anyone own/have experience with upper end Kamaka tenors(Deluxe HF-3D/HF-3D2I) vs HF-3

darylcrisp

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well over a decade has passed that i owned at different periods a Kanilea slothead custom, two high end Breedloves, a luthier built tenor, and participated in trials of the early developement Ukes when John Kinnard started building.

probably 10 years ago i sold all those and have not had an Uke until a month ago. picked up a Kamaka HF-3 and its absolutely wonderful in every way. everything about it just works perfect for me.


i'm interested in acquiring one or two more. primarily play fingerstyle and not so much strumming. highly considering a 6 string tenor with the octave strings, thinking that might add a nice tone difference. i'm also considering one of the Deluxe models.


i prefer koa or cedar tops and not so much spruce. the Tenor Deluxe (HF-3D and the cedar top HF-3DC)interests me as does the slothead Deluxe 2 Ipuka (HF-3D2I). i know where a new HF-3D is for sale, i can not have hands on but the shop does have a trial with right to return no hassle policy.


if anyone has owned or owns these Deluxe models, are they simply more elaborate visual embellishments or do they actually tend to have a slight better tone performance than the standard HF-3?


and does anyone know where any are for sale, especially the slothead HF-3D2I?

**i know individual instruments vary irregardless of cost or adornment. i'm aware even if the Deluxe models are better in tone than my HF-3, i can't imagine they would be that much better. the other thought is, due to the much higher cost of any Deluxe model, i could procure nearly two Kamaka's that would definitely offer different flavors and playing experiences, such as a 6 string octave(HF-36) and a Concert long neck(HF-2L).

i'm not really interested in other brands or baritone.


thank you
d
 
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darylcrisp

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I have no personal experience with the higher end Kamaka tenors but these guys in Massachusetts have some inventory.

https://themusicemporium.com/collections/ukuleles

thanks, thats where i saw the Deluxe. i know these folks due to prev buys of mandolin, electrics, and acoustic guitars, real top notch shop with excellent customer service. that Deluxe is eye catchy for sure, but if its only looks and nothing more with tone over the HF-3 series i'm hard pressed to pay that amount. i do like the slot head tenor a lot.........really a lot. i'd pay the cost on one of those due to how it looks.

i can't find any others out there for sale, just TME Deluxe and TUS shows a slot head but it has a spruce top and i much prefer koa or cedar, so i'll keep looking, or maybe see if TME or Gryphons can order what i want. like to hear from some owners first though.

thank you for posting
d
 

Veritas99

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i can't find any others out there for sale, just TME Deluxe and TUS shows a slot head but it has a spruce top and i much prefer koa or cedar, so i'll keep looking, or maybe see if TME or Gryphons can order what i want. like to hear from some owners first though.

I can’t help you with sound quality, but Sylvan Music has a couple of deluxe cedar tops in stock and ukes.com (Bounty Music) has a deluxe slot head with pickup. Also, TUS got a huge shipment of Kamakas in a couple of weeks ago. I know they sold some of the deluxe models from that batch, but it’s probably worth an email in case they have one they haven’t posted yet. Good luck!
 

ripock

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I have an HF-3LDS and I think it lives up to the hype. I mostly play really high on the neck and it always rings out even on the 19th fret. On other ukes those notes get a bit muffled.
 

darylcrisp

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I can’t help you with sound quality, but Sylvan Music has a couple of deluxe cedar tops in stock and ukes.com (Bounty Music) has a deluxe slot head with pickup. Also, TUS got a huge shipment of Kamakas in a couple of weeks ago. I know they sold some of the deluxe models from that batch, but it’s probably worth an email in case they have one they haven’t posted yet. Good luck!

thanks for all this. i had forgotten about Sylvan, thats where i purchased the Kanilea slothead jeez probably 11 years ago.
d
 

darylcrisp

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I have an HF-3LDS and I think it lives up to the hype. I mostly play really high on the neck and it always rings out even on the 19th fret. On other ukes those notes get a bit muffled.

thank you, exactly what i'm looking for from an actual owner.
what does the LDS stand for? I haven't saw that in my search.
care to post a picture so we could see it-total front?
d
 

ripock

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hungarian_minor.jpghungarian_minor.jpgIMG_0550.jpg

I think the LDS stands for Longneck Deluxe Spruce.
 
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This thread strikes a nice chord with me because it echoes my own personal experience with a HF-3 I bought earlier this year. There must be something about the latest batches from Kamaka! I really like mine. I have similar preference of cedar over spruce (not always but most of the time), and also prefer finger style over strumming sing-a-long.

As far as regards availability of the slothead HF-3D2I, there's a nice once currently for sale at the Ukulele Lab, which is based on the same island on which Kamakas are made:

https://www.ukulelelab.com/product/kamaka-hf-3d2i-deluxe-2-slothead-tenor-201805

You can buy it and put me out of my own misery! Fwiw, I've bought several Koalohas from the owner of Ukulele Lab and have enjoyed every one I've bought.

I've also looked into the difference between the "regular" HF-3 and HF-3D2si. Tekla at Kamaka replied that the one difference is the kerfed lining inside the HF-3D2si. No idea have I if the lining makes any difference tonally. If you care to venture further (and want to spend the funds to take you there), the "Jake blue" model looks similar though has different bracing.
 
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Kekani

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I spent a LOT of time with a Spruce/Koa built by Casey, and I’ve played Bryan Tolentino’s slotted head with Gilberts and LRBaggs Hex. Bottom line, if there’s one builder I’d love to have in my quiver, its Casey. Of course, Chris isn’t too shabby either. I’ve had a Kamaka Standard all my life, and got ahold of a Tenor about 20 years ago. Not unlike KoAloha, their customs are in an entirely different world.
 
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darylcrisp

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This thread strikes a nice chord with me because it echoes my own personal experience with a HF-3 I bought earlier this year. There must be something about the latest batches from Kamaka! I really like mine. I have similar preference of cedar over spruce (not always but most of the time), and also prefer finger style over strumming sing-a-long.

As far as regards availability of the slothead HF-3D2I, there's a nice once currently for sale at the Ukulele Lab, which is based on the same island on which Kamakas are made:

https://www.ukulelelab.com/product/kamaka-hf-3d2i-deluxe-2-slothead-tenor-201805

You can buy it and put me out of my own misery! Fwiw, I've bought several Koalohas from the owner of Ukulele Lab and have enjoyed every one I've bought.

I've also looked into the difference between the "regular" HF-3 and HF-3D2si. Tekla at Kamaka replied that the one difference is the kerfed lining inside the HF-3D2si. No idea have I if the lining makes any difference tonally. If you care to venture further (and want to spend the funds to take you there), the "Jake blue" model looks similar though has different bracing.

that slot head is exactly the model i like(of course it is, and of course it costs a bundle). thats a very nice looking deluxe they have there also, some of the Deluxe models i've found don't look this good overall, this one has a nice deep grain and color to it. any chance you played this one:
https://www.ukulelelab.com/product/kamaka-hf-3d-gloss-finish-deluxe-tenor-201776

i have considered a Koaloha tenor as well, never had one in hand. they look good and videos i've watched they definitely have a nice tone for fingerstyle. that would definitely not duplicate what my HF-3 is, and would save a bundle (but dang that slotted Kamaka looks like a Ferrari just sitting there). i did just sell two electric guitars so i have enough to cover the slot head.........i may give these folks a call.

thank you for the lead on this place. they have some nice interesting stuff for sure.

based on which ever one has the best tone, the slot head and that Deluxe all koa could fit in well. that 25th anniv Koaloha tenor could work fine also-i'm not going to count it out.

d
 
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darylcrisp

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I spent a LOT of time with a Spruce/Koa built by Casey, and I’ve played Bryan Tolentino’s slotted head with Gilberts and LRBaggs Hex. Bottom line, if there’s one builder I’d love to have in my quiver, its Casey. Of course, Chris isn’t too shabby either. I’ve had a Kamaka Standard all my life, and got ahold of a Tenor about 20 years ago. Not unlike KoAloha, their customs are in an entirely different world.

thank you for the incentive and reply
d
 

ghostrdr

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I have a HF-3D2I and a HF-3D and can tell you both instruments sound amazing and well balanced. They sound better Low G and sound better with fluorocarbons. I will also say that I have HB-2D which also sounds great. I don’t have a standard HF-3 to compare it to, but when I bought the HF-3D, the store employee was nice enough to record a video of multiple HF-3s and the one HF-3D they had in stock and he said something to the effect that he doesn’t know what Kamaka did but the deluxe model just has a little something extra in terms of sound.

Good luck!
 

darylcrisp

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I have a HF-3D2I and a HF-3D and can tell you both instruments sound amazing and well balanced. They sound better Low G and sound better with fluorocarbons. I will also say that I have HB-2D which also sounds great. I don’t have a standard HF-3 to compare it to, but when I bought the HF-3D, the store employee was nice enough to record a video of multiple HF-3s and the one HF-3D they had in stock and he said something to the effect that he doesn’t know what Kamaka did but the deluxe model just has a little something extra in terms of sound.

Good luck!

thank you for posting, this is the type of info i'm needing to hear. i do know the videos of the 3D2I that the boyz at hawaiimusicsupply have on youtube really impressed me-that one definitely had something extra going on. they had a HF-3 that also was just excellent, but the 3D2I had the whole package, it resonated, was balanced, and of course just looks like some sort of Navy Seal of the Uke world.

and ironic that you mention your HB-2D, i found one tonight that has amazing beautiful koa and cedar top, its one of the best looking Ukes i think i've seen in this search. i pulled up some video and wow, those do sound really deep and full for fingerstyle. i was planning on calling about it tomorrow, and there you mentioned yours. i like this also because its very different and the shape looks like it would be very comfortable to hold.

d
 
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ghostrdr

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thank you for posting, this is the type of info i'm needing to hear. i do know the videos of the 3D2I that the boyz at hawaiimusicsupply have on youtube really impressed me-that one definitely had something extra going on. they had a HF-3 that also was just excellent, but the 3D2I had the whole package, it resonated, was balanced, and of course just looks like some sort of Navy Seal of the Uke world.

d

I’m not as good as Kalei or Corey, but I can make you a sound sample if you want. My Kamaka ukes are not as curly or crunchy as some of those others, but they sound pretty good. I think they have it dialed in pretty good
 

darylcrisp

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I’m not as good as Kalei or Corey, but I can make you a sound sample if you want. My Kamaka ukes are not as curly or crunchy as some of those others, but they sound pretty good. I think they have it dialed in pretty good

that would be AWESOME to hear some sound samples. post here if you want too as i bet other folks would love to hear the different models.
if you don't want to post here, PM and i'll send you my email.

thank you so much for proposing this. can't wait to hear them.
d
 

ghostrdr

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that would be AWESOME to hear some sound samples. post here if you want too as i bet other folks would love to hear the different models.
if you don't want to post here, PM and i'll send you my email.

thank you so much for proposing this. can't wait to hear them.
d

I sent you a pm with my email
 
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You're very welcome!

Well... not to be nosy but the HD-3D2i did sell over the last couple of days. Did you make a move on any of the choices? Just curious


thank you for the lead on this place. they have some nice interesting stuff for sure.

based on which ever one has the best tone, the slot head and that Deluxe all koa could fit in well. that 25th anniv Koaloha tenor could work fine also-i'm not going to count it out.

d