I completely agree on the price. I hate the fact that Kamaka don't really have an intermediate price for their deluxe models. The standard models are all north of a grand so if the deluxe models were, say, 40% or 50% more expensive I could buy that (literally). But no, they're often double the price, sometimes even more so. I personally don't think they're worth the money unless you're a professional player. The deluxe models and beyond are also the only Kamaka models that have that nice nitro gloss finish. The standard models have a semi-gloss finish which isn't nearly as nice, in my opinion. If money was literally zero issue I'd definitely get one of these baritones, or a deluxe concert if I was going for regular tuning, but the value for me just isn't there.
Kamaka are a weird brand for me anyway. There is zero doubt about their quality, obviously, but I've just never really bonded with them. I had a Kamaka soprano which was completely the wrong instrument for me even though I'm mainly a soprano player. There's just something about that particular resonance of the Kamaka sound that doesn't sit right with me right. Quite recently I bought a Millar concert which emulates those very traditional types of ukes with nylon strings and a very warm sound, you know, like Kamaka do, and I immediately fell in love with it. Never had that with a Kamaka. I do want to give them another go though. Maybe if I get to go Hawaii some day I could try them out properly and figure out if they ultimately are for me or not.
The review was kind of an either or with me. I pointed out the finish flaws and tooling marks as not being an issue for me - because they are not. BUT.... for two and a half grand - I couldn't give Kamaka a bye on both elements. Those marks should not be there for that money. Either drop the price a bit as you say (and I think that is the right sort of markup over a standard) OR sort out the finishing. Can't have it both ways.
Still - a great instrument though - the resonance is on a level I don't think i've experienced before in 10 years of reviewing!
Thanks for the review. I had a chance to play a standard baritone at HMS store and when I was doing some picking my girlfriend said that I should buy it as apparently it made me sound so good. But alas I am not a baritone guy as I have several guitars. And I must say that I love the look of Deluxe appointments, and though the upcharge seems daunting it seems that there are enough people to buy them so the price may be justified from demand point of view. It's interesting that the rope design on ukes that cost a tenth of this is considered gaudy by some.
An entertaining review! Yep, Kamaka is the gold standard of production line ukuleles. It's by far the most popular of all the K brands (around here), though I like all of them. I do agree that the price is nuts for most people, but if I could afford a Kamaka, well, why not?
Buying a baritone to strum on is just plain crazy. I don't like them strummed either, it is a picker's instrument. Picking a nice bari like this would be fun, though.