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Dan Uke
08-06-2011, 07:44 AM
I wonder why Kamaka doesn't....have more frets before it connects to the body?

I really like the Kamaka Concert sound but decided to sell it because 12 frets doesn't cut it for me for a concert uke. With many uke makers, it seems they are connected at the 14th fret but at least the 13th fret. I know I'm not a virtuoso but I play a few songs in the upper register. Even having 1 additional fret helps. I have a tenor and it serves it's purpose and since they don't make super concerts, I think more frets would make the Kamaka an even sweeter instrument. I know they have the Ohta-san concert but it's much more.

Just a thought

janeray1940
08-06-2011, 07:54 AM
Kamaka will "semi-custom" a concert uke with a 14-fret join, I think it's around $150 more. I tried one out a while ago and didn't notice much of a difference, even though I play a lot of pieces that go higher up the neck. Still, I was curious as to why it wasn't a standard feature; the explanation I got had something to do with how some believed it altered the sound in a negative way - can't remember exactly how though.

Dan Uke
08-07-2011, 10:22 AM
the explanation I got had something to do with how some believed it altered the sound in a negative way - can't remember exactly how though

I'm sure sound might be different but they do sell the Ohta-san version. Anyways, I don't want to pay $150 more...I'm sure I can find an alternative brand that sounds good. Thanks for the answer.

didgeridoo2
08-07-2011, 11:08 AM
Not sure about Kamaka, but I asked a well known maker if they noticed any difference in sound between the 12th fret join vs 14th fret join, and they said there wasn't any.

Moore Bettah Ukuleles
08-07-2011, 11:17 AM
Not sure about Kamaka, but I asked a well known maker if they noticed any difference in sound between the 12th fret join vs 14th fret join, and they said there wasn't any.

Disagreed. The difference of bridge placement will certainly affect the sound.

didgeridoo2
08-07-2011, 11:22 AM
Disagreed. The difference of bridge placement will certainly affect the sound.
Actually, I thought about pointing out the bridge placement as to what I thought would make a difference in my last post, chuck. What difference does it make to you? (being a well known maker, yourself)

I should also clarify that the maker I referred to in my first post didn't say there wasn't any, just that the difference wasn't much.

Moore Bettah Ukuleles
08-07-2011, 11:48 AM
I may or may not make a huge difference but it's the sum of all these little details that separate a good uke from a great one.
I personally believe that the bridge should be located as centrally to the diaphragm (the lower bout) as it can be. In most cases this location is the widest part of the bout.

didgeridoo2
08-07-2011, 11:53 AM
I may or may not make a huge difference but it's the sum of all these little details that separate a good uke from a great one.
I personally believe that the bridge should be located as centrally to the diaphragm (the lower bout) as it can be. In most cases this location is the widest part of the bout.
So, if asked, a 12th fret join would be your suggestion, Chuck?

Moore Bettah Ukuleles
08-07-2011, 12:07 PM
I'm sorry, I do not know Kamaka's scale length or body size/design. I would trust that Kamaka knows what they are doing with their ukes and have "sound" reasons for doing what they do. My comments are based only from experience with my own work.

bbqribs
08-07-2011, 12:27 PM
More frets to the body would make it more desirable for me too!

hmgberg
08-07-2011, 01:37 PM
I think it does make a difference. With a 14th fret join, the saddle is moved up closer to the sound hole and the waist. This reduces the vibrating area of the sound board. I guess this is what Chuck is talking about.

While it may be easier to play higher up the fretboard with a 14th fret join, you can adapt to playing on top of the soundboard. I guess this is what Jane is talking about.

I've never seen anything other than a 12th fret join on a classical guitar. I would imagine that if over the course of centuries, luthiers, with input from players, have never made anything else than 12th fret joins, they must believe the position of the bridge is important.

Moore Bettah Ukuleles
08-07-2011, 02:37 PM
Many guitar players and builders are shrouded in (and hindered by) a veil of tradition. Not so with ukuleles, we have much more freedom. I've seen neck/body connections at the 12th fret, 13th, 13.5, 14 and 15. If it works well there's no reason not to try it. Just my own philosophy.

southcoastukes
08-07-2011, 03:02 PM
I'll try to say something like Chuck is saying in a different way.

Bridge placement is critical to good sound. A body which has good bridge placement with 12 frets to the body will suffer if you keep the same scale. You would be moving the bridge up.

If you increase the scale, or change the shape of the body - for example from a long & narrow shape to shorter and wider, then your bridge can remain centered in the lower bout.

In the case of Kamaka, I imagine they have their bridge where it's best. If they see enough demand, they would probably go to a longer scale or different shape for the body.

-SRS-45-
08-08-2011, 06:28 AM
I don't get the problem to be honest, being a uke the 15 fret should still be easy enough to reach for the times its needed.

I gotta admit I would love to try a Kamaka, hopefully I'll get to try one oneday and see what its all about :)

GX9901
08-08-2011, 06:41 AM
I've always liked the looks of the Kamaka concert with it's "sail" (is that what they call it?) headstock. However, what's really kept me from seriously thinking about getting one is not that it joins at the 12th fret but that it only has 16 frets total. For concerts and tenors, I like having a minimum of 18 frets, because a couple of tunes I play utilize the 18th fret and I just like knowing that the uke could play anything I could throw at it. Fret count for concert ukes seem to be all over the place though, so it's not like I fault Kamaka for not having 16 frets. It's probably a good thing for me, since I REALLY don't need more ukes. :p