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View Full Version : Kamaka factory increased ukulele prices in 20%



fabioponta
11-09-2011, 08:14 AM
I just saw in the Kamaka web site:

Soprano HF-1: old price $695 up to $845
Pineapple HP-1: old price $695 up to $845
Concert HF-2: old price $925 up to $1045
Tenor HF-3: ancient price $1090 up to $1245

Soprano, Pineapple and Tenor increases prices in almost 20%
Concert increases a little less.

What happened? koa wood is now really hard to find?

In comparision with koalohas soprano and pineapples (both $550), the kamaka prices is almost 40% above! In tenor size, koaloha ($1000) is 25% less. Has long time ago that the Koaloha site is not updated, but two months ago I spoke by email with Brian, and prices were still the same I put here.

Kamaka now is more expensive because of the popularization of ukuleles with singers like Eddie Vedder?
Or Koaloha has so much love for the ukulele, so much koa in stock and so much sales to don't increase prices yet? :D

Kanilea K1 models with UV gloss finish has prices close to kamaka prices.

A warning:
hawaiimusicsupply still has the old prices in Kamaka ukes

molokinirum
11-09-2011, 08:32 AM
Wow...I was at Kamaka in August and Fred Jr. did not mention anything about a 20% price increase. Ouch!!!

Mandarb
11-09-2011, 08:57 AM
It was just a matter of time before they went up in price. That is one of the reasons I bought my Kamaka HF-3 last year....I knew I wanted one and I knew they were just going to go up in price. I periodically check their site to see the status - a couple of weeks ago maybe even last week they were still advertised at the old price....when I looked on Monday they had gone up. They will probably have another price increase in another year or two.

Toucan Mango
11-09-2011, 09:37 AM
Yeah I checked just a few days ago and I saw the old prices, does any one know what the standard deluxe goes for?

Trinimon
11-09-2011, 09:45 AM
Ah crud! Now my "special" custom is gonna cost me a few more month's savings! Grrr.

sweetiecino
11-09-2011, 09:47 AM
As a noob i thought that a price difference between KoAloha and Kamaka had always been that much which is why I thought most people prefer KoAloha because it was actually better value!

Mandarb
11-09-2011, 09:48 AM
Yeah I checked just a few days ago and I saw the old prices, does any one know what the standard deluxe goes for?

You need to call them for pricing - as it states on their webpage. Good luck.


Ah crud! Now my "special" custom is gonna cost me a few more month's savings! Grrr.

You should already have your "special" locked in on the price they originally quoted you.

Toucan Mango
11-09-2011, 10:01 AM
[QUOTE=Mandarb;799368]You need to call them for pricing - as it states on their webpage. Good luck.



Yeah I know that much, I've been on the website many times. I was just wondering about what they go for, I'm not ready to place an order.

Gadzukes!
11-09-2011, 10:10 AM
Wow, that's a hefty increase! Right in time for the holiday season. I wonder how much of this has to do with the increasing demand for koa, or whether it's just reflective of the prices of everything going up these days.

Trinimon
11-09-2011, 10:55 AM
You should already have your "special" locked in on the price they originally quoted you.

I wish but I haven't placed my order as yet, I was waiting for March/April next year to do it so it would be ready for pickup when I get there in June. :p

OldePhart
11-09-2011, 11:01 AM
Hmmm, been thinking about a soprano...was going to go Kamaka because I think they have a slight edge in the soprano size but looks like it'll be a KoAloha for me, after all. :)

John

mr moonlight
11-09-2011, 11:15 AM
I wonder how it will affect sales. Their uke's are definitely quite a bit more expensive now than their competitors.

For a basic model concert uke:

Ko'olau - $700
KoAloha - $750
Kanilea - $770
Kamaka - $1045

I think the price hike will help make a lot of decisions for a lot of people. 20% is pretty steep. Sort of like what NetFlix did. I'm sure Kamaka will do fine as I imagine their uke's are still in high demand, but I think it still gives some space for the other K-brands to really increase their market share.

fabioponta
11-09-2011, 11:23 AM
Koaloha is now the the really most "cheap" K brand in Hawaii . Itīs ironic...

mds725
11-09-2011, 11:38 AM
One of the things kamaka is doing is oncluding with their higher-priced ukuleles a proprietary Kamaka case that is an upgrade from their old cases and has a "Kamaka" label on the front.

This is from the Gryphon Stringed Instruments (http://www.gryphonstrings.com/)website:

"Kamaka just had a price increase, but part of the new deal is that they're now shipping their ukes in much better hardshell cases, and those cases have a Kamaka label. There's not a big change in the new prices for the Baritone or the 6-string and 8-string. Tenors However the price increase for the Concert and Soprano sizes is substantial (the Concert goes from $865 to $993.) We have a few Kamaka Soprano models, and several Concert models, that we received before the price increase. We're going to sell those at the old price, but the models that were shipped with the new case will be sold at the new price. Sorry, we can't sell earlier Kamakas with the new Kamaka-branded cases simply because shipping empty cases from Hawaii is too expensive."

Here's what the new case looks like.

http://www.ukuleleunderground.com/forum/attachment.php?attachmentid=29721&d=1320704212

I'm sure the factors people mentioned other than the case come into play -- koa is more scarce, shipping costs and employment-related costs are higher, and demand for Kamakas is probably up (especially in Japan, from what I understand). If you want to lock in a Kamama soprano or concert at the old price, you might take a chance on ordering one from Gryphon. They don't always post all of their instruments on their website, so if you want a Kamaka concert but don't see one you like the looks of, give them a call and ask about their pre-price-increase Kamakas. Maybe they'll play some for you over the phone.

sweetiecino
11-09-2011, 11:42 AM
I wonder how it will affect sales. Their uke's are definitely quite a bit more expensive now than their competitors.

For a basic model concert uke:

Ko'olau - $700
KoAloha - $750
Kanilea - $770
Kamaka - $1045

I think the price hike will help make a lot of decisions for a lot of people. 20% is pretty steep. Sort of like what NetFlix did. I'm sure Kamaka will do fine as I imagine their uke's are still in high demand, but I think it still gives some space for the other K-brands to really increase their market share.

I think the MSRP for KoAloha is $780 currently - but are the other K brands also due for a price increase?

mr moonlight
11-09-2011, 12:12 PM
I think the MSRP for KoAloha is $780 currently - but are the other K brands also due for a price increase?
I was just browsing Hawaii music supply so I got the prices from there. I figure with the surge in Uke sales, they are probably due for an increase, but a 20% one would be pretty steep. Smaller increments are less shocking to people.

laundromatt
11-09-2011, 12:27 PM
I'm sure the factors people mentioned other than the case come into play -- koa is more scarce, shipping costs and employment-related costs are higher, and demand for Kamakas is probably up (especially in Japan, from what I understand). If you want to lock in a Kamama soprano or concert at the old price, you might take a chance on ordering one from Gryphon. They don't always post all of their instruments on their website, so if you want a Kamaka concert but don't see one you like the looks of, give them a call and ask about their pre-price-increase Kamakas. Maybe they'll play some for you over the phone.

Are the prices at Gryphon "firm"? Or are they like other shops where you can haggle a bit?

wickedwahine11
11-09-2011, 12:48 PM
Wow, cases or no case, that is a steep increase. And honestly, I really don't care for that archtop prominent bump and the branding. I would rather have it at the old price and get my own Kamoa or Ameritage cade for that extra $200 on a tenor.

I love my Kamaka uke, but I wouldn't pay that much of a premium over a KoAloha, especially when the KoAloha comes with more volume, better warranty and better customer service.

I think Kamaka ukes are great, and mine is my favorite of my collection, but I don't think it is worth the difference in price over a KoAloha now.

philpot
11-09-2011, 01:21 PM
Good thing I got mine used ;)

Rick Turner
11-09-2011, 03:17 PM
Well, one of the issues is as my friend Kenny Hill (fantastic classical guitar builder) says, "The problem with making ukes is that they are 3/4 of the work of building guitars for 1/2 the money." And it's true...

Also, these are built by American workers who have to be paid a living wage, and that's not so easy these days. I'd wager that someone took a good look at the books and realized that they were losing money at old pricing.

One more thing...smaller...as in soprano or concert doesn't necessarily mean cheaper by much. Sure you can use slightly smaller wood. Yes, with the smaller ukes you may be able to use one piece tops and backs. But they still take a fair amount of work to make nicely. And then there's the finish, and if you're going for dead flat pore filled gloss, it just takes a lot of time. That's why we offer several levels of trim and finish with open pored satin at one end of the spectrum and dead flat pore filled gloss at the other. Any other company has to do the same in order to stay alive.

It will be interesting to see what happens to the price of Chinese-made ukes over the next few years...

Hippie Dribble
11-09-2011, 03:31 PM
Kamaka isn't the only one. Same has happened recently at Mya Moe. Like always, demand always dictates the pricing one way or another...

BlackBearUkes
11-09-2011, 03:43 PM
This is an excellent time to buy a new luthier made Black Bear koa soprano uke for $450 folks. Satisfaction is guaranteed. I don't know why imports and factory ukes are going up that much, but my price is hard to beat. Never thought I would see the day when people will pay more for a factory made or import uke then a luthier made uke.

Hippie Dribble
11-09-2011, 04:01 PM
This is an excellent time to buy a new luthier made Black Bear koa soprano uke for $450 folks. Satisfaction is guaranteed. I don't know why imports and factory ukes are going up that much, but my price is hard to beat. Never thought I would see the day when people will pay more for a factory made or import uke then a luthier made uke.

Funny you chiming in here Duane, I kinda am thinking your prices have actually gone down this past 12-18months. I have owned 2 of your ukes and they are wonderful sounding and of the highest quality...

mcnut
11-09-2011, 04:06 PM
Man, this Capitalism sucks. However, I did, just today, have UPS drop off a new "to me" Gold Label. Hope this increase trickles down to the used market; oh yeah, the administration says 'trickle down' does not really exist, I forget.

Rick Turner
11-09-2011, 04:14 PM
"Trickle down" is what happens when you're getting peed upon by someone else who's higher up on the ladder than you are...

fabioponta
11-09-2011, 04:34 PM
The Kamaka web page mentions nothing about these new Kamaka custom cases: I think that price is only for the ukuleles.

Certainly, the use will rise as well. It is impossible not increase.

These Koa Black Bear would be a good choice for me if accept Paypal: I had a beautiful Black Bear mahogany until last month, but sold it to a friend ...

fabioponta
11-09-2011, 04:40 PM
Kamaka isn't the only one. Same has happened recently at Mya Moe. Like always, demand always dictates the pricing one way or another...

John, I think it's not always that way: Will the price increase is not a symptom of lower sales and increased profitability with sales still up?
Travel to Hawaii should not have increased over the past two years, with the whole global economic crisis, and many people still do not trust buying expensive products on the Internet.

Hippie Dribble
11-09-2011, 04:46 PM
John, I think it's not always that way: Will the price increase is not a symptom of lower sales and increased profitability with sales still up?
Travel to Hawaii should not have increased over the past two years, with the whole global economic crisis, and many people still do not trust buying expensive products on the Internet.
you might be right Fabio

Guess I tend to think that price rises could reflect either high demand or low...

If demand is high and supply can't meet it, then prices will go up as there is a big market competing to buy the product.

If demand is low, then it should follow that prices drop, but maybe to raise them is to be seen as having a higher quality product that will appeal to a more 'boutique' market...like a game of smoke and mirrors...if you price something higher, some will asume that the product is in some way better and therefore be prepared to meet it.

Obviously I wasn't good at economics at school...shucks :o

mm stan
11-09-2011, 04:49 PM
It all starts with the first increasers...and then the followers... isn't it just like that with everything....I shouldn't write my current thoughts now...
As for private builders I applaud them for selling them on line and elimanating
the middle man....yes yes....:) we are so fortunate to have them around...works
good both ways you know...:):)

BlackBearUkes
11-09-2011, 04:51 PM
Actually, what I used to get $600-$700 for I can barely get $450. Since the increase in imports and the economy suffering, the world has changed. I don't use Paypal because why should I get 5% less than I am currently asking by helping someone I have no respect for. Also, people don't seem to want to wait a few extra days for a transaction to run its course, they want it now.

MGM
11-09-2011, 04:54 PM
It aint no 5% anymore Duane Try over 10%

fabioponta
11-09-2011, 04:59 PM
Actually, what I used to get $600-$700 for I can barely get $450. Since the increase in imports and the economy suffering, the world has changed. I don't use Paypal because why should I get 5% less than I am currently asking by helping someone I have no respect for. Also, people don't seem to want to wait a few extra days for a transaction to run its course, they want it now.

I understand. 10% is a almost a rape!

Hippie Dribble
11-09-2011, 05:01 PM
increase in imports duties are killers. I bought a 1200 uke a little while back and got slugged 120 for shipping...then was forced to pay 350 for customs tax..1200 became 1700 in the blink of an eye. I guess Kamaka are dealing with a worldwide market and are trying to find their place in it. Duane I realise your prices have come down. Same builder, same awesome ukes...but cheaper people. Jump on board!!!

I really feel like it's a game of smoke and mirrors sometimes with prices these days on ukes. You can still find the odd bargain, but it feels a lot like 'some' makers just slap on crazy prices cause they can...there's one born every minute y'know

hmm...reminds me of the question the other day about 'master grade' woods...hmmmmm
Actually, what I used to get $600-$700 for I can barely get $450. Since the increase in imports and the economy suffering, the world has changed. I don't use Paypal because why should I get 5% less than I am currently asking by helping someone I have no respect for. Also, people don't seem to want to wait a few extra days for a transaction to run its course, they want it now.

Jake Wildwood
11-09-2011, 05:09 PM
It costs money to make an instrument... period...

As has been mentioned before -- ukes sell for 1/3 of the price of a hand-built guitar but have much of the same level of work involved in making them, especially with how nit-picky (read: expecting perfection) buyers are now about fit & finish, regardless of how well something plays and sounds.

Prices for instruments, imported from Asia and made in the USA, have gone up across the board everywhere. It's only a matter of time. And yes, sorry folks, but our currency has devalued.

FYI -- I bought a MIM Telecaster for $350 new in 2002, now it'd cost me $550.

joejeweler
11-09-2011, 06:06 PM
Chauk a LOT of it up to the long ongoing fall of the US dollar. Don't believe for a moment the phony inflation numbers
the fed puts out. 20% inflation in REAL terms (include food and energy costs) over the last few years, at least.

I would venture a guess that a lot of you think of the "Federal Reserve Corp" is an arm of the Federal Government, much like the IRS. Well, you'd be dead wrong! It's a private corporation made up of bankers with their interests looked after first. Congress illegally transfered the Constitutionally given power to create and regulate money to a freaking private corporation! The founding fathers are turning over in their graves.

But then,.....you can't just print up gold and silver. It represents real effort to get it out of the ground and processed, and it's relative rarity and usuefullness has been known for thousands of years. Now they don't even "print" the majority of it,....as most "money" exists as computer entries. Fiat currency today is nothing more than manufactured debt, and it's not rocket science to see where this country is headed if we continue to create "money" out of thin air. Obama has added MORE debt to this countries balance sheet in 3 years than it had accumulated since the country was founded! The worst part is there is now easy way out, and a lot of pain is yet to come. But throwing more money at the problem never works, and robbs each of us the buying power of our savings. It takes awhile to work thru the system, but every new dollar created makes the dollar in your pocket worth only half of what it was before in actual buying power.

The dollar of 1913 is currently worth about $.03 at best in buying power today. Better get ye some gold and silver (ie "Real" Money) while you still can to protect some of your savings. In case you've been asleep, over the last 2-3 years silver has gone from $11 or so to as high as around $50 in april. (now around $34.50/ounce) Gold from $800 to now $1770.00 / ounce range. (hit $1950/ounce in april)

We see the dollar cost of hard assets like these "rising", but in reality it's just a reflection of the US dollar falling.

Gonna get a lot worse too. The asian country's have stopped buying our treasuries. Even on ebay, i noticed a lot of chinese sellers listing their goods and getting paid in Australian Dollars. They simply do not want to stock up on our
"Toilet Paper" fiat money. This year the US Treasury bond rating was dropped,....unthinking just a few years ago! China, Japan, Saudi Arabia, and other countries have tried to get a replacement world reserve currency and take the US Dollar off it's current status. When that happens,.....the sht will hit the fan!


I just saw in the Kamaka web site:

Soprano HF-1: old price $695 up to $845
Pineapple HP-1: old price $695 up to $845
Concert HF-2: old price $925 up to $1045
Tenor HF-3: ancient price $1090 up to $1245

Soprano, Pineapple and Tenor increases prices in almost 20%
Concert increases a little less.

What happened? koa wood is now really hard to find?

In comparision with koalohas soprano and pineapples (both $550), the kamaka prices is almost 40% above! In tenor size, koaloha ($1000) is 25% less. Has long time ago that the Koaloha site is not updated, but two months ago I spoke by email with Brian, and prices were still the same I put here.

Kamaka now is more expensive because of the popularization of ukuleles with singers like Eddie Vedder?
Or Koaloha has so much love for the ukulele, so much koa in stock and so much sales to don't increase prices yet? :D

Kanilea K1 models with UV gloss finish has prices close to kamaka prices.

A warning:
hawaiimusicsupply still has the old prices in Kamaka ukes

wickedwahine11
11-10-2011, 01:03 AM
Hey guys, just a reminder not to stray too far off topic into a political discussion here that could become unnecessarily heated. Thank you.

roxhum
11-10-2011, 02:58 AM
I am just soooo happy that I got my second hand Kamaka already because otherwise I would never be able to afford one at the rising prices.

gyosh
11-10-2011, 03:02 AM
I saw that someone mentioned Mya-Moe raised their prices too. They also increased their staff so there's a couple more living wages to factor in to their costs.

Uke Whisperer
11-10-2011, 03:08 AM
Perhaps they will use some of the $ to improve customer service issues and come-up with a complete project/scheduling tracking system? Based on the comments about those issues and after comparing/playing both the Kamakas and KoAlohas last Saturday I'd decided on the KoAlohas for my first K-brand anyway. I hope to come home from Saturday's Strummer's Group Jam with one.

fabioponta
11-10-2011, 04:23 AM
I bought my Kamaka tenor HF-3 with Mi-Si pickup and case and my Kamaka Pineapple HP-1 just afew months ago here in the UU Marketplace, both used in mint condition: with the value of the two Kamakas, I could just buy the HF-3 with pickup and case today.
In short words: I literally "saved" the Pineapple in value. :D

fabioponta
11-10-2011, 05:12 AM
"All models now include a custom Kamaka Ukulele case".
(from Kamaka web site) today.

blab
11-10-2011, 05:36 AM
Maybe this will allow them to do rope bindings again.

ChrisRCovington
11-10-2011, 06:03 AM
The price increase really hurts some people. In another post I was considering a used older model Kamaka or a new Martin. It was the general consensus that I should save up an extra $200 or so and get a new Kamaka or an old Martin. This price increase has pretty much brought me back to going with an older Kamaka since $845 is way out of my range right now. :(

Kamaka-less Chris

Uke Whisperer
11-10-2011, 06:10 AM
My wife and I were just discussing the price increase on Kamakas. She came-up with a great idea reference another "K" brand. She suggested that after dinner we purchase a 1.5 litter size Kahlua Uke and not "cry over spilled milk", the cream or the coffee!

Paul December
11-10-2011, 06:11 AM
On the positive side, I heard their cracks are free! :eek:

kamaka_4_life
11-10-2011, 06:34 AM
Ah crud! Now my "special" custom is gonna cost me a few more month's savings! Grrr.
Actually is shouldn't as long as you ordered it before the price increase, they have to charge you what they quoted you on the sales order. "I THINK" :(

joejeweler
11-10-2011, 06:36 AM
Hey guys, just a reminder not to stray too far off topic into a political discussion here that could become unnecessarily heated. Thank you.

Umm,...i guess you might be referring to my comments about the state and outlook on the US dollar. But i wish to state it's not really a political discussion,....simply an economic one. The OP was voicing some displeasure at a rather healthy price increase by a well known and respected maker, so i believe it is relevent.

I was simply pointing out they're not to blame. They are dealing with a situation we are all going to be dealing with more and more in the coming months/years,......serious inflation and the costs of everything going up drastically. Point of fact inflation is reflected in rising prices,....that's what we "see". But what's really happening is the unrestrained printing of our dollar is drastically lowering the market value of the currency we hold and spend. (you can't really call it "money" today, as the constitution defines what that should be as so many grains of silver or gold.)

Ukuleles are not a "need" in the ultimate sense, no matter how much we may want one. But food, housing, and energy are "needs", and we shouldn't continue to bury our heads in the sand and ignore the fact that we "The People", have lost sight of what the root causes of our current financial state as a Country are.

....simply economics, not political.

laundromatt
11-10-2011, 06:38 AM
There is a silver lining to the price increase - it likely means that the Kamakas that we do own already will fetch higher prices on the used market.

Anyone looking for a Kamaka Pineapple? :)

Gadzukes!
11-10-2011, 06:39 AM
This is a risky move on Kamaka's part. Pricing the instruments at that level starts to bring them close to the level of custom builders, which they are not. I'm guessing they had to do this because of rising costs, but they haven't been getting a lot of great publicity lately with the way they are handling some of their customers.

On the positive side, those of us who own Kamaka instruments probably just got a price bump in the used market as well. :)

Coconut Willie
11-10-2011, 07:56 AM
20%????? Ouch!!! Now I have to save even more money!

mds725
11-10-2011, 08:34 AM
....simply economics, not political.

I think what IS political about your posts about the value of the dollar is that different people and political groups have different ideas about how to address the problem, or whether there even is one. I believe that Staci was just reminding people not to turn this thread into a debate about what economic policy should be.

joejeweler
11-10-2011, 10:01 AM
I think what IS political about your posts about the value of the dollar is that different people and political groups have different ideas about how to address the problem, or whether there even is one. I believe that Staci was just reminding people not to turn this thread into a debate about what economic policy should be.

Fair enough,....but realize you cannot discuss economics without somehow touching the political side.

I do think you are like many, sad to say, who question whether there even is a problem. This country can't begin to fix the problems they fail to acknowledge even exist in the first place.

mds725
11-10-2011, 10:39 AM
Joejeweler, please read my PM about your post.

BadLands Bart
11-10-2011, 10:46 AM
Oh boy....an additional 20% is gonna cause a lot of people to look at other ukuleles!

Dan Uke
11-10-2011, 10:57 AM
Oh boy....an additional 20% is gonna cause a lot of people to look at other ukuleles!

Yes but I doubt Kamaka suffering. The uke world is growing so I don't see it being a problem and besides, there are people set on buying a Kamaka! What's going to naturally happen is the other manufacturers will increase their price. If you give lifetime warranty, costs will naturally increase for Koaloha as years past.

Kanaka916
11-10-2011, 11:11 AM
There will always be a demand for Kamaka. Used Kamakas will be snatched up quicker now because of the increases. Sooner or later, the other 808 makers will follow suit. I believe Kanilea bumped their prices earlier this year.

dredey
11-10-2011, 12:15 PM
People will always want their Kamaka's.

pithaya9
11-10-2011, 12:26 PM
On the positive side, I heard their cracks are free! :eek:

Ouch!! But seems to be so true.

Lexxy
11-10-2011, 12:30 PM
So a trade for a Kamaka Tenor with a KoAloha tenor now seems impossible??? DARN IT! :P

willisoften
11-10-2011, 01:04 PM
Price increase or not I still want a Kamaka HF1 for my next and possibly last uke. My main concern is actually price versus construction quality. I've seen 3 HF1s in the last year:
One at a festival (in Germany) was almost perfect but had geared tuners, my preference is friction and at that price it's a strong preference. The other two I saw in Australia and both had noticeably large glue-lines and seam misalignment. Not good enough at that price IMHO. The Koalohas Ive seen (four or five) have all sounded great and been almost flawless in construction, I was tempted, but they seem a bit larger than I want it a soprano and I find them ugly (shallow of me, I know).

pdxuke
11-10-2011, 03:19 PM
For many (myself included) a Kamaka is the gold standard. Just as I would not be without a vintage Martin, I can't see not having a Kamaka. I'm glad I bought mine before the price increase, but if I did not yet own two, I'd still eventually have to buy one.

philpot
11-10-2011, 03:30 PM
I have played many ukuleles. All of them are compared to my Kamaka in my mind, and only one has come close to measuring up, and even then it was a totally different sound. The price increase is depressing, but I still think they're worth it. I know I would pay more than I did for mine again if I had the option. This will probably hurt the company overall though, because I imagine more people will be waiting and buying used.

haolejohn
11-10-2011, 03:43 PM
I honestly don't think it will be long before the other companies follow. I know UkeRepublic posted a thread not too long ago about the price increase in ukuleles from companies. Now we are seeing it. It is more noticeable with the Kamaka than the imports but it is only a matter of time. I was speaking with a uke maker the other day and I was told that koa is becoming harder and harder to find. I kinda regret letting my kamaka go now but I doubt I will ever own another with this price. Heck if KoAloha follows I will never own another one of them either. If Mele raises their prices, I'll never own another. I guess it will be mass produced chinese made ukes for the uke snob for now on...But that isn't too bad b/c mainlands rock and this will make my Sailor Brand uke choice much easier.


So in summary...price increase is cure for UAS.

TheOnlyUkeThatMatters
11-10-2011, 03:54 PM
When I read the news I did think, "Cool, now my HF-1 [bought used this past March] feels like an even better deal." As for re-sale value, I don't care. My Kamaka will someday be pried from my cold, dead hands.

ukkulelegg
11-10-2011, 04:36 PM
Aloha All ~

I'm GiGi Wong-Monaco, co-owner of Wonderwall Music Shoppe & Emporium in Chicago, the only authorized Kamaka dealer in Illinois. I'm also a Honolulu, born and raised islander.

The price increase reflects the cost of the case that now comes WITH the ukulele. Whereas before you had an option to buy a Kamaka ukulele with or without a hard case. Crunch the numbers and you'll see.

Most if not all ukulele makers increase their prices every year, maybe not on all their models but most of them. I know, we have to make adjustments too.

Hope this helps.

A hui hou!

haolejohn
11-10-2011, 04:47 PM
Aloha All ~

I'm GiGi Wong-Monaco, co-owner of Wonderwall Music Shoppe & Emporium in Chicago, the only authorized Kamaka dealer in Illinois. I'm also a Honolulu, born and raised islander.

The price increase reflects the cost of the case that now comes WITH the ukulele. Whereas before you had an option to buy a Kamaka ukulele with or without a hard case. Crunch the numbers and you'll see.

Most if not all ukulele makers increase their prices every year, maybe not on all their models but most of them. I know, we have to make adjustments too.

Hope this helps.

A hui hou!

this is great and all...But I like the old prices a whole lot better and if that means I have to have a cheaper case...that is fine with me. I can get a pretty nice case for $100

Gadzukes!
11-10-2011, 05:38 PM
There's no way Kamaka is paying that much for this cases. They are trying to
Make up for the increase with a better case, but those cases are inexpensive in bulk.

foxfair
11-10-2011, 06:41 PM
Now I'm glad I bought my concert in Gryphon last week. Keep me wondering that what if I order a Kamaka, and go to Hawaii to pick up... Could I exclude the case and get original price? hehe

fabioponta
11-10-2011, 10:53 PM
Now I'm glad I bought my concert in Gryphon last week. Keep me wondering that what if I order a Kamaka, and go to Hawaii to pick up... Could I exclude the case and get original price? hehe

Maybe not. I believe that one way to make everyone buy in the new price and with the new custom hard case is linking effecting of the warranty to purchase with the Kamaka hard case.

mr moonlight
11-11-2011, 03:00 AM
this is great and all...But I like the old prices a whole lot better and if that means I have to have a cheaper case...that is fine with me. I can get a pretty nice case for $100The Ko'olau cases are only around $65-$75 and they're pretty damn good cases. The new cases account for an insignificant amount of the price increase. Maybe a $25 difference if you're talking retail and I'm sure Kamaka is buying in bulk so the difference is probably much less. So even if you could buy with their old case the savings would be insignificant. Better to go with the new improved case or buy an old stock uke while they last.

garyg
11-11-2011, 03:01 AM
It's ironic that with multiple complaints about Kamaka workmanship and service, most recently http://www.ukuleleunderground.com/forum/showthread.php?55446-Kamaka-bumpy-seam Kamaka's perception of their product is that "it's the best and we don't have to worry about consumers" . I own a Kamaka white label that I bought because the price was exceptional, and well, I figured that I could sell it for more than I paid for it if I didn't like it. I have played a number of other Kamaka ukes, maybe 5-8 in all and I thought they were overrated, nice ukes but not "great ukes", especially in comparison to Ko'aloha or Ko'olau. Most were played in stores where I could compare them to other brands including other K-brands so the comparison was direct. Frankly, I would still prefer my K-A Pikake to any of those new Kamaka's. But I do have to say that my white label (made between 69 and 01 but looking like the early end of that period) has a complexity of sound, a richness in the resonance that is unique, although not necessarily better than my other sopranos, new and vintage. OTOH, it has a white plastic nut and saddle and another owner said the same thing about his which was purchased new. A plastic nut and saddle on the "Cadillac" of ukes, come on. So all in all, I just don't think that their ukes are worth the differential in price, especially at the $1000 level. They seem to be like Mont Blanc fountain pens, lousy for the purpose they are built for (okay, Kamakas aren't lousy :o ) i.e., writing, but there is enough of a market out there of status seekers who want to have one sticking out of their pocket, that the poor performance doesn't matter. And for the record, the Black Bear Koa soprano that I bought from Duane has the same type of complex resonance and sound that the Kamaka has and it was ~ 1/3 the new Kamaka price. And as far as craftmanship goes, Kamaka ukes can't hold a candle to Duane's ukes. Black Bear's are pieces of art, a wonderful integration of form, function and beauty. Certainly at these prices I'll never buy a new Kamaka unless there is a substantial increase in sound quality, construction and customer service. After all, one of the rules of life is "don't reward bad behavior" and that's what they seem to be displaying. Perhaps they seek to be the Mont Blanc of ukes.

mr moonlight
11-11-2011, 03:52 AM
... They seem to be like Mont Blanc fountain pens, lousy for the purpose they are built for (okay, Kamakas aren't lousy :o ) i.e., writing, but there is enough of a market out there of status seekers who want to have one sticking out of their pocket, that the poor performance doesn't matter....
Most that have a Mont Blanc Pen sticking out of their pocket are carrying around the roller ball variety and not a fountain pen. Really, their roller ball cartridges are not bad at all and are a fairly pleasant writing experience if you're into that sort of thing. Their cheap plastic bodies made of (precious resin as they call it) leave a lot to be desired. Their fountain pens are great ...if your comparing to the $25 variety. Comparing Kamaka uke's to Mont Blanc is pretty harsh though. When you see someone with a Mont Blanc (unless it's vintage) sticking out of their pocket it's a big flag saying they haven't a clue about pens. Kamaka's on the other hand are still great uke's.

garyg
11-11-2011, 04:14 AM
@moonlight 1) I wasn't talking about rollerballs and I wasn't comparing MB fountain pens to the $25 variety any more than I was comparing Kamakas to Flukes, 2) I thought that I made it clear that I was being purposefully over the top in that comment when I said "(okay, Kamakas aren't lousy)" and I also spoke of the unique qualities of the Kamaka that I own, but I apologize if you didn't get it. However, I'll stand by my main points which are that Kamaka has become a status brand despite its problems and that is a shame for the supposed "top brand". Do you really think that a top brand uke should have a plastic nut and saddle and a bumpy seam where the sides meet? I didn't believe that the nut and saddle were plastic (I didn't look very closely) until another poster on the thread that I quoted mentioned it (and the reaction of one of the Kamaka's when shown the uke) and sure enough they were right, so mine aren't replacements. But what the hay, that's what makes horseraces, eh.

Trinimon
11-11-2011, 05:27 AM
If Kamaka is still pretty busy churning out ukes trying to keep up with orders that they can't do any custom orders, I'm sure they won't be hurting for sales with their price increase. I wouldn't be surprised if the other manufacturers follow their lead in the near future. It's unavoidable, you'll ALWAYS get a lot of folks complaining about the price increase and vowing to never buy another Kamaka uke but I'm sure the amount of people who don't complain or openly express their feelings will still buy a Kamaka uke regardless. A month or two from now, the new price would be the norm, life will go on as usual until the next price increase when everyone will once again flail their arms in the air and scream bloody murder. It's a vicious cycle, ain't it?

I don't own a Kamaka nor do I work for them but consider how many ukuleles Kamaka has sold since they were established or even in the last year alone. How many complaints have we heard about versus the all the positive remarks they get? It's a lot easier to point out faults than it is to celebrate praises I think. People are drawn towards Kamaka ukes for more than just their sound ie sentimental values play a big part too. Sure you can probably buy a custom uke that sounds better and looks immaculate but die hards want more. They want a piece of history and/or have a piece of Hawai'i (since you can't take lava rocks with you, lol) with be reminded of that each time they strum their Kamaka uke. Just like Apple has their fanboys, Kamaka (KoAloha, Ko'olau and Kanilea too) have theirs.

It's retail, there will be the odd few that fall through the cracks (no pun) with customer service and sure enough, fewer still, the odd complainers who's demands aren't realistic. In the end, we have the freedom of choice. If Kamaka ukes are now out of one's price range, I'm fairly certain someone else would be right in line, all too ready to hand over their credit card.

I still wish they'd wait till April to raise their prices! haha!

haolejohn
11-11-2011, 05:55 AM
The Ko'olau cases are only around $65-$75 and they're pretty damn good cases. The new cases account for an insignificant amount of the price increase. Maybe a $25 difference if you're talking retail and I'm sure Kamaka is buying in bulk so the difference is probably much less. So even if you could buy with their old case the savings would be insignificant. Better to go with the new improved case or buy an old stock uke while they last.

That is my point. Those Ko'olau cases are very good value for what they offer.

I like Kamaka but unless other "K" brands increase...this could be the nail in the coffin.

countrybumpkin
11-11-2011, 05:59 AM
Middle man or not, price still the same. Factory price is same as suggested retail at Kamaka.

response to comment by mmstan

mm stan
11-11-2011, 06:27 AM
Middle man or not, price still the same. Factory price is same as suggested retail at Kamaka.

response to comment by mmstan
There is a difference between..MAP price and MSRP or what they truely sell for...true factories sells retail so they don't outsell their dealers..
All I was saying was that private builders offer savings to us, and it works both ways..
As for Kamaka's I think they are one of the best production ukes out there if not, the best..many buy used, and in any brand when buying used, most times there are faults within that particular uke, could be the reason for it being sold.
as all ukuleles sound and preform different..because they are as individual as you and me, due to the tight building tolerences.. when buying a new one and play a few of the same models
and choose the best sounding one within the bunch in any brand of uke..and most times you'll get a great uke..

mr moonlight
11-11-2011, 09:59 AM
@moonlight 1) I wasn't talking about rollerballs and I wasn't comparing MB fountain pens to the $25 variety any more than I was comparing Kamakas to Flukes, 2) I thought that I made it clear that I was being purposefully over the top in that comment when I said "(okay, Kamakas aren't lousy)" and I also spoke of the unique qualities of the Kamaka that I own, but I apologize if you didn't get it. However, I'll stand by my main points which are that Kamaka has become a status brand despite its problems and that is a shame for the supposed "top brand". Do you really think that a top brand uke should have a plastic nut and saddle and a bumpy seam where the sides meet? I didn't believe that the nut and saddle were plastic (I didn't look very closely) until another poster on the thread that I quoted mentioned it (and the reaction of one of the Kamaka's when shown the uke) and sure enough they were right, so mine aren't replacements. But what the hay, that's what makes horseraces, eh.
I totally understood you, I was the one who wasn't so clear. Really though, my point with the rollerballs was just emphasizing how people purchase items because of their brand rather than the actual product. With a rollerball you're buying a case for the heart of your writing instrument which is a $5 cartridge. As for Mont Blanc fountain pens. I've owned a few and I found that they rated pretty poorly against other brands in the quality department despite being the premier pen brand. I don't foresee Kamaka following suite or being anything near the realm of what Mont Blanc has become, but using plastic nuts and bridges isn't exactly in the right direction either. Bumpy seams and botched repairs are probably rare enough that it isn't an issue worth worrying about, but it still does make one question their QC.

My question would be, what are people's experiences with the other K-Brands out there. Kanileas, KoAloha, Ko'olau? I've never heard a negative point about any of them.

pdxuke
11-11-2011, 10:17 AM
Yes, there are some quality control issues. I had such an issue with my concert. But I hasten to add, the problem was made right by Gryphon, where I bought it, and Kamaka themselves offered to replace the uke. Such things happen.

As for Kamaka being a status brand, yes, certainly I take pleasure in having a pineapple made by the family that invented the pineapple. No doubt about that. But friends, in the last few years I've owned a LOT of ukes--vintage, new--and most of them I've sold. I still own and play my Kamakas.

foxfair
11-11-2011, 02:10 PM
I don't get it; some 3C fanboys buy each generation of iPhone... they don't think it is expensive as hell, even sometime later Apple suddenly change(upgrade) the hardware spec but keep in the same price. Still so many people go ahead and buy replacement even the old phone is still working fine. And the 3C product can only last .... 1.5 - 2.5 years???

Now, if you have the financial ability to buy a really good instrument, like hand made ukulele from Hawaii -- not just K's but also any luthier artwork right out there, does it really matter the 25% price increased at all? You can pass this lovely instrument to your family for next 100 years. I would say in this way: 25% or not, buyers still buy. I won't sell my Kamakas for profits, any of them.

PS: I like Kamaka's ukes, however I don't really like their custom price and quotation. Too many things you can't customize, and the price is just close to any good luthier's ask. That is also why I still can't make a decision to purchase "special" type from their hands.

philpot
11-11-2011, 02:55 PM
I don't get it; some 3C fanboys buy each generation of iPhone... they don't think it is expensive as hell, even sometime later Apple suddenly change(upgrade) the hardware spec but keep in the same price. Still so many people go ahead and buy replacement even the old phone is still working fine. And the 3C product can only last .... 1.5 - 2.5 years???

Now, if you have the financial ability to buy a really good instrument, like hand made ukulele from Hawaii -- not just K's but also any luthier artwork right out there, does it really matter the 25% price increased at all? You can pass this lovely instrument to your family for next 100 years. I would say in this way: 25% or not, buyers still buy. I won't sell my Kamakas for profits, any of them.

PS: I like Kamaka's ukes, however I don't really like their custom price and quotation. Too many things you can't customize, and the price is just close to any good luthier's ask. That is also why I still can't make a decision to purchase "special" type from their hands.

Very good point. If I was planning on buying a NEW instrument, I'd shop around, but at that price I don't think I'm going to care much. I'll go for the one that I like the most regardless of the price because I know I'll get MORE than that out of it.

I agree with you about the specials too. The "customize" list is so small, I'd rather commission one from a luthier.

rasputinsghost
11-11-2011, 07:27 PM
Chauk a LOT of it up to the long ongoing fall of the US dollar. Don't believe for a moment the phony inflation numbers
the fed puts out. 20% inflation in REAL terms (include food and energy costs) over the last few years, at least.

I would venture a guess that a lot of you think of the "Federal Reserve Corp" is an arm of the Federal Government, much like the IRS. Well, you'd be dead wrong! It's a private corporation made up of bankers with their interests looked after first. Congress illegally transfered the Constitutionally given power to create and regulate money to a freaking private corporation! The founding fathers are turning over in their graves.


It's like the crazy political emails you get from your relatives decided to join UU

Also the idea that economics are not linked to politics or philosophy is ridiculous

PedalFreak
11-12-2011, 10:23 AM
I didn't read all the pages here, but read a few complaints about it damaging Kamaka in the long run. Here is the thing, I've worked in the Musical Instrument industry for a number of years, guys like Gibson, Fender, Martin and Kamaka can charge what they want within reason and people will buy them still. The best in the biz, if they keep up quality, will always sell.

Toucan Mango
11-12-2011, 12:42 PM
I think I paid just under $700.00 for this Kamaka pineapple with a case. It is flawless inside and out, sounds beautiful as well. I would pay the new price no problem.

To be honest I am so pleased with it I'm going to pick up another standard soon or factory order one. If my pics don't show up here they are in my album.

OldePhart
11-12-2011, 01:57 PM
Basically, my feel is if you're going to start pushing $900 or more I'd just as soon wait a couple of extra months and have a luthier-built instrument to my specs for $1200 or so.

Love my KoAloha longneck soprano, but if I'd had to pay anywhere near $900 for it I'd have waited for a Mya Moe instead...

John

fabioponta
11-12-2011, 04:53 PM
OMG
By now, I really don't know if Kamaka factory will have success or will go wrong with this price increase.
Anyway, the only thing I can say is that the Kamaka brand is VERY VERY VERY popular: this unpretentious post started only three days ago and has almost 3,000 views and almost 100 comments until now! This is crazy and wonderful!

Chap
11-12-2011, 04:56 PM
A wise man once said to me (about a completely different product, but it applies):

"If people stop buying, we're charging too much. So far, people haven't stopped buying."

:P

Hippie Dribble
11-12-2011, 05:00 PM
A wise man once said to me (about a completely different product, but it applies):

"If people stop buying, we're charging too much. So far, people haven't stopped buying."

:P
yep, so true Chap. Kamaka is Kamaka!!!!!!! For the sake of a couple of hundred bucks people won't stop buying from the most prestigious maker in the world.

dkcrown
11-13-2011, 01:00 AM
I think I paid just under $700.00 for this Kamaka pineapple with a case. It is flawless inside and out, sounds beautiful as well. I would pay the new price no problem.

To be honest I am so pleased with it I'm going to pick up another standard soon or factory order one. If my pics don't show up here they are in my album.

Beautiful pineapple, Toucan. Nice pick up!

BTW, I saw the new cases on the Gryphon website and they look really nice. Having purchased a Liliu six string this summer with the old style case, I wish that it came with the newer case.