Buying Tips? Differences between 2006 and current Kamaka HF-2

I need buying advice!

LaserWater

Well-known member
Joined
Aug 8, 2021
Messages
65
Reaction score
44
Location
Northern California
Hey All,

I'm considering buying a 2006 Kamaka HF-2 from a member on these forums and before I do I want to be fully informed about the differences between one of these fine instruments made 16 years ago and now. Visually the only differences I can discern are the color of the Gotoh tuners (silver in 2006 vs black now). I'm curious if people know of other differences in regards to construction and tone? Thanks!
 
Hey All,

I'm considering buying a 2006 Kamaka HF-2 from a member on these forums and before I do I want to be fully informed about the differences between one of these fine instruments made 16 years ago and now. Visually the only differences I can discern are the color of the Gotoh tuners (silver in 2006 vs black now). I'm curious if people know of other differences in regards to construction and tone? Thanks!
Call 'em and ask:
OFFICE: 1-808-531-3165

I've talked to Tony a few weeks ago. He looked through their database for me on my two ukuleles to help figure out their years. I'm in CST so in Hawaii they are 4 hours behind our time. Their hours of operation are 8-4 HAST.
(Edited for a dumb grammar mistake).
 
Last edited:
My 2017 Kamaka HF-3 tenor has Shailer tuners on it.

I'd guess that any tweaks made by Kamaka over the years would be to the internal bracing or maybe the bridge. But they'd be minor.

As Ilwalsh said, give 'em a call...
 
In approximately 2011, Kamaka updated the machines it uses to bend sides. (I took the Kamaka factory tour while this conversion was in process.) We were told that the new machines could bend sides significantly faster than the old machines could. I never asked, but I've always wondered whether changing the speed at which the sides were bent had any effect on the sound of the uke. I have a pre-2006 Kamaka and a couple of post-2010 Kamakas, and they all sound great.
 
Great thread. Compared to KoAloha that make considerable change to their ukes almost each year I also think that Kamaka has a very stable design with small changes over time. Though I have a white label and it seems very different from today's Kamakas. I sure wish there was a site that documents the changes over time in more detail than Kamaka currently shows.
 
Thanks everyone. What I'm finding online is very similar. I ended up just getting a 2020 concert from Isaac at Ukulele lab cause it was heavily discounted (and I like buying from Isaac). I did ask him if there were any differences between the 2020 and 2022 models and he said they've now switched to a bolt-on neck. I don't know if this is the case with Ukes, but I know this does affect tone with guitars.
 
Thanks everyone. What I'm finding online is very similar. I ended up just getting a 2020 concert from Isaac at Ukulele lab cause it was heavily discounted (and I like buying from Isaac). I did ask him if there were any differences between the 2020 and 2022 models and he said they've now switched to a bolt-on neck. I don't know if this is the case with Ukes, but I know this does affect tone with guitars.
A bolt on neck on Kamaka would be a HUGE change. Can someone confirm this?
 
What possible improvement could this be? Sounds like a negative.
From what I've read on guitar forums some people prefer the tonal difference of a bolt-on neck (though personally, I feel grateful to be getting a model that was made before this change was implemented assuming Isaac was correct), though it's a pretty big unknown what kind of difference if any it would have on a Kamaka. Also from what I understand, it's quicker and less expensive on the manufacturing and repair processes.
 
From what I've read on guitar forums some peopl prefer the tonal difference of a bolt-on neck (though personally, I feel grateful to be getting a model that was made before this change was implemented assuming Isaac was correct), though it's a pretty big unknown what kind of difference if any it would have on a Kamaka. Also from what I understand, it's quicker and less expensive on the manufacturing and repair processes.
Yes. But it seems to be a production process for newer brands while a traditional brand would be expected to keep neck joints the way they have done them for 100+ years.
 
I think the bolt on neck is also about making neck resets easier, which seem much more likely in the lifespan of a guitar than a ukulele given the higher tension strings.
 
I just confirmed with a certain Ukulele store owner in Hawaii that all new Kamaka models from Soprano through Baritone now use bolt-on necks and a heel cap. The reason being that it makes it much easier for Kamaka to service just the neck or just the body. He also added that he can notice a slight tonal difference that he prefers, which includes slightly more sustain.
 

Attachments

  • IMG_20221209_124603_01.jpg
    IMG_20221209_124603_01.jpg
    302.5 KB · Views: 15
Last edited:
Top Bottom