9/13/2015

1970s Kamaka HF-1 Koa Soprano Uke




Update December 2015: I've updated the photos and some bits of the listing. Basically: I have too many ukes! This one's back in the pond. It's a wonderful little uke, though, and I've taken it all over the place on trips as it's got a great tone and feel.

Update November 2016: This uke has come back via my re-purchasing of it and while it was away for a year it was allowed to get a hair dry and the center seam on the back opened up. I've cleated it, filled it, and sealed it and it's all good to go. I've also added black tuner buttons to replace the white ones as they fit the look better. It's also got a fresh set of D'Addario Titanium strings on it. Four new pictures of the changes are directly below:





This is the back center seam -- as you can see it looks like it wasn't separated.


Here are new cleats on the center seam along with old cleats from the hairline/grain crack repaired in 2015.

Now back to the original post...

Originally I'd purchased this to fix and resell, but the wifey and I decided to do "his and hers" after her affection for the recently-bagged pineapple Kamaka turned into a "uke abduction" upstairs. Fair enough! I get to play both... and their voices sure do ring together for song-time. Compared to the pineapple uke, this one has a slightly darker sound and loses just a hair of overall volume. It's still that sparkle-laden Hawaiian tone, though. Can't get away from that with a Kamaka...

Work included gluing-up and cleating a 4" or so back crack (hairline) that you can't even see in the photos. I then did a light fret level/dress, bridge reglue, and swapped the big old 70s friction pegs for some more modern, lightweight ones -- though I did re-use some of the original pegs' parts.



Here you can see some of the shimmery figure to the koa on the top.




The koa on this one isn't "wild and flamey" but it does have curly figure to it.





There's some curl there, too! It's hard to grab this stuff in the straight-on shots.


The friction pegs work well and are a cobbled-mix of parts from the original tuners (which are heavy and not that great) and newer ones from my parts-bin.




The only crack on the uke is this one which I've repaired and cleated in three places on the inside. It's also drop-filled and sealed. It's actually very, very hard to photograph.







The adorable old case, complete with cheesy Hawaii sticker, was with it when I got it.

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