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View Full Version : Ko'olau 2008 Concert - thoughts?



etudes
06-28-2016, 03:35 PM
I've been looking to pick up a Concert uke and came across a 2008 Ko'olau C-1 for $500 (apparently in great condition). They run about $1000 new. Any thoughts on a 2008 Ko'alau? Seems like a great deal to me and I've told the owner I'm coming (2 hour drive)..

SloJimFizz
06-28-2016, 04:35 PM
I would gladly make that drive. Takes about $1500 to get into a Ko'olau now. Your getting a Noa Bonk made piece for the price of a Pono. Just my thoughts.

UkerDanno
06-28-2016, 04:54 PM
I would gladly make that drive. Takes about $1500 to get into a Ko'olau now. Your getting a Noa Bonk made piece for the price of a Pono. Just my thoughts.

yes...:agree:

etudes
06-28-2016, 05:45 PM
The website does show a C-1 for $1,050 but reading further it appears to be discontinued. The strings are old on it I'm told so it might be a leap of faith concerning tone. I'm committed to the 4 hour driving exercise in any case. I will have used all my UAS chips for the foreseeable future if I find myself driving home with it.. Thanks for your thoughts

Mivo
06-28-2016, 08:52 PM
If it is in great condition (or even has a few tiny dings on the sides), that sounds like a marvelous deal.

You'd think people who sell a uke for $500+ would at least put new strings on it, if only so that it makes a better impression and has a higher chance of appealing to the potential buyer who inspects it in person. Maybe they don't know how, though, or are intimidated. The first string change worried me quite a bit.

UkerDanno
06-29-2016, 02:38 AM
Not a lot of talk around here of Ko'olau, do they have the same thick neck as Pono?

Choirguy
06-29-2016, 03:56 AM
I am looking forward to the conclusion of this thread. As I live in Wisconsin, very near the Minnesota border, I lurk Craigslist looking at instruments--occasionally finding entry-middle level ukuleles at good prices. My goal is to eventually make it to Hawaii and to buy a K model while there (sure, you could order one, but it seems better to buy one in person). I was listening to the Ukulele Site's podcast, and I'm interested in the new KoAloha Opio tenors, which are 1/3 the price of their Hawaiian made brethren.

Anyway, this is a fascinating story. It makes you wonder about the history of the instrument. If a "player" purchased it, it would have newer strings on it. Perhaps the original purchaser became ill, or passed away (I hope not). Or maybe it was purchased by someone with a lot of extra funds that doesn't really care about the price.

My guess is that if they are willing to sell for $500, you can walk away with it for $450. I've simply been e-mailing offers to people on Craigslist and letting them respond (My best offer is going to be $X, and I still need to see it). That saves a lot of time and stress in the transaction on both sides. I even did that for a recent car purchase with a dealer. It sure helps to be able to do price comparisons on the web before making a decision.

If you get it--send pictures and tell us more about the history of the instrument.

PhilUSAFRet
06-29-2016, 04:17 AM
Sounds like my kind of deal. Try some Ko'olau Alohi strings on it. My Pono concert sure love's them. Hope it's a sweet one.

Doc_J
06-29-2016, 04:47 AM
Not a lot of talk around here of Ko'olau, do they have the same thick neck as Pono?

The necks on the Ko'olau ukes are a bit thinner, flatter, and more comfortable (IMO ) than what remember about Ponos that I owned a few years ago.

Ko'olau revised their strategy a few years ago, phasing out their lower priced "production" model ukes, and focusing on building fewer custom ukes of superior quality and tone. Smart idea. Demand is up, production limits have thus increased prices. Thus, you don't see as many Ko'olau ukes in the market or forum. There have been some wonderful Ko'olau NUD threads in recent memory.

http://forum.ukuleleunderground.com/showthread.php?121037-NUD-Ko-olau-20-Year-Anniversary-quot-Taro-quot&highlight=Ko%27olau

http://forum.ukuleleunderground.com/showthread.php?120946-NUD-Ko-olau-Koa-Tenor-T2-from-HMS&highlight=Ko%27olau

http://forum.ukuleleunderground.com/showthread.php?119127-Almost-NUD!-Ko-olau-Pictures-and-Video-from-HMS!&highlight=Ko%27olau

GinnyT11
06-29-2016, 05:34 AM
I had a Ko'olau concert and I loved it! It felt light as air and had a lovely sound.
The neck was not thick. I sold it (with a pang) because I was only playing my sopranos.

Ko'olau is not talked about on the Forum as much as Kamaka and KoAloha, but the quality is deep. I think you will be happy with the purchase.

etudes
06-29-2016, 03:48 PM
I am looking forward to the conclusion of this thread. As I live in Wisconsin, very near the Minnesota border, I lurk Craigslist looking at instruments--occasionally finding entry-middle level ukuleles at good prices. My goal is to eventually make it to Hawaii and to buy a K model while there (sure, you could order one, but it seems better to buy one in person). I was listening to the Ukulele Site's podcast, and I'm interested in the new KoAloha Opio tenors, which are 1/3 the price of their Hawaiian made brethren.

Anyway, this is a fascinating story. It makes you wonder about the history of the instrument. If a "player" purchased it, it would have newer strings on it. Perhaps the original purchaser became ill, or passed away (I hope not). Or maybe it was purchased by someone with a lot of extra funds that doesn't really care about the price.

My guess is that if they are willing to sell for $500, you can walk away with it for $450. I've simply been e-mailing offers to people on Craigslist and letting them respond (My best offer is going to be $X, and I still need to see it). That saves a lot of time and stress in the transaction on both sides. I even did that for a recent car purchase with a dealer. It sure helps to be able to do price comparisons on the web before making a decision.

If you get it--send pictures and tell us more about the history of the instrument.

We're set to meet on Friday so I'll send a live post from the meeting place (Starbucks).. It is fascinating. I learned the original owner purchased the Uke from Music Emporium in Lexington Mass. It was given to the guy who has it now.

Thanks for your thoughts. It would be amazing to visit Hawaii and check out the best Ukes in person. I'm hoping my work will take me there sometime in the next year..

etudes
06-29-2016, 03:59 PM
I had a Ko'olau concert and I loved it! It felt light as air and had a lovely sound.
The neck was not thick. I sold it (with a pang) because I was only playing my sopranos.

Ko'olau is not talked about on the Forum as much as Kamaka and KoAloha, but the quality is deep. I think you will be happy with the purchase.

Thanks for your insight on the Ko'olau. I'm glad to hear you say it felt light and sounded great. Here's hoping it's not just coffee I'm buying this Friday at the Starbucks (the meeting place)..

OhioBelle
06-29-2016, 04:00 PM
How exciting! Hope it's a good one! Let us know!

etudes
06-29-2016, 05:16 PM
Thanks! 2016 continues to be a Ukulele adventure. It has helped me keep my sanity when the job is so crazy! I hope this little concert will become my traveling buddy when I work out of town..



How exciting! Hope it's a good one! Let us know!

etudes
07-01-2016, 10:20 AM
I bought it! Pushed the trust button because the strings are worn. Could still hear a sweet mellow tone that won me over and it looks and even smells good. She was asking $575 and I paid $500. I'll check in after I change the strings.

https://www.dropbox.com/s/3v1rgdifjmv7e3p/File%20Jul%2001%2C%201%2006%2041%20PM.jpeg?dl=0

Tigeralum2001
07-01-2016, 10:25 AM
I bought it! Pushed the trust button because the strings are worn. Could still hear a sweet mellow tone that won me over and it looks and even smells good. She was asking $575 and I paid $500. I'll check in after I change the strings.

https://www.dropbox.com/s/3v1rgdifjmv7e3p/File%20Jul%2001%2C%201%2006%2041%20PM.jpeg?dl=0

Ko'olaus are AWESOME! You will love it. If, for some strange reason you don't, you could flip it and make a profit at that price. That was a great deal! Congrats!

GinnyT11
07-01-2016, 10:46 AM
A great decision! Hope you enjoy it for many, many hours of play.

wayfarer75
07-01-2016, 10:51 AM
Great! I hope a string change makes it sing.

cml
07-01-2016, 11:17 AM
Looking forward to seeing pictures!

kvehe
07-01-2016, 11:51 AM
Great news! I'm looking forward to the full report.

etudes
07-01-2016, 05:20 PM
I had a nice visit with the owner under the umbrellas at Starbucks. A friend or relative (the original owner) with a large collection of instruments gave it to her a few years ago. The uke looked great in the afternoon sun. The next thing I knew I was driving away with it. The uke is in fine shape with the slightest of nicks (just enough to I don't have to stress as much about it). Busy weekend but I'll hopefully get new strings on it tonight. I'll try to post a sound-clip or video sometime soon. This forum is the best- thanks!

A few pictures after removing the old strings, giving it a little wipe down, and 0000 steel-wool on the fret-board. I love the understated style.

https://www.dropbox.com/sc/d6c1bq1jyi39j2u/AACvugmC62gM15LtL1qrWbxla

Ukulele Eddie
07-01-2016, 06:14 PM
So happy it seems to have worked out well!

Mivo
07-01-2016, 08:37 PM
Excellent -- sounds like this went super well! :) And congrats, I think you scored a fantastic deal here.

UkerDanno
07-02-2016, 02:47 AM
Congrat's on a great find! Enjoy! Try some Living Waters on it...

etudes
07-02-2016, 08:37 AM
Stopped at McKenzie River music in Eugene OR after buying the Uke to get strings. They didn't have any of the sets suggested here so I went with these:

D'Addario:
1st : .024
2nd: .032
3rd: .034
4th: .028

Martin:
1st: .0191
2nd: .0251
3rd: .034
4th: .022

Any thoughts on these gauges?

Incidentally some wonderful Ukes at this store including many old soprano Martins, Collings, and a Koaloha Tenor that was absolutely like new going for around $700.

Mivo
07-02-2016, 09:20 AM
Very similar strings, both fluorocarbon. The Martins are thinner and a little brighter. Both should be fine. I'd probably like the D'Addario strings better on a concert, easier on the fingers, I feel. But really, it's absolutely a matter of preference. You'll probably have to try several different ones and see which sound best to you on this particular instrument. Ko'olau have own string sets, too.

etudes
07-02-2016, 10:02 AM
I put on the D'Addario's. Wow- The sound of new strings on the Ko'olau is pretty near astonishing. Actually finding the sound and tension pretty sweet when tuned up a half step (g#C#FA#). Look forward to cycling some other strings over the coming weeks but I'm really liking the voice of the C-1!



Very similar strings, both fluorocarbon. The Martins are thinner and a little brighter. Both should be fine. I'd probably like the D'Addario strings better on a concert, easier on the fingers, I feel. But really, it's absolutely a matter of preference. You'll probably have to try several different ones and see which sound best to you on this particular instrument. Ko'olau have own string sets, too.

cml
07-02-2016, 10:17 AM
Where oh where are the pics :)?

etudes
07-02-2016, 10:24 AM
I did post these earlier in the thread. I'll try to post some better ones!

https://www.dropbox.com/sc/d6c1bq1jyi39j2u/AACvugmC62gM15LtL1qrWbxla






Where oh where are the pics :)?

cml
07-02-2016, 10:31 AM
I did post these earlier in the thread. I'll try to post some better ones!
https://www.dropbox.com/sc/d6c1bq1jyi39j2u/AACvugmC62gM15LtL1qrWbxla
Oh, sorry, I missed that :). It looks lovely!

Ukulele Eddie
07-02-2016, 11:13 AM
Ko'olau have own string sets, too.

In The Ukulele Site Podcast this week (you can find on Sound Cloud), Andrew interviews Noa and Ryan from Ko'olau. Noa strongly prefers the sound of nylon strings on his ukes. That doesn't mean you will, but it may be worth trying at some point. They now put 'Alohi strings on all their ukes.

joekulele
07-02-2016, 11:49 AM
That Ko'olau would probably sound sweet even if you used broken rubber bands for strings. Congratulations on your excellent find. I'm sure there are some envious UUers reading this thread ;)
joe

etudes
07-02-2016, 01:15 PM
In The Ukulele Site Podcast this week (you can find on Sound Cloud), Andrew interviews Noa and Ryan from Ko'olau. Noa strongly prefers the sound of nylon strings on his ukes. That doesn't mean you will, but it may be worth trying at some point. They now put 'Alohi strings on all their ukes.

Thanks- I'll give that a listen. I've heard I think the first three episodes- hope they keep it going!

Jayfuzi
07-02-2016, 04:00 PM
Wow, congratulation on a great deal for a gorgeous uke!

jla
07-03-2016, 05:34 AM
Congratulations - what a good deal!

I have Ko'olau 'Alohi strings on my Ko'olau concert, and am pleased with them.

Mivo
07-03-2016, 05:44 AM
In The Ukulele Site Podcast this week (you can find on Sound Cloud), Andrew interviews Noa and Ryan from Ko'olau. Noa strongly prefers the sound of nylon strings on his ukes. That doesn't mean you will, but it may be worth trying at some point. They now put 'Alohi strings on all their ukes.

I ordered both tenor sets (there's a bright and a warm one, or so I understand) of the Ko'olau strings just a few days back. I was intrigued by them having two wound strings (C and low-G), which I'd like to try on my Barron River tenor. I didn't like the fluorocarbon low-G that I had tried, and I never quite liked the sound of the unwound C higher up on a tenor neck, either. First time I'll be trying a 50/50 set on a tenor. :)

As for nylon, I only have experience with the material on my Pono baritone. On there, I preferred the nylon B and E strings to the fluorocarbon B and E strings. I liked the Red Series B and E even better, but nylon sounded better to me than FC. But that's on the baritone -- I look forward to trying it on the tenor.

Thanks for tip about the podcast! I didn't know there was a new one out already. Really enjoyed the other week's cast on the topic of setup. (Link for others who might want to listen: https://soundcloud.com/theukulelesite ).

etudes
07-03-2016, 07:29 AM
Thanks- I did just order a few pairs from HMS. What concert model do you have?




Congratulations - what a good deal!

I have Ko'olau 'Alohi strings on my Ko'olau concert, and am pleased with them.