View Full Version : Collings, Mya-Moe, and Ohana

07-30-2010, 07:46 PM
I'm in the states for a few weeks and got to try out some ukes. Pioneer Music in Portland got TWO Collings in, UT-1 and the UT-1, on Wednesday morning they gave me a call and off I went. I have not gotten play tenors of this caliber before. It say I was EXCITED, was an understatement.

I got to see the Koa first and it was suppose to be their lesser model. Man, it was some nice koa in a satin finish. I think the wood would have "popped" more with a gloss finish. However, it looked great. The workmanship was perfect and it was as light as good be. Even the case was nice. It was 1300 dollars which is really more than I can pay.

I checked out the Mahogany next and it really was a prettier uke, IMO. The satin finish really suited the mahogany. Again, perfect workmanship in every sense of the word. This uke also was light as a feather.

They both had peg-head tuners, which I had never seen in person. They are just perfect for ukes. They tune well, look great, and are very light.

I brought them and a Mahogany Ohana Concert to a practice room. The sales guy was a no pressure kind of guy and the shop was outstanding.

I tried the Koa Collings first and was not impressed at all. It has nice enough, but did not have a lot of presence. It wasn't muted at all, it just did not sing to me. I played it for a while and the intonation was spot on, but I expected more.

The Mahogany was another story. It had a ton of presence and voice and sang like a bird. HOWEVER, I think my KoAloha Concert sounded better. I am not sure why. Maybe the increased bass of the tenor takes away from the overall sound.... at least to me. The Collings is defiantly a traditional sound.

While I was playing the Collings the sales guy brought in a Martin from the 1960's. I was perfect looking, so perfect I doubt it got played much. It sounded EXACTLY like my Mainland tenor, except it was a little muted. DUDE, I was blown away.

Next, I tried the Ohana concert and it did not hold up to the rest... at all. I think the gloss finished messed with the tone or it had not opened up yet. Still, for the money, one nice uke.

The store had two Mya-Moe resonators hanging on the wall. I do not dig resonators, but OMG! Their workmanship is unbelievable. Both were much fancier than the Collings and the workmanship just as perfect. The woods were amazing. One was Mango and was an art piece.

I had planned to go to the Mya- Moe shop but ran into some problems with my family. Wife and daughter got food poisoning, then the other daughter got hit with jet-lag and didn't go to sleep until 4:30 in the morning. Gordan and Char offered to change times and even meet me half way. This is amazing since they really didn't have any ukes for sale that I was interested in. The did have a concert and a tenor for me to try out, but they were spoken for. These are some great people. I will try and meet up with them next week, but it is much more difficult to "make time" than I thought it would be.

Am I going to buy anything? If I did not own the KoAloha Concert, I would have jumped on that Collings, but it seems to fill the same space for me.

I had planned to get a cigar-box uke from Tom guy and dealing with him was fantastic. I decided to wait on it, just cause I wasn't sure. I probably should have gotten one....

Being on vacation as taught me one thing. I need a vacation uke. I am to afraid of breaking the KoAloha Concert. I was thinking maybe a Ohana or Mainland would be perfect, or maybe a Kala.

I am still wanted a "better" tenor. Just not sure which direction. I hopefully get to play a Mya-moe and see how that goes. I see am thinking MP ukes are the way to go. Blue grass has a tiger wood that should be done in few months and I am sure it would be amazing, but the odds of me waiting that long are not good.

Then there is that amazing Compass Rose on MGMs site....

out of my range.

The obviously choice would be to go for a KoAloha.

07-31-2010, 04:19 AM
It sounds like you are having a good time comparing them (when you can lol). I'm glad you recognized that comparing a tenor to a concert may not be a fair comparison of the ukes themselves, but rather the differences in the sizes. I know I have compared my old Kala lam to much more expensive solid wood concerts and many people say the cheap Kala sounds better, because they hear the fuller bass and more volume. I doubt it would stand up at all against a great solid wood tenor. Ya gotta stick to apples to apples in these comparisons, IMO.