View Full Version : Kamaka players: Post pics of your strap buttons!

05-04-2011, 05:17 PM
I've been playing my new Kamaka HF-3 tenor (httphttp://www.ukuleleunderground.com/forum/showthread.php?46164-New-Uke!://), but my other tenors (Big Islang Honu traditional koa tenor and Kala solid acacia tenor) have strap buttons and I really miss using a strap. On the other hand, the idea of having a luthier drill a hole in a new Kamaka to install a strap button makes me shudder a little, even though I've gotten strap buttons installed without any problems on my other tenors. And if I do get a strap button, I'll have to make a fashion decision: silver color (to match the tuners) or black (more subtle).

(I'm currently using one of Lori's Uke Leashes (http://ukeleash.com/)on my Kamaka, and while I love Uke Leashes and this one works fine to stabilize the neck, I've been playing standing up more recently, and I'm worried that I'll forget I don't have a strap and let go of the body and >> Ka-Bong! <<. )

So to help me decide, if you own a Kamaka (or KoAloha, Kanile'a, or any other ukulele that's really valuable to you) that has a strap button, please post a photo of your ukulele's strap button, along with any thoughts you have about having put a strap button on your dear uke, to help me decide whether to get a strap button installed and to provide a little assurance if I do. Mahalos!

05-04-2011, 05:27 PM
I have a MiSi pickup installed on my Kamaka HF3 tenor -- the input jack doubles as a strap button. On my Kanile'a, I took it to the factory in Kaneohe and Joe Souza installed a gold strap button on it for me (I picked gold to match the tuners). I got the strap button at StewMac online.

Admittedly, I did neither myself, I was even terrified to have anyone else do it, but I have never regretted it and I wouldn't consider playing either of them standing up without a strap now.

Have you considered the pickup option -- thereby making your "strap button" functional? Here is a photo of my HF3 and K2 - unfortunately the K2 looks like a silver strap button, but it is in fact gold.

05-04-2011, 05:40 PM
IHave you considered the pickup option -- thereby making your "strap button" functional? Here is a photo of my HF3 and K2 - unfortunately the K2 looks like a silver strap button, but it is in fact gold.

Thanks for the photos, and for your thoughts about straps! It's funny that you mention the pickup option. When I was buying my Kamaka, Sam (at Larry's Music) suggested that one should have separete ukuleles dedicated to acoustic and electric playing. He seems to prefer the sound of an acoustic ukulele played into a microphone because (if I remember correctly) the acoustic sound is more subtle than the sound picked up by electronics directly from the soundboard. Maybe he just wanted me to buy a second Kamaka with a pickup, I don't know. (Actually, I even expressed an interest in the Kamaka HF-3 with MiSi that was temporarily available in the UU marketplace.) But if I did get a pickup installed, it wouldn't be for a while and I'd want a strap button in the meantime.

Your ukulele family is beautiful. I thought of your search for the perfect KoAloha Pineapple Sunday when I played one at Dan's Guitars in Honolulu.


05-04-2011, 05:45 PM
It should be possible to make cool strap buttons out of boar tusk - "wild peeg" being a very Hawaiian animal, boar tusk being a fairly easy to get material, the only drawback being at least the outer dentine layer is very, very, hard.

Ivory's problematic.

Just good old bone, cow bone or what have you, would work too.

Don't get all Kamehameha on us and use the bone of a slain enemy hehe.

Uncle Leroy
05-04-2011, 05:46 PM
I hope you can see it. It is right there on the side of the heel.23419

05-04-2011, 06:06 PM
Your ukulele family is beautiful. I thought of your search for the perfect KoAloha Pineapple Sunday when I played one at Dan's Guitars in Honolulu.

Aww shucks, thanks.

Forgot to mention, and the following pics made me remember, I don't have any buttons on the heel of any of the ukes. I just use a mandolin style strap that attaches to the pickup/strap button at the bottom and ties around the headstock.

05-04-2011, 08:11 PM
My Kamaka concert ukes have plain ol' nickel strap buttons that match the metal on the tuning pegs. I'll try to remember to post a pic tomorrow when there's better light.

I resisted the strap button for ages. I did not want any holes in my Kamakas! But I realized that there were things that would be easier if I didn't have to worry about holding my uke, and finally I took a friend with me for moral support and handed one of my ukes over to be pierced. I watched the whole thing and seriously thought I was going to faint!

Within five minutes of trying it out with a strap, I knew it was the right decision for me, and brought my other Kamaka concert in the next day for its piercing :)

Like WW, I do not have a button on the heel, and I use mando straps (http://www.amazon.com/Levys-Leathers-M19PR-BRN-Carving-Mandolin/dp/B000XPPPYI/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&s=musical-instruments&qid=1304575831&sr=8-3) on mine.

05-05-2011, 04:55 AM
Link to pics of strap buttons (https://picasaweb.google.com/101724239277274632387/KamakaStrapButton?authkey=Gv1sRgCKDD29eCxPzzqAE&feat=directlink) on my Kamaka concert ukes.

My soprano has a pickup, but I haven't put a strap on it yet because the pickup jack is too big for the slot in the strap. Not sure what most people do - just make the slot larger maybe? I'd be afraid of messing up a perfectly good strap.

05-05-2011, 05:05 AM
I cannot imagine why anyone would be reluctant to put a strap button on the bottom or neck joint of their uke for fear of damaging the uke during the process. This is ultra simple. Get a button at your local guitar shop in the color you want (they come in many colors), select a drill bit of the proper size, make the hole and then screw the button to the uke. If you can screw in a lightbulb, you can do this.

Or have the guitar shop where you got the button to do it -- they might even do it for free, or for a couple bucks. It is not a big deal.

And don't worry about leaving a hole later if you take the button off. There are plenty of ways to fill the hole and color it to match the wood. But I believe that once you have a strap (the mandolin size is good), you won't be thinking about taking off the strap.

05-05-2011, 06:30 AM
Didja buy that thing to look at it or play it? Heh, heh. Seriously, I don't think strap buttons detract from the appearance of an instrument at all. In the long run there will be less "damage" to the appearance from strap button(s) than from the wear used by wrap-around straps, clip-to-soundhole straps, etc.

Make sure that you take it to a real pro - or that you carefully drill a pilot hole deep enough and wide enough to avoid splitting the wood when screwing the button(s) on. Basically, running the screw into the hole it should just feel snug until it bottoms out on the head. If it takes a lot of elbow-grease to turn you are in danger of splitting the wood and need to enlarge the pilot hole a little.

I haven't put neck buttons on my tenors yet (I use a leather chord around my headstock, under the strings behind the nut), but on my mandolin and guitars that have them I prefer the lower side of the neck heel, rather than the back of the neck heel. Just my $0.02.


05-05-2011, 06:34 AM
What he said, I concur and think that strap buttons should be SOE on any musical intrument that is frequently used with a strap (banjos being a notable exception)

05-06-2011, 12:49 PM
I use a Uke Crazy strap with my HF-3. I enlarged the hole slightly with a leather hole punch to accommodate the endpin of the Mi-Si pickup. I then attach the strap to the headstock via a Planet Waves Quick Release system that I use on my acoustic guitars. Works just fine.

05-06-2011, 09:02 PM
One cool thing about this thread is seeing everyone else's beautiful ukuleles. Tomorrow's the big day for my Kamaka -- a visit to the luthier at Gryphon Stringed Instruments for a strap button. We're both a little nervous but I think we'll both be fine. Thanks for all the photos!

05-07-2011, 07:44 AM
Ah the guys at Gryphon know what they're doing. Post a pic when you can.

05-07-2011, 05:42 PM
So I got my Kamaka tenor "pierced" today at Gryphon Stringed Instuments. Painless, except that I also bought this (http://www.ukuleleunderground.com/forum/showthread.php?46630-New-Uke-Day!&p=676945#post676945)while I was there. My tenor is now the proud wearer of a strap button.



05-08-2011, 04:30 AM
Hello UU!
Long time lurker here and I am a bit late on this thread.

Just bought a kamaka soprano from an esteemed UU member weeks ago. As a beginner, I find it difficult having to cradle the uke while keeping it at a constant angle. After deliberating for quite a bit, I have decided to take it to Elderly to have a strap button installed. Tentatively I am using a leather bootlace as a strap. I made two hangman knot on each end of the lace and tighten one end on the headstock, and the other at the strap button.


Right now I am waiting to get my hands on a long hollow softy mandolin strap.

05-08-2011, 02:44 PM
It looks great, and congrats on the concert.

05-08-2011, 05:06 PM
I have a Kamaka HF3. I put strap buttons on it exactly like Uncle Leroys. If I am going to pay for a high end uke, I want it to be as comfortable as possible. I beleive you should make your instrument fit you and your playing style. If I were to buy a used uke and it had strap buttons on it, that would be a plus.