Kamaka Pineapple Ukulele
Please check back, as I’ll be updating this page as I find new information.
Probably, in my opinion, some of the coolest ukulele that Kamaka have made are the Pineapple ukulele. These were designed by Sam Kamaka Sr. in 1916. He later patented the design in 1928 (Click here to view the patent) He came up with this design with the purpose of making a small ukulele with a fuller and warmer sound, although there is another story that the pineapple uke was just easier to make (no bending of the sides).
Sam Kamaka Sr. with his first Pineapple Ukulele.
Painted Pineapple Ukes were made in the 20’s and 30’s. Some were painted front and back, some just the back, and others painted on the back with a pineapple decal on the front.
Pre 1928 Style 3 Pineapple
20’s Pineapple with Abalone Trim
20’s Pineapple Non Painted
Notice how this one is rounded at the bottom. This was the only photo of this one. But it may have been a one piece side! One long piece bent into the shape. Most of the Pineapples have a somewhat flat bottom to them.
20’s Style 3 Pineapple
Late 20’s/Early 30’s Style 4 Painted Pineapple
Fred Kamaka with the Original and a mid 30’s Painted Pineapple
3 Early Pineapple Ukulele
Late 20’s Style 4, Mid 30’s Painted, Mid 30’s Style 0
1930’s Painted w/ Supposed Original Case
mid 30’s Style 0
30’s Style 4
30’s Pineapple “Special”
This was most likely a special order, high end, Pineapple Ukulele. Rope & Abalone Binding. Was sold at Elderly.
Gold Label Pineapple (’54-’69)
Early White Label (’69-01)
Modern Pineapple (2001-Present)
1920’s Pineapple – Homage
This one is currently on UkuleleFriend.com, you can view it here. Hand-painted by local famed Hawaii artist E. Garcia II. The pineapple, headstock logo, and cigar band at the butt of the instrument were all painted in 2013 on an actual vintage Kamaka ukulele from the 1920s as an homage to the original painted pineapple model that is highly sought after by ukulele collectors worldwide.
The Ka-Lai ukuleles were made by Kamaka for Johnny Lai. Labeled: “Ka-Lai Pineapple Ukulele / Patented Jan 3, 1928. No. 74,178 Hand Made / Trade Mark registered U.S. Patent Office / Ka-Lai Sting Instrument Manufacturers/ USA”. These ukuleles had the pineapple decal on the body and the “Ka-Lai” decal on the headstock. Later on, probably in the 40s, they changed the name to “Ka-Lae”, to sound more Hawaiian. Monkeypod was the wood of choice and they were less expensive then the Kamaka koa ukuleles. Ka-Lai was a combonation of Kamaka & Lai. Another story I’ve heard about these ukes was that after Kamaka closed for the night, Sam Kamaka would let Johnny Lai come in and make these ukuleles in the Kamaka shop.
30’s Style 0
40’s Style 3
30’s Style 4
Ka Lai Label
Ka-Lae Internal Decal