PDA

View Full Version : Kohala KK-C by Lanikai, from Costco



blulegend
06-11-2011, 05:29 PM
So, I saw this in the Costco the other day. I had been happy with my Kala KA-S but I sorta wanted a bigger sound and had a little trouble fitting my fingers on the fretboard at times since I'm learning. So I picked one of these up (vs. an Oscar Schmidt OU5 from Amazon) for $99 at Costco after mulling it over for a few days.

Out of about 5 or 6 I looked at from the whole pallet of them, this one had the most interesting wood grain. It's not as dramatic as some of the glossy ukes I've seen, but this is a satin finish. A SOFT satin finish. But, it turns out this one had the hardest laminate and finish out of all the ones I looked at. I noticed a dent on the back of one where the finish was scratched off. I checked a few with my nail on the back edge and with only mild pressure, made a subtle dent and noticed the clear satin finish beginning to chip off. The pressure I used wouldn't even dent my skin! The one I bought didn't have the same problem, it seemed harder. The other ones all had a straightish grain to them as well and maybe that wood wasn't finished the same as this one. The inlays look okay and make it look nicer than most other ukes in this price range.

The action on this one was really low relative to the ones I looked at too. I measured it to be about a little less that 1mm at the 1st fret and about 3mm at the 12th. The corners of the nut and saddle were sharp so I had to sand them down. The frets were smooth, but not really finished that well. The ends were beveled, but the bevels edges were little sharp and not burnished. The ends did not stick out however so it doesn't bother me THAT much but I can tell the difference from the KA-S.

Construction is okay. The split down the middle on the top does not match perfectly with the split on the bottom. But the split on the back lines up with the split on the bottom. The kerfing is segmented and not solid. The whole thing smells of wood glue. The braces aren't sanded on the edges. There is minimal excess glue that can be seen through the sound hole. The finish on the neck is not quite as smooth at the satin finish on my Kala KA-S. The finish is really dull overall for a satin finish. Some spots of the top and back seem to have no finish at all but it's hard to tell. The abalone inlay consists of little rectangles laid in like bricks. A glossy finish or even a better satin finish would make the grain and the inlays look much better. It also has what I learned is an arched back body design.

It came with GHS strings. I didn't really even get to stretch them out before I changed them to Martin M600 fluorocarbons. It sounded so much better and brighter right away. The tuners are pretty nice compared to the ones on the Kala KA-S. I had to tighten the end-screw on one of them because it was a little loose. While re-stringing, I polished the frets with a dremel and some polish, now they are mirror finished. Some of them aren't set 100% of the way into the fretboard at ends or are a tiny bit warped (very tiny amounts and doesn't cause buzz or any intonation problems I far as I can tell). I also took off the saddle and there were a couple thin plastic spacers underneath. I wanted to set the action lower at the 12th fret so I took out the thinner one which was about 0.75mm and now the action at the 12th fret is about 2.75mm. I also noted that the saddle is compensated. The middle strings are set backward, and the outer two are actually set forward. I had to adjust the compensation on the A string to move it back a little as it was playing a bit sharp at the 12th fret. Now the intonation is good for all four strings. The sustain is better than my KA-S, but not super good once you get to the 12th fret.

The intonation is pretty good. Slightly better than my KA-S. Not 100% spot on, but close.

The sound is nice compared to the KA-S which is loud and harsh. The KK-C is more mellow, a tad louder, and sweeter sounding.

Overall, I like it after I set it up a little. I'm wondering if I should still try out the Oscar Schmidt OU5 from Amazon. However, I noticed the neck isn't as long on that one and it has less frets (the 12th fret is where the neck ends, like my KA-S). I'm also weary of a glossy neck. But in the pictures, the OU5 looks like it has a MUCH nicer finish even though the grain isn't is interesting. Hmm...

https://lh6.googleusercontent.com/-8Zh8ZjXqbLM/TfQnenfbsFI/AAAAAAAACLY/mu9bzoPAKy4/s640/20110611-IMG_1012.JPG

https://lh4.googleusercontent.com/-Lngs_SQOkB4/TfQne_jcngI/AAAAAAAACLc/ewq-nuvaefE/s640/20110611-IMG_1013.JPG

https://lh6.googleusercontent.com/-8vdMLWv-kmQ/TfQnezF691I/AAAAAAAACMc/PIPjDTcrUr8/s640/20110611-IMG_1016.JPG

https://lh5.googleusercontent.com/-RmhVdjMGR2M/TfQnfBJMgzI/AAAAAAAACMg/QpYDcH_sOTk/s640/20110611-IMG_1015.JPG

blulegend
06-11-2011, 06:25 PM
https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-Cls4OBhR5dk/TfQnfTl1ZSI/AAAAAAAACLo/oZQb5eLyKqU/s640/20110611-IMG_1018.JPG

https://lh4.googleusercontent.com/-EyGdQsGaQRw/TfQnfg7NiDI/AAAAAAAACLs/OSkfQDFb9mE/s640/20110611-IMG_1019.JPG

https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-CwXonV_UEoA/TfQnf-LrTOI/AAAAAAAACMs/i4sCIObDQxw/s640/20110611-IMG_1017.JPG

https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-mX8I2G8IKCI/TfQngIUaj6I/AAAAAAAACNQ/uYsOWdE7chY/s640/20110611-IMG_1014.JPG

blulegend
06-11-2011, 06:25 PM
https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-MKNiNgGBAdA/TfQngqAw32I/AAAAAAAACL4/a-E4_G8wRFI/s640/20110611-IMG_1020.JPG

mm stan
06-11-2011, 06:49 PM
Sorta looks like a Oscar Schmidt OU5....nice uke..and a good price..

Pippin
06-12-2011, 01:46 AM
That is essentially the same uke as the OU5, same inlay, same saddle-- compensated the exact same way. The finish on the OU5 is high-gloss. The tuners are Grovers. I have found that Oscar Schmidt ukes in the price-range of the OU5 are over-built, have less volume than a lot of their competition, but sound very sweet. I love their neck shapes and frets are smooth and well-dressed in the models that I have owned. I have the OU5LCE and the OU280SWK in my collection at the moment. The latter gets a lot of use. I recently put Martin fluorocarbon strings on it. It lots a little volume, but it sounds even sweeter.

8daypsalmist
06-12-2011, 03:17 AM
If it sounds decent, that is a lot-o-uke for a Benjamin.

Also, does Costco carrying a Ukulele constitute a "tipping point" for uke popularity stats?

Peace,

James

Mason671
06-12-2011, 04:22 AM
Nice looking ukulele for the price! I should go check-out Costco more often! I usually don't get past the front door after eating the hotdogs and pizza! Ha Ha Ha, LOL!

Mason671

PhilUSAFRet
06-12-2011, 12:27 PM
Yeah, too much like an OU5 not to be related. Not loud, but my OU5 is sweet and resonant with Aquilas on it. That is one sweet looking laminate uke, and a better deal than you'd see any OU5 I've seen lately...plus no shipping! Perfect your strum or your nails will hit the fretboard...as you noticed, it's a tiny bit thicker than most. Mine stays in tune and intonation perfect.

itsme
06-12-2011, 12:56 PM
Thanks for the review and pics. :)


I'm wondering if I should still try out the Oscar Schmidt OU5 from Amazon.
Well, you won't get to look thru them for the pick of the litter like you did at Costco. :p

PhilUSAFRet
06-13-2011, 02:39 AM
For all intents and purposes, this is an OU5, though not sure you got a lifetime warrany with the Kohala

ItsAMeCasey
06-14-2011, 03:08 PM
lol I seen someone walking around with this exact uke yesterday, I felt like asking him to try sample it but felt too shame lol. But it looks really nice and for a good price too!

Gillian
09-21-2011, 12:34 PM
This is the uke that launched my passion for the uke and my UAS. I bought mine a year and a half ago from the Costo in Hawaii Kai. I have the older version with a different shaped headstock and a whale-tail logo. The laminate koa has an impressive amount of curl. I was pleasantly surprised when our Costo got a palette of them in at the start of this summer. Now I'm seeing a lot of new members at our uke club with them.

I changed the strings to Aquilas which made a big difference. I don't know what material the binding is, plastic probably. The intonation at the 12th fret is accurate on mine. This is a good little uke for $100.

Jbc930
10-15-2011, 08:28 AM
Local liquidator has listed this Uke (Kohala k-kc)as new in the box for $89.00 ( I have'nt looked at it) would this be a good deal?

guitardad
11-08-2011, 10:10 AM
I wanted to buy a reasonable uke for under $200 while I was in Hawaii. Went to several stores and found one for $189 at Just UKes in Maui. Meanwhile I had taken a visit to Costco Maui and found the identical one at Costco for $99. This was a no-brainer so I purchased the Costco Uke and returned the Justuke. It is to be a gift for my daughter who plays guitar but thought she would like a Uke because of size. She rides a bike and it fits easier.

DML
11-09-2011, 02:20 AM
I'm gonna have to check costco by me. Thanks for sharing

ukuleleforbeginners
11-09-2011, 03:18 AM
Beautiful uke, and a great price.

sarastro
12-03-2011, 01:54 PM
I bought one of these at Costco in Maui a little over a year ago. I didn't know the first thing about what to look for in a uke. I've been happy with it. There are probably numerous things wrong with it but it got me hooked.

CSG123
05-24-2012, 12:40 PM
Just got one of these from Costco online. Very pretty but it's just OK so far. GHS strings but the intonation doesn't seem very good. It's a bit quiet but has a nice tone. Some rough edges at the nut and frets.

Not sure about it but I'm a longtime guitar player with zero experience with ukes. I'd love to know how this $100 special, all-laminate compares with other offerings at this price point.

Will certainly keep it for a few days before deciding. May call Hohner regarding the intonation.

CSG123
05-25-2012, 07:47 AM
The more I've played this the less happy with it I am. Not only intonation issues but the neck is so straight to slightly back bowed that most strings are fretting out. I've called Hohner and left a message but Costco is sending out another to see if it's any better.

I just don't know what to expect for a hundred dollar uke but I guess it's a little more than this. The appearance, as I said, is great. Looks much more expensive but looks don't matter if the instrument doesn't perform as needed.

The tuner is pretty useless and I don't know why they don't include their clip-on instead.

BanjoMan
06-18-2012, 05:46 PM
I received a Kohala Concert Ukelele pack w/gig bag & electronic tuner which came from Costco. Mine is labeled as Model #K2-C. It differs a little from the one shown, most notably the bridge is less blocky and mine doesn't have quite as striking of a pattern to the top and back. Now that the strings are starting to set in, I'd say it plays and sounds pretty good. Far better than the cheap instruments I played in my youth. Not a truly professional grade instrument, but I gotta say it's awfully nice for $100. I started out playing ukelele when I was a kid in the '60's but moved on to guitar, banjo and bass, so I haven't played a uke since about 1968. I had to learn Isreal Kamakawiwo'ole's version (kinda) of "Somewhere Over the Rainbow/What a Wonderful World" straight away and I'm just now putting the finishing touches on my transcription of Willie Nelson's version of Irving Berlin's "Blue Skies". Long story short. I'm loving my new little toy. I am considering changing out the strings as was suggested to try for a little brighter tone. the ghs strings that came with it are okay, but I think I'd like a livelier sound. Suggestions?

Nickie
06-18-2012, 07:11 PM
I received a Kohala Concert Ukelele pack w/gig bag & electronic tuner which came from Costco. Mine is labeled as Model #K2-C. It differs a little from the one shown, most notably the bridge is less blocky and mine doesn't have quite as striking of a pattern to the top and back. Now that the strings are starting to set in, I'd say it plays and sounds pretty good. Far better than the cheap instruments I played in my youth. Not a truly professional grade instrument, but I gotta say it's awfully nice for $100. I started out playing ukelele when I was a kid in the '60's but moved on to guitar, banjo and bass, so I haven't played a uke since about 1968. I had to learn Isreal Kamakawiwo'ole's version (kinda) of "Somewhere Over the Rainbow/What a Wonderful World" straight away and I'm just now putting the finishing touches on my transcription of Willie Nelson's version of Irving Berlin's "Blue Skies". Long story short. I'm loving my new little toy. I am considering changing out the strings as was suggested to try for a little brighter tone. the ghs strings that came with it are okay, but I think I'd like a livelier sound. Suggestions?

Slap a set of Aquilas on that baby, it'll brighten right up!

chillywilly
06-19-2012, 04:17 PM
i bought a couple of these to have around the house when others want to try and play.

There is a Costco outlet here (they sell what is taken back to Costco and is resellable)

Paid $50 each for them....

Put Aquilas on first thing....made a huge difference!!!

BanjoMan
06-19-2012, 07:16 PM
Slap a set of Aquilas on that baby, it'll brighten right up!

I'm debating whether or not to go to the low G strings. My inclination is yes. Especially if the new strings lighten the tone. I realize it's a different sound. I kind of like the traditional high G sound, but I the low G will give me more options in playing a bass line. Opinions?

TodNeilPage
09-28-2017, 12:57 PM
Whoo Hoo. First post. Greetings all!

My friend gave me a uke a couple years ago, yep, the Kohala KK-C, with the blue gig bag and a tuner. I have rediscovered it recently and have been playing daily, what a complete blast! So light weight, perfect intonation and with a set of good strings this thing sounds so sweet. It records really well too! Balanced throughout the range of notes and just the right amount of percussion and tone. I can't believe how fun this ukulele is! Seeing how inexpensive they are makes me smile even more!

I am a guitar, dobro and mandolin player so my chops are already there and playing scales and chords on this thing is pretty intuitive. The GREAT thing about it is the way you can play all sorts of wierd chords that wouldn't necessarily sound great on other instruments but somehow work on the uke. And effortless slides and bends.

I'm in love with my uke! Whoo Hoo!

maki66
09-28-2017, 06:13 PM
Welcome to the forum!!