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View Full Version : What Do People Think About Kamoa Ukes?



jollyboy
03-18-2017, 08:35 AM
I've just been doing some window-shopping at the Southern Ukulele Store website (I might treat myself to a new concert) and I was looking at the Kamoa E3-C. The design interests me it - it comes finished in a number of different colours. Here's the red one. (http://www.southernukulelestore.co.uk/Product/846/Kamoa-E3-C-Concert-Ukulele-All-Solid-Wood-Red)

My gut reaction is that I don't like the finish and I think it's because it reminds me a bit of the sort of el cheapo ukes that are barely playable and really little more than toys. So, really it's my own prejudice that is putting me off this instrument.

What do other people think? How do you feel about the looks of this uke? Would you consider buying one at the listed price point? What if you heard one and it sounded great - would the finish still figure into your decision to buy? Maybe you have heard one - what did you think? More generally - would you decide definitely not to buy any uke based on looks alone?

Yep, questions, questions...

Pirate Jim
03-18-2017, 09:34 AM
I've been wondering about these as well - impressive specs for the price. I love the red, although I come from a family of Liverpool supporters so that's not much of a surprise. My gut feeling is that SUS wouldn't stock them if they were garbage so the question then is how do they compare to the Ohanas, Islanders, Ulurus, etc., in that price range. Anyone played one?

hendulele
03-18-2017, 09:46 AM
It appears that Alan Thornton (decaturcomp) who participates in the Seasons of the Ukulele owns a red one and plays it a lot. I would consider that an endorsement.

https://youtu.be/qvk9Qew9wgc

Of course, if you don't like the look, then you're probably not going to enjoy the uke.

Croaky Keith
03-18-2017, 10:41 AM
If you like how it sounds, does it matter what it looks like?
Yes, because you likely wouldn't pick it up if it doesn't appeal to you.
I was sorely tempted a while back to get one of their bass ukes, but I just couldn't get that feeling of cheap out of my head.
I think they paint them because maple doesn't have a great pattern to the wood.
So, my personal opinion, no I wouldn't buy one, & at that price, there are more appealing ukes to be had.

Cornfield
03-18-2017, 10:46 AM
If you like it, buy it. 295 pounds translates to $319 US. Not bad if you like it, it sounds good and you plan to play it. The color certainly stands out so if you are busking or playing in a uke group you will be noticed.

photoshooter
03-18-2017, 01:49 PM
I have a Kamoa tenor in natural cedar, I believe the model is E5-T. It was a bit of an impulse buy as I wasn't able to find much info about it. I can't vouch for the E3 series but there's nothing cheap about the E5; solid cedar top, solid mahogany back, sides and neck and a big, deep voice. The only part that I don't like is that the E5 uses a wider spacing at the nut which is considered desirable by many. Unfortunately I prefer a tighter string width.

Edited to add:
I just looked at the E3 in the link provided. The description is right on par with my experience. I don't think it looks cheap. It appears to have a satin finish and the wood grain shows through the red. This would be my preference as opposed to a high-gloss plasticky looking finish that covers the grain. In fairness though I've never seen the red model in person so I'm just reacting to what I see in the photo.

UkerDanno
03-18-2017, 02:46 PM
I have 3 friends with Kamoas, they are nice ukes! Absolutely nothing wrong with them and they are far from toys!!!

The colors are a little different, 2 guys have the red tenors another a yellow concert. The yellow concert was purchased from the Kamoa store in Kauai, Hawaii by a newbie as her first uke. I would have gone a different direction, but it's a nice instrument, all solid...maple back and sides, spruce top. She liked the color! It has a deep, rich sound.

fitncrafty
03-18-2017, 05:44 PM
I bought the E5 I think it is from Uke Republic. I LOVE the sound and I am actually so jealous it isn't mine. I gave it to one of my kids for a gift. I look forward to getting one of my own someday!

Mivo
03-18-2017, 06:43 PM
Can't comment on the sound, but I am not attracted to the finish/color. Looks a bit gaudy to me, though that can be a plus. But this is strictly a preferential thing. I'd favor a more natural look that emphasizes the "woodiness" of the instrument.

You should buy it and report back, for science!

jollyboy
03-19-2017, 07:49 AM
It's good to hear that people who have experienced these ukes in action have been impressed with them. It certainly sounds as though they are decent quality instruments :)

It seems like the finish may be something of a 'marmite' factor - with some people really liking the colours and others, like me, not at all keen. I can't really see myself having a change of heart over this, but I do still wonder if I am being a bit 'shallow' by rejecting this uke on looks alone :p After all - beauty is only skin-deep!

bikemech
03-19-2017, 10:44 AM
It's good to hear that people who have experienced these ukes in action have been impressed with them. It certainly sounds as though they are decent quality instruments :)

It seems like the finish may be something of a 'marmite' factor - with some people really liking the colours and others, like me, not at all keen. I can't really see myself having a change of heart over this, but I do still wonder if I am being a bit 'shallow' by rejecting this uke on looks alone :p After all - beauty is only skin-deep!

It's funny how opinions will vary. The looks are what initially attracted me to the Kamoa ukulele. Specifically the red E3-s.

UkerDanno
03-19-2017, 07:05 PM
If you don't like the looks don't even consider it! I'm sure you'll be happier with something you like to look at...

13down
03-22-2017, 06:38 AM
As far as I can tell, they're also the only company other than Kamaka who offer a grand concert - a uke with a 16 inch scale and a dreadnought body. Kamoa's is under $300, Kamaka's is over $1000.

PTOEguy
03-22-2017, 08:19 AM
I've tried them out at a couple of uke shops - and I was always impressed by the sound. I think they struggle a little in an internet world where most of us shop with our eyes and not our ears.

photoshooter
03-22-2017, 09:36 AM
The issue I had was when I was researching Kamoa I wasn't finding much info on the web. Even their own website looks as if it hasn't been updated lately. On the flip side, I emailed a question to customer support and got a swift response from the owner of the company. All in all a very positive experience.

Benjolele
03-22-2017, 12:28 PM
I have a red E3 tenor. I love it! I can't recommend them highly enough for the money. (Though it sounds like the price point is a little higher in Europe than here in the states. I payed about $225 American).
Kamoa was first recommended to me me by (the now deceased) Brother Edgar at Aloha Warehouse in San Francisco, as the best option for an affordable, playable solid top instrument. I initially balked because of the looks, too simple and boring. I bought something prettier and began to learn to play. Once I had a handle on how to play the instrument I went out and played the E3 again. Whole different ballgame! I fell in love with the tone and playability.
A few years later, it is still my go-to for everyday acoustic jamming and gigging.

spookelele
03-23-2017, 04:42 AM
I havent tried one, but they seem to sound ok.


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VPth17FBsnQ

Nickie
03-23-2017, 09:00 AM
My friend has a grand concert Kamoa. She strung it up lo G, and loves it!

Benjolele
03-23-2017, 12:59 PM
I had a few minutes to spare this morning, so stopped off in a local shop that usually has a pretty good ukulele selection. They had three solid top concerts in stock, and since I've been thinking about picking up something in this size I played them all. The Kamoa was the least expensive of the three, in my opinion played better than the others, and almost inarguably sounded the best. In fact after hearing all three in succession the salesman even joked that he might have to hide it in the back for a little while because, "nobody is even gonna consider buying those other two if they hear that Kamoa."

bikemech
03-23-2017, 03:22 PM
I had a few minutes to spare this morning, so stopped off in a local shop that usually has a pretty good ukulele selection. They had three solid top concerts in stock, and since I've been thinking about picking up something in this size I played them all. The Kamoa was the least expensive of the three, in my opinion played better than the others, and almost inarguably sounded the best. In fact after hearing all three in succession the salesman even joked that he might have to hide it in the back for a little while because, "nobody is even gonna consider buying those other two if they hear that Kamoa."
So... what were the other two ukes?

Tigeralum2001
03-28-2017, 02:37 PM
Having played quite a few... I'd pass. IMHO, there are much better ukes out there at that price point. Then again, if you like it, that's all that should matter.

Ukin4life
03-30-2017, 04:08 PM
I don't see many people talk about the kamoas here. I have the old kamoa's they used to sell here, in the uu store. I'll just be honest they sound good but the craftsmanship is not really good, I also heard other ukers complain about the craftsmanship of their old ukes. But now they have newer models, they even have a koa model.

SoCal
12-25-2017, 11:06 AM
I had a grand concert with spruce and some variant of rosewood on the back that I gave to my son. It is a beautiful sounding uke.

mm stan
12-25-2017, 06:22 PM
I'd ask Aldrine
https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=KXt1aYxTE90
https://m.youtube.com/results?q=Namm%20show%20kamoa%20ukulele%20aldrine% 20&sm=3
This one he talks about it in detail..
https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=Z4FK8mMQ544

merlin666
12-26-2017, 02:07 PM
I had a chance to play a few of them in one of their stores on Kauai. They were nice to play and sounded ok for their price though somewhat unremarkable. I had the impression that the store was mainly catering to tourists whereas locals preferred the stores that carried a variety of brands.

tstarky
02-01-2018, 03:46 PM
I'm still totally new to ukuleles but I recently picked the red E3-S up on an auction for $112 in like new condition. I was totally surprised that I was able to tell how much better it sounded than my concert Kala. The red really doesn't look cheap to me at all as it is more of a satin finish. I do prefer the look of some of the fancy wood grain ukes but I think I'm going to enjoy learning with this cutie. :)

Weebeastie
02-16-2018, 12:21 PM
My first uke is the kamoa pineapple, mahogany and spruce. I enjoy the shape and finish, the sound was what won me over playing several in the store before picking it. Holds tune very well even with my beginner failings and wonky strum string twangs. Construction is very nice and it has a lovely warm but bright sound that the other ukes in the store at the same price point did not. Did a little research but mainly looked for sturdy construction and good sounds along with the shops helpful folks.
https://photos.smugmug.com/Hobbies/Ukulele-/n-D7xRxv/i-g8mHFnF/0/710d7903/M/i-g8mHFnF-M.jpg

Jeffelele
02-16-2018, 09:56 PM
MM Stan, thanks for the U Tube links.

Ukecaster
02-17-2018, 09:35 AM
<<wonky strum string twangs>>

I love that! I have those too! ;-)