View Full Version : Kanile'a DIY build your own ukulele kit

02-28-2017, 06:00 AM
I was in a very nice ukulele store over the weekend and they had a build-your-own ukulele kit for sale made by KoAloha. I was told that assembly was fool proof. They had a sample that one of the guys in the store put together. It sounded and felt pretty great. The kit was priced at $299.

Has anybody seen these or put one together? I'm curious about your experience with assembly and if you were pleased with the results. Also wondering how you chose to finish it. The one I saw was assembled by a pro, but he passed it along to a friend to do the finish so he couldn't tell me how it was stained or sealed.

The kit comes in a sturdy, green corrugated cardboard box. All hardware is included and the pieces (pre-assembled body, neck, fingerboard, bridge) are unfinished.

Sound familiar?

CORRECTION: Thank you to those who responded with the correct brand. The kit is made by KoAloha, NOT Kanile'a as I remembered.

02-28-2017, 06:34 AM
Here is a tenor kit from Stewart-MacDonald:


02-28-2017, 08:15 AM
It's KoAloha. Pops put them together. We got a few and Corey put one together. Pretty good. I don't know though. I'm afraid to list them online for the amount of assistance and troubleshooting that would come but maybe we will at some point. They are all solid pine wood and Pops builds the body so they sounds good.

02-28-2017, 09:07 AM
Here ya' go...


02-28-2017, 10:38 AM
$300 seems kinda steep for a kit, esp when you consider a koalana solid sapele's were low $200's.

02-28-2017, 01:50 PM
I think it's really cool! I've purchased the $35 "generic :( " one and they're abysmal if you actually want a playable ukulele, never mind sound quality (mine has a roller coaster, fun house style neck). I had a ton of fun putting it together, finishing it, adding a pickup and learning about general setup practices, but there was nothing that could be done with it in the end. I would agree that a price point between $35 and $300 might be the sweet spot for mass consumption, but as an extreme novice in woodworking and instrument setup, I am tempted to have something that would actually sound good (or even play) when I put it together.

And, the video is awesome.

02-28-2017, 02:18 PM
Looks like it would be a good kid's gift. Like a model you put together and then good for the beginner.

thanks for the video BTW... very entertaining!

02-28-2017, 03:39 PM
This seems to be the one: http://gcea.com/index.php?route=product/product&product_id=276

edit: or y'know http://ukekit.com/ from the video.

02-28-2017, 05:46 PM
Thanks for linking to the video, I hadn't seen that before and really enjoyed it. Pops KoAloha is one of the most special people I have ever known in my life. He is filled with so much enthusiasm and infectious joy that he always brings a smile to my face. He had been working on this kit the last time I saw him, as well as a new line of "WOW" ukuleles. That man is almost twice my age but has twice my energy. Thanks again for the link and making me smile.

03-01-2017, 08:13 AM
I have an AO soprano made by Pops Koaloha (purchased December 2016); it's solid pine and it sounds wonderful and is SO comfortable to play! I love it! (But I didn't assemble it; I ordered it from Koaloha and ... thank goodness... it was already put together!)

03-05-2017, 05:29 PM
I think the biggest challenge with this kit is getting the finish right. It looked like the completed sample I saw was handed over to someone who hadn't had much experience working with wood and it was pretty sloppy. Understandable; staining and sealing can be tricky but it was a shame since it sounded so nice. That said, the possibilities for the final finish are endless. I think this kit has the potential of being the starting point of a really special ukulele.

Kayak Jim
03-05-2017, 06:45 PM
The video is cute. I wish the kit were of a more conventional uke wood rather than pine.

03-06-2017, 03:37 AM
$300 seems kinda steep for a kit, esp when you consider a koalana solid sapele's were low $200's.
very good point!

The video is cute. I wish the kit were of a more conventional uke wood rather than pine.
I know, right?

You can buy a Koalana for $200 with a lot nicer wood. I guess the attraction wold be something you built, but pine?!

03-06-2017, 06:28 AM
Dont diss pine!

Jim Hanks
03-06-2017, 06:49 AM
But I didn't assemble it; I ordered it from Koaloha and ... thank goodness... it was already put together!
That's me. I'm sure this would be a fun project for a lot of people - could be neat to personalize the back with woodburning or painting or something. But if I wanted a player, I'd get an Opio longneck for $408 (dang it, why'd I have to look at that? :p ) instead of a $299 kit. I fear that attempting to finish it would have a detrimental effect to the level of aloha in my general vicinity. :)

03-06-2017, 08:59 AM
Just checked ukekit.com...

Solid Engleman Spruce top
Pine back and side
Sapele fretboard and bridge

03-06-2017, 09:48 AM
The gentleman in the video is entertaining. I wish him well. But the kit thing...meh. Let's call it what it is. Really more of an assembly than a build. I would put my 300 toward a nicer uke or several lesser ukes.