View Full Version : Hawaiian Koa Shortage?

03-18-2015, 11:06 PM
Went to a local Ukulele shop today since I was in Waikiki. I remember visiting before and they had a huge selection of Hawaiian brand ukuleles. Now its almost 80% percent all imports. I ask the seller where is all the Hawaii made. his answer was, demand for them are low and a shortage of Hawaiian koa is raising the price up so they are too expensive to sale nowa days. that's why even Ukulele Pua pua had to close down one of there stores. High rent and Hawaii mades getting to expensive because of Koa shortage or greed?

03-19-2015, 05:08 AM
I would guess that a Waikiki uke shop sells mostly to tourists....so they stock the cheaper brands. Not many tourists are going to spend big bucks for a ukulele while on vacation.
Koa is rare and expensive, but it is available. So it tends to go to higher end ukes. There are still great builders in Hawaii, but they're not cheap.
You guys in Hawaii gotta get busy planting some koa trees!!

03-19-2015, 06:10 AM
I understand that there is Church somewhere on the Big Island that is constructed entirely out of Koa, walls roof, floor boards, seating and alter etc:..I think it's time that the Island Luthiers got it dismantled and replaced it with bricks / concrete or something ;)....Chuck knows where it is.

03-19-2015, 07:33 AM
I'm sure most stores have a easier time moving $200-300 imports than > $1000 Hawaiian-made koa ukes. But clearly Kamaka, Koaloha, et al are still happily making and selling koa ukes and they are readily available from many retailers. Yes, koa is a little more expensive than it used to be, owing to the usual supply and demand issues. But really, the cost of the koa is a relatively small part of the overall cost of a quality ukulele, so I doubt it has much of an impact on sales.