View Full Version : Kamaka restoration or Kamakenstein?

08-25-2012, 11:00 AM
It is great that many folks here have saved old ukes from death, sometimes at great expense.

But can one go too far in a restoration, changing too much?

I saw this Kamaka 'restoration' and wondered if one can really still call it a Kamaka or is it a Kamakenstein with many pieces that have nothing to do with a Kamaka?

While this looks cool and interesting and may play excellent, I think it went too far from the original Kamaka for my taste. To be far I don't know what it looked like to start. It may have been a total wreck with little to keep. What do you think?


I think it was the added side fret markers and the screws in the bridge that put me over the edge. :eek:

mm stan
08-25-2012, 11:45 AM
Aloha Doc,
Practically a new uke Doc....you would never get a price like that if you did it yourself...although it has been rebuilt, I am sure it's a great deal...
Now only one question, how does it sound and play...hmm wonder why he is selling after all that work...either time fixing or paying it to be...
At 1 1/2" wide nut... I am not sure what he means by fast action...that is a wide fretboard and neck..way too wide for me...
It also has an angled saddle and screwed down bridge...and a small soundhole which means a real early 70's kamaka..more of a gold label design..

08-25-2012, 11:53 AM
Agree it's no longer a "Kamaka",but it sure is a pretty little thing. May even be worth the price, but I sure am ambivalent about it.

Hippie Dribble
08-25-2012, 12:38 PM
hey Doc, not for me I'm afraid for two reasons. First is the ebony fretboard and bridge...just looks wrong and somehow artificial on an old instrument that was originally made with a koa fretboard....why not just use koa in the refurb? The heel cap looks like a mistake and detracts from the original. Second, if so much trouble was taken in the restoration why not fix up the probs with the nut in the A string slot? Probably sounds like a million bucks but the original nature of the instrument is too compromised for me to be interested, as much as I love Kamakas.

08-25-2012, 02:40 PM
If I had a broken Kamaka, my first choice would be to have Kamaka fix it. Yes, I know it would have be shipped off and probably take a year to fix. But it would come back as a Kamaka. Having a local luthier change the neck, nut, fretboard, and bridge to a design that doesn't resemble the original Kamaka makes the uke something else for me. Before I did all those new mods, I would have had a whole new uke made, unless it had sentimental value (in which case why all the mods?).

It is nice looking as new uke, and maybe some of the old uke's mojo stayed with it. This newly created uke could sound better than the original Kamaka.


08-25-2012, 02:53 PM
Agree with what eugene said, and the side dots make me sad.
Not a kamaka to my eyes anymore.

08-25-2012, 03:16 PM
Cut the neck and widened it???!!!! :p Intonation is "almost perfect"?? :p Some luthier. :(

08-25-2012, 03:57 PM
No real luthier is going to screw on the bridge, come on! The slanted saddle is not a good idea with normal tuning, and low G seldom sounds very well with sopranos.