View Full Version : NUD: 2017 KoAloha Tenor (Pikake)

11-22-2017, 10:18 AM
Well, I always wondered if the big "K" brands were appreciably better than my three Pono ukes. I purchased this May 2017 version from a shop in HI for $850 shipped to the mainland. It had a small ding in the top administered by a tire-kicker in the music store.

It arrived an hour ago and it looks FAR better in person than in pics.

1. FINISH: I was planning to refinish it to a light gloss (I've done this before with a satin Pono) but upon seeing it both my wife and I decided we like it just as it is. Lightly glossy satin. K wins here over Pono satin.

2. TUNERS: I LOVE LOVE LOVE these tuners! Rebranded so I don't know manufacturer, but they are just wonderful, precise and smoooooth. K wins here.

3. TONE: Much louder than the comparative Ponos - no question there and a richness that is hard to describe but obvious. K wins here.

4. FRETBOARD: 15 frets to body on KoAloha vs 14 on Pono and most other tenors. This means I have to adjust when doing harmonics in that region. Still, for access to upper frets: K wins here.

5. WEIGHT: The Pono has a bigger body. Obvious visually. Surprised me. K is 3" deep. Pono is 3 1/4". K body is 11 11/16" long. Pono is 11 7/8 or 14/16. Nevertheless the Pono is lighter. Pono wins here.

6. SOUND BOARD - TOP: KoAloha is thinner. May partially explain increased volume and sustain. K wins here.

7. INTONATION: KoAloha is spot on at 12th on all 4 strings. Pono was off 3 cents on C, 2 cents on E, and 2 cents on A strings. K wins here.

8. TRUSS ROD: Pono wins here

9. VALUE: There is clearly a sliding scale of increased quality but the returns diminish as you move up percentage wise. Is the KoAloha double the uke that the Ponos are? Not to me. But it is a superior uke, no doubt and I'm very happy to have been able to pay the increased price for it. It is a treasure. But don't we love ALL our babies? I do. Pono wins here BUT I love this uke and am so glad I brought her home.104603 A privilege to play.

To quote BAZ:

11-22-2017, 01:26 PM
I love my KoAloha concert. I got it as my nice step-up from a laminate starter. I was fortunate to find a very well cared for 2006 for under $700. It’s loud with a wonderful tone. Congrats on giving a great uke a new home.

11-22-2017, 01:56 PM
I loved reading your comparison. Congrats on your new uke, you got it from some great folks and I think at a very good price as well. I moved up from a Koaloha concert to a Koaloha Tenor a few years ago and its been my main uke since then. I'll be interested to hear what strings you settle on to get the best tone.