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molokinirum
06-22-2009, 05:32 AM
I am visiting Maui in Sept and want to buy a Hawaiian made ukulele. My price range is in the area of $500. Any brands, tips, sugestions would be great!!

Mahalo!!

Kanaka916
06-22-2009, 06:02 AM
You're gonna get deluged with a whole bunch of recommendations, all I really wanna say is you have the opportunity to try before you buy. You'll have a choice to try a number of instruments in different sizes (soprano, concert and tenor) check for playability, comfortability and sound. You can try several from the same maker and each one will probably sound different. In the end, it's your decision cause you're layin down the $$$$ and you might just spend a little bit more. You might also wanna check out this thread (http://www.ukuleleunderground.com/forum/showthread.php?t=14483) . . .

haole
06-22-2009, 06:13 AM
There are a LOT of Hawaiian-made brands. The most popular are the K-brands: Kamaka, Ko'olau, KoAloha, Kanile'a, and Keli'i. They're all about the same level of quality (which is great) and all made on Oahu; the differences are all a matter of personal preference. Take 'em all for a spin. They range from $400-600 for a soprano, $500 to 700 for a concert, and $700 to $1000 for a tenor, depending on where you look. Keli'i ukes are considerably less expensive, but in my opinion just as good.
If you have a little extra cash, check out ukes by custom builders and indie luthiers in the islands.

rossjr
06-22-2009, 07:39 AM
Welcome to the board, you will have a lot of choices and a few stores on Maui. I have bought both of my Ukulele's there, my first was Tangi I bought at a little store on Front Street in Lahinia called Kula Gold (Sp) its right in the Pioneer Inn on the Front Street side. Mike usually has a good mix of instruments at reasonable prices. On my last trip there I almost bought the Pineapple Sundae he had hanging there but it was a lot more than I was able to spend. Lahaina has a couple of other stores for buying Ukulele's other than the gift store kind. Lahaina Music they are in a strip mall off the highway (they are listed in the Yellow Pages), great place, good selection and they give free lessons on Tuesday nights at the Lahaina Cannery Mall. The last place is a small store off the beaten path. It too is off of Front Street but it's behind a few stores. Cheeseburger in Paradise is across Front Street from it. They had a number of Ukulele's but I didn't recognize the brands and felt the salesperson was pretty pushy. I did get a good deal on some Jake CD's there though.

On the Kahului side side of the island you have Bounty Music, probably the best selection on the island and a lot of helpful people and finally the Mele Factory Store just up the road from Bounty Music in Wailuku. Eva and Cheryl will take care of you there. My last trip I bought a beautiful Koa Concert 6 string from them.

Enjoy your trip and have fun shopping!

molokinirum
06-22-2009, 10:05 AM
Mahalo for all of your info. Some great tips and locations.
Agan....Mahalo!!!!

Lanark
06-22-2009, 02:01 PM
Keli'i ukes are considerably less expensive, but in my opinion just as good...


They're very much a player's ukulele. Solid build, good sound and a great price for a solid koa instrument. No bells or whistles.

molokinirum
06-23-2009, 05:09 AM
So, is the Mele uke a good solid choice. I am leaning heavily towards a koa uke. Doe the Mele people stand behind their uke?

Kanaka916
06-23-2009, 05:21 AM
Just a FYI, Mele 'ukeleles are basically assembled in the Phillipines and finished (final assembly and setup) in Maui. It's not entirely Hawaiian made.

Fred Miu
06-23-2009, 05:29 AM
Just a FYI, Mele 'ukeleles are basically assembled in the Phillipines and finished (final assembly and setup) in Maui. It's not entirely Hawaiian made.

kinda how all things are made in china, but has USA on it :rolleyes:

bbycrts
06-23-2009, 06:35 AM
So, is the Mele uke a good solid choice. I am leaning heavily towards a koa uke. Doe the Mele people stand behind their uke?

But to answer your question, there have been a lot of great things said here about Mele, including great customer service.

rossjr
06-23-2009, 07:39 AM
I have only had my Mele for about 3 months. When I bought mine at the store they didn't have the one I wanted but had it at thier local factory (as stated earlier, the finishing and setup occurs on Maui). One thing the wife and I noticed is that most of thier stuff came with either a Matt or Semi-Gloss finish and we wanted a gloss finish. Eva called down and found one they were just finishing up and they were able to put that coat of gloss on it for us. I was able to pick it up the next day.

I spoke to them at length about how they stand behind thier instrument and they basicallly said that they will stand behind any defect in material or workmanship, the only thing they will not cover is if the instrument was not taken care of properly. In particular, I live in Minnesota and our winters are brutal on instruments like these because it not only gets cold but very dry. Tropical woods need hunmidity and if they are deprived they can shrink and crack. I know this first hand because I have a Tangi Mango Tenor that this happened to (FWIW, Tangi took care of this for me...). So if it's dry where you live, invest in a good humidifier atleast for the case so you can store your instrument in a suitable environment, and don't forget to keep the humidifer wet...

Another thing to remember is that you will likely see Mele's at some of the other stores you visit. I know Mike at Kula Gold has a couple and I seem to recall that Lahaina Music had a few too. The other two stores I mentioned didn't have them though.

If you don't think you can maintain a proper environment for your new Ukulele, you might want to consider a Koa Laminate, they tend to tolarate the drier weather better.

The best advice I can make is look for what you like and listen to it. See if you can hear the difference. I know I do, or think I do. The solid wood ones seem to have a richer sound to them, at least to me.

BTW if you go to Kula Gold, tell him John said 'hi', I bought my Tangi Mango Tenor there.

molokinirum
06-24-2009, 04:47 AM
Love the advice you gave, I plan on spending a day or two visiting a few shops on Maui and play some ukes (though I am not too good, only a beginner) and see what is available. When I am in Lahaina, I will tell them you said hi!!