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View Full Version : Restored 40 year old Kamaka



Ronnie Aloha
07-22-2010, 09:57 AM
This gold label is from the mid-60s. We used it when we were kids for our 'ukulele class at Kane'ohe Playground. When I took it out of its case after 30 years the back and top were separated from the sides and the nut was cracked.

I took it into Kamaka for repair and was given a quote of $200. Time for repair was estimated at 1 year. Well, one year later, here she is! She looks brand new again! Reglued top, back, fingerboard. New bridge, saddle, nut and strings.

I know that one year is a killer amount of time but Kamaka has been around for about 100 years and if you can imagine how many ukes they have manufactured over those years its within reason to wait that long.

http://i14.photobucket.com/albums/a340/RonnieTrojan/Ukes/DSC_7425.jpg

http://i14.photobucket.com/albums/a340/RonnieTrojan/Ukes/DSC_7426.jpg

http://i14.photobucket.com/albums/a340/RonnieTrojan/Ukes/DSC_7427.jpg

http://i14.photobucket.com/albums/a340/RonnieTrojan/Ukes/DSC_7428.jpg

Ronnie Aloha
07-22-2010, 09:58 AM
http://i14.photobucket.com/albums/a340/RonnieTrojan/Ukes/DSC_7429.jpg

http://i14.photobucket.com/albums/a340/RonnieTrojan/Ukes/DSC_7430.jpg

http://i14.photobucket.com/albums/a340/RonnieTrojan/Ukes/DSC_7431.jpg

http://i14.photobucket.com/albums/a340/RonnieTrojan/Ukes/DSC_7432.jpg

BadLands Bart
07-22-2010, 10:01 AM
Sweet!! Brought back to life!!!!

RyanMFT
07-22-2010, 10:43 AM
WOW! Looks new....and for $200, that is a great deal. Any chance you have "before" pictures? Kamaka did an amazing job bringing it back to life!

Ronnie Aloha
07-22-2010, 10:51 AM
Ryan,

It didn't even cross my mind to take before photos. The separating top and back were very subtle. I almost didn't see them until I looked at it closely. The nut was ebony and cracked off at the edge from the g string slot to the top (holding uke). I didn't notice the saddle lifting or the fingerboard but that might have been a precautionary measure and good to do since I was getting it completely refinished.

wickedwahine11
07-22-2010, 11:20 AM
Looks terrific Ron! :)

mm stan
07-22-2010, 11:43 AM
Aloha Ronnie,
Restored and brought back to life....it's absoulutely gorgous!! For two hundred it was well worth it....It looks new with the new nut,
but I know it's a gold label and it's probally late fifties to late sixty's because of the small sound hole...I had one of those a long
time ago with the flat neck below the tuners and nut. It will no longer be neglected and you'll have many many years of enjoyment from
it now. BTW- How does it sound compared to before, or was too long to remember.....Anyways congrats on your old new Kamaka.
Did ya go to Castle???HMMM...wuz wondering about your signature pic... Kahaluuu Maybe??? Malama Pono and A Hui Ho!!! MM Stan...
Is the 11 after WickedWahine for 11 years away from home....

wickedwahine11
07-22-2010, 12:08 PM
Is the 11 after WickedWahine for 11 years away from home....

Nope, I used to play softball and 11 was my jersey number. :)

freshthreat
07-22-2010, 12:17 PM
It looks just like mine! That is a super uke!!! How's it sound?!

Ronnie Aloha
07-22-2010, 02:20 PM
Aloha Ronnie,
Restored and brought back to life....it's absoulutely gorgous!! For two hundred it was well worth it....It looks new with the new nut,
but I know it's a gold label and it's probally late fifties to late sixty's because of the small sound hole...I had one of those a long
time ago with the flat neck below the tuners and nut. It will no longer be neglected and you'll have many many years of enjoyment from
it now. BTW- How does it sound compared to before, or was too long to remember.....Anyways congrats on your old new Kamaka.
Did ya go to Castle???HMMM...wuz wondering about your signature pic... Kahaluuu Maybe??? Malama Pono and A Hui Ho!!! MM Stan...
Is the 11 after WickedWahine for 11 years away from home....

James Bicknell Castle High School, my alma mater! I went to Kaneohe Elementary.

I don't remember what it sounded like before since the last time I played it without the split top and back was probably 30 years before. However, at this stage, whatever sound that emanates from her would remind me of my youth...walking home from school up through the California grass field where Mokulele Drive now sits behind the cemetery. Catching Tilapia,crayfish and Silverswords in the river where Hoomaluhia is now located. Swimming in the river, climbing that huge tree in the front yard of the Kamaka's estate. Walking home from King Intermediate to my home off Halekou by myself. Playing in the streets and riding my bike all over without any adult supervision. Ah, the innocent days of yore...

mm stan
07-22-2010, 05:07 PM
Aloha Ronnie Aloha,
My gold label was the same like yours in the same mint condition without restoration...the previous owner never played
it and stored it away. He took it out one day and tried to restring it and ripped the bridge right off. Other than that repair
it reminds me of yours...
Yup those were the Hanna Bata dayz...A time when life was carefree....I remember catchning the fishes and crawfishes
too...it was fun in those days...our entertainment. Kids today would find that boring and say yuck go in there...not!!!
Sometimes in the simpler life, there's more enjoyment and appriciation of things...We used to go to Heeia pier for fishing
and diving for squid in Kaneoha bay....I remember the long wooden docks there in the mud flats...long gone. And the
Large thin shelled oysters, gone too!!(pollution)..
Gee, I was thinking.....You lived off Kamehameha Hwy across the veterans cemetary, it was a kinda far walk to King eh?
Wouldn't Kaneohe elementary would be closer??HMM..
Anyways, I'm sure that your Kamaka will be neglected no more.. Have fun and "Keep them stings strmming" Ukulele's
are foreva's... Malama Pono and A Hu Ho!!! MM Stan....

bryanperk
07-22-2010, 05:35 PM
That thing is absolutely gorgeous!

MissJonib
07-22-2010, 06:01 PM
It's beautiful! I have a kamaka of simliar vintage that came to me with a similar story. I ordered the parts from Kamaka--and can't say enough about the customer service there. It's in the hands of a gifted luthier, and I am restlessly waiting to have it finished!
Enjoy!

Ronnie Aloha
07-22-2010, 07:07 PM
Aloha Ronnie Aloha,
My gold label was the same like yours in the same mint condition without restoration...the previous owner never played
it and stored it away. He took it out one day and tried to restring it and ripped the bridge right off. Other than that repair
it reminds me of yours...
Yup those were the Hanna Bata dayz...A time when life was carefree....I remember catchning the fishes and crawfishes
too...it was fun in those days...our entertainment. Kids today would find that boring and say yuck go in there...not!!!
Sometimes in the simpler life, there's more enjoyment and appriciation of things...We used to go to Heeia pier for fishing
and diving for squid in Kaneoha bay....I remember the long wooden docks there in the mud flats...long gone. And the
Large thin shelled oysters, gone too!!(pollution)..
Gee, I was thinking.....You lived off Kamehameha Hwy across the veterans cemetary, it was a kinda far walk to King eh?
Wouldn't Kaneohe elementary would be closer??HMM..
Anyways, I'm sure that your Kamaka will be neglected no more.. Have fun and "Keep them stings strmming" Ukulele's
are foreva's...You go girl!!! Malama Pono and A Hu Ho!!! MM Stan....

Yeah, King was probably five miles from my house. I went there for intermediate school after Kaneohe Elementary.

koalition
07-22-2010, 07:33 PM
Very nice Factory restoration brah! I my opinion I tink it was worth da wait and kala to do it. I rememba da Kamaka dat I used to play small kid time in elementary school (Kalihi-Waena) in da late 60's. School issue ukes, but dey wen last long time! Da pics of yo uke wen bring back choke memories!

portlandjosh
07-22-2010, 08:45 PM
Wow, they did an amazing job with it. I just mailed my yard sale Kamaka Gold Label pineapple to them today for restoration. They emailed me back right away and assured me that they would call me as soon as the package arrived so I knew it made it safely. What a class act they are at Kamaka. Can't wait to be on the receiving end of my restored uke a year from now! Congrats!

mm stan
07-22-2010, 10:57 PM
Aloha Josh,
I'm glad to hear you decided to send it to Kamaka to get it done....
MM Stan...

mm stan
07-22-2010, 11:01 PM
At least Kaneohe Elementary was close to your house......

uber_goober
07-23-2010, 01:49 AM
That looks great. Well worth the $200 and year wait.

portlandjosh
07-23-2010, 02:26 PM
How bad was the finish before they touched it? Did they totally refinish the body? It really looks amazing. I guess I thought they only made all-Koa ukes in those days, so i was surprised to see the fretboard, bridge and nut. I am very curious to hear what their plan is for my Gold Label Kamaka (http://picasaweb.google.com/portlandjosh/Kamaka) that I just mailed to them to restore. Lots of strong opinions from posters about whether or not to have it refinished.

Cheers!
Josh

Ronnie Aloha
07-23-2010, 05:28 PM
The finish was in good condition before the restoration. The refinish was for the entire uke. The finish is satin which is how they came in the day. The satin finish just gives it that old style class IMHO, for this classic.

I have another soprano from the same time period that should be ready soon. It will also be refinished and had a rosewood ( I think) fretboard. It looks like the bridge is ebony since it is much darker than the fretboard. However, it could be Rosewood too. I wouldn't worry about the refinish because they worked around the kk decal on the headstock.