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bearbike137
06-14-2016, 05:20 AM
I wanted to share my joy regarding my new ukulele.

I bought one of the two Ko’olau 20 Year Anniversary tenors that HMS recently had up for action. I purchased the one that Ko’olau named “Kalo” (HMS referred to as “Taro”). What an absolutely phenomenal instrument.

Some instruments inspire me and some don’t. I cannot explain what the difference is between the two. I have owned some ukuleles that do everything right – sustain, intonation, volume, tone, set-up, etc – yet, after awhile, I stop picking them up and playing them. Others - I can’t put them down. They inspire me to play and play and play. Sometimes just to hear and experience the uke.

My new Ko’olau is truly inspirational. First, kudos to Andrew and HMS for making it so easy on all of us to spend money (lol). Seriously - the video clips, the photos, Andrew’s in-depth descriptions and passion, the patient answering of my nervous emails – they make it so easy to buy an instrument that I have not held in my hands. And I am so flipping picky that I am amazed that I ever find an instrument to my liking!

But, man, I certainly do like this new Ko’olau. The craftsmanship is simply superb. Noa Bonk and John Kitakis are clearly master craftsman. The uke is just so beautiful and so well put together. It is honestly the most beautiful uke I have ever seen in person. As great as Andrew’s photos are, they don’t quite capture how truly gorgeous the uke is.

Most importantly, the sound is superb. Yes, it has all the volume, sustain, and fullness we all want in a ukulele – but it has that elusive "magic" – just something extra going on that makes you want to play it. In the clip where Corey plays “Ulu” (my uke’s brother), he comments on the two ukes, stating that they have “a lot more depth than usual”. I totally agree.

In any case, if there is a better ukulele being built in Hawaii – or in the world for that matter – I haven’t met it. So, just tipping my hat this morning to the folks at Ko’olau and HMS for bringing this wonderful bit of joy into my life and into the world.

Here is a link to the uke when it was up for auction on the HMS website:

http://www.theukulelesite.com/auction-ko-olau-20-year-anniversary-tenor-taro.html

91863


https://vimeo.com/168172172

JackLuis
06-14-2016, 05:32 AM
Beautiful, That one would make me go back to C tuning!

Steedy
06-14-2016, 05:44 AM
Gorgeous instrument, congrats! :shaka:

Snargle
06-14-2016, 07:13 AM
Incredibly beautiful instrument and the sound is perfection. I hope you will soon be up to Corey's playing skills! Congratulations!

Stevelele
06-14-2016, 07:27 AM
wow, you have owned some really tremendous instruments.... The Toda, the cuban mahagony ko'olau that's featured on their site, and now this! If you say that this is a great instrument, i have no doubt that it's something very very special

bearbike137
06-14-2016, 08:46 AM
wow, you have owned some really tremendous instruments.... The Toda, the cuban mahagony ko'olau that's featured on their site, and now this! If you say that this is a great instrument, i have no doubt that it's something very very special

Thanks, Steve. I wish I could keep them all!

By the way, this is the first uke I have ever owned that doesn't have fretboard markers. I worried about that a bit, but it turns out that the side markers are sufficient. Now let's hope my vision stays sharp into my old age!

Snargle
06-14-2016, 10:10 AM
By the way, this is the first uke I have ever owned that doesn't have fretboard markers. I worried about that a bit, but it turns out that the side markers are sufficient. Now let's hope my vision stays sharp into my old age!Maybe replace them with Braille side markers? :cool:

Stevelele
06-14-2016, 10:59 AM
i would love to hear a sound sample if you are inclined to make one. I loved the Corey sound sample and really appreciate that HMS doesn't enhance the sound of their recordings. But I also love hearing sound samples from owners, too

bearbike137
06-14-2016, 11:02 AM
Maybe replace them with Braille side markers? :cool:

Ha! Maybe a side business idea? Adding braille to old geezer's ukes?

PhilUSAFRet
06-14-2016, 11:18 AM
:drool: Congrats on a wonderful acquisition.

Ukulele Eddie
06-14-2016, 12:27 PM
What a wonderful acquisition. I was watching both Anniversary Ko'olau's closely though I was not in a position to bid due to other uke commitments. I was interested to see how the auction format would work for something other than an MBU. It seems to me that you scored a super, super instrument. Congratulations!

BTW, at NAMM earlier this year there was a Ko'olau I did not want to let go. Noa does make a truly great, hard-to-let-go instrument.

Enjoy!!!

Camsuke
06-14-2016, 12:29 PM
Congratulations Bearbike, what an absolutely stunning instrument. I've had Ko'olau on my most wanted list for a while now and I think your wonderful review may have just tipped me over the edge.

DownUpDave
06-14-2016, 01:14 PM
I was floored by both of those instruments. I actually sat and watched the Auction on your uke during the last few minutes. It was a nail biter and I was really glad to see "one of the gang" win it. Congratulatuons

Trader Todd
06-14-2016, 02:58 PM
Congrats. What a lovely instrument. Enjoy it and play it everyday!

good_uke_boy
06-14-2016, 03:42 PM
Congratulations! And terrific review. Really puts the instrument in the hands of the reader. Enjoy!

Tigeralum2001
06-14-2016, 04:02 PM
:iwant:... no really, I bid...

Congratulations! That is a very nice uke!

SoloRule
06-14-2016, 04:57 PM
Congrats and welcome to the Ko'olau family!
They are indeed nice instrument!
The craftsmanship and the Koa on your uke is stunning!
It's a great investment not only to your collection but also years and years of enjoyment - at least that's what I tell myself!
Thank you for sharing.

bearbike137
06-16-2016, 08:28 AM
I was floored by both of those instruments. I actually sat and watched the Auction on your uke during the last few minutes. It was a nail biter and I was really glad to see "one of the gang" win it. Congratulatuons

Thanks, Dave (and everyone else!). I was fortunate to buy it because my winning bid was the absolute max I planned to go. And I am glad to know I am "one of the gang"!


i would love to hear a sound sample if you are inclined to make one. I loved the Corey sound sample and really appreciate that HMS doesn't enhance the sound of their recordings. But I also love hearing sound samples from owners, too

Steve - I hope to be able to put a clip here soon. Been so busy as of late!

Recstar24
06-16-2016, 10:08 AM
Beautiful uke! And you are local! Maybe one day I'll get a chance to hear it in person. Congrats!

2manistrings
06-16-2016, 03:21 PM
Congratulations! A uke that inspires you is a truly wonderful thing! :)

Nickie
06-16-2016, 04:37 PM
Now that's a fancy ukulele! Congratulations, enjoy the heck out of it!

etudes
06-17-2016, 03:44 PM
Stunning sound and wow- the figured Koa is wonderful. Congrats. Play it in good health!

jla
07-02-2016, 01:13 AM
Great review, bearbike137! I echo your enthusiasm about Noa and Ryan's creations. I have a tenor (CS) and a concert Ko'olau -- each is joy to play and to look at. I listed to podcast last night that makes me a bit reluctant to try different strings on either . . . https://soundcloud.com/theukulelesite/epi-8-noa-ryan-from-koolau-guitar-ukulele.

bearbike137
07-05-2016, 04:04 AM
Great review, bearbike137! I echo your enthusiasm about Noa and Ryan's creations. I have a tenor (CS) and a concert Ko'olau -- each is joy to play and to look at. I listed to podcast last night that makes me a bit reluctant to try different strings on either . . . https://soundcloud.com/theukulelesite/epi-8-noa-ryan-from-koolau-guitar-ukulele.

Thanks. My new Ko'olau is awesome. That said, I couldn't get the Alohi strings off it fast enough. I feel it sounds worlds better with flourocarbons. I was surprised that Noa was so negative on flourocarbon strings in that podcast.

DownUpDave
07-05-2016, 04:21 AM
Thanks. My new Ko'olau is awesome. That said, I couldn't get the Alohi strings off it fast enough. I feel it sounds worlds better with flourocarbons. I was surprised that Noa was so negative on flourocarbon strings in that podcast.

I guess it just shows that luthiers also have a bias towards a certain sound. But considering florocarbon seem to be widely accepted as the go to string of choice for most uke players Noa's dislike of them is suprising.

Doc_J
07-05-2016, 04:54 AM
Thanks. My new Ko'olau is awesome. That said, I couldn't get the Alohi strings off it fast enough. I feel it sounds worlds better with flourocarbons. I was surprised that Noa was so negative on flourocarbons strings in that podcast.

Congrats on that special Ko'olau.

I really enjoy the brightness and chime/bell like tones of Alohi strings, especially on a Ko'olau. But, I've never regretted taking them off for FC strings. :)

PHD strings (polyvinylidene fluoride (PVDF):a fluorocarbon), seem to capture much of nice brightness and chime/bell like tones of Alohi strings better than other FC strings (for reentrant tuning). Had success with PHD strings on Ko'olau and Pegasus koa tenors that had Alohi and Hilo strings, respectively.

etudes
07-05-2016, 05:59 PM
Indeed a wonderful acquisition as someone else said. Love the aesthetic. Crazy cool figured Koa, the absence of fret markers makes the inlay look even more stunning. The Koa tuners. The sound! Play it in good health!