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View Full Version : The lesser spotted Kamaka, and the easy to come by KoAloha



pulelehua
04-12-2010, 10:39 AM
Am I missing something? There seems to be a debate of KoAloha versus Kamaka, with people coming down on either side. But, as someone who lives in the UK, it seems to me that KoAlohas are MUCH easier to come by (Kamaka's only international dealers are in Asia), and cost about $200 less. I had always assumed they were about the same.

I go to California regularly to visit my parents, but even still, it seems much easier to grab a KoAloha through MGM or through one of the French stores than it is to get a Kamaka.

That seems like bad business. Certainly from a Eurocentric point of view.

Honestly, you'd think with the ukulele boom in the UK that SOMEONE would stock some of the high end instruments.

haolejohn
04-12-2010, 10:44 AM
Am I missing something? There seems to be a debate of KoAloha versus Kamaka, with people coming down on either side. But, as someone who lives in the UK, it seems to me that KoAlohas are MUCH easier to come by (Kamaka's only international dealers are in Asia), and cost about $200 less. I had always assumed they were about the same.

I go to California regularly to visit my parents, but even still, it seems much easier to grab a KoAloha through MGM or through one of the French stores than it is to get a Kamaka.

That seems like bad business. Certainly from a Eurocentric point of view.

Honestly, you'd think with the ukulele boom in the UK that SOMEONE would stock some of the high end instruments.

This could be the reason that KoAloha is slowly taking over Kamaka in popularity. Heck I live in Georgia and there isn't a KoAloha or Kamaka or kanilea dealer yet (Hurry up UkeRepublic:)).

I also wonder if they have some kind of restrictions on online dealers or something. There has to be a reason why MGM doesn't sell them (or does he?)

ceviche
04-12-2010, 12:49 PM
Hmm... The closest musical instrument shop to where I live, that carries quality ukes, doesn't have any KoAlohas. All I saw were Kalas, Kamaka, Ko'olaus, Kiwayas, Ponos, Magic Flukes, and some others--but no KoAlohas. Here's Dusty String's uke webpage: http://www.dustystrings.com/acousticmusicshop/instruments/ukuleles/tabid/157/Default.aspx I'm just glad I bought my KoAloha ten years ago. Otherwise I would be scratching my head, wondering what the hype was all about.

Nonetheless, I doubt there is a restriction on online dealers, as Maui's Bounty Music carries both Kamakas and KoAlohas. Go see for yourself: http://www.ukes.com/

--Dave E.

thejumpingflea
04-12-2010, 12:56 PM
Kamaka has such a high demand that even if you wanted to sell them, you'd have to get on a waiting list. They are producing a maximum number of ukes without skimping on quality so from a business standpoint they are right where they need to be.

haolejohn
04-12-2010, 01:02 PM
Hmm... The closest musical instrument shop to where I live, that carries quality ukes, doesn't have any KoAlohas. All I saw were Kalas, Kamaka, Ko'olaus, Kiwayas, Ponos, Magic Flukes, and some others--but no KoAlohas. Here's Dusty String's uke webpage: http://www.dustystrings.com/acousticmusicshop/instruments/ukuleles/tabid/157/Default.aspx I'm just glad I bought my KoAloha ten years ago. Otherwise I would be scratching my head, wondering what the hype was all about.

Nonetheless, I doubt there is a restriction on online dealers, as Maui's Bounty Music carries both Kamakas and KoAlohas. Go see for yourself: http://www.ukes.com/

--Dave E.

Remember though that Bounty was first a Store Front before they were an internet dealer. Some are both and I know MGM is both now but a year ago he was just an internet dealer I believe.

iDavid
04-12-2010, 01:27 PM
How does KANILEA measure up to the other two?

haolejohn
04-12-2010, 01:28 PM
How does KANILEA measure up to the other two?

I never liked Kanilea. Maybe I played some duds or maybe I was Koaloha struck.

iDavid
04-12-2010, 03:08 PM
do you have a KoAloha tenor?

bbycrts
04-12-2010, 03:47 PM
I never liked Kanilea. Maybe I played some duds or maybe I was Koaloha struck.

Phoo on you. Kanile'as rock. I love my Kanile'as . Love them! *

* Just kidding, John - no phoo, maybe...but I still prefer Kanile'a over KoAloha - though both are mighty fine!

iDavid
04-12-2010, 04:20 PM
Phoo on you. Kanile'as rock. I love my Kanile'as . Love them! *

* Just kidding, John - no phoo, maybe...but I still prefer Kanile'a over KoAloha - though both are mighty fine!

How do the necks compare? I love my KoAloha, but like the look of the satin Kanile'a.

Dane
04-12-2010, 05:13 PM
From all the videos I've seen I have yet to like a kanilea. But I don't get to play other types of ukes, the local stores don't even have the cream of the crap as far as ukes go (cream of the crop.... get it?...)

I think a lot of people overlook ohana, I love my tenor ohana

experimentjon
04-12-2010, 07:16 PM
I've heard that MGM usually keeps a small stash of Kamakas that he doesn't list on eBay, and you just need to call him to ask. But I've never tried it.

And if there is a $200 price difference between Kamakas and KoAlohas in europe, I'd absolutly go for the KoAloha. Both are excellent, but $200 can almost buy you an Ameritage case. Not sure why the price difference is so massive, but it sounds like it's just middleman markup which may just be price gouging rather than true indicators of supply and demand.

casarole45
04-12-2010, 11:20 PM
I think a lot of people overlook ohana, I love my tenor ohana

Agreed, I'm a big Ohana fan, being my first uke love. Being that they have such an awesome supply of woods and different style of ukes there is an Ohana out there for everyone, quality for me has always been top notch. I'm amazed everybody doesn't own one

guitharsis
04-13-2010, 12:24 AM
Am I missing something? There seems to be a debate of KoAloha versus Kamaka, with people coming down on either side. But, as someone who lives in the UK, it seems to me that KoAlohas are MUCH easier to come by (Kamaka's only international dealers are in Asia), and cost about $200 less. I had always assumed they were about the same.

I go to California regularly to visit my parents, but even still, it seems much easier to grab a KoAloha through MGM or through one of the French stores than it is to get a Kamaka.

That seems like bad business. Certainly from a Eurocentric point of view.

Honestly, you'd think with the ukulele boom in the UK that SOMEONE would stock some of the high end instruments.

Ukulele Uprising, UU's internet store, sells both Kamaka and KoAloha and gives great descriptors of both.

guitharsis
04-13-2010, 12:27 AM
Kamaka has such a high demand that even if you wanted to sell them, you'd have to get on a waiting list. They are producing a maximum number of ukes without skimping on quality so from a business standpoint they are right where they need to be.

When I e-mailed Larry's Music Store in February, Sam Bonanno had just received a new shipment of Kamakas. He chose a gorgeous highly figured soprano for me. By the following day, half of the Kamakas he received were already gone!

King FarUke
04-13-2010, 04:40 AM
On my recent trip to Hawaii I noticed there were very few Kamakas on the shelves, especially tenors. I did see a lot of concert sized Koalohas, but very few tenors. There also seemed to be a lot of Kanileas available. I hit just about every shop on Maui and in the Honolulu area that I could. Of the three brands, it seemed that the KoAlohas were the easiest to come by.

haolejohn
04-13-2010, 05:37 AM
On my recent trip to Hawaii I noticed there were very few Kamakas on the shelves, especially tenors. I did see a lot of concert sized Koalohas, but very few tenors. There also seemed to be a lot of Kanileas available. I hit just about every shop on Maui and in the Honolulu area that I could. Of the three brands, it seemed that the KoAlohas were the easiest to come by.

When I was on Oahu and Maui this summer (the whole month of June...I got family there) I saw many Kanileas, many kamakas but only one koaloha soprano until I went to Koaloha. They didn't even have a tenor in the factory. I guess it is all about timing for the kamakas and koalohas.

molokinirum
04-13-2010, 05:42 AM
I was on Oahu and Maui in September and found plenty of Kamakas and very , very few KoAlohas. Guess it is all about timing!

bbycrts
04-13-2010, 09:42 AM
How do the necks compare? I love my KoAloha, but like the look of the satin Kanile'a.

I chose Kanile'a because they have a wider (1.5") neck...I love the feel...

vegasuke
04-13-2010, 12:23 PM
Kamakas have been around for like, a 100yrs. Koalohas about 15yrs. Did'nt take long to catch-up in quality, and integrity. Koalohas rule!!