Four Kamaka Concerts


Richard Johnston-

Four Kamaka Concerts

No, we’re not talking about multiple ukulele concerts, but four different Kamaka concert size ukuleles.  I call this concert size “the forgotten uke” because not many newcomers to the ukulele even know about it.  Everybody knows the little soprano models, the original Hawaiian ukulele, and everybody knows the much larger tenor models that are currently very popular.  But the concert uke, which is midway between those two in size, isn’t as well known, maybe because it isn’t named for a vocal range!

For many players the concert size offers the best of both the soprano and its big tenor brother.  The longer scale on the concert means the frets are a little further apart, making chord positions easier since your fingers have more room on the fretboard.  The bigger body gives more bass response than a soprano as well.  But unlike the tenor, the concert size still retains that charming trebly “bubbling” tone that made the ukulele so popular in the first place.  Don’t get me wrong, I love tenor ukes, but especially when you use the “low G” tuning on one it’s really closer to a small tenor guitar with nylon strings.

We have four different new Kamaka concert uke models right now:

The HF-2 is their standard concert model, and the HF-2 D is the same but with a more deluxe bridge and rosewood binding on the top edge of body bordering colorful “rope” pattern wood marquetry.  This extra bit of decoration is in the traditional style found on higher Kamaka uke models a century ago.

The Kamaka  HF-2 DI is a very classy ukulele, but the decoration isn’t flashy as the abalone bordering is very narrow. The slotted headstock and rosewood binding with delicate wood purfling lines makes this uke a joy to view at close range while the beautifully figured and matched koa give it depth and a hint of glitter at any angle. If you look carefully at the “double K” logo on the headstock, you’ll notice the abalone letters are bordered with narrow threads of lighter mother-of-pearl.

The Kamaka HF-2 L is a slightly different concert uke.  The string scale is two inches longer, which means you get two more frets clear of the body (14 instead of 12) and that longer scale also gives this uke more power as the strings are a slightly higher tension.  The tone isn’t dramatically different, but it does have more “snap” and projection.  And even if you don’t play way up the neck, those extra frets can sure come in handy if you use a capo!

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