View Full Version : My New-to-me 1950/60s Kamaka Soprano: Is it real or a fake?

09-11-2018, 02:30 PM
Hi Everybody,
I have a new uke to add to my growing collection due to UAS. I just bought a Kamaka soprano ukelele from the late 50s or 60s. At least I hope that it what I bought. I'm pretty darn confident that is what I bought, but wanted to open up a thread to ask the opinion of the assembled.
It has the right shape, decal and label. I will include pictures (or at least I'll try) because that is probably the best way to get your opinions.
I bought it through OfferUp (I know, that is one tally for thinking it is a fake) from a guy who is married to someone I tangentially work with (which I'm hoping balances out the previous tally). I believe he believes it is a Kamaka. It came with a really old case and a 1950s era Ka-Lea's ukulele instruction book tucked in the case ( another tally for authenticity in my opinion).
I admit I am not even close to an expert on Kamakas specifically or even ukuleles in general, so I'm hoping the overall opinion is that I am the proud new owner of a vintage Kamaka soprano.
Let the opining commence!

09-11-2018, 02:34 PM

09-11-2018, 02:41 PM
Here are some pictures of my new uke.

09-11-2018, 02:43 PM
This is the instruction booklet that was folded in half and tucked under the uke. It also had a very old looking plastic pick included in the case.

09-11-2018, 02:47 PM
Sorry if this not the normal way to add pictures or to post, I have been a member a while but don't often post.

Thanks for any opinions you can provide.

Bill Sheehan
09-11-2018, 03:00 PM
Sorry, PSI, it's clearly a fake, but don't worry, I'll be glad to take it off your hands for $25.00... JUST KIDDING !!!
Seriously, I'd say all indications point to this being the genuine article! Very nice!

09-11-2018, 03:25 PM
looks absolutely correct, so much so that the back matches almost exactly a gold label I recently repaired, maybe a slice above or below. I found it to be a wonderful uke, it sounded so... Hawaiian.. and too loud ;)

09-11-2018, 03:45 PM
Yup, that's a Kamaka gold label soprano. The fretboard is flush to the body, no overhang. Most have a slightly raised fretboard, with some type of small fretboard extension on the body. Some of these overhangs are diagonally shaped, some pointed. Mine was pointed, see below. Enjoy that one, it's beautiful, and solid koa!


Patrick Madsen
09-11-2018, 06:02 PM
Is it a Gold or a White label Kamaka? The Gold I had looked almost like gold foil label. My White looks much like this one. Congrats; sure looks like a Kamaka too me.

09-11-2018, 06:08 PM
Thanks for all of your replies and input. I was pretty sure it was a real one when I bought it but it is very comforting that others think so as well. He wanted $300 and we agreed on $260. From looking at other sales on eBay and Reverb, I think I got a good deal (so long as it was a real Kamaka!).

09-11-2018, 06:12 PM
It is a gold label, and it does have a certain "gold foil" reflection to the paper.
I read somewhere that during the gold and white label years, the inside was stamped somewhere, but the article didn't say where or what was supposed to be stamped. I also read that the date of manufacture was supposed to be hand written on the gold labels but I've never seen one with such a date. Has anyone come across the same claims/rumors/information?

Grizzly Adams
09-12-2018, 04:34 AM
Seriously, you think someone would go to the trouble to fake a Kamaka, right down to the label, for $260? ;)

09-12-2018, 04:53 AM
Why would you think it was fake anyway? :confused:

09-12-2018, 05:38 AM
The most important question is.....how does it play & sound?

09-12-2018, 05:53 AM
Seriously, you think someone would go to the trouble to fake a Kamaka, right down to the label, for $260? ;)

That would work if he could generate the volume. It's like someone counterfeiting pennies. One million counterfeits would earn the crook $10,000. Of course, there's all the expense involved, too. : )

09-13-2018, 07:45 PM
I didnt think he had faked/counterfeited it. I was concerned that it might be a fake from long ago because I have never held or played a Kamaka and might not be able to tell the difference (the seller said he bought it at an estate sale and didn't know much about ukuleles). I have read the reason why Mr. Kamaka started making the Kamaka Keiki models was because of the large number of counterfeits being produced in Japan at the time. While $260-300 might not be a windfall justifying a modern counterfitting effort, it would still be a lot to pay for a fake. Without any experience with Kamakas, and even though I had done my research, it was comforting to seek and hear the opinions of the folks on UU. Thanks for all your comments and opinions.