NVUD (New Vintage Uke Day) Kamaka Gold Label Tenor

rhiggie

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I have mentioned several times that of all the Big K ukes, I've had the most trouble bonding with Kamaka. I've tried the Anniversary model and a couple other tenors. Each time I felt the Kamaka's sounded just average compared to my KoAloha's and Kanile'a's, I know what I consider "average voice" is what many people may call "Traditional Hawaiian sound" I really wanted to love them because I love the Kamaka story. In all fairness, I did find a Spruce/Koa Kamaka tenor that I love thanks to another member here.

Then I happened upon a listing showing a vintage Gold Label Kamaka tenor from the 60's. It caught my eye first because it featured the "sail" headstock I'd only seen on concerts previously, and second because it had a pinned bridge. I contacted the seller and we had quite a few discussions about the uke and it's all Koa build including the neck and fretboard, but mostly it's sound. He said it had really opened up and had a big sound over and about the modern Kamaka's. I likee the idea of the unusual build so I took a chance based on the sellers expertise with Kamaka's.

It arrived today and he was very accurate in his information. It has a voice that challenges my KoAloha's and is very easy to play. These vintage Kamaka's have a different neck shape, kind of a shallow C with a soft flat spot on the apex of the C. Not uncomfortable at all, kind of reminds me of an electric guitar neck.

A uke like this may have spent some time around this forum, but I never saw it. My thanks to an honest uke player and seller for giving me some great information and my 1st all Koa Kamaka tenor that has a voice I love!

Pics aren't that great as he sent it to where we are staying on vacation at the beach. What a place to hang with my NVU!
 

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Very nice. Are the saddle and nut bone? They almost look like koa.
 
The sail headstock is really cool!
 
That is a pretty Koa, and the bottom bout looks wide to me almost like a super tenor? Is that possible or just the way the pic was taken?
I'm not usually a fan of vintage anything, since I now qualify as such, but that's a pretty piece.
 
Very nice. Are the saddle and nut bone? They almost look like koa.
I believe they are Koa. I bet bone would kick it up a notch. I'm going to keep it original for a while and keep playing it.
 
That is a pretty Koa, and the bottom bout looks wide to me almost like a super tenor? Is that possible or just the way the pic was taken?
I'm not usually a fan of vintage anything, since I now qualify as such, but that's a pretty piece.
The body is typical proportions although the seller told me it wouldn't fit in a standard Kamaka case because the body is deeper than the modern tenors. When I get home from the beach I'll see how much deeper it is.
 
I believe they are Koa. I bet bone would kick it up a notch. I'm going to keep it original for a while and keep playing it.
Yeah, I'd leave the koa. I have an all koa uke - top, back, sides, neck, fretboard, and it has an ebony nut and saddle. They've been very durable, having gone through several string changes with wound low Gs and look good as new.
 
What a unique find! I've seen a tie bridge used on an old Kamaka before but haven't come across one with a pin bridge. I really like the diff headstock on a tenor. Feels more proportionate with the longer neck. Congrats on nabbing such a nice looking uke to go with I'm assuming an even nicer sound. 👍
 
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