View Full Version : How to order Kamaka Custom, without ordering a Custom

01-11-2009, 12:37 PM
Is this a trick question?

This was fun, just thought I'd share.


01-11-2009, 01:55 PM
very nice!

01-11-2009, 04:48 PM
looks great. can you share some pics when you have it finished? all shinny and purty!

01-11-2009, 06:41 PM

Is it a real kamaka?! (O_o)

(sorry, i'm obsessed with the brand....)

01-11-2009, 06:51 PM
No dont think its a kamaka.

01-11-2009, 07:10 PM
Umm, yes, its a Kamaka, otherwise I wouldn't have inlayed the Kamaka logo. We have enough copyright infringment, with foreign manufacturers stealing designs (like Koaloha's headstock) and running lines of their own, I would not disrespect the Kamaka's (or other builders) in that manner.

Sorry, I probably won't have pics of it finished - I'm not the one doing the restoration. As far as I can take it, its done from my hands. But, if I do get a pic, I'll surely post it.

MGM already emailed me with some ideas. Not so sure if I want to take that on, though.


01-11-2009, 07:26 PM
I've never seen a kamaka with a design like that.

Kamaka's main attributes would be the wood and the mother-of-pearl inlays

Kaneohe til the end
01-11-2009, 07:32 PM
I've never seen a kamaka with a design like that.

Kamaka's main attributes would be the wood and the mother-of-pearl inlays

im pretty sure Aaron(Kekani) did that inlay. and that's why it says custom.

01-11-2009, 07:35 PM
Thats lovely!

Kamaka's main attributes would be the wood and the mother-of-pearl inlays

Theres plenty of koa ukes with MOP inlays...

01-11-2009, 08:31 PM
Nice job Aaron!

01-11-2009, 09:17 PM
So you sanded an old uke and put the inlay.... in? Or did you get an unfinished one to work on?

To be honest, personally I am not particularly fond of extensive inlays, but they do fascinate me. What images go through your mind when you design them, what "styles" would there be (like for instance, tattoos have tribal, Japanese-style, good old anchor-on-the-arm classic stuff etc.)?
This is a serious question, I mean there must be a body of work/images many layers-in (inlayers? ah, inlay artists perhaps) share as a reference point. If you can tell us something about that, I think that would be cool and informative.

01-11-2009, 10:41 PM
Okay, background check. This is a plain Jane Kamaka Concert - no big deal. Being refurbished as a gift for Grandma. This instrument was cracked along the bookmatch, had the top and back split from the sides, etc etc etc. Basically, it was going in the garbage.

As for the inlay, it was the clients choice. As for the rest of the work, trust me when I say, this refurbish job is going to cost more than, well, lets just say the inlay cost more than most people here are willing to spend on an instrument. In this case, its not about the price, but about the value, which no one but the client will understand.

Ukeninja, I too, was once not too fond of extensive inlay. I just didn't get it. Even after going through Robinson's stuff, I still didn't get it. At the time, Laskin's stuff was TOO way out there for me. Then I got his (Laskin's) book, and I got it. Like the body is a canvas for tatoo, so can the fretboard and headstock be a window into another world. So begins my inlay journey.

I think we all develop styles of our own, and interpret them into the clients vision. If I get to meet the client (when I do work for others), the consultation can sometimes take as long (or longer) than the consult on the instrument itself.

As for reference points, I think I've gravitated into realism, without going into surrealism. Most clients have an idea of what they want, and, so far, most have very little idea of what can be done. Laskin has coined his style narrative, which I now understand, and moving towards.

Unlike instrument building, inlay artistry is not a mainstream craft. Some do, most don't. Guys like Chuck Moore not only builds great instruments, he blends in beautiful inlay themes into his artwork. I've been fortunate to work with other builders on their projects, especially Paul Okami, whom I've had to stretch, and who has stretched me as well.

Again, you really have to appreciate what inlay brings to an instrument. Oftentimes, its just as much, if not more, a spiritual part of the instrument as the instrument itself.

I know there are those here that will not, or cannot, appreciate what some of us do. And that's okay. This is just a small aspect of our wonderful world of `ukulele that I thought I'd share.

I hope this got close to answering your questions.


01-12-2009, 02:28 AM
Thank you for the extensive explanation about the instrument and ponderings upon what moves an inlayer. I am sure it is both a question of taste just as much as learning to see, as is the case with many forms of art.

Perhaps some of my prejudice / dislike towards inlays (none of which is of a hostile nature, by the way) may come from the mother of pearl flashy stuff, and I have little knowledge or overview of the range of possibilities out there. Your info helps a great lot to understand what moves "those who lay in" ;)