My top picks and licks of the Namm 2012

MGM

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Best in show. Kamaka custom humu humu tenor
Runner up: Da Silvia's James Hill model
Honorable mention (had the most buzz but definetly not the best) Taylor guitars Tenor ukulele

Best new innovation: Lanikai intouke system designed by Drew Lewis of lanikai

Best ukulele display booth visually from marketing standpoint : Kala

Best overall Uke booth for display of fine ukes and friendliest staff: Kanliea

Worst new try at starting up a uke line: Kumalae ukulele?....Cort guitar with their ukulele line was close second with their ukes not even tuned up after 2 days of the show

Anyone go...? What were your picks
M

ukulele company run by uke lovers...Kiwaya/takumi ukulele
 
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Plainsong

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If a company takes a brand with a heritage, like Kumalae, it would go better for them if they actually did business in such a way that the heritage mattered. Just look at Stowa in the watch world. It had a heritage and the guy in charge now has taken that and made it better.

Anyway, since we learned nothing of them, how about Rick Turner and his NAMM built pineapple. :D
 

Dougf

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Great picks, Mike, sorry I missed the Da Silva.

I would add Aldrine's signature ukulele from Kanilea. Stunningly beautiful koa, and the entire series will come from the same log.

Also Moku Ukuleles, right next door. His spruce and mahogany line is made in Vietnam to his design specs. I played one of each, both felt and sounded great, but each had its own distinct sound.
 
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Dougf

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Anyway, since we learned nothing of them, how about Rick Turner and his NAMM built pineapple. :D

I talked with Rick, he's doing great, but very busy. He helped put together the NAMM museum display, right next to his build area. Here's part of the display:

namm museum.jpg
 

manapualabs

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Also Moku Ukuleles, right next door. His spruce and mahogany line is made in Vietnam to his design specs. I played one of each, both felt and sounded great, but each had its own distinct sound.

Moku `Ukuleles are based in SF, so hopefully they'll be easily accessible to those of us in the SF Bay Area.
 

Plainsong

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There was a picture elsewhere on the internet about Gretsch showing off some ukes at NAMM. Were they so bad that no one here speaks of them, or we're they in a dark corner, hidden out of fear of attracting us ukulele people? :)
 

Rick Turner

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Recovering from NAMM...

Doing the Museum of Making Music booth was really great, and the workbench at NAMM thing was something I'll repeat next year. I really enjoy the show and tell aspect of our lutherie craft. I should have had "Build a Uke in 4 Days" brochures there, but I barely got the workbench done in time for the show, much less any literature. Next year I'll probably bring down some regular Compass Rose parts to assemble, bend more sides, etc.

For next year's Museum booth, we're considering reprising highlights of some of the special exhibits we've put together over the past few years, and then we're cooking up some other ideas to help bring small shop instrument makers into the whole scene.
 

surfink

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Thanks Rick, nice chatting with you on Friday..I thought you and your setup were one of the highlights of the show this year...Casey
 

Rick Turner

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This portable build and repair bench is going to be a regular thing for me at shows like this and also for the Strawberry Music Festivals when my pal Matt Bohn and I transition into running the lutherie concession there. I should be able to get things fine tuned to do a complete build or several; worst case I have some parts where I do the machining part here at my shop but have ukes in different stages to show off. Especially cool was being able to bend sides at NAMM.

I'm going to put one of the ukes I was working on together and donate it to the Museum of Making Music as a fun(d) raising thing.
 

haolebrownie

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Any chance of adding a picture or two of each of your picks? I know it is kinda lazy, but it would be cool to see each one without hunting through a bunch of other pictures in different threads. Thanks!
 

Dougf

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Any chance of adding a picture or two of each of your picks? I know it is kinda lazy, but it would be cool to see each one without hunting through a bunch of other pictures in different threads. Thanks!

I didn't get a shot of the Moku display, or Aldrine's signature uke, but here's one of the Kamoa hollow body electrics.

kamoa.jpg

I played one, definitely cool, but the tension and feel of the steel strings threw me off a bit. It would take me a while to really get used to it.
 

Dougf

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Any word on price and availability on those bad boys?

I think he said the hand carved hollow body electrics would be in the $1000 range. They also have a lower end model, I suppose the non-hand carved version.
 

haolebrownie

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I didn't get a shot of the Moku display, or Aldrine's signature uke, but here's one of the Kamoa hollow body electrics.

I played one, definitely cool, but the tension and feel of the steel strings threw me off a bit. It would take me a while to really get used to it.

Thanks. It sounds like it would feel different just from the sense I get from going back and worth between my guitars and ukes.
 

Plainsong

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Yeah, what's wrong with the Gretsch ukes that no one talks about them? I don't mean that sarcastically, I just genuinely don't know. The concert looks sweet.
 

seneystretch

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Makai?

What happened to the Makai brand? Was the business closed, I don't see them much for sale anymore?

I have the concert simi-maple. It has a great bright loud sound, and the tiger maple veneer is just outstandingly beautiful. The light and dark bands switch in changing light. Nice tortoise shell binding and whatever that finish is, it's tough; my coffee table should have a finish that tough. My little group has a few other Makais and they are all very nice, for about $150.

I read somewhere the key people went off to different projects, Moku perhaps. Anyway, the people who put the Makai ukes together are sharp and I hope they stay in the business.
 

Uke Republic

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Makai is still around. They just got a shipment of all their models in a week ago. Great bargains. They were designed by Mike Mulqueen of Moku ukulele co. in San Fran
What happened to the Makai brand? Was the business closed, I don't see them much for sale anymore?

I have the concert simi-maple. It has a great bright loud sound, and the tiger maple veneer is just outstandingly beautiful. The light and dark bands switch in changing light. Nice tortoise shell binding and whatever that finish is, it's tough; my coffee table should have a finish that tough. My little group has a few other Makais and they are all very nice, for about $150.

I read somewhere the key people went off to different projects, Moku perhaps. Anyway, the people who put the Makai ukes together are sharp and I hope they stay in the business.