is (for me) the perceived shortage and limited availability of 2016 models (not wanting to miss out, so this is working as intended), not necessarily a strong want to have or need a Kamaka. If I went for another K brand ukulele right now, Kanile'a is the one that I'd be most interested in (solely because of the excellent experience with the GL6 koa model).

But, yes, there is the "missing out!" thought, and I go back and forth on whether I should grab an anniversary model. Realistically, though, probably a lot of people think that way, and we might see 2016 models show up in the used instrument market regularly, at least for a while. (Buying used is a much more cost efficient way of "trying out" ukes.)

Interesting thought about the quality vs. quantity of instruments made in a year.

sam13
10-05-2016, 06:37 AM
Does anyone have a HF3 AND AN HF3L?

I find the thickness of the HF3L quite think when compared to the HF2L ... I like a thin neck.

I am considering a 100th HF3 purchase as well as I really like the Kamaka tone ... but would pass if the thickness of the neck is similar to the HF3L.

Joyful Uke
10-05-2016, 06:53 AM
Am I correct in thinking that Kamaka isn't doing any anniverary models of the Ohta San?

Domiuke
10-05-2016, 07:03 AM
I am afraid it is too late for an order, It is allready 4 months I passed an order and still waiting for the instrument
The 100th anniversary will be a good Kamaka certainly not different but certainly a "collector"
Hope you understand my english:)

Joyful Uke
10-05-2016, 07:25 AM
I am afraid it is too late for an order, It is allready 4 months I passed an order and still waiting for the instrument
The 100th anniversary will be a good Kamaka certainly not different but certainly a "collector"
Hope you understand my english:)

I know that some of the music stores are still expecting more anniversary models to arrive, (Elderly Music has an expected arrival date of 11/10/16, which I think was pushed back from 10/1/16, IIRC), so there will still be more anniversary models for sale, at least in the US. I don't know if there will be any special orders from individuals, though.

sam13
10-05-2016, 08:13 AM
I know that some of the music stores are still expecting more anniversary models to arrive, (Elderly Music has an expected arrival date of 11/10/16, which I think was pushed back from 10/1/16, IIRC), so there will still be more anniversary models for sale, at least in the US. I don't know if there will be any special orders from individuals, though.

I recently contacted Kamaka directly. They are taking orders until the end of the year, even if your 100th anniversary Ukulele arrives mid April or May 2017.

Call Andrew at HMS, he can help.

Y

Joyful Uke
10-05-2016, 08:17 AM
I recently contacted Kamaka directly. They are taking orders until the end of the year, even if your 100th anniversary Ukulele arrives mid April or May 2017.

Call Andrew at HMS, he can help.

Y

Good to know. Thanks.
The first step is to decide if I even want to do this....

donquixote
10-05-2016, 08:42 AM
Does anyone have a HF3 AND AN HF3L?

I find the thickness of the HF3L quite think when compared to the HF2L ... I like a thin neck.

I am considering a 100th HF3 purchase as well as I really like the Kamaka tone ... but would pass if the thickness of the neck is similar to the HF3L.

I have an HF3 100th Anniversary model. Bought it earlier this year when I was in Hilo.

I can't compare with other Kamakas, but I fell in love with the one I ultimately bought. I tried out Kanile'as and Koalohas as well (tenors). I found the Kanile'as to make the strongest first impression, from the aesthetics to the tone (it's tight, punchy and cuts through, but not overly bright that it's brittle). The Koaloha I tried was a bit more woodsy than the Kanile'a, and seemed louder. I tried all of these while in Hilo.

The HF3 that I have was the "quietest" but seemed to have more subtle overtones than the other K's. The Kamaka plays like butter, and had the sweetest sound. I'm a singer, and tend to sing more than solo, and of the 3 K's, the Kamaka's mellow tone seems to best match my voice. Basically the other K's I tried seemed to be a bit punchier, but the Kamaka seemed mellower with a more complex sound, especially since I tune it down a full step (so essentially C becomes Bb).

And now a few months in, I absolutely love it. I have no idea whether it's any different than the non-100th versions (other than the more blingy headstock and tuners).

stevejfc
10-05-2016, 09:43 AM
I've had good luck in the past just calling Chris at kamaka. He's very straight forward with his answers.......and he's a good guy too

DownUpDave
10-05-2016, 12:51 PM
I am going to come clean and possibly embarrass myself and sam13. Neither one of us liked the sound of Kamakas when we had a chance to play them at a music store in Toronto. To be honest we completely dismissed them as being more about the name then anything else. It might have been the black nylon strings that they come stock with, neither of us like the sound of nylon compared to florocarbon.

Andrew from HMS always spoke highly of Kamaka and in 2015 did a 12 string comparison test on Kamaka tenors. He said that Kamakas had become very consistent in the last few years and that sound test proved it. I listened to that many many times and really liked what I was hearing. Andrew has heard all ukes imaginable and I trust him as a very credible source.

To shorten this story sam13 buys the Kamaka long neck concert and it is amazing sounding. He then buys a100th anniversay long neck tenor that is mind blowing in sound quality, close to matching our LfdM tenors. I bought a 100th annniversay baritone that is the best baritone I have ever heard. So we are now died in the wool Kamaka fanboys. Sam13 now wants a regular neck tenor he loves the Kamaka sound so much

If you haven't figured it out yet I say buy one.........fast.

MainlandGal510
10-05-2016, 01:35 PM
Anybody have experience ordering directly from Kamaka vs going thru a dealer? What would be the diff?

(There's an Anniversary tenor on ebay for those interested! I'm not an ebay person.)

Choirguy
10-05-2016, 03:57 PM
And like all things, there will eventually be 100th Anniversary Kamakas on the market, used, at a slight discount from today's full price. Eventually, if you want one and don't order now, there will be options in the future. I could be wrong, but I would expect them to depreciate in value for a while (after purchase) until some point in the future where less of them are around, and then they increase in price. But a ukulele isn't (generally) an investment, it is an instrument that should be played for personal enjoyment.

And while I would happily own a 100th anniversary model (which would need to be stored away 6 months of the year in my world due to cold winters other than when played), I would really love a KoAloha with that new pearl inlay logo--but that doesn't belong in this thread...

Joyful Uke
10-05-2016, 04:36 PM
I am going to come clean and possibly embarrass myself and sam13. Neither one of us liked the sound of Kamakas when we had a chance to play them at a music store in Toronto. <snip>

So we are now died in the wool Kamaka fanboys. Sam13 now wants a regular neck tenor he loves the Kamaka sound so much

If you haven't figured it out yet I say buy one.........fast.

I had a chance to very briefly try one a couple years ago, and was unimpressed. But, somehow, I've become quite taken with the sound. Maybe my ears have changed their opinion on what sound is good, maybe the one from the past was not the best example of Kamaka, or...who knows. But, I really like the sound now.

But, with your much greater experience with a variety of ukuleles, I appreciate hearing that you didn't like them initially, but do now. That makes me feel better about my own changing opinion. :-) And, coming from you, it's a great recommendation.

Joyful Uke
10-05-2016, 04:40 PM
I have an HF3 100th Anniversary model. Bought it earlier this year when I was in Hilo. <snip>

And now a few months in, I absolutely love it. I have no idea whether it's any different than the non-100th versions (other than the more blingy headstock and tuners).

I don't know if it's any different from the non-100th versions, but at least you're giving a great recommendation, so thank you, and enjoy your HF3.

Joyful Uke
10-05-2016, 04:45 PM
But the ukes are coming off the same production line, unless you are buying a model especially made for 2016. So if you just want a nice koa Kamaka ukulele from the standard range, it probably makes no difference if it has a 2016 logo, just order your uke.

I agree that the anniversary headstock logo isn't the important thing, unless you're a collector, but do still wonder about my initial questions. I'd be getting one to play, (if I decide to get one), and not as a collector's item.

Aren't there some changes, (maybe small changes, at least), from year to year? Are there some years where the ukuleles sound better?

Joyful Uke
10-05-2016, 04:49 PM
And like all things, there will eventually be 100th Anniversary Kamakas on the market, used, at a slight discount from today's full price.


That's true. The used market will eventually have some of the anniversary models, so if I don't get one now and decide later that I want one, I don't have to feel that it was a missed opportunity.

janeray1940
10-05-2016, 04:56 PM
Of course, there is variation from one ukulele to the next, even with the same brand and size, but with that in mind:

How much variation is there from one Kamaka to the next? How is intonation? (That's a big issue for me.) Are sound and build quality pretty consistent? How do those concerns compare to non-anniverary models, (should I wait until next year if I want the best quality, since I would assume they'll build fewer ukuleles then?)

I'm guessing that the prices will stay the same next year, and not go down even though it's not a special headstock next year. Does that seem like a reasonable guess? (I realize no one but Kamaka knows the answer for sure, though.)

I've lost count, but I think I've had 6 or 7 Kamakas over the years - they're pretty much all I play. That being said, I notice a lot of variation between them. I've been lucky enough to be able to choose between 2 or more of the same model in person, and with my eyes closed and someone else playing, there was always one that had a sound quality that I preferred over the next. For what it's worth, the few that I've bought online without trying first I've ended up re-homing. I've only ever encountered one with an intonation problem (C string, 8th fret, which seems to be a problem spot - my custom had an issue there too!).

At the shop where I play I've tried a few of the anniversary models and frankly, I don't notice anything better about them than the non-anniversary models. I thought I'd be tempted when they came in but I haven't been - I'm pretty happy with the three garden-variety non-anniversary ones I have.

janeray1940
10-05-2016, 05:03 PM
Does anyone have a HF3 AND AN HF3L?

I find the thickness of the HF3L quite think when compared to the HF2L ... I like a thin neck.


Isn't the HF3L a baritone neck? I have a HF1-L which is a longneck soprano AKA concert neck on soprano body, so I'm guessing that HF3-L is a bari neck on a tenor body, and HF2-L is a tenor neck on a concert body. Guessing, but seems logical.


I am going to come clean and possibly embarrass myself and sam13. Neither one of us liked the sound of Kamakas when we had a chance to play them at a music store in Toronto. To be honest we completely dismissed them as being more about the name then anything else. It might have been the black nylon strings that they come stock with, neither of us like the sound of nylon compared to fluorocarbon.


I've said it before and I'll say it again - IT'S THE STRINGS! Those awful black nylon strings, I just don't understand why... But I do know this, if you try one out with the black strings and it sounds even remotely good to your ear, it will sound amazing once you pop on some fluoros. And if you're in a shop, they might even just do it for you - after all, they want to make the sale. Doesn't hurt to ask :)

Choirguy
10-05-2016, 05:11 PM
I thought I'd be tempted when they came in but I haven't been - I'm pretty happy with the three garden-variety non-anniversary ones I have.

That's a funny statement at the end. As if any $1000 (or more!) ukulele could be "garden variety." True...your Kamakas aren't the 100th Anniversary, nor are they custom ukuleles, but still pretty special in themselves, made in Hawaii out of Hawaiian Koa. And due to Kamaka's lengthy career, there might be Kamakas all over Hawaii and the world. Still, it's funny to say that they are "garden-variety."

I don't think there was ever any promise of a different sounding ukulele for the 100th, just a special logo on the headstock.

Mivo
10-05-2016, 05:21 PM
I'm pretty happy with the three garden-variety non-anniversary ones I have.

And if you drop them in a decade from now, replacing them would be less of an uphill battle than trying to get an anniversary model, particular one you bond with. :)

janeray1940
10-05-2016, 05:30 PM
That's a funny statement at the end. As if any $1000 (or more!) ukulele could be "garden variety."

To be honest - aside from the Ohta-San I no longer have, I've never spent anywhere near $1000 on a Kamaka. I've kept an eye out for deals, and I'm fortunate to live in an area with a lot of musicians, and a lot of music stores. Supply and demand, I guess, but they just aren't that big of a deal in these parts.


And if you drop them in a decade from now, replacing them would be less of an uphill battle than trying to get an anniversary model, particular one you bond with. :)

Ack. Drop?! Perish the thought!!! :)

ghostrdr
10-05-2016, 06:33 PM
Hi Everyone,

I don't post much, but this thread resonated with me. I was just in my local Island Bazaar ukulele store today in Huntington Beach, California and they just got their shipment in. I think they had three HF-3 Kamaka Tenors and 2 Kamaka Concerts for sale and not spoken for.

One of them looked really nice with very curly koa. Sounded great too! I'm sure they'll have no problem selling them.

They are nice people at the store. I bought a KoAloha concert there years ago. (On a side note, they had an absolutely breathtaking Kanile'a - it was gorgeous with a thin slotted head stock, cut-away, lots of detail, and sounded amazing)

Good luck! If you are in Hawaii, I think Lahaina Music on Maui has about 3 Tenor Kamaka 100 year anniversary models as well. A couple of other stores if you call around have 2015 models at a discount as well. Some really beautiful instruments.

Aloha!

donquixote
10-05-2016, 07:18 PM
I had a chance to very briefly try one a couple years ago, and was unimpressed. But, somehow, I've become quite taken with the sound. Maybe my ears have changed their opinion on what sound is good, maybe the one from the past was not the best example of Kamaka, or...who knows. But, I really like the sound now.

But, with your much greater experience with a variety of ukuleles, I appreciate hearing that you didn't like them initially, but do now. That makes me feel better about my own changing opinion. :-) And, coming from you, it's a great recommendation.

I don't know if you're a guitarist or not, but I've found this to be the case with musical instruments anyhow. Tastes change - that's what happened with me with Gibson acoustics (from not liking it at all to loving it).

Based on what janeray1940 says, it seems like Kamakas are like the Gibson acoustics -- they can be amazing but vary more widely in sound than other makes. So if Kamakas are Gibsons, then Koalohas are Martins and Kanile'as are Taylors?

janeray1940
10-05-2016, 07:34 PM
Based on what janeray1940 says, it seems like Kamakas are like the Gibson acoustics -- they can be amazing but vary more widely in sound than other makes. So if Kamakas are Gibsons, then Koalohas are Martins and Kanile'as are Taylors?

Ha ha, that's an interesting way to look at it. I'm not enough of a guitar player to know the differences between the various makes, but I will tend to agree with this in principle. To my ear, Koalohas all sound pretty consistently bright, and Kanile'as all sound pretty consistently warm, whereas Kamakas can vary a bit more, especially once you get into changing strings. Even with as many as I've played, I'm not sure that I've noticed a distinctive Kamaka sound - but a Koaloha always sounds just as I'd expect :)

Biedmatt
10-06-2016, 12:12 AM
I ordered a Pineapple, long neck, deluxe directly from Kamaka in early June. All communication was via email. They responded within 24 hours and were very friendly and professional. I received it in 9 or 10 weeks, I forget some of the details, but it was 2 weeks sooner than expected. The build quality was very high. It has that "Hawaii" sound which I expect is due to the soprano size body. I like the sound, it is different from the other ukes I own.

100 years is an impressive milestone for a family business. Usually they go bust by then or are absorbed into a larger corporation. I wanted the 100th anniversary uke so I too could celebrate their achievement. I play it every day. This family after 100 years is now only into it's third generation. This suggests to me the family is dedicated to their business and their work. Generations 1 and 2 had or have 50+ years. How many of you would do what you do for a living for more than 50 years? Dedication.

Matt

guitharsis
10-06-2016, 03:15 AM
Earlier this year I ordered a spruce top Ohta San from Mim. On a whim also ordered a cedar top concert deluxe. Had to sell a gorgeous Pohaku concert to justify purchasing both Kamakas but have not regretted doing it. Believe Kamaka pulled out all the stops this year. Both of mine are absolutely stunning and sound amazing.

Joyful Uke
10-06-2016, 05:03 AM
At the shop where I play I've tried a few of the anniversary models and frankly, I don't notice anything better about them than the non-anniversary models. I thought I'd be tempted when they came in but I haven't been - I'm pretty happy with the three garden-variety non-anniversary ones I have.

Thanks for that feedback.

I did think that people had mentioned that there was variation from one Kamaka to the next, (a little more than the usual from any instrument to the next), so you've confirmed that, too.

I wouldn't be able to try before buying, unfortunately.

Joyful Uke
10-06-2016, 05:05 AM
100 years is an impressive milestone for a family business. Usually they go bust by then or are absorbed into a larger corporation. I wanted the 100th anniversary uke so I too could celebrate their achievement.
Matt

It is an impressive achievement, especially these days. So far, I only have the CD to celebrate it, but obviously am tempted with the idea of getting an anniversary ukulele. Enjoy yours!

Joyful Uke
10-06-2016, 05:06 AM
Earlier this year I ordered a spruce top Ohta San from Mim. On a whim also ordered a cedar top concert deluxe. Had to sell a gorgeous Pohaku concert to justify purchasing both Kamakas but have not regretted doing it. Believe Kamaka pulled out all the stops this year. Both of mine are absolutely stunning and sound amazing.


How does the concert compare to the Ohta San? I would assume that there is a bit deeper sound, (and maybe a bit louder?), from the Ohta San?

You've got 2 great ukuleles!

Joyful Uke
10-06-2016, 05:12 AM
Based on what janeray1940 says, it seems like Kamakas are like the Gibson acoustics -- they can be amazing but vary more widely in sound than other makes. So if Kamakas are Gibsons, then Koalohas are Martins and Kanile'as are Taylors?

Interesting comparison.
The variation in the Kamakas is one thing that is making me hesitate in buying, though.

DownUpDave
10-06-2016, 05:26 AM
Interesting comparison.
The variation in the Kamakas is one thing that is making me hesitate in buying, though.

I would not hesitate to call Andrew at HMS and ask him this question directly. I have and he always gives an honest answer.

For what it is worth just about every stringed fretted acoustic instrument will vary in sound from one instrument to the next of the same model. I know there has been this " commonly held belief" that Kamakas vary the most but I think that is not so prevelent in the last couple years.

soupking
10-06-2016, 05:37 AM
I've owned several Kamakas dating back from this year to 2012. I think they're just about the best production Ike's being made; immaculately constructed, easy playing, and great sounding. I have one 2015 HF-3 left. I sold an anniversary HF-3 in favor of the '15. I'm not a big fan of the new semigloss finish-- although I know others are. Between the '15 gloss and '16 semi, I chose to keep the '15. The '16 to me appeared to be built lighter and the neck was a tad thinner- not sure if that was just my uke or across the board, but it definitely lighter. I wouldn't say it sounded any better, though. I would not hesitate buying one for fear that it mightn't sound good. I like the Kamaka strings, too, plus, they're cheap :cool: -- Matt

janeray1940
10-06-2016, 05:38 AM
Thanks for that feedback.

I did think that people had mentioned that there was variation from one Kamaka to the next, (a little more than the usual from any instrument to the next), so you've confirmed that, too.

I wouldn't be able to try before buying, unfortunately.

One thing to consider though - if you don't have multiples to compare against each other, I can't imagine that you'd be disappointed in the sound unless there was a true problem (like the intonation issue I mentioned, and I've only encountered that once, on a second-hand Kamaka bought sight-unseen on eBay). It's only when we start having lots of choices that things get difficult! :)

If you buy from someone reputable, you'll get a good uke and if you don't at first, the seller should work with you to make things right. I've never actually bought a new uke online, only used, and only from private sellers on eBay with little to no knowledge of ukes.

jfalconc
10-06-2016, 07:14 AM
It is difficult to find music stores that have them available, but 2 days ago I bought a Kamaka HF-2 100th anniversary Edition and I will receive it by tomorrow!!!

guitharsis
10-06-2016, 09:47 AM
How does the concert compare to the Ohta San? I would assume that there is a bit deeper sound, (and maybe a bit louder?), from the Ohta San?

You've got 2 great ukuleles!

Thank you. The concert compares favorably to the spruce top Ohta San. Can't say I really prefer one over the other. With the cedar top, the concert has a nice deep mellow sound.

hmgberg
10-06-2016, 10:20 AM
Am I correct in thinking that Kamaka isn't doing any anniverary models of the Ohta San?

I have an anniversary Ohta-san cedar top. It's fantastic! It's my eighth Kamaka and my favorite (next would be a white-label concert tiki). I haven't been able to put it down since July. I've wanted an Ohta-san for seven years, but ultimately am glad that I waited to get the anniversary model.

stevejfc
10-06-2016, 10:43 AM
I thought long and hard about a 100th anniversary Ohta-San............congrats on scoring one

Joyful Uke
10-06-2016, 11:28 AM
It is difficult to find music stores that have them available, but 2 days ago I bought a Kamaka HF-2 100th anniversary Edition and I will receive it by tomorrow!!!

I hope that you'll do a NUD. Looking forward to hearing about your new Kamaka.

sam13
10-06-2016, 12:44 PM
Isn't the HF3L a baritone neck? I have a HF1-L which is a longneck soprano AKA concert neck on soprano body, so I'm guessing that HF3-L is a bari neck on a tenor body, and HF2-L is a tenor neck on a concert body. Guessing, but seems logical.

Yes, you are correct with your Logic ... if the neck profile of the HF3 is the same as the HF2L, then I am in and totally pumped. SoupKing mentioned a lighter build, and I can say the HF3L is lighter and a superb instrument. I have it Low G with a Thomastik-Infeld 4th string and then CT Worth Tenor strings for the 1st, 2nd and 3rd strings.



I've said it before and I'll say it again - IT'S THE STRINGS! Those awful black nylon strings, I just don't understand why... But I do know this, if you try one out with the black strings and it sounds even remotely good to your ear, it will sound amazing once you pop on some fluoros. And if you're in a shop, they might even just do it for you - after all, they want to make the sale. Doesn't hurt to ask :)

I couldn't agree more.

Dave and I have tried the Kamaka Ukes at a local store and have to say they sounded horrible ... and the Koa was lame as well.

But after buying Rappsy's HF2L, and then the HF3L I have to say ... they are my favourite Ukulele, and favourite Koa sound as well.

My HF2L sounds really great and is quite loud, but I feel I just want a bit more ... which is why I am considering the 100th HF3 and sell the HF2L.

hmgberg
10-06-2016, 05:06 PM
I thought long and hard about a 100th anniversary Ohta-San............congrats on scoring one

Thanks! It was my 60th birthday, so the timing was right. I even liked the factory stings on it, but I wore them out pretty fast. It has Aquila reds on now, with a Fremont low G. I'm very happy with it.

Joyful Uke
10-07-2016, 05:03 AM
My theory is that the good Kamakas rarely make it to a shelf in a shop, Kamaka has had 100 years to set up a very loyal customer base. The very best are identified on the production line and funnelled to loyal customers, distributors fill orders with the good ones, returned and not so good instruments end up on the shelf in music stores.

Anyone else have any thoughts on that?

janeray1940
10-07-2016, 05:10 AM
Anyone else have any thoughts on that?

Well... I've bought several Kamakas off the shelf in a local music store and none of them have any flaws or issues that make me consider them something other than a "good one." When I've had several of the same to choose from, I was able to pick a "best one" or "favorite one" but it was hard to choose from all of the "good ones." So I suppose I disagree with that statement.

Also, other makers have emerged in Hawaii (Koaloha, Kanile'a) that seem to have as loyal of a following as Kamaka, so I can't imagine that there is such a super high demand by loyal customers the minute a new uke comes off the production line. Younger players seem to favor other makers. Many players like having a mix of woods and brands of ukuleles - among the players I know, I'm pretty much the exception in my loyalty to only koa, and only Kamaka.

guitharsis
10-07-2016, 05:16 AM
I have an anniversary Ohta-san cedar top. It's fantastic! It's my eighth Kamaka and my favorite (next would be a white-label concert tiki). I haven't been able to put it down since July. I've wanted an Ohta-san for seven years, but ultimately am glad that I waited to get the anniversary model.

Congrats! I had a cedar top Ohta san that was amazing but sold it when I got an all-koa Ohta-san. Still have that one and the anniversary spruce-top Ohta-san. All of them wonderful ukes. The anniversary spruce-top Ohta-san probably has the edge. It's absolutely stunning to look at and sounds incredible.

wayfarer75
10-07-2016, 08:07 AM
I think I've only seen those with longer scale instruments who don't mind the factory strings so much. On my pineapple, I found them really floppy and dull sounding. I was going to give them a week or so, but they came off after about a day or two. But on a longer scale instrument, with greater tension, they might work better. I have Fremont Black Lines on there now, but I think I'll try Aquila Lavas again.

UkerDanno
10-07-2016, 09:05 AM
So if Kamakas are Gibsons, then Koalohas are Martins and Kanile'as are Taylors?

I'm curious to know how you came up with that comparison...

peanuts56
10-07-2016, 10:48 AM
I ordered a Tenor in 2013. I was in Honolulu and went to the factory. I dealt with a lady named Yukari, she was so helpful. I got the uke in September and can barely put it down. I didn't mind the stock strings but did end up trying Freemont Black Line. The difference was amazing. I also ordered a Kanilea in 2015 and put the Freemonts on that instrument as well. I don't like the Aguilas at all. I love both instruments. However if I had to choose my favorite, the Kamaka is the one.
I'm considering another HF3 sometime soon. Have not told my wife yet! Got a plan though. I majored in music as a trumpeter. I don't really play much any more. I sold off most of my horns, I had six at one point. I still have two, both are worth about 2 grand apiece. I plan to sell one eventually and use the $ for another Kamaka.

Ukulele Eddie
10-07-2016, 12:50 PM
McCabe's in Santa Monica has 2 or 3 in stock, including an all-koa Ohta San.

Joyful Uke
10-07-2016, 02:00 PM
McCabe's in Santa Monica has 2 or 3 in stock, including an all-koa Ohta San.

Gulp. It's getting harder and harder to resist.
Do they do a good set-up?

Ukulele Eddie
10-07-2016, 02:08 PM
Gulp. It's getting harder and harder to resist.
Do they do a good set-up?

I live close by the shop. I'd by happy to check it out if you tell me what you want (e.g., how you want the action set, etc.).

Joyful Uke
10-07-2016, 02:11 PM
I live close by the shop. I'd by happy to check it out if you tell me what you want (e.g., how you want the action set, etc.).

Thanks! Let me sleep on it, so I don't make a rash decision. But, I've been wanting to try a Kamaka concert, and like low action. Good intonation is very important to me, too.

donquixote
10-07-2016, 02:54 PM
I'm curious to know how you came up with that comparison...

I was just talking out of my a&& haha.

Gibson acoustics (J-45s, Hummingbirds, etc) tend to be quieter, mellower but with more complex overtones. Also, much more variable from one individual instrument to the next even if it's the same model (and model year). But in recent years the guitars have been more consistent. And one of the most venerable and oldest brands out there. Also it seems like with the Kamakas, the Gibsons don't tend to make good first impressions, and some folks come around or warm up to them only years later. Seems to parallel the Kamakas.

Kanile'as (at least the ones I've played) seem to be consistent, bright, and "tighter" if that makes any sense. Much like Taylor guitars. And they use the same UV finish patented by Taylor. It just feels like the kind of uke that Taylor would make.

Martins are woodsy, punchy, and bassy. A bit of more a twang, jangly quality compared to Taylors or Gibsons. Cuts through a mix, loud. At least the Koalohas I've tested, they also seem to have a somewhat analogous quality in comparison to the other ukes - punchy and loud but not quite as bright as the Kanile'as I tried out.

But all of this is subjective and I'm sure others would think I'm wrong haha

janeray1940
10-07-2016, 04:20 PM
Gulp. It's getting harder and harder to resist.
Do they do a good set-up?

That's my local shop! They don't routinely do a setup unless you specifically ask for it, which I've never bothered to do. I've bought four Kamakas off the shelf there and never had any issues. I'm no expert when it comes to action, but I'm finicky as heck regarding intonation and it's never been a problem on any Kamaka I've tried there.

Joyful Uke
10-08-2016, 02:15 AM
That's my local shop! They don't routinely do a setup unless you specifically ask for it, which I've never bothered to do. I've bought four Kamakas off the shelf there and never had any issues. I'm no expert when it comes to action, but I'm finicky as heck regarding intonation and it's never been a problem on any Kamaka I've tried there.

Thanks.

I might be a bit distracted at work today while thinking about this. LOL.

Joyful Uke
10-08-2016, 08:47 AM
Would it be reasonable to expect a discount on a non-anniversary model that is being sold as new?

If so, what would be a reasonable discount percent?

hmgberg
10-08-2016, 09:49 AM
I think I've only seen those with longer scale instruments who don't mind the factory strings so much. On my pineapple, I found them really floppy and dull sounding. I was going to give them a week or so, but they came off after about a day or two. But on a longer scale instrument, with greater tension, they might work better. I have Fremont Black Lines on there now, but I think I'll try Aquila Lavas again.

Yes, this is true for me. I have Fremont Blacks on my shorter-scale Kamakas and my Martin sopranos as well. I have thought to try Kamaka tenor stings on one of my Kamaka concerts, but I am really happy with the Fremonts. I also think the Kamaka strings sound good with a low G setup.

Choirguy
10-08-2016, 09:58 AM
Would it be reasonable to expect a discount on a non-anniversary model that is being sold as new?

If so, what would be a reasonable discount percent?

With any instrument in any shop, it is fair to ask if there is a best price or to make an offer. If they say no, then you can pay their price or move on. While the ukulele market is hot right now, it isn't THAT hot (particularly in the high end ukulele world unless you are a custom builder with a waiting list), and the full price sticker at the store does represent a profit for the vendor.

I would know current prices at Uke Republic and HMS to know the going prices and to work from there. Remember that those other dealers include setup in the price.

Joyful Uke
10-08-2016, 02:20 PM
If there is stock left over from 2014 or 2015 or before, I think it is still new stock until it is sold for the first time.

Yes, it's still new, but IIRC, the price from a year or 2 ago was lower. If the price has been raised to the 2016 price, (but without the anniversary headstock), would it be reasonable to ask for the price from a year or 2 ago, even though it's new? (Hope the way I phrased that made sense.)

Ukulele Eddie
10-08-2016, 02:48 PM
Yes, it's still new, but IIRC, the price from a year or 2 ago was lower. If the price has been raised to the 2016 price, (but without the anniversary headstock), would it be reasonable to ask for the price from a year or 2 ago, even though it's new? (Hope the way I phrased that made sense.)

I think it would be unlikely from them to raise the price on an older, new uke. There was a price increase this year, so it should certainly be less than the current model.

Joyful Uke
10-08-2016, 03:32 PM
I think it would be unlikely from them to raise the price on an older, new uke. There was a price increase this year, so it should certainly be less than the current model.

I might be mistaken, but I thought that the 2016 anniversary model was $1195. If an older model, (confirmed by them in an email that it's not an anniversary HF-2), was at that price, it looks like they raised the price on the older model. It's a standard HF-2, but not the 2016 version.