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View Full Version : New Ukes: Kamaka HF-3 and Martin S-1



erivel
05-01-2011, 09:00 PM
Hello all,
Been busy between work and vacations and haven't had a chance to post about some new uke aquisitions. First up is a new Kamaka HF-3 Tenor that I got from Mandolin Bros. in March. Bought sight unseen, I went with the one that I thought had the nicest looking top on their website. Luckily I chose a good sounding and playing one...
http://farm6.static.flickr.com/5185/5677497465_d08fdb262f_z.jpg
http://farm6.static.flickr.com/5186/5677492557_8dc00ae0f0_z.jpg
http://farm6.static.flickr.com/5190/5678097305_5d7a60ef68_z.jpg

Mike DaSilva installing a Mi-Si pickup..
http://farm6.static.flickr.com/5145/5678671160_5721968f9b_z.jpg

I just put on a set of Wort CT Clears. Tension a bit looser and slight buzz on the C string, but I like the tone. I'll keep them on for a bit then try a set of D'Addario J-71's. Wasn't too keen on the hard case that Kamaka ships their ukes in, so I replaced it with a black Uke Crazy hardshell case, which also has a cutout in the bottom bout case lining to accommodate the endpin jack of the pickup, nice! Also got a Uke Crazy strap for it. Woo hoo! Really happy with it so far!

erivel
05-01-2011, 09:04 PM
Now on to the S-1...

Picked this one up a few weeks ago while vacationing in Florida. Stopped by My Favorite Guitars in Naples. They are the best Martin Guitar dealer in the country! I bought a few high end Martins from them in the past and it was nice to visit them in person. They are super nice people, Jon and his wife Sharon really take care of their customers. I asked if he had heard anything about the new concert and tenor models coming out. He said he hadn't, but that he just got in the S-1 for another customer who ended up getting it somewhere else. So he said he could sell it to me at cost. Couldn't refuse!

http://farm6.static.flickr.com/5181/5645541790_21c0c31b0a_z.jpg

I had Mike DaSilva install some Peghead tuners, which makes a world of difference! Tuning is a breeze now...
http://farm6.static.flickr.com/5066/5678122283_b4220fb382_z.jpg
http://farm6.static.flickr.com/5181/5678666192_5bfa816de7_z.jpg


The stock strings were really thin feeling, although they sounded okay. I have it strung up with Aquilas and it sounds and feels much better. Really nice uke and really hard to put down! Just a fun, sweet little thing!

Ken Middleton
05-01-2011, 09:17 PM
Really great photos. Thanks for showing them to us. I have to say that the Kamaka looks terrific.

Hippie Dribble
05-01-2011, 09:29 PM
congratulations Eric. Great shopping mate!! Two very highly sought after ukes. Hope you have a ball with them. Thanks for the fab pictures and background on them. Cheers! :)

Pippin
05-01-2011, 09:33 PM
Congrats on the ukes. How do you like the S-1?

erivel
05-01-2011, 09:52 PM
Congrats on the ukes. How do you like the S-1?

My last soprano was a Koaloha, which I unfortunately sold. That was a great one that I traded a forum member for. Loud and punchy with great sustain.

The new S-1 is surprisingly smaller than any soprano I've held. Not as big, loud, and sweet sounding as the Koaloha, granted the Koaloha was bigger and made of Koa. The mahogany S-1 has a nice voice. As I stated above the stock strings were a bit thin feeling. By replacing them with Aquilas, I got more tension and I feel more volume too.

I didn't really like the stock friction tuners (Grovers?). The ones on the Koaloha were actually quite nice. But after reading about Pegheads on the forum I decided to give them a shot. They are really cool. Some might be turned off by the looks, but think the all black tuners look pretty elegant. And they work so smoothly and hold tune well.

Fret ends are a tad bit sharp, but other than that it's a really well made uke. For the price I paid I can't really complain.

Lexxy
05-01-2011, 10:33 PM
Man..That kamaka got my UAS burning. Really nice pictures too :)

Mandarb
05-02-2011, 02:21 AM
Congrats on the new ukes. I have D'Addario J71s on my Kamaka and I really like them.

sonicbaker
05-02-2011, 02:22 AM
Great pics!

dkcrown
05-02-2011, 02:36 AM
Sweet looking Kamaka

roxhum
05-02-2011, 03:25 AM
Congratulations on the new ukuleles. They both are awesome.

Mason671
05-02-2011, 03:25 AM
Love the looks on the kamaka!

PhilUSAFRet
05-02-2011, 03:54 AM
At first I thought, how to choose?, then I saw the "and".....great you didn't have to choose. Good for you. Have a ball playing both.

mm stan
05-02-2011, 04:23 AM
Aloha Eric,
Congratulations on your two new aquisitions...they look awesome...Just can't go wrong with Kamaka and Martin...Happy Strummings..MM Stan

wickedwahine11
05-02-2011, 04:33 AM
Congratulations on the new ukes. I'm always happy to see a Kamaka go to a good home. :)

erivel
05-02-2011, 04:48 AM
Thanks everyone!


Congrats on the new ukes. I have D'Addario J71s on my Kamaka and I really like them.

I'm glad to hear that. I'll either have to have the C nut slot filled to raise the action to get rid of the buzz if I stay with the Worth clears or put on strings with higher tension like the J-71s. There's an Ohana tenor strung with them at my local shop that I've played and liked the way they felt.

Mandarb
05-02-2011, 04:51 AM
Thanks everyone!



I'm glad to hear that. I'll either have to have the C nut slot filled to raise the action to get rid of the buzz if I stay with the Worth clears or put on strings with higher tension like the J-71s. There's an Ohana tenor strung with them at my local shop that I've played and liked the way they felt.

You should be okay with the J71s (I hope) - they are the same diameter as the stock strings that it comes setup with. Good luck.

Ronnie Aloha
05-02-2011, 06:38 AM
Nice acquisitions, you're getting my UAS antennae up!

mds725
05-02-2011, 07:23 PM
Congratulations on the new acquisitions! Those are some beautiful ukuleles! I love the photos, although I have to say that after hearing about how hard Kamaka tries to match faceplates on the headstocks to the grain of the body, I was disappointed not to see a close-up of the Kamaka's headstock.

erivel
05-02-2011, 07:39 PM
Congratulations on the new acquisitions! Those are some beautiful ukuleles! I love the photos, although I have to say that after hearing about how hard Kamaka tries to match faceplates on the headstocks to the grain of the body, I was disappointed not to see a close-up of the Kamaka's headstock.

Ah, ask and you shall receive! I like how there's a visible "V" in the headstock because my last name starts with V...
http://farm6.static.flickr.com/5030/5682940232_799de1fbf6_b.jpg

http://farm6.static.flickr.com/5066/5677499735_ac68de7630_z.jpg

http://farm6.static.flickr.com/5141/5678652562_2dd5594179_b.jpg

Canoe Lady
05-02-2011, 08:31 PM
Jeez, I read Tudorp's thread and have to wipe away a tear, and I look at this and start drooling. What a mess this is all causing.

hobblecreek
05-03-2011, 05:24 AM
Very beautiful acquisitions, happy playing!

You mentioned the action change on the Kamaka when you switched to the Worths (the “C” string was a bit lower), and I was wondering how the Martin’s action changed when you switched out the factory Martin-brand strings for the Aquila’s. I’ve got a 2 year-old Martin K3 that has only seen Martin replacement strings, and I am thinking I might like the sound of the Aquila’s better (they are what I use on my Concert-sized ukes). Thoughts?

Ken Middleton
05-03-2011, 05:59 AM
Whilst the S1 will probably benefit from Aquila Strings, the K3 certainly won't (IMHO). For the K3 I would try Worth CM Strings, or why not put on the new Martin fluoro-carbon strings that are fitted to the new Martin instruments that have just been announced?

zac987
05-03-2011, 06:47 AM
Could we possibly have a sound sample of the Martin S1? :D

ItsMrPitchy
05-03-2011, 06:51 AM
Great new ukes and pics. How are you enjoying your new ukes? The kamaka looks so beautiful it really makes me want to buy one.

erivel
05-03-2011, 09:19 PM
Very beautiful acquisitions, happy playing!

You mentioned the action change on the Kamaka when you switched to the Worths (the “C” string was a bit lower), and I was wondering how the Martin’s action changed when you switched out the factory Martin-brand strings for the Aquila’s. I’ve got a 2 year-old Martin K3 that has only seen Martin replacement strings, and I am thinking I might like the sound of the Aquila’s better (they are what I use on my Concert-sized ukes). Thoughts?

Well the action on the Martin didn't change. In fact the stock strings were thinner as I had mentioned before and the nut slot for the C string is a bit narrow. So the Aquila string does not completely fit in the slot causing it to stick up a bit. So I'll try to get it widened at some point, but as of now it doesn't affect anything...still plays and intonates fine.


Could we possibly have a sound sample of the Martin S1? :D

I'll hopefully try to get something up this weekend.


Great new ukes and pics. How are you enjoying your new ukes?

Enjoying them immensely...just wish I had more time in the day to spend with them!

erivel
05-04-2011, 08:05 AM
Well I had some free time this morning to make this video...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WdxunV9NObo