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View Full Version : comparisons -Kamaka vs. Ko'Aloha ukes



mile38
11-19-2009, 09:24 AM
How do Kamaka and Ko'Aloha concert and tenor ukes stack up against each other? About the same, one better than the other? And how about Maui Music ukes - they cost so much more - are they worth it?

Kanaka916
11-19-2009, 10:11 AM
Try this thread (http://ukuleleunderground.com/forum/showthread.php?t=19500) . . . Kamaka vs Kanile'a (http://ukuleleunderground.com/forum/showthread.php?t=17931) . . . Kamaka vs KoAloha (http://ukuleleunderground.com/forum/showthread.php?t=10892) :2cents: I really think it comes down to personal preference. You gotta play each one and to find which one best suits your playing. Also take into consideration playability, comfortability and sound.

wickedwahine11
11-19-2009, 12:38 PM
I think you can't go wrong with either one. I don't have a KoAloha, but I have a friend who does, and her tenor sounds amazing. It is very loud and has a great tone to it. I have a Kamaka tenor that is my prized possession, it isn't as loud or powerful sounding as her KoAloha, but it has a sweeter tone to it.

In terms of style, the KoAlohas are very mod. The Sceptre, the Sunday, the Jukulele, all have nontraditional looks to them - even the headstock and bridges of most "regular" KoAlohas are cutting edge (the crown bridge, etc.). They seem to be on the forefront of a lot of technology and design. One note: from what I have seen, the KoAlohas are very favored by people who are deeply religious, and I believe I have read that the Okamis used religious symbolism in designing some of the parts. If you are religious, that may lean you toward them, if you are not, it may sway you in the opposite direction.

i think that Kamakas are the absolute opposite of KoAlohas (again, this is just my two cents). They are not flashy at all, very traditional looking, with often just a satin finish on the koa. Although mine is curly, and I have seen a few curly ones, most of them tend to have pretty straight grain koa wood. The thing with Kamaka is that they have not deviated a lot from the traditional style, which fits a company that has been making their ukes since 1916. They are the "granddaddy" of Hawaiian ukuleles, and a lot of their cache is based on the reputation behind their name and legend.

A good compromise might be a Kanile'a. (I don't mean to hijack you in another direction and feel free to disregard this thought). My friend with the KoAloha and I both have Kanile'a tenors. She plays her Kanile'a 99.9% of the time, almost never playing the KoAloha. In the interests of full disclosure, I play my Kamaka 99.9% of the time. Kanile'a has a great TRU bracing system that allows it to be pretty much the same volume as the KoAloha, and their ukuleles can have a sweet tone similar to a Kamaka. They also walk the middle line in terms of style, with both traditional and modern touches. And their UV finish is terrific.

That being said, all of this gets thrown out the window when you consider that while these are great companies that make great products, still, each ukulele is individual unto itself. Which means, if you can play them in person you can better judge the sound and style you like the best. Failing that, I would try to find as many sound samples (through YouTube or elsewhere) of the KoAloha and Kamaka to better determine which is the best for you.

Sorry, I'm not familiar with Maui Music ukes. And again, this was all just my two cents...

Mouthy1
11-19-2009, 12:53 PM
Great info. and thanks for that from a person not asking the question. I have 9 great ukes and I play 2 the most and they are not the most expensive ones because my Bushman and Koloa were cheap and great so I don't mind messing them up. Off subject but I was glad to read the above review. Thank you.

pithaya9
11-19-2009, 05:11 PM
As wickedwahine11 said "you can't go wrong with either one", although I have KoAloha UAS.

Kanaka916
11-19-2009, 05:18 PM
Maui Music 'Ukuleles are hand made on the island of Maui by Peter Lieberman. From my understanding (I may be wrong here), each is a one of kind instrument hence the price. I've never played one, so I can't tell you what it sounds like or it's characteristics. I know there are a couple owners on the boards and maybe they'll chime in.

See this update about Maui Music and Peter Lieberman (http://ukuleleunderground.com/forum/showthread.php?t=21922). You can find a sound sample of a Maui Music uke here (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h0mblISR4So).

Dibblet
11-19-2009, 11:44 PM
I have a Kamaka and a KoAloha tenor. They are both great instruments but very different. You really need to try them both and see which you prefer.

Dibblet
11-19-2009, 11:45 PM
In fact you should try several of each.

mile38
11-20-2009, 12:53 AM
Dibblet,

Just how are the Kamaka and the KoAloha different in your experience? Thanks.

molokinirum
11-20-2009, 04:47 PM
I just got my Kamaka while in Hawaii. I had intended on buying a KoAloha but none were to be had, they are VERY popular right now! Anyway, a deal for the Kamaka fell into my lap and I could not pass it up! I did get a chance to play a Pineapple Sunday :drool: and it was loud and beautiful, but a bit out of my price range. As others have said, you need to play several before you decide. You might want a KoAloha but like a Kamaka better or the other way around. However, you will have a blast playing some very fine instruments, I know I did!!

mile38
11-21-2009, 01:26 AM
Thanks to all those who answered my original post concerning the comparison of Kamaka and Ko'Aloha ukuleles.

One final question - I live pretty much in the middle of nowhere so I cannot try lots of different ukes at different stores in person.

I am looking for a ukulele that produces a SHARP, CRISP sound. How do the Kamakas and/or Ko'Alohas stand on that account? Thanks.

haolejohn
11-23-2009, 01:01 PM
Thanks to all those who answered my original post concerning the comparison of Kamaka and Ko'Aloha ukuleles.

One final question - I live pretty much in the middle of nowhere so I cannot try lots of different ukes at different stores in person.

I am looking for a ukulele that produces a SHARP, CRISP sound. How do the Kamakas and/or Ko'Alohas stand on that account? Thanks.

Sharp and crisp to you might be mellow and dull to me. I own 3 koalohas and I think there isn't a better ukulele out there. Kamakas are nice but the icing on the cake for me was the customer service that koaloha has. Before I ever got my first koaloha I spent an hour on the phone talking to Brian who is one of the managers. Maui music ukes are nice but a little too pricey for me even though I want a pineapple sunday. All my koalohas (concert, long neck soprano, and sceptre) are loud and I think they have a sweet sound that is bright and piercing. Crisp? Maybe but I don't know. You can't go wrong with either.

guitharsis
11-24-2009, 12:16 AM
Sweet, resonant, responsive is how I would describe my new KoAloha concert uke. Tried out many ukes at two different stores and this one ordered from MGM on November 12 and received last week, is just wonderful!