View Full Version : Makapili Concert Pineapple - written review

08-26-2009, 12:52 AM
I've based this on the UU guidelines. I purposely waited a few weeks to post this so I didn't miss anything out...

• What year was it made? Where was is made? 2009 Italy
• How many frets? 17
• Solid-Top? Solid Hinoki (Japanese cypress)
• Any pickups or electronics? No
• Body and neck woods? Solid Acacia body. Spanish cedar neck.
• Finish? Satin
• Body style - Pineapple concert
• Bridge style - String through body. Wooden beads inside.
• Tuners - Gotoh geared, mini sized.
• Neck/Scale - Quite wide fingerboard, and the strings do splay nicely towards the bridge. The saddle is quite wide to allow for this. Makes it easy to play high up the neck if you have big hands. (No problem for me anyway.) Also frets are quite large, and comfortable. 17 frets, 15 inch concert scale. Neck thin, and nice to play barre chords.
• Any included accessories? No

• How does it suit your music style? Seems to like being picked or strummed. Has an even volume across all the strings, I have done a few Hawaiian style picking pieces on it, and they sound good.
• Is it noisy? Yes, the side sound port means the player can hear everything. Big sound. Rich deep sounding. (Concert size)
• Rich/Full sound? Bright sound? Full and loud.
• What kind of sounds can the uke make? How much variety? Good for picking out intricate stuff, but also quite good for bashing out chords at uke jam night.
• Likes and dislikes? I like it so far. I’m going to try out different strings on it and see if the tone alters at all.

Action, Fit & Finish
• How well was the ukulele set-up at the factory? (How was the action?) Aquilas already on it. Set up was good. I have lowered the action a little, but that’s for personal preference. It was playable before.
• Properly bookmatched top? Yes
• Properly routed bridge? Yes
• Did the ukulele contain any flaws? Yes, sold as factory second at very discounted price, so fair enough. The only damage was cosmetic. The top had a few tiny scratches and the tuning pegs were very slightly off centre to my eyes. But I can’t complain in the slightest, as Thomas was very forthright about this being an imperfect factory second. He is a very honest seller.

• Will this ukulele withstand live playing? I think so. It got passed about and everyone played it at jam night.
• Does the hardware seem like it will last? Yes, Gotoh are a quality make of tuner, and all the woodwork looks to be well done.
• Is the finish good enough to last, or does it seem thin and easy to wear off with lots of playing? Finish looks great, only time will tell. Hasn’t worn off yet!
• Can you depend on it? Too soon to tell.
• Would you use it on a gig without a backup? Don’t gig, so can’t say!

Customer Support
• If you've dealt with the company, how helpful/friendly were they? Very friendly. Thomas offered to put the side sound port it after I’d bought it. Very good customer service. I can’t rate Thomas highly enough. He was so honest about what I’d be getting, and the scratches, which you can hardly see. He emailed me to make sure I totally understood that this was a second and would not be up to the standard of his future ukes.

Overall Rating
• How long have you been playing? Just under a year.
• What other gear do you own? Lots of guitars and other ukes, bass, mandos. Too many.
• Is there something you wish you had asked before buying this ukulele? No, I don’t think so.
• If it were stolen or lost, would you buy it again or get something else? It’s a one-off second, but I would buy a Makapili again from Thomas, no hesitation.
• What do you love about it? Warm tone, but still loud. Seems to be quite versatile.
• What do you hate? Nothing yet. Only worry is that it’s SO pretty, I’m a bit worried about damaging it LOL. I am now on a mission to find a case that fits it properly as I would hate for it to get damaged now. It’s currently in a tenor hard shell case, but I am willing to spend a little money to get a proper case so it remains in good condition.
• What is your favorite feature? Putting mini-tuners on was a great idea. It’s not top-heavy. And it looks much better than some of the concerts with big-eared tuning pegs.
• Did you compare it to other ukuleles? Which ones? I was looking for a concert size, but hadn’t found one I liked yet.
• Why did you choose this one? Good opportunity, mainly. I hadn’t heard of Makapili, as Thomas seems to be just starting out. But I’m glad I saw it, it’s definitely a good buy, in my opinion. I am pleased that I went for it.
• Anything you wish it had? Maybe a strap button, although that might ruin its good looks. Depends whether you like looks or practicalities, I suppose.
• Anything else you'd like to share? I took this uke to jam night and it got passed around and played a lot. Everyone was complimentary about the tone and sounds. All agreed it was a beautiful instrument and that is obvious, but that wouldn’t be any good if it sounded awful. Everyone liked it for their own styles, and commented on the loud volume, and good projection. It certainly held its own against the tenors. The side sound port provided lots of conversation and discussion, with a generally positive reception.

I am very pleased with this purchase. €235 is 204 or $332 at time of purchase, including shipping from Italy to the UK. I must make clear that this vastly reduced price is due to this being a factory-damaged second. The top versions are more expensive, but justifiably so. Overall, pretty impressive stuff. I also made a quick video of it, if anyone wants to hear it, and Thomas himself often posts sound bites.
My video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HKYCbdCwBJ4

Thomas is here on UU as “thomas” and his website www.makapili.com will be up and running soon.

08-28-2009, 07:08 AM
Thanks for the great review Anna,

I am truly happy that you like your new ukulele.

Take care,

08-28-2009, 12:03 PM
great info