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Thread: kamaka mo better???

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2017

    Default kamaka mo better???

    hi all

    i want to purchase solid wood ukulele
    dont want a starter ukulele

    i know that the big guitar manufacturers like martin, gibson, gretsch
    eastman all make ukuleles

    any other brands should i consider that are US made??

    i have heard that kamaka is "mo better"

    i play acoustic guitar classical and fingerstyle folk music

    thanks for any comments


  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2016
    Twin Cities Area, Minnesota


    Wow...this is a loaded question. There are so many good options today in the “Kamaka” price range as well as throughout the price ranges below it...solid wood at that.

    People tend to have preferences in what they like, just as with guitars. You’ll get a ton of suggestions here. I think that—for factory instruments—Kamaka, Kaniela, Ko’olau, KoAloha, and Kala Elite ukuleles would be at the top of the list, as well as Blackbird’s instruments for wood substitute instruments. Then you can work backwards to “middle level” instruments (often nothing “Middle” about them as they just are not made in Hawaii) such as Pono, KoAloha Opio, and many others, including Martin and well as various Obama’s, Kalas, Romero, and more. The choices are dizzying.

    I guess I would encourage you to do some listening—The Ukulele Site has audio samples of most of these and you can get ideas about sound of different ukuleles. Good luck on your process.
    Playing ukulele since January 2016.

    Have you participated in the thread, "How the Ukulele Found You?" If not, please consider adding your story--they are just fun to read.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2015
    under the palms in tempe, az


    Welcome to the forum. It all depends on what you want to spend. Kamaka, Kanile'a, Ko'olau, Ko' can't go wrong with any of the K brands, Kala too. Depending on your wallet, the sky's the limit. The important thing is getting an ukulele that's set up right. Check out HMS (, Mim's Ukes, Uke Republic. Watch videos and see what sound speaks to to you.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Salem area Oregon USA


    Good for you by going to the top. This way you might avoid UAS that many of us have, this might be the cure, justdon’t Jump into the big one without doing some research as noted in previous reply. Good hunting, EXCITING

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2015
    Chester, VT


    I tend to buy good used and prefer vintage instruments. I have an old post war Kamaka, an old pre war Martin and then a maybe 25 year old Mele. I reach for these before going for a couple of modern instruments. Choose your wood - then your preferred maker and try it out if you possibly can.

    PS decide what size you want - most people like tenors if they are guitar players and my "grail" instrument is a Kamaka tenor with a long neck.
    Kamaka pineapple soprano gold label - 1950s
    Kamaka custom soprano, gold label. 1960s?
    Koaloha Opio long neck soprano. 2016
    Mele pineapple soprano - koa and mahogany - modern
    Martin SO, modern, Mexico
    Mainland longneck concert pineapple
    No name concert in koa
    Kamaka tenor - 2002
    Mele, Braddah tenor 1990s
    Slingerland banjolele Maybell - 1920s

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Nov 2009


    I'm a big believer in buying the best you can afford, and for me that's definitely been Kamaka. While other K brands are equally good, I tend to prefer the sound and playability of Kamakas. If there's any possibility that you can try before you buy, it's worth the effort - ukes all have different sound and feel, even among identical models by the same manufacturer.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    San Francisco


    Going big huh I think all the k brands are great hawaii made ukuleles regardless of the size uke you get. Kamaka, Kanile'a, Ko’olau (only availalbe in custom so it will much more in cost), and KoAloha are great places to start. Expect to spend at least a $1,000 or more for any of those brands. I have a Kamaka HF-3 and love it. Not sure where you live but I would try one. They all feel different, have different nuts widths, different finishes and sound. If you don't live in place where you could try it, you could order from HMS (theukulelesite) to check out the sound, as others have stated. They also have a good return policy.
    Kamaka HF-3 w/Mi-Si Pickup "Kino" | KALA KA-ZTP-CTG w/LR Baggs 5.0 "Kine"
    Kala KA-ATP-CTG-CE - Low G

    "As usual, there is a great woman behind every idiot."
    - John Lennon

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 2016


    It really depends on your budget.

    If I could afford it, I'd get this. I've been very impressed with the Pohaku ukuleles that I've played...

    Or if I had even more money, I might get this...

    But I don't have that kind of money, so I have one of these, which I'm quite happy with...

    You can't really go wrong with Kamaka, Kanilea, or Koaloha, but it really does depend on your budget.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Mar 2014
    Pickering, ON, Canada


    As other have listed "made in USA" ukulele of great reputation include Kamaka, Koloha, Kanilea, Kala Elite and one not listed to consider is Larrivee. Any one of the K brand will be in the $1200 range and they will play and sound excellent while retaining good resell value

    Depending on how much you want to spend there are a number of custom builders in the $1500- $2000 range.
    Ukuleles.............yes please !!!!

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Apr 2015
    Toronto , Canada


    I too play finger style
    My suggestion is whatever brand you decide to buy, make sure the nut width is built wide enough for fingers picking!

    Please participate in our Mike Lynch tribute thread :

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