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View Full Version : Is a Vintage Kamaka a good purchase?



GKK
02-03-2011, 04:55 AM
My friend offered to sell me his Vintage Gold label Kamaka Soprano Ukulele which has a 1 1/2" crack on the top rear of the body. It has a one piece top and back.

It doesn't affect the sound but, I was wondering if this can be fixed (re-glued, filled, sanded and re-cleared)? Also, Do the 1950-1960 Kamaka ukulele's sound the same as the new ones? Thanks, for the help

Gmoney
02-03-2011, 05:03 AM
My friend offered to sell me his Vintage Gold label Kamaka Soprano Ukulele which has a 1 1/2" crack on the top rear of the body. It has a one piece top and back.

It doesn't affect the sound but, I was wondering if this can be fixed (re-glued, filled, sanded and re-cleared)? Also, Do the 1950-1960 Kamaka ukulele's sound the same as the new ones? Thanks, for the help

I own one & have another one (a pineapple in need of some crack repairs) on order. The one I have already is mahogany & its tone is similar to a vintage Martin. I don't have a new one to compare to, but I would guess that the answer is more of a "it depends" - on what sound you like. They sound nothing like my newer KoAloha's, but then nothing else does either!

Cracks can be fixed, but IMO avoid any "refinishing" unless it is part of required functional crack repair. As to price... I paid around $200 or less shipped for each of mine.

molokinirum
02-03-2011, 06:18 AM
Congrats on your vintage Kamaka! I just received a vintage Kamaka Pineapple with cracks on the top and the bottom. I sent pictures to Kamaka directly to see if it is worth repairing and if so how much. IMO that I feel it's best to have Kamaka take a look at it as they would probably know best.

RyanMFT
02-03-2011, 07:12 AM
Vintage Kamaka ukulele's are very desirable. They are not rare or uncommon, but they are usually great payers and sound good.

Will the sound compare to a new uke? In general, I would say yes, but as stated above, every uke is a little different. If you like new stuff in general, don't go with a vintage uke. If you love old things, and are willing to have a little tweaking done, IMHO there is nothing better than vintage.

As for crack repair, don't drill, fill, refinish, or any of that.....I have seen plenty of ukulele's on which well meaning "repairmen" did more damage that makes it hard to fix the original crack. Take it to a quality repair shop, or Kamaka does repairs on their instruments. However, sometimes the wait time at Kamaka is quite long and one has to pay shipping. If it is a basic crack it can be addressed by a good repair shop.

How much is it going for and what color is the label inside?

mm stan
02-03-2011, 07:35 AM
Aloha GKK,
I have alot of Kamaka's and I like the old ones, and usually every uke has it's own voice...so it depends on the uke....as for repairing the uke, Kamaka is your best choice,, email them pictures.....only problem is the wait time...but the job is the best...and their repair prices too.... even with the shipping, I think you're still ahead..I like the new ones too and I have one with a nice deep rich sound which I like...
Listen to your kamaka uke and it will tell you...what to do...good luck..Happy Strummings...I have two gold label kamaka sopranos and they both sound so different....MM Stan

GKK
02-03-2011, 09:06 AM
Thanks, everyone.

It's a Gold label Soprano and I might buy it for $120. I'll send pictures to Kamaka for their opinion. I thought it would be a good deal since a lot of vintage Kamaka's are selling for over $400. Thanks again.

Gmoney
02-03-2011, 09:46 AM
Thanks, everyone.

It's a Gold label Soprano and I might buy it for $120.

I'LL BUY it for $120!!

RyanMFT
02-03-2011, 09:49 AM
If the only issue is a small crack on the back, you should grab it for $120!

mm stan
02-03-2011, 10:15 AM
For $120.00 I'd be there in a heartbeat if there are no other issues and play it first...good luck, happy strummings....MM Stan

Ukulele Jim
02-03-2011, 10:19 AM
I've played 2 vintage Kamaka sopranos in my lifetime, and while I was charmed by the overall tone and personality of the sound, I was unimpressed with the intonation. In both cases my thought was, "What's the big deal with these?"

I don't know if they were white label or gold label or what. They were nice, I guess... Maybe these were just not good examples of the brand.

But people seem to love them, and honestly I would actually like to have one myself, I just need to find the right one.

BadLands Bart
02-03-2011, 10:24 AM
For $120.00 I'd be there in a heartbeat if there are no other issues and play it first...good luck, happy strummings....MM Stan

I agree 100% with mm stan!!!!!

OldePhart
02-03-2011, 11:57 AM
Yeah, I'm no vintage expert, and not a particularly huge fan of vintage for the sake of vintage (I'd just as soon have a new K-brand as an 80 year old one, frankly). Still, for $120 I'd jump at it unless it had some serious damage issues - and a short clean crack on the back is almost no issue at all!

John