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View Full Version : Kanilea (K-1/2) and perfect intonation?



ukepick
11-22-2009, 06:11 PM
Hi everyone,

I bought my first solid wood ukulele last month, a Pono Ohai Tenor, closely following an inexpensive Mahalo soprano. I love the melody/harmony mix of fingerpicking and am learning my first tunes from Mark Nelson's book on fingerstyle playing.

I am now thinking of buying a concert ukulele, and would like to step up to something better in terms of playability and intonation. I am lucky to live close to a music store that has ukes in stock from Koolau, Honu, and Kanilea. :drool:

I have a few questions for you, the experts: Is there a difference in quality of the instrument (wood / sound / intonation) between Kanilea's K-1 and K-2 in people's experience here? Or is the difference exclusively ornamental?

Secondly, I am wondering the limits on the intonation of the instrument. Is it reasonable to expect +/- 1 cent accuracy as I move up the fretboard? If not, what is the best accuracy I can expect from a stock instrument that costs around $1k or less?

Thank you so much.

Lanark
11-22-2009, 06:27 PM
I do believe the difference between the K1 & K2 is in the binding and rosette as far as I know. Just moderately fancier for the extra dough. It's worth it for some folks.

Since you've got a store with these things in stock, I'd suggest looking them over yourself and see what the intonation is like. (I suspect that it's going to be pretty good.) I'm sure you'll be pleasantly surprised.

bbycrts
11-22-2009, 06:47 PM
I can't speak to the intonation, but the K2 is just a little more tarted up than the basic K1. I have two K1s and love them dearly - they are very plain, but oh so gorgeous with their lovely koa and deep gloss...

haolejohn
11-22-2009, 06:52 PM
I have read that the only difference is the bling factor. Kanilea has a great reputation for sound and intonation. There shouldn't be much difference there and it should be spot on all the way down the neck IMO.

thejumpingflea
11-22-2009, 07:10 PM
The only difference between the K1 and K2 is bling bling to my knowledge.


I don't think you'll ever find a uke that will consistently have a +/- 1 cent difference in this world.

Too many factors alter this. Your action, your strings, the grip you have playing. Also, more importantly, humidity. The humidity can alter the strings and set up of a uke and every little thing can change that intonation a bit. (I am not talking 4-5 cents here, but I am talking 1 to *maybe* 2)

My advice for the intonation is that as long as it is within 2-5 cents to accept it. A good friend and mentor of mine once told me, "Let your style and musical prowess make up for any deficiency that ALL ukuleles have." It is something that really stuck with me and has helped me become a better player. It allows me to spend less time "worrying" about my uke and more time "enjoying" it. ;)

experimentjon
11-22-2009, 09:20 PM
The only difference between the K1 and K2 is bling bling to my knowledge.


I don't think you'll ever find a uke that will consistently have a +/- 1 cent difference in this world.

Too many factors alter this. Your action, your strings, the grip you have playing. Also, more importantly, humidity. The humidity can alter the strings and set up of a uke and every little thing can change that intonation a bit. (I am not talking 4-5 cents here, but I am talking 1 to *maybe* 2)

My advice for the intonation is that as long as it is within 2-5 cents to accept it. A good friend and mentor of mine once told me, "Let your style and musical prowess make up for any deficiency that ALL ukuleles have." It is something that really stuck with me and has helped me become a better player. It allows me to spend less time "worrying" about my uke and more time "enjoying" it. ;)

Agreed. Temperature and humidity can change the intonation, and old strings will hamper "perfect intonation" as well. For me, especially if I'm using friction pegs, as long as my ears can't really tell the difference, and the tuner indicates that its in the general acceptable range, I let it go.

Kanilea has good intonation. I love my K1-T. And I would choose the Kanilea over the Honu or Koolau.

wearymicrobe
11-23-2009, 04:54 AM
\

Secondly, I am wondering the limits on the intonation of the instrument. Is it reasonable to expect +/- 1 cent accuracy as I move up the fretboard? If not, what is the best accuracy I can expect from a stock instrument that costs around $1k or less?

Thank you so much.


+/- 1 is going to be difficult on any instrument period. My freshly tuned piano is not that good.

I have comensated saddles made for my ukes by a local luthier and I am out about +1 on my Kanile'a S. Tenor. At 15 and above it goes a little wonky say +2/3 but I think thats the frets and not the saddle. Its not cheap, ~200$ a instrument but it does work. I can change my finger pressure to keep it in line but I have to be pretty aware of it.

With a custom compensated bridge you will be locked into the strings that you have it compensated with, plus your tuning.

I have gone as far as having a low G/ high G set of sadddles built for one specific uke but it was a serious pain/cost.

ukepick
11-23-2009, 06:17 PM
Thank you all for sharing your thoughts. I understand it doesn't get much better than 2-3 cent deviation in all the frets.

wearymicrobe: Wow! I deeply respect your effort on getting close to perfect intonation. Did you learn to play the piano before the ukulele? I read somewhere that piano trained ears can be more sensitive to the natural imperfection (relative, I guess) of the stringed instruments.

thejumpingflea: Thank you for sharing your mentor's suggestion. I understand that the best thing one can do is to try and adapt to your instrument to make up for the natural deviation through your playing style. And of course, worry less / enjoy more. ;)

Only after reading your posts it occurred to me to test the intonation of my current uke using a tuner. I only realized that the music shop I bought it set it up really nicely and that I had been pressing way too hard on the fretboard. Realizing this made a sudden improvement on my playing (my first uke-aha-moment), and even inspired me to post my first video playing the ukulele.
http://www.ukuleleunderground.com/forum/showthread.php?p=262184#post262184

Thank you so much. Now that I realized my current uke has a nice ease of playability, I will wait a little before stepping up to a Kanilea. (And if I take the plunge, I guess I will go with a K-1; don't need the bling factor.)

By the way, if you can bear to listen to my playing, let me know what you think of the intonation of my uke.

Cheers.

wearymicrobe
11-23-2009, 06:35 PM
wearymicrobe: Wow! I deeply respect your effort on getting close to perfect intonation. Did you learn to play the piano before the ukulele? I read somewhere that piano trained ears can be more sensitive to the natural imperfection (relative, I guess) of the stringed instruments.


Cheers.

Violin and Cello, then guitar and uke, finally piano.

I went a little nuts getting my K5 perfect a while back. I paid huge amount for the uke and I wanted it perfect on finger picking the way I like a uke setup.

To get it perfect I had the action lowered significantly, the frets leveled, break angle of the strings adjusted, custom pins, new nut and compensated saddle. It was well not cheap but worth it in my mind.

keithy351
11-24-2009, 01:58 AM
ive got a kanilea k-1 tenor satin finish and alls i can say is they are worth every penny, perfect from the 1st to the last fret. I opted for the k-1 satin finish because i love the simple, true hand built look to ukes. the k-2 are what the others said, just a bling factor, which dosnt apeal to me but yes it does to others. Alls i can say is spend the money and buy one, i was umming and arring at first thinking well is it worth it bla bla bla, but now alls i can say is yes, it is 100% worth it, buy one and never look back, ive had mine for about month and a bit and cant get over how much its opening up. I mean the project it can produce is crystal clear sometimes leaves me lost for words. Why do you think aldrine got a kanilea. Superior haha better then kamaka... ( lol yeh so take that you kamaka owners) :smileybounce:

wickedwahine11
11-24-2009, 06:12 AM
Superior haha better then kamaka... ( lol yeh so take that you kamaka owners) :smileybounce:

Hmm, different strokes for different folks. I have both a Kanile'a and Kamaka and I much prefer the Kamaka. So there! :p

jer989
11-24-2009, 06:20 AM
... A good friend and mentor of mine once told me, "Let your style and musical prowess make up for any deficiency that ALL ukuleles have." It is something that really stuck with me and has helped me become a better player. It allows me to spend less time "worrying" about my uke and more time "enjoying" it. ;)

:agree: That's a really good point - like they say, it's not what you got, but what you do with what you got.....

UkuCouS
11-24-2009, 09:10 AM
Superior haha better then kamaka... ( lol yeh so take that you kamaka owners) :smileybounce:

Ahahahah I loved that one !

CouS

clayton56
11-24-2009, 10:32 PM
I was having intonation issues with my new K-1, so much so that I went and measured the 12 fret distance to make sure it was half. It was... but the first string just sounded off a lot, and the harmonic didn't match the 12th fret. My clip-on tuner said everything was perfect, even way up the neck.

I thought the strings might be a little heavy (Koo'lau Golds). I'd also had Fremont crystal and Black Diamond nylon on that uke, and the intonation wasn't great with any.

So I changed to Martin flourocarbon, and the intonation is perfect.

But I think the pure tone of that instrument is a factor, you can hear problems right away. In contrast, my Koaloha sounds good even when it's more than a little out of tune.

Bluke
11-25-2009, 07:16 AM
Yes, it's ornamental.

I've never seen a uke that has perfect intonation. Very close, maybe, with some better quality small builder instruments.

Rick Turner
11-25-2009, 08:09 AM
Intonation is the very last thing that can be set on a uke...or guitar. First comes the choice of strings, then the action must be right at the nut, then the relief in the fingerboard (or lack thereof) needs to be correct for your playing style, and then action should be set to your taste. Only then can intonation be dialed into the ballpark, and then you're dealing with tempered tuning...with which intonation will always be a bit off. Ultimately you're looking at acceptable compromises and your ability to intonate notes with your fretting fingers, just like most classical guitarists do.