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View Full Version : KoAloha Tenor Sceptre Review



haolejohn
10-06-2009, 10:37 AM
numerical rating in each category (10 is the best, 1 is bad).

Features: 10

What year was it made? Where was is made? Not sure on the year but I believe it is number 87. This as well as all sceptres was made in Hawai'i.
How many frets? 21
Solid-Top? Solid Koa Body as well as top
Any pickups or electronics? None
Body and neck woods? Koa

Finish : 10
Body style: Tenor Sceptre
Bridge style: KoAloha crown bridge. Strings go through and they are twisted and tightened upon themselves.
Tuners: Grover
Neck/Scale Tenor Koa and normal scale for a tenor.
Any included accessories? One of those styrofoam triangular shaped hard/soft bags. I think it is called a Lani Kai case. I also got an extra set of ko'olau gold strings and Kapalua strings.

Sound: 13. Is that possible? 10

How does it suit your music style? The Sceptre fits my style of music very well. i play worship music and this ukulele is filled with allegories and symbolism.
What amps and effects are you using it with? None. Doesn't need any.
Is it noisy? If you mean loud then yes. If you mean moisy in a negative way then no.
What kind of sounds can the uke make? Tghis uke has limitless possibilities when it comes to sound. i strum it and finger pick but I play rhythm mainly. I am not playing this uke up to its full potential.
Likes and dislikes? so far i like everything about the uke. The edges are a little pointy but they sit very well in my leg. It is actually more stable in a sitting position than I thought at first.

Action, Fit & Finish: 9.5

How well was the ukulele set-up at the factory? This ukulele is set-up perfectly. Not sure if it came from factory this way but I assume it did since it is a masterpiece.
Properly bookmatched top? It appears to be a solid wood piece top and back. If it is bookmatched I caqn not tell.
Properly routed bridge? I think so. Not sure what routed means but the bridge area appears to be fine.
Did the ukulele contain any flaws? I can not find any flaws with the naked eye. This was a used uke and it seems the previous owner never played it.

Reliability/Durability: 9.5

Will this ukulele withstand live playing? Yes.
Does the hardware seem like it will last? There is no hardware.
Is the finish good enough to last, or does it seem thin and easy to wear off with lots of playing? It seems translusent. It reflects the light in a magical way.
Can you depend on it? Yes. I would depend on it.
Would you use it on a gig without a backup? If I was good enough to play a gig.

Customer Support: N/A but 10 in previous dealings.

If you've dealt with the company, how helpful/friendly were they? I contacted the company on various different occasions and they have been very helpful and always seemed to have time for a customer.
Ever try and get it repaired? Nope.
Was it under warranty? Originally yes but the warranty didn't carry over to me but I am sure if I have a problem with it KoAloha will take care of me.
How long is the warranty: Lifetime better than the weather

Overall Rating: 9.9

How long have you been playing? Since 2002 but only seriously fior a year.
What other gear do you own? I own a KoAloha concert, Pono Mango 8 string, Mele solid koa, ,mele solid koa top, makala and kala soprano
Is there something you wish you had asked before buying this ukulele? Not really.
If it were stolen or lost, would you buy it again or get something else? Not sure if i would be able to afford it again and not sure how i would lose it but If I was able to I would buy it again.
What do you love about it? The sound and look of it. Also the build quality. It is the best built uke I have ever seen or held.
What do you hate? Nothing
What is your favorite feature? The crown bridge.
Did you compare it to other ukuleles? Which ones? Maybe a Pineapple Sunday
Why did you choose this one? It was my second dream ukulele. I read the story behind the Sceptre and fell in love with it.
Anything you wish it had? A magic button to make me sound good.
Anything else you'd like to share? Until you have held this uke or played it don't knock it.

Susie A
10-06-2009, 11:06 AM
Still dealing with uke envy. What an awesome piece of art.

specialmike
10-06-2009, 11:10 AM
http://www.suspendedlaunch.com/dl/this_thread_is_worthless_without_pics.gif you know it.

phanzo
10-06-2009, 11:20 AM
I agree with the final statement. I didnt know what to think about thye Sceptre until I played one this morning. Amazing feel, great sound and not nearly as "weird" to hold as you may think.

I also had the chance to play a Pineapple Sunday, which was awesome! :iwant: I am seriously contemplating buying it bc the price he offered it to me for is unbeatable! I had never seen anyone with a PS before I saw it today so I need to do some research here on the forums and elsewhere to gather some opinions about it. It is one of the most beautiful instruments I have ever seen and it has great sound. Not sure if it is the "perfect" sound for my style of playing but I could easily trade it back to my guy for a different uke (if I dont like, for whatever reason).

I also really liked the Kanile'a Super Concert (which I kinda feel is more suitable to my style of play, sound wise).

But back to the Sceptre, the one that I played was a black label custom, hand signed by Papa Koaloha himself. It was a beautiful piece of art with an equally amazing sound. WAY out of my price range (by about $2,000) but an amazing instrument to hold and play.

I'm so happy that you are happy with yours and can't wait to hear more about it, in the months to come. :music:

molokinirum
10-06-2009, 12:36 PM
http://www.suspendedlaunch.com/dl/this_thread_is_worthless_without_pics.gif you know it.

Come on now haolejohn:agree: you know the drill!!!
Show us the goods:drool:

beeejums
10-06-2009, 02:37 PM
Definitely jealous. But good on you that you can own one!

thejumpingflea
10-06-2009, 04:20 PM
Wow, what an awesome uke.

Congrats! I'd love to see a video review of it...

Ronnie Aloha
10-06-2009, 06:31 PM
Love it! I'm in the "Love the Look" camp.

veep
10-06-2009, 06:55 PM
awesome uke.

Rubbertoe
10-07-2009, 10:28 AM
great review!
when i got my sceptre, i was tempted to do a review as well. but then i realized that i was so biased towards the uke, the company, papa koaloha, etc that it wouldn't be very fair.
congrats on an awesome uke!

Ronnie Aloha
10-07-2009, 10:34 AM
great review!
when i got my sceptre, i was tempted to do a review as well. but then i realized that i was so biased towards the uke, the company, papa koaloha, etc that it wouldn't be very fair.
congrats on an awesome uke!

Aren't we all?:rolleyes:

Uncle Rod Higuchi
10-08-2009, 10:46 AM
[QUOTE=haolejohn;222674]numerical rating in each category (10 is the best, 1 is bad).

Why did you choose this one? It was my second dream ukulele. I read the story behind the Sceptre and fell in love with it.
QUOTE]

Where can one read this "story of the Sceptre"? :confused:

I'd be very interested in reading it.

Thanks,

haolejohn
10-08-2009, 11:34 AM
[QUOTE=haolejohn;222674]numerical rating in each category (10 is the best, 1 is bad).

Why did you choose this one? It was my second dream ukulele. I read the story behind the Sceptre and fell in love with it.
QUOTE]

Where can one read this "story of the Sceptre"? :confused:

I'd be very interested in reading it.

Thanks,

If I'm not mistaken i read it here http://gx9901ukes.blogspot.com/ which is GX9901 blog about ukes. I then called KoAloha and got the story from Brian and then in July when i visited the factory papa KoAloha told me the story again. I'm not going to tell it to you. I'll let you discover it:)

Uncle Rod Higuchi
10-08-2009, 12:10 PM
Thank you so much. I really appreciate the article.

Wonderful information.

Mahalo,

Now, how do I get my hands on one of those Sceptres or Pineapple Sundays?
Or any KoAloha for that matter?

haolejohn
10-13-2009, 04:55 PM
Come on now haolejohn:agree: you know the drill!!!
Show us the goods:drool:

Here they are. More pics in the 1st post as well.

molokinirum
10-15-2009, 05:21 AM
Here they are. More pics in the 1st post as well.

Haolejohn...that is one beautiful uke :drool:
Good luck and have fun playing her!!!
Mahalo for the pics!!!:)

haolejohn
10-15-2009, 05:29 AM
Haolejohn...that is one beautiful uke :drool:
Good luck and have fun playing her!!!
Mahalo for the pics!!!:)

Shootz. Maui is da best:)

pithaya9
10-15-2009, 08:01 AM
Love that crown bridge, wish my concert had that. Oh well I just count my lucky stars that I have a Sceptre. Congrats on getting one of the ukes that was on your list.

Dan Uke
08-12-2011, 12:01 PM
I know this is old thread but has anyone felt the head is way too heavy?

strumsilly
08-12-2011, 01:28 PM
i'M NOT GOOD ENOUGH to even contemplate owning a Septre, but with those butter smooth Grovers my tenor feels a little head heavy. contemplated putting frictions on it, but then I'd have some ugly[small] holes. and the grovers are nice tuners.

guitharsis
08-13-2011, 12:35 AM
Nice review of a beautiful instrument. Enjoy!

Markr1
08-13-2011, 02:20 PM
Anybody have a clue what a used price and a new price on these are? Very much interested in one.

haolejohn
08-13-2011, 02:41 PM
Anybody have a clue what a used price and a new price on these are? Very much interested in one.

New they are around $1200 but they no longer come with crown bridge. Koaloha has the price on their website. Used??? It depends.

Dan Uke
08-13-2011, 03:17 PM
Since they don't make that many, it'll fetch more than other ukes. Also, due to customs, people outside U.S. can drive up the prices.

Markr1
08-13-2011, 03:18 PM
Thanks John, I just made an offer on one and was hoping it wasn't overpriced and he said he would except it an I'm still waiting to hear back from him from him so I can paypal him. I guess I need to make sure it comes with a crown bridge. Thanks for your help. Mark

Markr1
08-13-2011, 03:31 PM
New they are around $1200 but they no longer come with crown bridge. Koaloha has the price on their website. Used??? It depends.
The one I'm looking at has a different bridge on it then this on this site. It has spikes on the side but none on the bottom end like this one. Could you tell me if this could be a deal breaker for me and are the ones that don't have the crown bridge frowned upon? If you need to know the price I offered I can tell you to see if it's a good buy on my part. Thanks for your help John.

Markr1
08-13-2011, 04:09 PM
Hey John, I also noticed to that another one I saw on here has a plain ebony bridge with no spikes and this one has the spikes on the bottom of the bridge and the one I placed an offer on does hve spikes on the sides of the bridge and not on the bottom like yours but is definitely not like the one with the plain bridge. Could you let me know soon as I'm goig to have to make a decision soon. Thanks. Mark.

Dan Uke
08-13-2011, 04:20 PM
Hey John, I also noticed to that another one I saw on here has a plain ebony bridge with no spikes and this one has the spikes on the bottom of the bridge and the one I placed an offer on does hve spikes on the sides of the bridge and not on the bottom like yours but is definitely not like the one with the plain bridge. Could you let me know soon as I'm goig to have to make a decision soon. Thanks. Mark.

You are looking at a newer one as the older ones including tenors, etc. had a crown bridge. they stopped making it like that as it was more time consuming.

Markr1
08-13-2011, 04:48 PM
Thanks. So I'm guessing the crown bridge was first and then the bridge with the spikes like the one I'm looking at and then the plain ebony ones. I don't know if that's the right order or not. Are the bridges with the spikes on the sides desirable at all?I know not like the crown but maybe more so then the kinda plain ebony bridge? I'm sorry that I'm asking so many questions and also appear to have hijacked this post. I just thought it would be okay to ask them here since it was about sceptre and I figured all you guys on here new all about these things and I don't know crap. Thanks for all you help.

Dan Uke
08-13-2011, 05:00 PM
It's in the eye of the beholder as it's purely asthetics but the crown bridge are pretty desireable because it's difft than anything else and it's no longer made so the number of them circulating is less as people keep their ukes. I have never seen plain ebony bridges as even the new ones on the site has the little crowns on the side. I believe the bowtie bridge is for the normal tenors and I think they are made of rosewood but I could be wrong. Good luck as I have the tenor and the sceptre and they both serve it's purpose and produce a difft sound

Markr1
08-13-2011, 05:09 PM
Thanks for your help nongdam. You answered my question.

3nails4holes
08-13-2011, 05:15 PM
just fyi...

koaloha does sell factory specials (seconds) direct from them. here's a list of what brian was offering months ago and i would imagine you might be blessed enough to snag a sceptre if you are patient:

Soprano $380
Soprano pineapple $380
Pikake Soprano $365
Pikake Concery $515
Concert $545
Super Concert $650
D-VI tenor $825
Pineapple Sunday $1,200
Sceptre Tenor $825
Sceptre concert $600

he said they could negotiate on a case and s&h w/ ins is extra. factory seconds from them might have obvious flaws, but you might again be blessed to find something that only a koaloha luthier would see and be bugged enough to offer it as a 2nd.

happy hunting!

3nails4holes
08-13-2011, 05:16 PM
http://www.koaloha.com/category/factory_specials/

that's the link for the page they've never updated. but if you drop them an email and ask for pics & info, i'm sure they'd be willing to oblige.

Dan Uke
08-13-2011, 05:19 PM
Where's the regular tenor factory second price. Ssshhh!! You are going to make it difficult for me to get a factory second now!! lol

Markr1
08-13-2011, 05:50 PM
I wouldn't mind a pineapple 2nd new for $1200 as long as it's just a minor flaw. This one I'm offered is $820 and fre shipping in mint condition with soft padded case. I just got an email back from him I should know In a little if I get it or not. Wish me luck.

Dan Uke
08-13-2011, 06:00 PM
Seems like it's about the right price as you will spend a little money on a new case. I've commented in the past about cases in your other replys so don't need to address again. If I had to choose one, I would keep my Sceptre over my Koaloha Tenor as there are many tenors out there but only one SCEPTRE!!

As much as there are factory seconds, it's not like they have a bunch out there and many are accounted for in advance. I've purchased two in the past and one had some excess glue on the bridge (wouldn't have noticed if not pointed out and my Kamaka Concert Retail had more glue showing overall) and another had a small ding on the back, which is noticeable but who looks at the back? Even if you hang your uke for display, you always showing the front. There's something about being the first owner (even if it's a factory second) and putting the first strum marks. Either way, can't go wrong...it's a matter of how long you want to wait. Good luck