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View Full Version : Ohana SK-38 - REVIEW



Ken Middleton
02-10-2011, 08:06 AM
The new SK-38 is now available from some of the Ohana main dealers. It is an all-solid mahogany soprano that is based on a 1930's Martin Style 2.

I brought two or three back from NAMM and I wanted to take this opportunity to do a review. I know that many of you will have seen or played one of the prototypes at various festivals.

This production model has the same great sound and is amazing value for money. I know, I work for Ohana, so I would say that. I actually believe it though.


OHANA SK-38 - A VIDEO REVIEW (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l5RfUuj3Xmc)


Thanks for watching.

mm stan
02-10-2011, 11:28 AM
Aloha Ken,
I want one....I have a style 2 martin...I'd be intrested in trying one first, it sounds realy nice.......I'm sure it's better priced than the Kiwaya's...

SweetWaterBlue
02-10-2011, 11:38 AM
Sweet. I gotta get Mike from UkeRepublic to bring one to a SEUkers meeting.

hmgberg
02-10-2011, 12:10 PM
Wow! Very impressive, Ken. Really like this one.

Ken Middleton
02-10-2011, 08:03 PM
Aloha Ken,
I want one....I have a style 2 martin...I'd be intrested in trying one first, it sounds realy nice.......I'm sure it's better priced than the Kiwaya's...

Yes, it certainly is. Nobu, the boss of Kiwaya USA, was really impressed with it at NAMM. Kiwaya do not do a direct equivalent, but a similar uke from Kiwaya is three times the price. They are beautiful instruments though.


Sweet. I gotta get Mike from UkeRepublic to bring one to a SEUkers meeting.

Mike was one of the first dealers to order them. They are selling really well, so ask him soon.


Wow! Very impressive, Ken. Really like this one.

You will be impressed with the sound when you try one I think.

hmgberg
02-11-2011, 05:33 AM
Yes, it certainly is. Nobu, the boss of Kiwaya USA, was really impressed with it at NAMM. Kiwaya do not do a direct equivalent, but a similar uke from Kiwaya is three times the price. They are beautiful instruments though.



Mike was one of the first dealers to order them. They are selling really well, so ask him soon.



You will be impressed with the sound when you try one I think.

I had written to you earlier that I advised the folks at my local musical instrument store to get some Ohanas because I believe that they would be perfect instruments for their customers to step up to - solid wood, gloss isn't overbearing, great value etc., all or the reasons you already know. Of course, this was before the SK-38 became available. I recommended that they order the 35 series and the Vita. Earlier this week, the store notified me that the Ohanas had arrived (unfortunately the Vita wasn't available). I went in and played them all. I especially liked the 35 soprano. I told the manager that I expect they will do very well with them. I also told them to order some 38s. With any luck, I'll soon be able to play one.

Ken Middleton
02-11-2011, 05:38 AM
I had written to you earlier that I advised the folks at my local musical instrument store to get some Ohanas because I believe that they would be perfect instruments for their customers to step up to - solid wood, gloss isn't overbearing, great value etc., all or the reasons you already know. Of course, this was before the SK-38 became available. I recommended that they order the 35 series and the Vita. Earlier this week, the store notified me that the Ohanas had arrived (unfortunately the Vita wasn't available). I went in and played them all. I especially liked the 35 soprano. I told the manager that I expect they will do very well with them. I also told them to order some 38s. With any luck, I'll soon be able to play one.

The SK-35 and 35G are clearly two of our best selling instruments. The are actually two of the best selling all-solid soprano ukes available today. The SK-38 has the same classic lines, but really it looks different and sounds different.

hmgberg
02-11-2011, 04:47 PM
The store had ordered in a number of 35s, in the various sizes, as well as a soprano and a concert 35G. The one I liked best was the soprano 35G. I appreciated that the tone was rich even with the gloss finish; it isn't a heavy coating, as we've come to expect from ukuleles in this price range. At this price, it is no wonder that they are so popular.

I've watched and listened to your reviews of the 35s and the new 38. To me, the 38 seems to have a little more pop to the tone. Is this how you might characterize the difference? I shouldn't put words in your mouth, Ken; how would you describe the differences?

Ken Middleton
02-11-2011, 10:11 PM
The store had ordered in a number of 35s, in the various sizes, as well as a soprano and a concert 35G. The one I liked best was the soprano 35G. I appreciated that the tone was rich even with the gloss finish; it isn't a heavy coating, as we've come to expect from ukuleles in this price range. At this price, it is no wonder that they are so popular.

I've watched and listened to your reviews of the 35s and the new 38. To me, the 38 seems to have a little more pop to the tone. Is this how you might characterize the difference? I shouldn't put words in your mouth, Ken; how would you describe the differences?

This is tricky. It is like asking me to describe the difference between blueberry pie and blackberry pie, made by the same person.

However, I would say that the 38 is a little louder and has a slightly clearer, cleaner sound. It feels like an old Martin to play and the tone is getting close to that of an old Martin. Bear in mind though, that many Martin owners do not use Aquila strings. The 38 has Aquila strings and all of them are new and have not had time to be played in. The prototypes are starting to develop a tone that is getting close.

The 35 is still loud but has a slightly fuller, more rounded tone. it sounds much more like a traditional Hawaiian style uke.

That's about the best I can do. The differences are subtle, but that is often the case. Both are excellent all-solid ukes (IMHO).

I do not believe that the gloss finish makes any appreciable difference to the volume or the tone, certainly not between the 35 and the 35G. However, there is, for instance, one particular popular brand of ukulele (I will not name this company) that has a very thick gloss coating and the instruments sounds terrible (woolly tone, quiet and muffled sound), even the higher priced ones. However these instruments are over-braced and poorly constructed, so this may be the main factor behind their disappointing sound.

hmgberg
02-12-2011, 07:13 AM
Ken, Thanks so much. That was perfect and very helpful. I have a few vintage Martins, and really love the tone and projection, but I am looking for an instrument that, at least approximates the sound that I would not be afraid to take out of the house and in public.

I don't like Aquilas on the Martins either. I prefer Worth Clears. I do like Aquilas on my Vita Uke. I believe Aquilas have a more guitar-like sound, hence, more appropriate to a spruce top.

Anyway, thanks again. I think I'll be trying to convince my local seller to get some 38s in- this time for me.