Dating Your Uke
Kamaka ukuleles have been made since 1916, so if you are fortunate enough to have inherited an older model, you may be curious about when it was made. From 1916 to 1975, date stamping was used on the interiors of the instruments. And beginning in 1999, Kamaka Hawaii began using serial numbers. But if numbers have worn off, or for the period from 1975 to 1999, you will need to look for other clues to determine when your Kamaka uke was made.
As a reference, please visit the Historic Kamaka Ukes Gallery for examples of early Kamaka ukuleles from the family's private collection.
In dating Kamaka ukuleles, the headstock decal and the interior label are significant. The trademark "double K" decal was used on Kamaka ukuleles beginning in 1954. This decal was used in conjunction with an interior gold label bearing the words "Kamaka Ukulele" in red and black lettering that matched the font of the decal. This combination of decal and label was used until 1969.
In 1969, the gold label was replaced by a smaller interior label with a white background and the same trademark red and black lettering. However, the same double K headstock decal remained in use. From 1978 to 2000, a "Samuel Kamaka, Luthier" label was also applied to the custom ukuleles.
A new, more regal label was designed to celebrate the 85th anniversary of the company. This interior label has been in use since January 1, 2001. It features the signatures of Sam Jr. and Fred Sr., a purple cape behind an updated double K trademark, and the words "Kamaka Ukulele" in vermillion with gold outlining. A matching "Samuel Kamaka, Luthier" label is also used when applicable. 2001 also marked a change from the traditional double K decal to a pearl-inlaid double K design on all headstocks.