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View Full Version : Kamaka Pineapple Ukulele info



smashingguitars
02-05-2011, 07:41 AM
Greetings! I am a newbie to the forum, so allow me to introduce myself. My name is Dave, and I am the manager of Smashing Guitars, a full-service lutherie (we build mandos, violins, and emandos), instrument (stringed) and electronics repair/restoration shop in Asheville, NC. We are also Endangered Audio Research, builders of boutique effects. I spent all last nite reading through this forum, I think you all would dig the shop, I also watched the PBS Kamaka documentary, excellent.

I have a new client that has brought me a Kamaka Pineapple Uke to sell. All of my years of doing this, I have never looked at one (although I have sold many great ukes). After much homework and fun reading, I am having trouble putting a "timeline" to the labels and headstock decals of Kamaka instruments. My clients grandparents were in the Navy in Hawaii and acquired this uke circa 1950, which jives w/ the tag, they may have bought it used. She has the desire to see this go to a player, so brought it to me to sell. I explained the importance of holding on to this heirloom, or passing it to a friend, she wants to sell.

I would love to know more specifically than ca. 1950 what year this uke is from, and perhaps more info about Kamaka headstock decals and inner labels. The history section of the Kamaka website doesn't offer up much on this.

Here are some measurements- 13 5/8" scale length, 6 3/4" body width, 2 7/16" depth, 9 1/4" body length, 20 5/8" total length, fretboard flush to top, 1 3/8" nut. The condition is pretty good. Not cleaned and with the old strings, it plays great up the fingerboard, doesn't fret out and has a low action and a very warm, clear tone. There is not a crack to be found. Per the photo, the heel has been repaired, but not cosmetically. The back was removed to do this, and the sides aren't lined up perfectly. All of the joints, however, tap out, and are not open. This uke is solid, a great players uke.

I'd love to hear more about this uke, time frame, what you all think it is worth, and a string suggestion would be great. I am very tempted to buy it for myself, I play guitar, mandolin, fiddle, and tenor banjo, it could be time to fold the uke into the fold. Thanks for your time!

mm stan
02-05-2011, 08:02 AM
Aloha SmashingGuitars,
I would place it about the late twentys to early thirties ballpark...email Kamaka the pics and they can tell you.. mail@kamakahawaii.com
tele....(808) 531-3165 Good luck...Dave, How much does he want for it....PM me....MM Stan..

Gmoney
02-05-2011, 08:05 AM
I am not an expert... but judging from the headstock decal & the soundhole label, this Kamaka is very likely much older than the 50's - I'm guessing 20's or 30's at the latest. It looks pretty sweet & would likely go for upward of $600 - $1000 depending on buyer/market/ & "the phase of the moon"! The fact that it still has pegs instead of friction tuners is another significant feature as to date, but I would have also expected to see remnants of a pineapple decal between the bridge & soundhole. Some other, expert posters will probably add to this information, but hope this helps!

smashingguitars
02-05-2011, 10:11 AM
Aloha! to you as well from the mountains. Wow, that is very cool and very interesting info. I can't wait to hear more from all of you. I did look at pages and pages of Kamaka info up here, this is fascinating. I will get this info to Kamaka, thanks for the tip.

To be clear, I did not post this in an attempt to sell this to you all, or commercialize this site. My client (female) has entrusted me to value this and get it to the right person, so those that are interested, ok, if that is ok. I will get some more photos together asap, what would you like to see?

Thanks again

pdxuke
02-05-2011, 10:17 AM
Aloha! to you as well from the mountains. Wow, that is very cool and very interesting info. I can't wait to hear more from all of you. I did look at pages and pages of Kamaka info up here, this is fascinating. I will get this info to Kamaka, thanks for the tip.

To be clear, I did not post this in an attempt to sell this to you all, or commercialize this site. My client (female) has entrusted me to value this and get it to the right person, so those that are interested, ok, if that is ok. I will get some more photos together asap, what would you like to see?

Thanks again

Welcome, and I certainly believe you! I think all of us would really enjoy it if, when this is offered for sale, you would have your client post it in our marketplace so we can have a shot at it!

Gmoney
02-05-2011, 10:25 AM
To get an experts opinion, post the photos (as many good ones as you can) to Chuck “Frets” Fayne at "Uke Yak" here:

http://www.fleamarketmusic.com/uke-yak/

Get good shots of back & front of the headstock; full body shots; neck to body join, front & back & of course that inside soundhole label. "Fret" will have likely give you a good idea of vintage & relative value. As already mentioned, Kamaka can give you an idea of the vintage, Frets will give you the ballpark value.

smashingguitars
02-05-2011, 11:27 AM
yes, I have queried Chuck in the past, he is most helpful. And yes, my client will more than likely have me sell this, and sure, I will happily list it up here. I would prefer that, I'm not much for the bay, although I do powersell up there, but I don't like it. i like to have a sense of where things are going, and going to folks that will make music with these instruments.

smashingguitars
02-11-2011, 05:02 PM
Update-- I sent some photos and info to the Kamaka email adress listed above. Sent them Tuesday, haven't heard anything from them yet. I'll keep you all posted and have a great weekend.

spruce
02-12-2011, 07:55 AM
...she wants to sell.

Using Elderly as a reference point--and I do--I'd say the uke is worth around 500.00....
I recently bought this one (http://elderly.com//vintage/items/180U-1165.htm) for 600.00, and it's quite a bit more ornate than the one you have...
On the other hand, yours looks like it's koa, and mine is mahogany, so maybe they are of equal value...
5-600.00, right around there...

Both ukes waaa-y undervalued, IMHO.....