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View Full Version : Vintage 1950s Kamaka Historic Soprano - Solid Koa front and back



benlolson
02-06-2012, 09:20 AM
I was given this Ukulele in trade and realize that it's a little out of my league. I'd like to find it another home where it will be appreciated for what it is.

This is a mid-1950s Kamaka Historic Soprano ukulele made with a solid top and back. This is an all-koa model made by Sam Kamaka, Jr.

The Kamaka company, as many of you know, is one of the best uke makers in the world. Started in 1916 and still in operation today, Kamaka has always been known to make fine instruments.

This particular uke is in great shape. It plays well and has a good, bright tone. There are a few tiny nicks in the wood, as to be expected from a 60+ year old instrument. I recently strung it with new Martins and had a little trouble getting the fat C string into the bridge. The previous owner said he hadn't had strings in it for a long time, so maybe the opening pinched a tiny bit? Either way, it's playing fine.

If you'd like to verify the date, I can send close-up pics of the identifiers; the 'KK' decal on the headstock, the gold Kamaka label inside the sound hole. I'm limited by what I've read on the Internet and what the previous owner told me, so I'm open to corrections if there are any, but I believe it to be made anywhere from 1954-1956.

Thanks, hope she finds a new home. $550

BlackBearUkes
02-06-2012, 09:57 AM
From the 50's, probably, Historical - I doubt that. Average Kamaka, worth about $300 tops in my opinion.

Drew Bear
02-06-2012, 10:03 AM
No offense intended, but new members trying to sell a uke via their first post have a tough time here. You may want to read this: http://www.ukuleleunderground.com/forum/showthread.php?20832-How-to-Sell-Ukuleles-in-the-Marketplace-READ-BEFORE-POSTING

mm stan
02-06-2012, 10:27 AM
Can I have a picture of the back where it connects with the heel? It doesnt have the flat neck profile of a mid fiftys, but has a lower crown...it might be closer to late 50's...this is my 1959 kamaka soprano
http://i938.photobucket.com/albums/ad222/ukestan/DSC00068.jpg

benlolson
02-06-2012, 05:01 PM
mm Stan,

Here is a quick shot, sorry about the quality. I loaned out my digital camera tonight and took this with my iSight. If you want a cleaner photo, let me know and I'll snap one tomorrow. Mine looks like the same as the photo you sent... which means it might be a 1959? As I said in the posting, I'm not 100% certain how old, but just going on what I was told and what I looked up.

Drew Bear,

Thanks for the info. I read that in the FAQ. What can I say, other than we all start somewhere. I was told this was the site for ukulele aficionados so I wanted to post it here. I'm a guitar man myself, which is why I'd like to find this uke a better home.

-Ben

efiscella
02-06-2012, 05:07 PM
just so you know- I purchased one just like this for $375 and sold it for $335

mm stan
02-06-2012, 08:14 PM
Ben I need to see the ukulele back...lay the ukulele upside down and take a shot where the back and heel meet.
does the back extend to the bottom of the heel?

provines
02-07-2012, 03:00 AM
just so you know- I purchased one just like this for $375 and sold it for $335

Isn't that the way we're supposed to buy and sell? Its like the stock market..... :)

WhenDogsSing
02-07-2012, 03:09 AM
I was given this Ukulele in trade and realize that it's a little out of my league. I'd like to find it another home where it will be appreciated for what it is.

This is a mid-1950s Kamaka Historic Soprano ukulele made with a solid top and back. This is an all-koa model made by Sam Kamaka, Jr.

The Kamaka company, as many of you know, is one of the best uke makers in the world. Started in 1916 and still in operation today, Kamaka has always been known to make fine instruments.

This particular uke is in great shape. It plays well and has a good, bright tone. There are a few tiny nicks in the wood, as to be expected from a 60+ year old instrument. I recently strung it with new Martins and had a little trouble getting the fat C string into the bridge. The previous owner said he hadn't had strings in it for a long time, so maybe the opening pinched a tiny bit? Either way, it's playing fine.

If you'd like to verify the date, I can send close-up pics of the identifiers; the 'KK' decal on the headstock, the gold Kamaka label inside the sound hole. I'm limited by what I've read on the Internet and what the previous owner told me, so I'm open to corrections if there are any, but I believe it to be made anywhere from 1954-1956.

Thanks, hope she finds a new home. $550

You might also want to add whether or not it has a case and if it does, what type of case is it? The case it is sitting on looks like a guitar case.

pahu
02-07-2012, 03:46 AM
MMStan: nice example-is that actual binding on the edge? or painted-on?

mm stan
02-07-2012, 06:23 AM
it might have been a deluxe model back then..not sure...I sold the ukulele some time ago....I just went back and looked in my files and found a close up of the tuners and
if you look closely, this one has a hollow and angled nut...I know of just a few black tuner kamaka's out there..http://i938.photobucket.com/albums/ad222/ukestan/008.jpg

benlolson
02-07-2012, 07:05 AM
mm Stan,

I think I got the right photo for you... sorry, my terminology isn't up to par. The back does extend into the bottom of the heel. I also included a close-up of the tuners.

WhenDogSing,

There is no case included in this uke. I'd love to have one, but the owner kept it, so I can either buy one to include and charge more or sell as is.

-Ben

mm stan
02-07-2012, 07:12 AM
Your kamaka is an earlier model than mine...mid fifties to a few years up...I was looking at your tuners, and did the previous owner put those pink washers there for height?
I've never seen them that way...if you compare to my tuners, mine has a bead before that bevel part... Stan

benlolson
02-07-2012, 07:30 AM
mm stan,

I noticed those pink washers, too... the previous owner claims that he didn't modify anything, so it must've been that way when he got it over a decade ago. He claims that it falls into the 1954-56 range, and he seems to have done his homework so I have no reason to doubt him (I live in a small town and know the previous owner fairly well).

Ben

Ben

mm stan
02-07-2012, 07:39 AM
What color is your saddle??

benlolson
02-07-2012, 07:53 AM
mm stan,

This uke doesn't have a saddle... there is just the one piece bridge, made of the same koa wood as the top and back. You can see the bridge in the pictures attached to my first post.

mm stan
02-07-2012, 09:20 AM
Yes I couldnt see one so I asked...that is really strange...never seen one like that... maybe think of getting one on..Stan

efiscella
02-07-2012, 09:29 AM
Yes I couldnt see one so I asked...that is really strange...never seen one like that... maybe think of getting one on..Stan
I had purchased one like that few months ago. I got it in an estate sale. it was purchased in Hawaii in the early 1950's. The one I had also just had a single Koa bridge piece. It looked exactly like the one in this picture with the same binding, however, the tuners were ivory colored.

benlolson
02-14-2012, 07:24 AM
I've dropped the price to $425 if anyone's interested.

Ben