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View Full Version : Kamaka Factory - Can you buy after the tour?



PedalFreak
01-21-2011, 06:38 AM
My wife and I will be in Hawaii in March. We're going to take the tour of the Kamaka factory. Their website says you can order a uke direct from the factory. But can you buy one while at the factory?

Anyone taken the tour lately know? Or do they have any other items to purchase?

Mandarb
01-21-2011, 06:43 AM
Here is there contact info.... http://www.kamakahawaii.com/contact.html

JAvendan
01-21-2011, 06:54 AM
// i lost my original reply!!!

---

when i went to the factory in '06 i was expecting to walk in, buy an uke and walk out.

it didn't happen.

i was told there was a very long backorder of ukes so i had to order one and wait.

i received my uke in the mail approx. 6 weeks later at home in cali.

call them but i suspect things haven't changed.

if you call and order far enough in advance you might be able to pick it up while you are there.

the other alternative is to find a kamaka uke at a music store and buy there... where you live or in hawaii.

good luck.

joel

Gillian
01-21-2011, 07:17 AM
My husband and I were there last month. Kamaka doesn't sell their ukes at the factory.

This may be a little off-topic, but KoAloha, also located in Honolulu, does have some ukes (not all models) that you can buy at the factory. They are called "seconds" and are quite a bit cheaper if you can overlook tiny flaws. I bought a longneck soprano that had a bubble in the finish the size of a pinhead at the edge of the soundhole under the strings. That "flaw" reduced the price from $600 to $450.

Kanile'a is located in Kaneohe, a quick drive North on the Pali Highway. Joe Souza gave us a wonderful tour and he had a few ukes for sale but they are not "seconds".

mm stan
01-21-2011, 07:30 AM
Aloha PedalFreak,
If I was you I put in you order now and tell them when you'll be in town to pick it up....I guess sometimes they're finished batches are all backorders...unless they have just finished a specific model that day
of have one available...your chances may be slim......why take chances when your can call them and set things up...
Kamaka Hawaii, inc..
550 South Street
Honolulu, Hawaii 96813-5010
Telephone: (808)531-3165
E-mail: mail@kamakahawaii.com
Good Luck, I hope it helps...Stan

arashi_nero
01-21-2011, 08:45 AM
my guess on why the op wants to buy at the end of the store would be because he wants to play them before buying. if i were slapping down a bunch of chash on an instrument, i would make sure i am 100% pleased with that instrument first. i did that when i bought my piano and my bassoon. it took several weeks to find the right cheap uke for my first uke buy. if i went to hawaii and decided to buy a uke, i'd probably be in the store for several hours a day for at least a couple days before i actually decided on which one i would buy.

janeray1940
01-21-2011, 08:48 AM
Aw, man, I'm bummed about this! I'll be doing the Kamaka tour next month and was hoping to buy afterward too. While I would trust Kamaka to make me a fantastic ukulele if I ordered by phone in advance, somehow it's not quite the same.

cletus
01-21-2011, 09:06 AM
Aw, man, I'm bummed about this! I'll be doing the Kamaka tour next month and was hoping to buy afterward too. While I would trust Kamaka to make me a fantastic ukulele if I ordered by phone in advance, somehow it's not quite the same.

Well, now you may be able to get a vintage/used Kamaka instead. Maybe a local shop, or craigslist.

janeray1940
01-21-2011, 09:07 AM
Well, now you may be able to get a vintage/used Kamaka instead. Maybe a local shop, or craigslist.

That's what I'm hoping - that the Craigslist gods will be smiling on me that week :)

King FarUke
01-21-2011, 09:13 AM
When I was there earlier last year you could not purchase from the factory floor. It was necessary to pre-order with and estimated wait of about 3 months. You may want to check the retail stores. I purchased a Kamaka tenor at Bounty Music on Maui for about $100 less than I would have paid to buy it directly from Kamaka at MSRP. I was also able to play 3 different Kamaka tenors for comparison, along with KoAlohas, Kanileas, G-Strings and others. The one I ended up purchasing was still packaged up in the original shipping package from Kamaka and had never been on the sales floor. You may not find the ukes priced as low in the Waikiki area as I did on Maui or in other places in Ohahu - so shop around if you can.

spruce
01-21-2011, 09:19 AM
When I was there last June, they had a killer spruce top concert for sale...
So-ooo, you just might catch them at the right time....

wickedwahine11
01-21-2011, 09:26 AM
When I did the factory tour in December of '09, one of the tour goers picked up the ukulele he had ordered from Kamaka. It was a real beauty, and I'm sure it made the tour extra special for him. If you order it now, you might be able to have it made in time for you to pick it up in March. They also had two for sale at that time, but I think that was a rare occurrence. As a general rule, no, unless you order one you can't buy one from the factory.

It would be sight unseen, true, but it would also have been made just for you.

You won't regret taking the tour at all -- I did the Kanile'a, Kamaka and KoAloha tours and the Kamaka is my favorite. True, it is the dustiest -- not sure why their ventilation system is lacking, but it is quite comprehensive, and has a lot of history behind it as Fred Kamaka usually leads it. Plus you get a chance to see Kamaka pineapple #1 that way. :) It is also the closest to Waikiki (and therefore for most people the easiest to get to).

molokinirum
01-21-2011, 09:33 AM
Probably best bet is to do the tour, then shop at music stores to find a Kamaka to your liking. I bought mine in Maui at Lahaina Music. They gave me a discount due to a very minor scratch in the gloss finish which I did not even not even notice! Then they threw in the hard case for it for free!!!!

spruce
01-21-2011, 10:21 AM
Plus you get a chance to see Kamaka pineapple #1 that way. :)

Hey, if any of you past Kamaka tourists has a straight-on shot of that #1 Pineapple, I'd sure love to see it....
Or if you're going on the tour soon, snap a shot if you would....

The painting on that is really different than the other painted pineapples I've seen, and I'd love to get a closer look...

janeray1940
01-21-2011, 10:29 AM
Hey, if any of you past Kamaka tourists has a straight-on shot of that #1 Pineapple, I'd sure love to see it....
Or if you're going on the tour soon, snap a shot if you would....


I can do that for you - PM me on Feb 9 or so :)

PedalFreak
01-21-2011, 10:30 AM
my guess on why the op wants to buy at the end of the store would be because he wants to play them before buying. if i were slapping down a bunch of chash on an instrument, i would make sure i am 100% pleased with that instrument first.

Yeah, I would like to play and see it first. I'd hate to order it then once I get there not like something about it. I'd especially like to find one with Koa that I really like. I'm going to be on Kaua'i for 4 days, then to Oahu. Plan on stopping at Larry's Music, and probably others that I can find.

I called Kamaka this morning. They told me I could order it and pick it up, or order it in the factory. 4 weeks for delivery right now they said. Very small chance they'll have something for sale at the factory.

Thank you for all the replies!

spruce
01-21-2011, 11:28 AM
I can do that for you - PM me on Feb 9 or so :)

It's on my calendar....
Thanks!

wickedwahine11
01-21-2011, 11:29 AM
Hey, if any of you past Kamaka tourists has a straight-on shot of that #1 Pineapple, I'd sure love to see it....
Or if you're going on the tour soon, snap a shot if you would....

The painting on that is really different than the other painted pineapples I've seen, and I'd love to get a closer look...

Here you go. There is a little bit of a glare, but it is fairly close up.
http://www.ukuleleunderground.com/forum/attachment.php?attachmentid=7451

You can see other shots from my tour at this album.
http://www.ukuleleunderground.com/forum/album.php?albumid=726

wickedwahine11
01-21-2011, 11:34 AM
Yeah, I would like to play and see it first. I'd hate to order it then once I get there not like something about it. I'd especially like to find one with Koa that I really like. I'm going to be on Kaua'i for 4 days, then to Oahu. Thank you for all the replies!

I would really recommend you see what they have at Larry's. That store has amazing ukes, and a ton of Kamakas usually some with very nice curl. I think if you aren't planning on ordering from Kamaka direct, that you should buy it in Kauai at Larry's. Unless MGM has something in stock, or you are going out to Hawaii Music Supply, the stores in Honolulu are very high priced (like Aloha Ukulele and Bob's) and Sam at Larry's is a good guy with a good inventory. Have fun and be sure to post pics of your uke when you get it. :)

slouke
01-21-2011, 12:34 PM
Beat me to it! Here's my pic. My wife and I just got back. The Kamaka tour was definitely a highlight of the trip! Uncle Fred loves to tell stories. We just visited the Kamaka factory because Koaloha was closed for NAMMS. Like others said they don't have any inventory for immediate sale. 6 week wait...can't afford one and my level of play not good yet anyways :) We did check out a couple shops in Waikiki. There's a new shop that Jake Shimabukuro's brother opened up. We bought a T-shirt there. http://www.theukebox.com/

http://www.flickr.com/photos/slotao/5376680238/

experimentjon
01-21-2011, 12:58 PM
That's good info. I always thought you could buy from the Kamaka factory. Guess I was wrong. I knew they stopped their seconds program (unfortunate), but I've seen tourists pick up BEAUTIFUL instruments from the factory. I guess it's not that bad when the yen is reaching Y80/$.

But indeed, the local stores are pretty good, and have nice discounts too, plus a selection to choose from so you can get the best Kamaka on their shelves.

wickedwahine11
01-21-2011, 01:24 PM
There's a new shop that Jake Shimabukuro's brother opened up. We bought a T-shirt there.

How did you like the Uke Box store? My fave Waikiki store (Ukulele Puapua) used to be there, but then opened up at the Sheraton -- I really preferred the selection at Pacific Beach so I was sorry to see them go. I will be in Oahu next month and one of my first stops was planning on being Uke Box. I might have to get a shirt there myself. :)

dkcrown
01-21-2011, 02:11 PM
Boy am I envious of you guys. I would love to be over there to take the Kamaka tour. Daily HIGHS in the teens forecast here for the next 3 or 4 days with stiff winds. I will have to live vicariously through you. In the meantime, I think I'll go play my HF-3.

Harold O.
01-21-2011, 02:36 PM
How about this idea: Search around and buy your Kamaka before taking the tour. Then take it with you on the tour and show it off. Kind of a homecoming thing for your new uke. Have the shop guys give it a quick once-over. You'll come home with a great uke story.

spruce
01-21-2011, 02:42 PM
Here you go. There is a little bit of a glare, but it is fairly close up.
http://www.ukuleleunderground.com/forum/attachment.php?attachmentid=7451



I took one just like that.....!

http://i231.photobucket.com/albums/ee22/e_stamp/P1060475.jpg


I'd love to see on a little more "straight-on"....
Kinda like this...

http://i231.photobucket.com/albums/ee22/e_stamp/Kamaka%20Pineapples/P1070325.jpg

I can't find one out there anywhere...
Maybe I should just go back for another great tour, one of the highlights of our trip... ;)

peterp
01-21-2011, 07:32 PM
Honolulu is a big place. After the tour head to a place where you can rehydrate with a cool tropical drink. Then head to the ukulele shops and play as many Kamakas as you can find. After breakfast the next day, go and buy the one you liked most and take it to a beach where there is a palm tree to sit under and access to some lunch and cool drinks, and just sit there all day playing your new uke. When planning your itinerary remember that buying a uke in Honolulu requires two full days to do it properly, and make sure you program the time.
This is the best advice, but I would play before re-hydrating.