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Thread: NUD: Pineapple Sunday six string

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
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    Default NUD: Pineapple Sunday six string

    Well here is a NUD thread I never expected to get to post, but I never imagined I'd get to tell this kind of story. I'm not religious at all but I've always kept an eye on how the universe tends to come together like clockwork in certain ways, and its experiences like these that allow me to feel truly grateful for this little instrument we all adore.

    A few weeks ago my partner and I got married, and we celebrated our honeymoon with two weeks on Oahu, staying in a little AirBnB in the middle of Waikiki off Kuhio and soaking in the beach every morning and all the different foods for most of the rest of each day. The whole trip I knew I had clearance to buy one ukulele, and I knew it would be Hawaiian, and I had a vague idea that it would be fun if that one ukulele happened to be an old Kamaka pineapple, but I wasn't going to rule anything out besides another tenor -- I've got that size figured out.

    One morning we decided it would be the factory tour day and headed down to the manufacturer of my tenor and the oldest builder on the island: Kamaka. I was thrilled that the tour was started by 95-year-old Fred Sr, and it was great to meet the current generation and see the facility operating in full swing. There are a few threads which detail the tour, and if you're on the island and haven't gone I'd highly recommend, however I'm doing it no justice at all because of how the rest of the day went.

    After Kamaka, we had to run a couple of errands at the big mall in Honolulu, Ala Moana, and it happens that KoAloha's factory is right down the road so we decided to go there at our own pace whenever we wrapped up our errands. As it happened, by the time we ended our errands and walked into the factory, we just happened to be 20 minutes into the start of their tour, which on that day happened to be given by Pops Okami himself. (Cue look of shock on this white boy's face, as a pleasant but clueless group of cruise ship tourists look on). I nudge my partner and try to surreptitiously convey the importance of this energetic little guy in front of us ("Babe, that's Pops!") before he shakes our hands and introduces himself and I geek out for half a second about, specifically, the Pineapple Sunday. He is kind of taken aback and tells us to come find him after the tour wraps up, which we do (the KoAloha tour is ALSO very cool, and worthy of its own thread, and TOTALLY worth going to on the same day as another factory because they're all so different).

    What ensued was, no joke, two hours of my husband and I hanging out with Pops, hearing the story of the first Pineapple Sunday, getting to play his personal prototype AND his personal pyrography Pineapple Sunday that he calls his Stradivarius, and some of the prototypes for his upcoming masterpiece designs, custom builds...and as we talk I'm coming to the understanding that this guy puts his whole being into everything that he designs and builds. He wants to create a pineapple ukulele, but it can't just be a "pineapple-inspired" ukulele, it has to make you automatically think "that's a pineapple!". He wants a body style to stand out, notices people have loved his headstock design, so why don't we make a uke out of that? Celebrating the 50's? Clearly, make a uke out of a Jukebox. He is a mad scientist, and an innovator, and a tinkerer, a great singer, and has a really great ear, and it's wild to see all of those qualities come together in a person that is as humble and vulnerable as Pops is willing to be.

    After I came away from that conversation I was left with two feelings: that I wanted to buy an instrument build by Pops' hands and mind; and that I am grateful that these two builders, Kamaka and KoAloha, both exist and carry their spirits forward in their unique ways.

    Obviously, the man made a few offers that I found it incredibly difficult to weigh, but a few days later we ended up heading up to the north shore to spend half the day in Haleiwa, which means a stop by Hawaii Music Supply AKA The Ukulele Site. After a few minutes of aimlessly browsing, my eyes caught a Pineapple Sunday hanging there....but was it a six string? Huh, I've never heard of a six string Pineapple Sunday before....wonder what it sounds like?

    It took one strum and everything felt so right: the octave C and A strings give it a really full and rich blooming tone and the koa keeps it nice and warm. The balance and feel of the instrument just clicked perfectly, and I walked out of HMS that day with my personal holy grail of a ukulele. I play songs like "Air" by Taimane and the octave strings lend themselves to chiming, ringing overtones, and can transition to things like "Landslide" where the soft discordance between the octaves give it that amazing 12-string sound. I spent the rest of the honeymoon strumming this on the lanai every sunrise and sunset, getting to know the little nuances in the wood and getting used to the feel of the extra tone, and after having spent a couple of weeks with it now I can say it's every bit as addictive as I was hoping it would be. It's different enough from my tenor that I frequently switch between both between songs on the couch, and it's so fun to have such a different type of tone available.

    Most of all though, I've enjoyed the faces of friends I've played for so far. First the wry smiles at the outrageousness of the looks of the thing, then the open astonishment at the sound of it paired with the looks. I'm going to attempt to record some sound samples soon, but for now the pictures will have to do!





    -Ben

    KoAloha Pineapple Sunday 6 String
    Kamaka HF-3 Tenor
    1928 Harmony Johnny Marvin
    Ohana TK-39
    c. 1970's Hikare Baritone
    Gretsch G9100
    Outdoor Ukulele Soprano #43


    Videos

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    Boulder, CO!
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    Default

    Just to add on to the above, I ended up following up with Pops about this one since it is so particular with the six strings, and he was able to share a little bit of information about it. Shortly after launching the model, Paul Okami converted one of the bodies that was bound to be a super-concert into a six string, and Pops loved it. He ended up keeping the prototype built by his son, and built maybe a half dozen other six stringers before focusing on the four string models. So it's both a little fun and a little sad to think about only a few of these ukuleles floating around the world, when it seems like such a natural fit for six strings!
    -Ben

    KoAloha Pineapple Sunday 6 String
    Kamaka HF-3 Tenor
    1928 Harmony Johnny Marvin
    Ohana TK-39
    c. 1970's Hikare Baritone
    Gretsch G9100
    Outdoor Ukulele Soprano #43


    Videos

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Port Hueneme, CA
    Posts
    533

    Default

    Okay, I’ve got of of those half dozen. Went back and forth using a high G vs low one. I’ve settled with the high G but everything else I have has a low so it sounds super different to me. I had a regular 4 string Pineapple Sunday but sold it and found I missed having it. (Love the look) Saw a used 6 string on Underground and the rest is history. I find it works nicely for strumming.
    Enjoy!

  4. #4

    Default

    Wow congrats.
    K
    Sopranos, Concerts, and Tenors including Baritone body at a Tenor Scale - 4 String, 5 String and 8 String :-)
    For Sale: Seagull Nylon String
    For Sale: National Mahogany Resonator
    For Sale: Gold Tone Resonator

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2017
    Location
    Confluence of the Mississippi and Rum Rivers
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    184

    Default

    Sounds like a wonderful time! Beautiful wall of sound you have there! With stories behind ever one I'm sure.........the bliss of life.....

  6. #6

    Default

    Wait, we've seen the pictures. Now for the sound :-). Please post a video or a sound clip. Please.
    K
    Sopranos, Concerts, and Tenors including Baritone body at a Tenor Scale - 4 String, 5 String and 8 String :-)
    For Sale: Seagull Nylon String
    For Sale: National Mahogany Resonator
    For Sale: Gold Tone Resonator

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    Boulder, CO!
    Posts
    386

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by quiltingshirley View Post
    Okay, I’ve got of of those half dozen. Went back and forth using a high G vs low one. I’ve settled with the high G but everything else I have has a low so it sounds super different to me. I had a regular 4 string Pineapple Sunday but sold it and found I missed having it. (Love the look) Saw a used 6 string on Underground and the rest is history. I find it works nicely for strumming.
    Enjoy!
    Thank you! Your posts definitely came up when I was trying to find out any info about the six string version, so that's fun we've got a couple of them accounted for. I was thinking about switching to a low G but since I've got my tenor in a low G right now I feel like I should ride out the low A on the Pineapple. It's definitely a great strummer!
    -Ben

    KoAloha Pineapple Sunday 6 String
    Kamaka HF-3 Tenor
    1928 Harmony Johnny Marvin
    Ohana TK-39
    c. 1970's Hikare Baritone
    Gretsch G9100
    Outdoor Ukulele Soprano #43


    Videos

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