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Thread: I'm looking to step up from my kamaka tenor

  1. #1
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    Aug 2017
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    Default I'm looking to step up from my kamaka tenor

    Thinking moore bettah or mya-moe. Does anyone else have any suggestions?

  2. #2
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    Dec 2010
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    Check it Noah ukuleles. I have just purchased a spruce topped tenor and it is superb in sound looks and build.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by jdavani View Post
    Thinking moore bettah or mya-moe. Does anyone else have any suggestions?
    What is it about the Kamaka that you want to improve Upon?

    At this level you probably should try them first to find the one you want to keep.



    Quote Originally Posted by Camsuke View Post
    There's a Moore Bettah Tenor for sale in the marketplace that may be of interest https://forum.ukuleleunderground.com...eadstock-Tenor
    I'm not in touch with Chuck but given that he has had to leave his home/workshop due to the Hawaii volcano there may not be any new Moore Bettah's coming for a while.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by jdavani View Post
    Thinking moore bettah or mya-moe. Does anyone else have any suggestions?
    Chuck Moore does not put people on a waiting list so other then finding a used one pretty much a no go. Mya Moe is no longer making ukuleles under Gordon and Char, again a used market deal. Although a new owner is starting it back up.

    Custom builder that will take your orders, Koolau, I'iwi, Hive, Kinnard, LfdM (through HMS) Beau Hannam among many others. Is your Kamaka all koa, do you want to try something more guitar like ie soft wood top and hard wood back. Do you have a tonal preference.....warm and soft and delicate or bright, loud and powerful.
    Currently enjoying these ukuleles : *LdfM tenor, *LfdM 19" super tenor. *LfdM baritone, *I'iwi tenor , *Koolau tenor, *Webber tenor, *Kimo tenor, *Kimo super concert, *Mya Moe baritone, *Kamaka baritone, *Gianinni baritone, *Fred Shields super soprano, *Kala super soprano, *Loprinzi super soprano, *Black bear ULO concert , *Enya X1 concert, *Enya X1 pineapple soprano, *Gretsch tenor, *Korala plastic concert

  5. #5
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    The good news is that there is no shortage of builders making premium ukuleles-- in addition to the ones listed by DownUpDave above, I would add Maui Music (Peter Lieberman), Barron River (Allen McFarlen), Compass Rose (Rick Turner), Eric DeVine, Jason Wolverton, Dave Talsma, and Pohaku (Peter Hurney).

    In my own experience, I own or have owned ukes by Luis Feu de Mesquita, Chuck Moore, Compass Rose, Maui Music, Mya Moe, Pohaku, and a custom-built uke by Dave Talsma. I also had the opportunity to play a John Kinnard uke for a week during a mail-around he did a few years back. Each and every one of these was an excellent instrument, but they were all quite different.

    What does it mean to upgrade from a Kamaka? A Kamaka is a very high quality instrument. What is the goal? Better tone? I suspect you will get different tone from another builder, but better is subjective. A prettier uke? Nothing wrong with that, although my Mya-Moe was one of the plainest-looking ukes I've ever owned. Magical fairy dust? I've heard it happens

    I will say this: despite having owned some wonderful ukes, my Dave Talsma uke is my prized possession, because I worked closely with Dave on the design, followed the build closely, and even had a couple of my own ideas incorporated into the design (or at least Dave made me feel like they were my ideas ). Not only is it a very fine musical instrument, it's a constant reminder of the thrill of being part of the creative process and something that was built just for me.
    Last edited by RichM; 07-17-2018 at 04:38 AM. Reason: typos



  6. #6
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    I take it you've swapped out the black kamaka strings? that from what I've heard would be a significant step up alone...

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pete F View Post
    I take it you've swapped out the black kamaka strings? that from what I've heard would be a significant step up alone...
    Yes this. Swap out the standard strings before you decide that its not for you and want to sell it.

  8. #8
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    If I were you, I would give Dave Talsma a call. Check out his web site.

  9. #9
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    As others have alluded to, there is not a lot of upgrading from a Kamaka in terms of a well made trditional Hawaiian ukulele. Some people have built a career playing one. As already mentioned, changing the original strings might improve the tone. And if you don't play out with others, tuning down from C to B also gives a new perspective.

    That said, there are upgrades, so to speak, if you are looking for a non-traditional Hawaiian sound. Different tone woods (redwood, cedar, spruce, etc.), build features such as side ports, bevels, radius fretboards are typical options that you may want to consider if you are going to pony up for a more expensive ukulele. And not every custom is ends up tuned to C.

    A lot of luthier suggestions were given, but you should try to figure out what you want over what you have.

    John

  10. #10
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    Tuning is important to as well as the strings. I'm not really keen on the sound of any tenor ukulele using fluorocarbon strings in standard tuning.

    I play low G Nylguts tuned down to A# usually and sometimes B. A completely different sound like this. Not the classic Hawaii sound.

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