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Thread: Ohana SK 38: First Impressions

  1. #1
    Join Date
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    Default Ohana SK 38: First Impressions

    It's here!



    Me like, mostly!

    A couple of haggles:

    The "rosette" decal(?) is uneven, slightly. It bothers me,(see photo at about 11 o'clock) but what the heck.


    The snow white pegs seem out of place with the yellowed binding. I have half a mind to soak some pings I have in tea and see if I can ivory them up!

    But these are little things.

    They come with Aquila strings, which are going through the normal, horrible break in period. (Is it my imagination or do Martin fluro strings hold their tuning sooner?)

    Much has been discussed about the tone of the SK35 and this 38. People seem to think it's about the same. I hear a difference, and here's my logic:

    I have Martins on the SK35. It is supposed to make the sound more mellow over the bright Aquilas. I like the Martins very much, especially the feel of them.

    But the 38, with Aquilas, is not brighter; it sounds warmer, which I would not expect. It will be very interesting to see if Martins on both instruments make it sound as different as it does now.

    I think Ohana did a very nice job on these, at a great price. The tone is very rich--vintage sounding! As a self proclaimed Museum of Mahogany, I really am happy this is in my permanent collection!

    As soon as strings settle, I'll record a song. Working on BEST THINGS IN LIFE ARE FREE.
    Last edited by pdxuke; 02-23-2011 at 06:19 PM.


    My Soprano Empire:
    VINTAGE MARTINS: c.'48 Martin 0; '50s 1M
    OTHER VINTAGE: c30s Blue Favilla, c50 TV Pal, 30s Redhead
    MODERN MARTINS: OXK; 2012 2M
    KAMAKA: 2010 Pineapple (RIP MGM)

    My Baritone Empire:
    '12 Kala KA-B, '69 Silvertone, c.'53-57 Favilla, c.'63 Martin, '11 Kamaka

    STRUMTESTS//ADD to The STRING DATABASE and UKE CASE DATABASE // Take the NAME THAT MARTIN test.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
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    You can try rubbing some brown shoe polish on the buttons to "age" them a bit. Just be aware that the seams, being more porous, may pick up more of the color. If that happens, you can work off the edges with some 600 grit sandpaper...

  3. #3
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    Glad you like the tone so far Thom. I went back and forth on my review about how different or similar it sounded to the 35. I think it sounded very similar when finger picked, but different when strummed.

    I had some of the same minor concern about the rosette, where it looked like they intentionally did not fill all the holes around the inlay - presumably to make it look old. You can see it in this still shot from my review

    http://www.box.net/shared/5lob140fp4

    The thought occurred to me that I would probably fill those with something (Briwax?) if it were mine. I would probably do the same just under the scallop of the fretboard. None of it was enough to make me not want one, and to me it is a beautiful instrument, but people should not buy one expecting a flawless finish like my 38G has - it would not look old then.

    I think for the price and considering what Ohana's goal was, it is as you say a bargain.

    I really look forward to some of the new owners' sound samples.
    Last edited by SweetWaterBlue; 02-23-2011 at 02:39 PM.
    Walk softly with your soprano and carry a big spruce tenor stick.

    My SoundCloud Channel

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by SweetWaterBlue View Post
    Glad you like the tone so far Thom. I went back and forth on my review about how different or similar it sounded to the 35. I think it sounded very similar when finger picked, but different when strummed.

    I had some of the same minor concern about the rosette, where it looked like they intentionally did not fill all the holes around the inlay - presumably to make it look old. You can see it in this still shot from my review

    http://www.box.net/shared/5lob140fp4

    The thought occurred to me that I would probably fill those with something (Briwax?) if it were mine. I would probably do the same just under the scallop of the fretboard. None of it was enough to make me not want one, and to me it is a beautiful instrument, but people should not buy one expecting a flawless finish like my 38G has - it would not look old then.

    I think for the price and considering what Ohana's goal was, it is as you say a bargain.

    I really look forward to some of the new owners' sound samples.

    It's really not the fill in that bothers me, but on mine, the circle isn't a circle. It's off. Just a bit, but enough to notice.


    My Soprano Empire:
    VINTAGE MARTINS: c.'48 Martin 0; '50s 1M
    OTHER VINTAGE: c30s Blue Favilla, c50 TV Pal, 30s Redhead
    MODERN MARTINS: OXK; 2012 2M
    KAMAKA: 2010 Pineapple (RIP MGM)

    My Baritone Empire:
    '12 Kala KA-B, '69 Silvertone, c.'53-57 Favilla, c.'63 Martin, '11 Kamaka

    STRUMTESTS//ADD to The STRING DATABASE and UKE CASE DATABASE // Take the NAME THAT MARTIN test.

  5. #5
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    Nov 2009
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    Smyrna, Georgia
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    I finally broke out of the Aquila box today and put some Martin Flouros on my SK-35. So far, I am loving them. It seems more balanced with them.
    Walk softly with your soprano and carry a big spruce tenor stick.

    My SoundCloud Channel

  6. #6
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    Yay! Congrats on your new Uke!!! My UAS is at that! I need to get saving for my next Uke investment, or the Uke Festival...ah, either way, it looks beautiful, looking forward to the sound sample!
    Astrid/Unknown Brand || Lilo/Ohana SK10S || Rhea/Luna Tattoo Pineapple || Hoa/Koa Pili Koko || Hope/Tanglewood TU1 CE || Kupuna/Eleuke Rosewood 100 Series || Joy/Poiple Flea || Cora/Clearwater Vita

    Joey @ 4 Ukulele - My Ukulele Journey Blog || The Rocking Dodars || Bug Books: Joey Paul Online || "Like" me on FaceBook

  7. #7

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    Thought I would jump on this thread rather then starting a new one. I just got my SK38 and so far I'm feeling good and bad about it.

    The Bad:
    It came with a freakishly high action which I have gone some way to fixing by sanding down the little bit of ebony that is the saddle. This is now way more playable, but I will need to get some files out and cut the groves lower in the nut.
    Whilst I get the whole "old age finish" thing (and like it in some places), the neck feels kinda messy. The fact that it is satin makes it feel very fast, but it is a long way from smooth and it feels pretty lumpy when you run your hand up and down.
    Two of the tuners were not set properly in the headstock when it arrived. So I had to take them apart and take a hammer to the uke on day one, which was slightly unnerving. Still, now they feel solid and are working well.

    The Good:
    It's very, very loud. In fact it is louder then my other soprano by a long way and is getting very close to my KoAloha. It doesn't have as complex a tone as the KoAloha, but for the money it sounds amazing. I have some Worth BM strings on it now (as I had to take the aquillas off when repairing it) and I love the sound of them as well as the fact that the colour of the strings suits the dark brown look of the Ohana.

    All in all I think I'm pretty happy with it. It feels like the attention to detail on leaving the factory was pretty poor, but once I have filed down the nut a bit I think I will have a very playable little ukulele on my hands. One thing is for sure and that is the materials are top notch even if the craftsmanship was not.
    Last edited by Derg; 03-01-2011 at 01:29 PM.
    My Ukuleles:
    KoAloha Longneck Pineapple Soprano, Ohana SK38, KALA Soprano Travel Uke, Mainland Banjo Uke & Yamaha GL1

  8. #8
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    Jun 2009
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    Love the reviews on these. You don't know what a service you guys are doing by giving us all a glimpse before we buy. Quality issues are a wee bit concerning but everyone is on board with the sound. Thank you everyone so far and the hoards that will jump on soon hopefully with their new uke reviews.

  9. #9
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    Mar 2011
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    I absolutely love mine. I play every week at an open mic night and up until now I have always plugged in either my Ohana CK-20CE or my boulder creek riptide UT-5NS tenor, both with active pickup systems. This past week I really wanted to use my "martin" so I played the SK-38 into a house mic, and I loved it. It is gonna be my main player now for sure, at least when I'm solo and don't need the extra volume control to compete with other instruments.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mouthy1 View Post
    Love the reviews on these. You don't know what a service you guys are doing by giving us all a glimpse before we buy. Quality issues are a wee bit concerning but everyone is on board with the sound. Thank you everyone so far and the hoards that will jump on soon hopefully with their new uke reviews.
    I am going to be a bit defensive here. I really don't believe that there are any major quality issues. I think the previous comment by Derg was unfair. The feel of the instrument was important. It is designed not to feel new. The nut was an exact copy of the 30's Martin style 2 that we used as a template. The action is not ultra low and that is a good thing because we wanted it to get close to the volume and tone of a real Martin.

    Don't be concerned about it. If you want a uke that looks, feels and sound old, this is a good choice.
    KEN


    Ken Middleton Ukulele

    http://www.KenMiddleton.co.uk

    For Living Water Strings go to http://www.kenmiddleton.co.uk/Pages/LWS.aspx

    For Ohana related comments, observations and questions, email me at ken@ohana-music.com

    Remember: a ukulele is forever.

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