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View Full Version : Honu or Kanilea?



scooterguitar
03-02-2009, 10:22 AM
I have it naoored down to the Kanilea K1 super concert or Honu concert (the fancy one).
I've read until I'm hurting:eek:
Heard over the phone and a few clips, still undecided.
If that Honu wasn't so puuuurdy I'd alreayd ordered the Kanilea.
My first good uke, this will be. If all goes well, be buying plenty more in the future.

Fanciness away, would the Honu just be like the other $300-$400 made elsewhere solid woods, or better?
I know the Kanilea is top notch.

Thanks and help me place my order today!

russ_buss
03-02-2009, 10:29 AM
I have it naoored down to the Kanilea K1 super concert or Honu concert (the fancy one).
I've read until I'm hurting:eek:
Heard over the phone and a few clips, still undecided.
If that Honu wasn't so puuuurdy I'd alreayd ordered the Kanilea.
My first good uke, this will be. If all goes well, be buying plenty more in the future.

Fanciness away, would the Honu just be like the other $300-$400 made elsewhere solid woods, or better?
I know the Kanilea is top notch.

Thanks and help me place my order today!

sounds like you want the Kanilea. go for it.

cpatch
03-02-2009, 10:30 AM
Honu looks better, Kanile`a sounds better. Do you want looks or sound?

bbycrts
03-02-2009, 11:34 AM
I can't get over that goofy turtle-shaped bridge...and my Kanile'a sings soooo sweetly!

Go Kanile'a!

wearymicrobe
03-02-2009, 11:35 AM
Honu looks better, Kanile`a sounds better. Do you want looks or sound?

+1e10 ...

taropatch
03-02-2009, 12:04 PM
MGM has a Kanilea K1 Super Concert for $619 listed.

GX9901
03-02-2009, 12:27 PM
Honu looks better, Kanile`a sounds better. Do you want looks or sound?

I don't know if I agree with that statement completely. I have the top of the line Honu concert and I actually slightly prefer its sound over my Kanile'a super soprano due to greater note clarity and sustain. The Honu is not the loudest ukulele but does have great tone.

Now I love Kanile'a ukes as much as the next guy, but I think it's unfair to paint the Honu as inferior sounding when in fact it is as good or better than some models of Kanile'a. At least in my admittedly limited experience with them.

Lanark
03-02-2009, 12:43 PM
Shouldn't a concert have some extra sustain just based on the slightly larger soundboard anyway? It is the difference between a concert body and a soprano after all.

But otherwise, I can't argue GX's point.

In a lot of ways it's like arguing about which apple is better Honeycrisp or Fuji.

I don't have any experience with Honus personally, but I'd tend to trust GX9901's assessments on such things.

(And it's an established fact that Honeycrisp is the best apple. So don't even think about it...:p)

dnewton2
03-02-2009, 12:57 PM
Honu looks better, Kanile`a sounds better. Do you want looks or sound?

I agree with GX about the sound point, and I might argue beauty is in the eye of the beholder?

I see you have a Kanile'a and I am just curious if you have compared the sound of a Honu side by side? I haven't played a Honu but have played a Kanile'a and the playability was unreal compared to what I have played, I was suprised the volume was a little lacking of my expectations, considering it was a Soundmonster. At last weeks live lesson Aldrine used a Honu to teach the lesson and besides the strings he seemed to like it. (might be the sponser thing but I doubt it)

I personally would get a Kanile'a and almost did but decided to have a Moore Bettah uke built instead.

scooterguitar
03-02-2009, 01:03 PM
Excellent replies everyone! GX has been helping me along a little as well, he's about the only one that has solid reviews on the Honu. His video on them are really helpful at this point.

MY concern is take away the fancy of the Honu and is it comprable to the mid priced ukes or still a step above those?
I gotta decide or I'll never get one:>)

Yep, MGM is where I'm getting one from.

deach
03-02-2009, 01:12 PM
....
(And it's an established fact that Honeycrisp is the best apple. So don't even think about it...:p)

Ten years a go I would have argued with you but the quality of Fujis have really gone down.

haolejohn
03-02-2009, 01:37 PM
Excellent replies everyone! GX has been helping me along a little as well, he's about the only one that has solid reviews on the Honu. His video on them are really helpful at this point.

MY concern is take away the fancy of the Honu and is it comprable to the mid priced ukes or still a step above those?
I gotta decide or I'll never get one:>)

Yep, MGM is where I'm getting one from.

I have played the honu and the only downside of the Honu is that it is made overseas (vietnam I think) the koa that is used in the Honus is the same koa that is used in everyone elses solid koa ukes. Some say that the Honu has better wood b/c the owner is also the owner of the koa tree harvesting company and he gets first pick of the wood. As far as being a mid priced uke you must remember that price isn't always everything. I own a mele and I would put it up against anyone's uke. I might get beat down but i think it is that good. The Honus aren't bad.

scooterguitar
03-02-2009, 01:41 PM
Thank you for the honesty haolejohn.
I know exactly what you mean. I've had super high $ guitars that were "good", then mid priced ones that just had a certain magic.

From GX's vids and what I've been able to decipher eveyrwhere...the Kanilea is warmer and the Honu brighter, the warmer will get my $. Now I'm thinking of throwing a Koaloha in the mix, but better not!

haolejohn
03-02-2009, 01:48 PM
Thank you for the honesty haolejohn.
I know exactly what you mean. I've had super high $ guitars that were "good", then mid priced ones that just had a certain magic.

From GX's vids and what I've been able to decipher eveyrwhere...the Kanilea is warmer and the Honu brighter, the warmer will get my $. Now I'm thinking of throwing a Koaloha in the mix, but better not!

Now your talking. I have only heard a KoAloha over the phone and I am saving my pennies to buy one. I have thought about Kanilea but not sure. I also prefer the warmer sound and that is what intrigues me about the Kanileas. I also read on here that they are loud which I like as well since I play with a guitar player, but I am biased and a KoAloha will trump all my decisions until I get one. You could offer me one of those 20k plus ukes that MGM or Shawn has and I would turn it down for a KoAloha.

scooterguitar
03-02-2009, 01:52 PM
Ha, too good! :>)
I could swing the Koalhoa in the regualr concert or get the Kanilea super concert.
G strings are a birghter uke, correct?

haolejohn
03-02-2009, 02:00 PM
Ha, too good! :>)
I could swing the Koalhoa in the regualr concert or get the Kanilea super concert.
G strings are a birghter uke, correct?

I played a G-string once, not impressed at all sound wise. Aesthetically it was great...But I still want one.

Uke Republic
03-02-2009, 04:55 PM
Honu, high quality wood great Q.C. and oh yeah I can give you a great deal on one.

bigwaves_us
03-08-2009, 02:55 PM
I went down the same road about a year ago. I ended up a with a custom Kanilea super concert. The wood is some of the best Koa i have every seen and the sound in stunning. The fit and finish is perfect and its made in the HI. Check out music mike he is good person to discuss this topic with.

cpatch
03-08-2009, 03:21 PM
I agree with GX about the sound point, and I might argue beauty is in the eye of the beholder?

I see you have a Kanile'a and I am just curious if you have compared the sound of a Honu side by side? I haven't played a Honu but have played a Kanile'a and the playability was unreal compared to what I have played, I was suprised the volume was a little lacking of my expectations, considering it was a Soundmonster.
I admit that I haven't played the two side-by-side but when I was deciding which uke to buy I narrowed it down to the Honu (which I thought was better looking for the price) and the Kanile`a. Extensive online research kept pointing to the Kanile`a as the better sounding of the two and that was what I went by and what I based my previous post on. I know, I know...research doesn't hold a candle to listening and playing but that's what I had to go by. When it came down to making a decision (looks ARE important to me), the fact that Kanile`as are made on Oahu (vs. somewhere overseas for Honu) pushed me over the edge, plus the fact that I found a really good-looking one at a great price.

BTW, mine is plenty loud!

scooterguitar
03-08-2009, 04:07 PM
I ended up ordering a Koaloha!
IF it sticks, then I'll be finding a nice tenor down the not too distant road, imagine Kanilea will be the first I look at.

Big_Island_Ukulele
03-08-2009, 04:28 PM
Hello all! I hope you guys don't mind if I jump in on the thread here. To be up front- I'm quite biased about which one I think you should get... but to answer a question you've had but no one has seemed to be able to answer- Is my highest end uke - XXX model- better quality than the lower end uke?

The simple answer, no (and yes)- BUT it doesn't lower the quality of the high end- the low end is of the same quality and craftmanship put into it as the $2000 - $3000 ukes out there by custom builders. the reason they only cost as little as they do is, 1) they are NOT made in Hawaii 2) I get the koa cheaper

They are still made by craftsman who spend as much time and attention to detail as the luthiers in Hawaii or anywhere else in the world for that matter- they just happen to live and build in Vietnam. They still have just as much pride and joy in making quality instruments as the best makers in the world. I can attest to this in their willingness to make the perfect instrument everytime and allow me to reject ukes as I need to.

that's why my XXX is close the $1000 and not a $400 model made in China nor is is a $2000 uke made in Hawaii.

if you were to buy the exact same model with the same specs from Kanielea, Da Silva, La Pronzi, KoAloha, Koolau etc. you probably have to pay at least $2000 and more likely $3000.

I feel the quality in craftmanship and sound would still rival their uke.

someday I'll get all this info on the website with pics of them in the factory to give everyone a better idea of it all.

I myself do business in Japan and I cannot really keep enough of the XXX in stock- because they do appreciate the value they get without having to spend $3000 for a simliar item just so they can have one that says, "Made in Hawaii."

Having grown up in Hawaii and owning businesses in Hawaii and Japan, visiting factories all around the world, it is my experience that there are many very well made ukes made just as good, if not better than most production level ukes coming from Hawaii. I'm not going to say ANY names here, but I'm sure even some of the well known makers would agree, "Made in Hawaii" does not always equal "Made with Quality." it means "Made with Aloha!" Although I will say that Kanilea DOES produce a quality instrument and their sound is probably "different" than mine- but does different equal better?

my wife is a professional violinist- we were buying violins for students and I was with her while she was picking out violins in the $1000 range. As she was going through them she easily dismissed certain ones becuase the sound wasn't the sound she liked, not because of anything to do with the quality of the sound.

Also, unlike violins that are made with generally the same species of wood that generally emit the same tonal qualities, the same cannot be said for koa. Koa has varying physical properties that will affect the sound of each one and generally mean no two ukes will sound exactly alike. there is another thread that discusses this a bit - light vs. dark koa. but it's true- I've goine through 100's of thousands of BF of koa and you'd think they were completely different species sometimes!

Also, just because someone gets paid less to make something, doesn't mean they are going to put out an inferior product. Overall we use high quality products in every part of the ukulele without cutting corners, from the parts used to the final finish work.

by the way- the koa button on the tuning gear took three years to perfect and a lot of errors along the way! that alone would probably add $100 up charge on someone elses ukulele, but it comes standard with our every model.

how about the laser engraving on the back of the headstock for the XXX? How about the pure black, high grade ebony fingerboard? that hand carved turtle is a killer to make perfect everytime... how about the real abalone small turtle inlays? I'd be real curious to know what a maker would up-charge for that. Do you know how difficult it is to get the little turtles legs perfectly inlayed? Even though it's "standard" on my XXX model, it still takes the same time and skill for any luthier to do those attnetion to details- I just don't have to pay my guys $15 - $25 / hour to do it! it's all these little things and attention to details that make this uke perhaps a $2500 uke by a famous and even a not so famous maker- because of the time and attention to detail involved in it.

Have you guys all noticed that most production level models are a matte finish? even a gloss finish often commands a $100 premium or isn't even offered for the <$400 ukes (expect for the really mass produced models). it's because it is just too hard to make a quality glossy finished uke in a hurry and still have it sound good. matte finish is cheaper and easier to allow the wood to sing. I used to use a matte finish, but the general market seems to want to buy a glossy over the matte, especially when so many are sold online. so I hae to work even harder to make it sound better while still keeping the costs down!

when one compares ukes, please make sure you are comparing the same specs to make it a real comparison.

as far as sound goes- well that always going to be a personal preference and there will be some who like mine and some who prefer others sound over mine. And that is great, otherwise we would all be just one big mass of the same sound without any variety.

by the way, I'm not sure people really know- my line isn't a mass produced line. It's not that I don't have the orders- it because I cannot rush quality control- if the koa isn't ready to make an uke, we cannot make an uke! if it isn't finished drying properly, it's not done. I'm competing with the $500 to $3000 ukes so I treat it as such and the attention to detail and inspection is rigourous!

I hope that gives you all a little better insight to this line of ukes and perhaps make your mind spin even more about which one to choose!

by the way, please all don't forget to check out the dealer page to find the authorized dealer who will take care of you, especially if you have a shop nearby. If you don't have a shop nearby, I think we should all start a grass-roots operation to commit to getting one shop near them to carry ukuleles, whether my brand or not! if you, the player and buyer, started bugging local shops to carry ukes they would put more thought into it. I always have appreciated paying a little extra for the brick and mortar operation in the instrument market. If you were able to play, touch, smell, and even lick your uke before you buy, we would all have a better fighting chance to get the uke that sounds and feels right for US!

Aloha !
Jorma:shaka:

Uke Republic
03-08-2009, 06:25 PM
These are really fantastic instruments, not only because of sound, looks, quality ,but the price! As has been written before a crafted uke of similiar quality, cost at least twice the price of a Honu. I think most will be impressed , if they get to try one.

cpatch
03-09-2009, 09:43 AM
Hello all! I hope you guys don't mind if I jump in on the thread here.
Thanks for a very thought-provoking post...it definitely makes me a lot more likely to consider a Honu for a future purchase.

scooterguitar
03-09-2009, 12:39 PM
Thank you Big Island! Very informative.
I know one day I'll end up with the xxx if I stick with the instrument!
Again, many thanks!

GX9901
03-09-2009, 04:12 PM
Jorma,

That's a very informative post. I have one of the concert XXX models (purchased from MGM in 2007 and supposed to be a sample/prototype) and I agree that the workmanship is outstanding. It actually is so perfectly made that it almost feels like it's not handcrafted (if that makes any sense). I think you should put out as much information about the Honu line as you can, as there were next to no information about them on the internet except for some Japanese websites. I think it's outstanding but even I thought they were made to compete against the likes of Pono and Mele instead of the higher end Hawaiian made ukes. I think information such as the ones you've written here would be greatly appreciated by ukulele enthusiasts.

Keep up the good work!

Big_Island_Ukulele
03-10-2009, 05:05 AM
Jorma,

That's a very informative post. I have one of the concert XXX models (purchased from MGM in 2007 and supposed to be a sample/prototype) and I agree that the workmanship is outstanding. It actually is so perfectly made that it almost feels like it's not handcrafted (if that makes any sense). I think you should put out as much information about the Honu line as you can, as there were next to no information about them on the internet except for some Japanese websites. I think it's outstanding but even I thought they were made to compete against the likes of Pono and Mele instead of the higher end Hawaiian made ukes. I think information such as the ones you've written here would be greatly appreciated by ukulele enthusiasts.

Keep up the good work!



Thanks!

sometimes I get a little bit of diarrhea of the fingers... but it sure helps improve the typing skills...

Pricewise, the traditional and rope are competing against the PONO and MELE (someone correct me if I'm wrong, but the MELE are also not made in Hawaii, right?), but if you put them next to each and really compare the workmanship, you'll find they are more like what you would expect to come out of a custom shop. The XXX is the one that is decked out with all the eye candy... it's what I call a "standard custom" It's got a lot of the stuff that one might want on their custom uke but wihtout the option to change anything on it. (BTW, please don't ask us to change stuff... we aren't able to... that's a big reason the prices are where they are...)

As for your ukulele, I actually remember when MGM sold that. I think he got it from a distributor in the mainland and brought it back to Hawaii to sell... I don't recall exactly, but I think it went something like that.

The "story" of that particular line of ukes has even more to it... Although I've had the XXX model for about 3 years now, only until this past January has the XXX model become regularly available in the US. Prior to that, they were generally only sold in Japan. Up until about a year or two ago, the XXX was the only model made in Vietnam. That uke you got wasn't necessarily a protype, but it was one of the original "try it in the US to see how it goes" ukuleles. Previously I used a distributor who didn't really feel confident the US market would be willing to pay $600 or $700 and up for a non-Hawaii, Asian-made ukulele. I guess you proved us wrong!

About a year and half ago I switched all my production to the Vietnam factory. The quality of theirs over my other place was just too good to ignore. (someday I'll discuss the other factory... some other makers still use them...).

But the line was still only available in Japan. My theory was to build the line's quality control to a high-enough standard that it would gain the Japanese seal of approval for quality- which is VERY hard to do for non-Hawaii made instruments. I also felt the US market still wasn't quite ready for a $350 solid koa soprano not made in Hawaii when they could find solid koa Hawaii made ukes for under $300. the quality of the <$300 made in hawaii uke is another story altogether, but that was the excuse I heard time and time again from dealers in Hawaii. "Why should we buy a more expensive, made in Asia uke, when I can get a ----- for less" I would admantly say, "QUALITY" ...

Anyway, in 2008, after selling pretty much everything I supplied to Japan with very few returns, I felt my quality was more than good enough for the US market and the price point was reasonable enough that the customer would want to buy it. Supply a high-quality product at an affordable price, and there shouldn't be any problems, as they say in business. well, I guess it proving itself to be true with this line of ukes. So I had my big debut at the winter NAMM show in Anaheim this past Jan 2009 and ukes have been flying out the doors since! good thing I have a ton of koa in Vietnam curing and waitng to be made into an uke!

In a future post I will discuss what goes into the inspection process of my ukes in order for it to make it out the door... it's a bit intense! but as I mentioned before, they are eager to please! BTW, as much as I try, I don't get every single one perfect every single time.

thanks for reading!

haolejohn
03-10-2009, 06:24 AM
You are correct the MELE and the PONO are made outside the US.

I must say that I own three MELEs and I ahve been happy with them. Once I saw one of your HONUs, the first thing I noticed was the quality. I had high standareds from my MELE and the HONU line matches everything about my MELE. I do plan on purchasing a HONU eventually after I get my KoAloha. THe HONU is well worth the price.

Oswegan
03-10-2009, 11:08 AM
With all due respect - they look like they are beautifully crafted.

But that turtle shaped saddle . . .

I have this vision of Seinfeld playing it while wearing the white shirt with the puffy sleeves . . .

GX9901
03-10-2009, 11:26 AM
With all due respect - they look like they are beautifully crafted.

But that turtle shaped saddle . . .

I have this vision of Seinfeld playing it while wearing the white shirt with the puffy sleeves . . .

That saddle was the main reason I bought the Honu. I love sea turtles. I guess it is a polarizing design, but that makes it unique.

Oswegan
03-10-2009, 11:56 AM
That saddle was the main reason I bought the Honu. I love sea turtles. I guess it is a polarizing design, but that makes it unique.

Yes - to each his/her own. No disrespect intended.

My sister who lives in Hollywood has a Honu - she loves all things turtle.

For me . . . it's a little too smurfalele.

p.s. Love your William King spruce top tenor.

cpatch
03-10-2009, 12:07 PM
But that turtle shaped saddle . . .
That was a turn-off for me, too...I'd love to see the XXX offered without it as an option.

bbycrts
03-10-2009, 12:11 PM
With all due respect - they look like they are beautifully crafted.

But that turtle shaped saddle . . .

I have this vision of Seinfeld playing it while wearing the white shirt with the puffy sleeves . . .

I was seriously considering the Honu XXX when I was looking for a real nice soprano - but the turtle bridge was too much of a turn-off for me, too. I have a Kanile'a that I love now, but the Honus sure are pretty - less the silly saddle. I just think it takes a classy looking uke and makes it kitschy instead. Reminds me of the Makala dolphin...

GX9901
03-10-2009, 12:21 PM
Yes - to each his/her own. No disrespect intended.


Hey no problem. If we all liked the same things, it would get pretty boring.:D

Oswegan
03-10-2009, 12:37 PM
Not to highjack this thread - but has anyone seen that Kanilea baritone that Music Guy Mike has on right now?

Holy cow, talk about beautiful. Now that's a uke I could fall in love with.

http://cgi.ebay.com/KANILEA-K-1-BARITONE-KOA-UKULELE-W-CASE-on-SALE_W0QQitemZ270353528819QQcmdZViewItemQQptZLH_De faultDomain_0?hash=item270353528819&_trksid=p3286.c0.m14&_trkparms=72%3A1205%7C66%3A2%7C65%3A12%7C39%3A1%7C 240%3A1318%7C301%3A1%7C293%3A1%7C294%3A50#ebayphot ohosting

FrozenMango
03-10-2009, 12:38 PM
well, there are also honu's without the turtle bridge, the less expensive ones. I have had a traditional soprano honu for a week now and it sounds amazing:D I am more concerned about sound so since the higher end models are mostly nicer looks, I decided to get a more simple one which still has the same sound.

Uke Republic
03-10-2009, 01:47 PM
The other 2 models don't have the turtle saddle. If I were going to ride a turtle I would use a turtle saddle.Yeah...good one.;)

scooterguitar
03-10-2009, 01:55 PM
The turtle is awesome!

Rubbertoe
03-10-2009, 03:26 PM
I like the turtle. I'm of two minds about the headstock. Is the only real difference between the lines bling-factor? They should all sound as sweet as a baby sea turtle, no?

Uke Republic
03-10-2009, 07:01 PM
The traditional model has a rosewood fingerboard and the koa aint so curly. Its still way beautiful and sounds oh so good. Oh and the finish is high quality on all. The choice is yours and you can't go wrong. Extra crispy or original recipe. Hmm,yummy.:love:

Ahnko Honu
03-10-2009, 10:08 PM
Don't dis da honu, I love da honu! ;)
The Mele are made in the Philippines but set up on Maui. I used to live Maui before moving back the Oahu in late 2007 and visited the Mele store regularly to buy strings, gig bags, and just admire the quality ukuleles on display. Several of my friends own Meles and they love them. Allot of working class blue collar locals cannot afford a Kamaka so when Mele openned there doors it was a blessing for us to be able to afford a quality koa wood great sounding ukulele. I own a koa Mele concert pineapple that looks and sounds beautiful, and will keep me happy until I can one day afford a Kamaka, but if that day never comes I won't feel deprived playing my Mele. :D
I'm happy ukuleles like Honu are here as an option for affordable koa ukuleles.

Big_Island_Ukulele
03-12-2009, 03:22 AM
Hello All!

I LOVE this feedback! Seriously, I do. bring it on- likes, dislikes, etc. Just so everyone knows- there are more models planned for the future and already in the works! Duly noted that my bridge is a turn off to some- actually it isn't a suprise to me and it never really occurred to me to try and make something for everyone. My round ukulele head as well... generally I've never been one to be considered the norm or follow the pack... but I guess that's why I haven't had a boss (other than my wife and now my 3-year old daughter) for quite a number of years now...

fortunately enough people like the HONU that I've sold mostly everything I've made. But maybe in a year or so I'll do a complete model change and come out with a new series, thereby making the HONU series obsolete and collector's items... hmmm...

Kitchiness aside, to manufacture that HONU ebony bridge is a real pain! It's A grade ebony and hand carved. to get the whole thing flat enough without any gaps takes a bit of effort and wood that has to have been cured for years (usually). ebony is one of the most difficult woods to get down to the proper moisture content so it doesn't move anymore. that's one of the reasons, after some time, you sometimes find fret wire sticking out a little bit-it's wood shrinkage over time.

Head- I've been told my some players that the design makes it easier for them to hit the chords near the first fret.

I grew up swimming, surfing, and diving with the HONU of the Big Island, so I've always had a great connection with and love for them. Even though they've scared the hell out me so many times while surfing / body boarding at Honoli'i! The water there seems to always be so dark and they pop up for air right next to you! And there are so many of them! They would be popping up every 15 minutes and they'd still make me jump. I think UluaPounder will concur with me on this... we were quite often there together! Brings back the memories...

I think I might set up a thread and ask the player / customer what kind of uke they would like to see. What do you guys think about that? maybe I'll have some sort of contest to design an uke, from the players perspective. We'll start with a blank slate and go from there. I'll consider the manufacturing ability of what is designed.

Sound interesting and something fun to do? it does to me, but then again, I probably have no clue what kind of can of worms I'm opening myself up to, since I cannot even finish everything I'm supposed to doing anyway. But it sounds a lot more fun right now than staying up till 2am every night working on my taxes!

If I get some positive feedback on that, I'll put more thought into it. I have a bunch of koa that's itchin to be made into ukes! :D LOL

Aloha!

GX9901
03-12-2009, 05:07 AM
fortunately enough people like the HONU that I've sold mostly everything I've made. But maybe in a year or so I'll do a complete model change and come out with a new series, thereby making the HONU series obsolete and collector's items... hmmm...


Haha, I hope you keep the line going. I was going to sell mine to make room for a custom, but if it's going to become a collector's item....:p



Kitchiness aside, to manufacture that HONU ebony bridge is a real pain! It's A grade ebony and hand carved. to get the whole thing flat enough without any gaps takes a bit of effort and wood that has to have been cured for years (usually). ebony is one of the most difficult woods to get down to the proper moisture content so it doesn't move anymore. that's one of the reasons, after some time, you sometimes find fret wire sticking out a little bit-it's wood shrinkage over time.


The A grade ebony is no joke. It is so smooth and the grains are so tight I actually wondered if it was wood when I first got it. The ebony fretboard on my much more expensive William King tenor is of the same grade.



Head- I've been told my some players that the design makes it easier for them to hit the chords near the first fret.


It's a cool design. You should stick with it. IMHO anyway.



I think I might set up a thread and ask the player / customer what kind of uke they would like to see. What do you guys think about that? maybe I'll have some sort of contest to design an uke, from the players perspective. We'll start with a blank slate and go from there. I'll consider the manufacturing ability of what is designed.


It would be fun. At the very least it should be a pretty entertaining thread. Go for it!

Ahnko Honu
03-12-2009, 05:24 AM
Hello All!

I think I might set up a thread and ask the player / customer what kind of uke they would like to see. What do you guys think about that? maybe I'll have some sort of contest to design an uke, from the players perspective. We'll start with a blank slate and go from there. I'll consider the manufacturing ability of what is designed.

If I get some positive feedback on that, I'll put more thought into it. I have a bunch of koa that's itchin to be made into ukes! :D LOL

Aloha!

I'm always happy to see another pineapple ukulele coming on the market. :D

Rubbertoe
03-12-2009, 05:58 AM
Even though I'm still two minds about the headstock, DON'T change it. These little differences are part of what Honu, Honu. There are (too) many uke companies that cater to the masses. (probably one of the reasons people eventually head to custom-made ukes)

bbycrts
03-12-2009, 07:24 AM
Jorma:

I LOVE that a manufacturer is having a discussion with his customers - current and potential - over an open forum! Awesome.

And while I don't like the turtle bridge (but love the Honu logo on the headstock), I'm not every customer, eh!

I love everything about the xxx series except that bridge, so if you did come out with one that had a plainer bridge...well...my wallet might start screaming!

Thanks for coming out here to shoot the breeze with all of us!

P.S. One of my best Big Island memories ever was snorkeling at Kahalu'u beach park - I was looking down, watching the fishies - for some reason I looked up and was about 3 inches face-to-face with a gorgeous honu! We swam side-by-side for a little while - incredible, peaceful experience. I almost went and got a band of honu petroglyphs tattooed around my leg...almost.

cpatch
03-12-2009, 07:39 AM
I should add that I do love the shape of the headstock and the honu inlay.

haole
03-12-2009, 08:08 AM
A lot of people who visit the islands have happy memories involving the honu. I've had one swim up to me at the tidal pools on the north shore of O'ahu, and a few relaxing at Lawai Kai. The turtle bridge on the Honu ukes makes me more interested in them because of that.
But for the folks with more traditional tastes, a blinged-out XXX with a regular bridge might be more attractive.

Awesome to see another ukulele industry insider posting and listening to players! That alone is a nice selling point; I love it when companies are run by humans who are genuinely interested in what potential costumers think.

scooterguitar
03-12-2009, 09:14 AM
How about a demo/tour uke for us to try out? It is done in the guitar relams all the time. Ship to good standing members, they have a brief period with it, report feedback and ship it along to the next person!