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From 1963 to 1970, to compete against unscrupulous ukulele manufacturers who tried to sell fake "Kamaka" ukuleles in Japan, Kamaka & Sons Enterprises collaborated with Tokyo Stringed Manufacturing Co., Ltd. Called "Keiki Kamaka," the ukuleles were made of mahogany, and were only available in the standard (soprano) size."Keiki" means "child" in Hawaiian, a fitting name for the lowest-priced, beginner's model.
The original pineapple ukulele designed and patented by Sam Kamaka Sr. would occasionally desert the shop -- lights on, door open -- when surf was up. changed all the locks at the factory to bar his sons' return.At the Kamaka factory, every ukulele built is touched by the hands of at least 20 craftsmen in the building process.Ukulele extraordinaire Jake Shimabukuro began playing a Kamaka standard when he was 4.He served 25 years in the Army before retiring as a Lieutenant Colonel. The precious Pineapple symbolized home for him, and gave him hope amidst the chaos and uncertainty of war.Fred Sr.'s favorite ukulele is a Pineapple made by his father that he kept with him while serving as a U. One of Sam Jr.'s favorite ukuleles is the sweet-sounding, melodic 6-string he made for himself.Gilmore learned lutherie in Spain and influenced some of the techniques still used today at the factory. designed a custom ukulele for astronaut Scott Carpenter. The peg tuners used on Kamaka instruments are made by Schaller Electronic in Germany.
Helmut Schaller and his engineers custom designed them for Kamaka Hawaii in 1974 at the request of Fred Kamaka Sr. Schaller did not know what an ukulele was before Fred Sr. Fred brought a Kamaka Pineapple to Germany to show Mr. Because Schaller's first language was German, Fred's German-born wife, Elisabeth, provided the translation.
In January 1996, as a manufacturer of fine ukuleles for 80 years, Kamaka Hawaii was featured on Fox Cable 2 from New York City, transmitted live from Hawaii via satellite. Only koa lumber that meets the highest standards is purchased.
Since 1916, Kamaka has continued its practice of allowing the koa wood to age for four years, rather than kiln dry. naturally aged wood dramatically improves sound quality and avoids warping.
In February 1989, Kamaka Hawaii was part of the "Good Morning, America" program.
The factory was featured on a tour by Joel Siegel, who ended the segment by playing ukulele and singing "Ukulele Lady" with Chris Kamaka.
Lai used the name "Ka-Lai" on the ukes he made, a combination of "Kamaka" and "Lai." The name was later changed to "Ka-Lae" because it sounded more Hawaiian.