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omega
09-15-2010, 05:41 AM
I am a noob but love to start with the best one I can afford to avoid the future upgrade.
I have to buy this unseen. No idea what the sound of them would be (heard ppl said each one sounds different.)
I'm kind of guess that density of tone wood might have something to do with the sounds. So I think that the experts here might be able to tell by looking at the grain and color. If there is no such a thing please just help me pick one.:o

Number 1
http://cache1.bigcartel.com/product_images/26096083/KamakaT-F.jpghttp://cache1.bigcartel.com/product_images/26096095/KamakaT-BK.jpg

Number 2
http://www.buffalobrosguitars.com/images32000-32999/nub32255-kamakahf3tenor/1.jpg

Thanks!

mailman
09-15-2010, 05:53 AM
I'd guess it would be impossible to judge tone visually. I'm sure either Kamaka (virtually any Kamaka) will sound wonderful. If you can't play them for yourself, pick the one that looks the nicest to you....

cletus
09-15-2010, 05:58 AM
Pick one, you'll be thrilled either way.
Congrats on your first uke, way to avoid "upgrade syndrome"!

CoLmes
09-15-2010, 06:02 AM
I hate you..


jk a little. Go with what you think looks best, they're basically going to be the same. Although I played 2 kamakas and thought one was better than the other.

thomas
09-15-2010, 06:04 AM
Number 2 has significantly straighter grain, which in my opinion is a very good thing as far as sound goes. It also isnt leaning up against a rock!!!

Just my brain farts of the moment.

Take care,
Thomas

mm stan
09-15-2010, 06:06 AM
Aloha Omega,
You're a smart cookie, buying the best you can comfortably afford....not only saving on future upgrades but
buying a better instument on sound, playability and comfort. You'll probally learn faster and get less fustrated.
Kamaka's are top of the uke chain...when looking for one, for me the less fancy(curly or flamed) one sounds the
best ...try and find the straightest grain possible for the best sound.. fancy curly ones distort the sound, I believe..
Many buy on looks, and that what retailers order for sales....but the newer kamaka's sound real nice, if you
could try them out first, it would benefit you getting a good sounding one as they are as individual as you and me.
It is said out of ten ukes, you just get one or two great sounding ones out of the bunch...pick and choose wisely!!
There are alot of variables, not only wood grain...for instance , you can buy the same make and model made by the same
same person and sound totally compeletely different....
You're dropping alot of moolah down...Good Luck!! MM Stan...

janeray1940
09-15-2010, 06:12 AM
I am a noob but love to start with the best one I can afford to avoid the future upgrade.

Just popping in to give you my two cents' worth on this - *great* decision. I started on a bottom-of-the-line Ohana (complete with bottom-of-the-line strings) and was often discouraged because it sounded so dull. I thought it was me; then I upgraded to a Koaloha and sounded at least 25% better! Then a Kamaka fell into my lap and - well, there was no looking back. True love, I'm telling you.

Every instrument is different, but if you can't try them in person first I really doubt that you can go wrong with either of these. Before I bought my Kamaka (sight unseen, a lucky eBay deal) I had tried a few in person and was actually underwhelmed when compared side by side with the Koaloha - but the one I got sight unseen blows the Koaloha away!

I think you'll love it either way.

GX9901
09-15-2010, 06:17 AM
I don't think it's possible to tell which one sound better by looking at it. When I bought my HF-3, I played over 10 examples at the shop on Maui to choose the one I ended up buying. They all sounded a little different, with some sounding noticeably better than others. On their own I think they would have all sounded good enough, but when comparing them to each other, there were definitely differences. I wrote a little blog post about my Kamaka buying experience here (http://gx9901ukes.blogspot.com/2009/02/got-kamaka.html).

Between the two you've posted, I'd say go with the one you think looks better. I personally think the 2nd one look better, but that's just my opinion. Good luck!

Ronnie Aloha
09-15-2010, 06:47 AM
Either one would be great for me. I'll take your scraps...

I agree with George. Playing them side by side might cause you to pick one over the other tone wise but playing them individually, or even one an hour later, would not allow you to pick one by tone. Heck, I can hardly tell the difference playing the same uke side by side.

Are they the same price too?

omega
09-15-2010, 06:51 AM
Are they the same price too?

Yes, after the shipping cost

Kanaka916
09-15-2010, 06:54 AM
My experience with Kamaka is that no two instruments even if made from the same stock will not sound the same. As George mentioned, it would be nice if you could play them to make a choice. When you do find the right instrument, it'll feel and play and sound "just right". Based on the photos provided, I like #2.

RyanMFT
09-15-2010, 07:00 AM
I agree with what others have said here....unless you can play them side by side, you won't be able to tell which one has "better" tone....which is subjective anyway. Both are top notch so I have no doubt you will be happy with either. I am partial to Kamaka #2 just because it appeals to me a little more, but I like ukes that are not real busy as far as the grain pattern goes. Let us know what you get...and post a picture when it gets home!

nickster60
09-15-2010, 07:38 AM
Will the shop let you buy both and return the one you dont like?

omega
09-15-2010, 07:38 AM
I don't think it's possible to tell which one sound better by looking at it. When I bought my HF-3, I played over 10 examples at the shop on Maui to choose the one I ended up buying. They all sounded a little different, with some sounding noticeably better than others. On their own I think they would have all sounded good enough, but when comparing them to each other, there were definitely differences. I wrote a little blog post about my Kamaka buying experience here (http://gx9901ukes.blogspot.com/2009/02/got-kamaka.html).

Between the two you've posted, I'd say go with the one you think looks better. I personally think the 2nd one look better, but that's just my opinion. Good luck!

GX9901,
Very good write up on Kamaka buying experience.
I love your site and your collection of ukes :drool:.
Thanks!

haole
09-15-2010, 07:38 AM
If you're buying to avoid a future upgrade, you probably don't have much to compare it to, so get the one you think looks nicer. They're both super sweet.

omega
09-15-2010, 07:41 AM
Will the shop let you buy both and return the one you dont like?

One of them have 48 hours return policy with me paying the shipping cost both way $120 and credit card transaction fee.
I haven't check with the other yet.

pulelehua
09-15-2010, 08:04 AM
I've also heard that straight grain is often considered not as pretty, but is often better tone-wise. But there are SO many factors that affect sound, and grain direction is only one. I actually like straight grain koa myself.

Mandarb
09-15-2010, 08:42 AM
They both look beautiful and I am sure they both sound great. Good luck deciding. I just received confirmation that my HF-3 shipped from Kamaka yesterday. I hope to post some pics in a couple of days with my iPhone if I can figure out how to do it.

70sSanO
09-15-2010, 09:32 AM
This would be a tough decision if you can't play them. I like the wavy grain of the first one, the color may not be as rich looking in the picture, but I think that's the lighting.

If you don't have a preference, it comes down to price and the seller. What service/setup are you going to get, return policy, etc.

One last thing, since they are both great ukuleles, and even if you don't play them first, the one you do pick will probably end up as the best sounding, at least to you.

John

Gmoney
09-15-2010, 09:41 AM
Number 2 has significantly straighter grain, which in my opinion is a very good thing as far as sound goes. It also isnt leaning up against a rock!!!

Kamaka #2 it is for me - leaning against a rock doesn't help!

nickster60
09-15-2010, 09:46 AM
I also like #2 a nice looking instrument. There is something to be said about a instument that is also very pleasing to the eye.

janeray1940
09-15-2010, 09:49 AM
Kamaka #2 it is for me - leaning against a rock doesn't help!

Not only against a rock, but in the *sand*. It's kind of hurting my Kamaka-obsessed heart.

Hey Omega, one thing I just noticed - the not-in-the-sand photos look like they're from the Elderly site. If so, at the bottom of each page there is often a little "Exact appearance of new instruments may vary" disclaimer - so, it's possible that what you get won't look the same. Just a thought.

omega
09-15-2010, 10:18 AM
Hey Omega, one thing I just noticed - the not-in-the-sand photos look like they're from the Elderly site. If so, at the bottom of each page there is often a little "Exact appearance of new instruments may vary" disclaimer - so, it's possible that what you get won't look the same. Just a thought.

On this site said "Photo is of the actual ukulele!" on this one.
http://ukuleleacademy.bigcartel.com/product/kamaka-hf-3-tenor-size-solid-koa-ukulele

Thanks for pointing that out though ;-)

Ronnie Aloha
09-15-2010, 11:38 AM
Yeah, if the one on the stand is from Elderly it might not be the actual uke.

nickster60
09-15-2010, 11:47 AM
Elderly has a good Uke guy named Ben. Ask him if it is the same instrument in the picture. Elderly is great company to deal with.

molokinirum
09-15-2010, 11:52 AM
You can't go wrong with a Kamaka.....or any "K" uke. Call the shop or the person selling the uke and see if they can send you actual pics of the uke. If they can, just pick out the grain pattern that you like.

Ingrate
09-15-2010, 11:58 AM
I would never buy a Kamaka, nor any other 'uke this costly, without playing it first. Even Kamakas vary in nature. IMO, we're at the peak of 'ukelele prices with the current 'uke mania, so you'd better be sure.

Lexxy
09-15-2010, 12:03 PM
I would never buy a Kamaka, nor any other 'uke this costly, without playing it first. Even Kamakas vary in nature. IMO, we're at the peak of 'ukelele prices with the current 'uke mania, so you'd better be sure.

The peak, would be Moore Bettah ukes :P

Coconut Willie
09-15-2010, 12:04 PM
Uke #2 sure looks purty!!!!!

wickedwahine11
09-15-2010, 12:55 PM
I'm definitely in the minority on this one, but I actually prefer the first one. But I'm a sucker for the less straight grain patterns. I agree, most people say the straight grain will sound better (in which case choose #2) but I figure I'm not a good enough player to make the difference matter, so I usually opt for the more visually appealing one...and to me, that is the first one. Either way though, enjoy it greatly, and as a Kamaka enthusiast, I can honestly say mine is my prized possession. I'm sure you will love yours too!

Lexxy
09-15-2010, 12:58 PM
I'm definitely in the minority on this one, but I actually prefer the first one. But I'm a sucker for the less straight grain patterns. I agree, most people say the straight grain will sound better (in which case choose #2) but I figure I'm not a good enough player to make the difference matter, so I usually opt for the more visually appealing one...and to me, that is the first one. Either way though, enjoy it greatly, and as a Kamaka enthusiast, I can honestly say mine is my prized possession. I'm sure you will love yours too!

Do you prefer the Kamaka over the KoAloha?

wickedwahine11
09-15-2010, 01:46 PM
Do you prefer the Kamaka over the KoAloha?

Yes, I do...but it isn't a fair comparison. My KoAloha is a Pineapple Sunday, not a tenor. So it is great sounding, but harder for me to play and the sound is not very versatile. If I had a pure test it would have to be a KoAloha tenor vs. my Kamaka tenor. But to be honest with you, I'm not willing to buy a KoAloha tenor without the crown bridge style, and those are tough to come by, so I may never get to do a real side by side comparison. But I do love my Kamaka dearly, and it isn't even a contest between it and my Kanile'a.

Huckleberry
09-15-2010, 04:40 PM
How about this. If you buy the first one, it will sound better than the second one because you will not have heard the second one. However, if you take the second one, it will sound better than the first one because you wil not have heard the first one. The clincher is that either one will sound better than any other brand. You've got a win/win situation. You can't make a mistake. Buy one and enjoy.

shrink9
09-15-2010, 06:17 PM
You won't go wrong with Kamaka. They are a joy to play. Personally, I buy ukes that look AND sound good to me. I cannot differentiate a significant difference in sound between straight grain vs curly grain. Whichever one you buy, you'll be very happy.

Hippie Dribble
09-15-2010, 07:42 PM
it's a bit like offering someone a million bucks, and then saying "would it be OK if I just gave you 900,000"...

deznuchs
09-15-2010, 08:01 PM
I believe that either one is a great choice. But I will also add that getting one will prolly mean getting another one later.

UkuLeLesReggAe
09-16-2010, 03:33 AM
wait wait wait..

essentially, these are Kamaka hf-3's, but look significantly different? And would sound different? ha ha, and here I thought, they would all sound and look the same... well, I knew they would sound a tad different, however, I didn't know they changed in colour so much..

argh...

iDavid
09-16-2010, 03:59 AM
I like the looks of the first one. The second looks very nice, but not as unique as I would want. That being said, either would be great

omega
09-16-2010, 08:35 AM
I talked to the local guitar shop, they had ordered 3 models of Kamaka including HF-3 but no ETA yet from Kamaka. I think I take y'all advise on "seeing it in person is the best way".
Thank you very much for all of the input.
Tom :o

ritzer012
09-16-2010, 04:48 PM
i was just at kents shop, ukulele academy, the first uke picture...i LOVE his shop and go whenever i am in town and he is an awesome guy to deal with. i have 5 ukes and bought all of them from him and he is always happy to help if you have any questions via email or phone. he is always my first stop for my ukulele needs. i did see the kamakas there and fooled around with them a little bit...the sure are pretty and sound great too.

haolejohn
09-16-2010, 05:14 PM
I hate you..


jk a little. Go with what you think looks best, they're basically going to be the same. Although I played 2 kamakas and thought one was better than the other.

I'm curious Colin. which one sounded better?

haolejohn
09-16-2010, 05:16 PM
Do you prefer the Kamaka over the KoAloha?

I don't. But that is just me. I do like my kamaka. A lot. But all three of my Koalohas sing. BTW I traded a Pineapple sunday for my Kamaka and am very happy with what i got.

3nails4holes
09-17-2010, 07:43 AM
in my expert opinion, i think you are making a terrible mistake by picking a kamaka as your first ukulele choice ever.

here's what you should do...

since this is your first uke and you may not be 100% sure you'll even like the uke, drop at most $200-400 on a good lanikai, kala, mainland, ohana, makai, or anuenue.

shoot--for a touch more, get two different voiced ukes and see which one you like better--tenor and soprano, for example.

part of the upgrade aspect is to decide if you even really, seriously like the ukulele.

granted, why wouldn't you?!? it's awesome. but, you personally may cool off to it after a while and you'll have this kamaka on your hands that you'll have to resell and lose the amount equal to a decent starter uke.

now, as for my consultation fee... :D

i will require $500-700 (the part you didn't spend on the kamaka).

:shaka:

omega
09-17-2010, 09:33 AM
in my expert opinion, i think you are making a terrible mistake by picking a kamaka as your first ukulele choice ever.

here's what you should do...

since this is your first uke and you may not be 100% sure you'll even like the uke, drop at most $200-400 on a good lanikai, kala, mainland, ohana, makai, or anuenue.

shoot--for a touch more, get two different voiced ukes and see which one you like better--tenor and soprano, for example.

part of the upgrade aspect is to decide if you even really, seriously like the ukulele.

granted, why wouldn't you?!? it's awesome. but, you personally may cool off to it after a while and you'll have this kamaka on your hands that you'll have to resell and lose the amount equal to a decent starter uke.

now, as for my consultation fee... :D

i will require $500-700 (the part you didn't spend on the kamaka).

:shaka:

Very good point I think I need to write you a check.

Sorry for the confusion, I am a noob but this is not my first one. I have Concert size uke for 6 weeks now and I feel that I would be more happy with the Tenor
after I got a chance to try some Tenor Pono and Collings.
Well, I know that I love it since I can play more songs and more chords comparing to the guitar that I played when I was in high school.
Plus I love how ppl sharing and helping each other in uke world, it's very unique and amazed me. I think I am pretty confident to say that "I am here to stay" ;-)

Anyway, I am no hurry now since I found the local music store that will have their first shipment of Kamakas sometime in the next few months.
I'll take my time and I try not to look or browse too much uke porn.

Thanks!
Tom