need some advice on buying a young Japanese builder's uke.


Dec 24, 2017
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Seoul, Korea
I was planning to buy a brand new Kamaka HF-3 tenor
but I accidently saw a young Japanese builder's piece on instagram which totally appealed to me and visited that shop today.

what I like about the uke is the unique look.
the uke is all solid mahogany with a tenor size neck and fretboard, but the body is just a little bigger than a regular soprano.
It's worth $836 (US dollars).
Oh I live in Korea and a brand new Kamaka hf 3 with lr baggs five o costs 1672 us dollars

the luthier worked for Takamine Guitars for 9 years.
I think there is possibility the price may rise within a few years if the builder gets popular.

it has a pickup inserted but not a famous brand like fishman or lr baggs. heard the pickup was assembled(handmade?) by an individual.

since the body isnt as big as regular tenor I felt the volume wasnt as loud as other tenors, but when the owner of the shop played it, it sounded very clear. I think it projects well and the sound goes straight forward rather than remaining near the player's ears.
i wished I could compare the sound with Kamaka tenor but there wasnt one in that shop.

what i want to know is , is the price appropriate for a not so famous builder's work. and if the body is small does it always affect the volume.

I was considering Kamaka tenor because I thought it would end my impulse to buy new instruments once and for all.·
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That is certainly different, upper bout looks soprano sized, whilst the lower looks like concert, & you say it is tenor scale, very unique.

Is it worth it? Only you can answer that one. :)
But just looking at the pictures, I'd think it worth the price, when you compare it to other luthiers ukes.
A couple of things I would think about- Play a few things to see what speaks to you and get what you REALLY want, even if it means that you have to wait a while and save. Otherwise, you may end up continuing the search if you end up not completely satisfied. One thing to consider with an unknown builder is that if later you decide to sell, there may not be a market for it.

My initial thought looking at it was about the size. Many builders are trying to make larger tenors rather than smaller. Interesting that this seems to have gone the other way.
A few random thoughts:

There are a few "factory" options for tenor necked sopranos - Ohana SK-30L and Koaloha T2 come immediately to mind.

I would not buy it as an investment, very few ukes appreciate in value, even from well respected builders. I can only think of one builder that might be true for.

Good luck with ending that impulse to buy new instruments. :biglaugh:
If you own a number of high end ukuleles and you are buying this to satisfy your need for sometbing different then go ahead. If not then get the Kamaka tenor you mentioned, you will NOT be dissappointed with the Kamaka
This is a unique looking instrument for a good price. Were you able to pick it up and play to see how you like it? If you like the feel and playability, and the sound of the Mahogany appeals to you then you may have your answer. I’m guessing you may have already made up your mind and are looking for opinions to help enable your UAS. ;) One way to compare the sound of this instrument to a Kamaka is to record it on your cellphone then compare it to Kamakas online and on YouTube. But your ears should be the best indicator in-person, and how it feels to you and plays in your hands is of primary importance.

Ask yourself this, “If I buy a Kamaka, will I always be thinking that I should’ve got this luthier built instrument?” Or, “If I buy this instrument, will I always wish I had the Kamaka?”

What does your heart say?

Now understand that the answer to any question between two items regarding UAS is, “Buy them both,” because you probably eventually will. :cool:
Peacetrain. Usaully when I ask questions I have an answer in my mind but in this case it is really fifty fifty. I think there is possibilty I might get both if I buy the KSP (young Japanese builder) first. I will probably get a Kamaka eventually. but that doesnt mean I want KSP less because right now I want it more than Kamaka. I think I ll take some time to cool down the impulse and see. thank you for your advice
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EDW. Right? That's what makes me crazy. the uniqueness. Your advice on second hand market is something I should consider. Thank you.
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DownUpDave. You re right. That's absolutely words of wisdom to my ears. I considered Kamaka for that reason to begin with. As an instrument to get old with. Thank you for your advice.·
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i agree with all that has been said about going for the Kamaka but ascetically I like the idea of the pick guard on that uke.
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