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Jerryc41
03-17-2018, 12:45 AM
I'm reading "Listen with Your Heart," about the Koaloha company, and I see they are now making an entry level uke, called the Koalana.

https://www.theukulelesite.com/koalana-soprano-ksa-0010.html

uketanzon
03-17-2018, 01:05 AM
I have two Koaloha ukuleles....amazing ukes, so I guess these will be very good.
Hey, I lived 20 years in the Catskills, Near margaretville.....miss my woods walks a lot.

Signalsdrone
03-17-2018, 02:07 AM
I'd just save up a bit more cash and buy a KoAloha. I've owned mine for close to 15 years and for the price per year of it, it has brought me tons of happiness.

I'm going to be buried with mine. I'll never, ever sell that uke.

Choirguy
03-17-2018, 02:46 AM
The KoAlana line has been a number of things through the years. Originally it was their “cheaper” import line, which became the Opio line. When Opio became a thing, KoAlana became a laminate import, as seen in that Ukulele Site listing.

The label has been gone for more than a year as the company has moved locations.

Just a note: if you buy a used KoAlana, it could be the equivalent of an Opio or a laminate depending on the age, so be careful when buying. You could get a really good deal—or pay too much either way.

At NAMM 2018 they introduced the KoAlana line again, and the instrument I saw looked 100% better than the old laminate version. I can’t remember the exact wood grain for the laminate (MonkeyPod?)—but the line is coming back this year.

I will buy one. There are times I want to bring my KoAloha but am worried about it and not my Outdoor Ukulele—and the KoAlana would fit perfectly at that time. It should sound different than my other KoAlohas, but different from my other laminates, too.

I also believe that KoAloha is unifying the headstock logo (other than the inlay and custom models) so that you no longer see an Opio model or KoAlana...it is a KoAloha, but the interior label will indicate the “model”

Rakelele
03-17-2018, 03:05 AM
Edit: I wrote this parallel to when Choirguy posted, so some of the information has already been provided by him.

Just to give some background: There have been several batches of "KoAlana" products on the market for the past six or seven years. The first batch was an all solid line from Thailand that has later been branded "KoAloha Opio". Apparently, there were some humidity issues at first, with several customers reporting cracks. This may have been one of the reasons for the re-branding.

The Opio line was first made of solid Sapele with a satin finish, and now solid Acacia with a more glossy finish. According to KoAloha, their Thailand factory (which also produces the "Rebel" brand) is an exact copy of their Hawaiian shop, using the same tools and workflow. Apart from the wood and the finish, their instruments are exactly the same. I have one of the Sapele tenors and I would say that it is just as nice as a "real" KoAloha.

In addition to this, they have reintroduced the "KoAlana" brand a couple of years ago with an entry level line of laminate instruments. These are made in another factory in Indonesia, and while they share some of the characteristic looks such as the Musubi soundhole and the five point crown headstock, many build elements seem to be different, such as the tuners, the heel of the neck and possibly even more crucial specs such as the bracing and kerfing. Most notable, to me, is that the tenors have their necks joining the body at the 14th instead of the 15th fret.

This entry level line has been out of stock for quite some time now. But at the NAMM show in January, KoAloha has been talking about launching the KoAlana line once again, with yet some changes such as a more figured wood called Trembesi (said to be somewhere in between Acacia and Monkeypod), and possibly a gloss finish. What they've shown at NAMM was looking very good, it can be seen in this video starting at 5:25ff.:


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GWi_55kMUoU
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GWi_55kMUoU

hendulele
03-17-2018, 04:12 AM
I bought one of the KoAlana laminates (concert scale) a couple of years ago. It's a terrific uke at the price point, about $210. Really good build, resonant, and looks very spiffy. Highly recommended if you can find one. I've also played one of the Opios and liked it a lot. It's clearly a better instrument, but it was about $150 more. I went with the laminate because it doesn't need to be humidified year-round.

rob g.
03-18-2018, 04:10 PM
I've also got one of the KoAlana concerts from that last batch of laminates, and I do love it. It looks like the Opios have gotten way more expensive now, so I'm wondering how much the new-and-improved KoAlana models will be. Does anyone know yet?

SA Condor
03-19-2018, 05:46 PM
I've also got one of the KoAlana concerts from that last batch of laminates, and I do love it. It looks like the Opios have gotten way more expensive now, so I'm wondering how much the new-and-improved KoAlana models will be. Does anyone know yet?

This is info from an email I received from them last week:

“KoAlana “made in Indonesia”
Concert $190
Tenor $220
*these will be available sometime after summer”

rob g.
03-19-2018, 06:38 PM
So still very reasonably priced - I might need to try the tenor this time. Thanks for the info!

jzzlvr
05-17-2018, 07:21 PM
According to KoAloha Instagram, the new KoAlanas are available for pre-orders! Prices unclear yet.

stevepetergal
05-18-2018, 02:46 AM
KoAloha abandoned the KoAlana line for a brief period of time. It was a complete flop, TWICE. They were notoriously bad instruments. KoAloha started from scratch to develop the Opio. There are no KoAlanas that are near the equivalent of the Opio instruments. KoAlana is simply a cheap ukulele made in Asia for KoAloha. The Opio line was very meticulously developed by KoAloha experts themselves. They traveled back and forth to Thailand for years to get it right. I have no experience with the current KoAlanas, but I assume they are better than the previous ones were. Be forewarned though, they are not even intended to be on par with Opio.
I am compelled to commend them for the work they did. KoAloha is the example that proves the old adage "you get what you pay for".

jzzlvr
05-18-2018, 03:08 AM
Be forewarned though, they are not even intended to be on par with Opio.

You're right - they're not, and the price points show. They are laminates though which fill some use cases an all-solid does not. I am thinking of swapping out one of my all-solids for a good laminate, just because I keep them in a case and don't play them as much as my laminate lying on the sofa. These KoAlanas may be good, or not. I'm looking forward to the reviews. The new wood they use does look very pretty.

hendulele
05-18-2018, 04:41 AM
My KoAlana is a fine value at the price point and was built in Indonesia (FWIW). I understand QC on some of the other generations of KoAlana may have been dicey, but I'd recommend one of the laminates of my vintage (2015?) if you can find one.


You're right - they're not, and the price points show. They are laminates though which fill some use cases an all-solid does not. I am thinking of swapping out one of my all-solids for a good laminate, just because I keep them in a case and don't play them as much as my laminate lying on the sofa. These KoAlanas may be good, or not. I'm looking forward to the reviews. The new wood they use does look very pretty.

jzzlvr
05-18-2018, 12:55 PM
My KoAlana is a fine value at the price point and was built in Indonesia (FWIW). I understand QC on some of the other generations of KoAlana may have been dicey, but I'd recommend one of the laminates of my vintage (2015?) if you can find one.

Thanks. I'm not really looking to buy one right now (recently got a laminate longneck soprano) but I am keeping an eye on the new KoAlana because I like the look of the new wood in gloss finish. Glad to hear you think highly of the old KoAlana. If the new ones are as good I will probably consider acquiring one next year (I'm out of uke quota for this year :D). I would buy from Mim or HMS so QC should be fine.

jzzlvr
05-19-2018, 07:50 AM
For anyone interested, I just came across this video review posted on KoAloha youtube... That tenor sounds sweet!

https://youtu.be/WjmZOeGfbRw

M3Ukulele
05-19-2018, 01:38 PM
Is the wood on the new KoAlana series for 2018 a sold wood or laminate? I’ve never heard of it before. Thanks for posting video. I see KoAloha is taking pre order. Also, anyone k ow how these are braced? I assume they don’t use the Unibrace like KoAloha and Opio but don’t know! Curious to hear how good Corey can make these sound?

jzzlvr
05-19-2018, 03:19 PM
Laminate trembesi (acacia family?) made in Indonesia. I heard they come in both gloss and matte options. No idea about bracing. There's very little info so far. I'm looking forward to HMS demo videos too :D

Jerryc41
05-20-2018, 05:33 AM
KoAloha abandoned the KoAlana line for a brief period of time. It was a complete flop, TWICE. They were notoriously bad instruments. KoAloha started from scratch to develop the Opio. There are no KoAlanas that are near the equivalent of the Opio instruments. KoAlana is simply a cheap ukulele made in China for KoAloha. The Opio line was very meticulously developed by KoAloha experts themselves. They traveled back and forth to Thailand for years to get it right. I have no experience with the current KoAlanas, but I assume they are better than the previous ones were. Be forewarned though, they are not even intended to be on par with Opio.
I am compelled to commend them for the work they did. KoAloha is the example that proves the old adage "you get what you pay for".

Thanks for that. Good to know.

jzzlvr
05-20-2018, 08:38 AM
Trembesi is the Javanese word for rain tree (aka. monkeypod). It's not in the acacia family, but is one of the woods used as a cheaper alternative to koa.

You're probably right. That must be how I read about trembesi and koa/acacia in the same sentence. The look is quite similar, I wonder how the tone is.

Re-reading the specs on the promo photo, there's no mention of bracing so it's probably like previous KoAlana (not unibrace). https://www.instagram.com/p/Bi22ZgjFIkK/

SA Condor
05-20-2018, 11:59 AM
According to KoAloha Instagram, the new KoAlanas are available for pre-orders! Prices unclear yet.


This is info from an email I received from them last week:

“KoAlana “made in Indonesia”
Concert $190
Tenor $220
*these will be available sometime after summer”

Prices are not unclear, as I mentioned, these prices are from an e-mail I received directly from Koaloha themselves.

jzzlvr
05-20-2018, 02:51 PM
Prices are not unclear, as I mentioned, these prices are from an e-mail I received directly from Koaloha themselves.

I saw that before (thanks for posting the info) but that was back in March, things could have changed. Also dealers may be selling them at lower prices than manufacturer's price tags (I am seeing lower prices for the same models on Mim's store compared to KoAloha's official site). And there has been no mention of prices on KoAloha channels - that's what I meant by unclear. But it will most likely be in the ballpark of what you posted.

Spicysteve
05-20-2018, 04:43 PM
Has online seen mention of a Baritone?

Jerryc41
05-21-2018, 12:21 AM
Prices are not unclear, as I mentioned, these prices are from an e-mail I received directly from Koaloha themselves.

I think they should leave well enough alone with their Koaloha and Opio lines.

Choirguy
05-21-2018, 12:41 AM
One of the things I have seen from KoAloha is a relentless pursuit to try new things while holding true to their original designs. They clearly understand that a good percentage of the population isn’t going to pay $500 (Opio) or $1000 (KoAloha) for a ukulele—no matter how good they sound. So the backwards design to a $200 (or less) ukulele makes sense—as does the company’s continued work with other woods in their designs (Full Mahogany and Mango this year, Spruce in the Opio line).

From appearance alone, the new KoAlanas (versus the last laminate models) are a great improvement and will likely be a nice option versus similarly priced Kala, Ohana, and Lanikai models. Some of those other brands are getting into solid wood configurations at that price point—but most are high end laminates.

If you like KoAloha but want a model that requires less attention to climate, the new KoAlana looks like the answer.

Jerryc41
05-21-2018, 02:19 AM
If you like KoAloha but want a model that requires less attention to climate, the new KoAlana looks like the answer.

I wish them luck.

Rakelele
05-21-2018, 03:17 AM
Has online seen mention of a Baritone?

From what I remember, Papa KoAloha has mentioned in the past that he wanted to introduce a baritone to their Hawaiian line of ukes, but that he never got around to do the design. I wouldn't get my hopes up that we see such a model any time soon. If they will make one, it would probably first be introduced in their Hawaiian line.

Ukecaster
05-30-2018, 06:08 AM
Here's one, not sure if it's "very rare", or a good one, but it's solid mahogany.

https://www.ebay.com/itm/Very-Rare-Solid-Mahogany-Koalana-by-Koaloha-Soprano-Ukulele/263715196827?hash=item3d66a68f9b:g:P4UAAOSwhEVbCqV f

Jerryc41
05-30-2018, 06:37 AM
Here's one, not sure if it's "very rare", or a good one, but it's solid mahogany.

https://www.ebay.com/itm/Very-Rare-Solid-Mahogany-Koalana-by-Koaloha-Soprano-Ukulele/263715196827?hash=item3d66a68f9b:g:P4UAAOSwhEVbCqV f

"It has never been played..." That's an odd claim, but so what?! It's not like putting miles on a car. : )

Wet-Skunk
06-29-2019, 10:48 AM
KoAloha abandoned the KoAlana line for a brief period of time. It was a complete flop, TWICE. They were notoriously bad instruments. KoAloha started from scratch to develop the Opio. There are no KoAlanas that are near the equivalent of the Opio instruments. KoAlana is simply a cheap ukulele made in Asia for KoAloha. The Opio line was very meticulously developed by KoAloha experts themselves. They traveled back and forth to Thailand for years to get it right. I have no experience with the current KoAlanas, but I assume they are better than the previous ones were. Be forewarned though, they are not even intended to be on par with Opio.
I am compelled to commend them for the work they did. KoAloha is the example that proves the old adage "you get what you pay for".

Please excuse the thread necro, but I don’t believe this to be correct. The first Koalana line was cheap and made in a Chinese factory. The first set of Uke’s they developed at their own Thai factory were not the Opio’s, but the precursor to the Opio, which were the Koalanas (not to be confused with the Chinese ones). These were constructed exactly as the Koalohas were constructed, but out of Sapele. They sounded fantastic, but regretfully had cracking issues as the factory wasn’t climate Controlled. The comments above that you attributed to the Opio concerning sending their people to Thailand. The Koalanas I speak of were made in the Thai factory using the same equipment and procedures as the Koalohas, and they were being supervised by the Hawaiian staff that they sent. This info was advertised back when the Sapele Koalanas were being sold. Too bad most of them were returned due to cracking.
I think the Opio’s were produced after they solved the factory climate control issues. Anyone who remembers, correct any inaccuracies I may have posted.

This link says it all from their original sales: https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=WLeb-O478nk