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Thread: Kamaka Questions

  1. #1
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    Default Kamaka Questions

    I've wondered about the differences - aside from the big price difference - between the standard and deluxe versions of Kamakas. Is there a difference in sound?

    Using the HF-2 as an example, there is the HF-2, the HF-2D, the HF-2DI, (and the long neck, but I get the difference there.)

    Is the difference with the deluxe models simply the bling, (and in the case of the I version, the slothead?)

    Would the fancier models sound any different, or is the extra cost for the appearance only? (And obviously, the extra materials and work that goes into that.)

    Additional questions, that probably no one knows the answers to, but some might have their own guesses:

    As koa becomes less available, (I think that's happening, correct?), is there any expectation that Kamaka might start building with different woods? Currently, AFAIK, they're either all koa, or koa with a cedar or spruce top.

    I also wonder if they'll refigure their builds to make it easier to deal with CITES?

    It seems to me like there are fewer Kamakas on the market right now. Places like HMS, Mims, Elderly and others don't have any, and most haven't had any in a while, (who me, looking? LOL) Is this usual? Is Kamaka taking a well deserved break after the anniversary models? There are a few still out there for sale, but it seems to me like there aren't as many.

    I'm not sure why I've been looking, since I have a great one, but since I like that one so much, I guess I've been wondering if there is another model that I'd love, too. (UAS is real. LOL.)

  2. #2
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    Default

    I don’t think the fancier models would sound very different; mostly you’re getting nicer looking wood and the binding/rosette. Unless you get a cedar or spruce model, I suppose.

    Gryphon Strings, Willcutt Guitars, Dusty Strings and The Music Emporium all have Kamakas on their websites. They’re out there. Go through the list of dealers on the Kamaka webpage, and see what you can find! Also, I believe if you ask HMS to get you one, they can snag them and they wouldn’t put it on the website. I am not in the market myself, but someday, maybe I’ll get an Ohta-San!

    I do know that the company was moving at one point, so that may have interrupted production?
    Last edited by wayfarer75; 05-30-2018 at 10:44 AM.
    Laura

    Haʻina ʻia mai ana ka puana

  3. #3
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    Thanks. I was guessing that the deluxe models might not have much of an edge in sound, but wanted to ask those more knowledgeable.

    I had a bad experience with one of the 4 sellers that you mentioned and wouldn't buy from them again, but the other 3 are possibilities. Thanks.

    It seemed like HMS, Mims, Elderly and others used to frequently have Kamakas as well, so I've been surprised that stock seems to be in short supply, but maybe I just hadn't paid close attention in the past. Moving the business makes sense as an explanation.

  4. #4
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    I haven't bought from any of the 4 sellers I listed, sorry you had a bad experience with one. I know it's hard to trust in an online seller, but sometimes it seems there are only a couple of uke sellers ever mentioned here. I do think putting a word in with someone you've bought from already could be a good idea--not everything HMS sells is on their website, that's for certain.
    Laura

    Haʻina ʻia mai ana ka puana

  5. #5
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    Elderly currently has 7 Kamakas for sale of various sizes & prices. Penny Lane has 8 models for sale. Reverb has a lot of new & used Kamakas. I realize buying from Reverb has a higher “risk factor” & no guarantee of a well set up ukulele.
    Last edited by RafterGirl; 05-30-2018 at 02:46 PM.
    My ukulele family.....
    KoAloha Koa concert - circa 2006
    aNueNue Moon Bird concert - Spruce & Rosewood - 2018
    Blackbird Clara - 2019
    Cocobolo concert - 2019

  6. #6
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    Ukulele Friend has a never sold 2016 longneck cedar-topped Deluxe concert for $2,550:

    http://ukulelefriend.com/ukes/kamaka...ncert-ukulele/

    Were I in the market for a Kamaka, that would be very tempting to me.
    More an appreciator of the ukulele than a true player. My motto is: "Don't matter how good it ring if it ain't got some bling."

    Doubt is not a pleasant condition, but certainty is absurd.—Voltaire

    Curious about the relative importance of tonewood vs. the luthier? See Luthiers for a Cause to learn more!

  7. #7
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    I was just looking at HF2s when I posted, so of course, I overlooked all the other Kamakas out there. My statement did misrepresent the overall picture, I'm sure. The Elderly listings, though, are mostly out of stock. They do expect more in later this summer, though.

    I never think to look at Reverb, I think because of the risk factor, but that is a good suggestion, too.

    It all gives me more time to see where my UAS takes me, which could be somewhere else completely. LOL.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Joyful Uke View Post
    I was just looking at HF2s when I posted, so of course, I overlooked all the other Kamakas out there. My statement did misrepresent the overall picture, I'm sure. The Elderly listings, though, are mostly out of stock. They do expect more in later this summer, though.

    I never think to look at Reverb, I think because of the risk factor, but that is a good suggestion, too.

    It all gives me more time to see where my UAS takes me, which could be somewhere else completely. LOL.
    My recent Reverb experience went very well. I had been looking for a nice soprano with certain parameters in nut size, finish, tuners, etc. I found a mint condition Imua soprano that fit the bill and was located at a guitar shop in an adjacent state. The original price was a bit out of my range, so I made an offer and it was accepted. The seller was quick with communication and quick to ship. The uke arrived in a few days with very good packaging. It was in 100% mint condition and exactly as represented by the seller. Sellers on Reverb have ratings & you can read the comments of other buyers as well. Still a risk, but the reward in my case was worth it.

    Good luck in your search.
    My ukulele family.....
    KoAloha Koa concert - circa 2006
    aNueNue Moon Bird concert - Spruce & Rosewood - 2018
    Blackbird Clara - 2019
    Cocobolo concert - 2019

  9. #9
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    I suspect that Reverb is a dangerous place for anyone with UAS, but I may have to browse it anyway. :-)

    Elderly expects to get 3 more HF2s in later this summer, (they didn't have the exact dates), and I've had good experiences with them, so maybe I'll try putting UAS aside for now, (as if that's possible!)

    It still surprises me that HMS, Mims, and other don't have any, but maybe I just thought they were for sale more frequently than they really were.

  10. #10

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    Hi,

    John here from Avenue Guitars (formally Tejon Street Music). We currently 14 Kamakas in stock, with 4 HF2s.
    https://www.avenueguitars.com/collec...amaka-ukuleles.

    Thanks for looking!
    Best,
    John

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