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Yooke
07-22-2014, 05:57 PM
Hi,

So from reading around this forum, I have come to understand that there are four big name brands called the K brands.

They're all very nice but one question keeps popping up.. why don't these K brands ever have any binding?

They look naked to me, ivoroid or tortoise binding might look really nice on some of them.

Is it because the companies are afraid it'll cheapen the ukuleles, or is it because of tradition? Just curious.

wickedwahine11
07-22-2014, 06:47 PM
Sometimes they do have binding. Just as an example, my Kanilea has tortoise binding.

janeray1940
07-22-2014, 06:50 PM
My Kamaka Ohta-San has rosewood binding. And it's lovely. Kamaka's "deluxe" models all have this, and it certainly drives the cost up, which might explain why it's only offered on a few models.

Yooke
07-22-2014, 06:51 PM
Sometimes they do have binding. Just as an example, my Kanilea has tortoise binding.

I figured they would bind at least some of their ukuleles.

Yooke
07-22-2014, 06:59 PM
My Kamaka Ohta-San has rosewood binding. And it's lovely. Kamaka's "deluxe" models all have this, and it certainly drives the cost up, which might explain why it's only offered on a few models.

I just personally would like to see lighter trim because wood binding sort of blends in from a distance.

janeray1940
07-22-2014, 07:01 PM
I just personally wish to see lighter trim because wood binding sort of blends in from a distance.

I think that's why I like it so much - it's understated :)

Yooke
07-22-2014, 07:09 PM
I guess I should re-word my question: Would you prefer binding that stands out more on these K brands?

Camsuke
07-22-2014, 07:59 PM
Here you go Yooke, what do you think of this binding? This is my Kanilea K4 Tenor.

kypfer
07-22-2014, 09:21 PM
I have come to understand that there are four big name brands called the K brands. For the benefit of those of us without your insight, could you list these please?

I'm guessing the recently-mentioned Kaka brand isn't one of them ;)

coolkayaker1
07-23-2014, 12:56 AM
Hi,

So from reading around this forum, I have come to understand that there are four big name brands called the K brands.

Just curious.

Of the four "K" brands--Kiwaya, Kala, Kelii and Kamoa-- I think the upgraded models have binding for those willing to spring for looks. :D

Bling=Benjamins.

<kypfer: Kamaka, Koaloha, Kanilea and KoOlau; aka the four 800-pound gorillas at the luau>

PhilUSAFRet
07-23-2014, 01:05 AM
Sometimes they do have binding. Just as an example, my Kanilea has tortoise binding.

Was looking at a picture of a Kanilea with tortoise binding on it a few days ago. Freakin awesome looking.

I'm guessing embellishments came later for the same reasons Italian Americans use too much cheese and sauce on their pasta.....they like it! As a gun fancier, I was never crazy about fancy inlays, grip caps, forends, etc. on a high quality piece of gunstock wood.

DownUpDave
07-23-2014, 02:21 AM
I cannot vote because I like both looks. My #1preferance is without binding but the Kanile'a K3 & K4 with binding are very classy looking. So to are the top end Kamakas, love them big time.

wayfarer75
07-23-2014, 02:40 AM
I would only prefer it if they didn't charge more for it! :D

DaveY
07-23-2014, 03:15 AM
Yooke, I never much thought of the lack of binding on the "K" brands -- the "tradition" that you note (and the looks without the binding, and the sound, especially) was what made me consider a Kanilea and KoAloha (and buy a KoAloha). The koa on my KoAloha is so beautiful to me that I think binding and such would detract from it.

coolkayaker1
07-23-2014, 03:23 AM
Got it, Jon. Thanks, yes.

One thing not yet mentioned is that a binding can protect the edge of the body of the instrument from dings, yooke. It may have a practical purpose in that regard. Some bindings are plastic, like tortoise imitation, and rugged.

A fretboard binding might, in theory, help with this protection, too. I had an inexpensive uke slide off its stand and hit the edge of the fretboard once and a fret lifted just a bit. I could hit the fret bar back down and did. I wonder if it would have been intact if it had a fretboard binging perhaps.

chuck in ny
07-23-2014, 03:45 AM
Was looking at a picture of a Kanilea with tortoise binding on it a few days ago. Freakin awesome looking.

I'm guessing embellishments came later for the same reasons Italian Americans use too much cheese and sauce on their pasta.....they like it! As a gun fancier, I was never crazy about fancy inlays, grip caps, forends, etc. on a high quality piece of gunstock wood.

phil

this gun analogy fits the situation. i can even live without checkering/texture on a gun stock let alone a cornball fore end stuck on and interrupting the visual flow of the piece. the ukulele without binding is pleasing and zen. with binding it's a bit more tasteful than the gun stock grip cap and fore end as the binding flows around and defines the piece, something in keeping like the individual plies of a laminated gun stock. going further no thanks on the inlays and even highly marbled crotch walnut stocks are too self important.
good topic. binding is really very nice but i can easily live without it. a homely instrument with a great sound will do nicely.

kypfer
07-23-2014, 04:52 AM
C'mon you guys. These posts are unecessary. The OP is new to the site and asking for serious feedback and thoughts, not for sarcasm and subtle put-downs. Let's keep it real, K?

Well, I, for one, was genuinely interested to know which of the apparent multitude of "K-Brand" instruments were considered to be "the big four".

I've got a Kala. For what I paid for it it's probably not one of these, but it does have binding ;) The chances of me ever seeing one of these fabled big four, let alone playing or owning one, are remote, but it might be interesting to at least know what other people are talking about.

By-the-by ... these mentions of "tortoise" bindings ... is this real tortoise/turtle shell or some kind of fancy wood or other material?

Genuinely interested :)

PereBourik
07-23-2014, 05:04 AM
Got it, Jon. Thanks, yes.

One thing not yet mentioned is that a binding can protect the edge of the body of the instrument from dings, yooke. It may have a practical purpose in that regard. Some bindings are plastic, like tortoise imitation, and rugged.

A fretboard binding might, in theory, help with this protection, too. I had an inexpensive uke slide off its stand and hit the edge of the fretboard once and a fret lifted just a bit. I could hit the fret bar back down and did. I wonder if it would have been intact if it had a fretboard binging perhaps.

My KoAloha and KoAlana both have bound fretboards. It makes them nice and smooth. It would be a shame if it ever got hit hard enough to protect the frets. Make a mess of the binding.

thenewb
07-23-2014, 05:12 AM
Perhaps not having binding is a way for companies to save cost. I noticed that most ukulele companies don't put bindings on their entry level models.

But I am also curious as to how much labor (or machine time) is involved to apply bindings?

stevepetergal
07-23-2014, 05:27 AM
I'm sure this is the reason. The 4 K companies are all Hawaiian ukulele builders. The binding and other decorations are carryovers from the guitar business, and these companies were building just ukuleles for the Hawaiian market before all that crossover stuff effected the ukulele world (perhaps Ko'Olau and Kanile'a to a lesser degree). They all offer the fancy stuff, nowadays. It will be interesting to see how a potential decrease in sales will effect the availability (and cost) of all the different options.

wayfarer75
07-23-2014, 06:02 AM
By-the-by ... these mentions of "tortoise" bindings ... is this real tortoise/turtle shell or some kind of fancy wood or other material?

Genuinely interested :)

Not on any modern ukes--strictly plastic type stuff. Vintage ukes, they may have real tortoise shell, or it may be celluloid (my guess is that most vintage ukes don't have the real thing).

Yooke
07-23-2014, 06:07 AM
Here you go Yooke, what do you think of this binding? This is my Kanilea K4 Tenor.

Ah that's the stuff

Yooke
07-23-2014, 06:19 AM
Yooke, I never much thought of the lack of binding on the "K" brands -- the "tradition" that you note (and the looks without the binding, and the sound, especially) was what made me consider a Kanilea and KoAloha (and buy a KoAloha). The koa on my KoAloha is so beautiful to me that I think binding and such would detract from it.

Yeah, I think it may be the traditional ukulele look. I personally thought that you would bind the more expensive models (protection, aesthetics) and leave binding off for entry ukuleles (reduce cost).

If the K brands can afford quality Koa woods, binding material should be nothing to them, so now I believe its just their personal choice. Stevepetergal also made a great point. Thanks for all the answers.

DownUpDave
07-23-2014, 06:21 AM
Well, I, for one, was genuinely interested to know which of the apparent multitude of "K-Brand" instruments were considered to be "the big four".

I've got a Kala. For what I paid for it it's probably not one of these, but it does have binding ;) The chances of me ever seeing one of these fabled big four, let alone playing or owning one, are remote, but it might be interesting to at least know what other people are talking about.

By-the-by ... these mentions of "tortoise" bindings ... is this real tortoise/turtle shell or some kind of fancy wood or other material?

Genuinely interested :)

K brand refers to : Kamaka, Koaloha, Kanile'a and KoOlau. These are all hand made in Hawaii by companies started and operated in Hawaii. Seeing as they all start with K they got labeled "K brand".

Tortoise shell binding is made of plastic and looks like tortoise shell........kind of, guess it should be called faux tortoise shell

Yooke
07-23-2014, 06:23 AM
Tortoise shell binding is made of plastic and looks like tortoise shell........kind of, guess it should be called faux tortoise shell

Looks more like fire to me

river_driver
07-23-2014, 06:32 AM
By-the-by ... these mentions of "tortoise" bindings ... is this real tortoise/turtle shell or some kind of fancy wood or other material?

Genuinely interested :)

Not on any modern ukes--strictly plastic type stuff. Vintage ukes, they may have real tortoise shell, or it may be celluloid (my guess is that most vintage ukes don't have the real thing).

We had a thread on this a while ago:
http://forum.ukuleleunderground.com/showthread.php?89233-Tortoise-Binding-(Kanile-a-K3)&highlight=real+tortoise
Bottom line, real tortoise shell has never been used on ukes. Not legally, anyway.

PereBourik
07-23-2014, 06:37 AM
If I had to play like some of these bound and inlaid ukes look I'd be in big trouble. Keep my ukulele simple and we'll all be better off.

hawaii 50
07-23-2014, 06:59 AM
K brand refers to : Kamaka, Koaloha, Kanile'a and KoOlau. These are all hand made in Hawaii by companies started and operated in Hawaii. Seeing as they all start with K they got labeled "K brand".

Tortoise shell binding is made of plastic and looks like tortoise shell........kind of, guess it should be called faux tortoise shell

Kamaka has been around since 1916....
but 35 years ago Maui Music(Peter Lieberman) was one of the only other production ukulele makers in Hawaii he has been around for a while....

PereBourik
07-23-2014, 09:06 AM
There are other Hawaii-built ukuleles that are every bit as good as K-brands. I play an Imua that is plain and simple and sounds very good. It's built in Honolulu from some of the best Koa available.

What about Valley Made? G String?

Yooke
07-23-2014, 02:02 PM
Forget it Steve. I was responding to a complaint but realise now I was both mistaken and over-reacting. Cheers mate

Thanks for looking out for newbies. :o

Moore Bettah Ukuleles
07-23-2014, 02:09 PM
Got it, Jon. Thanks, yes.

One thing not yet mentioned is that a binding can protect the edge of the body of the instrument from dings, yooke. It may have a practical purpose in that regard. Some bindings are plastic, like tortoise imitation, and rugged.

A fretboard binding might, in theory, help with this protection, too. I had an inexpensive uke slide off its stand and hit the edge of the fretboard once and a fret lifted just a bit. I could hit the fret bar back down and did. I wonder if it would have been intact if it had a fretboard binging perhaps.

All binding is primarily functional but it can dress up an uke as well if that's your thing, especially when combined with (strictly decorative) purflings. As mentioned before, the binding materials are made of materials much harder than the body materials, protecting the edges from accidental dings and bumps. However, the primary function of fret board bindings as I see it is to prevent the fret ends from ever protruding over the edge of the fretboard in the event the fret board shrinks. In the process of binding a fret board, the fret tangs are removed from the ends to accommodate the bindings and the frets themselves are finished well within the edges of the board. Sharp fret ends can be painful to play, a condition seldom seen on fret boards that have been bound. It's about 10 X the work to build a bound fret board than an unbound one so naturally that will be reflected in the price. Like body and headstock bindings, many of the higher quality (and obviously more expensive) instruments will have them.

kypfer
07-23-2014, 09:07 PM
K brand refers to : Kamaka, Koaloha, Kanile'a and KoOlau. These are all hand made in Hawaii by companies started and operated in Hawaii. Seeing as they all start with K they got labeled "K brand".

Tortoise shell binding is made of plastic and looks like tortoise shell........kind of, guess it should be called faux tortoise shell

Thank you. I'll be able to pay due reverence where appropriate now ... and pleased to hear about the "tortoise shell" :)

mds725
07-24-2014, 07:39 AM
I just personally would like to see lighter trim because wood binding sort of blends in from a distance.

Darker trim can also provide contrast, as shown in the Moore Bettah ukulele on the left and the Beau Hannam ukulele on the right..

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