8/19/2015

1970s Kamaka HP-1 Pineapple Soprano Ukulele




Can't beat old Kamakas! Compared to the $800-900 you'd pay for a brand new HP-1, the vintage stuff is very attractive these days. Add some geared 4:1 Gotoh UPT tuners (like I've done here), give it a fresh setup and... hey presto! ...it handles and plays like a brand new one, too.

That said, this sweetie-pie old uke has some "road wear" with a bit of a reglued heel section, some (now) repaired hairline chip/crack bits, and a few nicks and scratches here and there. Still -- it's hard to argue with a top running about 1/32" overall thickness (can we say sparkle and volume?) and gorgeous flamed figure running throughout.


The bookmatched top is quite lovely. I also like the understated Kamaka look on their "basic" models.

The benefit of the pineapple shape is that you get a lot more "air in there" which gives it a wider sound for its size. You get a koa soprano sparkle and chime but volume and sustain that I associate more with concert size instruments.


As soon as I got this in I swapped the friction pegs out for these nicer, lighter-weight, and more-functional Gotoh UPT pegs. Note that the nut and saddle are black plastic -- the only bit on the uke aside from the hardware and fret dots that isn't koa.








Here's the gunk at the heel -- the sections look like they'd been reglued in the past (a sturdy job) but there were  missing/chipped out sections that I quickly filled and ground off to match the rest of the neck profile. It's not perfect but it will suffice.


The finish is nice and thin -- just as I'm used to seeing on Kamakas from the 30s-50s, too.





The "white label" designates this as post-1969 and pre-1999. Because there's no date stamp inside it's also likely that it's 1975 and on-up. I'm guessing, considering the general look of it, that it's a late-70s uke.


This uke came to me with its original shipping box and sales tag (listing the price at $106.95).

1 comment:

JAMES VERROCCHI said...

$106.95 sounds good to me. :)