View Full Version : Kamaka white label nut and saddle, possible luthier question

10-08-2012, 01:57 AM
I have a 71 Kamaka soprano which has a plastic nut and saddle. I'm thinking of having my luthier switch these out for bone but am curious about what folks think about that. The uke has very good sound albeit somewhat soft and I'd like to improve the sound. My gut tells me that plastic from that era can't be as good as bone but I'm no expert. I'm a player rather than a collector, so "altering" a vintage instrument is not an issue for me as long as I can substantively improve it's playability. It does look like the saddle is glued in. Any thoughts?

mm stan
10-08-2012, 02:03 AM
Aloha Gary,
Have you tried different strings first?

10-08-2012, 02:19 AM
Aloha Stan, haven't tried that yet -- I guess that it's just the anti-esthetics of plastic that offend me <g>. Some things, like cheap plastic on a good uke, are just *wrong* <g>. g2

mm stan
10-08-2012, 03:57 AM
Aloha Gary,
Changing the saddle and nut to a harder material will brighten up your uke, if that is what you want...you may lose that kamaka sound that kamaka is known for..

10-08-2012, 08:26 AM
It seems odd to me that it is plastic, that era was usually ebony saddle and nut...? And the ebony makes a very classic Kamaka sound to my ears. I'd have no issue replacing both with bone if it was my uke, the sopranos aren't that rare. As Stan noted I think it would make it a little brighter which would be fine. The ebony might make it a little mellower but either would look better than plastic, and I think it would still sound like a Kamaka. ;)

10-08-2012, 09:09 AM
I have a Kamaka from the 90's with a plastic nut and saddle and I talked with my luthier about changing them. Besides some of his opinions about the general build and design of my Kamaka, he felt like changing them would bring minimal results. Also, on mine the saddle is glued into the bridge and there is finish sprayed over all of it.....my luthier felt like it is impossible to get that saddle out without causing some damage and the time and cost involved in getting it out really didn't make it worth the minimal sound improvement.

So, I decided to just keep it as is....and keep brighter strings on mine.

10-08-2012, 10:09 AM
Hi Ryan, my guess is that is the situation with my uke too, but I was curious about what more experienced folks would say. aloha, g