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View Full Version : FS or Trade : Vintage Kamaka 8 string Lili'u tenor (HF-38)



efiscella
01-07-2019, 12:09 PM
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More images https://flic.kr/s/aHsmwz6gev

100% Koa Vintage Kamaka 8 - string Lili'u (HF-38) selling with original case

For sale or trade. I am asking for $1250 + $50 shipping or a trade for a Kamaka or other tenor of equal or higher value. Please understand that I am not looking to "unload this" beauty, but looking for a fair trade or sale for what is truly an exceptional instrument.

There are no dings, scratches, nicks, or flaws. I also have an extra set of Kamaka strings that I picked up at the factory 8 years ago.

Hard to believe that I am pulling the plug on my very first ukulele and one that I have been treasuring for 40 years. This 8 string Lili'u was created in 1976 for the Becentennial celebration of the USA by Sam Kamaka. In August 1979, I visited the Kamaka Factory and wanted to walk away with a Kamaka, even though I never played an ukulele, nor any stringed instrument for that matter. Sam Kamaka took me on a tour of the factory and showed me this beauty and I knew I wanted it. I did walk away that day with a top-of-the-Line Kamaka from Sam, himself, and yet, I could not play it. I treasured it, but could not master the 8 strings.

32 years later, I returned to Hawaii with this Kamaka in-hand, and I brought it to the Kamaka factory and asked them to give a modern look at it. They changed the strings, gave it a cleaning, checked out the tuners and told me it was in near new condition and asked how I did that. I guess the answer was "not playing it." It literally is like new.

in the past 8 years, I have now learned to play the ukulele and realize the 8 string is just not for me and I don't want this beauty to sit unplayed any longer. I had many offers for it when I was in Hawaii and showed it around, but my thought was to keep it as an heirloom for my children, but unfortunately, they have no interest in ukulele.

So now, with mixed feelings I put it up for sale or trade.

ghostrdr
01-07-2019, 12:27 PM
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More images https://flic.kr/s/aHsmwz6gev

in the past 8 years, I have now learned to play the ukulele and realize the 8 string is just not for me and I don't want this beauty to sit unplayed any longer. I had many offers for it when I was in Hawaii and showed it around, but my thought was to keep it as an heirloom for my children, but unfortunately, they have no interest in ukulele.



Beautiful! Unfortunately, keeping a uke for your children who have no interest in ukulele hits very close to home for me. Good luck with the sale!

merlin666
01-07-2019, 04:19 PM
Wow that is some beautiful figuring at the back. But I am curious about the tuners. I just bought a white label six string and it has friction tuners. I figured from the lack of a date stamp and other evidence that mine was built around 1980. Are these tuners the original ones from 1976 or were they updated at some point?

efiscella
01-07-2019, 04:43 PM
I have not changed the tuners out. One of the things that I have wondered about over the years, but did not occur to me then, was wether or not this was an original 1976 creation, even though I purchased it in 1979. When I was talking with Sam Kamaka after the tour, I told him that I wanted to buy a Kamaka. He showed me sopranos and concerts but I had no interest. Then I told him that many of the Hawaiian musicians that I had been seeing the past few trips to Hawaii were playing 8-strings and I was impressed by how full and lovely they sounded. At that time, this 8-string seemed to be the rage among Hawaiian entertainers. He went behind the counter in the store and pulled out this one and asked if this was what I was talking about. It was. He told me that he created it to celebrate the Bicentennial, and that it was the most expensive ukulele that he had but he would give me a break on the price. So, it may have been an original 1976. So, what you see in the photos is the ukulele exactly as I purchased it.

I found these pictures from that time and you can see the uke is exactly as it is now :-)
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oh man-- those pics!!!!! :-)

fretie
01-08-2019, 07:51 AM
Beautiful instrument.

By your signature, it looks like you have a knack for getting some very special ukes into your stable!

efiscella
01-08-2019, 08:50 AM
I do have some very special ukes, and these are just the ones I kept. Over the years there have been a ton of Pono's and Kanilea also. The Pono's were great but the neck was too thick for the tendonitis I developed in my left hand so I had to sell them. the Kanilea's I reluctantly sold because I just did not play them enough. Where I live, you cannot find these types of ukulele anywhere and in order for me to try them, I had to buy, and then sell repeatedly until I found the "keepers". I feel very lucky to have such a great and knowledgeable group of ukulele enthusiasts here on UU to help me to discover and obtain so many great ukes.

merlin666
01-08-2019, 09:05 AM
I have not changed the tuners out. One of the things that I have wondered about over the years, but did not occur to me then, was wether or not this was an original 1976 creation, even though I purchased it in 1979.

Thanks. It seems to be a special and personal creation and maybe Sam wanted to have some better tuners on it than stock friction - they almost look like a set of mandolin tuners. Of course it's also possible that mine is much older, but I think they stopped date stamping in 1975. But the fretboard shows that you got a lot of sweet tunes out of it, and with your personal history it is surprising that you let it go. I also have a 2000 KoAloha concert, and I'm actually on the fence for that one.

efiscella
01-08-2019, 09:29 AM
The major reason I am not playing it is that, unlike when I was age 26 in the pics, I have, now, developed tendonitis in my left hand and the neck is too thick for me. Combined with the amount of pressure needed to press down 8 strings, it is just physically difficult. I don't seem to have as much difficulty with the slimmer Martin and KoAloha necks. The Pono necks were also a killer for me. Laughing at your comment about the use I got by the fretboard--- yea-- all C- G - Am - F - G7 :-)

perep
01-10-2019, 06:51 PM
I have one with same tuners as shown, orig. receipt at $179 from Kamaka dated 1979, 8 string, threw case out a few years ago as it was too crappy

perep
01-10-2019, 06:56 PM
YEP, just checked every detail, SAME EVERYTHING, I too would like to sell it as I have 3 8 strings, Kamaka, Mele cutaway, and Kanilea
I have one with same tuners as shown, orig. receipt at $179 from Kamaka dated 1979, 8 string, threw case out a few years ago as it was too crappy

Mezcalero
01-11-2019, 02:37 AM
YEP, just checked every detail, SAME EVERYTHING, I too would like to sell it as I have 3 8 strings, Kamaka, Mele cutaway, and Kanilea

Man, I wish I could go back in time and buy some ukes with that pricing :) Today, there are tuners that cost that much or more . . .

efiscella
01-11-2019, 03:53 AM
I paid $1 more than you. I keep my 8 string, humidified in an Oahu case. I am selling the original case just so that whoever buys it has everything original.
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YEP, just checked every detail, SAME EVERYTHING, I too would like to sell it as I have 3 8 strings, Kamaka, Mele cutaway, and Kanilea

merlin666
01-11-2019, 03:58 AM
If we adjust for inflation, that would be about $620 in 2018 value. So wow, ukuleles sure were much more affordable back then.

efiscella
01-11-2019, 03:58 AM
That was a ton of money to spend for an ukulele for me back then. I was told I was getting that uke at a discount. I think the regular prices was about $250, still a huge deal by today's pricing. I was a full-time school teacher and my annual salary back in 1979 was $9,200/yr.
Man, I wish I could go back in time and buy some ukes with that pricing :) Today, there are tuners that cost that much or more . . .

perep
01-11-2019, 11:13 AM
You have a really nice one there, I threw my case away years ago, was breaking down

Cornfield
01-12-2019, 05:43 AM
What kind of strings did they put on it when you took it back to be cleaned? A few years ago I ordered an 8 string set from Kamaka and they sent me the chunky, dead, black strings that they put on new ukes. I never installed them.

efiscella
01-12-2019, 06:15 AM
They put on their own strings. Wound C and G, black for everything else. I kept the wound G and Wound C. I also kept a black E and Black A. All other strings I replaced with D'Addario Pro Art clear nylon. I also have an unopened set of GHS Original Hawaiian Lili'u stings.
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What kind of strings did they put on it when you took it back to be cleaned? A few years ago I ordered an 8 string set from Kamaka and they sent me the chunky, dead, black strings that they put on new ukes. I never installed them.