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View Full Version : Need Information On A Kamaka Gold Label



Sixthinsight
12-25-2011, 01:41 PM
Hello everyone, I have only been playing for a couple months so I'm nothing special but I am about to purchase a Kamaka gold label soprano ukulele and need your opinions on what year it is for sure. What throws me is the fact that most Kamakas seem to have an extended fingerboard/fretboard and this one does not. The owner says she purchased it in Hawaii in the 60's, but could this one be 50's even though it is a gold label ??

One of the tuning dials broke 6 years ago so she had all new tuning dials put on it. Also there is a chip in the Bridge but I didn't wager it to be a show-stopper.

bottom line.... i would value your opinions after looking at the photos I have sent. I am buying it for $300 anyway tomorrow but can you give me your opinions on age and model and thanks very much in advance!

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RyanMFT
12-25-2011, 01:52 PM
Hello and welcome to UU! Nice looking old Kamaka there, you are making a good choice. MMStan should chime in here and can tell you better as he is really knowledgable, but I'll give it a go.

My guess is that it is on the earlier side of the gold labels since it does not have a raised fretboard. Should be a good player. Here is some info from Kamaka's website....

In dating Kamaka ukuleles, the headstock decal and the interior label are significant. The trademark "double K" decal was used on Kamaka ukuleles beginning in 1954. This decal was used in conjunction with an interior gold label bearing the words "Kamaka Ukulele" in red and black lettering that matched the font of the decal. This combination of decal and label was used until 1969.

The tuners look fine, should work well for you. Wonder what the strings are.....looks like old Kamaka strings on it, but since the tuners were replaced I would guess new strings were put on at that time. Maybe GHS or something. I am not a fan of Kamaka or GHS strings myself but whatever is pleasing to your ear. I think $300 is a good deal. Enjoy it and play it!

Sixthinsight
12-25-2011, 02:00 PM
Ok, good and thanks for the quick response! So if I wanted to I'm sure I could take this to Kamaka and have original tuners put in AND the Bridge fixed up?

RyanMFT
12-25-2011, 02:36 PM
Well, I don't think Kamaka would put better tuners in it. The originals likely looked pretty similar, and those look fine. I would play it a bit and see if there is any reason to change them. You would likely get the same type of tuners if you took it to Kamaka.

Hard to see what the problem is with the bridge from the photos. Looks like it will hold strings? They could change out your bridge but you have to take/send it there and it is sometimes quite a wait for repairs.....plus shipping depending on where you are. They do good repairs and if the bridge bothers you....they can do something. However, I wonder what they would put on it since it has no raised fretboard and no saddle.

Sixthinsight
12-25-2011, 02:42 PM
Here are a few more pictures. There are no cracks at all and 2 small dents.3141831419

Sixthinsight
12-25-2011, 02:58 PM
Well, I don't think Kamaka would put better tuners in it. The originals likely looked pretty similar, and those look fine. I would play it a bit and see if there is any reason to change them. You would likely get the same type of tuners if you took it to Kamaka.

Hard to see what the problem is with the bridge from the photos. Looks like it will hold strings? They could change out your bridge but you have to take/send it there and it is sometimes quite a wait for repairs.....plus shipping depending on where you are. They do good repairs and if the bridge bothers you....they can do something. However, I wonder what they would put on it since it has no raised fretboard and no saddle.


Ok, so to me it is not a big deal to fix it now because it will play fine and that is what is important. Any idea what it is worth and if $300 is a good deal? From what I have seen online its not a bad price to pay but I only know a little.

hmgberg
12-25-2011, 04:58 PM
$300.00 is a good price.

mm stan
12-25-2011, 05:11 PM
Aloha Sixthinsight..
Yes it is a early 50's Gold label....when the fretboard stopped at the body..if you look at the ukulele on my avatar it is an early 50's kamaka soprano..I got it mint for 400.00
Does your one piece back extend over to the under of the heel.. be careful and play it first before you buy...you never can tell you know..if its good get it...You can call
Kamaka and order the exact tuners for it...whether you just want the knob buttons or the whole with the shafts...hope it helps...Good Luck...yours must have the flat neck behind
the nut area...Here is my gold early 50's gold label...http://i938.photobucket.com/albums/ad222/ukestan/DSC00083.jpg
then Previous owner upgraded the bridge on it, but I will change that soon..

Sixthinsight
12-25-2011, 05:40 PM
Aloha Sixthinsight..
Yes it is a early 50's Gold label....when the fretboard stopped at the body..if you look at the ukulele on my avatar it is an early 50's kamaka soprano..I got it mint for 400.00
Does your one piece back extend over to the under of the heel.. be careful and play it first before you buy...you never can tell you know..if its good get it...You can call
Kamaka and order the exact tuners for it...whether you just want the knob buttons or the whole with the shafts...hope it helps...Good Luck...yours must have the flat neck behind
the nut area...Here is my gold early 50's gold label..then Previous owner upgraded the bridge on it, but I will change that soon..

Does your one piece back extend over to the under of the heel?? -------------> I'm not sure as the item is not in my possession yet... what would that tell you? So its around 1954-56 I guess? Ok thanks for the information. Any other suggestions? Thanks!

mm stan
12-25-2011, 05:54 PM
I know mine is a real collectable made by Sam Kamaka and is dated about 1954...my same model was featured on Kamaka Historic Ukulele site..
Oh yeah...can't say this enough..if you can play it first it will help greatly to insure you get a good sounding one... good luck... slap some
Martins M600 on there..

Sixthinsight
12-25-2011, 06:01 PM
Ok so there is a chance mine is the same if my back extends over to the under of the heel? What will that mean price-wise? I'm only curious because it will be kept forever if it sounds good and I'm betting that it will...(hopefully haha).

How do I know for sure if mine is made same as yours? I will provide more pictures once I have it.

mm stan
12-25-2011, 06:18 PM
Wouldn't know for sure exactly...to be honest.. it would be hard to tell....if you had more pictures it might help...did you get it already...let me know..
If it was made by Sam...you got a hell of a good deal...and a collectable... worth more, probally...

Sixthinsight
12-25-2011, 06:27 PM
Ok hmmm..... well once I get it I will send you some more pictures. Thanks for the info. so far... Its sort of exciting.

mm stan
12-25-2011, 06:44 PM
Check to see if yours has a number inside the soundhole in pencil...also my soundboard extends beyond the body to the 12th fret..and the neck is the fretboard and flat D shaped in the back..

Sixthinsight
12-25-2011, 06:49 PM
Check to see if yours has a number inside the soundhole in pencil...also my soundboard extends beyond the body to the 12th fret..and the neck is the fretboard and flat D shaped in the back..

Ok I will. I'll let you know when I have it. You've been a big help.

kenikas
12-25-2011, 07:24 PM
Welcome Sixthinsight, that uke looks to be in good shape and $300 seems like a good price to me. I have a pineapple of about the same vintage that was in pretty rough shape, I sent it to Kamaka and they did a wonderful job restoring it. They originally quoted about 6 months to a year, but completed it in less than 3, and mine had the soundboard replaced, new tuners, frets repaired, and completely refinished. It plays like a dream now and was well worth it. The tuners on yours look a little different than the Gottoh's that Kamaka put on mine, but if they work OK I wouldn't replace them. I agree with mm stan, a change to fluorocarbon strings either Worth or Martin is an improvement. And as long as the bridge holds the string OK and is tight to the soundboard I wouldn't mess with it.

Sixthinsight
12-25-2011, 07:37 PM
Welcome Sixthinsight, that uke looks to be in good shape and $300 seems like a good price to me. I have a pineapple of about the same vintage that was in pretty rough shape, I sent it to Kamaka and they did a wonderful job restoring it. They originally quoted about 6 months to a year, but completed it in less than 3, and mine had the soundboard replaced, new tuners, frets repaired, and completely refinished. It plays like a dream now and was well worth it. The tuners on yours look a little different than the Gottoh's that Kamaka put on mine, but if they work OK I wouldn't replace them. I agree with mm stan, a change to fluorocarbon strings either Worth or Martin is an improvement. And as long as the bridge holds the string OK and is tight to the soundboard I wouldn't mess with it.

Nice, good to know man. Yeah I will consider fluorocarbon strings because the originals are well OLD haha.. and I hear a lot of good things regarding them.

RyanMFT
12-25-2011, 07:47 PM
And as long as the bridge holds the string OK and is tight to the soundboard I wouldn't mess with it.

This is something to consider as overall it looks to be in good shape. I would talk with Kamaka about that bridge before sending it off. I talked to them about repairing a 20's/30's Kamaka pineapple uke for me, and installing wood peg tuners as it had them originally. They told me they don't know anyone who can make wood peg tuners, and that they just install modern tuners, because wood pegs don't work. Well, that just isn't true. My local luthier installed beautiful rosewood pegs, which dropped right in....and they cost $18.00 for all four!

My concern is that I don't know if Kamaka can replace that bridge with the same thing since it isn't like the bridges they use currently (it has no saddle), so talk carefully with them and email pictures before you send it off for repairs. They tend to just say send it in for an estimate. I know I sound a little negative here but I have had two not so great experiences with them.

Yours looks like a good uke, and I think it will be a player straight away.....300 is a really reasonable price!

Sixthinsight
12-25-2011, 08:42 PM
This is something to consider as overall it looks to be in good shape. I would talk with Kamaka about that bridge before sending it off. I talked to them about repairing a 20's/30's Kamaka pineapple uke for me, and installing wood peg tuners as it had them originally. They told me they don't know anyone who can make wood peg tuners, and that they just install modern tuners, because wood pegs don't work. Well, that just isn't true. My local luthier installed beautiful rosewood pegs, which dropped right in....and they cost $18.00 for all four!

My concern is that I don't know if Kamaka can replace that bridge with the same thing since it isn't like the bridges they use currently (it has no saddle), so talk carefully with them and email pictures before you send it off for repairs. They tend to just say send it in for an estimate. I know I sound a little negative here but I have had two not so great experiences with them.

Yours looks like a good uke, and I think it will be a player straight away.....300 is a really reasonable price!

Thanks for the heads-up on that...yeah ok something to consider for sure... I wouldn't want to send it in to find out they can't do something like that... thanks

Sixthinsight
12-26-2011, 07:49 AM
Check to see if yours has a number inside the soundhole in pencil...also my soundboard extends beyond the body to the 12th fret..and the neck is the fretboard and flat D shaped in the back..

I can tell right now from my pictures that this one I am getting does not have a soundboard that extends to 12th fret. It ends before the 12th fret.

RyanMFT
12-26-2011, 10:40 AM
So......did you get it yet???!!! Can't wait to hear how it turns out!

Sixthinsight
12-26-2011, 12:22 PM
So......did you get it yet???!!! Can't wait to hear how it turns out!

I'm very excited man....but I am not getting it until Thursday now because it is hours away and my wife wants to go and spend the night in the city while going to get it (I'm just happy she is allowing me to get it haha...) but I will let you know the minute I get it. I got a hard case for it today... Im playing the Kala all day today to keep my mind off of it haha.

Sixthinsight
12-31-2011, 02:33 PM
OK, so I got it and tested it out and its great...there were no negative surprises at all. I have my Martin strings on the way because IMO the factory ones that are 50+ that came with it are really bad. Its light too!

mm stan
12-31-2011, 11:07 PM
Congrats...I am happy you got a good uke.....Happy Strummings....MM Stan