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mds725
11-28-2010, 07:49 PM
Today I played a Kamaka for the first time. It was a concert Kamaka being sold at Noe Valley Music in San Francisco (875 USD). That thing made some beautiful sounds! I promised myself that I would buy a K brand ukulele, but not until I played long enough and well enough to appreciate the difference between the K brands and less expensive ukuleles. (My current most expensive ukulele is a Big Island Honu traditional tenor.) Well, now I have to keep that promise! I will say this -- the YouTube videos I've seen of Kamakas (and this is probably true of other K brands as well) don't even begin to sound as nice as this ukulele sounded live.

Dane
11-28-2010, 07:59 PM
Today I played a Kamaka for the first time. It was a concert Kamaka being sold at Noe Valley Music in San Francisco (875 USD). That thing made some beautiful sounds! I promised myself that I would buy a K brand ukulele, but not until I played long enough and well enough to appreciate the difference between the K brands and less expensive ukuleles. (My current most expensive ukulele is a Big Island Honu traditional tenor.) Well, now I have to keep that promise! I will say this -- the YouTube videos I've seen of Kamakas (and this is probably true of other K brands as well) don't even begin to sound as nice as this ukulele sounded live.

I think I need to make this into a document that I can copy paste. There is absolutely no reason why you should not treat yourself to the best instrument possible. It will sound amazing, it will inspire you to play more, you will learn quicker and you will appreciate the instrument more.

And yeah, audio recordings can be tough to judge by, its so easy to get bad recordings with all the devices that have saturated our houses that have cheap components or are not designed to record audio.

janeray1940
11-28-2010, 08:03 PM
I think I need to make this into a document that I can copy paste. There is absolutely no reason why you should not treat yourself to the best instrument possible. It will sound amazing, it will inspire you to play more, you will learn quicker and you will appreciate the instrument more.

I agree 100% - this is so true. And, when you own your own Kamaka, you can change out the stock strings (which I think, and a lot of UUers seem to agree, are inferior) and put some *good* strings on and you will be amazed all over again!

And, you're lucky to be able to play one in person before buying. I've bought two Kamakas on eBay and both have been great, but I've played others that I was underwhelmed by.

pwcgecko
11-28-2010, 08:21 PM
I just came back from the big island. I was also checking out the Kamaka Concert, I stopped by the music exchange and Hilo Guitars and ukes. Both stores were selling for $699 and 4.5% tax. They also mentioned the prices will be going up really soon. I didn't pull the trigger because of other priorities.

Dane
11-28-2010, 08:25 PM
And to be honest, I'm a little insulted, if you have the opportunity to play and buy a very-nice instrument you should, because I can't, so do it for the other ukers ;)

beardco
11-28-2010, 08:45 PM
I agree with Dane completely. I constantly read that people have bought a 'starter' instrument. And everyone talks about buying young people something cheap until they decide if they are actually serious about playing. The best way to kill someone's interest, whether adult or youth, is to play something that sounds bad or is difficult to play. Buy the best that you can afford right from the start. Usually waiting until you are more accomplished means waiting a lot longer than you would have if you had bought that quality instrument from the very beginning. A good player can compensate for a difficult or poor sounding instrument but, a beginner will struggle mightily. Besides, you can resell that nice instrument much easier if you decide it just wasn't your thing.

The only ukulele I had heard until 5 months ago was Tiny Tim in the 60's. But I was at a festival and found a great sounding instrument and bought it. When I pull it out of the case, I want to play it because it looks and sounds so nice.

Hmmm. We sound like a bunch of women in the shoe department at Nordstrom.

mds725
11-28-2010, 09:45 PM
And to be honest, I'm a little insulted, if you have the opportunity to play and buy a very-nice instrument you should, because I can't, so do it for the other ukers ;)

Right now I'm one of those people who doesn't really have the opportunity to buy (not enough cash; still saving up). But my hope is to go to Hawaii early in 2011, run in the Aloha Run in Honolulu, and buy a Kamaka tenor. I loved the concert I played today (it was also incredibly beautiful wood), but I prefer tenor scale. If the uke I played today had been a tenor, I might not have been able to keep from pulling the trigger on it.

Dane
11-28-2010, 09:49 PM
Right now I'm one of those people who doesn't really have the opportunity to buy (not enough cash; still saving up). But my hope is to go to Hawaii early in 2011, run in the Aloha Run in Honolulu, and buy a Kamaka tenor. I loved the concert I played today (it was also incredibly beautiful wood), but I prefer tenor scale. If the uke I played today had been a tenor, I might not have been able to keep from pulling the trigger on it.

Ok you are forgiven. Ohhh man you'll have fun if you're runnin around hawaii lookin for "the" ukulele that you want, I hope I can go to hawaii again one day, now that I play ukulele. And tenor is best ;) (wait for the soprano mob to come throw rocks at me)

Hippie Dribble
11-28-2010, 09:57 PM
Ok you are forgiven. Ohhh man you'll have fun if you're runnin around hawaii lookin for "the" ukulele that you want, I hope I can go to hawaii again one day, now that I play ukulele. And tenor is best ;) (wait for the soprano mob to come throw rocks at me)

eugene reads Dane's post #8, runs out into garden, finds large, juicy rock and hurls in general direction of the great land of amerikay...:p

Dane
11-28-2010, 10:03 PM
eugene reads Dane's post #8, runs out into garden, finds large, juicy rock and hurls in general direction of the great land of amerikay...:p

It landed in the ocean, maybe next time ;) Someday I plan to visit Australia, maybe we can uke battle it out =)

Hippie Dribble
11-28-2010, 10:11 PM
It landed in the ocean, maybe next time ;) Someday I plan to visit Australia, maybe we can uke battle it out =)

aahhh, the ol' arms aren't as strong as they used to be mate( come to think of it, my whole body aint what it used to be brother)!!!

a uke-off??? Nice idea...we could do the sopranino v tenor scenario... I see it panning out something like the David and Goliath battle... :o

cheers Dane!!!

Dane
11-28-2010, 10:28 PM
aahhh, the ol' arms aren't as strong as they used to be mate( come to think of it, my whole body aint what it used to be brother)!!!

a uke-off??? Nice idea...we could do the sopranino v tenor scenario... I see it panning out something like the David and Goliath battle... :o

cheers Dane!!!

Or an old western style standoff, slinging the ukes off our backs.

Anyways back on topic, I have long been lusting after a kamaka tenor, I love everything about them, especially how simplistic they are and how beautiful their grain always seems to be. Someday I will have one, and that day I will rule the world... at least for a few seconds.

misterpk
11-28-2010, 10:56 PM
Or an old western style standoff, slinging the ukes off our backs.

Anyways back on topic, I have long been lusting after a kamaka tenor, I love everything about them, especially how simplistic they are and how beautiful their grain always seems to be. Someday I will have one, and that day I will rule the world... at least for a few seconds.

You know, you can play some K brand ukes if you know the right people in town. I've got KoAlohas and I know a few people that sometimes show up at the harbor with Kamakas and Martins. :)

Dane
11-28-2010, 11:19 PM
You know, you can play some K brand ukes if you know the right people in town. I've got KoAlohas and I know a few people that sometimes show up at the harbor with Kamakas and Martins. :)

Looks like I need to start going to the harbor so I can exploit people and use their ukuleles.

The_Oddness_of_It_All
11-29-2010, 05:16 AM
I think it does help to get a nice uke...I had a relatively cheap uke and I liked it but then I got my KoAloha and now I cant set it down! At the time I really didn't understand how nice that uke is...

Jnobianchi
11-29-2010, 06:35 AM
Well - I do agree you should get the best possible uke. I bought my daughter a Lanikai LU11 and even though now she's gotten much better, she won't hear of me getting a better model for her.

So see, you better get that Kamaka now before you get emotionally attached to what you're playing and won't hear of anything else. ;)

guitharsis
11-29-2010, 08:08 AM
Right now I'm one of those people who doesn't really have the opportunity to buy (not enough cash; still saving up). But my hope is to go to Hawaii early in 2011, run in the Aloha Run in Honolulu, and buy a Kamaka tenor. I loved the concert I played today (it was also incredibly beautiful wood), but I prefer tenor scale. If the uke I played today had been a tenor, I might not have been able to keep from pulling the trigger on it.

How nice that you'll be able to go to Hawaii and pick out a Kamaka tenor! My soprano Kamaka was picked out and sent to me by Sam at Larry's Music. My concert I got just recently from Artisan Guitars. Love them both but would've liked to be able to pick them out from many as you will be able to do.

OldePhart
11-29-2010, 01:13 PM
Today I played a Kamaka for the first time. It was a concert Kamaka being sold at Noe Valley Music in San Francisco (875 USD). That thing made some beautiful sounds! I promised myself that I would buy a K brand ukulele, but not until I played long enough and well enough to appreciate the difference between the K brands and less expensive ukuleles. (My current most expensive ukulele is a Big Island Honu traditional tenor.) Well, now I have to keep that promise! I will say this -- the YouTube videos I've seen of Kamakas (and this is probably true of other K brands as well) don't even begin to sound as nice as this ukulele sounded live.

There is no reason to wait! Seriously, if you have the money to buy it, buy it now. The price isn't going to go down. You're not going to "ruin it" by playing it before you're an expert. You will learn faster, and be inclined to practice longer, on a really nice instrument, etc., etc.

People keep getting this whole thing backwards. You see people on Craig's list and eBay advertising cheap (and often inferior) instruments as "perfect for beginners" all the time. NO! The perfect instrument for a beginner is the very best instrument you can afford to put in his or her hands. Old pros can play any old piece of junk and make it sound decent - beginners are often easily discouraged because they can't make sweet music and they mistakenly think they are the problem when the real problem is an instrument that is nearly unplayable!

Buying an entry level instrument, then a little better instrument, then a little better, then finally your dream is an extremely expensive mistake. Obviously, in some cases it's the only practical path if you just don't have the money to spare for a better instrument or you aren't sure you're going to stick with it. But, if you know you're sticking with it, buy the best instrument you can afford, then never look back.

Okay, I'll climb down off my soap box now... :)

John

GX9901
11-29-2010, 02:29 PM
There is no reason to wait! Seriously, if you have the money to buy it, buy it now. The price isn't going to go down. You're not going to "ruin it" by playing it before you're an expert. You will learn faster, and be inclined to practice longer, on a really nice instrument, etc., etc.

People keep getting this whole thing backwards. You see people on Craig's list and eBay advertising cheap (and often inferior) instruments as "perfect for beginners" all the time. NO! The perfect instrument for a beginner is the very best instrument you can afford to put in his or her hands. Old pros can play any old piece of junk and make it sound decent - beginners are often easily discouraged because they can't make sweet music and they mistakenly think they are the problem when the real problem is an instrument that is nearly unplayable!

Buying an entry level instrument, then a little better instrument, then a little better, then finally your dream is an extremely expensive mistake. Obviously, in some cases it's the only practical path if you just don't have the money to spare for a better instrument or you aren't sure you're going to stick with it. But, if you know you're sticking with it, buy the best instrument you can afford, then never look back.

Okay, I'll climb down off my soap box now... :)

John

I totally agree with this. My best custom ukuleles are also the easiest playing ukuleles I have. For a beginning player there's no doubt that the high-end instruments will make learning and playing much easier and more enjoyable than a low-end instrument. The only thing is that usually beginners aren't sure if they're committed to playing the ukulele and therefore it doesn't make sense to commit big money to a great instrument. But the moment you realize you're committed to the uke, go shop for the best uke you can afford.

cletus
11-29-2010, 02:36 PM
For a beginning player there's no doubt that the high-end instruments will make learning and playing much easier and more enjoyable than a low-end instrument. The only thing is that usually beginners aren't sure if they're committed to playing the ukulele and therefore it doesn't make sense to commit big money to a great instrument. But the moment you realize you're committed to the uke, go shop for the best uke you can afford.

I totally agree.

kraaazyugs
11-29-2010, 02:49 PM
I agree. If you start the instrument in the first place you should be serious about playing already. You might as well start with a good ukulele in the first place.

-Kalyn :D

808boy
11-29-2010, 02:50 PM
I also agree, the best YOU can AFFORD, that is A-F-FO-R-D...... I learned on a K brand, "KRAP", but I learned. Its's nicer to learn on a better uke no doubt, but you play what you have.

Chris Tarman
11-29-2010, 03:58 PM
Or an old western style standoff, slinging the ukes off our backs.

Anyways back on topic, I have long been lusting after a kamaka tenor, I love everything about them, especially how simplistic they are and how beautiful their grain always seems to be. Someday I will have one, and that day I will rule the world... at least for a few seconds.

A soprano can be drawn out of the holster a LOT faster than a tenor!

And I agree... buy the best you can afford. You'll want to play it more, which will make you improve faster.

Dane
11-29-2010, 06:13 PM
A soprano can be drawn out of the holster a LOT faster than a tenor!

And I agree... buy the best you can afford. You'll want to play it more, which will make you improve faster.

Yeah but maybe I'm faster ;)

musiccityuker
11-30-2010, 02:28 AM
I may be the only one on this thread that wasn't all that impressed with a Kamaka. Had an opportunity to play both a soprano and a concert Kamaka at a local dealer who just picked up the line. Don't get me wrong... they sounded GREAT! Both had a nice feel to them as well. BUT... maybe I was expecting too much. I've played a number of ukes that cost a lot less and they didn't sound much different. My Mele Koa Soprano, for instance! Or my Pono mahogany concert. I'd put both of them up to a Kamaka any day. You get the bragging rights but is the sound REALLY all that much better? Maybe it is and it's just my old ears failing me!!! Enjoy your ukes folks... whatever brand, model or size... enjoy your ukes! :)

cletus
11-30-2010, 02:49 AM
I may be the only one on this thread that wasn't all that impressed with a Kamaka. BUT... maybe I was expecting too much. I've played a number of ukes that cost a lot less and they didn't sound much different.

The stock strings on the Kamakas that I've been able to play were just horrid to my tastes, both in sound and feel.

musiccityuker
11-30-2010, 03:02 AM
Hi Cletus. Maybe that was part of it. Why would Kamaka send a $1000 uke out of the shop with fishing line on it? What did you restring your "K" with?

musiccityuker
11-30-2010, 03:03 AM
Yaaa... that was kind of my experience. I was so excited (as a fairly new uker) to get to play two new Kamakas in one sitting. It was just disappointing...!!!!

Mandarb
11-30-2010, 03:26 AM
To the OP: As already said many times - get the best you can afford if you are going to stick with it. Good luck with whatever you decide.


Hi Cletus. Maybe that was part of it. Why would Kamaka send a $1000 uke out of the shop with fishing line on it? What did you restring your "K" with?

I did not think the stock strings were horrible but they did leave a little something to be desired. I restrung my Kamaka last week with D'Addario J71s and so far I am really enjoying them.

cletus
11-30-2010, 03:30 AM
What did you restring your "K" with?

I had an older baritone with Aquila gCEA strings, great sound with them.

cletus
11-30-2010, 03:36 AM
Why would Kamaka send a $1000 uke out of the shop with fishing line on it?

It seems that in this point in the ukulele craze they could probably ship them out with barbed wire on them and still sell every one.:D

Ukes and strings are purely subjective to the player and results may vary.

Mandarb
11-30-2010, 03:43 AM
Ukes and strings are purely subjective to the player and results may vary.

Yes - that sums it up very nicely.

fromthee2me
11-30-2010, 05:31 AM
Hype works for those who are keen to buy a new instrument, and have no shops nearby to test these lovely instruments. Forum Reading and Youtube clips is all one can go by. They have got us over a barrel!

janeray1940
11-30-2010, 06:10 AM
The stock strings on the Kamakas that I've been able to play were just horrid to my tastes, both in sound and feel.

Seconding this. When I bought my first Kamaka (sight unseen, but for a great price) I was underwhelmed - then I changed the strings to Aquilas and the improvement was amazing. It sounded *good* with the stock strings, but not *great*.