View Full Version : Holualoa Ukulele Gallery near Kailua Kona... good place? or tourist trap?

09-02-2010, 08:40 PM
Hey guys, I'm headed to Kona for a cousin's wedding in October. Been to HI plenty of times, but never been to the Big Island... I usually go to Oahu... not having been to the Big Island is especially shocking for me, because I was a Geology major in college... and for Geologists, the Big Island is where its at! And besides that, I'm also an avid coffee consumer and Kona on the west side if the island has some fabled coffee... probably worth a visit for me...

Anyways, When I'm there, I'll probably want to pick up a uke... this Ukulele Gallery in Holualoa seems like a cool place. Looks like they have local builders showcased there too! Anybody been? Is it worth a look?

Is there another particularly good place on the Big Island I might go to satisfy my uke cravings?

09-03-2010, 04:20 AM
i've never been to the big island, but some friends in hilo like hilo guitars. i've seen many vids of theirs on youtube and checked out their website and they seem to know what their talking about.

09-03-2010, 04:20 AM
If you get a chance you might wanna cruise over to Hilo and visit Hilo Guitars (http://www.hiloguitars.com/), I think a more broader selection of instruments and price ranges. As far as Holualoa is concerned, I don't think it's a tourist trap. The instruments at Holualoa Ukulele Gallery are made by luthiers like Chuck Moore (Moore Bettah) and Dennis Lake (Po Mahina). Visit their websites to see their wares. Also check the 808 Builders List (http://www.ukuleleunderground.com/forum/showthread.php?16211-808-Builders).

Moore Bettah Ukuleles
09-03-2010, 07:43 AM
Sam Rosen owns the tiny little Ukulele Gallery in Holualoa that used to be the former post office. It's anything BUT a tourist rap. It's uniqueness lies in the fact that it is a bona-fide, honest to goodness ukulele shop run by a luthier and where ukulele building classes are taught. Sam is avery friendly, very informative and given half a chance he'll talk your ear off. The shop features hand built ukuleles by our Big Island Ukulele Guild members, so the quality varies, but it's mostly very nice work. In fact, you won't find any production ukes here at all, only hand built ones. Sam seems to run on "island time" so give him a call before you head up to make sure he's there. It's a very worthwhile visit and definitely not to be missed.
If you find yourself on the other side of the BI, the other worthwhile shop is Hilo Guitars and Ukuleles in Hilo, naturally. Hundreds of ukes on the wall and staffed by the owner, Ken Cameron, and his employee, Brian. Both of these guys are musicians and know what they carry intimately. You probably won't find any surprises here but sometimes they'll have an instrument or two from a local builder. Reasonable prices (everything is cheaper in Hilo) and honest, well informed staff. You'll have a good time here to.

Have a great trip.

09-03-2010, 11:50 AM
Yep, my mouth is watering thinking about the ukes!

I will definitely make time to visit. Hilo is a bit of a drive but I might stop into Hilo Guitars too.. I'm sure I'll be closer to that side of the island while I'm running around lookin at the different kinds of lava...

Thanks for the recommendations!

Strummingbird Stu
09-03-2010, 02:11 PM
You kinda hit home with this thread, because Holualoa is my home town! I grew up there in the coffee fields, so I have a lot of fond memories of the good old country life. Sorry, I don't know about the uke gallery since I haven't been back recently, but I think you'll have a nice experience visiting that quaint little town.

One of my best childhood friends is a well-known artist(born & raised in Holualoa) named Hiroki Morinoue. He has an art gallery there too. If you get the chance to meet him, tell him Stuart said hello! Have a nice trip!

09-03-2010, 02:49 PM
Oh Man you guys are making me home sick! I lived just mauka of the Palani Road junction and have many friends in Holualoa. The last time I was home wasn't yet enamored with ukes, but will definetly check it out next time.