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Kibes37
04-02-2019, 08:28 AM
So I have a Kanileía Concert I love. Got a Clara Sun Burst being built, but Iím already planning my end of the year work bonus purchase. Iím thinking a Kinnard Spruce with rosewood. I am also considering a custom Kanileía with the same wood combination. I have LOVED all the Kinnard sound samples, but the Kanileía would probably be faster and cheaper. Iím not interested in anything so personalized it would be hard to sell if we didnít click. I canít visit either location first to see woods in person.

My question is to those who have experience with both. Besides probably looking way cooler and a sound port option on the Kinnard is there a huge difference in build quality? I am over the moon with my current Kanileía except I feel other Ukes are a bit easier to fret, but I donít mind.

Thanks for any info.

rainbow21
04-02-2019, 08:45 AM
Wait for Kinnard is likely close to six months. So contact Kevin there right away to place your refundable deposit to get in line. You can change your mind for a refund until you actually get to the build. I expect that Kevin would send you photos of the wood that he would use in the actual build. He is incredibly easy and pleasant to work with. (BTW, they are north of San Diego, so an actual visit to their shop is possible). You might also inquire if he will be at any events in the Bay Area this summer for you to meet him and actually demo their ukuleles.

I am not sure what you would gain from the Kanile'a since the same fretting issue would likely be in the custom build. I bet having a Kinnard and a Kanile'a is better than having two Kanile'as.

hawaii 50
04-02-2019, 08:46 AM
Ono Ukuleles are a good custom choice..David Ingalls great craftsman and he is taking custom orders

http://onoukes.com/

Kibes37
04-02-2019, 08:51 AM
Thank you for the suggestion of getting in line now for a Kinnard.

I’ll look into the Ono. I just have come to the conclusion Kinnard is second to Chuck. Which I can’t afford or wait for. I will explore suggestions on other custom options.

kerneltime
04-02-2019, 08:53 AM
So I have a Kanileía Concert I love. Got a Clara Sun Burst being built, but Iím already planning my end of the year work bonus purchase. Iím thinking a Kinnard Spruce with rosewood. I am also considering a custom Kanileía with the same wood combination. I have LOVED all the Kinnard sound samples, but the Kanileía would probably be faster and cheaper. Iím not interested in anything so personalized it would be hard to sell if we didnít click. I canít visit either location first to see woods in person.

My question is to those who have experience with both. Besides probably looking way cooler and a sound port option on the Kinnard is there a huge difference in build quality? I am over the moon with my current Kanileía except I feel other Ukes are a bit easier to fret, but I donít mind.

Thanks for any info.

Ease of fretting is a process of pairing what you like with how the uke is built, it can be a cheaper uke where you meet your preferred setup.
If there is a uke you feel is easier to fret, try to note
1. The type of fret wire used (width and height matter)
2. Height of the strings at 3rd and 12th fret
3. The feel of the string, do they seem lower or higher in terms of tension
4. The width of the strings, are they fatter or thinner (worth brown are thinner typically vs nylon strings of some other brands)
5. Profile of the neck, if is round or flat on the back, is it fat or narrow

Kinnards are exception in their fit and finish but it does not mean you will prefer how that uke feels, due to how your hands are or they might be perfect.
I would recommend figure out the answers to the questions above before you customize your order.

Also, Kanilea do custom ukes and you can ask if they will put a side sound port.

I am not advocating for one option over another, just saying that sound of a uke and the fit and finish are different than ease of fretting. In your original question you brought up ease of fretting and it might be prudent to understand what makes one uke easier to fret for you over others.

I personally love a fat neck and larger frets with a lower to medium tension string. I found this out after owning a few ukes, I hate very low frets but some folks prefer it, I returned a Kiwaya KTS6 due to the frets (which are raved about by others..). This can also vary from uke to uke, some ukes like high tension strings based on their construction.

Read these threads.
https://forum.ukuleleunderground.com/showthread.php?136716-Necks!!-Drop-your-2-cents-here&highlight=neck+cents
https://forum.ukuleleunderground.com/showthread.php?138170-Frets-drop-your-2-cents-here&highlight=frets+cents

Kibes37
04-02-2019, 09:28 AM
Awesome info thanks. I am not too concerned with fretting on high end Ukes. I know adjustments can be made. I just should have asked for lower action when I ordered. I’m thinking the Clara will be cake on the fretboard. Especially since I asked for slightly lower action. We’ll see what that contrast is like. I have aquired a sh@$load of Uke knowledge in 3 months. I’m sure by the time I place an order I’ll know a lot more. Thanks to this forum mostly.

My main question is if it’s worth waiting extra time for a Kinnard. Also does Kanile’a do custom action out of their factory? I want it brand spanking new.

RichM
04-02-2019, 09:29 AM
John Kinnard makes a wonderful ukulele, and is a man of great talents. I have one of his guitars from his time at Dell Arte, and it is a remarkable instrument. With that being said, so, too, does Kanilea make a wonderful instrument, as do many many other talented builders you'll likely see mentioned on this site. Whether one is "better" than another is entirely up to you. Your best bet when evaluating a luthier for a custom build is to play as many examples of their work as you can lay your hands on. "Easy fretting" is probably something any luthier can accomodate (or will tell you if they can't).

No doubt many people will recommend the luthier they worked with (for example, I would definitely recommend Dave Talsma, who built my custom). But in the end, it's your uke and your decision. The process of having a custom instrument built is fun and fascinating, and a little nerve-wracking. Talk to your chosen builder about your wants and preferences, and no doubt he or she will help you figure out if you've chosen the right person.

John boy
04-02-2019, 09:39 AM
This is an interesting thread for me because I've never heard of either Kinnard or Ono. Now I have. Sounds like you'll end up with a beautiful instrument no matter which one you choose. The side port is an interesting concept. Does this provide more sound (more volume)?

RichM
04-02-2019, 09:49 AM
This is an interesting thread for me because I've never heard of either Kinnard or Ono. Now I have. Sounds like you'll end up with a beautiful instrument no matter which one you choose. The side port is an interesting concept. Does this provide more sound (more volume)?

Side ports help deliver the same tone to the player sitting behind the instrument that an audience would hear sitting in front of the instrument. I thought it was a gimmick until I tried it-- now I'm completely sold.

kerneltime
04-02-2019, 09:52 AM
I will explore suggestions on other custom options.
Steve grimes
Jay Litchy
Beau Hannam
Hive ukes
Rick Turner Compass Rose
Tinguitar
wunderkammerinstruments (http://www.wunderkammerinstruments.co.uk/)
Tyde
Loprinzi
Oceana
A (https://www.theukulelesite.com/shop-by/custom-builds.html)ll the custom builds on theukulelesite
..
..

We are living in a great custom uke building era.. too many good options!

Call up Kanilea, I am pretty sure they will customize the action. Also, if you buy a uke from theukulelesite, they will set it up as well.



Awesome info thanks. I am not too concerned with fretting on high end Ukes. I know adjustments can be made. I just should have asked for lower action when I ordered. I’m thinking the Clara will be cake on the fretboard. Especially since I asked for slightly lower action. We’ll see what that contrast is like. I have aquired a sh@$load of Uke knowledge in 3 months. I’m sure by the time I place an order I’ll know a lot more. Thanks to this forum mostly.

My main question is if it’s worth waiting extra time for a Kinnard. Also does Kanile’a do custom action out of their factory? I want it brand spanking new.

Adjustments are typically easy for nut slots and bridge heights, changing frets not so much (maybe filling them down..) The tendency of a top to like high tension strings vs light strings, is a lot harder to change.


You can reach out to Kevin from Kinnard, maybe he can find a way for you to experience a Kinnard uke before ordering.

John boy
04-02-2019, 09:53 AM
Very interesting, thanks Rich. I coulda used a side port on a whole lot of double-bass gigs over the years.

rainbow21
04-02-2019, 09:54 AM
.

My main question is if it’s worth waiting extra time for a Kinnard.

It really depends on when you get your year end bonus. I would not be surprised if you purchase a few more ukes before then.

John Boy, the sound port allows more of the sound to project toward the player. Reading here, it appears to have a minimal effect on how much it affects the sound projecting outward toward an audience.

John boy
04-02-2019, 10:05 AM
Right, that would have been very helpful to a lot of us bass players. Many is the time a double bass player can't hear themselves, though people in the audience can hear it just fine. Very interesting concept.

Joyful Uke
04-02-2019, 10:49 AM
IMO, Kinnards are worth the wait. And, keep an eye on their website, since they sell some finished ukuleles from time to time. My computer is still covered in drool from the super soprano that they just sold. :-) And, I guess keep an eye on Flea Market too, since apparently they post some for sale there, too.

I do have a Kinnard concert, and got it after spending hours and hours listening to sound samples of various ukuleles on line. The Kinnards were the ones that I liked the most. Kevin, (at Kinnard), sent me a variety of sound samples as well, so I could hear the different woods, and he also made recommendations, based on the type of music I like to play and my playing style.

My Kinnard is absolutely my favorite ukulele to play, and easiest to play. Build quality is great.

But, that's me, and not you. :-)

IMO, you need to decide on what kind of sound you want, (both Kanile'a and Kinnard sound great, but differ), what woods you might want, (does Kanile'a offer options for custom builds? I really don't know), what other options you might want and if you can get that from whoever builds your ukulele, and of course, cost. If you're not planning on having the ukulele until the end of the year, you've probably got time to investigate a little more, and get in line for a build. I know that Kinnard will refund your deposit up to a certain point, so no harm in being put on the wait list while you decide.

There are a lot of great builders, so my suggestion would be to listen to lots of sound samples, talk to the builders about cost, wait list time, and their various options, and see what seems like it might work best for you.

IMO the important thing is for you to decide what sound you want, and go from there. That's how I approached it, anyway. You might have a plan that works better for you.

Kibes37
04-02-2019, 11:06 AM
The actual frets on my Kanile’a are great. The action is just too high in my opinion. It was setup by the Ukelelesite. I assume they know best. They are a great company. I can lower it later if need be. I think it’s improving my skills like that anyway for the time being.

I do want the best fit finish I can buy. I was just wondering if the Kinnard finish was far superior. I’ve read things like no glue to be seen anywhere on Kinnards. My Kanile’a is stunning, but not on a custom level from what I’ve gathered. The tone will be different either way if I get a second kanile’a. Much different woods with spruce and rosewood. I know I want that combo. I’m finding from what I’m reading the Kinnard is the way, but I wanted all of your opinions.


Here’s another thing to throw in, what are people’s Spruce of choice?

DownUpDave
04-02-2019, 11:53 AM
The actual frets on my Kanile’a are great. The action is just too high in my opinion. It was setup by the Ukelelesite. I assume they know best. They are a great company. I can lower it later if need be. I think it’s improving my skills like that anyway for the time being.

I do want the best fit finish I can buy. I was just wondering if the Kinnard finish was far superior. I’ve read things like no glue to be seen anywhere on Kinnards. My Kanile’a is stunning, but not on a custom level from what I’ve gathered. The tone will be different either way if I get a second kanile’a. Much different woods with spruce and rosewood. I know I want that combo. I’m finding from what I’m reading the Kinnard is the way, but I wanted all of your opinions.


Here’s another thing to throw in, what are people’s Spruce of choice?

I have owned two Kinnards and between your two choices it is Kinnard all the way. You will be getting a true one person custom build by one of the very best. Working one to one with the builder you can and SHOULD ask him about the tone woods. Tell him that you like, warmer or brighter, loud or quiet, lots of sustain or quicker note decay.........he will then tell you what tone woods would best accomplish your wishes. I have done this a number of times with custom builds from different builders and it worked out very well

Kibes37
04-02-2019, 11:56 AM
Now that’s the answer I’m looking for ;)

Lapyang
04-03-2019, 04:25 AM
I have 2 Kanile'a Concert and a Kinnard Tenor. Kanile'a is nice but Kinnard is in a different league. As far as build quality, Kanile'a is one of the best non-custom builts out there. The two concerts I have show no flaws what so ever. But the first moment you pick up a Kinnard, you will notice craftsmanship. It just feels precious.

As for sound goes, it is very subjective. Both of my Kanile'a sounded different to each other, yet similar. Both are quite loud for concert. Both are the warmest sounding ukes I have ever played, to the point I have to switched a few string sets to add some brightness to the ukes. My Kinnard sounded very different to the Kanile'as. I got the Kinnard second hand, so it was not built to my specifications. It has a great tone but the volume is small. I was not impressed when I first got it but then after 5 sets of string changes, I finally found a set that is pleasing to my ears. Now, the Kinnard is on the top of my playing rotation.

A Kinnard costs at least twice as much as a production Kanile'a, probably more. If you can shell out the money, I would get a Kinnard. Don't mind the wait, good things in life are worth the wait.

Kibes37
04-03-2019, 05:53 AM
I have 2 Kanile'a Concert and a Kinnard Tenor. Kanile'a is nice but Kinnard is in a different league. As far as build quality, Kanile'a is one of the best non-custom builts out there. The two concerts I have show no flaws what so ever. But the first moment you pick up a Kinnard, you will notice craftsmanship. It just feels precious.

As for sound goes, it is very subjective. Both of my Kanile'a sounded different to each other, yet similar. Both are quite loud for concert. Both are the warmest sounding ukes I have ever played, to the point I have to switched a few string sets to add some brightness to the ukes. My Kinnard sounded very different to the Kanile'as. I got the Kinnard second hand, so it was not built to my specifications. It has a great tone but the volume is small. I was not impressed when I first got it but then after 5 sets of string changes, I finally found a set that is pleasing to my ears. Now, the Kinnard is on the top of my playing rotation.

A Kinnard costs at least twice as much as a production Kanile'a, probably more. If you can shell out the money, I would get a Kinnard. Don't mind the wait, good things in life are worth the wait.


Thank you very much. Super informative. I sent and email last night to Kinnard inquiring...

Kevdog
04-03-2019, 06:04 AM
Thank you very much. Super informative. I sent and email last night to Kinnard inquiring...

Hey Keith- please check your email Cheers!

Kibes37
04-03-2019, 06:24 AM
Thanks Kevin!

Kibes37
04-03-2019, 06:52 PM
Ha, I appreciate that idea very much. Thanks for taking the time to find that.

natchez
04-04-2019, 06:47 AM
I had the pleasure of trying out a few Kinnard ukuleles at the 2017 Reno Uke Fest, where they had set up a table/booth. The ukuleles were truly delightful and very beautiful instruments. And, if you try one out and it feels right for you, it will be worth the wait. Of course, they are rather pricey. BTW, there must be Kinnard owners in your area. I would suggest you put up a new post here and see if you can find someone locally who has an instrument that is willing to let you give it a go. Most UU members are really nice folks and often willing and proud to show off their instruments.

DaSilva Ukuleles and Mya-Moe, along with other vendors, are scheduled to be at the upcoming 2019 Reno Uke Fest- May 2-May 4, in Reno. They usually bring a variety of instruments with them.

As to the action on your Kanile'a, first measure the height from the fret board to the bottom of the string where you would play a note at the 12th fret. If it is more than about 3.0 mm it would be too high for my liking to play comfortably. Is your action good for you at the first and second position, or does it give you issues? Do you play far up the neck or not? If you do decide you want a lower action, it is not hard to do. Take a good look at the neck and strings sighting from the bridge to see if there is enough clearance between the frets and the bottom of the strings to lower the action, because you do not want to induce buzzing. I press the strings down a little, below the sound hole towards the bridge to see if there is enough room. If there is sufficient room, you may remove the saddle and sand down the bottom of the saddle on a solid, flat surface, e.g. a stone counter top. I just did that on my K-1 C, using 220 grit sandpaper. And, mine was also set up by the the Ukulele Site, but measured just a bit over 3 mm at the 12th fret when it arrived. Don't overdo it, say no more than ~1/2 mm, restring it and try it out. You may also take more, but it's hard to put it back :) If you have a compensated saddle, note the direction when removing it, so you can replace it in the same direction. To remove a saddle I take a needle nose pliers and wrap the ends in painter's tape and pull the saddle straight up, after you loosen the strings until they are just about coming off, or, if you have never done this before, it might be easier to just remove the strings. As an aside, the frets on my Kanile'a concert are a little taller than most of my other instruments, but it is a joy to play. Clear and crisp with good sustain and excellent intonation.

As to customs, I have a custom Jospehine soprano made by Kepasa Ukuleles, which is a lovely instrument. Superb for finger-picking. And, a super soprano from Mya-Moe that I bought a few years ago second hand through the UU marketplace. When I am in Reno, I tend to play the Mya-Moe the most. So, for a new concert I recently commissioned a Mya-Moe, torrefied spruce top and mahogany back and sides. The schedule I received says a September finish for the build. Since most of my ukuleles are koa I wanted something different to try.

Kibes37
04-04-2019, 08:09 AM
I had the pleasure of trying out a few Kinnard ukuleles at the 2017 Reno Uke Fest, where they had set up a table/booth. The ukuleles were truly delightful and very beautiful instruments. And, if you try one out and it feels right for you, it will be worth the wait. Of course, they are rather pricey. BTW, there must be Kinnard owners in your area. I would suggest you put up a new post here and see if you can find someone locally who has an instrument that is willing to let you give it a go. Most UU members are really nice folks and often willing and proud to show off their instruments.

DaSilva Ukuleles and Mya-Moe, along with other vendors, are scheduled to be at the upcoming 2019 Reno Uke Fest- May 2-May 4, in Reno. They usually bring a variety of instruments with them.

As to the action on your Kanile'a, first measure the height from the fret board to the bottom of the string where you would play a note at the 12th fret. If it is more than about 3.0 mm it would be too high for my liking to play comfortably. Is your action good for you at the first and second position, or does it give you issues? Do you play far up the neck or not? If you do decide you want a lower action, it is not hard to do. Take a good look at the neck and strings sighting from the bridge to see if there is enough clearance between the frets and the bottom of the strings to lower the action, because you do not want to induce buzzing. I press the strings down a little, below the sound hole towards the bridge to see if there is enough room. If there is sufficient room, you may remove the saddle and sand down the bottom of the saddle on a solid, flat surface, e.g. a stone counter top. I just did that on my K-1 C, using 220 grit sandpaper. And, mine was also set up by the the Ukulele Site, but measured just a bit over 3 mm at the 12th fret when it arrived. Don't overdo it, say no more than ~1/2 mm, restring it and try it out. You may also take more, but it's hard to put it back :) If you have a compensated saddle, note the direction when removing it, so you can replace it in the same direction. To remove a saddle I take a needle nose pliers and wrap the ends in painter's tape and pull the saddle straight up, after you loosen the strings until they are just about coming off, or, if you have never done this before, it might be easier to just remove the strings. As an aside, the frets on my Kanile'a concert are a little taller than most of my other instruments, but it is a joy to play. Clear and crisp with good sustain and excellent intonation.

As to customs, I have a custom Jospehine soprano made by Kepasa Ukuleles, which is a lovely instrument. Superb for finger-picking. And, a super soprano from Mya-Moe that I bought a few years ago second hand through the UU marketplace. When I am in Reno, I tend to play the Mya-Moe the most. So, for a new concert I recently commissioned a Mya-Moe, torrefied spruce top and mahogany back and sides. The schedule I received says a September finish for the build. Since most of my ukuleles are koa I wanted something different to try.

Great info. I appreciate you going in depth on the action adjustment process. I bet it’s higher than 3.0mm. I figured it was for strumming. I didn’t specify so they probably did best all around set up. I consider my hand strength formidable, but yes the first two frets seem a tad more difficult than they should be imo.

As far as working in person with the Bulider, I’m not sure that’s necessary. From what I’ve read working with Kevin from Kinnard is a great process. He’s very informative and responsive. We’ll be talking soon.

As far as other custom builds go, nothing is drawing me in like Kinnards work. I have been looking. The craftsmanship and attention to detail are amazing.

Rakelele
04-04-2019, 08:15 AM
My own approach would be somewhat different to what others have suggested.

If you want something to compare, get anything BUT another Kanilea. Despite the different woods you mentioned, a "custom" Kanilea will sound similar to the one you already have, as every builder has their own voicing. To me, this seems to influence the sound much more than woods or other factors.

If you want something to complement the Kanilea you already have, then ask yourself: what is it that you want from another uke that is different from the one(s) you already have? Before you set your mind on a specific builder, make sure you know what you want, and then look around for who might be the builder(s) to make your wishes come true. Are you settled on the same size, or do you want something bigger or smaller? Do you want a radius fretboard? A slimmer or wider neck? Or is it a louder, fuller sound you are looking for? Then as others have mentioned, there might be other makers to consider beside Kinnard.

Good luck with your search!

Ukulele Eddie
04-04-2019, 07:05 PM
I've owned and/or had extended playing time with pretty much anything anybody would put in the elite custom uke territory. And I've owned four Kinnards (two sopranos, a baritone, and my current Series 3 tenor, which is this one: https://www.theukulelesite.com/kinnard-series-3-sycamore-spruce-cutaway-slothead-tenor.html). Plus, I've literally played more than two dozen other Kinnards.

Based on my experience, you will not find a more perfectly executed instrument than a Kinnard. While there are quite a few luthiers who usually do great work, there are very few others who are *consistently* at the same level as Kinnard in terms of tone, playability, aesthetics and build details. (Grimes and Hive are examples of others I'd put in the same category.) The operative word here is consistently. And, of course, all four of these metrics are subjective.

I spoke with Kevin of KinnardUkes just the other day and he had a couple of finished instruments on hand, so you should check with him if waiting is a problem. Kevin is terrific to work with if you do want to spec an instrument, which can be a lot of fun if you don't mind waiting.

Good luck!

warndt
04-04-2019, 10:44 PM
I spoke with Kevin of KinnardUkes just the other day and he had a couple of finished instruments on hand, so you should check with him if waiting is a problem.


I'd go for that Kinnard Series 2 Sycamore/Spruce Tenor currently listed on the website. GROOVY :cool:

warndt
04-04-2019, 10:45 PM
Here's the link for Kinnard ukes currently in stock... and listed for sale.

http://www.kinnardukes.com/ukes-for-sale.html

Kenn2018
04-06-2019, 08:51 AM
I bought a Kinnard Series2 Rosewood/Spruce tenor from a UU member last year. It's one of my favorites. Easy to play. Easy to fret. Fantastic sound. Very musical. Very balanced tone-wise. Clear notes. Dead on intonation. I have only one gripe about it: the sound port is too big & loud! When I am sitting and playing at home and strumming hard it actually hurts my ears! Go figure. Plenty of ways to muffle it. It is wonderful. Rosewood/Spruce is my favorite wood combination (so far).

I have Kanile'a koa tenor as well. I enjoy playing it as well. The flat neck is good. But I think the fret wires are a little low. Making it a little tougher to barre well. At least for me. The sound is big and bold. And shifted a bit towards the bass.

The techs at HMS TheUkuleleSite, or really any good seller will setup your uke the way you want it. I always tell them I need it as easy as possible to barre the first fret because of some arthritis in my fingers. So they lower it a bit for me. Or, you can give them specs like 1mm at the first fret and 0.9" at the 12th (2.3mm) and they will accommodate. Otherwise, they will set it up for a generic average that works well for most players. (Be aware that a lower action can affect the sound.)

Between a Kanile'a and a Kinnard, I'd unhesitatingly recommend the Kinnard. You'll own a one-off custom. That plays like a dream.

Another custom luthier I recommend highly is Mike Pereira. Great customs for a very reasonable price.

keenonuke
04-06-2019, 02:57 PM
I am considering a custom Kanile'a and spoke with them. Kanile'a will do a radiussed fretboard and they can add a side sound port. I don't know if that would help you with your choices. But my suggestion is go with what you want.

Joyful Uke
04-06-2019, 03:07 PM
I am considering a custom Kanile'a and spoke with them. Kanile'a will do a radiussed fretboard and they can add a side sound port. I don't know if that would help you with your choices. But my suggestion is go with what you want.

IA. Different sounds from different builders. Decide what sound (and other options) you're looking for, and go with what satisfies what you want.