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View Full Version : Kanile'a: Best. Tour. Ever.



frankens
05-06-2015, 06:10 PM
Took the Kanile'a tour this morning and it was great. I don't like to gush, but it was the best factory tour I've ever taken, uke or otherwise, and that includes Coors, with the free samples at the end. Joe took me through all the steps, answered all my questions, and was engaging and interesting. It was 1.5 hours start to finish with the boss. I had a camera with me but was so wrapped up I didn't even think to take a single picture (sorry). I wanted to ask if there were any openings for an apprentice.

As interesting as the instruments, almost, and important to me is their commitment to more responsible manufacturing. They don't use nitro finishes anymore, spending a huge amount of time and money to implement the UV-cured finish system, and the sourcing of the FSC mahogany for their necks is ingenious.

A disclaimer: I was the only one on the tour. Nobody else showed up today. Since I was the only one asking questions, all my questions were answered on my private tour. YMMV.

A non-disclaimer: I'm not connected to Kanile'a in any way. I don't have a Kanile'a, and having resolved to eat and pay rent fairly regularly this year, I'm not in the market for one. But boy do I want one. Sorry if this sounds like an ad for them, but I was that impressed.

My only complaint had nothing to do with the tour itself. Joe pulled a beautiful Hawaiian islands-inlaid tenor off the wall, tuned it and handed it to me. I'd thought about it the night before, because I thought I might get a chance to play one. What to play? Stardust? Lahainaluna? Europa? I totally choked and strummed a few basic chords like I'd seen it done on TV but had never done it myself, picked about 10 clumsy notes, felt overwhelming shame, and handed it back. The next time I take a tour I'm going to put a splint on one of my fingers and beg off to spare myself the embarrassment.

If you are on Oahu and are going to hit one factory, Kanile'a is worth the drive to Kaneohe. If you are going to fit in more than one do Kanile'a last so it doesn't spoil the others for you.

coolkayaker1
05-06-2015, 09:15 PM
Frankens, I've taken the Coors tour, in Golden, CO, too! Lol

Although many times in Kaneohe, HI, I've never thought to take the Kanilea tour. I'm going to hit it next time based on your review. Thanks.

greenie44
05-07-2015, 05:20 AM
I had a great tour there too, and even took my Kanile'a Super Tenor back for a visit. I was just chatting with some of the long time workers there, and they remembered the batch of koa that was used for my uke. Which was pretty cool.

I also just love the hard finish on mine too.

lkdumas
05-07-2015, 06:03 AM
I started my uke adventure with a Kanile'a concert about ten years ago. A couple years later, added a K2 tenor from Smiley's in San Jose, and received my KSTP from HMS just a week ago. I've owned a couple of custom builds, and several other makes of "high-end" production instruments, but none have equaled the clarity, sustain and playability of my Kanile'as. And some day, I'll take the tour. Thanks for your report.

SoloRule
05-07-2015, 06:11 AM
I hope you took a picture with Joe and Kristen . I did with Joe holding my brand new Kanile'a .
They only make 5 ukuleles a day. Very clean factory unlike Kamaka although Kamaka tour is just as educational and if you are lucky you get 92 years old Fred Kamaka to do the tour.
I think the reason why not too many showed up for their tour is because you need to book ahead. When you only have a week in Hawaii, it is hard to make a commitment unless your travel companion share the uke passion. Kanile'a is a bit out of the way from the tourist area. You need a car and is over half an hour drive from Waikiki .

hawaii 50
05-07-2015, 09:12 AM
I hope you took a picture with Joe and Kristen . I did with Joe holding my brand new Kanile'a .
They only make 5 ukuleles a day. Very clean factory unlike Kamaka although Kamaka tour is just as educational and if you are lucky you get 92 years old Fred Kamaka to do the tour.
I think the reason why not too many showed up for their tour is because you need to book ahead. When you only have a week in Hawaii, it is hard to make a commitment unless your travel companion share the uke passion. Kanile'a is a bit out of the way from the tourist area. You need a car and is over half an hour drive from Waikiki .


I have taken many tourist type to the Kanile'a tour.....never made a reservation just show up around 1015am....:)
I guess it is safe to call ahead to make sure they open but you don't have to book ahead...and Joe usually gives the tours.....

Icelander53
05-07-2015, 09:51 AM
I'll take the tour and play for them. :drool: I'd love to see the process of uke making. Of course I wouldn't leave without one.

HBolte
05-07-2015, 10:01 AM
Joe is awesome to take time out of his day to give tours. Well worth it!

SoloRule
05-07-2015, 10:04 AM
I have taken many tourist type to the Kanile'a tour.....never made a reservation just show up around 1015am....:)
I guess it is safe to call ahead to make sure they open but you don't have to book ahead...and Joe usually gives the tours.....

I did show up one day , it was close . The website says pre-book your tour. There is very limited parking. I remember only 3 spots and no street parking. Its worth the drive.
May be Joe gave you special welcome because you are local and your are Hawaii 50 . :-)

hawaii 50
05-07-2015, 10:10 AM
I did show up one day , it was close . The website says pre-book your tour. There is very limited parking. I remember only 3 spots and no street parking. Its worth the drive.
May be Joe gave you special welcome because you are local and your are Hawaii 50 . :-)

haha that is a good one not special in any way.....:)you can park at Windward Mall and walk over 5 min walk.....I guess it is safe to book ahead but if you are on that side of the Island around 10am..just stop by you can get on the tour...they are closed on weekends though.....