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Patrick Madsen
08-07-2017, 07:43 PM
Last week I started a thread for a friend looking for a Kamaka Gold or white label soprano.

WCBarnes replied saying Several months ago he was looking for a nice koa soprano and found this ukulele on his local Craigslist. He said it was mint and looked like it had been sealed in a time capsule! It has the original Kamaka strings (in good shape), the Kamaka sales receipt from 1971, a Mel Bay uke book, an extra set of sealed Kamaka strings, a tuning pipe, felt pick and the original box in like new condition. It was Made In Japan. (Kamaka did this in the 60s/70s to keep up with demand and combat forgeries), but it is a koa deluxe model, not mahogany, and was sold in the Kamaka shop in Hawaii. It sounded like the person bought the uke as a tourist, got home and stuck it in a closet for 46 years. He had since bought a wonderful little Laughlin soprano and decided to pass this find to someone else.

My friend decided to buy a 100th Ann. concert longneck. I inquired about the uke and bought it.

It arrived today and definitely is a time capsule. My Kamaka is much more refined; the slots for the cross braces are more precise, neck thinner and more graceful. As I played and looked over the MIJ closely, the more I can see the uke was truly handmade. The heel is off centered because of the way the neck is shaped. The V in the neck sides have a different curve. Same with the head, sides just a bit different. The fretboard is a bit wider. All together this little guy has some minor flaws adding up to a of character.

I don't want to compare sounds yet as the MIJ has 46 year old strings. It'll be interesting hearing the differences of the two after I change MIJ's strings. It'll be a cannon for sure. I think I just found a name for it; MIJ.

When I'm done with it and considering it's a unique deluxe complete package; I'll ensure the package stays together and goes to the right person.

This is cool little uke. Thanks Colin for the seamless transaction. This forum has honest and upright people.


Link to Photos in next post. Thanks Colin for reposting them.: https://photos.app.goo.gl/YyqdxJpNb91dn0hIt .

Patrick Madsen
08-08-2017, 05:08 AM
https://photos.google.com/share/AF1QipMyLjvUZ5jcn3oaDiCde79BITKfr73ea6AoaeRkUjJ8tu ScNcDmaa5owiHOQnLpbQ?key=MWZEUmlETHU2Um4xUTRXd3A5T UV5TW54Qi1NdFR3

Rakelele
08-08-2017, 06:18 AM
Very nice, congratulations Patrick!

lfoo6952
08-08-2017, 07:01 AM
Nice find. I like the "case" it came in.

Patrick Madsen
08-08-2017, 07:37 AM
Thanks guys. In the least, there may be an avid collector of Kamakas who doesn't have a complete MIJ kamaka Deluxe Gold package in his collection. In the meantime, I'll enjoy the little fella and keep it safe.

mmfitzsimons
08-08-2017, 12:20 PM
What a great Kamaka! And the package makes it extra fun, just like the songbook says. Congrats!! :)

WCBarnes
08-08-2017, 12:56 PM
I'm glad you are enjoying it! It was a really cool find and I'm glad I was able to pass it on to someone else would would appreciate it as much as I did.

DownUpDave
08-09-2017, 01:18 AM
Congratulations Patrick, that is a handsome piece of koa and I love the black bindings even if it non-traditional. I would be pleased to own that as I am sure you are. How does it sound.......do you like it???

mountain goat
08-09-2017, 02:42 AM
Beautiful score, Pat. Gorgeous soprano. With history played into it.
Love how you have the original purchase receipt.
Enjoy brother.

Nickie
08-09-2017, 04:26 AM
Wow, that certainly is a valuable find! Congrats! Will you play it?

Patrick Madsen
08-09-2017, 05:41 AM
Thanks guys. I can see why Kamaka discontinued making the Japan uke. They aren't nearly as refined as the home brand but with all the inconsistencies, it has so much character. It plays really well considering the strings on it are 46 years old. I'm going to do a string change with either Kamaka or Southcoast. Perhaps Worth Browns to keep the same color strings on it.

It's on the wall with the other ukes, so I'm sure it'll be played. If someone who collected Kamakas or vintage and I felt confident it wouldn't just get stuck in a closet again; I'd consider letting it go. In the meantime, it'll be played and enjoyed. I have a feeling it'll sound like a cannon once the strings are changed.