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View Full Version : I have up to £300 for a ukulele, Id quite like a koa one. What would you recomend?



Samster
06-08-2009, 01:01 PM
there are so many ukuleles out there,

i want to spend upto £300 (ukulele price not overall with shipping and tax ect)

i really like the idea of a koa ukulele

does anybody have any suggestions on what i should get?

any info would be great.

also is it worth gettiong a koa ukulele?

what are the pros and cons with it?

thank you

Sam :)

ukantor
06-08-2009, 02:11 PM
In favour of koa - it is a traditional wood for making ukuleles. It has a distinctive appearance. It has a bright, sharp sound (if that's what you like).

Against koa - it is very expensive. Some koa ukes look a bit gaudy. It has a bright, sharp sound (if that's not your thing).

Have you compared the sound of koa and mahogany? For me, mahogany wins every time, but others prefer koa.

Don't go spending £300 on a uke on someone else's recommendation. The opinions of experienced players can give you something to think about, but only you can decide which is best for you. There is no way round it. You've got to listen to some high end ukes.

John Colter (Ukantor)

thejumpingflea
06-08-2009, 05:42 PM
The Kala Solid Acacia series may be a good choice. Not Koa, but it is very similar.

ukulele2544
06-08-2009, 05:47 PM
How much is that is U.S $?

grappler
06-08-2009, 06:47 PM
is $415.794US

Dirka
06-08-2009, 10:55 PM
RISA sells these guys (http://ukulele.de/shop/product_info.php?info=p219_APC-Concert-Traditional.html). He said on the german uke forum the price is below standard markup, because he wanted to sell the tenor for under 200. People who have them seem to be pretty stoked on them.

Oh yeah, and the info page is lying, its acacia.

http://ukulele.de/shop/images/product_images/popup_images/219_0.jpg

I think I'll be saving up for one of these...

Witters
06-08-2009, 11:16 PM
I'm sure I have seen these before being sold in Spain or maybe it was Portugal, a few years ago.
Never tried it because at that time I thought a 4 string small Guitar was something Spanish, and not a Ukulele - yes I was being stupid:(
I just thought at the time that a Ukulele was only made in Soprano size.....

Anyway, if it was these one's I saw they look much better in real life than they do in pictures. But what they sound like I have no idea.

UkuLeLesReggAe
06-09-2009, 12:36 AM
totally irrelivant, especially when i cant spell the word, but my $1, Australian, is around 80cents!! i think just under 79cents. haha!!

yewwwwwwwww

micromue
06-09-2009, 12:50 AM
How about a Koaloha Pikake? http://www.musique83.com/koaloha-ksm10-pikake-massif-réfkoaspik7-p-1057.html. Price is including VAT and could be in your price range. The store is in France and has a good reputation under european uke Players.

Kaneohe til the end
06-09-2009, 10:03 PM
In favour of koa - it is a traditional wood for making ukuleles. It has a distinctive appearance. It has a bright, sharp sound (if that's what you like).

Against koa - it is very expensive. Some koa ukes look a bit gaudy. It has a bright, sharp sound (if that's not your thing).

Have you compared the sound of koa and mahogany? For me, mahogany wins every time, but others prefer koa.

Don't go spending £300 on a uke on someone else's recommendation. The opinions of experienced players can give you something to think about, but only you can decide which is best for you. There is no way round it. You've got to listen to some high end ukes.

John Colter (Ukantor)

no, actually you're pretty wrong. Koa wasn't always the "traditional" wood for 'ukulele. Back when koa wasn't as scarce as today, other native hawaiian hardwoods were used before they themselves became scarce. Koa doesn't always have a distinctive appearance, sometimes it can look a lot like other woods, such as albizia. Koa can vary widely in tone; some koa is bright and sharp, while other koa can be dark, deep and other koa can even be very mellow. To generalize as bad as you did was a mistake on your part. i don't particularly like when people generalize (also known as bs).;)

ukantor
06-09-2009, 10:14 PM
Nice try "K til the end", but you are wrong on two counts:- I said A traditional wood, not THE - OK?

Distinctive means recognizably different - I think it is. The grain pattern and colour varies quite a lot. Most other instrument making woods are much more consistent in appearance.

Tone is very subjective - every koa uke I have played has been bright and sharp.

So which of us is peddling BS?

Your Honour, I rest my case.

John Colter (Ukantor)

ukulele2544
06-10-2009, 12:59 AM
is $415.794USWow :eek:

Thats a lot of money!

Samster
06-10-2009, 04:43 AM
Is $300 too cheap for a solid koa ukulele?

will this mean that there is compromise in the production because its cheap

i really have no clue

Please help.

:)

generem
06-10-2009, 04:56 AM
$300 is really cheap for a solid Koa Ukulele :shaka:

Samster
06-10-2009, 04:58 AM
is it too cheap?

generem
06-10-2009, 05:02 AM
Are you asking if you can find a Koa for $300 or did you find a Uke for $300 and think it might be too good to be true

Samster
06-10-2009, 05:06 AM
i found one, but reading things off here

id like to know like what is likely to be wrong with it for being so cheap

its concert sized may i add

just in case that makes a difference aha :)

generem
06-10-2009, 05:07 AM
What brand, Model..etc.. We will be able to help you out a bit more..

Maybe :D

Samster
06-10-2009, 05:09 AM
ayers, im not sure of the model number, they only do one solid koa one, concert sized

:)

haole
06-10-2009, 05:10 AM
Nope. Keli'i has a Hawaiian-made solid koa soprano for $299, and it rocks! Ohana makes some solid koa ukes at good prices, too.

Roy Jovero
06-10-2009, 05:10 AM
$300 koa ukes are usually laminated. There are some on eBay that are solid and have been known to have construction isses.

Samster
06-10-2009, 05:11 AM
this one says its solid koa, does that mean its not laminated?

haole
06-10-2009, 05:13 AM
If the seller is honest, then yes, it's not a laminate.

What brand? Or is it just an eBay seller?

Samster
06-10-2009, 05:14 AM
Its an ayers one, i cant really find too much about it on the internet,

but so far ive gatherd that they do 3 types of ukulele

this one is the only solid koa one they do

:)

Gcow55
06-10-2009, 05:18 AM
Be careful. At that price, when ukuleles are said to be "solid Koa", they typically can be Acacia wood, a sister of koa, but not really Koa. I believe Cordoba does this.

haole
06-10-2009, 05:19 AM
I'd be a little wary of it, then. Most folks tend to associate ukes from Vietnam with the sketchy eBay sellers who peddle heavily-inlayed, solid-wood instruments that have a reputation for cracking, after which the seller is impossible to contact. (Although, Honu/Big Island ukes are also from Vietnam and they're awesome!) The Ayers ukes might be okay, but for that kind of money, I wouldn't take my chances on it. Keep lookin'; if you can find a brand that has a good reputation, you should be alright.

Samster
06-10-2009, 05:25 AM
i know the seller pretty well, as a person, and hes had one for a while and is really satisfied with it, but i dont know if hes just saying because hes the one selling lol

but it is his number one uke

generem
06-10-2009, 05:35 AM
Just Googled Ayers ukulele and this is what I found on one of the links "These ukes are all handcrafted in Vietnam by the Ayers Guitar Company"

Ayers
Modern, Made in Taiwan

Contact:
Ayers Music Co. Ltd.
13F-1, No.139, Kien Kwo N.Rd., Sec. 2
Taipei, Taiwan 104
Tel: 886-2-2505-8856
Fax:886-2-2501-3934

Samster
06-10-2009, 05:54 AM
im confused?

what does that mean?

TheWannabe90
06-10-2009, 05:58 AM
They often advertise solid acacia's as solid koa...

ichadwick
06-10-2009, 06:05 AM
Is $300 too cheap for a solid koa ukulele?
Cheap and inexpensive are not synonymous, despite popular (and misinformed) usage.

As noted on Oakworks (http://www.oakworks.com/Oakworks-information/cheap-vrs-inexpensive.asp) there are subtle but crucial differences in meaning:

The Free Dictionary defines the word cheap as "Relatively low in cost; inexpensive or comparatively inexpensive". The word inexpensive is defined as "Not high in price; cheap". Since each word uses the other in its definition, we tend to think of them as interchangeable. But if you look at the alternate definitions of the word cheap, you'll understand why the two words shouldn't be considered one and the same. Cheap is also defined as "Of or considered of small value", "Of poor quality; inferior", "Worthy of no respect; vulgar or contemptible" and "Stingy; miserly". So in shopping terms, lets use "Of poor quality; inferior" to define cheap and "Not high in price" to define inexpensive.
Cheap has the implication of inferior quality and shoddiness. Inexpensive is merely less costly, not necessarily of lower quality or value.

Cheap suggests an absolute attribute, inexpensive a relative one. For example, a rusty K-Car on a car lot will always seem 'cheap' no matter what the price tag but a Jaguar priced at the same amount will seem merely inexpensive because one expects Jaguars to sell for more.

Spending $300 on a "cheap" ukulele is a waste of money. But that doesn't mean the ukulele is inexpensive. In fact, spending $300 for a low-quality instrument seems very expensive, especially when you can probably get the same build quality for under $100!

For me, $300 is not an inexpensive purchase. For Bill Gates, It would be. But the build quality of the item does not change regardless of the price assigned to it.

A solid wood ukulele may be inexpensive at $300 compared to the competition, but whether it is "cheap" can only be determined by examining it.

specialmike
06-10-2009, 06:19 AM
Hawaiian koa is rare. Hawaiian Koa is nice. Hawaiian Koa is full of sugar and spice.

But all joking aside, Koa is expensive! On ebay, I saw a koa jewelry box going for more than $300. A JEWELRY BOX! 6 small slabs of curly koa with a few hinges and foam and cloth, and it's already $300. Jewelry boxes aren't hard to make or design.

Ukuleles are a different story.
Factoring in normal Hawaiian koa, which should cost at least $250 for a decent size uke. Then factor in craftsmanship. So A solid koa uke, well made, and soprano, I should cost around $400 new.

If this uke is 300, it might not be Hawaiian koa, and it might not be solid. Besides, koa is overrated, not that I wouldn't want another ukulele made of koa. It's a different tone, it has a different aesthetic quality.

Samster
06-10-2009, 06:33 AM
on the website it says its solid, and hawiian koa,

ayers is a reputable company, is it likely that they could lie?

generem
06-10-2009, 06:38 AM
im confused?

what does that mean?

Means that it is Most likely not KOA.. maybe Acacia which is the same family.

But $300 for a Solid Uke is still a pretty good price.. All that matters is that you like how it sounds.. and it feels good in your hands / arms

generem
06-10-2009, 06:39 AM
on the website it says its solid, and hawiian koa,

ayers is a reputable company, is it likely that they could lie?

Link to site please...

Samster
06-10-2009, 06:40 AM
Link to site please...

http://www.ayersguitar.com/front/bin/ptdetail.phtml?Part=uckk&Category=131294

Ukeffect
06-10-2009, 06:53 AM
It is not "supposed" to be laminated but let the buyer beware. One reasonable Koa that I found that I thought surely for the price would be laminated was this one http://cgi.ebay.com/NEW-OSCAR-SCHMIDT-OU5DL-DELUXE-CONCERT-SIZE-KOA-UKULELE_W0QQitemZ260424903981QQcmdZViewItemQQptZLH _DefaultDomain_0?hash=item3ca288ad2d&_trksid=p3286.c0.m14&_trkparms=65%3A12%7C66%3A2%7C39%3A1%7C72%3A1205%7C 240%3A1318%7C301%3A0%7C293%3A1%7C294%3A50 To my pleasant surprise it was solid KOA everywhere, and has a really sweet sound. The only thing I would recomend is changing the strings (Vinci *yuck*) to Aquila, Worth, or maybe Ko'olau golds. Then your baby will saaang sweet! :shaka:

toubisard
06-10-2009, 06:59 AM
Hi Dirka has posted a picture of an APC acacia instrument and you can buy one from DJM Music. I have a Tenor and a Soprano. Your £300 would go a long way.
Pete Howlett has some informative reviews on youtube. Ukanator is spot on saying 'don't take any ones word for it'. I say try a few and canvass as much opinion as you can. There is a tone wood issue to explore and it is personal preference. I love my Carvalho Ukuleles. They do however draw negative comments from some players.

seeso
06-10-2009, 08:39 AM
Samster, you've started two threads on the same subject. I'll merge them now.

Samster
06-10-2009, 08:50 AM
i havent have i?

Gaby
06-10-2009, 11:52 AM
Bear in mind that Ayers instruments are made in Vietnam - which helps keeping the cost down.

If their web site states solid, I am sure you can believe that.

The Ayers factory also make guitars for Baden, and both brands use koa in their guitars. I didn't get the impression on the Baden guitar that that was not koa. That would lead me to believe that the ukes may be made with real koa too; offcuts perhaps?

I still have this feeling though that it may be (Australian?) blackwood. From what I understand, Ayers has close ties with Australia (some models even have Australian names, Ayers is from Ayers Rock I believe), and blackwood is relatively cheap and sounds nice. However if it is, that uke is a bit overpriced. For example, you get a Lehua with solid Australian blackwood for far less.

Also, I would imagine that if you are using Hawaiian koa, you would proudly state you are using Hawaiian koa!

upskydowncloud
06-10-2009, 01:22 PM
I remember going to my local uke shop in London to find a uke that I know to be laminate (because I've got one) advertised clearly as solid koa so I agree with previous posters that you shouldn't take anyone's word for it. If you haven't heard much about the ukulele manufacturer and they aren't well known try and get in touch with someone who has and who is a neutral party i.e. not selling them. Better yet try and visit a shop that sells them. If you can't find anywhere that sells them and you don't know anything about them I would steer clear.

In my opinion if you really want a ukulele made with Hawaiian koa save up for one, it will always be worth it.