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vanflynn
12-07-2011, 06:17 AM
For your consideration

Flashback to Oahu, 1967: Little Jimmy is attending 4th grade at Pearl Harbor Kai Elementary and is learning ‘ukelele in their music class. The instructor plays “Hukilau Song” and “King of the Road” over and over. Little Jimmy’s mom goes out and buys him a cute little ‘ukelele with this tiki and a funny KK up by the tuners. Little Jimmy plays the uke for two years before dad retires from the Marines and they all head back to Minnesota. Folk rock is taking off so the little uke is ignored for nasty big mean acoustic guitar.

Fastforward to present day: Last winter Jim’s wife wants to go to Hawaii to thaw out. After trip Jim’s loving wife gets him a uke for a birthday present. Jim pulls out his old music sheets from 4th grade and is bitten by the lovely Uke bug. He asks his mom about his childhood uke and mom says “didn’t I give it to you?” He asks brother about it, “I don’t have it”. Jim is bummed. Last night brother is rummaging through his basement looking for beer making supplies and the wonderful Uke fairy brings the little uke back from a parallel dimension and puts in among the beer supplies. Jim and his childhood uke are united and they live happily ever after.

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Yep it’s a concert gold label Kamaka. This baby has some battle scars from being lugged about by a 10 year old and sitting in a Minnesota basement for 40 years. Mr Tiki is missing his legs, back has a crack, two cracks in top by bridge, crack in top by soundhole, crack at bottom of fretboard with slight separation on A string side, various scuffs and dings from the school yard. Other than that…..
I am going to contact Kamaka to see what my options are.

vanflynn
12-07-2011, 06:20 AM
Da kine boo boos
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vanflynn
12-07-2011, 06:23 AM
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Stevelele
12-07-2011, 06:23 AM
This is a seriously awesome story. What a wonderful treasure you found. Can't wait to see some video clips. Have seen photos, but have never seen one of these in action

bdukes
12-07-2011, 06:27 AM
Great story and find. Can't wait to see how it turns out. How's it sound... is it playable?

Tell your brother to make more beer, it'll help. I know I need one after seeing the pictures.

808boy
12-07-2011, 06:40 AM
Aloha vanflynn,
Great story that parallels my life learning to play the ukulele except is set in Kalihi Elementary School in 1955. We didn't have uke lessons but a lot of kids brought their ukes to school and we would teach each other what we learned from our elders. Learned a lot of songs but never learned the names of the chords till I started up again 14 months ago. Playing songs found on the net was a challenge, had to refer to the chord chart to find the fingering of a chord only to say, "oh, I know that one, now I know the name". Started with a Kamaka my friend's Mom gave me cause my plastic uke was junk. It was all scratched up but no cracks. Then I seen ukes hanging on a wall in Longs Drug Store that were very nice looking. It had a light colored top (spruce?) and dark colored back and sides (don't know what kind of wood). I played it 4 years then switched to electric guitar to play "rock and roll". Don't know what happened to that uke but wish I had it today even if it was an import and laminated.
Happy that you have yours back. Still trying to ID what I had.
Enjoy yours,....................BO.............

janeray1940
12-07-2011, 07:13 AM
Awesome story! I've been trying to track down my childhood ukulele for years - as far as I know, it has been sitting untouched in the basement in a house in San Francisco that has been unoccupied since 1976. The owners of the property didn't even respond to offers of money, so I'm assuming it's a lost cause.

vanflynn
12-07-2011, 07:18 AM
I see your a Kamaka fan. What type of strings for reentrant tuning? It is playable but I want to get the cracks taken care of soon.

janeray1940
12-07-2011, 07:24 AM
I see your a Kamaka fan. What type of strings for reentrant tuning? It is playable but I want to get the cracks taken care of soon.

I like Martin M600 fluoros on my reentrant Kamakas. The first time I heard them was on a Kamaka concert of about the same vintage as yours - loved the sound so much that I made the switch from Aquilas on all of my ukes.

Trinimon
12-07-2011, 07:41 AM
Nice find! What a reunion story. Good luck with the repairs etc.

mds725
12-07-2011, 07:55 AM
Jim - Great story! I hope Kamaka can restore the ukulele for you. There's a guy in one of my ukulele classes who has a Kamaka tiki concert that I think he's had since childhood. Really magnificent instrument.

Jane - have you tried to actually get into the house? It's unusual for a housing-starved city like SF to have empty houses, but I wonder why the owner wouldn't let you in just to take a quick look. It's not like you'd be bothering the people who live there or anything. It would be great if you could be reunited with your childhood uke.

janeray1940
12-07-2011, 08:19 AM
Jane - have you tried to actually get into the house? It's unusual for a housing-starved city like SF to have empty houses, but I wonder why the owner wouldn't let you in just to take a quick look. It's not like you'd be bothering the people who live there or anything. It would be great if you could be reunited with your childhood uke.

I know, it sounds crazy, but the house has been continuously unoccupied since 1976, at least as of 2005 or so which was the last time I tried to make contact. I've written letters, left notes, left offers of "I'll clean out your basement for $$$$" but nothing. The story was the quite-elderly owner was holding on to the property until the time was right (smallest house on the block, I think he wanted to sell it as a teardown). At one point I had been given a phone number of the owner's son, and on a visit up there once I was supposed to meet with him, but once I was there he stopped returning my calls. Mysterious!

It's a long story, but pretty much everything dating to the first ten years of my life is (or was) in that basement. You could see the boxes there, untouched, as we left them, for years, by peeking through a little window. It was maddening - every visit to the Bay Area I made, I would torture myself with this. Eventually I realized it wasn't good for my mental health :)

dkcrown
12-07-2011, 08:28 AM
Great story, Little Jimmy. I can't wait to see the after pictures of it.

Coconut Willie
12-07-2011, 08:31 AM
That is an awesome story with a very happy ending!!! Looking forward to the repairs!

kamaka_4_life
12-07-2011, 11:52 AM
Awesome!! Congrats on finally getting it back from that parallel universe :) If you decide to take it back to Kamaka to have them repair it, it might take a "long" time. I heard they are back logged... Good luck, and tell them your story, maybe they will start working on it right away LOL :D

mm stan
12-07-2011, 12:24 PM
Aloha Jimmy,
wow you lucky guy...I justed paid a mint for my 69...probally the same as yours...not to many of them around you know...especially the tiki gold labels...one year
Actually I have a white label too...yes Martins M600 sounds the best on the kamakas.. even the tiki's....nice story.. I will send you a PM...Happy Strummings..

molokinirum
12-07-2011, 12:41 PM
That is an awesome story! Congratulations. BTW...I had Kamaka repair a vintage Pineapple that had 4 large cracks on the top and bottom and Kamaka took about 2 months to complete the work. They also redid the finish, checked out the bridge, tuners and added new strings. Kamaka did an incredible job and the uke is now a prize player.

OldePhart
12-07-2011, 12:50 PM
Very cool story. Why do I not have any cool things like this to talk about? I mean, I have interesting stories but they mostly involve broken bones and destroyed rides... :)

TheOnlyUkeThatMatters
12-07-2011, 12:59 PM
So many lost ukuleles, not so many found ukuleles. Reconnected with your lost ukulele; congratulations!

kenikas
12-07-2011, 01:14 PM
That is an awesome story! Congratulations. BTW...I had Kamaka repair a vintage Pineapple that had 4 large cracks on the top and bottom and Kamaka took about 2 months to complete the work. They also redid the finish, checked out the bridge, tuners and added new strings. Kamaka did an incredible job and the uke is now a prize player.
I have to agree with molokinirum, get it to Kamaka! I had them restore my Gold Label Pineapple a few months ago and it's way worth it, they originally quoted me 6 months to a year but it only took them 3-4 months. Mine needed fairly major surgery, a new top, fret work & tuner replacement as well as headstock repair and complete refinish. But it was well worth it! Plays great and sounds wonderful (even with the Kamaka strings on it) and it looks perfect. I need to get around to trying some Worths or Martin Fluoro's on it.

ckellogg
12-07-2011, 03:11 PM
I like Martin M600 fluoros on my reentrant Kamakas. The first time I heard them was on a Kamaka concert of about the same vintage as yours - loved the sound so much that I made the switch from Aquilas on all of my ukes.

I'm a newbie (7 months?) but am finding Martins a nice choice. Am now trying to give away the Aquilas that have come with my ukuleles. Brown Worths are another of my faves.

Thanks for sharing this terrific story. Good things come to those who wait.

lateinlife
12-07-2011, 03:50 PM
Just picked up a 90's Kamaka tenor. I put on a set of Aquilas(low g, c wound) they are ok but does anyone with more experience have other recommendations to get the best sound out of the instrument. I primarily finger pick.
Thanks

sonicbaker
12-07-2011, 06:04 PM
I thinks it not only awesome that you got uke back, but that it gets to return to its original makers for the repairs. Congrats!