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Joyful Uke
05-30-2018, 06:51 AM
I've wondered about the differences - aside from the big price difference - between the standard and deluxe versions of Kamakas. Is there a difference in sound?

Using the HF-2 as an example, there is the HF-2, the HF-2D, the HF-2DI, (and the long neck, but I get the difference there.)

Is the difference with the deluxe models simply the bling, (and in the case of the I version, the slothead?)

Would the fancier models sound any different, or is the extra cost for the appearance only? (And obviously, the extra materials and work that goes into that.)

Additional questions, that probably no one knows the answers to, but some might have their own guesses:

As koa becomes less available, (I think that's happening, correct?), is there any expectation that Kamaka might start building with different woods? Currently, AFAIK, they're either all koa, or koa with a cedar or spruce top.

I also wonder if they'll refigure their builds to make it easier to deal with CITES?

It seems to me like there are fewer Kamakas on the market right now. Places like HMS, Mims, Elderly and others don't have any, and most haven't had any in a while, (who me, looking? LOL) Is this usual? Is Kamaka taking a well deserved break after the anniversary models? There are a few still out there for sale, but it seems to me like there aren't as many.

I'm not sure why I've been looking, since I have a great one, but since I like that one so much, I guess I've been wondering if there is another model that I'd love, too. (UAS is real. LOL.)

wayfarer75
05-30-2018, 09:42 AM
I don’t think the fancier models would sound very different; mostly you’re getting nicer looking wood and the binding/rosette. Unless you get a cedar or spruce model, I suppose.

Gryphon Strings, Willcutt Guitars, Dusty Strings and The Music Emporium all have Kamakas on their websites. They’re out there. Go through the list of dealers on the Kamaka webpage, and see what you can find! Also, I believe if you ask HMS to get you one, they can snag them and they wouldn’t put it on the website. I am not in the market myself, but someday, maybe I’ll get an Ohta-San!

I do know that the company was moving at one point, so that may have interrupted production?

Joyful Uke
05-30-2018, 09:47 AM
Thanks. I was guessing that the deluxe models might not have much of an edge in sound, but wanted to ask those more knowledgeable.

I had a bad experience with one of the 4 sellers that you mentioned and wouldn't buy from them again, but the other 3 are possibilities. Thanks.

It seemed like HMS, Mims, Elderly and others used to frequently have Kamakas as well, so I've been surprised that stock seems to be in short supply, but maybe I just hadn't paid close attention in the past. Moving the business makes sense as an explanation.

wayfarer75
05-30-2018, 10:00 AM
I haven't bought from any of the 4 sellers I listed, sorry you had a bad experience with one. I know it's hard to trust in an online seller, but sometimes it seems there are only a couple of uke sellers ever mentioned here. I do think putting a word in with someone you've bought from already could be a good idea--not everything HMS sells is on their website, that's for certain.

RafterGirl
05-30-2018, 01:43 PM
Elderly currently has 7 Kamakas for sale of various sizes & prices. Penny Lane has 8 models for sale. Reverb has a lot of new & used Kamakas. I realize buying from Reverb has a higher “risk factor” & no guarantee of a well set up ukulele.

Ukulele Eddie
05-30-2018, 01:49 PM
Ukulele Friend has a never sold 2016 longneck cedar-topped Deluxe concert for $2,550:

http://ukulelefriend.com/ukes/kamaka-deluxe-longneck-concert-ukulele/

Were I in the market for a Kamaka, that would be very tempting to me.

Joyful Uke
05-30-2018, 04:38 PM
I was just looking at HF2s when I posted, so of course, I overlooked all the other Kamakas out there. My statement did misrepresent the overall picture, I'm sure. The Elderly listings, though, are mostly out of stock. They do expect more in later this summer, though.

I never think to look at Reverb, I think because of the risk factor, but that is a good suggestion, too.

It all gives me more time to see where my UAS takes me, which could be somewhere else completely. LOL.

RafterGirl
06-01-2018, 01:05 PM
I was just looking at HF2s when I posted, so of course, I overlooked all the other Kamakas out there. My statement did misrepresent the overall picture, I'm sure. The Elderly listings, though, are mostly out of stock. They do expect more in later this summer, though.

I never think to look at Reverb, I think because of the risk factor, but that is a good suggestion, too.

It all gives me more time to see where my UAS takes me, which could be somewhere else completely. LOL.

My recent Reverb experience went very well. I had been looking for a nice soprano with certain parameters in nut size, finish, tuners, etc. I found a mint condition Imua soprano that fit the bill and was located at a guitar shop in an adjacent state. The original price was a bit out of my range, so I made an offer and it was accepted. The seller was quick with communication and quick to ship. The uke arrived in a few days with very good packaging. It was in 100% mint condition and exactly as represented by the seller. Sellers on Reverb have ratings & you can read the comments of other buyers as well. Still a risk, but the reward in my case was worth it.

Good luck in your search.

Joyful Uke
06-02-2018, 10:43 AM
I suspect that Reverb is a dangerous place for anyone with UAS, but I may have to browse it anyway. :-)

Elderly expects to get 3 more HF2s in later this summer, (they didn't have the exact dates), and I've had good experiences with them, so maybe I'll try putting UAS aside for now, (as if that's possible!)

It still surprises me that HMS, Mims, and other don't have any, but maybe I just thought they were for sale more frequently than they really were.

Palmtreeukuleles
06-05-2018, 04:45 AM
Hi,

John here from Avenue Guitars (formally Tejon Street Music). We currently 14 Kamakas in stock, with 4 HF2s.
https://www.avenueguitars.com/collections/kamaka-ukuleles.

Thanks for looking!
Best,
John

mmfitzsimons
06-05-2018, 12:20 PM
I don't think there's much of an edge in sound. You could maybe make an argument for the slothead delivering optimal strings tension... but I ain't buying it. Different strings will get you different tensions, too.

Longneck, as you noted, is a different story. That is a sound/playability change for sure.

I don't think Kamaka instrument availability is tied to wood scarcity, it's just supply and demand. They are a small shop with a big reputation.

I suspect one reason you don't see them on some sites is because people will let folks at HMS know they want a Kamaka, for example, and it will be sold before it ever gets photographed or put online. I've bought ukes from them before anyone else had a chance. All's fair in love, war, and ukes. :)

Joyful Uke
06-05-2018, 02:13 PM
Hi,

John here from Avenue Guitars (formally Tejon Street Music). We currently 14 Kamakas in stock, with 4 HF2s.
https://www.avenueguitars.com/collections/kamaka-ukuleles.

Thanks for looking!
Best,
John

So that's where they all are. :-)
Some really beautiful looking ukuleles, too.
I think I might be all set, but if it doesn't work out, I'll be keeping you in mind. Thanks for letting us know about this option.

Joyful Uke
06-05-2018, 02:19 PM
I suspect one reason you don't see them on some sites is because people will let folks at HMS know they want a Kamaka, for example, and it will be sold before it ever gets photographed or put online. I've bought ukes from them before anyone else had a chance. All's fair in love, war, and ukes. :)

I bet that's a definite part of the appearance of scarcity. Between high demand, small shop making them, and people getting them before they are even posted, it's no wonder.

Someone needs to publish a book on the secret art of ukulele buying. :-)

RafterGirl
06-15-2018, 02:32 AM
HMS must have heard you.....they have a bunch of Kamaka ukes on their website now, including a couple HF2.

SandChannel
06-15-2018, 03:18 AM
Mim just got in a bunch of Kamaka ukuleles as well. I think the hold up had to do with the hard-shell cases. Now that they are in, all of the orders have been shipped.

Joyful Uke
06-15-2018, 06:14 AM
Mim just got in a bunch of Kamaka ukuleles as well. I think the hold up had to do with the hard-shell cases. Now that they are in, all of the orders have been shipped.

That explains the hold up.

This group isn't a cure for UAS. :-)

RafterGirl
06-15-2018, 07:09 AM
That explains the hold up.

This group isn't a cure for UAS. :-)
Always willing to enable a ukulele brother or sister :music:

quiltingshirley
06-15-2018, 11:27 AM
I have purchased my new Kamakas directly from the factory. They then build it with the options you want. There shouldn’t be a difference in the deluxe models other than they really look good. Really, really good.

Joyful Uke
06-15-2018, 04:01 PM
Is the price going up? I see Mims has the HF-2 listed for $1295, which is a $100 increase.
I saw that price somewhere else, too.

Mkel12
06-15-2018, 07:27 PM
I just snagged an HF-3 from HMS (they had 2, now they have 1). Seems like they don’t get them often, but when they do they are top notch. The koa was amazing on the one I grabbed.

Joyful Uke
06-16-2018, 11:13 AM
I just snagged an HF-3 from HMS (they had 2, now they have 1). Seems like they don’t get them often, but when they do they are top notch. The koa was amazing on the one I grabbed.

Enjoy! I'm sure that you will. I hope that you'll post photos once you get it, if you're not too busy playing it all the time. :-)

Mkel12
06-16-2018, 12:13 PM
Enjoy! I'm sure that you will. I hope that you'll post photos once you get it, if you're not too busy playing it all the time. :-)

Thanks! I will, but it will be about 4 weeks before I have it.