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Fire lantern
01-07-2018, 07:11 AM
Hi all,

I'm traveling to Hawaii for a few days in a couple months and would really like to buy a uke when I'm there. I'll be in Honolulu and will realistically only be able to go to a couple places given limited time and little kids and no car.

In my ideal world, I'd like to purchase a factory second direct from the factory and would love to get a koa uke.

My only plan right now is to go to KoAloha, as I've heard you can do that there. My budget is around $500-600.

Any thoughts or advice!? Thanks in advance!

Matt

JohnRC
01-07-2018, 07:30 AM
Hi Matt

I have been on Maui for 4 weeks looking at different ukes. Prepare to be amazed and overwhelmed. I have not been to Honolulu but I would guess there will be even more choices there.
I arrived here with Kamaka at the top of my list but there weren't many around. Pretty much sold out.
Try to keep an open mind for other brands. Each is slightly different and different to play. Even 3 or 4 koa ukes of the same brand can be noticeably different. Gradually, if you go to enough places and play enough instruments you will know what appeals to you more.
I also suggest you start following Craig's List for Honolulu. You might get lucky there with a good one

Enjoy.
John

Fire lantern
01-07-2018, 07:44 AM
Craigslist is a great idea. I'm a bit stuck with having quite limited time and traveling with family, so I won't have much of a chance to go to lots of stores - as much as I'd love to! Craigslist is a great idea though, I wonder if there are any good options for used ukes, I'm more than happy to buy used.

Brad Bordessa
01-07-2018, 08:41 AM
Not sure where the other K's are at, price-wise, but I don't know if $600 will even get you in the door these days. A Kamaka HF-1 soprano is over a grand.

A better bet would probably to try and get up to Haleiwa to Hawai'i Music Supply. That way you could see everything in one spot and look at options closer to your price range. It's on the other side of the island, but from what I've heard (even my dad, who doesn't play, stopped by to check it out!), it's quite worth the effort.

Ukulele Eddie
01-07-2018, 09:36 AM
Not sure where the other K's are at, price-wise, but I don't know if $600 will even get you in the door these days. A Kamaka HF-1 soprano is over a grand.

A better bet would probably to try and get up to Haleiwa to Hawai'i Music Supply. That way you could see everything in one spot and look at options closer to your price range. It's on the other side of the island, but from what I've heard (even my dad, who doesn't play, stopped by to check it out!), it's quite worth the effort.

^^ This. HMS picks the best specific ukes from the K brands and then puts them through their setup process. As Brad also mentions, K brands are above your price target. But you can absolutely find a nice uke at HMS in that price range.

Fire lantern
01-07-2018, 11:04 AM
^^ This. HMS picks the best specific ukes from the K brands and then puts them through their setup process. As Brad also mentions, K brands are above your price target. But you can absolutely find a nice uke at HMS in that price range.

Thanks to both of you. Yeah, it's a bit low and I figure I have to go up a bit, but KoAloha from HMS are under 1k, so I was hoping with a factory second I might be able to get my hands on one. Or used of course.

Hmmm....perhaps we'll have to see about catching a bus up to the North Shore, going to HMS would be fantastic.

SoloRule
01-07-2018, 11:33 AM
You are doing exactly the same thing I did but 3 years later. You will soon learn that the shops on Waikiki are all tourist trap. They sell Kala and other made in China brand.

The shop inside Sheraton Hotel name Ukulele Pua Pua has some nice Ko'olau and Kanilie'a. (don't count on seeing Kamaka). The price starts from $750 even 3 years ago. No set-up but you may be OK without the proper set-up as these ukes are well built. They also host uke lesson. If you are lucky you may be able to sit in on Jake's Brother Bruce lesson. I believe it's free lessons.

HMS is 45 minutes drive from Waikiki to North Shore. You are better off ordering before you leave home so that it is ready for pick up because set up is 1/2 hour drive from the shop and they can't do it the same day you purchase the uke which mean you need to drive back again.

Another uke shop is located in the Hyatt call Ukulele House. The lady is very nice there. You may get lucky with the K Brand but Pua Pua has more.

Bob's ukulele located on the second floor of Royal Hawaii Centre has some K brands . I found the asking price is a lot more than Pua Pua.

The three I mentioned are walking distance on Waikiki . HMS is the only one you need a car. Hope this help!

Fire lantern
01-07-2018, 11:44 AM
This is super helpful, thank you so much Brenda!



You are doing exactly the same thing I did but 3 years later. You will soon learn that the shops on Waikiki are all tourist trap. They sell Kala and other made in China brand.

The shop inside Sheraton Hotel name Ukulele Pua Pua has some nice Ko'olau and Kanilie'a. (don't count on seeing Kamaka). The price starts from $750 even 3 years ago. No set-up but you may be OK without the proper set-up as these ukes are well built. They also host uke lesson. If you are lucky you may be able to sit in on Jake's Brother Bruce lesson. I believe it's free lessons.

HMS is 45 minutes drive from Waikiki to North Shore. You are better off ordering before you leave home so that it is ready for pick up because set up is 1/2 hour drive from the shop and they can't do it the same day you purchase the uke which mean you need to drive back again.

Another uke shop is located in the Hyatt call Ukulele House. The lady is very nice there. You may get lucky with the K Brand but Pua Pua has more.

Bob's ukulele located on the second floor of Royal Hawaii Centre has some K brands . I found the asking price is a lot more than Pua Pua.

The three I mentioned are walking distance on Waikiki . HMS is the only one you need a car. Hope this help!

peanuts56
01-07-2018, 11:45 AM
HMS is worth the drive. Their selection is excellent and their prices are fair. They're also the most knowledgeable people you would meet, nice guys as well.

Fire lantern
01-07-2018, 11:48 AM
Sounds like I also need to start saving more to afford this. Sure no one wants to buy my David Gill...still for sale :) I figured I was on the low end, but was hoping used or factory second would make it possible. guess not.

luv2uke
01-07-2018, 11:57 AM
Good suggestions from Brad, Eddie, and Brenda. If you can't get to HMS though, The Ukulele Store, 226 Lewers St., Suite 218, had the best selection of ukuleles in Waikiki. They are extremely helpful, and have a free class in the afternoon. The owner and manager used to work for Pua Pua.

Fire lantern
01-07-2018, 03:02 PM
Good suggestions from Brad, Eddie, and Brenda. If you can't get to HMS though, The Ukulele Store, 226 Lewers St., Suite 218, had the best selection of ukuleles in Waikiki. They are extremely helpful, and have a free class in the afternoon. The owner and manager used to work for Pua Pua.

perfect! Thanks so much.

mds725
01-07-2018, 07:02 PM
Lot's of good advice here. KoAloha does have a factory seconds wall, and what's there on any given day is hit or miss (whehn I went there a few years back, for example, they didn't have any tenor ukuleles). And Hawaiian Music Supply, which is now called The Ukulele Site both online and in brick and mortar, is the best place on Oahu for you to check out alternates to out-of -your-price-range K brands. Another option is Dan's Guitars, which is at 2000 S. Beretania St. Unit B, in Honolulu. When I was there a few years ago, Dan's had nice selection of ukuleles, including some used ukuleles (your mileage may vary) that could get you a brand you want in your price range. Have fun!

Fire lantern
01-07-2018, 07:08 PM
Thanks so much for this. I really want to go to KoAloha just to check it all out. They seem like a great group of people (I follow them on Instagram) and I've wanted one of their ukes for years. It's tough, there's something cool about the idea of buying in Hawaii, but at the same time, the used marketplace here is awesome and probably more practical.... Ah, we'll see, but no matter what I'll check out some of these suggestions for the experience and fit in what I can in the short time I have there.

janeray1940
01-07-2018, 07:15 PM
One more place to visit is Goodguys Music (http://www.goodguysmusichawaii.com/) on Kapahulu. I haven't been in some years and from what I hear the area has changed a bit, but since it's out of the traditional "tourist" neighborhood prices were a bit lower than the Waikiki shops last time I went. And you never know what you'll find there, as I believe they sell both new and used. And while you're at it, you can pick up a souvenir shirt at Bailey's Aloha Shirts (http://alohashirts.com/) down the block - a real cool place for browsing for souvenirs that are a bit more interesting than the more common mass-produced Waikiki options.

Also - anybody know if the Aloha Bowl swap meet (http://www.alohastadiumswapmeet.net/content/home.aspx) is still worthwhile for ukes? That might be another possibility for the OP to check out.

KamakOzzie
01-07-2018, 07:29 PM
Also - anybody know if the Aloha Bowl swap meet (http://www.alohastadiumswapmeet.net/content/home.aspx) is still worthwhile for ukes? That might be another possibility for the OP to check out.

A member of our uke group went to a swap meet while he was in Hawaii several months ago, and brought back a Kamaka white label soprano and a Lanakaii slot head tenor with a pickup. He seemed to think the price was good.

SoloRule
01-08-2018, 08:42 AM
By the way I just found my old photo to share with you. This is the Ukulele Pua Pua at the Sheraton Hotel and their free lessons. The row of ukes on the left to the photo are all Ko'aloha and Kanilie'a if memory serves me right.

Kamaka factory is the closest to Waikiki in comparison to Ko'Aloha and Kanilie'a . You may be able to take public transportation there.


https://farm5.staticflickr.com/4638/25710863738_ef079e43af_b.jpg (https://flic.kr/p/FaYU37)IMG_8820 (https://flic.kr/p/FaYU37) by Brenda Lee (https://www.flickr.com/photos/150496372@N06/), on Flickr

frianm
01-08-2018, 09:41 AM
I found what I wanted my first day on the big Island by returning to someone I had dealt with two years before. I am very pleased. I am now on Kauai and hope to visit Scotty's before heading home to Vermont. The latter not for a purchase but to see who he is and maybe set up a relationship for the future. That is what worked on the big Island - having a relationship. I have consistently purchased used instruments as I prefer them overall. They also have better prices.
As was suggested above - avoid the tourist traps.

Fire lantern
01-08-2018, 10:56 AM
This is just outstanding!


By the way I just found my old photo to share with you. This is the Ukulele Pua Pua at the Sheraton Hotel and their free lessons. The row of ukes on the left to the photo are all Ko'aloha and Kanilie'a if memory serves me right.

Kamaka factory is the closest to Waikiki in comparison to Ko'Aloha and Kanilie'a . You may be able to take public transportation there.


https://farm5.staticflickr.com/4638/25710863738_ef079e43af_b.jpg (https://flic.kr/p/FaYU37)IMG_8820 (https://flic.kr/p/FaYU37) by Brenda Lee (https://www.flickr.com/photos/150496372@N06/), on Flickr

mds725
01-08-2018, 12:09 PM
Kamaka factory is the closest to Waikiki in comparison to Ko'Aloha and Kanilie'a . You may be able to take public transportation there.

The Kamaka factory is a fun place to visit and the tour is a blast, but Kamaka doesn't offer factory seconds and doesn't usually have instruments for sale, although you can order one while you're there.

merlin666
01-08-2018, 12:16 PM
I found what I wanted my first day on the big Island by returning to someone I had dealt with two years before. I am very pleased. I am now on Kauai and hope to visit Scotty's before heading home to Vermont. The latter not for a purchase but to see who he is and maybe set up a relationship for the future. That is what worked on the big Island - having a relationship. I have consistently purchased used instruments as I prefer them overall. They also have better prices.
As was suggested above - avoid the tourist traps.

We will be visiting Big Island in March and I would like to do some uke shopping there as well. Can you be specific as to where to find some good ukes there? Before Big Island we will also go to Kauai, and Scottys there is always interesting to visit. I considered about buying my first uke there a few years ago, but then he reneged on an offer which was a turn off for me.

Oh, and to the OP regarding Oahu - it is very worthwhile to get out of Waikiki and explore other parts of the island. The Bus can take you to many places for very affordable fares, so definitely go to the North Shore check out the waves, shrimp trucks, and beaches there as well before you go uke shopping.

Pueo
01-08-2018, 12:55 PM
There are factory seconds at Ko'olau/Pono as well.
Those you will need to drive to though.
Or find a local ukulele enthusiast who would give you a ride there.
I just might know someone who would be willing to do that for you :D
PM me when you get on Oahu.

PereBourik
01-08-2018, 02:01 PM
Hi all,

I'm traveling to Hawaii for a few days in a couple months and would really like to buy a uke when I'm there. I'll be in Honolulu and will realistically only be able to go to a couple places given limited time and little kids and no car.

In my ideal world, I'd like to purchase a factory second direct from the factory and would love to get a koa uke.

My only plan right now is to go to KoAloha, as I've heard you can do that there. My budget is around $500-600.

Any thoughts or advice!? Thanks in advance!

Matt


Not sure where the other K's are at, price-wise, but I don't know if $600 will even get you in the door these days. A Kamaka HF-1 soprano is over a grand.

A better bet would probably to try and get up to Haleiwa to Hawai'i Music Supply. That way you could see everything in one spot and look at options closer to your price range. It's on the other side of the island, but from what I've heard (even my dad, who doesn't play, stopped by to check it out!), it's quite worth the effort.

Something to think about. If you buy at HMS/Ukulele Site you will need to leave the uke for setup. They will then ship to you. You won't have your new uke for a couple of weeks. But you won't have to figure out traveling with your new uke. You will save the sales tax too.

ALing
01-08-2018, 06:29 PM
I would also recommend Ukulule Pua Pua in Waikiki if your time is limited and you find it difficult to travel anywhere. i went to a few shops when I was there and that was my favourite.

I was most keen to go to HMS and drove there to have a look. My trip took about an hour and a half because of roadwork so most of the time was spent idling. We got there about 15 minutes before closing but the staff gave us as much time as we needed. I bought my Kamaka there without any after purchase setup and it plays just fine. If you plan to go, it would be best to go early so that your limited time is not wasted because of traffic and the shop closes.

Fire lantern
01-08-2018, 06:33 PM
There are factory seconds at Ko'olau/Pono as well.
Those you will need to drive to though.
Or find a local ukulele enthusiast who would give you a ride there.
I just might know someone who would be willing to do that for you :D
PM me when you get on Oahu.

What an awesome community of folks here. Thank you!

kkimura
01-09-2018, 03:12 AM
Usually a good selection of Kamaka ukulele at Island Guitars, West on Nimitz from Honolulu. (On the way to the airport)

sunshiNee
01-09-2018, 04:26 AM
I wished I found this site before I bought a Ukulele in Waikiki.... I ended up buying a Uke called HanoHano from Pua Pua. I can't find anything online about this brand :) but my wife says it sounds nice compared to our Flea... longer sustain. It's a bit hard to play and fret compared to the Flea. Now that I know the difference between high and low action I see why now.

But out of all the shops I found that Pua Pua was the most helpful - especially if you're a newbie. I would have to say Bob was the worst in terms of service... He didn't even look at us or said one word -- even though we came back to the store a couple of times. It was strange and we were not tire kicking either.



You are doing exactly the same thing I did but 3 years later. You will soon learn that the shops on Waikiki are all tourist trap. They sell Kala and other made in China brand.

The shop inside Sheraton Hotel name Ukulele Pua Pua has some nice Ko'olau and Kanilie'a. (don't count on seeing Kamaka). The price starts from $750 even 3 years ago. No set-up but you may be OK without the proper set-up as these ukes are well built. They also host uke lesson. If you are lucky you may be able to sit in on Jake's Brother Bruce lesson. I believe it's free lessons.

HMS is 45 minutes drive from Waikiki to North Shore. You are better off ordering before you leave home so that it is ready for pick up because set up is 1/2 hour drive from the shop and they can't do it the same day you purchase the uke which mean you need to drive back again.

Another uke shop is located in the Hyatt call Ukulele House. The lady is very nice there. You may get lucky with the K Brand but Pua Pua has more.

Bob's ukulele located on the second floor of Royal Hawaii Centre has some K brands . I found the asking price is a lot more than Pua Pua.

The three I mentioned are walking distance on Waikiki . HMS is the only one you need a car. Hope this help!

WestyShane
01-09-2018, 09:44 AM
But out of all the shops I found that Pua Pua was the most helpful - especially if you're a newbie. I would have to say Bob was the worst in terms of service... He didn't even look at us or said one word -- even though we came back to the store a couple of times. It was strange and we were not tire kicking either.

That was pretty much my experience too. I ended up getting my Kamaka at Pua Pua.

HMS/Uke Site is surely worth a visit if you can get there though. I would have "bought" my uke from them but I was standing in the shop when my dad offered to buy me another uke as a gift and I was pretty overwhelmed - not wanting to grab the first thing I saw I took time to think it through and by then we didn't have time to go back north.

I was surprised at how respectable the uke selection is at the Polynesian Cultural Center.

SoloRule
01-09-2018, 09:51 AM
I had the exact same experience at the Ukulele Bob shop.
May be he is a robot ! He was programmed not to look up from behind the counter.

sbanacho
01-09-2018, 10:34 AM
Does anyone know if the HMS store carries more in stock than they show on their web site?

SoloRule
01-09-2018, 10:47 AM
Does anyone know if the HMS store carries more in stock than they show on their web site?

I was told by their staff. On line has more if you are looking at the high end ukes.
Can’t expect them to display everything in the store and let everyone walk in just to play around with it
If you are looking at under $500 ukes. Yes I saw a wall full of it.
They definitely had the most ukes on display than any other one in tourtist area

Uncle Rod Higuchi
01-09-2018, 01:38 PM
Janeray1940, if you visit the Good Guys, please stop by the Kapahulu Starbucks as my daughter is
the current manager (Jan 2018) :)

During the Summer, my wife walks there to get a beverage, then walks to Leonards for a malasadas or 2, then
walks back to Starbucks for another beverage :)

I sometimes meet her and our daughter before heading to the Makai Food Court at Ala Moana Center to serenade
the Aunties who make paper leis for visiting and dining tourists. There are several of us there near Cinnabon and
Honolulu Cookie Co, eating, talking story and enjoying a modest kanikapila (until security comes by) :)

come and join us. I won't be back til Ukulele Festival time, mid July, LORD willing.

keep uke'in',

PS I concur with all of the above, esp visiting Hawaii Music Supply/The Ukulele
Site, in Haleiwa on the North Shore. if you get there mid-day, Len might be
there along with Corey Fujimoto and Kalei Gamiao!! I've been there when they
were simply playing around and creating a mini concert! You can see Corey
and Kalei on the HMS website featuring various ukes! Wonderful players, both!

wickedwahine11
01-18-2018, 04:08 PM
Kamaka factory is the closest to Waikiki in comparison to Ko'Aloha and Kanilie'a . You may be able to take public transportation there.


Actually, now that KoAloha is in their new factory location, they are closer to Waikiki than Kamaka, pretty much across the street from the Ala Moana Shopping Center at 1234 Kona Street, on the second floor. They have tours there each day from Monday to Friday, I think at 1pm.

SoloRule
01-18-2018, 05:07 PM
Alo Moana would be a great place if your spouse and kids don’t want to visit the factory. They can always spend time at Alo Moana. That’s a smart move for koaloha!

Fire lantern
04-21-2018, 08:19 AM
Hi everyone,

Just a quick update from my quick trip to Oahu. Your advice was incredibly helpful - I went to many of the shops recommended by everyone, including PuaPua, Goodguys Music, and some others. But by far the best was going to the KoAloha factory. Those guys could not have been nicer and more helpful. I ended up getting a private tour of the factory and spent about an hour just hanging out, chatting, playing around with their ukes and having a good time. And, of course I wasn't going to walk away empty handed. I purchased a KoAloha Opio KTO-G6, the 6-string guitalele. Got very, very lucky in picking it up as there are almost none of these in circulation right now. Long story short, I fell in love at first strum. I recently sold my David Gill uke and a classical guitar and this is, for me, the perfect marriage of the two. I'm more of a guitar player, so I get the 6 strings but in a small package with the sweet ukulele sound. Still on my way back and hanging out in the airport, but I'll try to post some pics and maybe a sound sample later.

I can't say enough good things about my experience and about the people at KoAloha. They make a big deal out of making you part of the extended KoAloha family and you really do feel that when you go there. Those guys love what they do and I personally love their look and sound. Of course you get a bunch of little goodies too.

Thanks again everyone!