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Slipz
06-04-2008, 02:23 PM
Been lurking for a bit and thought it was time to say hello and thank everyone for a lot of valuable information

I'm another guitar convert .... I mean I already know the fingering for the chords so this is a natural - I love the sound of nylon strings and a uke is so much more fun than a classical guitar - I also have a preference for Goodall guitars and that guy has the market cornered on Koa guitars so ..... a Koa uke is another natural - I feel I was destined to make the move

Now trying to demo a uke is not an easy process .... been six months and a lot of Saturdays driving all over the state - What a learning process

I tried the soprano and concerts ... to small for my hands - I've ruled out the fricton style violin tunners .... the guitar style are just more familiar - Played about 20 brands and the variation in build quality was "enlightening" - Definately see the advantage of having a uke that stays in tune - LOL

My sights are set on a used Kamaka Tenor Ukulele - I'm not so much interested in a vintage instrument - Modern technology has a lot of benefits so a recent model is fine

Any pointers where to look would be appreciated

For anyone interested here is the Big Koa that will be keeping the uke company

http://i28.photobucket.com/albums/c222/Dulope/GoodallPKA-1401.jpg

http://i28.photobucket.com/albums/c222/Dulope/GoodallPKA-1402.jpg

http://i28.photobucket.com/albums/c222/Dulope/GoodallPKA-1407.jpg

cMejilla
06-04-2008, 02:44 PM
Been lurking for a bit and thought it was time to say hello and thank everyone for a lot of valuable information

My sights are set on a used Kamaka Tenor Ukulele - I'm not so much interested in a vintage instrument - Modern technology has a lot of benefits so a recent model is fine

Any pointers where to look would be appreciated



Hey there and happy to hear that you're going venturing towards your first uke!

Used Kamaka Tenor 'ukuleles are really hard to come by. Plus, if you do happen to find one, you better believe that you aren't the only one looking at it! haha...

I'd recommend checking Bounty Music (the link is on the main UU page in the wide advertising spot or can also be found here http://www.ukes.com but clicking on the Ad helps keep this site running).

MusicGuyMic (MGM) is a very well known seller and almost everyone swears that he will produce the most competitive prices and will typically provide a free setup service. I actually just bought a soprano koa pili koko from him today :D.

Here's a typical pricing of a kamaka:
MusicGuyMic: Kamaka Tenor (http://cgi.ebay.com/KAMAKA-H-3-Tenor-Koa-Ukulele-w-case-Made-in-Hawaii_W0QQitemZ250254674879QQihZ015QQcategoryZ162 24QQssPageNameZWDVWQQrdZ1QQcmdZViewItem)


Other high quality brands that may fit your tastes in solid koa ukes would probably be G String ukes and KoAloha. Also, I frequent the FleaMarketMusic Marketplace found here (http://www.fleamarketmusic.com/marketplace/default.asp). The members in that ukulele community often put up great deals on amazing ukuleles.

All the best.

brokenwing
06-04-2008, 03:50 PM
hey, welcome. That's a fine-looking Goodall you have there (but they're all fine -looking). It's certainly a plus to know specifically what you want, since like guitars there are so many variations among ukes. But as cmejilla said, there aren't a lot of used Kamaka tenors on the market. You may need to be patient - and we all know how difficult that can be.

I would try to keep an open mind on the builder. Yea, Kamakas have a lot going for them, but there are other, equally good koa ukes available.

I come from the guitar side myself (Collings, Santa Cruz). The uke is a natural choice for steel-string players who enjoy the nylon tone. I was considering a classical when I happened upon the uke and am I glad I did. They're a lot of fun and have a boatload of personality. Good luck with your search.

facemeltingukulele
06-04-2008, 04:03 PM
Welcome to the darkside! I'd recommend a Koaloha. I am totally biased toward Koalohas since I've been using their ukes since 96' but I did play a kamaka tenor for a while. Kamakas are awesome, as are many other brands of ukes. One of the things that sets Koaloha apart thought is the consistency of the sound. Because of the semi-automated production of the Koalohas (due to the genius machine building of Alvin (Papa Koaloha) Okami, there is less variability between ukes. Kamakas I believe (correct me if I'm wrong) are still made by individual luthiers by hand. Regardless, I believe Koalohas to be a lot more consistent than most uke brands. So, while there are still some gems amongst the Koalohas, any Koaloha you buy will sound great. You don't have to search as long or hard to find a great one. I've played a bunch of Koalohas in my time and I've never come across a bad one, even the b-stock ukes sound great. Good luck with the uke search. You can't go wrong with any of the brands being mentioned in this thread!

-FMU

FHS-72
06-04-2008, 07:27 PM
Glad to hear that you are demoing ukes. I think the best way to pick one is to play it. If it sounds good and feel good to you, you can't go wrong. I have a Lanikai, Kala, And a Kamaka and I enjoy playing all of them. Well come to the uke world.

Kanaka916
06-05-2008, 05:46 AM
You can check Craig's List (Hawai'i) and maybe luck out. Here's a few samples and not all Kamaka's. As a previous poster mentioned, few on the market and gets snatched up real quick. Same thing on ebay. Check out GX9901's Ukulele Ghetto (http://gx9901ukes.blogspot.com/search/label/Hawaii%2008) for his reviews on name brand instruments. Another interesting page is Shawn Yacavone's site called Ukulele Friend (http://www.ukulelefriend.com/) and he has a number of quality, custom high end instruments for sale. Hope this helps.


Custom Ko'olau Electric tenor (http://honolulu.craigslist.org/oah/msg/706278775.html)
Kamaka Baritone (http://honolulu.craigslist.org/oah/msg/706335682.html)
GString Tenor (http://honolulu.craigslist.org/oah/msg/704299653.html)
Kamaka Concert (http://honolulu.craigslist.org/oah/msg/708057687.html)

Slipz
06-10-2008, 10:45 PM
Thanks to everyone for all the kind and helpful words

The search continues ............ :nana:

Kekani
06-11-2008, 10:28 PM
Because of the semi-automated production of the Koalohas (due to the genius machine building of Alvin (Papa Koaloha) Okami, there is less variability between ukes. Kamakas I believe (correct me if I'm wrong) are still made by individual luthiers by hand.

I may be reading to much into what semi-automated means in relation to KoAloha instruments. Right now, the only thing I would put in that category are their necks. Of course, other factories get their necks the same way, so its not really a big deal. They start by drying their wood - nothing automated there (kilns still need to be loaded and unloaded), milling their wood, resawing, thicknessing, bending, gluing, all by hand, using tools. Automated, as I see it, would be would be Taylor Guitars. Kamaka does basically the same thing (as does Kanilea and G-String) for the most part. Yes, different paths, but same direction - somebody still has to physically build the instruments.

facemeltingukulele
06-11-2008, 11:28 PM
I may be reading to much into what semi-automated means in relation to KoAloha instruments. Right now, the only thing I would put in that category are their necks. Of course, other factories get their necks the same way, so its not really a big deal. They start by drying their wood - nothing automated there (kilns still need to be loaded and unloaded), milling their wood, resawing, thicknessing, bending, gluing, all by hand, using tools. Automated, as I see it, would be would be Taylor Guitars. Kamaka does basically the same thing (as does Kanilea and G-String) for the most part. Yes, different paths, but same direction - somebody still has to physically build the instruments.

Yeah, I probably shouldn't have said "semi-automated". I used the term to convey the sheer genius of Alvin Okami and how he mostly hand built a lot of the machines or at least the prototypes to the machines that they use in the factory. A lot of the genius behind these machines is how they save time in the building process. They give tours of the place so you can see some of the machines they use. There is a machine that they use to cut the blanks that Alvin designed that cuts the time in half (at least). He also "automated" the fret board process by creating a machine with multiple blades at the exact fret board scale. There is automation in the process to cut down on time, but you are totally right in that the gluing and most other stuff is done by hand. I don't mean automated like some factory mindlessly churning out ukes, so automated probably isn't the right word. I know that a lot of hand made love goes into each uke. My point was the quality control is top notch due to the great workers at Koaloha and the unique machinery they use. So maybe not automated, but to me Koaloha ukes have the best consitancy I've heard of in the ukes I've tried.

Kekani
06-12-2008, 06:55 AM
Now that, I agree with. Alvin comes out of left field sometimes, and you're right, his fretboard slotting jig is awesome, as is the process they use to press frets. Of course, the fret pressing process is done by hand for all of their Customs - ask me how I know.

The one thing that surprised me that KoAloha definitely does Old School, is side bending - on a pipe (not a mold).

facemeltingukulele
06-12-2008, 07:35 AM
Now that, I agree with. Alvin comes out of left field sometimes, and you're right, his fretboard slotting jig is awesome, as is the process they use to press frets. Of course, the fret pressing process is done by hand for all of their Customs - ask me how I know.

The one thing that surprised me that KoAloha definitely does Old School, is side bending - on a pipe (not a mold).

How you know?! You have a custom? Pics if you do! (I'll try and get all my Koalohas in one place for a pic. :P) Great meeting you on this thread Kekani!

deach
06-12-2008, 07:38 AM
... (I'll try and get all my Koalohas in one place for a pic....

someday....*sighs

Kekani
06-12-2008, 11:12 PM
How you know?! You have a custom?

Not quite. I don't have a custom, but I do get my hands on most of the higher end ones that leave the shop - I do a bunch of the inlays for their custom shop. Of course I do have 2 pineapple, a Standard and a Concert anyway.

As for the fret pressing, the story goes like this, simply - the fret press smashed the inlay so I had to redo it. Redoing a custom inlay is not something I'm particularly fond of doing, especially the level that Paul is taking his customs to. He's been fairly conservative with the artwork, but after seeing my recent build, Paul is now "outside of the box" when it comes to inlays. The Inlays are going to add 50% or more to the cost of his customs, which is considerable when you take into account his base price.

Sorry about hijacking this thread, especially since the question was about Kamaka, which, by the way, I have as well (a Standard and a Tenor). I just returned a Kamaka Tenor to my friend - I was swapping out the Fishman Pickup for a Baggs; he's much happier now. But, this would be no ordinary Tenor, Casey built it specifically for my friend. His custom work (not unlike Paul's) is nothing like the rack instruments. Casey (and Chris) do wonderful work. In conversation with Casey last year, he said he was going to start banging out some customs, and doing more inlays out of his shop.

slipz, if you're looking for a Kamaka Tenor to sit next to the Goodall, you may want to give Casey a call to see what his schedule is like.

-Aaron