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View Full Version : found my grandfathers uke and wanted to get it up and running!



kiteracer
11-21-2009, 02:40 PM
hi everybody. ive never even touched a ukulele until recently, when i found a kamaka ukulele that belonged to my grandfather. it seems like its in great condition, its just missing a tuning peg and needs strings. from some quick research, it was made somewhere between 1954 and 1969, and id really like to know more about it like what model, etc.

anyways, my main question is where do i find a tuning peg that will fit it? dont new tuners require a different bore size or something to that extent?

edit: heres a picture of it http://img136.imageshack.us/img136/4329/1121091904.jpg

grammy
11-21-2009, 02:48 PM
what a fantastic find! The best thing to do is take it to a decent luthier and get it set up properly, probably get a whole set of 4 tuners, have the frets polished and maybe a new nut. Since it is vintage and in good nick it might be worth having a pro restoration done on it. even a cheap one today is 600 bucks.

grammy
11-21-2009, 02:54 PM
looks a lot like this one on e bay. over 400 bucks, so yours is probably worth a bit of love, expecially if your grandad loved it.
http://www.acaciakoaantiques.com/ebaypicts/kamakastandardinbox1213a.JPG

kiteracer
11-21-2009, 02:59 PM
oh wow, i had no clue this would be worth that much!

id love to get it restored/setup/etc but googles not telling me anything about luthiers in alabama!

edit: the case it was in, if its at all relevant http://img339.imageshack.us/img339/2351/1121092000.jpg

Brewerpaul
11-21-2009, 04:14 PM
Great find, and worth even more since it was your grandfather's.
You might contact Kamaka and see if they'd set it up for you.
Or, you could just throw a set of tuning pegs and strings on it and see how it plays as is. Depending on how it's been stored,it might be just fine. Check here:

http://www.ukuleleworld.com/tuning-pegs-tuning-machines/

Let us know how it comes out.

kiteracer
11-21-2009, 04:37 PM
i just shot them an email :)

i would order some replacement tuners in a heartbeat, but things like this terrify me:

"The shaft diameter is 3/16" inch. Yes, the older ukuleles had smaller diameter friction tuner shafts, and none of the modern friction tuning pegs will fit them without increasing the diameter of the hole thru the headstock."

i dont really want to modify it in any way if i can avoid it


more pictures:
http://img94.imageshack.us/img94/958/1121092129.jpg
http://img526.imageshack.us/img526/4339/1121092129a.jpg
http://img205.imageshack.us/img205/4620/1121092130.jpg
http://img21.imageshack.us/img21/8968/1121092129b.jpg

Ronnie Aloha
11-21-2009, 05:51 PM
Do the tuners have the big screw on the back? If so, I just ordered and installed the Schaeller tuners through Kamaka. $5 each.

kiteracer
11-21-2009, 06:36 PM
i wouldnt call them big screws, but yes there are screws going through the plastic on the tuners. do you have a link to where you bought them from?

grammy
11-22-2009, 12:27 AM
id love to get it restored/setup/etc but googles not telling me anything about luthiers in alabama!



Just go to oyur local guitar shop they will know someone who does set ups. Or as prevbiously suggested get Kamaka to do it for you.

Sambient
11-22-2009, 01:58 AM
What a breathtaking find!
It is geeeeorgeous.

UkeNinja
11-22-2009, 02:15 AM
Looks like you will be needing at least one tuner ;)

Stories and pics like these make it worth to dig through the threads every day. Just the suggestion that somewhere, sometime there may be a vintage uke waiting for a little love and affection. Don't we all have such a uke in our heart?

nohandles
11-22-2009, 02:22 AM
Wow what a great find. You are very lucky. Congratulations. Doug

hoosierhiver
11-22-2009, 03:37 AM
I'd suggest whiping it down with a little lemon oil or boiled linseed oil, the wood might be a little dry.

iamdanielle
11-22-2009, 05:40 AM
wow. that is amazing!!! sorry i can't be much of a help!:drool:

MartinLil
11-22-2009, 07:37 AM
WOW! What a find!!! :drool: I'd get that to a luthier or Kamaka right away to get it in perfect playing shape so you can start playing that beauty asap!!

mailman
11-22-2009, 03:22 PM
Your grandfather's ukulele is most certainly a family heirloom, and to you, I imagine, a treasure.

If I were you, I would trust it to no one but Kamaka. I think they may have access to vintage tuners, and could do the setup as well as, or better than, anyone else.

Congratulations on a wonderful discovery, and let us know what you decide to do. I wouldn't use the original case, BTW. It would afford little or no protection from damage. I would be researching a good hard-shell case before I did anything else! Read as much as you can here on the forums about how to store and protect your uke....

kiteracer
11-24-2009, 07:55 AM
well, they offered to sell me some replacement 5/16 tuners that they use for ukuleles. suppose ill be calling them up soon for them.

kinda underwhelming response, but oh well. not sure what i was expecting anyway. any other tips for restoration or anything?

UkeNukem
11-25-2009, 10:30 AM
When it's all done and you learn a few chords, you should write a song "Grandfather's Ukulele"!

kiteracer
12-01-2009, 04:07 AM
i was definitely planning on doing something like that. i make music already using a gameboy, bass, synths, and some other stuff and im eager to integrate this into my music somehow.

Ronnie Aloha
12-01-2009, 05:22 AM
well, they offered to sell me some replacement 5/16 tuners that they use for ukuleles. suppose ill be calling them up soon for them.

kinda underwhelming response, but oh well. not sure what i was expecting anyway. any other tips for restoration or anything?

The tuners are easy to replace. If you take it to the shop they'll do it for free.

As for their undewhelming response you'd have to understand that they see 50-60 year old Kamakas everyday. I have two 40+ year old sopranos in for repair right now. Waiting time is 1 year and 1.5 years for repairs, respectively.

dirk.li
12-01-2009, 08:27 AM
What an awesome find! I wish my grandfather had played the uke, too.

franulele
12-02-2009, 03:53 PM
Amen! This is no ordinary ukulele! It's worth it to lovingly ship it off to Kamaka. If you can't afford, then wait until you can. Don't skimp. I skimped on a uke once when I should have gotton a second opinion.


Your grandfather's ukulele is most certainly a family heirloom, and to you, I imagine, a treasure.

If I were you, I would trust it to no one but Kamaka. I think they may have access to vintage tuners, and could do the setup as well as, or better than, anyone else.

Congratulations on a wonderful discovery, and let us know what you decide to do. I wouldn't use the original case, BTW. It would afford little or no protection from damage. I would be researching a good hard-shell case before I did anything else! Read as much as you can here on the forums about how to store and protect your uke....