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View Full Version : heir to kamaka uke - need help to identify



strungout
11-09-2010, 12:03 PM
i'm not sure if this is the right category to post my query in but if not maybe an administrator could move it to somewhere more appropriate.

my grandfather recently passed and his kamaka uke came to me. basically, i'd like to find out everything or anything i can concerning its model, age, value, etc...

it looks like a soprano and it has no serial numbers at all. this is all i can say about it.

please see photos

thanks!

-rob

Chap
11-09-2010, 12:11 PM
Gold label - Between 1954 and 1969, if I'm remembering right. There may be a serial number somewhere inside, that may not be immediately visible.

As for value, I have no idea, but I'm sure someone else can give you an idea. The pictures look good but is there any damage that doesn't show up in them? (small cracks, signs of repair, etc)

strungout
11-09-2010, 12:35 PM
thanks chap,

gold label - 54-69? that's great info. as far a Serial # goes, i looked pretty hard to find nothing. is there somewhere in particular i should be looking?

there is one surface dent a little more than half way up the back side of the neck. you can see it in the first photo in the list. it's minor and has affected nothing structurally. also there is a slight discoloration of the finish between the tuners (also visible in the 1st photo). this i can not explain. there is no texture to it as if it were paint or something. aside from these two blemishes there are probably a half dozen tiny surface dings no more than a mm in size each. you would have to strain your eyes to see them.

it looks to me like aside from the blemishes it has seen no trauma nor been repaired at any point. it seems to be pretty much in it's original state.

thanks again!

RyanMFT
11-09-2010, 01:01 PM
Hi Rob,
Looks like a great old Kamaka. As far as value....you can watch eBay a bit but I think a uke like that goes in the 4-6 hundred range. There are others here who will know the prices more accurately. Are you going to play it? That should be a great playing uke!

fitncrafty
11-09-2010, 01:05 PM
I am sure that MMstan will chime in here when he logs on.. He loves and knows kamaka's.. plus there are others.. It's a pretty uke? Do you play? Plan on learning.. you got a great uke there to learn on..
Welcome to the forums...
Carrie

strungout
11-09-2010, 01:18 PM
thanks. i am actually a clawhammer banjo player and most of the work i've done on a uke has been clawhammer as well. it has been a long time since i've played at all.
if i were smart i would sell it, buy something less precious then get a cavity filled with the remainder (never gonna happen).

i'm looking forward to more responses but i'm very impressed with the feedback thus far.

thanks!

itsme
11-09-2010, 01:42 PM
my grandfather recently passed and his kamaka uke came to me.
Sorry to hear about the loss of your grandfather.

Don't sell it. It's a family heirloom and I'm sure your grandfather would have wanted you to keep it and play it. :)

RyanMFT
11-09-2010, 02:13 PM
Don't sell it for something less precious!!! Ukulele's were made to be played, to make music, and to be enjoyed! Make music with it, and the fact that it came from your grandfather will make the music sound even better.

Kamaka has made a ton of uke's anyway so although they are valued as great players and links to the early history of the ukulele they really aren't in short supply so I think you should play it!

By the way, welcome to UU!

strungout
11-09-2010, 02:34 PM
thanks for the thoughts. i'm not necessarily here to sell this piece but more to find out what i have. honestly it would not be terribly depressing for me if i were to sell it for a few reasons. first, i don't really play the uke much nor did he play much . in fact, i believe he bought it in Hawaii way back when and has been in his attic for the last 50 years or so. He also left me a lovely old banjo (my instrument of choice) and an accordian. both of which i'll likely own 'til i die. the amaka may simply be a stepping stone to another opportunity.
sincere thanks for the thoughts and advice.

olgoat52
11-09-2010, 03:12 PM
thanks. i am actually a clawhammer banjo player and most of the work i've done on a uke has been clawhammer as well. it has been a long time since i've played at all.
if i were smart i would sell it, buy something less precious then get a cavity filled with the remainder (never gonna happen).

i'm looking forward to more responses but i'm very impressed with the feedback thus far.

thanks!

I think its a great uke but as far as precious goes, you are not in that category. It's not like a painted Kamaka pineapple or something really really exotic. Keep it to remember your gramps. I suspect you will regret selling it more for that reason than any other.

mm stan
11-09-2010, 06:15 PM
Aloha Strungout,
I had a mid 50's close to that model...on the neck behind the nut is thin and flat as also it the headstock...
My guess is closer to mid 50' or a few up years but before 60's for sure...It's a gold label, in that condition..I'd
pay around $400.00 from a private owner....well ebay will be slightly higher but you have to pay fees..
Some sound really nice, and some have a hollow sound...I guess the price is how it sounds too, to close the deal..
I'd keep it in the family, as it has sentimental value and pass it on to the generations to come ahead...
For $400.00 or so, it's worth better keeping it...as you have no money in it....it was inherited to you...

RyanMFT
11-09-2010, 06:50 PM
I can understand, if it doesn't have sentimental value for you, and isn't the instrument that is your passion, you might want to pass it on to someone who would love it. If you decide to sell, consider listing it for sale in the "ukulele marketplace" forum here....maybe we can keep it in the UU family. I'd love to have a vintage Kamaka, and I know a lot of people around UU would like one too.

strungout
11-17-2010, 06:17 AM
thanks again for all of your feedback. i have decided to sell and on RyanMFT's advice i will sell here on the UU. first, upon closer inspection i have realized that the 2nd string peg slips just shy of holding a true E. is this a big or small deal?

i also wrote Kamaka directly with the same photos that i attached here in an earlier post and they seemed certain that it was made in the early 60s which contradicts some earlier responses. i would like to advertise this uke as accurately as possible. any suggestions?

thanks in advance.

-rob

dnewton2
11-17-2010, 06:43 AM
thanks again for all of your feedback. i have decided to sell and on RyanMFT's advice i will sell here on the UU. first, upon closer inspection i have realized that the 2nd string peg slips just shy of holding a true E. is this a big or small deal?


Prob not a big deal. You can tighten the peg by tightening the screw on the peg itself. Shouldn't take much maybe 1/4 turn.


i also wrote Kamaka directly with the same photos that i attached here in an earlier post and they seemed certain that it was made in the early 60s which contradicts some earlier responses. i would like to advertise this uke as accurately as possible. any suggestions?


If Kamaka said it is from the early 60's I would go with that. Most ukers will recongize the Gold label and know approximate period it was made.

Good luck with the sale.

RyanMFT
11-17-2010, 07:28 AM
dnewton is right, not an issue at all with the tuner!

At the top of the "Ukulele Marketplace" forum there is a thread that describes what to include in a post to sell a uke on UU. Pretty simple, just a piece of paper in a picture with the uke with your UU name and the date so that people know it is the real deal. The post explains it well. I hope someone here gets it!

Ronnie Aloha
11-17-2010, 07:58 AM
Actually, that looks exactly like my gold label from the early to mid-60's. I've noticed that angled area at the bottom of the fretboard is identical to mine.

KamakOzzie
11-27-2010, 11:13 AM
Hi strungout,
I also play clawhammer banjo and have the same model Kamaka as yours.
Ever tried playing clawhammer banjo uke?