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tangimango
10-31-2014, 03:35 AM
Just curious on what others rank there k brands. Kekeke. Of course this is just my opinion so dont go crazy on me UU.

I rank #1 kanilea . Innovative bracing, top of the line uv high gloss finish, beautiful grade curly koa on standard models, nice sound for a factory model.
#2 koolau. To me its also #1 but , the price is really high. Its like custom factory so. But still good sound.
#3 koaloha. Just love the bright sound, love the sceptre and sunday models.
#4 Kamaka. Hmmmm. What can I say. Unless your kamaka is the same as jakes, kamaka to me is last. I think there name brand is so strong that they dont even need to try hard. Kamakas will sell .

coolkayaker1
10-31-2014, 05:21 AM
KoOLau. Custom. Superb, built by a master, Noa Bonk.

KoOlaha. Hit > miss. Best "spirit". Best warranty.

Kamaka. Production models overrated. Hit < miss.

Kanilea. All bling. Nuff said.

g'est
10-31-2014, 05:36 AM
KoOLau. Custom. Superb, built by a master, Noa Bonk.

KoOlaha. Hit > miss. Best "spirit". Best warranty.

Kamaka. Production models overrated. Hit < miss.

Kanilea. All bling. Nuff said.

Obviously, all of the mentioned brands are great. I'm not going to rank the brands, but I agree about KoAloha having the best spirit.

janeray1940
10-31-2014, 06:03 AM
Personal preference. I'm a Kamaka girl all the way, but that doesn't mean it's the best - it just means it's what I like best :)

ETA: I suppose I should point out that I've owned and/or played all of the four in the OP except Ko'Olau. I sold my Koaloha not because I didn't like it, but because my needs changed. There were a few reasons I went with Kamaka rather than a different Koaloha - mainly, I prefer Kamaka's fretboard wood and I don't really like Koaloha's design elements, even though I think their ukes consistently sound fantastic. I've borrowed and played multiple Kanile'as and each time, did not care for the thickness of the neck - with my tiny hands, it's noticeable and uncomfortable.

Doc_J
10-31-2014, 06:03 AM
All are nice instruments.

I've owned a couple of each. But only have Ko'olau and Kanile'a currently.

My current K-brand playing preference is Ko'olau.

PhilUSAFRet
10-31-2014, 07:00 AM
Ko'olau/Kanilea....for me, an easy choice, although some of the newer Kamaka's are awesome. To me, some Ko'Alohas sound amazing, some don't. I do like a little bling. A matter of "personal" preference. Lots of folks have had an awful hard time telling them apart and have been unable to choose which is which from blind sound tests. It's like in the old days where folks constantly debated which of the big car manufacturers was best....Chevy, Ford, Chrysler, etc. etc.

Rick Turner
10-31-2014, 07:11 AM
Gee, nobody has mentioned Kala or Kiwaya or Kasuga or Kapono or Kapok or Kalua or Kahala!

They're all K-brands, aren't they?

Thank you, Tiki King, for the list...

wayfarer75
10-31-2014, 07:15 AM
I don't know. I only have one Kamaka, and I'm not likely to buy any other K brands. I love the ukes I have. I'm sure I would love other K brands if I had them too. I bought a Kamaka pineapple for the tradition, the sound, and frankly just being able to have a better soprano than my Kala KA-S. Also, it means a lot to me, personally, that the company used to hire deaf workers back in a time when people with disabilities had a rougher time being gainfully employed. I'm deaf in my left ear, which has given me nothing but difficulty and heartache throughout my life. Being completely deaf--I couldn't imagine.

Just from sound samples I've heard, there are certain sizes/models of certain brands I like more than others. So it's not like I would only buy Kamakas. If my Kelii concert got crushed (perish the thought!) I would consider getting a KoAloha instead of another Kelii. I think Ko'olau's tenors are the bomb, but I'm not so interested in a concert or soprano.

But maybe, like me, people buy a K brand because of personal feelings. Because, honestly, all of them are great in their own ways. We might as well ask acoustic guitar players to rank Martin, Taylor, Gibson, Collings...

Mim
10-31-2014, 07:15 AM
Gee, nobody has mentioned Kala or Kiwaya or Kasuga or Kapono or Kapok or Kalua or Kahala!

They're all K-brands, aren't they?

Thank you, Tiki King, for the list...

Hahaha!

What makes me sad too, is that unless a uke starts with a "K" people seem to not group them in the same category. Or unless it has a very classic Hawaiian name. But there are some amazing hand-made USA made great sounding ukuleles that don't start with a "K" therefore don't get the privilege of being group into the high-end ukuleles.

But then I suppose the list would be way long.

As far as lining up the top 4 "K-brands", I really cant. It depends on the type of music someone is playing and everyone's ear is different.

CeeJay
10-31-2014, 07:16 AM
Gee, nobody has mentioned Kala or Kiwaya or Kasuga or Kapono or Kapok or Kalua or Kahala!

They're all K-brands, aren't they?

Thank you, Tiki King, for the list...

Hmmmm. And now for the benefit of the little elf that writes thw message saying your message is too short. Hmmmmm again:rolleyes:

Kala ...banjo - uke top value for money.....

wayfarer75
10-31-2014, 07:26 AM
Gee, nobody has mentioned Kala or Kiwaya or Kasuga or Kapono or Kapok or Kalua or Kahala!

They're all K-brands, aren't they?

Thank you, Tiki King, for the list...

Change your uke brand to Kompass Rose! ;)

actadh
10-31-2014, 07:35 AM
I love my KoAloha Opio. That was a big purchase for me, and I appreciate that the company makes such an amazing ukulele in that price range.

HBolte
10-31-2014, 07:38 AM
I haven't owned a Ko'olau but have owned KoAloha, Kamaka and Kanile'a. Of those, I have sold the Kamaka Concert and KoAloha Soprano, Kanile'a is a keeper.

In a soprano KoAloha sound wins although I prefer the vintage Martin sound. In concert it's hands down Kanile'a, the sound, build, finish cannot be beat. Kanile'a handily bests the others in fit, finish and style too.

I'm sure the Ko'olau are excellent too. The few I have seen are beautiful.

Bob-in-Alberta
10-31-2014, 08:16 AM
The only Big 4 K brand that I've ever played is my KoAloha longneck pineapple. I like it. My wife and I watched the KoAloha story on Waikiki Beach when they were doing one of their movie on the beach nights and I was impressed with the company. I then had the privilege to meet the late MGM at Hawaii Music Supply where he sold me my KoAloha. I'm sure that the other makes are good as well but I think I'll always be a KoAloha man because when I play it I think of Hawaii and the good times I've had there on vacation.

Moore Bettah Ukuleles
10-31-2014, 08:46 AM
The OP should have restricted the list to the Hawaiian big K manufacturers. That said, my choice would be

Ko'olau for their quality in craftsmanship. Nothing else like it amongst the Big 4.

Kamaka because it's a legend. I believe that if it weren't for them building consistency for almost 100 years and keeping the ukulele Spirit alive none of us would be talking about his today. Maybe my reason is flawed but my vote is one of gratitude.

Dan Uke
10-31-2014, 09:35 AM
If price played into it: Kamaka - History but you have to pick the right one.
If price did not matter: Ko'olau. Not really comparable as the others are production ukes made by many while Noa builds all Ko'olaus...it's a custom shop. The base model isn't much more but since it's a custom shop, I would get lots of upgrades!

mm stan
10-31-2014, 10:16 AM
Who picks Premimum K brand rack ukes by names... ok if you asked on established custom builders, they build with more consistancy..... dont you pick for sound first and preference next for premimum ukes?
some ukes will always sound better than others... due to the building variancies, materials etc.. even between the same model and made by the same person...one thing good about buying premimum off the racks ukuleles is you get to pick and choose the best one amongst all brands and your preference.
why would you cut that out of the equation just for a Name if we are talking about premimum ukes, as all retain about the same resale value if that matters.

Toucan Mango
10-31-2014, 10:28 AM
Kamaka here for reasons already mentioned. The rest can go in any order, they are all good. I pick the Kamaka that sound best to me at the time. Hmm, I wonder what happened to all my pics in my profile? I did not delete them.

kmac66
10-31-2014, 11:19 AM
Like some one posted before, I love the spirit of Koaloha. And the way they sound.

DownUpDave
10-31-2014, 12:31 PM
Kompass Rose

Khuck Moore ( Moore Bettah)

Kovered Bridge

Kollings

There................I'm happy

Doc_J
10-31-2014, 01:39 PM
Who picks Premimum K brand rack ukes by names... ok if you asked on established custom builders, they build with more consistancy..... dont you pick for sound first and preference next for premimum ukes?
some ukes will always sound better than others... due to the building variancies, materials etc.. even between the same model and made by the same person...one thing good about buying premimum off the racks ukuleles is you get to pick and choose the best one amongst all brands and your preference.
why would you cut that out of the equation just for a Name if we are talking about premimum ukes, as all retain about the same resale value if that matters.

Well, Stan is there a K-brand that you have liked best, based on consistency, your experience, or personal preferences?

I thought that was the question. I realize that any one individual's experience is not statistically significant, just anecdotal. But curious minds want to know. :)

Kmcmichael
10-31-2014, 02:10 PM
I like Kanilea for their playability.ie wider neck. I am happy with the tone.

stevejfc
10-31-2014, 02:18 PM
1. Kanilea 2. Kamaka 3. The Ramones........The KKK Took My Baby Away!

dsummers
10-31-2014, 02:27 PM
1. King (William) 2. Kiwaya 3. Koolau

iDavid
10-31-2014, 03:39 PM
KoAloha: My concert is warm and bright and thinks it is a tenor
Kanilea: Satin finish, old school sound monster. No bling all warmth and woody sounding.
Koolau: If I owned one, it would probably be number one. Great builder, radius neck, etc, etc, etc.

Rakelele
10-31-2014, 11:53 PM
I am not sure if Ko'olau should be counted here, as they operate more like a custom shop. As for the other Hawaiian made K-Brands, here is my impression, based on the ones I have owned:

My personal preference is clearly Kanile'a. I think their innovative build enhances playability and produces a very nice, warm and open sound. Plus they feature some of the most gorgeous Koa, even on some of their basic models. The one thing I am not so keen about is that they use plastic buttons and pins.

As for Kamaka, I like the traditional sound and looks, their history and that they invented the Pineapple shape.

KoAloha has its very own design, which may not appeal to everybody. They are a bit less expensive, and I think that shows: No faceplate, no inlaid logo, friction tuners on the small models, the frets on mine are somewhat corroded, and due to the soft wood used on the fretboard, there are some small splits between the fretboard and its binding. Of course, all of that doesn't affect sound. But it makes me prefer the others overall.

Obviously, this is all a matter of personal taste. But I like to hear how others feel about this.

The Big Kahuna
11-01-2014, 12:19 AM
Ok, let's see if I can get more hate mail than Bill Maher...

An alternative view:

Unless a uke sounds like a biscuit tin with rubber bands stretched across it (and seriously, how many "K Brand" ukes do), sound shouldn't be at the top of your list.

Sound can be altered by various means; the way you pick/strum, the length of your nails, the strings, how you hold the uke, what you're wearing on the upper half of your body etc etc etc

Buy for playability, looks (yeah, it's important. You have to hold the damn thing while you're playing it, and I assume you glance at it occasionally. If it looks like a turd, you're not going to enjoy the experience. And don't give me any of that crap about Willie Nelson's guitar, you aint Willie Nelson!), price, sentimental value (where/when/why you bought it). Any one of a zillion reasons.

But not sound.

Tigeralum2001
11-01-2014, 04:42 AM
Ko'olau is truly great. Noa is a top 5 luthier and as a custom shop, it is unfair to compare to the factory Ks. Here's a hint- the biggest difference between his entry level and his most expensive is bling. You can get into an entry level Ko'olau for about as much as a factory K. The small premium is definitely worth it. He puts as much effort and care (sans effort to bling) in the entry level as the $3,000 models.

After that, I go:
Kanilea- sound and beauty
KoAloha- consistent sound
Kamaka- Great history, we owe a lot to their perseverance. However, quality is hit-or-miss. Great ones are truly great, but you are just as likely to pick one up that is not very desirable.

That said, I don't think you can go wrong with any of these as long as you play before you buy. Exception - Ko'olau. Buy without fear; Noa won't let a dud get in to the public space.

gyosh
11-01-2014, 05:28 AM
Gee, nobody has mentioned Kala or Kiwaya or Kasuga or Kapono or Kapok or Kalua or Kahala!

They're all K-brands, aren't they?

Thank you, Tiki King, for the list...

My Kompass Rose beats them all! :)

gyosh
11-01-2014, 05:29 AM
Change your uke brand to Kompass Rose! ;)

Should have read all the posts.

coolkayaker1
11-01-2014, 05:31 AM
Exception - Ko'olau. Buy without fear; Noa won't let a dud get in to the public space.

Agree, C.J. You still rockin' that KoOlau Koa CE?

Tigeralum2001
11-01-2014, 05:50 AM
Agree, C.J. You still rockin' that KoOlau Koa CE?

Indeed! I'm shocked that there isn't more talk about this amazing uke!

gyosh
11-01-2014, 05:53 AM
These threads are interesting to me. Like someone said before you might as well ask guitar players to choose between Taylor, Gibson etc. or motor heads to name the best car.

I prefer Kamaka based solely on their history. I own a 2010 HF-3.
I like Kanile'a. Joe is a great guy.
I like Ko'aloha the sound is unique, they stand behind their product.

I like them equally. You guys argue:)
(Ko'olau isn't a custom not in the same class)

wickedwahine11
11-01-2014, 06:37 AM
I don't feel comfortable reviewing Ko'olau as I have never played one. But by all accounts they are superior instruments. As to the other three, I currently own a tenor of each, and have owned one Kamaka, two Kanileas and four KoAlohas.

For sound, I would give it to KoAloha. Don't get me wrong, the other two are wonderful instruments - after all, Aldrine plays a Kanilea and Jake a Kamaka, for good reason. But I have never played (or heard) a KoAloha that did not sound wonderful. I have heard some misses with the other two. So I would feel comfortable buying a KoAloha sight and sound unseen, the others not as much.

For appearance, I think Kanilea wins easily. Their attention to detail seems better than the other two, their finish is beautiful and their wood is often spectacular. I don't care for the plastic bridge pins but I upgraded to koa ones on mine so that is not a factor. I keep all four of my ukes on wall hangers and consistently (at least 95 percent of the time), that is the one non players are drawn to. Kanileas are very beautiful, no doubt.

For tradition/history it goes to Kamaka. That is an easy one.

For customer service it is definitely KoAloha for the win. Their warranty is by far the best, and their aloha makes you feel part of the KoAloha ohana. They are wonderful people and are also the only ones that honor warranty to a second owner.

If I had to rank them, it would be KoAloha first, then a tie between the other two. But I bet if I played a Ko'olau all bets would be off. :)

coolkayaker1
11-01-2014, 07:11 AM
Indeed! I'm shocked that there isn't more talk about this amazing uke!

Agree, agree. I play mine daily, CJ.

hawaii 50
11-01-2014, 10:21 AM
I don't feel comfortable reviewing Ko'olau as I have never played one. But by all accounts they are superior instruments. As to the other three, I currently own a tenor of each, and have owned one Kamaka, two Kanileas and four KoAlohas.

For sound, I would give it to KoAloha. Don't get me wrong, the other two are wonderful instruments - after all, Aldrine plays a Kanilea and Jake a Kamaka, for good reason. But I have never played (or heard) a KoAloha that did not sound wonderful. I have heard some misses with the other two. So I would feel comfortable buying a KoAloha sight and sound unseen, the others not as much.

For appearance, I think Kanilea wins easily. Their attention to detail seems better than the other two, their finish is beautiful and their wood is often spectacular. I don't care for the plastic bridge pins but I upgraded to koa ones on mine so that is not a factor. I keep all four of my ukes on wall hangers and consistently (at least 95 percent of the time), that is the one non players are drawn to. Kanileas are very beautiful, no doubt.

For tradition/history it goes to Kamaka. That is an easy one.

For customer service it is definitely KoAloha for the win. Their warranty is by far the best, and their aloha makes you feel part of the KoAloha ohana. They are wonderful people and are also the only ones that honor warranty to a second owner.

If I had to rank them, it would be KoAloha first, then a tie between the other two. But I bet if I played a Ko'olau all bets would be off. :)


Haha,Staci I had my Ko'olau CS for you to play when I saw you.....but you did not want to try....:)

Dan Uke
11-01-2014, 11:10 AM
Haha,Staci I had my Ko'olau CS for you to play when I saw you.....but you did not want to try....:)

I gotta try your collection next time out out on your side! Hopefully I have a car next time.

wickedwahine11
11-01-2014, 12:30 PM
Haha,Staci I had my Ko'olau CS for you to play when I saw you.....but you did not want to try....:)

You know me Len - too scared to touch someone else's uke just ask nongdam and dkcrown! I always am afraid I will drop it. Just as well, can't afford another uke - and I am monogamous now anyway to my MB. :)

Dan Uke
11-01-2014, 05:32 PM
You know me Len - too scared to touch someone else's uke just ask nongdam and dkcrown! I always am afraid I will drop it. Just as well, can't afford another uke - and I am monogamous now anyway to my MB. :)

I had to practically twist Her arm to try my ukes but once she started, it was magic! Aaaahhh...Europa!!

dkcrown
11-02-2014, 01:18 AM
You know me Len - too scared to touch someone else's uke just ask nongdam and dkcrown! I always am afraid I will drop it. Just as well, can't afford another uke - and I am monogamous now anyway to my MB. :)

I certainly didn't mind playing your MB Staci! What a beauty! Looking forward to next year when you feel more comfortable playing some of my other ukes as well. We'll have to set aside more time.

Sorry to hijack the thread.

Haven't played a Ko'olau, but I have owned quite a few of the other three K's and still own two Kamakas and a KoAloha.

For the overall playing experience including build quality, playability, and sound, my order would be;
1. Kamaka
2. KoAloha
3. Kanile'a

KoAloha definitely has the best customer service/warranty

molokinirum
11-03-2014, 08:37 AM
This is what I like, does not mean which K brand is the best. At the K brand level, they are all good!!!

1) Kamaka
2) Kanile'a
3) KoAloha

Have not played any others.

RichM
11-03-2014, 10:24 AM
I prefer Maui Music. Handmade in Hawaii with native woods, and preferable to all of the K-brands for my dollar.

PereBourik
11-03-2014, 11:23 AM
Hahaha!

What makes me sad too, is that unless a uke starts with a "K" people seem to not group them in the same category. Or unless it has a very classic Hawaiian name. But there are some amazing hand-made USA made great sounding ukuleles that don't start with a "K" therefore don't get the privilege of being group into the high-end ukuleles.

But then I suppose the list would be way long.

As far as lining up the top 4 "K-brands", I really cant. It depends on the type of music someone is playing and everyone's ear is different.

Yep. I have an Imua concert that is every bit as nice as the Kamakas I've tried. Island sound. Island wood. Island build. Why not an "I" brand?

My 2 Hawaiian ukulele are Imua and KoAloha because they sounded the best at the time of purchase. A year and more later they still sound good.

Pueo
11-03-2014, 12:21 PM
I prefer Maui Music. Handmade in Hawaii with native woods, and preferable to all of the K-brands for my dollar.

Last time I was at Ko'olau hanging out with Andrew, and I was playing all kinds of stuff, Collings, Andrew's Moore Bettah, Kamakas, Kanileas, the ukulele I was drawn to was a Maui Music six-string tenor. Bold sound, looked fantastic, I really really liked it!

Kamanaaloha
11-04-2014, 09:56 AM
Kamaka - consistant [HF3L - the first...also HF2L - the first ]
KoAloha [loud] = Kanile'a [curlyest/eyecandy] very close second and third

Ko'olau [custom anymore - not enough production supply - high price - or would likely be tops], Gstring [same thing as Ko'olau and not a "K" brand]

Imua [not a "K" brand...but]?

CeeJay
11-04-2014, 12:28 PM
Kellogs Special "K".

willisoften
11-04-2014, 12:46 PM
I've tried a few and owned a few - Island Soprano / Standards
Kamaka / Imua - Totally different and I can't decide which I like the best. I have them both. Imua a bit smaller than the Kamaka.
Kanilea nice tone, just bit quiet though. Seemed a bit "solid". Didn't like the geared tuners, looked awful but I'm still sorry I sold mine.
Koaloha - brash, overloaded with treble, loud. Light easy player seemed a little larger than my Kamaka - didn't buy the only one I've ever held or tried, didn't like it. (Style is a bit over cooked between the headstock, soundhole and bridge. A little branding is enough guys.) I realise many love them but not for me.

Concerts - only ever tried one, bought one.
A Kanilea - sounds lovely, seems enormous - same awful tuners as the soprano. I can live with geared tuners but these seem terribly spindly. Definitely not a loud machine.

I don't play particularly well, but my opportunities to play are also limited, therefore I'm going to do my damnedest to enjoy the best.

sam13
11-04-2014, 02:23 PM
Was at a uke store with a wall of them. No Ko'olau ukuleles. But Kamaka and Kanile'a were there.

By far the best sounding Uke was the Kala solid Koa top cut away Tenor. No joke. Was highly disappointed in the Hawaiian k brands.

I have played better sounding K brand Ukes. Just not that day at that store.

DownUpDave
11-04-2014, 02:31 PM
Was at a uke store with a wall of them. No Ko'olau ukuleles. But Kamaka and Kanile'a were there.

By far the best sounding Uke was the Kala solid Koa top cut away Tenor. No joke. Was highly disappointed in the Hawaiian k brands.

I have played better sounding K brand Ukes. Just not that day at that store.

So...........which is your top ranking brand.


I do remember Heather had her husbands Koaloha tenor with the wound low G string at Corktown that you really liked

wickedwahine11
11-04-2014, 02:56 PM
Was at a uke store with a wall of them. No Ko'olau ukuleles. But Kamaka and Kanile'a were there.

By far the best sounding Uke was the Kala solid Koa top cut away Tenor. No joke. Was highly disappointed in the Hawaiian k brands.

I have played better sounding K brand Ukes. Just not that day at that store.

Wow, that is interesting. I will say in defense of (at least) Kamaka - those factory strings are God awful, IMHO. So often they sound best with other strings. For me, the Southcoast sound great on Kamaka, and my Kanilea sounds much better with Living Water. Just a thought. An interesting observation though - and one that leads credence to the theory that those two can occasionally be hit or miss.

sam13
11-04-2014, 05:28 PM
So...........which is your top ranking brand.


I do remember Heather had her husbands Koaloha tenor with the wound low G string at Corktown that you really liked

Kala.

I'm

sam13
11-04-2014, 05:30 PM
Wow, that is interesting. I will say in defense of (at least) Kamaka - those factory strings are God awful, IMHO. So often they sound best with other strings. For me, the Southcoast sound great on Kamaka, and my Kanilea sounds much better with Living Water. Just a thought. An interesting observation though - and one that leads credence to the theory that those two can occasionally be hit or miss.

I agree. A lot of misses on that wall. And You are right. The strings on the Kamaka were terrible.

Steedy
11-04-2014, 05:38 PM
I'm fortunate (or foolish) enough to own three K brand Concert ukes. All three are great wonderful ukuleles, but based on sound, playability, build quality and appearance, here's how I currently rank them:

1. Kanile'a
2. KoAloha
3. Kamaka

EDIT: It's really closer to a 3-way tie than a 1-2-3 order... I also have a new Kala MGM Tribute Tenor uke from Hawaii Music Supply, and it's in a class by itself. The MGM Kala is my first Spruce top ukulele and it looks, sounds, and plays awesome! :shaka:

wayfarer75
11-05-2014, 07:39 AM
I agree. A lot of misses on that wall. And You are right. The strings on the Kamaka were terrible.

Yes, what is up with the Kamaka strings? They're so floppy and dull. They didn't last long on my pineapple. Bleh. I guess it goes along with "What is up with those Schaller friction tuners Kamaka uses?" But hopefully those will be completely replaced by the Gotohs.

Steedy
11-05-2014, 07:48 AM
Yah, my Kamaka loses points for its Schaller geared tuners.

janeray1940
11-05-2014, 07:53 AM
Yes, what is up with the Kamaka strings? They're so floppy and dull. They didn't last long on my pineapple. Bleh. I guess it goes along with "What is up with those Schaller friction tuners Kamaka uses?" But hopefully those will be completely replaced by the Gotohs.


Yah, my Kamaka loses points for its Schaller geared tuners.

Those awful strings continue to baffle me - why, Kamaka, why?? Fortunately my local shop will change them out to whatever I bring in if I'm considering a purchase.

As for the Gotohs - they're a dream. All new Kamakas come with them (can't recall when this changed) and older ones can easily be retrofitted with them.

Stevelele
11-05-2014, 08:26 AM
if we're talking about the standard models, then my ranking is
1) Ko'olau 2) Koaloha 3) Kamaka 4) Kanilea; but then things get screwed up once you start bringing special customs into the discussion. The customs that I have played that have been made by Casey Kamaka are some of the best ukes I've ever played. And I understand that some of the red/black label koalohas are pretty great, too. Also, i've never played a signature series or diamond series Kanilea, but i've heard some pretty great things.

Rakelele
11-08-2014, 08:20 PM
HMS has done a very instructive comparison video of the three K brands, using the strings they come with:

http://vimeo.com/76956299

As a matter of fact, I think the factory strings have to be taken into account here, since they may play a huge part in people's first impression of an instrument, while they are the one thing that you can easily change.

I'll have to agree with others that the Kamaka strings on my Pineapple felt and sounded quite floppy and that the instrument improved a lot after changing them. I'm not a fan of the Aquila strings that Kanile'a sets up their instruments with, either. KoAloha, on the other hand, uses Worth strings, and I think they contribute largely to the huge sound attributed to KoAloha.