History

Historic Kamaka Ukes 1916 - 1953

Historic 6-String Liliu (mid 50's)

This piece is all koa, including the neck fingerboard and bridge. It also has one-piece top, back and side construction. This early prototype model has a pin bridge and a flat head instead of the customary crown style. Other features include a smaller size body (similar to a concert size) and 12 frets to the body. The design of the tuning with octaves on the 1st and 3rd string position creates a melodic strumming quality which this model is known for.

Historic 6 string Liliu
6-String Liliu
6-String Body
6-String Liliu Headstock
Historic 14-String Tenor (30's)

This is a very unique piece, we had never seen before, it was loaned to us by our friend Nuni Walsh. A 14-string tenor made by Sam Sr., this is from the 30's. It originally included a blue special label and the blue pineapple decal on the headstock, now worn away. However, it still retains two original large pineapple decals overlapped on the soundboard between the bridge and sound hole. It was also made with one-piece top and back construction. Rope purfling decorates the outer edge of the top and sound hole. The four-pin bridge secures all 14 strings.

Historic 6 string Liliu
14-String Tenor
14-String Tenor Body
14-String Tenor Body Decal
14-String Tenor Headstock
Historic Pineapple Soprano (late 20's)

A late 20's pineapple soprano built in the Spanish style consistent with that time frame. The Spanish style means a neck with an integrated heel that the sides lock into. The instrument is built face down and the fingerboard is flush with the soundboard. The top and back are one-piece construction with all parts made of koa wood. This is a highly decorated model with mother of pearl around the soundboard and also as a rosette and as decoration along the fingerboard. Rope binding also borders the mother of pearl on the body and fingerboard. The patent blue label is in the sound hole. The coat of arms decal on the headstock bears the Hawaii State motto-- "Ua Mau Ke Ea O Ka Aina I Ka Pono."

Historic 6 string Liliu
Pineapple Soprano
Pineapple Soprano Body
Pineapple Soprano Body Decal
Pineapple Soprano Fingerboard
Pineapple Soprano Head Decal
Pineapple Soprano Headstock
Historic Early Model Soprano

This early model soprano with a figure 8 shape is all koa, and is built in the Spanish style. It has one-piece top and back construction, and is decorated with rope bindings and a rosette. The fingerboard is bound with rope and a double rope inlay down the center. The rope is somewhat unique on this model because it is made from 3 different species of wood. It has no label on the inside or on the headstock, but it does have a label on the butt joint that reads "K. Kamaka Honolulu Hawaii."

Historic 6 string Liliu
Early Soprano
Early Soprano Body
Early Soprano End Label
Early Soprano Fingerboard
Early Soprano Headstock
Historic Ka-Lai Ukulele (30's)

Ka-Lai was a collaboration between Sam Sr. and Johnny Lai to meet the demand for ukuleles in the 30's. This is an all koa instrument with two bold lines around the sound hole. It has one-piece top and back construction with a raised fingerboard. There is a white Ka-Lai label inside the sound hole, and a Ka-Lai decal on the headstock.

Historic 6 string Liliu
Ka-Lai Ukulele
Ka-Lai Ukulele Body
Ka-Lai Ukulele Head Decal
Ka-Lai Ukulele Headstock
Original Painted Pineapple (20's)

The original painted pineapple built in the 20's by Sam Sr. It has a patent special blue label on the inside and a coat of arms decal on the headstock. The construction was one piece for top and back, with two-piece sides. Very few hand-painted pineapples remain in existence today.

Historic 6 string Liliu
Original Painted Pineapple
Original Painted Pineapple Body
Original Painted Pineapple Head Decal
Original Painted Pineapple Headstock
Historic Ka-Lai Pineapple (30's)

Ka-Lai pineapple built in the late 30's. It was built in the Spanish style with one-piece construction of the top and back. The back and sides are made of Philippine mahogany. The top of this instrument is monkey pod, and it is decorated with rope purfling and rosette, as well as a pineapple decal.

Historic 6 string Liliu
Ka-Lai Pineapple
Ka-Lai Pineapple Body
Ka-Lai Pineapple Body Decal
Ka-Lai Pineapple Head Decal
Ka-Lai Pineapple Headstock
Historic Mahogany Pineapple (30's)

This is an all mahogany pineapple model built in the 30's. The Spanish method of one-piece construction was used for the top and back. The Philippine mahogany was stained a rich, reddish hue. Wooden friction tuners were used although these are not the original tuners. The coat of arms Kamaka decal is on the headstock, and the yellow label is inside the sound hole.

Historic 6 string Liliu
Mahogany Pineapple
Mahogany Pineapple Body
Mahogany Pineapple Head Decal
Mahogany Pineapple Headstock
Historic Soprano (mid 50's)

This soprano model from the mid 50's was built by Sam Jr. It was one of his first models built in the style of Sam Sr. The one-piece top and back construction were consistent with Sam Jr.'s early pieces. This all koa model features a gold Kamaka Ukulele label in the sound hole, and the patented gold and black double k decal on the headstock.

Historic 6 string Liliu
Soprano
6-Soprano Body
Soprano Headstock
Historic Pineapple (60's)

This pineapple model is from the 60's. Construction is one-piece koa -- top, back and sides. This piece has a rosewood bridge and fingerboard. Other details are plastic tortoise shell bindings with black and white purfling and rosette. It has a gold Kamaka Ukulele label in the sound hole, and the patented double k decal on the headstock.

Historic 6 string Liliu
Pineapple
Pineapple Body
Pineapple Headstock