View Full Version : Kamaka, where is the story?

Pleasure Paul
12-13-2012, 03:31 AM
Kamaka, oldest surviving hawaiian maker, well established & liked. I want one, ebay full of used kamakas, achieving good prices. Looking at sopranos I see different body shapes, one part tops & backs, two part tops & backs, one piece vs two piece sides, koa and 'monkeypod' wood, flat & raised fingerboards, square & oblique f/b ends, bone vs wooden nuts and saddles, 'kamaka keiki' vs 'kk' h/s decals, 'kamaka japan' stickers at the back of h/s, 'honolulu hawaii' vs 'made in honolulu hawaii' label print, different white labels, different gold labels, some asymetric bridge placement. But on the web I can't seem to find a comprehensive story about models, specs, and history. I must be short sighted. Does anyone here know a source of more information?
Thanks, Paul
PS got my first Kamaka coming in a day or five! But what it really is? Where it's made? Maybe it's not even Hawaiian but Japanese. Perhaps the better for it? Questions.

12-13-2012, 03:48 AM
I think Kamaka keiki is made in Japan. I only saw laminated kamaka keiki uke so far. They may be solid kamaka keiki uke but I don't know.

12-13-2012, 03:53 AM
From Kamaka's site:

"From 1963 to 1970, to compete against unscrupulous ukulele manufacturers who tried to sell fake "Kamaka" ukuleles in Japan, Kamaka & Sons Enterprises collaborated with Tokyo Stringed Manufacturing Co., Ltd. to produce ukuleles for sale in Japan. Called "Keiki Kamaka," the ukuleles were made of mahogany, and were only available in the standard (soprano) size. "Keiki" means "child" in Hawaiian, a fitting name for the lowest-priced, beginner's model."

Here's a UU'er blog site with lots of info on Kamaka such as labels, headstock decals etc


12-13-2012, 03:59 AM
Although I didn't start this thread, I still say, "Thanks Trinimon". That link you gave was really informative.

12-13-2012, 04:18 AM
Here is link to their site. They have a section on their history.


Pleasure Paul
12-13-2012, 05:23 AM

That's a start.
Labels are obviously an important source of information about an instrument. Let's try to find out about the often mentioned "white" and "gold" labels. On eBay, I have seen white labels with a bottom line stating "Honolulu Hawaii", while other white labels state "made in Honolulu Hawaii". Could it be that the first one indicates a Japan made instrument?

Pleasure Paul
12-13-2012, 05:24 AM
I think Kamaka keiki is made in Japan. I only saw laminated kamaka keiki uke so far. They may be solid kamaka keiki uke but I don't know.

who has seen a solid kamaka keiki?

12-13-2012, 05:35 AM
Contact mm stan. He is a member here at UU and knows tons about Kamaka Ukuleles. Stan resides in Honolulu.

12-13-2012, 05:37 AM
There is great information here, site run by a UU member!

Pleasure Paul
12-13-2012, 11:50 PM
Thank you, I'll check it out.