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View Full Version : WOW soprano ukulele by Alvin "Pops KoAloha" Okami



efiscella
03-07-2017, 05:12 AM
I received this ukulele from Alvin "Pops" Okami. It is one of his new WOW ukulele from his new company called Ukulele Specialties of America. Pops wanted to create a wonderful sounding ukulele that was made in Hawaii (actually by Pops, himself), but affordable.

I love this ukulele but he also sent me a new Star Bangled Banger, a cut-out version of the Wow, and a new Pineapple Sunday so, I am able to sell this lovely WOW.

Here is what Pops wrote to me when he sent me the Wow:
“For quite awhile, I was bothered by something that I saw happening rather frequently inside the showroom when visitors and/or customers came to visit. As I worked in the shop I couldn’t help but notice that families with their children would be interested in purchasing a KoAloha but were soon discouraged when their eyes glanced at the price tag. They would then remark that they just came for the free tour that we have available. After witnessing this same scenario over 15 years, I decided to make a valiant attempt to do something to rectify this situation. I wanted everyone to be able to afford to purchase a high quality ukulele at a more than reasonable price. I knew that it would be impossible to do this feat under the KoAloha umbrella so I decided to start another ukulele company. I embarked on heavy research for awhile and decided to use a wood that was very economical and readily available. From the moment I started to tighten the strings up to their respective pitches, I noticed something very different from that which I was accustomed to hearing. The clarity and purity of tone was simply immaculate. I thought it was just my imagination until I strung up the entire batch of 8 ukulele. To my absolute astonishment, they all sounded and performed exquisitely. In a short while, it wasn’t hard to come to the realization that I had discovered a revolutionary sounding and playing ukulele. In my twenty years of crafting over 10-15 thousand ukulele by myself, this newest ukulele is without a doubt the best that my two hands have created. I consider this ukulele my Stradivarius. This standard size ukulele is acoustically perfect in every respect and to top it off, is also way below other standard size ukulele in affordability. The last feature is also a winner in that it is made in Hawaii by this “old” ukulele maker, Pops KoAloha. I’m sure you’re well aware that Hawaiian made ukulele (no matter what size) is very expensive because of the koa wood that is used and the high labor cost. So to sum it up, I am so happy and fulfilled that this awesome ukulele has chosen yours truly to be its maker and I am totally consumed at trying my best to inform everyone that there is an affordable yet awesome high quality ukulele that’s available and made in Hawaii by KoAloha Ukulele’s founder Pops KoAloha.”

WOW UKULELE FEATURES:

Soprano Scale
Solid Engelman Spruce Top
Solid Pine Back/Sides/neck
Headstock w/ Abalone Logo
Tie Bridge
Geared Tuners
Clear Fluorocarbon Strings
Tusq by GraphTech Nut & Saddle
Koa Fingerboard and Bridge
Zebra wood inlay fret bands
Zebra wood inlay Bridge
Side Position Dots
Satin Semi-Gloss Finish

$360 plus $30 shipping and Handling via paypal

983619836298363

perep
03-07-2017, 04:24 PM
More photos of side and back or are they just honey color wood

efiscella
03-07-2017, 05:39 PM
More photos of side and back or are they just honey color wood
983919839398394

etudes
03-10-2017, 05:35 PM
Way to go Pops- can't wait to see and hear more about this new more affordable Hawaiian made UKE!

efiscella
03-10-2017, 05:40 PM
Take a look at 5:55 on the video for more on the Wow.

https://youtu.be/Gz3M71WiMPY

For more info
http://mainstage.org/wow/

M3Ukulele
03-11-2017, 12:05 PM
Uke sound good. Link doesn't seem to work! Do they make a tenor or is Pops only making sopranos? I like the idea of wood choices....and it sounds good! Good luck with sale.

efiscella
03-11-2017, 12:20 PM
M3Ukulele, Pops asked me to be the sole distributer of his Wow ukulele in the CONUS. I run a non-profit arts center primarily for kids and the proceeds on the sale go right to the kid's programs. Here is a different link: www.mainstage.org Go onto the site and click on the ukulele link.

Pops is only making these Wows and The Star Spangled Banger, same ukulele, only with cutout body and concert neck in the soprano size. Currently, he has no plans to make it in other sizes. I currently have 5 sopranos up for sale on UU because, as Pops says, this one is so outstanding, it is the only one I play.

Jddewitt81
03-11-2017, 12:40 PM
I was under the impression that not very long ago he was building a DIY kit and offering that for sale. At least that's what he told me. I wasn't aware of the WOW. When did he start building these?

efiscella
03-11-2017, 12:51 PM
the first Wow was sent to me as a prototype in June 2016. In October 2016 he made the first ones and sent me one to auction off at a concert.
He also has a uke kit available. It is very much like the Wow, even with an Engleman spruce face. He has these ready to go. He asked me to distribute these CONUS. Here is a video he made. The price is $299


https://youtu.be/86br1G19ND4

Jddewitt81
03-11-2017, 01:26 PM
Ah I see, come to think it may have been a bit before that when I talked to him. Thanks for the video. I may have to get one of those eventually for the kids.

efiscella
03-11-2017, 01:29 PM
The other difference between the Wow and the Uke Kit, besides the Engleman Spruce top, is that the uke kit is made by the KoAloha folks in Thailand, whereas the Wow is made in Hawaii, by Pops, alone. let know if you decide

cml
03-11-2017, 08:28 PM
Are you selling as a commercial distributor?

DownUpDave
03-12-2017, 12:12 AM
I have tried both your links and neither one of them works......they time out and I get a message saying Website not available. I have tried on a tablet, smart phone and lap top, numerous times.

I am glad you mentiined that the Star Spangled Banner uke is a super soprano. Is this correct, a soprano body with a 15 " scale length concert neck. I am interested in learning more about this model and possibly ordering one, I am not a standard soprano fan.

I like that "Pops" is helping you to support your kids music program by the profits of the sales. It would be good if I and others could access your website.

efiscella
03-12-2017, 05:59 AM
DownUpDave,

This distresses me that you cannot access the website. I just looked into it and all seems to be working fine on my end. Again, you are accessing the website for Mainstage Center for the Arts (www.mainstage.org). Please let me know if the problem continues.

The Star Spangled Banger is a super soprano. It is a cut-a-way soprano Wow body, with a 15 fret neck. Instead of fret dots, Pops uses zebra wood.

Pops has been very supportive of our kids at Mainstage. In 2015 the group visited the factory and performed for Pops. He was so taken by them that he asked them to take his song, "America's Song" and make it their own. We have been singing it at concerts for a year now and still working on it (with Pops and a number of musical arrangers). Pops wanted the kids to be able to play the ukulele when performing the song but he wanted the kids to have quality instruments so he took the WoW and made a special edition which he called the Harmony Wow (Harmony is the name of the show choir). He gifted 7 and sells the rest to the kids at his cost.

When people started seeing and hearing this new ukulele, the question always came back to me, "How can I get one?" Well, Pops said he did not have any kind of distribution system set up, and he wanted to continue to help the kids, so he asked me if I would be the "go-between" for when people wanted to buy the Wow. So basically, I talk with people, I invoice, collect payment, and then place the order with Pops. He then makes the ukes when the orders come in and he ships directly to the buyer from the KoAloha factory. This new company, Ukulele Specialties of America is a one-man show (pops) working out of the KoAloha factory. When Pops asked me to help him with "distributorship" he wrote, "I'm strictly a musician, luthier and a few other things but not a "mathematics" kind of guy." And so-- Here I am.

Please give www.mainstage.org a try again.

efiscella
03-12-2017, 06:02 AM
OHHH-- I see that the "buy here" link is not working. I will get that fixed. In the meantime, anyone interested in the uke I am selling, or if you want something right from Pops, please PM me, or send me an email at: ed@mainstage.org

DownUpDave
03-12-2017, 06:19 AM
Hi, thank you for following up and the link you supplied above works fine. The "details" of the Star Spangled Banger state it is a soprano, just has more frets as the finger board appears to be longer. I would only be interested in a long neck soprano with concert length neck and 15" scale lenght, thanks

efiscella
03-12-2017, 07:04 AM
I will write to Pops and see if he will do a concert neck and let you know.

M3Ukulele
03-12-2017, 03:06 PM
Link works now. Like. DUD I had problems with time out. I like the sound of these. Engelmann spruce top and pine. Who knew. If POP ever build tenors I would like one. Good work you are doing.

efiscella
03-12-2017, 05:35 PM
The price for the Ukekit is $299 plus $25 shipping and handling direct from Hawaii.

efiscella
03-19-2017, 12:42 PM
My uke kit arrived yesterday. Looks like fun. A chance to customize my own Pops KoAloha ukulele
9864198642

quiltingshirley
03-19-2017, 02:46 PM
It was good to hear Pops singing his America song. A small very group of us ( 4 or 5), went on a factory tour in early 2013 and he sang it for us. One of the couples recorded it cause we all liked it. Then Pops was reminded it hadn't been released so the couple erased it. We had such a nice time with Pops and his wife. He even let me play his Jukebox model. A very nice family and friendly factory.

efiscella
03-19-2017, 03:07 PM
Yes, they are such great people. I took a high school age choir to the factory and Pops asked them if they would make America's Song their own and sing it at every performance. The kids were thrilled. We had it arranged for 4 part harmony. Pops gave us a bunch of Wow's for the kids to play. it is a work in progress. Pops adds stuff, we add stuff. We just added movement and some vocal refinements. Here is a video of the first time we did it (this is from NYE). Pops is donating to this choir (Harmony Show Choir) from every Wow that is sold by us.
https://youtu.be/A_AhjxP5994

quiltingshirley
03-19-2017, 03:45 PM
That sounded great. A bit different from what we heard but I'm sure it will continue to evolve. Nice choir.