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FrankB
04-25-2014, 08:09 AM
I have to start by saying my heart sank, and my stomach churned when I strummed this ukulele. The strings are awful, and I didn't have time to change right away. I just came back, and slapped on some Oasis strings, and.... Voila! What are they thinking by using those lifeless cables? Anyway....

Construction is flawless, and the slightly thuddy note is F. I can easily live with that, and that's right where it was on the Koaloha. Volume is about equal to the Martin, although I'll have to wait and compare. Tone is much better than the Martin, however, with more balance and warmth. Petey Houdini said the Martin C1K was like a loud soprano, and that's about right. My wife's Martin does have more warmth than the others I've tried. Fretwork is very nice, and the narrow neck is nice to play. The string slot design needs to go back to the drawing board. There's no way I'm putting beads on a brand new $1,100+ ukulele, and tied large enough knots to keep them in place. I'd love to know what they have in mind, however.

The case is very nice, and the ukulele fits in there just snug enough. Very nice quality protection.

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janeray1940
04-25-2014, 08:41 AM
Happy new uke day! And yeah, those black strings - I wonder what the reasoning behind them is. Somebody, somewhere must like them, and I'd really like to know why.

I hate the way beads look on strings so I've got the Kamaka/thin fluorocarbon strings thing down to a science: with Martin M600s, here are the number of loops I tie in each knot:

G string (reentrant) - 5 loops
C string - just one
E string - 3 loops
A string - 8, yes, 8 loops, or the darned thing will pop out and get you in the eye as you tighten it.

Once the strings are tightened, the knots pretty much disappear into the slots so there is no evidence of how messy this really is :)

vanflynn
04-25-2014, 08:43 AM
Ooooh - Congrats on one sweet uke.

It's puzzling why Kamaka goes with those stock strings. Oasis is a great choice. Living Waters are good too. BTW the knot that Mya-Moe shows at the bottom of this webpage http://www.myamoeukuleles.com/restringing.html works good for the G & A strings.

Hope you have the weekend free to play it!

Enjoy

FrankB
04-25-2014, 08:52 AM
Ooooh - Congrats on one sweet uke.

It's puzzling why Kamaka goes with those stock strings. Oasis is a great choice. Living Waters are good too. BTW the knot that Mya-Moe shows at the bottom of this webpage http://www.myamoeukuleles.com/restringing.html works good for the G & A strings.

Hope you have the weekend free to play it!

Enjoy

Nice Knot! I'll have to whip the A string off, and get the stopper knot on. It's scaring the heck out of my.
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Skinny Money McGee
04-25-2014, 08:56 AM
They have been using string slots for 100 years. So has Martin. Small craft beads work great if your too lazy like Me to tie proper knots. You can buy a couple thousand of them for a buck at the dollar store.

Congrats on the HF-2. I just recently started using Oasis bright low g in my HF-2. They do sound good

janeray1940
04-25-2014, 09:03 AM
BTW the knot that Mya-Moe shows at the bottom of this webpage http://www.myamoeukuleles.com/restringing.html works good for the G & A strings.


Thanks for the link, bookmarked for the next time I change strings and will give it a try, it certainly looks a lot nicer than the messy knots that work for me.


Wow! That's a lot of loops! The Oasis strings are thicker than the M600s, so I only needed two or there knots. There is a really cool knot that looks like a noose, but I didn't have time to tie one. The strings are settling in, and it's sounding nice. It sounds a lot like my Koaloha, but with a bit more separation between the strings. Is it worth $1,100? Well.... It's one of those diminishing returns things, but I have to stop bleeding money on returned ukes. I've spent quite a bit doing that over the past couple of months, and "free shipping" is only if you keep it. Otherwise, they toss in full shipping and handling.

I forgot to mention intonation. With Kamaka Kables, intonation was terrible. With Oasis, it's dead on.

Oh right, when I put the Oasis on my HP-1 I didn't have to go quite so crazy with the knots, it was trial and error. And I think I only got poked in the eye once :)

"Kamaka Kables" is kracking me up!


Small craft beads work great if your too lazy like Me to tie proper knots. You can buy a couple thousand of them for a buck at the dollar store.


I am indeed too lazy to tie proper knots - do the craft beads show, or do they hide themselves nicely in the slots? I hadn't even thought of that, when I hear "beads" I think of those cylindrical ones that some people like to use which are just not appealing to me - it's like added bling or something, just not my style.

OldePhart
04-25-2014, 01:31 PM
Congratulations. I've not owned a Kamaka but the general consensus from everyone is that the stock strings stink to the heavens. People have been saying that for the four years I've been hanging out in uke circles...you would think Kamaka would listen. You have to wonder how many Kamaka ukes haven't sold off the walls of uke stores because people compared them to another nice brand which sounded much better because of a better string choice. Just sayin', Kamaka? Is there anybody out there?

Anyway, enjoy your new baby. There are a couple of different ways to get large knots. You'll settle on something and then it will seem like no big deal. I haven't had a string pull through a slotted bridge since my second or third string change.

John

FrankB
04-25-2014, 01:59 PM
Hi John,
The string thing is a real puzzler! You can hear the crummy strings on the PBS show "Heart Strings", but I wasn't expecting them to sound as bad as they do in person. You can actually hold the C string at one end, and it will stay horizontal like uncooked spaghetti! The others aren't far behind.

It's funny how some shops change out strings to keep guitars sounding their best, but Kamaka...????

hmgberg
04-25-2014, 02:01 PM
At best, the strings are an acquired taste. I really think the ukuleles are fantastic. My Hf2 still gets a lot of action. It is just so nice to play. Congratulations on yours.

Skinny Money McGee
04-25-2014, 02:12 PM
I am indeed too lazy to tie proper knots - do the craft beads show, or do they hide themselves nicely in the slots? I hadn't even thought of that, when I hear "beads" I think of those cylindrical ones that some people like to use which are just not appealing to me - it's like added bling or something, just not my style.

I use these small beads that hide themselves pretty well in the slots.

As Frank says, the Oasis strings are a little thicker than the Martin or the Worth CM's (I was using). I only used a bead for the A string with Oasis

janeray1940
04-25-2014, 02:19 PM
I use these small beads that hide themselves pretty well in the slots.

As Frank says, the Oasis strings are a little thicker than the Martin or the Worth CM's (I was using). I only used a bead for the A string with Oasis

Thanks for the photos! I'll give that a try, this seems more my speed than learning to tie a fancy knot.

Skinny Money McGee
04-25-2014, 02:46 PM
Thanks for the photos! I'll give that a try, this seems more my speed than learning to tie a fancy knot.

If you can't find them, PM me your mailing address, and I'll mail you a few hundred !

FrankB
04-25-2014, 02:56 PM
Beads: I had a VERY expensive flamenco guitar, but its break angle was shallow when the strings were tied around the tieblock. I used beads meant for tying fly fishing flies, and that improved the break angle. You can buy them from a fly shop, or Orvis. The advantage they offer is the knot gets buried in the hollow side shown in the pic below.
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@hmgberg, I've been wondering if there is a traditional Hawaiian sound that Kamaka might be aiming for, or if they're just going off on their own with these strings. The Koaloha's tone was close to the Kamaka, and those are the only Hawaiian ukuleles I've played. The Martin C1K has a much greater resonance than the Hawaiian ukes mentioned, and I'm not sure that's something that the K ukuleles have or want.