Kamaka Cigar Box Ukulele


I don’t have a lot of info on these, but here is what I’ve been told.  If anyone at Kamaka can send info, or correct anything I post here it’d be appreciated.

Supposedly Sam Kamaka Jr. has a neighbor who smokes 1886 cigars, and one day he gave some of the boxes to Sam, that is where the boxes came from.  I’ve been told 12 of these ukuleles have been made.  They have various headstocks, and different appointments.  Below are the photos of cigar box ukuleles I’ve gathered from the internet, arranged by the year they were made.


Text from sign:

Custom Sam Kamaka Jr Cigar Box ukulele with signed initials on back and also signed custom tuning key for the wooden pegs.

This is a mint custom made by Sam Kamaka Jr in 1997 cigar box ukulele that sounds great and in 100% fully playable condition. Unique shaped headstock similar to that made by his father Sam Kamaka Sr. Own a part of ukulele history with this great custom handmade ukulele. Sam Jr. carved his initials on the neck heel of the ukulele and also signed “Aloha S. Kamaka 12/97″ on the custom key tuner he provided with the ukulele. The fret board and bridge are made of solid Hawaiian Koa with ebony nut and saddle. The cigar box measures 8-3/8″ by 6″ by 2 1/2” and is a Sam TJ Davis y Ca 1886 new Havana Blend The vintage Cigar Bod.

Kamaka is the worlds best known ukulele manufacturer and is world renowned. Join the few and proud that actually own an ukulele made by a Kamaka himself. Sam Jr. is the son of Sam Sr. who founded the Kamaka ukulele company in 1916 and invented the pineapple shaped ukulele. Sam Jr. is now retired and no longer builds ukuleles so this is a collectors dream.

The scale length on this ukulele is 14-3/4″ which makes it close to a concert ukulele, the overall length is 23-3/4″. The width at the nut is 1-3/8″ with 16 frets to the body and a total of 16 frets.


Jack Johnson’s Cigar Box Ukulele – Year Unknown

I believe this is the same ukulele that sold HERE

Cigar Box Ukulele

Here is one from UkuleleFriend.com.  His comments on this uke: “This wonderful piece remains in original condition with normal strum and play wear. Historians say that only a few of these vintage Kamaka cigar box ukuleles were created by Samuel Kamaka Jr. in the 1940s-1950s. This beautiful piece is the very same instrument featured in the ukulele book, “The Ukulele: A Visual History” by Jim Beloff. The ukulele is featured on page 83 and is the top instrument – there are two pictures of a Kamaka cigar box ukulele on the page.”









Cigar Box Ukulele#1  that is on display at the Kamaka Factory


3 Responses to “Kamaka Cigar Box Ukulele”

  1. […] decided to make a ukulele modeled after the Cigar Box ukuleles made by Kamaka. I like the way the headstock is made.  It’s an interesting way to make strings angle down […]

  2. William Jehle here, curator of The Cigar Box Guitar Museum and author of “One Man’s Trash: A History of the Cigar Box Guitar”. I currently own the ’97 Kamaka at the top of this page. Additional markings suggest that it was completed in December 1997. The information that was printed on the plaque was provided by the seller from whom I received it. For some reason, the sales pitch was never removed before it was displayed and, apparently, photographied. Alas. There is a slight error in that information – Sam Kamaka, Sr. *never* made a cigar box ukulele. All of them were constructed by Sam, Jr. By *never* I mean that as far as the Kamaka family knows, there is no written record or evidence to suggest that Sr. ever made one.

    The uke held by Fred Kamaka, Sr. is a Cedar cigar box with a Koa top, and was made in the 1990’s according to the information the Kamaka family provided.

    I have a few other photos and scans that I am happy to share.

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