Who's not played a Kamaka soprano?

ripock

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I agree so much so I bought a Kamaka pineapple a few years back.
and after Petey got his pineapple, he suggested that I get a Kamaka super tenor. I followed his suggestion. I have it set up as re-entrant and I vastly prefer linear. It has no cutaway and I like to play up the neck. So, although I have set my Kamaka up with every disadvantage, I have to admit--even though my testimony is that of a hostile witness--that there is something special about the shimmering, the overtones, the echo and sustain. It is easy to play but also there is a tradition. As consumers we move forward with the vanguard and get the newest and shiniest innovations. So it feels good to me to take part in a 100 year old tradition that defies computers and miniturization and assembly lines. That means something to me who uses a straight razor and doesn't have a cell phone. The last point may not resonate with many people, although it resonates with my Kamaka because it is always resonating.
 

EDW

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love the enthusiasm for your nicest uke, but seriously, even though they look similar, Kamakas are on a whole 'nuther level from those student line Kiwayas
Not a student instrument here, but a nice comparison of Kiwaya and Kamaka

 

ukudancer

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Played one in a small town music store during a weekend getaway last year. It was nice, but not for me.
 

Joyful Uke

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Haven't played a Kamaka soprano, but have played Kamaka's concert sized ukulele (HF-2), and the Ohta San.

For those who aren't impressed with the Kamakas, I would suggest that a string change might make a huge difference. I don't like the stock Kamaka strings, (but others do), but think Uke Logic or Martin strings sound great on the HF-2. But, we all have different sounds that appeal to us, so it's not going to be for everyone. We're really fortunate to have so many choices.
 

clear

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I'm not likely to get access to a Kamaka any time soon... what's the awesomeness? Just curious.

The sound is just how I imagine a uke should sound like.

There's a certain sound that I associate with the uke: warm, mellow, punchy with a bit of shimmer and some clarity. Although we hear/interpret sounds a bit differently, see if you hear it in the strummed Kamaka soprano. It is a perfect match for those lazy days when you just feel like looking at gentle, glistening waves near the beach.

While on Waikiki and there's a concert going on, an old uke player decided to do a show and tell for us while waiting for the stage. (These kind gestures happen to us once a while because we have a disabled child.) His uke sounded great and matched my mental image of what ukes should sound like. At the time, we weren't able to stay for his stage performance; however, I remember all the kind gestures we've recieved over the years from strangers.

A couple of years later, I found music again and bought my first uke. It didn't sound like that old man's uke, but anyway, my son destroy that uke in a few days so that's the end of my first uke adventure.

Some more years later, I bought another uke (in fact, because of issues with this uke, I became a member here). Again, this uke didn't haev the sound, but I just attribute that to the player (plus, a lot of things only exist in my mind anyway and to ask for it in real life is just too arrogant).

As they say, the rest if history once you joined UU. Anyway, during this second uke incarnation, I get really into it (maybe its UU-induced UAS, but whatever, I'm pretty happy for everything that's happen). I went thru so many ukes the first year, it a bit scary. There was a period where I had 1 or 2 ukes show up at my door every week for a while. I didn't know why I was buying so many (maybe they are just so small and cute?), but one day, a Kamaka HF-1 arrived. And everything changed.

As soon as I strummed it, I knew it was something special. I've found that sound that I wasn't actively looking for because I didn't know I can make such sounds. Ha! I can make the same sound too and I'm nowhere near as a player as that kind, old Waikiki player :)

This got my blood flowing, I can actually produce the uke sounds I hear in my imagination. So, I started looking for a closer match to the sound by... of course... buying more ukes. None of them can beat the Kamaka soprano as the representative uke and how it should sould like. I've pretty much stopped shopping because I'm fairly satisfied (yeah, I wasn't initially satisfied with the Kamaka soparno, but after so many other ukes, I'm now fairly satisfied). The only time since was when I was thinking about buying a vintage Martin soprano (I've never tried a vintage Martin and maybe it'll be an even closer match. But my failed attempts made me pause and I'm kind of glad that somebody else bought it. Yes, see, that's how "fairly" satisfied I am with this Kamaka).

I don't claim that the Kamaka soprano is the right uke for you. I post to let you know that it is a uke that it worth trying out. Listen to the Youtube videos, they are pretty accurate as long as they keep the OEM strings (otherwise, I'd put out some demo videos). I can pick out the Kamaka soprano in various blind tests (there's been a couple here on UU); even once they put on different strings.

Try to get to a local uke club/jam, there's a good chance you can play one. They are pretty popular.
 

clear

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Old, or newer?

My 1st uke 14 years ago was an inherited 50s/60s gold label Kamaka soprano (in my avatar). It seemed a bit of a primitive build, with hand tooling marks in various places. I've heard they made lots of these, with many being sold to visiting tourists, like my world traveling Aunt, who gifted it to me much later, me being the only musical one in the family. As I remember, it sounded good, but not great, but I was a total noob, so what did I know? Later sold it to a local guy and UU'er.

The newer ones look great, much more refined, and I expect they play/sound better too....is that right?

I've never playing a vintage Kamaka soprano. So, I can only say that what I post relates to the new Kamakas.
 

Kenn2018

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Not a student instrument here, but a nice comparison of Kiwaya and Kamaka

Interesting video, but it's comparing a Mahogany Kiwaya with a Kamaka Koa soprano. It demonstrates the difference between the sound of Mahogany vs Koa. They both sound very nice. MIght point you to one or the other as worth looking at. It tells us little about Kiwaya vs. Kamaka.
 

EDW

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Since there was a mention here of the two, I thought it was valuable. It gives the listener some contrast. For those who think it is pointless, you can just ignore it, LOL
 

ploverwing

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The sound is just how I imagine a uke should sound like.

There's a certain sound that I associate with the uke: warm, mellow, punchy with a bit of shimmer and some clarity. Although we hear/interpret sounds a bit differently, see if you hear it in the strummed Kamaka soprano. It is a perfect match for those lazy days when you just feel like looking at gentle, glistening waves near the beach.

While on Waikiki and there's a concert going on, an old uke player decided to do a show and tell for us while waiting for the stage. (These kind gestures happen to us once a while because we have a disabled child.) His uke sounded great and matched my mental image of what ukes should sound like. At the time, we weren't able to stay for his stage performance; however, I remember all the kind gestures we've recieved over the years from strangers.

A couple of years later, I found music again and bought my first uke. It didn't sound like that old man's uke, but anyway, my son destroy that uke in a few days so that's the end of my first uke adventure.

Some more years later, I bought another uke (in fact, because of issues with this uke, I became a member here). Again, this uke didn't haev the sound, but I just attribute that to the player (plus, a lot of things only exist in my mind anyway and to ask for it in real life is just too arrogant).

As they say, the rest if history once you joined UU. Anyway, during this second uke incarnation, I get really into it (maybe its UU-induced UAS, but whatever, I'm pretty happy for everything that's happen). I went thru so many ukes the first year, it a bit scary. There was a period where I had 1 or 2 ukes show up at my door every week for a while. I didn't know why I was buying so many (maybe they are just so small and cute?), but one day, a Kamaka HF-1 arrived. And everything changed.

As soon as I strummed it, I knew it was something special. I've found that sound that I wasn't actively looking for because I didn't know I can make such sounds. Ha! I can make the same sound too and I'm nowhere near as a player as that kind, old Waikiki player :)

This got my blood flowing, I can actually produce the uke sounds I hear in my imagination. So, I started looking for a closer match to the sound by... of course... buying more ukes. None of them can beat the Kamaka soprano as the representative uke and how it should sould like. I've pretty much stopped shopping because I'm fairly satisfied (yeah, I wasn't initially satisfied with the Kamaka soparno, but after so many other ukes, I'm now fairly satisfied). The only time since was when I was thinking about buying a vintage Martin soprano (I've never tried a vintage Martin and maybe it'll be an even closer match. But my failed attempts made me pause and I'm kind of glad that somebody else bought it. Yes, see, that's how "fairly" satisfied I am with this Kamaka).

I don't claim that the Kamaka soprano is the right uke for you. I post to let you know that it is a uke that it worth trying out. Listen to the Youtube videos, they are pretty accurate as long as they keep the OEM strings (otherwise, I'd put out some demo videos). I can pick out the Kamaka soprano in various blind tests (there's been a couple here on UU); even once they put on different strings.

Try to get to a local uke club/jam, there's a good chance you can play one. They are pretty popular.
Thank you. I really love this story, thank you for sharing. I will keep an eye out for an opportunity to try a Kamaka, you never know, it might happen!
 

donboody

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Not a student instrument here, but a nice comparison of Kiwaya and Kamaka

Thanks for posting this! He plays them both beautifully. Hard to pick! Gotta give the edge to the Kamaka when he’s strumming, but I gotta prefer the Kiwaya in the picked sections. Most importantly, I am pleased to announce my KSU1L sounds pretty much exactly like the model he’s playing, or close enough for me, so I’m glad I didn’t spend the money!!
Seriously though there are some times in the strumming sections during the swap where the Kamaka sounds much more rich than the Kiwaya for sure. To the point where I thought “oh s** that sounds way better” for a second or two in one of the swaps hahah But I think the Kiwaya is more bell-like in the picked sections. It’s personal preference for sure, the Kamaka definitely rules too.
 

donboody

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The sound is just how I imagine a uke should sound like.

There's a certain sound that I associate with the uke: warm, mellow, punchy with a bit of shimmer and some clarity. Although we hear/interpret sounds a bit differently, see if you hear it in the strummed Kamaka soprano. It is a perfect match for those lazy days when you just feel like looking at gentle, glistening waves near the beach.

While on Waikiki and there's a concert going on, an old uke player decided to do a show and tell for us while waiting for the stage. (These kind gestures happen to us once a while because we have a disabled child.) His uke sounded great and matched my mental image of what ukes should sound like. At the time, we weren't able to stay for his stage performance; however, I remember all the kind gestures we've recieved over the years from strangers.

A couple of years later, I found music again and bought my first uke. It didn't sound like that old man's uke, but anyway, my son destroy that uke in a few days so that's the end of my first uke adventure.

Some more years later, I bought another uke (in fact, because of issues with this uke, I became a member here). Again, this uke didn't haev the sound, but I just attribute that to the player (plus, a lot of things only exist in my mind anyway and to ask for it in real life is just too arrogant).

As they say, the rest if history once you joined UU. Anyway, during this second uke incarnation, I get really into it (maybe its UU-induced UAS, but whatever, I'm pretty happy for everything that's happen). I went thru so many ukes the first year, it a bit scary. There was a period where I had 1 or 2 ukes show up at my door every week for a while. I didn't know why I was buying so many (maybe they are just so small and cute?), but one day, a Kamaka HF-1 arrived. And everything changed.

As soon as I strummed it, I knew it was something special. I've found that sound that I wasn't actively looking for because I didn't know I can make such sounds. Ha! I can make the same sound too and I'm nowhere near as a player as that kind, old Waikiki player :)

This got my blood flowing, I can actually produce the uke sounds I hear in my imagination. So, I started looking for a closer match to the sound by... of course... buying more ukes. None of them can beat the Kamaka soprano as the representative uke and how it should sould like. I've pretty much stopped shopping because I'm fairly satisfied (yeah, I wasn't initially satisfied with the Kamaka soparno, but after so many other ukes, I'm now fairly satisfied). The only time since was when I was thinking about buying a vintage Martin soprano (I've never tried a vintage Martin and maybe it'll be an even closer match. But my failed attempts made me pause and I'm kind of glad that somebody else bought it. Yes, see, that's how "fairly" satisfied I am with this Kamaka).

I don't claim that the Kamaka soprano is the right uke for you. I post to let you know that it is a uke that it worth trying out. Listen to the Youtube videos, they are pretty accurate as long as they keep the OEM strings (otherwise, I'd put out some demo videos). I can pick out the Kamaka soprano in various blind tests (there's been a couple here on UU); even once they put on different strings.

Try to get to a local uke club/jam, there's a good chance you can play one. They are pretty popular.
Love it!
 

donboody

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Thank you. I really love this story, thank you for sharing. I will keep an eye out for an opportunity to try a Kamaka, you never know, it might happen!
I ran into a Koaloha soprano 1 time at a guitar center. I couldn’t believe it! I live in Buffalo. We don’t see those often. I was so excited to try it! It was in pretty rough shape and it was old. The neck was in rough shape. I had a tuner but couldn’t get it up to tune. I’ll never forget picking it up tho! It was so light I asked another dude I didn’t know who was there to pick it up and hold it, compare the weight with other ukes. I took a bunch of pictures of it on my old phone. He asked if I came just to see that and I told him that no, I was just off work for the night and stopped in to browse. Ended up talking to him for 30 min til the store closed, talking about his job supervising some coral farm warehouse. We talked instruments, he has like 7 kids who all play instruments, 1 who plays uke. Haven’t seen him since. Didn’t get his name. Crazy night, the uke magic was in the air. On the way out I said to the worker “can’t believe you guys have a koaloha back there!” He looked at me like my head was one of the Uke Head NFTs.
 

Nickie

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My wife owns a Kamaka soprano. It's just not for me. I played a William King soprano a few times and liked it so much I wanted to buy it. Is that a fair comparison?
 

ploverwing

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I ran into a Koaloha soprano 1 time at a guitar center. I couldn’t believe it! I live in Buffalo. We don’t see those often. I was so excited to try it! It was in pretty rough shape and it was old. The neck was in rough shape. I had a tuner but couldn’t get it up to tune. I’ll never forget picking it up tho! It was so light I asked another dude I didn’t know who was there to pick it up and hold it, compare the weight with other ukes. I took a bunch of pictures of it on my old phone. He asked if I came just to see that and I told him that no, I was just off work for the night and stopped in to browse. Ended up talking to him for 30 min til the store closed, talking about his job supervising some coral farm warehouse. We talked instruments, he has like 7 kids who all play instruments, 1 who plays uke. Haven’t seen him since. Didn’t get his name. Crazy night, the uke magic was in the air. On the way out I said to the worker “can’t believe you guys have a koaloha back there!” He looked at me like my head was one of the Uke Head NFTs.
This is such a great story too!