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View Full Version : Koalana ukuleles?



deach
05-21-2008, 12:46 AM
Anyone have any experiences with them?

UkeNinja
05-21-2008, 01:49 AM
Apparently they are a reasonable low-budget ukulele. A pity you don't get the crowned headstock, but the soundhole is cool and teardroppy. edit: you do get the cool headstock. Cool!

Not a direct experience, but I looked at one in a shop here in Japan, and although it looks cool and is quite easy on the wallet, I was amazed with the (lack of) craftmanship. No idea what the circumstances of this particular uke were, but the soundboard and sides were not even flush at the corners. You might want to take extra care to check for construction flaws. Although it may just have been a victim of lack of humidity, bad luck or poor shop management.

Not really helpful perhaps, but an account of my first and only sad encounter with a Koalana in Japan as of yet. Hopefully others have good stories :)

deach
05-21-2008, 01:55 AM
From the Koaloha website:

http://www.koaloha.com/Images/KoAlana/KoAlana_Soprano_Main.jpg

uber_goober
05-21-2008, 02:16 AM
From my understanding, they're great for the price (I'm a KoAloha player, so I'm biased). If you're interested in buying one, get it from MGM. He'll make sure everything is in order and that it's setup right (this is true for any ukulele from MGM).

-John

Plainsong
05-21-2008, 02:56 AM
I've never seen a Koalana at MGM's ebay store though. :confused:

GX9901
05-21-2008, 04:54 AM
I had a KoAlana concert once upon a time. I thought it sounded really nice and was nearly as easy to play as my Pineapple Sunday (probably the easiest player I have), but the workmanship on the fretboard left a lot to be desired. Some of the higher frets (I think they were like the 12th-15th) sticked out from the fretboard quite a bit, and one of the frets (I think it was the 13th fret) actually was lifted on the A-string side which cause the A-string to fret at that lifted fret even when I was trying to fret the next fret up. Frankly I was kind of surprised MGM would send something like that to me. Since it was a cheap uke, I just tried to fix the issues myself by trying to pound in and sand down the lifted fret and sand a couple of the frets that sticked out.

As a whole, the KoAlana has a vibe of a KoAloha knockoff (which it essentially is. Some call it an "authorized knockoff"). It has the details of the KoAloha concert, but not as "sharp". For instance, the headstock of KoAloha ukes have sharp definitions in all the edges such as pointy crowns. The KoAlana, on the other hand, have all the edges rounded. It almost feels as if the tooling die wore out so all the sharp edges got rounded. Obviously these aren't made with a tooling die, but that's the impression I get throughout the uke.

But, it is cheap (when it's available), and the sound is very good. If you get one with decent fret work, it's a keeper.

Kanaka916
05-21-2008, 04:58 AM
For an MSRP of $145, it looks pretty good judging from the pictures on the KoAloha site. As of this post, only a soprano is available and no other info about the other sizes. Too bad, they don't have sound samples. Maybe one of the members from the 808 can hele on down there, check it out and provide a quickie review. They're located on Kohou St in Kalihi/Palama area adjacent to Kapalama Canal.

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v486/hawhyen51/KoalohaUkulele.png

GX9901
05-21-2008, 05:16 AM
Here's a picture of the KoAlana concert with a couple of other concert scale ukes:

http://pic20.picturetrail.com/VOL66/846716/15024071/280379351.jpg

When I sold my KoAlana, I recorded this sound file (http://www.box.net/shared/yu9t0hf8s1) as a demo. Hmm...now that I listen to it again, I wonder if my playing in the sound file hurt the sale...:p

deach
05-21-2008, 06:13 AM
When I sold my KoAlana, I recorded this sound file (http://www.box.net/shared/yu9t0hf8s1) as a demo. Hmm...now that I listen to it again, I wonder if my playing in the sound file hurt the sale...:p

Don't know what you're talking about. It sounded good to me.

UKISOCIETY
05-21-2008, 06:48 AM
Don't know what you're talking about. It sounded good to me.

And to me. I want to see more videos coming from you! Starting..........


......now!

Keonikapila
05-21-2008, 11:49 AM
From what I understand the Koalana's are China imports. I wanted to get one of the concerts, but they've all sold and I'm not sure that KoAloha's still importing them. Too bad, I love my KoAloha, and just really wanted a KoAlana as a "beach uke"...

If I'm not mistaken, they were solid mahogany too...if you're looking for one I've seen them pop up on Craig's List periodically

Rod
05-21-2008, 12:08 PM
Deach,

I have one these! I have really enjoyed playing it, especially at the price point. But being my first ukulele, I'm sorry I really dont have any other soprano to compare it to. I also, picked it up from MGM on ebay.

Here's a quick vid of me playing it...
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eQXlAu6mIy0

deach
05-21-2008, 12:18 PM
If anyone wants one, there is one for sale on FleaMarketMusic (http://www.fleamarketmusic.com/marketplace/) I think it's new and going for $120 + shipping

deach
05-21-2008, 12:20 PM
.... For instance, the headstock of KoAloha ukes have sharp definitions in all the edges such as pointy crowns. The KoAlana, on the other hand, have all the edges rounded. ....

I love the headstock. I've always wondered what kind of mark it would make if I took a tenor headstock and smacked someone with it.

megamatt
05-21-2008, 01:36 PM
If you go to the site they still list them there, but they only make a soprano in that line. I probably would have taken a chance on one if they had a concert or a tenor, but I already have a cheapie soprano and don't need another one. I do, however, love the cool sound hole and headstock.

GX9901
05-21-2008, 01:38 PM
I love the headstock. I've always wondered what kind of mark it would make if I took a tenor headstock and smacked someone with it.

Then what you really need is a Sceptre! Double ended pointy headstocks!:D

deach
05-21-2008, 01:42 PM
Then what you really need is a Sceptre! Double ended pointy headstocks!:D

I like how you think!!!:bowdown:

Howlin Hobbit
05-21-2008, 06:08 PM
...they only make a soprano in that line. I probably would have taken a chance on one if they had a concert or a tenor, but I already have a cheapie soprano and don't need another one.

The KoAlana is at a nice price point, but it's definitely not a "cheapie."

It's more like the Fender "Squier" guitars. Simply the budget line from a great company. I'm pretty sure KoAloha wouldn't want to be associated with something "cheap."

MGM
05-21-2008, 07:20 PM
Koalanas haven't been brought in by Koaloha in almost a year or so. They were happy with the sound and from what I understand the quality of build was not consistant enough to please Koaloha. The few remaining are from way back and it is unsure if they will be revived again. They were great for what you paid if setup right.

MGM
05-29-2008, 04:11 PM
Deach guess what just arrived to my work...KOALANA sopranos and Concerts

deach
05-29-2008, 04:13 PM
oh man!!!

Is it a coincidence this is my 666th post?

If I order one, or two, or three, the devil made me do it.

GX9901
05-29-2008, 04:43 PM
Ooooh, do I smell deaching of KoAlana ukes???:D

Keonikapila
05-29-2008, 04:44 PM
Oh crap! MGM got KoAlana concerts in?!? Why, why, WHY did I have to view this thread...I just spent almost a grand on a new guitar and a pickup for my KoAloha and now I gotta try and resist this???

la_ingrit
05-29-2008, 05:03 PM
Oh crap! MGM got KoAlana concerts in?!? Why, why, WHY did I have to view this thread...I just spent almost a grand on a new guitar and a pickup for my KoAloha and now I gotta try and resist this???

BE STRONG KEONIKAPILA!!! BE STRONG!!!
LOL!!!

la_ingrit
05-29-2008, 05:04 PM
oh man!!!

Is it a coincidence this is my 666th post?

If I order one, or two, or three, the devil made me do it.

LOL!!!:biglaugh:
Yeah Deach...let's blame the Evil Devil! :p
I f ur wife gets mad tell her that the devil make u buy a new uke!!! :D

Keonikapila
05-29-2008, 05:11 PM
BE STRONG KEONIKAPILA!!! BE STRONG!!!
LOL!!!

...I'm going to have to set my computer up to block ebay! haha

deach
05-29-2008, 05:22 PM
Ooooh, do I smell deaching of KoAlana ukes???:D

LOL!!! Yeah because it's been so long since the last time I GX9901'ed a ukulele. Almost 48 hours now. LOL



LOL!!!:biglaugh:
Yeah Deach...let's blame the Evil Devil! :p
I f ur wife gets mad tell her that the devil make u buy a new uke!!! :D

IF ? You mean WHEN....



...I'm going to have to set my computer up to block ebay! haha

Join the club!

You know those tube systems they use at bank drive thru's? I should install a ukulele-sized one from my house to MGM's store.

Keonikapila
05-29-2008, 05:24 PM
You know those tube systems they use at bank drive thru's? I should install a ukulele-sized one from my house to MGM's store.

rolmao!:biglaugh:

deach
05-29-2008, 05:32 PM
Someone please tell me why I am sitting on ebay, refreshing the new listings in MGM's store....:confused:

thejumpingflea
05-29-2008, 06:10 PM
Someone please tell me why I am sitting on ebay, refreshing the new listings in MGM's store....:confused:

UAS. :rock:

Keonikapila
05-29-2008, 06:11 PM
Someone please tell me why I am sitting on ebay, refreshing the new listings in MGM's store....:confused:

...for the same reason that I've checked ebay 3 times since reading this post this afternoon...even though I'm not gonna buy one...I'm just looking...

deach
05-29-2008, 07:03 PM
So, MGM, how would you rate them? Compared to what you have in stock, which ukuleles are comparable? Which are better and worse in the price range?

deach
05-30-2008, 01:32 AM
Sound sample from MGM

Concert KoAlana (http://s30.photobucket.com/albums/c345/musicguymic/?action=view&current=MVI_0279.flv)

Howlin Hobbit
05-30-2008, 04:50 PM
Someone please tell me why I am sitting on ebay, refreshing the new listings in MGM's store....:confused:


UAS. :rock:

thejumpingflea... FTW!

mr_dust
06-04-2008, 09:41 AM
Just bought a Koalana concert from MGM :D Hopefully will I have by the end of next week, gonna upload some sweet photos and maybe a video or something..!

paulthebaker
06-09-2008, 10:58 AM
I am considering the Koalana Concert as a first uke. In its price range I have looked at various Kala's, Applause/Ovation, and a few others. It seems that the Koalana is the only one at its pricepoint that is solid wood. At this level, and for a beginner, does that really matter that much? Or is this a good starting point to get eventually sucked down into the uke vortex?

Thanks!

deach
06-09-2008, 11:04 AM
... Or is this a good starting point to get eventually sucked down into the uke vortex?

Thanks!

LMAO..Are you sure this is your first post? You sound like you've been here forever.

I think any ukulele that stays in tune is good for a beginner. This would be a great starter uke.

koa
06-10-2008, 05:48 PM
My travel, go anywhere, anyone can touch it uke is a 1st gen KoAlana soprano.

The Bad: Stock strings and tuners were junk. Back then I it almost looked like they finished the uke by dipping it in poly. Replaced the tuners with a set of Grover 4Ws and Worth Brn strings. Knocked down the finish with successively finer grades of artificial steel wool pads. Soundboard has a bit of an obvious deflection.

The Good: Nice sounding, easy playing uke. The tone it creates lacks the depth of the KoAlohas. At $139 I wasn't expecting a KoAloha. lIntonation is good. In the case of this specific uke the fretwork and construction is real clean (except for the poly). Bought the KoAlana when they 1st became available. It so far has stood up to time, as checked luggage on 3 international flights, stupidity by me, months on the beach and the hands of little people.

mr_dust
06-10-2008, 08:30 PM
Got my Koalana Concert yesterday! I think its really great for its price, but as previous post said, the tuners could have been better. Probably gonna change those later on... But still I think that the Koalanas are great, especially för beginners (and even for intermediates as myself) !!

PS Thanks MGM for super fast shipping! 4 days from Hawaii to Sweden.. Amazing!

MGM
06-10-2008, 09:44 PM
yes the tuners could be better and i am awaiting a batch of those new laser etched friction pegs from koaloha so I can offer the upgrade. Sadly the koaloanas are almost out of stock It was only a very small shipment that came in and once its gone its the waiting game again...

By the way heres Koalohas new logo friction pegs...

http://i30.photobucket.com/albums/c345/musicguymic/IMG_0831.jpg

no_surf_today
07-03-2008, 06:53 PM
yes the tuners could be better and i am awaiting a batch of those new laser etched friction pegs from koaloha so I can offer the upgrade. Sadly the koaloanas are almost out of stock It was only a very small shipment that came in and once its gone its the waiting game again...

By the way heres Koalohas new logo friction pegs...

http://i30.photobucket.com/albums/c345/musicguymic/IMG_0831.jpg

Mike has these available now if anyone is interested. I'll be retrofitting my 'lana when they arrive. :nana:

tozan
08-07-2008, 05:20 PM
Just ordered mine and bought the laser etched tuners with it.

tozan
08-24-2008, 10:50 AM
Unfortunately had to return it. Workmanship issues. Bummer.

myloshylow
08-24-2008, 12:35 PM
what was wrong with it exactly? just wondering because i'm interested in buying one when i can find it for sale!

heknits
01-17-2009, 08:30 AM
I bought a Koalana concert from MGM when I first started playing a couple of years ago. I returned it because of the workmanship. There were small pits from air bubbles in the finish. The ends and edges of the fretboard were chipped up from tear-out when they were cut. The tuners were sunk into the wood of the head, compressing the wood and cracking the finish (which to my mind was a bit thick). If I was buying it for a knock-around, it probably would have been fine, but it was my first so I was being pretty picky.

I'd love to get another if the workmanship improves.

upskydowncloud
01-17-2009, 09:55 AM
Anyone have any experiences with them?

Yes, it was unpleasant and legally I'm not allowed to talk about it.

Paul December
01-21-2010, 04:47 AM
Any updates to this thread?
I see they are available again...
...has quality control improved?

paraclete
01-21-2010, 04:49 AM
Heee! I was just going to post the same thing... just saw those a couple minutes ago.

deach
01-21-2010, 04:53 AM
This thread is pretty old. There have been a few new threads started on the new and better Koalanas.

MartinLil
01-21-2010, 05:21 AM
just FYI: MGM has some for sale in his store if anyone if looking for one or a few. :)

Lil

Paul December
01-21-2010, 05:27 AM
just FYI: MGM has some for sale in his store if anyone if looking for one or a few. :)

Lil

That's why I was asking :)
...I can only find one other old thread on them, and it too isn't that positive :(

Melissa82
01-21-2010, 05:31 AM
That's why I was asking :)
...I can only find one other old thread on them, and it too isn't that positive :(
http://www.ukuleleunderground.com/forum/showthread.php?t=20523
http://www.ukuleleunderground.com/forum/showthread.php?19954-Breaking-news!-Solid-Koa-KoaAlanas-have-arrived

deach
01-21-2010, 05:31 AM
The new Koalanas are a lot better than the search feature on this forum.

Melissa82
01-21-2010, 05:31 AM
The new Koalanas are a lot better than the search feature on this forum.You just have to know the magic trick. ;)

dnewton2
01-21-2010, 05:32 AM
So from what I remember Koaloha stopped the Koalana line for a while becasue of quality issues. Koalaha found a new factory or had the quality issues resolved and were able to get the Koalana line to the level of quality Kaoloha expected to be putting out with this line. So the Koalana ukuleles that MGM is currently selling are from the new improved quality line that has been put out semi recently.

Someone correct me if I am wrong.

Paul December
01-21-2010, 05:56 AM
The ones MGM has listed now look to be Satin finish ... so possibly they addressed the dipped-in-gloss problems.
OTOH - the tuners appear to be the same black ones (not upgraded amber) that the old threads complained about.
I'm really tempted... but not sure I'm $200 tempted.
...Possibly I should just go with a Mele or wait for the Ohana Zebrawoods to come back in stock.

Paul December
01-21-2010, 05:58 AM
Correction: the listing says the tuners will be upgraded to the better amber ones

SweetWaterBlue
01-23-2010, 02:21 PM
The new ones MGM has are also solid KOA, instead of mahogany, as the old ones were. I posted an earlier thread on those, but all the discussion seems to have migrated here, which may make more sense anyway. Maybe MGM will do a sound sample on one. They are giving me a serious case of UAS for solid koa at that price point. I love the look of them, but the old quality controls on them gives one pause.