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janeray1940
06-24-2014, 07:53 AM
Fretie's Kamaka Love (http://forum.ukuleleunderground.com/showthread.php?97934-Kamaka-Love) thread got me to thinking about this, but I didn't want to hijack fretie's post by going off on a tangent, so I decided to start my own in which I ask:


Why Kamaka? What led you to first pick Kamaka over any other brand, and what is it that keeps you loyal? And why not another K-brand?

Me: another student in my very first Beginning Uke class had a vintage Kamaka soprano, and I fell in love with the sound. At the time I thought I wanted nothing but a 1920s Martin, but the minute I heard the Kamaka I changed my mind. Then my teacher let me play his non-vintage Kamaka tenor, and from that moment there was no looking back - I knew what I wanted. Okay, and maybe the George Harrison thing might have had a little to do with it. A little :)

As for why not another K-brand - the Kanile'a neck feels too chunky, and I always find the sound to be too mellow for my tastes, so that ruled them out. And while I love the Koaloha sound (and did own a Koaloha at one time), I don't like the feel of the fretboard (not sure what material they use, koa I think?, but I prefer rosewood or ebony). And I don't care for the overall look; per a documentary I watched the design elements have some religious symbolism that I'm not comfortable with.

Anyone else have thoughts on this? Looking forward to hearing what others have to say.

hawaii 50
06-24-2014, 07:58 AM
If you are a Ukulele fan...everyone needs one Kamaka..if it wasn't for them where would we be now...I got this from Chuck Moore... :)

I am happy with my HF3S...but you never know maybe I will order a 100th anniversary model...if I can save enough money, in 2 years

janeray1940
06-24-2014, 07:59 AM
If you are a Ukulele fan...everyone needs one Kamaka..if it wasn't for them where would we be now...I got this from Chuck Moore... :)

I am happy with my HF3S...but you never know maybe I will order a 100th anniversary model...if I can save enough money, in 2 years

Oh, gosh, now I have to worry about being tempted by an anniversary model :)

hawaii 50
06-24-2014, 08:02 AM
Oh, gosh, now I have to worry about being tempted by an anniversary model :)

they keep saying they not sure if they will do one...haha
might be a lottery for them..and more expensive than the Jake models....good luck

janeray1940
06-24-2014, 08:03 AM
and more expensive than the Jake models....good luck

LOL then that automatically counts me out.

Skinny Money McGee
06-24-2014, 08:08 AM
Personally, I like the feel (fits my hands right), the sound, the unfilled wood grain finish, the simplicity, the history, and the people at the shop. To me, they have soul like no other.

janeray1940
06-24-2014, 08:10 AM
Personally, I like the feel (fits my hands right), the sound, the unfilled wood grain finish, the simplicity, the history, and the people at the shop. To me, they have soul like no other.

Well said, and I would second all of that in addition to everything I wrote above.

iamesperambient
06-24-2014, 08:11 AM
Fretie's Kamaka Love (http://forum.ukuleleunderground.com/showthread.php?97934-Kamaka-Love) thread got me to thinking about this, but I didn't want to hijack fretie's post by going off on a tangent, so I decided to start my own in which I ask:


Why Kamaka? What led you to first pick Kamaka over any other brand, and what is it that keeps you loyal? And why not another K-brand?

Me: another student in my very first Beginning Uke class had a vintage Kamaka soprano, and I fell in love with the sound. At the time I thought I wanted nothing but a 1920s Martin, but the minute I heard the Kamaka I changed my mind. Then my teacher let me play his non-vintage Kamaka tenor, and from that moment there was no looking back - I knew what I wanted. Okay, and maybe the George Harrison thing might have had a little to do with it. A little :)

As for why not another K-brand - the Kanile'a neck feels too chunky, and I always find the sound to be too mellow for my tastes, so that ruled them out. And while I love the Koaloha sound (and did own a Koaloha at one time), I don't like the feel of the fretboard (not sure what material they use, koa I think?, but I prefer rosewood or ebony). And I don't care for the overall look; per a documentary I watched the design elements have some religious symbolism that I'm not comfortable with.

Anyone else have thoughts on this? Looking forward to hearing what others have to say.


to me kamaka is the oldest living uke maker
it's part of the instruments history and their straight
up the most beautiful ukes I've seen and the sound
well it's amazing if I
had kamaka ukes I would be 100% satisfied
and would probably never need to buy another uke again

janeray1940
06-24-2014, 08:15 AM
to me kamaka is the oldest living uke maker
it's part of the instruments history and their straight
up the most beautiful ukes I've seen and the sound
well it's amazing if I
had kamaka ukes I would be 100% satisfied
and would probably never need to buy another uke again

I really hope you find the Kamaka of your dreams one day! Have you ever actually had the chance to play one?

iamesperambient
06-24-2014, 08:18 AM
I really hope you find the Kamaka of your dreams one day! Have you ever actually had the chance to play one?

I played a kamaka soprano once
in a New York music shop after that
I knew it was the best sounding and looking
uke for me. if I could find a used one hopefully
tenor that's affordable well more so than new
I'll start saving up!

janeray1940
06-24-2014, 08:20 AM
I played a kamaka soprano once
in a New York music shop after that
I knew it was the best sounding and looking
uke for me. if I could find a used one hopefully
tenor that's affordable well more so than new
I'll start saving up!

You'll find one, I'm sure - they come up for sale on the Marketplace from time to time (but they always sell really fast!).

fretie
06-24-2014, 08:25 AM
Janeray, I'm glad you started this thread. I am looking forward to reading people's Kamaka stories. :)

I wish I could say that my love affair with my Kamaka soprano was based on a case of careful consideration and research but in reality I kind of came to my Kamaka by happenstance.

I already had a Koaloha which I quite liked. Being a long neck pineapple it had a comfortable fretboard for me and a big sound which because of playing in a lot of uke meetups I thought I wanted in a uke.

Then there was my tenor which I liked for its low G mellow sound and often used to practice slack key pieces while at home.

I had bought and sold a few less expensive ukes while searching for a 'take around town, play in the park' kind of uke. Nothing fancy but a decent sound. So I had this slightly hair brained idea that since I often see used/older Kamakas for sale, maybe I'd try snag one of those for my knock about uke. Yeah I know, that's maybe a bit cheeky to even think of a good uke as a know around instrument but hey...sometimes hairbrained happens. :p

Anyways, I soon discovered that looking for a used Kamaka, especially an older model, can lead one down the path to vintage. Well I am too practical to be a vintage fan so the search turned to newer used. Enter my current Kamaka.

And what happened when I started playing this uke - I felt I had found my mate in a uke!

The neck just fit my hand perfectly. First choosing a soprano for its portability I realized after having played the larger ukes for a few years that maybe, in fact, the soprano was actually my best fit. The instrument was obviously well crafted but had a pleasant understated look. Well if magic koa wood that constantly looks different as the light changes can be said to be understated! LOL ;)

There's such a tradition to the Kamaka ukes and then there's Jake. So, I started to think maybe I had just a little of that mojo in my hands when I played the Kamaka.

In a nutshell, I love my Kamaka because we were made for each other and it's simple, good looking, sweet sounding has a great family history.

cletus
06-24-2014, 08:25 AM
... And while I love the Koaloha sound (and did own a Koaloha at one time), I don't like the feel of the fretboard (not sure what material they use, koa I think?, but I prefer rosewood or ebony). And I don't care for the overall look; per a documentary I watched the design elements have some religious symbolism that I'm not comfortable with...

Very interesting information. Thanks!

janeray1940
06-24-2014, 08:35 AM
I had this slightly hair brained idea that since I often see used/older Kamakas for sale, maybe I'd try snag one of those for my knock about uke. Yeah I know, that's maybe a bit cheeky to even think of a good uke as a knock around instrument but hey...sometimes hairbrained happens. :p

Maybe knock-around isn't quite the word for it, but - I do bring my little Kamaka pineapple to the beach and to the park. After all, ukes were meant to be played! :)


In a nutshell, I love my Kamaka because we were made for each other and it's simple, good looking, sweet sounding has a great family history.

Yes, yes, yes. Love the "we were made for each other" bit! Makes me smile to think how happy you must be getting to know your new uke.

iamesperambient
06-24-2014, 08:37 AM
You'll find one, I'm sure - they come up for sale on the Marketplace from time to time (but they always sell really fast!).

I'll start saving so when one pops
up I can grab it!

janeray1940
06-24-2014, 08:37 AM
Very interesting information. Thanks!

Sure. And I think this (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rBNF2rZ2Gm8) might be the doc I was referring to.

Moore Bettah Ukuleles
06-24-2014, 08:40 AM
Kamaka has kept ukulele alive for almost 100 years. While makers like Martin followed the trends and road the waves of ukulele popularity, Kamaka has produced ukuleles every year since their inception. By building only ukuleles they've stayed true to their roots. And they've kept it all within the family for several generations. I think that's pretty remarkable. I really do wonder where we'd all be if Kamaka had thrown in the towel during difficult financial times. In Hawaii they are also extremely generous to the schools. On top of that they make a darned good ukulele. BTW, did you know that in Japan, Tahiti and many other parts of the world that the word "kamaka" is generic for all ukuleles? No other builder has that distinction. I give major kudos to Kamaka. FWIW.

janeray1940
06-24-2014, 08:46 AM
By building only ukuleles they've stayed true to their roots. And they've kept it all within the family for several generations. I think that's pretty remarkable. I really do wonder where we'd all be if Kamaka had thrown in the towel during difficult financial times. In Hawaii they are also extremely generous to the schools. On top of that they make a darned good ukulele.

An all around great company, I'd say. And the fact that ukuleles are all they do probably counts for something (this would apply to the other ukulele-only companies as well, most likely, although they don't have the longevity yet).


BTW, did you know that in Japan, Tahiti and many other parts of the world that the word "kamaka" is generic for all ukuleles? No other builder has that distinction. I give major kudos to Kamaka. FWIW.

Never heard it as generic in Japan, but I do know that the brand is incredibly popular there. Japan has a Kamaka Ukulele Club (http://www.kamakaukulelejp.com/) (with a great site that has lots of good info, for those who can read Japanese - and some great pics, for those who can't).

Cornfield
06-24-2014, 08:55 AM
I have called the Kamaka shop on a few occasions, spoken with a few of their people including Chris Kamaka and always found them to be friendly and informative. The 2012 Kamaka Tenor I have and the white label baritone and 8 string feel right at home in my hands.

Ukulele Eddie
06-24-2014, 09:19 AM
I understand that they've also been extremely generous with supporting ukulele artists (though the generosity towards schools impresses me more).

wickedwahine11
06-24-2014, 09:25 AM
I rarely play my Kamaka any more, but I don't think I ever could ever bring myself to sell it. There is something to be said for a company that has done one thing, and done it well, for almost 100 years.

janeray1940
06-24-2014, 09:27 AM
I rarely play my Kamaka any more, but I don't think I ever could ever bring myself to sell it. There is something to be said for a company that has done one thing, and done it well, for almost 100 years.

Indeed. Just curious, Staci - which one do you consider your main player now?

wickedwahine11
06-24-2014, 09:50 AM
Indeed. Just curious, Staci - which one do you consider your main player now?

Hmm, I would have to say my KoAloha (for now)...though that will probably change when I get my next uke. ;) Still, the Kamaka is valuable to me and will probably always be a permanent part of my collection.

Dane
06-24-2014, 10:01 AM
I played a few kamakas at NAMM once. They were beautiful, we'll crafted, but the sound just didn't feel right for me personally. I can't really explain it better than that, it just didn't click. But I've heard others play them beautifully, it's just not for me I suppose.

chuck in ny
06-24-2014, 10:04 AM
the other Ks bring something to the table and it shows in the way they play. kamaka,, fits me, fits my sound concept, and most importantly there is deep affinity. it's hard to verbalize spiritual matters. their love, care, humanity, skill, humility, emanate from their instruments. they are built with understated elegance.
i am driving my grandson to the airport tomorrow and my vintage kamaka soprano will be going with him. gifting your instrument is the kamaka spirit. naturally it will be replaced.

janeray1940
06-24-2014, 10:05 AM
I played a few kamakas at NAMM once. They were beautiful, we'll crafted, but the sound just didn't feel right for me personally. I can't really explain it better than that, it just didn't click. But I've heard others play them beautifully, it's just not for me I suppose.

If it was the sound, I'm going to blame the awful black nylon strings that Kamaka insists on using as stock! I don't know a single player who likes them, most change them to fluorocarbons which to me seems to really bring out the great sound quality. But at the same time, it makes sense that a particular make just isn't for you - kind of like me with Kanile'a. Beautiful ukes and sounds like a great company, but I doubt that I'll ever be tempted by one.

janeray1940
06-24-2014, 10:07 AM
the other Ks bring something to the table and it shows in the way they play. kamaka,, fits me, fits my sound concept, and most importantly there is deep affinity. it's hard to verbalize spiritual matters. their love, care, humanity, skill, humility, emanate from their instruments. they are built with understated elegance.
i am driving my grandson to the airport tomorrow and my vintage kamaka soprano will be going with him. gifting your instrument is the kamaka spirit. naturally it will be replaced.

It is hard to verbalize - in part, that was why I started this thread. When people ask me what I love about them, I have a hard time finding the words myself.

And your grandson is very lucky - I'm sure he'll love that uke!

janeray1940
06-24-2014, 10:07 AM
though that will probably change when I get my next uke. ;)

Oh yes :) :) :)

pinkuke
06-24-2014, 10:09 AM
My Kamaka Ohta san is connected to my soul…
And I did not know how special it would be when I bought it.
From the first time I played it, I could tell that it was special.
The sound, the size, the beautiful wood and rope inlay style.

My UAS is cured! Or it's at least in remission… :)

janeray1940
06-24-2014, 10:14 AM
And I did not know how special it would be when I bought it.

I feel the same about my Ohta-San. I'd been wanting one for years just because I think it's a really unique instrument, but I had no idea how much I would love it.

vanflynn
06-24-2014, 10:29 AM
I have a kamaka because there wasn't a lot of choices in ukes on Oahu in the late 1960's and my mom liked the cute tiki on it.
Lucky me!

I have since had to send it back for repairs and I really got a feeling of family pride with everyone I was in contact with. I guess you learn a few things after 100 years of highs and lows.

janeray1940
06-24-2014, 10:32 AM
I have a kamaka because there wasn't a lot of choices in ukes on Oahu in the late 1960's and my mom liked the cute tiki on it.
Lucky me!

I have since had to send it back for repairs and I really got a feeling of family pride with everyone I was in contact with. I guess you learn a few things after 100 years of highs and lows.

Lucky you for sure! I love those Tiki ones. Haven't had to send anything back for repairs yet but have called for several reasons and been to the factory, and I got the same feeling.

hmgberg
06-24-2014, 10:47 AM
My third ukulele purchase, after two Kalas, was a Kamaka concert. I bought it used from a seller on FMM. I still love everything about it. It's certainly one of the most, if not the most playable uke I own. As others have noted, it just feels right, sturdy, but not heavy, great neck and fingerboard. It looks beautiful. I think the design is elegant. Other ukuleles are more ornate, but there is something to be said for the right shapes and proportions. Above all else, it's the sound that keeps me coming back to it, even though I have a shameful number of wonderful ukes to play. I've described it as "versatile" in other threads. What I mean, briefly, is that it can be played expressively. As a player, I find I can pull a variety of quality sounds out of the Kamaka. It has a quintessentially old-school, Hawaiian sound overall, and that contributes to the romance. I won't say anything disparaging about other K brands. Indeed, I have a few and am smitten with them as well. But when I want to get lost in playing, be transported to someplace balmy, the Kamaka is the ticket.

janeray1940
06-24-2014, 10:53 AM
My third ukulele purchase, after two Kalas, was a Kamaka concert. I bought it used from a seller on FMM. I still love everything about it. It's certainly one of the most, if not the most playable uke I own. As others have noted, it just feels right, sturdy, but not heavy, great neck and fingerboard. It looks beautiful. I think the design is elegant. Other ukuleles are more ornate, but there is something to be said for the right shapes and proportions. Above all else, it's the sound that keeps me coming back to it, even though I have a shameful number of wonderful ukes to play. I've described it as "versatile" in other threads. What I mean, briefly, is that it can be played expressively. As a player, I find I can pull a variety of quality sounds out of the Kamaka. It has a quintessentially old-school, Hawaiian sound overall, and that contributes to the romance. I won't say anything disparaging about other K brands. Indeed, I have a few and am smitten with them as well. But when I want to get lost in playing, be transported to someplace balmy, the Kamaka is the ticket.

I don't mean to say anything disparaging toward other brands either - I hope nothing I wrote was taken that way. All I'm trying to express is why they don't seem to be as good of a fit for me.

As for Kamaka, I agree regarding the versatility. I don't play any single particular style of music and am usually all over the place, classical to standards to latin (oddly enough, very little Hawaiian or even hapa haole!), and it sounds right for just about everything. I see frequent posts about UAS where people note that they need different ukes - tone woods, brands, sizes, what have you - for different songs, and I just don't find that to be the case. Whether that's a reflection of the Kamaka's versatility, or of my not-so-great ear, I'm not sure, but I like to think the former.

marcocolo
06-24-2014, 11:51 AM
My third ukulele purchase, after two Kalas, was a Kamaka concert. I bought it used from a seller on FMM. I still love everything about it. It's certainly one of the most, if not the most playable uke I own. As others have noted, it just feels right, sturdy, but not heavy, great neck and fingerboard. It looks beautiful. I think the design is elegant. Other ukuleles are more ornate, but there is something to be said for the right shapes and proportions. Above all else, it's the sound that keeps me coming back to it, even though I have a shameful number of wonderful ukes to play. I've described it as "versatile" in other threads. What I mean, briefly, is that it can be played expressively. As a player, I find I can pull a variety of quality sounds out of the Kamaka. It has a quintessentially old-school, Hawaiian sound overall, and that contributes to the romance. I won't say anything disparaging about other K brands. Indeed, I have a few and am smitten with them as well. But when I want to get lost in playing, be transported to someplace balmy, the Kamaka is the ticket.
I just got a killer deal on a pristine "04 concert (which I instantly changed out the tuners to the Gotohs) and already I have the exact feeling you express. This thing embodies that "old-school" goodness.

Ukejenny
06-24-2014, 11:58 AM
Oh, gosh, now I have to worry about being tempted by an anniversary model :)

I'm totally ready to be tempted by an anniversary model. Right now, I'm planning to get a Blackbird Clara. After that, my only other purchase would be to find a concert Kamaka somehow, somewhere. I sure would like an extra purdy one.

hmgberg
06-24-2014, 11:59 AM
I don't mean to say anything disparaging toward other brands either - I hope nothing I wrote was taken that way. All I'm trying to express is why they don't seem to be as good of a fit for me.

As for Kamaka, I agree regarding the versatility. I don't play any single particular style of music and am usually all over the place, classical to standards to latin (oddly enough, very little Hawaiian or even hapa haole!), and it sounds right for just about everything. I see frequent posts about UAS where people note that they need different ukes - tone woods, brands, sizes, what have you - for different songs, and I just don't find that to be the case. Whether that's a reflection of the Kamaka's versatility, or of my not-so-great ear, I'm not sure, but I like to think the former.

I didn't mean to imply that you were disparaging to other ukes. It's just that so often these threads turn into comparisons, battles of the K's. I wanted to preempt that kind of thing. It's nice, more positive, to have a thread extolling the virtues of a particular ukulele brand or maker. Maybe I'll start one, yet another one, about how much I dig Martin sopranos.

hmgberg
06-24-2014, 12:01 PM
I just got a killer deal on a pristine "04 concert (which I instantly changed out the tuners to the Gotohs) and already I have the exact feeling you express. This thing embodies that "old-school" goodness.


Congratulations!! That feeling never goes away.

Ukejenny
06-24-2014, 12:03 PM
I rarely play my Kamaka any more, but I don't think I ever could ever bring myself to sell it. There is something to be said for a company that has done one thing, and done it well, for almost 100 years.

Amen to that, and they've done it incredibly well.

Ukejungle
06-24-2014, 12:06 PM
You know after playing for about 8 months - I embarked on getting a Kamaka - Found one here on UU used (6 years old) - it's a Tenor HF-3 I think - the neck is great, the play-ability is wonderful, the sound is good but disappointed in it's lack of volume. Took it to a uke meetup recently and I couldn't hear it over the other 8 fleas. My Gretsch 9121 Tenor is much louder. Maybe it's just a lemon. It looks good just not much volume.

Tim Mullins
06-24-2014, 12:15 PM
My parents brought home a Kamaka Pineapple in the late fifties or early sixties that was the first ukulele I ever saw. The first one I bought for myself was a Kamaka soprano from a pawn shop in Hilo. Since then I've owned several others including the Concert I gave my daughter when she went off to college. So there is a feeling of history and tradition in our family for them. My latest Kamaka is a Long-Neck Concert with the Gotoh tuners. I've had it for over a year and it is still my favorite player! So for me, Kamaka has a bit of everything I like.

guitharsis
06-24-2014, 12:33 PM
Love my Ohta Sans too. They're special - the body shape, the beautiful looks, the amazing sound. . . .

Will probably get a 2016 Kamaka whether it's an "anniversary model" or not.:)

Ukulele Eddie
06-24-2014, 12:43 PM
Thanks for posting that, Eugene. I really enjoyed it. Had not heard that Mr. Kamaka apprenticed with Manuel Nunez. Pretty cool!

UkeKnowDamnRight
06-24-2014, 12:50 PM
Fretie's Kamaka Love (http://forum.ukuleleunderground.com/showthread.php?97934-Kamaka-Love) thread got me to thinking about this, but I didn't want to hijack fretie's post by going off on a tangent, so I decided to start my own in which I ask:


Why Kamaka? What led you to first pick Kamaka over any other brand, and what is it that keeps you loyal? And why not another K-brand?

As for why not another K-brand - the Kanile'a neck feels too chunky

I'm a newish uker and have never played any of the K brands, but this confused me--based on what I've read here, I thought Kanile'as had the slimmest necks. Can someone enlighten me?

Thanks!

niwenomian
06-24-2014, 12:50 PM
I didn't choose Kamaka based on sound, but because I wanted a playable souvenir from a trip to the islands. I did some research and learned about the families history. That sold me on the brand. I found a dealer, Hilo Guitars, and spent a while (my wife claims it was 4 hours) playing all of the sopranos they had in stock. One stood out that day, and ended up coming back to California with me.

I plaid it daily for a while, but found it lacking when played against other instruments, and I couldn't hear it at all in a uke group. I do love the sound, but it's lack of volume and difficulty to chord up the neck mean that my KoAloha concert is the daily player. I would love to explore the Kamaka line at some point, what I've hear of the Ohta-san make it intriguing to me.

Nick

tbeltrans
06-24-2014, 12:56 PM
So with all these Kamaka owners here, I thought maybe this is the place to ask A Kamaka question. I just recently bought my second ukulele, a Kamaka Ohta-San (the one they say is "bell shaped"). It has a tenor length neck. Anyway, one of the things I liked about it was that it was factory (builder?) strung with low G strings, which is exactly what I wanted since my Ko'olau tenor came with high G strings on it.

My question is this: Do Kamakas (or at least the Ohta-San) typically come with low G tuning? If it comes with this set of strings, is the ukulele possibly voiced a bit differently for low G or does that matter in a ukulele? I know there are guitars that sound better in DADGAD or at least tuned a half step lower than normal tuning.

My goal was to have one ukulele in standard re-entrant high G tuning and one in low G tuning. The Ohta-San sounds really balanced with low G and have not tried anything else on it. So I don't have any issues, I am just curious.

Thanks,

Tony

janeray1940
06-24-2014, 01:29 PM
I didn't mean to imply that you were disparaging to other ukes. It's just that so often these threads turn into comparisons, battles of the K's. I wanted to preempt that kind of thing. It's nice, more positive, to have a thread extolling the virtues of a particular ukulele brand or maker. Maybe I'll start one, yet another one, about how much I dig Martin sopranos.

I didn't think that was what you were implying - but I wanted to set the record straight since it made me think that my words *could* be interpreted that way. The intent here was definitely to extol the virtues, not to put down :)

And you should start a thread singing the praises of the Martin. Although I'm a bit worried that it might reignite my UAS... every vintage Martin I've encountered has sounded fantastic and played beautifully.

janeray1940
06-24-2014, 01:31 PM
It looks good just not much volume.

Just wondering if you've tried changing the strings? I've found it to make a difference, volume-wise. Martin M620 tenor strings might be a good starting place.

janeray1940
06-24-2014, 01:34 PM
I'm a newish uker and have never played any of the K brands, but this confused me--based on what I've read here, I thought Kanile'as had the slimmest necks. Can someone enlighten me?

Thanks!

I haven't played a newer Kanile'a, but several years ago, I had three sopranos - a borrowed Kanile'a, a Kamaka, and a Koaloha - to compare side by side. I measured the necks of each, with a tape measure wrapped around the first fret. I no longer have the exact measurements but the Kanile'a was significantly chunkier - maybe by as much as 1/4"? The Koaloha was slimmest, and the Kamaka was close to the Koaloha.

UkeKnowDamnRight
06-24-2014, 01:37 PM
Huh, interesting. Thanks, janeray1940.

janeray1940
06-24-2014, 01:38 PM
My question is this: Do Kamakas (or at least the Ohta-San) typically come with low G tuning? If it comes with this set of strings, is the ukulele possibly voiced a bit differently for low G or does that matter in a ukulele? I know there are guitars that sound better in DADGAD or at least tuned a half step lower than normal tuning.

My goal was to have one ukulele in standard re-entrant high G tuning and one in low G tuning. The Ohta-San sounds really balanced with low G and have not tried anything else on it. So I don't have any issues, I am just curious.


The Ohta-San was designed for low G tuning. The other Kamakas generally come reentrant, but I've played both concerts and tenors with low G and they sounded great. (Soprano, not so much, but I'm not a fan of low G on sopranos in general.) And last week I played an Ohta-San with reentrant strings, and it sounded great - I haven't tried it on mine yet but am looking forward to it.

Right now, my setup is this: the Ohta-San for low G, the HF-2 concert for reentrant or low G depending on needs, and the HP-1 pineapple reentrant only. If I were to choose only two, the Ohta-San and the HF-2 would do it for me.

peanuts56
06-24-2014, 01:48 PM
I ordered a tenor last summer while visiting my wife's family on Oahu. The build took about six weeks plus the time it took to ship it to Conn. They were the longest six weeks of my life. I got the delivery date from UPS and sat by the door waiting. I was like a little kid waiting for Santa Claus. It finally arrived around 6:30pm on a miserable rainy night. The delivery guy asked me what was in the package. When I told him he smiled and told he also played ukulele. It was the most beautiful instrument I have ever seen and heard. Playing a Kamaka is like going out with the most beautiful girl in the world.
Kamaka is Hawaii!!! The people in the shop were great, my thanks to Yukari Nichols. She was the person I dealt with when placing the order. She remembered my wife and asked me how she was when she called to tell me it was on the way. A class operation fro top to bottom.

tbeltrans
06-24-2014, 02:00 PM
The Ohta-San was designed for low G tuning. The other Kamakas generally come reentrant, but I've played both concerts and tenors with low G and they sounded great. (Soprano, not so much, but I'm not a fan of low G on sopranos in general.) And last week I played an Ohta-San with reentrant strings, and it sounded great - I haven't tried it on mine yet but am looking forward to it.

Right now, my setup is this: the Ohta-San for low G, the HF-2 concert for reentrant or low G depending on needs, and the HP-1 pineapple reentrant only. If I were to choose only two, the Ohta-San and the HF-2 would do it for me.

Thanks janeray. I think the Ohta-San was then the best choice for me to team up with my Ko'olau tenor. My Ohta-San has a tenor neck, so there is no adjustment involving muscle memory for me going from one to the other.

There is something about having two ukuleles that just seems right for me. It will be interesting to see what my collection looks like a few years from now, or more importantly, what I am playing on them.

Tony

CeeJay
06-24-2014, 02:19 PM
The Ohta-San was designed for low G tuning. The other Kamakas generally come reentrant, but I've played both concerts and tenors with low G and they sounded great. (Soprano, not so much, but I'm not a fan of low G on sopranos in general.) And last week I played an Ohta-San with reentrant strings, and it sounded great - I haven't tried it on mine yet but am looking forward to it.

Right now, my setup is this: the Ohta-San for low G, the HF-2 concert for reentrant or low G depending on needs, and the HP-1 pineapple reentrant only. If I were to choose only two, the Ohta-San and the HF-2 would do it for me.

Low G on a soprano is kind of missing the point of the soprano........I believe that this is the original "fun" instrument that gets most if not all of the "toy" guitar jibes . It is also equally the one most likely to be dismissed or pooh poohed (now that's British for yer..) by some of the larger ukulele playing cogniscenti....

Back in the 70's the soprano was THE ukulele ...maybe a concert size here and there and mainly on your side of the pond ...if there was an alternative here in Blighty it would have been a BanjoUke (again Soprano sized neck)..the Soprano is a melodic percussive instrument which in traditional and classic (not classically) mode absolutely demands the re-entrant tuning ...bass Gs (or Low Gs ) are a waste ofspace ....many of you seem to not like the Smeckian ,Formbyian,Ike-ian style of play ,...that's fair enough...just picking up on the comment about low G and making a point that Ukuleles are as dysfunctional a family as the Osbournes .
The sops are the little tearaway tykes ,like Jack Russels..they can do the softer little numbers ...but are best at frenetically tearing it up.......I would not play Smeck or Formby on a Tenor ... in fact I don't have a Tenor, but I do play Django and Russian Folk on an Ohana Mahogany CK10 (cheap ) Concert......I just might quite a posh one like one of the K K K K K Ks.

CJ

tbeltrans
06-24-2014, 02:34 PM
Low G on a soprano is kind of missing the point of the soprano........I believe that this is the original "fun" instrument that gets most if not all of the "toy" guitar jibes . It is also equally the one most likely to be dismissed or pooh poohed (now that's British for yer..) by some of the larger ukulele playing cogniscenti....

Back in the 70's the soprano was THE ukulele ...maybe a concert size here and there and mainly on your side of the pond ...if there was an alternative here in Blighty it would have been a BanjoUke (again Soprano sized neck)..the Soprano is a melodic percussive instrument which in traditional and classic (not classically) mode absolutely demands the re-entrant tuning ...bass Gs (or Low Gs ) are a waste ofspace ....many of you seem to not like the Smeckian ,Formbyian,Ike-ian style of play ,...that's fair enough...just picking up on the comment about low G and making a point that Ukuleles are as dysfunctional a family as the Osbournes .
The sops are the little tearaway tykes ,like Jack Russels..they can do the softer little numbers ...but are best at frenetically tearing it up.......I would not play Smeck or Formby on a Tenor ... in fact I don't have a Tenor, but I do play Django and Russian Folk on an Ohana Mahogany CK10 (cheap ) Concert......I just might quite a posh one like one of the K K K K K Ks.

CJ

This comment: just picking up on the comment about low G and making a point that Ukuleles are as dysfunctional a family as the Osbournes

...just gave me an image of Randy Rhoads tearing it up on my Kamaka.
:cool:

Tony

hawaii 50
06-24-2014, 02:40 PM
somebody better tell Ohta San....he has the wrong G string on his Martin Soprano......:)

janeray1940
06-24-2014, 02:44 PM
somebody better tell Ohta San....he has the wrong G string on his Martin Soprano......:)

Yeah right - he's doing it all wrong! :)

I've actually only ever seen him play a Martin concert. Low G, of course.

hawaii 50
06-24-2014, 02:47 PM
Yeah right - he's doing it all wrong! :)

I've actually only ever seen him play a Martin concert. Low G, of course.

if you look close it is a Soprano....the one with the black finish

CeeJay
06-24-2014, 02:49 PM
Yeah right - he's doing it all wrong! :)

I've actually only ever seen him play a Martin concert. Low G, of course.

I'm sorry ...have I somehow missed something ....??

hawaii 50
06-24-2014, 02:51 PM
Hey Janeray...here is a video

he still plays a Kamaka too.. :)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jk9NOT857c8e

janeray1940
06-24-2014, 02:57 PM
if you look close it is a Soprano....the one with the black finish

This one (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=niKU_FDDPGk)! I believe you are correct. Interesting...

hawaii 50
06-24-2014, 03:00 PM
not for sure...but I think he only plays Sopranos....that is why he so amazing....clean clear note speration on a Soprano almost unheard of....

but he indorses many ukulele brands,,,Sonny D was one of them too

janeray1940
06-24-2014, 03:00 PM
Hey Janray...here is a video

he still plays a Kamaka too.. :)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jk9NOT857c8e

I would love to get a copy of that documentary!

hmgberg
06-24-2014, 03:02 PM
Yes, it's definitely a soprano. I always bring up Ohta-San when people debate the low-g-on-a-soprano issue. Of course, he's Ohta-San. We can cut him some "slack."

hawaii 50
06-24-2014, 03:03 PM
I would love to get a copy of that documentary!

it was all music...and interviews with Herb Jr., Roy Sakuma and Pops Ko'Aloha(Okami)...but an hour of Ohta San tearing up.....

send an email to PBS Hawaii...I am sure you can get one...

Ukulele Eddie
06-24-2014, 03:05 PM
I'm sorry ...have I somehow missed something ....??

Advance notice - I'm not trying to insult CeeJay, just having a little fun.

Well, only if you consider insulting one of the world's greatest uke players "missing something." ;-) You see, Ohta San plays low G, including on soprano. And I don't think anybody would ever say his playing "..bass Gs (or Low Gs ) are a waste ofspace ..."

Here he is playing Star Dust on a Martin soprano: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wGEC-Gl4K20

janeray1940
06-24-2014, 03:07 PM
Yes, it's definitely a soprano. I always bring up Ohta-San when people debate the low-g-on-a-soprano issue. Of course, he's Ohta-San. We can cut him some "slack."

I'm starting to think I only imagined it was a concert Martin he played when I saw him - and I'm starting to wonder why I never looked him up on YouTube before! Nearly always that Martin 3M.

janeray1940
06-24-2014, 03:10 PM
send an email to PBS Hawaii...I am sure you can get one...

Done! Here's hoping.

hawaii 50
06-24-2014, 03:20 PM
Done! Here's hoping.

good luck..they are going to charge a lot for it...as this was a pledge kind of thing...
even though there were no pledge breaks for the program

CeeJay
06-24-2014, 03:20 PM
Advance notice - I'm not trying to insult CeeJay, just having a little fun.

Well, only if you consider insulting one of the world's greatest uke players "missing something." ;-) You see, Ohta San plays low G, including on soprano. And I don't think anybody would ever say his playing "..bass Gs (or Low Gs ) are a waste ofspace ..."

Here he is playing Star Dust on a Martin soprano: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wGEC-Gl4K20


Well here's a little advance notice back at you mon brave ...up until five minutes ago I had never heard of Ohta San ... ......so then to get the typical posturing and prurient snide commenting and "oh my Wilbur..." attitude is somewhat of a flaming cheek ....and may I say bloody typical of this site.

How was I insulting this gentleman by expressing the opinion that I do not think that low G on a soprano played in the traditional 70's style ....which was back in my youth the style of Formby , Smeck , Ukulele Ike and similar ....far beneath your cultural bar most certainly..

and yet I am expected to accept the slings and arrows of the rudeness expressed by the comments following my post instead of maybe a gentle shove in the right direction .

I thought that this was a forum for freedom of expressions and a free flowing learning curve...not a snobs symposium .

ksiegel
06-24-2014, 03:22 PM
I love that everyone has great stories about the Kamaka ukuleles, and why they are "The One" for them.

The only Kamakas I've ever played were at 'Ukulele Source in San Jose, CA.

I played every ukulele he had in the building (That I could reach - didn't touch the vintages ukes up top, although I really wanted that Vita-Uke!)

None of the Kamaka ukes had the black strings - I think they were all fluorocarbon.

They were ...alright.

I didn't bond with any of them.

I also played all of the KoAloha ukes, and had my eye on a Pineapple Sunday.

Same deal with all of them.

Then I picked of the Uke I considered silly, and gimicky. Within 10 seconds of playing, my wife and I looked at each other and said "Wow."

That's how I ended up with the KoAloha Sceptre.

Sometimes, you don't pick the instrument - it picks you. That may happen in the future with a Kamaka, but not yet. (And not with friction tuners.)


-Kurt

hawaii 50
06-24-2014, 03:26 PM
I love that everyone has great stories about the Kamaka ukuleles, and why they are "The One" for them.

The only Kamakas I've ever played were at 'Ukulele Source in San Jose, CA.

I played every ukulele he had in the building (That I could reach - didn't touch the vintages ukes up top, although I really wanted that Vita-Uke!)

None of the Kamaka ukes had the black strings - I think they were all fluorocarbon.

They were ...alright.

I didn't bond with any of them.

I also played all of the KoAloha ukes, and had my eye on a Pineapple Sunday.

Same deal with all of them.

Then I picked of the Uke I considered silly, and gimicky. Within 10 seconds of playing, my wife and I looked at each other and said "Wow."

That's how I ended up with the KoAloha Sceptre.

Sometimes, you don't pick the instrument - it picks you. That may happen in the future with a Kamaka, but not yet. (And not with friction tuners.)


-Kurt



Hey Kurt everyone likes the different tones/sound of a certain uke....
but Kamaka has been using the Gotoh UPT's on their ukes for almost a year now....now just got to get Ko'Aloha to jump on board.. :)

Moore Bettah Ukuleles
06-24-2014, 03:29 PM
Kamaka has been using the Gotoh UPT's on their ukes for almost a year now....now just got to get Ko'Aloha to jump on board.. :)

Why? So that all ukes eventually become alike?

janeray1940
06-24-2014, 03:31 PM
Sometimes, you don't pick the instrument - it picks you. That may happen in the future with a Kamaka, but not yet. (And not with friction tuners.)


-Kurt

Loved your story, and having been lucky enough to choose among several identical instruments, I know what you mean about how one can just choose you. Sometimes, you just know.

hawaii 50
06-24-2014, 03:33 PM
Why? So that all ukes eventually become alike?

not to be all the same...but the Gotoh's are so smooth.....but I don't have them on any of my ukes...haha
the KoAloha friction tuners kind of tight while changing strings and tuning up

I like the Pegheds too...

CeeJay
06-24-2014, 03:34 PM
Quote Originally Posted by Ukulele Eddie View Post
Advance notice - I'm not trying to insult CeeJay, just having a little fun.

Well, only if you consider insulting one of the world's greatest uke players "missing something." ;-) You see, Ohta San plays low G, including on soprano. And I don't think anybody would ever say his playing "..bass Gs (or Low Gs ) are a waste ofspace ..."

Here he is playing Star Dust on a Martin soprano: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wGEC-Gl4K20
Well here's a little advance notice back at you mon brave ...up until five minutes ago I had never heard of Ohta San ... ......so then to get the typical posturing and prurient snide commenting and "oh my Wilbur..." attitude is somewhat of a flaming cheek ....and may I say bloody typical of this site.

How was I insulting this gentleman by expressing the opinion that I do not think that low G on a soprano played in the traditional 70's style ....which was back in my youth the style of Formby , Smeck , Ukulele Ike and similar ....far beneath your cultural bar most certainly..

and yet I am expected to accept the slings and arrows of the rudeness expressed by the comments following my post instead of maybe a gentle shove in the right direction .

I thought that this was a forum for freedom of expressions and a free flowing learning curve...not a snobs symposium .

Last edited by CeeJay; Today at 02:23 AM.

Moore Bettah Ukuleles
06-24-2014, 04:00 PM
not to be all the same...but the Gotoh's are so smooth.....but I don't have them on any of my ukes...haha
the KoAloha friction tuners kind of tight while changing strings and tuning up

I like the Pegheds too...

Waverlys are butter smooth as well, albeit expensive. There are a lot of good tuner choices depending upon the customer's preferences. I like the variety that everyone has to offer. I myself offer 4 choirs of tuners and they all sell equally as well. (I don't use friction pegs though.)

Dane
06-24-2014, 04:01 PM
If it was the sound, I'm going to blame the awful black nylon strings that Kamaka insists on using as stock! I don't know a single player who likes them, most change them to fluorocarbons which to me seems to really bring out the great sound quality. But at the same time, it makes sense that a particular make just isn't for you - kind of like me with Kanile'a. Beautiful ukes and sounds like a great company, but I doubt that I'll ever be tempted by one.

That may be it, I remember thinking they must be blacklines, which I love. But they just sounded so dead and tone starved. Good to know, because I like the way Kamakas look, maybe one will be in my future.

TheOnlyUkeThatMatters
06-24-2014, 04:11 PM
I found my Kamaka standard uke on craigslist after a long search to replace my badly-broken first uke (a Lyon & Healy Camp Uke).

I'd learned the Kamaka story during shopping/research, and when I played the Kamaka, it had the deep tone I'd been looking for. After trying out a few different string sets, I ended up back with Kamaka uke strings, which I love as well. (I'm a nylon-uke-string guy, and black strings look cooler to me than clear ones.)

fretie
06-24-2014, 04:11 PM
I have never played a Kamaka with stock strings but from what everyone says about the sound of those black strings they do not do the ukes justice. So why doesn't Kamaka choose to string their ukes with a brand that suits their instruments more?

Ukulele Eddie
06-24-2014, 04:35 PM
Quote Originally Posted by Ukulele Eddie View Post
Advance notice - I'm not trying to insult CeeJay, just having a little fun.

Well, only if you consider insulting one of the world's greatest uke players "missing something." ;-) You see, Ohta San plays low G, including on soprano. And I don't think anybody would ever say his playing "..bass Gs (or Low Gs ) are a waste ofspace ..."

Here he is playing Star Dust on a Martin soprano: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wGEC-Gl4K20
Well here's a little advance notice back at you mon brave ...up until five minutes ago I had never heard of Ohta San ... ......so then to get the typical posturing and prurient snide commenting and "oh my Wilbur..." attitude is somewhat of a flaming cheek ....and may I say bloody typical of this site.

How was I insulting this gentleman by expressing the opinion that I do not think that low G on a soprano played in the traditional 70's style ....which was back in my youth the style of Formby , Smeck , Ukulele Ike and similar ....far beneath your cultural bar most certainly..

and yet I am expected to accept the slings and arrows of the rudeness expressed by the comments following my post instead of maybe a gentle shove in the right direction .

I thought that this was a forum for freedom of expressions and a free flowing learning curve...not a snobs symposium .

Last edited by CeeJay; Today at 02:23 AM.

As I said, my post was meant to be humorous and I hoped to avoid any misinterpretation by stating it at the outset. But nevertheless, I apologize if you found it offensive. The humor was meant to provide the "gentle shove" to which you referred. You made a very strong and broad sweeping statement about low G on a soprano being a waste of space (which, frankly, seems at odds with your comments above about "slings and arrows of rudeness"), which is your opinion (and opinions cannot be "wrong"). I was simply pointing out that there is a stellar example -- and countless admirers of that example -- who have a different opinion (and they similarly cannot be wrong, because its opinion).

Again, my apologies.

Nickie
06-24-2014, 05:02 PM
Ahhhh....I watched the Kamaka story again....my dream/goal is to visit Hawaii with an empty uke case and return with a Kamaka in it!

Skinny Money McGee
06-24-2014, 05:05 PM
Ahhhh....I watched the Kamaka story again....my dream/goal is to visit Hawaii with an empty uke case and return with a Kamaka in it!

You won't need to take a case with you. They come with a high quality hard shell case with the Kamaka Logo on it..... Get one!

dusty
06-24-2014, 05:40 PM
Interesting discussion. As someone new to ukes and interested in them more for practical reasons than historical (I can learn with my 4 yr. old and I don't play violin :) ), my perspective is a little different, although certainly most of you know more than I do. I've played almost every uke in a brick-and-mortar store in a 50 mile radius, and that included two nice used Kamakas (a soprano and an 8-string tenor, so small sample size). They were very nice, but no better than the two 1930s Gibsons I played (both The Gibson models), and different, but to my guitar player's ears no better than the Martin tenor I bought. Maybe I'm missing something, and I'd like to play more of them, but I think if I ever feel the need to move beyond the Martin it would be to a small-shop uke like Pagasus, Kula, etc., rather than one of the factory "K" brands.

As for this:


the design elements have some religious symbolism that I'm not comfortable with.

that's why I wouldn't buy a Kala. I'm not giving my hard-earned money to a guy who runs his business according to the Old Testament.

janeray1940
06-24-2014, 06:16 PM
I found my Kamaka standard uke on craigslist after a long search to replace my badly-broken first uke (a Lyon & Healy Camp Uke).

I'd learned the Kamaka story during shopping/research, and when I played the Kamaka, it had the deep tone I'd been looking for. After trying out a few different string sets, I ended up back with Kamaka uke strings, which I love as well. (I'm a nylon-uke-string guy, and black strings look cooler to me than clear ones.)

You can get black fluorocarbons - Fremont Blacklines, not sure if there are others - worth a try if you haven't already. I liked them on my HP-1 (but I liked the sound and feel of Martin M600s better, so that's what I still use).

janeray1940
06-24-2014, 06:19 PM
...that's why I wouldn't buy a Kala. I'm not giving my hard-earned money to a guy who runs his business according to the Old Testament.

I'm intrigued - care to elaborate (or PM me)? I don't have one or have interest in one, but I'm always interested in the stories behind uke companies.

janeray1940
06-24-2014, 06:22 PM
I have never played a Kamaka with stock strings but from what everyone says about the sound of those black strings they do not do the ukes justice. So why doesn't Kamaka choose to string their ukes with a brand that suits their instruments more?

My guess is that it depends on the type of playing - for basic Hawaiian strumming, maybe the black nylon strings sound great? I dunno, since that's not how I play; I just know that for classical and campanella, they aren't great - no sustain and really mellow sounding.


After trying out a few different string sets, I ended up back with Kamaka uke strings, which I love as well. (I'm a nylon-uke-string guy, and black strings look cooler to me than clear ones.)

Ralf, beyond the look of black strings, can you elaborate as to what you like about them?

janeray1940
06-24-2014, 06:26 PM
I've played almost every uke in a brick-and-mortar store in a 50 mile radius, and that included two nice used Kamakas (a soprano and an 8-string tenor, so small sample size). They were very nice, but no better than the two 1930s Gibsons I played (both The Gibson models), and different, but to my guitar player's ears no better than the Martin tenor I bought.

The truth is, that was how I ended up with a Koaloha at first - I was only looking at second-hand, and none of the used Kamakas I tried in person really did it for me, but I got a great deal on a new Koaloha soprano and went for it. Then I started looking at new Kamakas, and that's when I knew what I wanted.

dusty
06-24-2014, 06:41 PM
Could be that it's the lesser ones that are more likely to end up on the used market, I suppose. When I bought my Martin last month there were two others in the same store (another tenor and a concert) and the one I went home with sounded clearly better than the other two to me, to the two guys I went there with (one a uke player) and to the salesman. The other tenor looked a little better, though... Glad my priorities are straight.... ;)


The truth is, that was how I ended up with a Koaloha at first - I was only looking at second-hand, and none of the used Kamakas I tried in person really did it for me, but I got a great deal on a new Koaloha soprano and went for it. Then I started looking at new Kamakas, and that's when I knew what I wanted.

dusty
06-24-2014, 08:01 PM
Mike Upton: "I crack open the Bible and read Proverbs. I get a lot of business wisdom out of that book. “A soft answer turns away wrath” — there’s one. Then I grab my two VPs, we pray, and then we launch into our day, which usually involves a lot of coffee."

Not that there is necessarily anything wrong with that (and if he had said the NT I wouldn't have given it a second thought). I probably shouldn't have mentioned it here, but it is prominently noted in an interview on his (the Kala Music) web site.


I'm intrigued - care to elaborate (or PM me)? I don't have one or have interest in one, but I'm always interested in the stories behind uke companies.

janeray1940
06-24-2014, 08:07 PM
Mike Upton: "I crack open the Bible and read Proverbs. I get a lot of business wisdom out of that book. “A soft answer turns away wrath” — there’s one. Then I grab my two VPs, we pray, and then we launch into our day, which usually involves a lot of coffee."

Not that there is necessarily anything wrong with that (and if he had said the NT I wouldn't have given it a second thought). I probably shouldn't have mentioned it here, but it is prominently noted in an interview on his (the Kala Music) web site.

Yep, I just googled what you quoted and found the page. And no, nothing wrong with that; same way there is nothing wrong with the religious aspect of the design elements of Koalohas that I referred to - but worth mentioning nonetheless so people can make choices they are comfortable with.

buddhuu
06-24-2014, 09:09 PM
The couple of members who are goading each other here, kindly knock it off. You're just adding noise to someone else's thread.

tbeltrans
06-25-2014, 01:14 AM
My guess is that it depends on the type of playing - for basic Hawaiian strumming, maybe the black nylon strings sound great? I dunno, since that's not how I play; I just know that for classical and campanella, they aren't great - no sustain and really mellow sounding.



Ralf, beyond the look of black strings, can you elaborate as to what you like about them?

Janeray - your posts continue to bring up points that I need to learn about. So this time, what is "campanella"?

Thanks,

Tony

CeeJay
06-25-2014, 01:33 AM
The couple of members who are goading each other here, kindly knock it off. You're just adding noise to someone else's thread.

There's no goading mate ...just a slight misunderstanding.....PMed Ukey Eddie to sort it out......

bearbike137
06-25-2014, 04:32 AM
Why Kamaka? That is like asking why Martin? Why Fender? Why Gibson?

Pretty heady company if you ask me.

My 2005 Kamaka tenor is a great uke. However, I am not a fan (at all) of Kamaka stock strings, but that is a whole different conversation.

janeray1940
06-25-2014, 04:48 AM
Janeray - your posts continue to bring up points that I need to learn about. So this time, what is "campanella"?

Thanks,

Tony

Tony, check out the late John King (https://www.youtube.com/user/NaluMusic/videos). You're in for a treat if you like instrumental playing - his style was campanella. As for what it is exactly, this is a good overview (https://www.inkling.com/read/dummies-ukulele-alistair-wood-1st/chapter-16/playing-campanella-style).

buddhuu
06-25-2014, 04:49 AM
There's no goading mate ...just a slight misunderstanding.....PMed Ukey Eddie to sort it out......

Glad to hear it.

And, by the way, moderators can see deleted posts. Proceed with care.

CeeJay
06-25-2014, 05:20 AM
Glad to hear it.

And, by the way, moderators can see deleted posts. Proceed with care.

Cyber Spooky .....whoa.....is that not against your own credo and ethics .......LOL

buddhuu
06-25-2014, 05:30 AM
Cyber Spooky .....whoa.....is that not against your own credo and ethics .......LOL

No. It makes sense for us to be able to see what was posted on the open board. It helps us to do the job in cases of dispute and is no secret. It is standard on most internet forums. Private messages, on the other hand, are indeed private.

Was there anything else?

I apologise for the interruption to the thread. We now return you to your regular programming.

janeray1940
06-25-2014, 05:34 AM
I apologise for the interruption to the thread. We now return you to your regular programming.

Thanks buddhuu for all that you and the other mods do!

vanflynn
06-25-2014, 05:46 AM
So anyway, about them stock strings........................

Living Waters really make my concert sing.

TheOnlyUkeThatMatters
06-25-2014, 07:38 AM
Ralf, beyond the look of black strings, can you elaborate as to what you like about them?
I've tried enough nylon strings and fluorocarbon strings on my ukes to notice a few general differences. Glad to elaborate...

I prefer the feel of nylon strings. They're generally thicker and softer than fluorocarbon strings. It's not a big difference, but my fingertips notice.

More importantly, I prefer the sound of nylon strings. I've found that, generally, nylon strings tend to have less sustain and less brightness than fluorocarbon strings, but that nylon strings also tend to have more depth. Deeper, more mellow ukulele tones sound better to me than brighter, more sustained sounds, so it's nylon strings for me.

janeray1940
06-25-2014, 07:52 AM
I've tried enough nylon strings and fluorocarbon strings on my ukes to notice a few general differences. Glad to elaborate...

I prefer the feel of nylon strings. They're generally thicker and softer than fluorocarbon strings. It's not a big difference, but my fingertips notice.

More importantly, I prefer the sound of nylon strings. I've found that, generally, nylon strings tend to have less sustain and less brightness than fluorocarbon strings, but that nylon strings also tend to have more depth. Deeper, more mellow ukulele tones sound better to me than brighter, more sustained sounds, so it's nylon strings for me.

Cool! Thanks for the explanation, makes perfect sense to me as the qualities you are seeking are kind of the opposite of my preferences. But perhaps the majority of Kamaka's customers' preferences are more in line with yours.

mds725
06-25-2014, 08:42 AM
Mike Upton: "I crack open the Bible and read Proverbs. I get a lot of business wisdom out of that book. “A soft answer turns away wrath” — there’s one. Then I grab my two VPs, we pray, and then we launch into our day, which usually involves a lot of coffee."

Not that there is necessarily anything wrong with that (and if he had said the NT I wouldn't have given it a second thought) . I probably shouldn't have mentioned it here, but it is prominently noted in an interview on his (the Kala Music) web site.

Why? I don't mean to hijack the thread, but distinguishing between the old and new testaments like this seems strange to me.

mds725
06-25-2014, 08:52 AM
I bought my first Kamaka on an ukulele expedition to Oahu and Kauai in 2011. During my trip I visited both Kamaka and Ko'Aloha and took the tours, went to HMS when it was a little mostly-guitar store in the middle of Oahu, and found the ukulele of my dreams - a Kamaka tenor - at the Larry's Music in Koloa Town on Kauai. A few months later, I found an amazing sounding used (but pristine) Kamaka tenor at Gryphon Stringed Instruments in Palo Alto CA. My most recent Kamaka purchase was a rare 8-string baritone I bought in October 2012 from MusicguyMic at HMS in its new location. My Kamakas get the bulk of my Hawaiian music playing time.

janeray1940
06-25-2014, 08:54 AM
My Kamakas get the bulk of my Hawaiian music playing time.

Curious to know what your string preferences are, since (unlike myself) you actually do play Hawaiian?

hawaii 50
06-25-2014, 08:57 AM
Curious to know what your string preferences are, since (unlike myself) you actually do play Hawaiian?

I will put in my strings...
I use Oasis warm with a Fremont soloist wound Low G....

seems to give my Kamaka a cleaner/crisp warm tone and the stings feel softer than the Worths...IMO

janeray1940
06-25-2014, 09:01 AM
I will put in my strings...
I use Oasis warm with a Fremont soloist wound Low G....

seems to give my Kamaka a cleaner/crisp warm tone and the stings feel softer than the Worths...IMO

I like the Fremont Soloist as well. Tried the Oasis warms on my HP-1 pineapple and had mixed feelings - I should give them a try on the Low G uke next time.

mds725
06-25-2014, 09:06 AM
Curious to know what your string preferences are, since (unlike myself) you actually do play Hawaiian?

I've been using low G Worth Clears, which have a richer and fuller sound than Kamaka strings. I'm planning to try Living Water strings next, with a Fremont Soloist low G, and I'd like to try the Southcoast set that Chuck is now using on his Moore Bettahs.

guitharsis
06-25-2014, 09:11 AM
Guess I'm in the minority; don't mind the stock Kamaka strings on my Kamaka ukes. Anyone else? Used to love Fremont Blacklines on everything.

Kamanaaloha
06-25-2014, 09:15 AM
Low G on a soprano is kind of missing the point of the soprano........I believe that this is the original "fun" instrument that gets most if not all of the "toy" guitar jibes . It is also equally the one most likely to be dismissed or pooh poohed (now that's British for yer..) by some of the larger ukulele playing cogniscenti....

Back in the 70's the soprano was THE ukulele ...maybe a concert size here and there and mainly on your side of the pond ...if there was an alternative here in Blighty it would have been a BanjoUke (again Soprano sized neck)..the Soprano is a melodic percussive instrument which in traditional and classic (not classically) mode absolutely demands the re-entrant tuning ...bass Gs (or Low Gs ) are a waste ofspace ....many of you seem to not like the Smeckian ,Formbyian,Ike-ian style of play ,...that's fair enough...just picking up on the comment about low G and making a point that Ukuleles are as dysfunctional a family as the Osbournes .
The sops are the little tearaway tykes ,like Jack Russels..they can do the softer little numbers ...but are best at frenetically tearing it up.......I would not play Smeck or Formby on a Tenor ... in fact I don't have a Tenor, but I do play Django and Russian Folk on an Ohana Mahogany CK10 (cheap ) Concert......I just might quite a posh one like one of the K K K K K Ks.

CJ

My Father has been playing an ukulele for much longer than the 70's. And his prize possession is a Martin tenor...from before the 70s...my grandfather's one is from the 30s...whatever people want to do with theirs is their own business...I appreciate your opinion, however.

I like my Kamakas with the blacklines as I am too pake to change them until it's time...and mine sound great! As for how they play, they play very well and the fit is awesome, but they are not for everyone. I agree that everyone who loves the ukulele should own a Kamaka, after all they are the yardstick. Gotoh UPTs absolutely rock! I never thought I would discern the difference, but it is noticable. Nothing against Schallers, which are really heavy duty and nice too, imho.

I have been demoing Collings around town...that is my next target...maybe next year for Xmas with my bonus check.

Aloha

hawaii 50
06-25-2014, 09:33 AM
I like the Fremont Soloist as well. Tried the Oasis warms on my HP-1 pineapple and had mixed feelings - I should give them a try on the Low G uke next time.

I use the Oasis on my HF3S...I tried all the other strings but like these the best

btw I have not put a set of South Coast HML-RWs on my Kamaka yet...since I do not play it as much as my other ukes which have the South Coast...don't want to leave the Heavy Medium strings on the Kamaka (too lazy to change them)

wickedwahine11
06-25-2014, 10:39 AM
I've been using low G Worth Clears, which have a richer and fuller sound than Kamaka strings. I'm planning to try Living Water strings next, with a Fremont Soloist low G, and I'd like to try the Southcoast set that Chuck is now using on his Moore Bettahs.


I use the Oasis on my HF3S...I tried all the other strings but like these the best

btw I have not put a set of South Coast HML-RWs on my Kamaka yet...since I do not play it as much as my other ukes which have the South Coast...don't want to leave the Heavy Medium strings on the Kamaka (too lazy to change them)

Those Southcoast that Chuck uses (HML-RW) are currently on my Kamaka. They sound amazing on it. I am still getting the hang of wound strings but I have to admit they sound better on it than any other string set I have used on it to date (Worth, Aquila, D'addario, Fremont, Living Water or Savarez).

Ukejungle
06-25-2014, 11:11 AM
Those Southcoast that Chuck uses (HML-RW) are currently on my Kamaka. They sound amazing on it. I am still getting the hang of wound strings but I have to admit they sound better on it than any other string set I have used on it to date (Worth, Aquila, D'addario, Fremont, Living Water or Savarez).

If getting use to the Round Wounds Set from South Coast bothers you - try their flat wound set (HML-FW) - They will last 2X longer too. No noise.

Moore Bettah Ukuleles
06-25-2014, 11:35 AM
If getting use to the Round Wounds Set from South Coast bothers you - try their flat wound set (HML-FW) - They will last 2X longer too. No noise.

The HML-FW sets are ball end only and won't work on a tie bridge. Apparently Dirk doesn't recommend sitting the ball off. At least that's my understanding.

hawaii 50
06-25-2014, 12:47 PM
Those Southcoast that Chuck uses (HML-RW) are currently on my Kamaka. They sound amazing on it. I am still getting the hang of wound strings but I have to admit they sound better on it than any other string set I have used on it to date (Worth, Aquila, D'addario, Fremont, Living Water or Savarez).



Ok Staci...you convinced me....when I am not in lazy mode I will put the HML-RWs on my Kamaka..
fyi I saw Paula Fugo's super old Martin tenor and Andrew strung it up with the S/C HML-RW and it sounded really good....the top is thin but looks like it will work....

now to get out of lazy string changing mode....:)

Dan Uke
06-25-2014, 01:30 PM
Ok Staci...you convinced me....when I am not in lazy mode I will put the HML-RWs on my Kamaka..
fyi I saw Paula Fugo's super old Martin tenor and Andrew strung it up with the S/C HML-RW and it sounded really good....the top is thin but looks like it will work....

now to get out of lazy string changing mode....:)

The main reason I keep my Kamaka Long-Neck Concert is to keep one uke with high G...Now I might jump on the band wagon and go low G as well.

And to answer why I have one...I don't really have any particular reason except for the build date being close to when I started playing the ukulele. I've tried to sell it many times but my wife reminds me it was my 40th B-day gift from HER! haha

tbeltrans
06-25-2014, 01:56 PM
My Father has been playing an ukulele for much longer than the 70's. And his prize possession is a Martin tenor...from before the 70s...my grandfather's one is from the 30s...whatever people want to do with theirs is their own business...I appreciate your opinion, however.

I like my Kamakas with the blacklines as I am too pake to change them until it's time...and mine sound great! As for how they play, they play very well and the fit is awesome, but they are not for everyone. I agree that everyone who loves the ukulele should own a Kamaka, after all they are the yardstick. Gotoh UPTs absolutely rock! I never thought I would discern the difference, but it is noticable. Nothing against Schallers, which are really heavy duty and nice too, imho.

I have been demoing Collings around town...that is my next target...maybe next year for Xmas with my bonus check.

Aloha

That is an interesting comment about Kamakas being the yardstick. I am getting that impression as I read through the forums. When I got mine, I was COMPLETELY unaware of any brand names for ukuleles except Martin and Collings because they are both very well known guitar makers and that is where I come from.

All I was looking for was a low G instrument that was in the same ballpark in terms of quality as my Ko'olau. I had only been involved with the ukulele for a couple of weeks. So I made my choices by sound only, and not the name on the head stock. From my perspective, I decided to buy an "unknown" brand over a "known" brand. I picked my Kamaka over Collings and Martin by listening to somebody play them for me. That doesn't mean any of what I heard sounded bad - they were all very good. I just preferred the sound of the Kamaka.

Also, I had never heard of Ko'olau, my first ukulele, when I bought it. Again, it was the sound and I chose what to me was an unknown brand over the known brands Martin and Collings. Because of the way I chose my ukuleles, I seriously doubt I will be selling or looking for something else any time soon. I trust my ears after playing professionally, semi-pro and as a hobby for over 30 years. But I also known that we all like at least somewhat different sounds, so my choices may not appeal at all to somebody else. There is no "right" answer to a situation like picking a musical instrument. It is too personal for another's opinion to interfere.

Tony

coolkayaker1
06-25-2014, 03:20 PM
And to answer why I have one...I don't really have any particular reason except for the build date being close to when I started playing the ukulele. I've tried to sell it many times but my wife reminds me it was my 40th B-day gift from HER! haha
Which makes perfect sense, especially now that you're 42. :-p

Dan Uke
06-25-2014, 04:48 PM
Which makes perfect sense, especially now that you're 42. :-p

Now 43 and I think we've both played uke about 3 years now...great times indeed!

coolkayaker1
06-25-2014, 06:44 PM
Now 43 and I think we've both played uke about 3 years now...great times indeed!

Indeed, Daniel. Do you still own the Kamaka custom, I think long neck tenor? That was the prettiest Kamaka I have ever seen. No kidding.

Dan Uke
06-25-2014, 06:55 PM
Indeed, Daniel. Do you still own the Kamaka custom, I think long neck tenor? That was the prettiest Kamaka I have ever seen. No kidding.

Thanks Steve...Reminded me of the koa on your Pohaku Bari...that was one of the prettiest ukes I've ever seen..period!

I have a long neck concert. Going to Hawaii tomorrow and debating if I should bring it to Kamaka to add side dots. It bugs that it only has a side dot on the 7th fret.

fretie
06-25-2014, 07:06 PM
[QUOTE=nongdam;
Going to Hawaii tomorrow and debating if I should bring it to Kamaka to add side dots. It bugs that it only has a side dot on the 7th fret.[/QUOTE]

Yeah, I found that single side dot on my a Kamaka surprising too.

janeray1940
06-25-2014, 09:33 PM
Side dots... funny thing, I've owned five Kamakas and never once have noticed them (or the lack thereof!) :)

VampireWeekday
06-25-2014, 09:51 PM
Guess I'm in the minority; don't mind the stock Kamaka strings on my Kamaka ukes. Anyone else? Used to love Fremont Blacklines on everything.

I found my vintage Kamaka Keiki to be utterly unplayable with the Kamaka strings. The intonation was off when I bought it and I had them service the bridge and saddle at the factory. It was a great service experience, Chris Kamaka himself came to the counter to look at my ukulele. They replaced the strings with their standard black nylon Kamaka strings during the service. It was much better after the bridge and saddle adjustment, but it still wouldn't play totally in tune and the tone was really muted.

I was starting to think it was going to be a wall hanger until I put some Fremont Blackline flouros on it. It's like a whole new instrument. The tone is fantastic and the intonation is near perfect now. The difference was staggering.

coolkayaker1
06-26-2014, 02:55 AM
Thanks Steve...Reminded me of the koa on your Pohaku Bari...that was one of the prettiest ukes I've ever seen..period!

I have a long neck concert. Going to Hawaii tomorrow and debating if I should bring it to Kamaka to add side dots. It bugs that it only has a side dot on the 7th fret.

I learned something from you. I had no idea that they only had one single side.. I wonder if that would bother me? I don't know because I never Hadi you click that, and I don't know if it would bother me or not. I think it would bother me. I bet paying Kamaka to put new side dots on would be quite expensive. Plus you have to wait, or have it shipped home.

Please do us all a big favor and take some video or photos of Hawaii and post them. I'd like to see the places you went, for instance I still remember your video of Benny Chong playing live for you.

Dan Uke
06-26-2014, 02:55 AM
Side dots... funny thing, I've owned five Kamakas and never once have noticed them (or the lack thereof!) :)

Yeah, some people look at the fretboard and the real talented ones know the fb well enough that they don't look at either...I wish I was the latter but use both the side dots and the fb dots, depending on my bad posture

guitharsis
06-26-2014, 03:01 AM
I found my vintage Kamaka Keiki to be utterly unplayable with the Kamaka strings. The intonation was off when I bought it and I had them service the bridge and saddle at the factory. It was a great service experience, Chris Kamaka himself came to the counter to look at my ukulele. They replaced the strings with their standard black nylon Kamaka strings during the service. It was much better after the bridge and saddle adjustment, but it still wouldn't play totally in tune and the tone was really muted.

I was starting to think it was going to be a wall hanger until I put some Fremont Blackline flouros on it. It's like a whole new instrument. The tone is fantastic and the intonation is near perfect now. The difference was staggering.

You've inspired me to go back to my favorite strings, the Fremont Blacklines. Next string change!

coolkayaker1
06-26-2014, 03:06 AM
You've inspired me to go back to my favorite strings, the Fremont Blacklines. Next string change!

If I could eat Fremont blacklines for lunch, with a side salad and a Coca-Cola, I would.

That's how much I like them.

marcocolo
06-26-2014, 05:27 AM
Side dots? What side dots??? (says the lefty):p

Ukejungle
06-26-2014, 02:50 PM
The HML-FW sets are ball end only and won't work on a tie bridge. Apparently Dirk doesn't recommend sitting the ball off. At least that's my understanding.

Chuck,
I learned something I did know about those strings. My tenor has bridge pins. Thanks.
Trey in Houston

Ukejungle
06-26-2014, 03:04 PM
Trying to get some volume out of my kamaka tenor, I did put some kamaka factory strings on it last month that did nothing for the volume must less the sound. I actually threw them away. First time ever throwing any strings away. I want to keep this ukulele re-entrant but might end up putting the RML's from Dirk to see if that brings out more volume (low g setup).

janeray1940
06-26-2014, 03:11 PM
Trying to get some volume out of my kamaka tenor, I did put some kamaka factory strings on it last month that did nothing for the volume must less the sound. I actually threw them away. First time ever throwing any strings away. I want to keep this ukulele re-entrant but might end up putting the RML's from Dirk to see if that brings out more volume (low g setup).

Have you tried Martin M620 tenor fluorocarbons? I put them on my Kamaka concert and there was a significant increase in volume (I do the same thing with concert strings on sopranos sometimes, with similar results) - not sure if it's the strings, or the fact that I was using them on a smaller scale than intended.

hent
06-28-2014, 09:06 AM
I too like Kamaka ukuleles. They just have the sweet sound that I really like. I have the soprano and tenor right now and Wanting just to go all kamakas. So I'm looking for a concert and baritone to complete the set.

VegasGeorge
07-23-2014, 04:25 PM
My wife went to Hawaii sometime around 1980. She wanted to buy me a present, so she went into a music store and told the clerk that her husband was a musician, and that she wanted to buy him the best Ukulele. The clerk sold her a Kamaka soprano. I had never played a stringed instrument before, and that little Kamaka made me very happy. And, it still does. Over the years I've collected more Kamakas. I have 2 sopranos, a tenor, an 8 string, and a baritone. I intend to get a nice Kamaka concert sometime soon. I went to Hawaii with a couple of friends back in about 1996. We toured the Kamaka factory, and were shown every courtesy. At their suggestion, I bought my 8 string at Bounty Music. For the last several years I've done most of my Ukulele playing on my tenor and 8 string. Now I'm really enjoying the concert size of my Lanikai Banjolele and National Resophonic "0" style resonator. So, I guess I really need that Koa wood Kamaka concert, eh? I've taken every opportunity to play other makes of Ukuleles in stores and among friends. I can't find anything I like as well as my Kamakas. They are simply wonderful.

janeray1940
07-23-2014, 04:43 PM
My wife went to Hawaii sometime around 1980. She wanted to buy me a present, so she went into a music store and told the clerk that her husband was a musician, and that she wanted to buy him the best Ukulele. The clerk sold her a Kamaka soprano. I had never played a stringed instrument before, and that little Kamaka made me very happy. And, it still does. Over the years I've collected more Kamakas. I have 2 sopranos, a tenor, an 8 string, and a baritone. I intend to get a nice Kamaka concert sometime soon. I went to Hawaii with a couple of friends back in about 1996. We toured the Kamaka factory, and were shown every courtesy. At their suggestion, I bought my 8 string at Bounty Music. For the last several years I've done most of my Ukulele playing on my tenor and 8 string. Now I'm really enjoying the concert size of my Lanikai Banjolele and National Resophonic "0" style resonator. So, I guess I really need that Koa wood Kamaka concert, eh? I've taken every opportunity to play other makes of Ukuleles in stores and among friends. I can't find anything I like as well as my Kamakas. They are simply wonderful.

Nice story, thanks for sharing! Oh yes, you need that concert Kamaka. I like them so much that at one time I had two (one low G, one reentrant). Sounds like that's really all that's missing from your uke collection.

And I love the National Resophonics. If I were to allow myself just one more uke, that's what it would be.

Yooke
07-23-2014, 07:06 PM
KoAloha has an interesting headstock, I kind of like the design but it looks pretty sharp and dangerous.

Peterjens
07-23-2014, 10:10 PM
My circa 1978 Kamaka Pineapple is full of the aloha spirit even with the original clunky tuners. It will always be in my collection.

gtomatt
07-24-2014, 07:36 AM
I bought my HF-2 on a trip to the Big Island in 2011 at Hilo Guitars. I was going back and forth with that one an another K brand until well after closing time before settling on the Kamaka due to the way it sounded/felt. They didn't come with a case at that time, but I think the owner threw one in just to seal the deal & be rid of me.

I'm getting ready to send the 1960's Kamaka pineapple back home to Oahu to be restored (need to call Tekla at Kamaka). I had mentioned this one in another thread and the lady finally decided to part with it, so it will soon be on the "road to recovery".

janeray1940
07-24-2014, 08:04 AM
I bought my HF-2 on a trip to the Big Island in 2011 at Hilo Guitars. I was going back and forth with that one an another K brand until well after closing time before settling on the Kamaka due to the way it sounded/felt. They didn't come with a case at that time, but I think the owner threw one in just to seal the deal & be rid of me.

I'm getting ready to send the 1960's Kamaka pineapple back home to Oahu to be restored (need to call Tekla at Kamaka). I had mentioned this one in another thread and the lady finally decided to part with it, so it will soon be on the "road to recovery".

Glad to hear that pineapple is about to get a new life! :)

VegasGeorge
07-26-2014, 08:40 AM
OK, you guys, lay off me for a while, will ya? This thread (and forum) is costing me way too much money! I just ordered that concert size Kamaka, the HF-2D, from Bounty Music. Now I just have to find a way to sneak it into my collection without my wife noticing. Heh, heh, heh! :cool:

NewKid
12-11-2014, 11:16 PM
I've had a vintage Kamaka Pineapple and commissioned a long-neck pineapple special that turned out great. I ended up selling both because I didn't give them enough time to find the proper songs for them. Also, I was learning at the time that tenor was my preferred size.

Now, the Kamaka Ohta-San is on my wish list because of its unique, closer to tenor size, and voicing for Low-G which is how my three tenors are tuned. I also love this uke's shape, the upgrade Koa they use for it and its rope binding. It will probably be a while and I'm thinking it would be an ideal final instrument to complete my collection.

wayfarer75
12-12-2014, 01:42 AM
I've had a vintage Kamaka Pineapple and commissioned a long-neck pineapple special that turned out great. I ended up selling both because I didn't give them enough time to find the proper songs for them. Also, I was learning at the time that tenor was my preferred size.

Now, the Kamaka Ohta-San is on my wish list because of its unique, closer to tenor size, and voicing for Low-G which is how my three tenors are tuned. I also love this uke's shape, the upgrade Koa they use for it and its rope binding. It will probably be a while and I'm thinking it would be an ideal final instrument to complete my collection.

Those Ohta-San models sound gorgeous. Which soundboard would you get?

NewKid
12-12-2014, 02:50 AM
Right now I have four ukuleles and none with Koa. So my Ohta-San would be all Koa. There's a real beauty at Ukulele Puapua right now that looks like the kind I dream about.

janeray1940
12-12-2014, 05:06 AM
So my Ohta-San would be all Koa.

That's what I have, after a lengthy internal debate of spruce vs. koa. I ended up going with koa since that was the one I was able to try in person, and I haven't regretted it - both visually and sound-wise I think it's beautiful. I play mine low G as well (it's as close to a tenor as my stubby little hands are going to get!) but have also tried it reentrant and it sounds amazing either way.

wayfarer75
12-12-2014, 07:01 AM
I don't think you can go wrong with any Ohta-San. I love the sound of spruce with koa, though, and not just Kamakas. Though my next uke purchase is a long way off, so I am just dreaming.

janeray1940
12-12-2014, 07:12 AM
I don't think you can go wrong with any Ohta-San. I love the sound of spruce with koa, though, and not just Kamakas. Though my next uke purchase is a long way off, so I am just dreaming.

I think you're right about not going wrong :) After I bought mine, three other players I know jumped on the Ohta-San bandwagon (all koa tops) and every one of them sounds great.

Dan Uke
12-12-2014, 07:30 AM
Reading all these posts makes me want an Ohta-San too! I play tenor but can't do the reach on a few of Jake's songs...hmmm, I wonder if one will pop up on the marketplace.

dsummers
12-13-2014, 02:29 AM
When I ordered my Ohta-San from from the Kamaka factory, I was agonizing on which top to choose. In the end I chose the cedar top which I am so glad that I did! Great sound! Although I am not a fan of the factory strings, for some reason I really like the factory strings on the Ohta-San and my semi custom Kamaka tenor (spruce top, ebony fretboard/bridge/ebony head plate, and factory installed pick up). I also have a Kamaka concert scale pineapple (exact same specs as my tenor) and a beautifully figured all Koa standard concert which I hated the factory strings and changed them out to Worths which all I can say is wow what a great difference! My 1999 Koa standard pineapple which I bought used has the factory strings which I can't stand but haven't changed out yet so I think I will try the Martins on this one.