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guitarsnrotts
05-07-2011, 03:53 AM
Being a guitar player, I had dabbled in the ukulele over the years but it's only in the last year or so I've decided to concentrate on my uke playing. As a result I decided to search out some quality instruments. Along the way I happened upon a mid-70s Kamaka soprano in mint condition at an unbelievable price. Needless to say, I'm now spoiled to what to me is the perfect ukulele sound. I've now added a Kamaka pineapple to my bucket list of ukuleles. My question is, are the newer Kamakas better than the older ones, assuming equal condition.
Being a Martin guitar fan, there are periods of Martin guitars that are considered more desirable than others. So should I just save up for a new one or keeping searching for an older one from a certain time frame?

Pippin
05-07-2011, 04:20 AM
Being a guitar player, I had dabbled in the ukulele over the years but it's only in the last year or so I've decided to concentrate on my uke playing. As a result I decided to search out some quality instruments. Along the way I happened upon a mid-70s Kamaka soprano in mint condition at an unbelievable price. Needless to say, I'm now spoiled to what to me is the perfect ukulele sound. I've now added a Kamaka pineapple to my bucket list of ukuleles. My question is, are the newer Kamakas better than the older ones, assuming equal condition.
Being a Martin guitar fan, there are periods of Martin guitars that are considered more desirable than others. So should I just save up for a new one or keeping searching for an older one from a certain time frame?

It's all about condition. Some people always prefer vintage instruments. Others prefer to have only their own Mojo in an uke or guitar. I just bought a Martin D-15 in like-new condition recently. To me, what matters is that it is in excellent playable condition. Vintage-- in the case of Martin ukes-- is usually perceived as better by serious players.

Gmoney
05-07-2011, 04:45 AM
As Pippin said, depends... I bet that newer Kamaka's might have better construction techniques & better/lighter bracing & maybe even better quality Koa than SOME older Kamaka's. I bought a vintage Kamaka pineapple that had a few too many cracks for me to repair myself so sent it off to Kamaka to repair. But you'll see a FINE vintage Kamaka in the UU Marketplace from one of UU's more prolific collectors AND players & he can tell you a bit about that instrument and give a better comparison for you.

I do own a couple of vintage Martins & LOVE them. The 90 - 70 year old mahogany really SINGS. I also have a vintage Kamaka-Keiki which is also mahogany rather than Koa & it has a sweet voice as well. BUT... my KoAloha soprano & Super Concert are LOUD, but beautiful too.

If that 70's Kamaka sounds good to you & is priced right, get it, you won't likley regret it & if you want to sale it later on, it will likely hold its value as long as you continue to baby it.

Hope this helps!

yullargado
05-07-2011, 05:34 AM
I think it's interesting when people debate this all the time...as a side note many people tried replicating violins made by Stratovarious, known for his most unique and "best sounding" violins in the world..calling him The Master violin maker of all time...when it was all said and done, scientists discovered that the reason his violins sounded so good was because of the quality of woods he was using, his source of wood was unique and pretty much a once and a lifetime jackpot..the trees had their own special densities and properties due to where they were grown...basically, he was at the right place, at the right time...

old vs new...go old if you want vintage...don't shun away from new, like other people have said, techniques and materials have improved, so you will get your money's worth...ultimately it's you not the instrument that makes the music..

mm stan
05-07-2011, 07:07 AM
Actually I like both....depends what kind of sound pleases you.....the newer ones have more resonation and substain and maybe volume, while the older ones may have a distinct sweet sound.
get both..ha ha personal perference...eugene ukulele has a Kamaka soprano in the marketplace just listed....good luck and Happy Strummings...
As in when picking a guitar, same goes for ukuleles too...try before you buy...not all ukuleles are made equal sounding too...

OldePhart
05-07-2011, 01:54 PM
One thing you have to be careful of with vintage instruments - be they ukes or guitars - is the "closet queen" syndrome. Conventional wisdom has it that vintage instruments in good condition have better tone. This is one of those cases where this is simply not necessarily the case. Some vintage instruments are great sounding instruments, yes, but often the best looking ones are in such great shape because they were no great shakes to begin with.

If I'm about to drop a bundle on an instrument and I can't play it before hand I'd much rather drop that bundle on a recently manufactured instrument than one that might be a great sounding uke or might have set untouched in the case for fifty years because it was too poor a specimen to inspire anyone to play it!

Just my $0.02.

John

Joyful Uke
10-24-2016, 11:51 AM
Yes, I'm digging off over 5 years of dust on this thread. I keep eyeing the 70's HF-2 in the marketplace, and then wondering about the anniversary models. Other than price, what would be the difference between the older HF-2 and a new one?

I haven't yet played a HF-2 anywhere, so would be taking a chance of it if I went for one, but I haven't shaken the desire to try a HF-2 of some sort.

Of importance to me is intonation, (have I read that older Kamakas have more of a problem with that?), and tone, (is there a difference between the older build and the new build?)

Nickie
10-24-2016, 04:14 PM
I think it's interesting when people debate this all the time...as a side note many people tried replicating violins made by Stratovarious, known for his most unique and "best sounding" violins in the world..calling him The Master violin maker of all time...when it was all said and done, scientists discovered that the reason his violins sounded so good was because of the quality of woods he was using, his source of wood was unique and pretty much a once and a lifetime jackpot..the trees had their own special densities and properties due to where they were grown...basically, he was at the right place, at the right time...

old vs new...go old if you want vintage...don't shun away from new, like other people have said, techniques and materials have improved, so you will get your money's worth...ultimately it's you not the instrument that makes the music..

Yes, I saw a very good video about that very topic today. If I can dig it up later, I'll post it. One thing that was noted is that the wood for Strads came from the "magic forest", and that insect boring had a major effect on the tone.....

Nickie
10-24-2016, 04:23 PM
Yes, I saw a very good video about that very topic today. If I can dig it up later, I'll post it. One thing that was noted is that the wood for Strads came from the "magic forest", and that insect boring had a major effect on the tone.....

Found it....

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eNzRHuqvMxQ

Choirguy
10-24-2016, 04:58 PM
Thanks for sharing this. Wonderful!

pritch
10-24-2016, 06:20 PM
Thankyou Nickie, I'm going to have to watch that. I remember reading something about the sounds of instruments of different ages but I'll watch you video first in case it's covered.

Update: Yes, I had read previously of the scientific test referred to near the end of the video.

Thanks again.

BearMakingNoises
10-26-2016, 05:29 AM
I have played hundreds of Kamakas over the past few years. My thoughts are that the newer ones are much more consistent. Almost all of them sound good and every now and then a magic one pops up. The older ones have been hit or miss but that could be down to a lot of owner negligence and such.

Joyful Uke
10-26-2016, 07:47 AM
I have played hundreds of Kamakas over the past few years. My thoughts are that the newer ones are much more consistent. Almost all of them sound good and every now and then a magic one pops up. The older ones have been hit or miss but that could be down to a lot of owner negligence and such.

Thanks for your input. That is what I've been thinking, but I haven't played any, so it's only based on my memory, (such as it is), of what I've read.

I'm still mulling over the HF-2s.

mds725
10-26-2016, 09:02 AM
In 2011 or 2012, Kamaka changed the way it bent the sides of its ukuleles. When I took the factory tour in April 2011, Kamaka was still using its old side-bending machines (right foreground) but it had received new modern side-bending machines (to the left in the photo) and was preparing to replace the old ones with them. Fred Kamaka, who usually gives the factory tour, said that the new side-bending machines would do the job significantly faster. I have no idea whether the speed at which sides are bent has any impact at all on the wood being bent or on the tone or construction of the instrument, but it is a difference.

http://forum.ukuleleunderground.com/attachment.php?attachmentid=23109&d=1303870268

Joyful Uke
10-26-2016, 09:51 AM
Fred Kamaka, who usually gives the factory tour, said that the new side-bending machines would do the job significantly faster. I have no idea whether the speed at which sides are bent has any impact at all on the wood being bent or on the tone or construction of the instrument, but it is a difference.

Interesting. Does anyone know if it has any impact on tone, or anything other than speed for bending the sides?

I would guess that the new-ish machines might help with a more consistent production? Is that a reasonable guess?

Tele295
10-26-2016, 01:45 PM
I prefer older Kamakas, but those tuners with the big flathead screwtops have to go

librainian
10-26-2016, 02:33 PM
I prefer older Kamakas, but those tuners with the big flathead screwtops have to go

Having recently purchased a 79-80 Kamaka baritone (which I love,) I'm curious what you would replace those friction tuners with? I'm living with them for now but if I decide to keep it forever then a tuner-ectomy is probably warranted.

BTW it's this one...

95237

Ukulele Eddie
10-26-2016, 04:10 PM
Having recently purchased a 79-80 Kamaka baritone (which I love,) I'm curious what you would replace those friction tuners with? I'm living with them for now but if I decide to keep it forever then a tuner-ectomy is probably warranted.

BTW it's this one...

95237

You could replace with Gotoh UPT's or Pegheds, both are geared tuners.

Joyful Uke
10-27-2016, 05:42 AM
Is there a good source, (website? book? or?), that details the differences between the Kamakas of different years?

kkimura
10-28-2016, 03:41 AM
Is there a good source, (website? book? or?), that details the differences between the Kamakas of different years?

Try this one:

https://unofficialkamakaukulele.wordpress.com/page/4/

Joyful Uke
10-28-2016, 04:57 AM
Try this one:

https://unofficialkamakaukulele.wordpress.com/page/4/

Thanks! It looks interesting!