View Full Version : Big Island Honu Tenor Ukulele TR-KRGT Review!!!

08-10-2011, 04:18 PM
Hello, I have been playing on this ukulele for about 2-3 months. It is a Big Island Honu Tenor. Model # TR-KRGT.


Solid Big Island Koa top, back, and sides.
Mahogony neck
20 frets
High Gloss Finish
Tenor size
Bridge is rosewood
Tuners are closed gear chrome with Koa buttons.
Fretboard is rosewood with dot inlay markers
Nut and Saddle are both bone
Headstock is Koa cap with Honu inlay


It has a nice balanced sound with a warm Koa tone. It is a little on the quite side. If i had to say soft, medium, or loud it would medium on the scale.
Intonation is right on
No electronics

Action, Fit & Finish

The action: Out of all of the ukulele's I own this one by far is the easiest to play with great great great action. Sometimes you just pick a uke up and say this feels good. This uke feels real nice! However, it is set up on Hawaii so no big surprise there.
Very nice book matched front and back solid Koa that were properly joined
Bridge seems to be well made
Frets are your average factory made and fitted frets w/no problems

Overall Rating

I have been playing ukulele for about a 2 years, guitar for 19 years.
I also own a Locals soprano ukulele, a vietnam acacia tenor ukulele, Lanikai AAA Koa concert, Kala Tenor Acacia, Lori Espanol maple tenor, Zircote custom Tenor, Taylor, Yairi, gibson, Paul Reed Smith, and fender guitars

One of the only uke's I have ever just picked up and thought this is just right without any adjustments. I really like the little Honu inlay on the headstock. It is not a flashy ukulele. It is simple yet beautiful. Not much really needs to be done when working with Big Island Koa.

Down falls: Not made in Hawaii but only set up there. With that being said the quality of build is as good as any or better in the price range as I have seen. Not the loudest uke in the world but a balanced warm Koa sound!

I picked this uke up on the secondary market and the original owner cracked the body (Car Accident). The crack should be visible in one of the pics. It was professionally fixed, re-sealed, and glossed by the well known luthier Michael DaSilva. He did a fantastic job on the fix. you cant even see it when looking directly at the uke. It is only visible when held at an angle.

Final Thoughts
Fantastic solid Koa Tenor ukulele. It is a pleasure to play. Only complaint is that it could be a bit louder. I would not hesitate to buy again!

08-10-2011, 04:38 PM
Nice wood and finish. I would say mine rings , the sustain is amazing and the purity of tone is perfect.
I don't really know whats loud and what ain't but I do know that I like the tone of the chords they are well blended and clear. Love the traditional just simple no bling added .lets the finish and workmanship speak for itself.
Action was high on mine but that was easily fixed.

08-10-2011, 06:01 PM
I have a Big Island Traditional Honu koa tenor that I bought used from a UU member who was, at the time, stationed in Afghanistan. I thought it was a major upgrade from my Kala acacia tenor (which I also like quite a bit), although it doesn't get as much play now that I have a Kamaka tenor. I agree with almost everything in your review, except that miy ukulele may be a bit louder (it's strung with Aquilas) than you describe yours. I've heard that Mike DaSilva does great repair work.

By the way, yours has a stunning grain pattern. Big Island boasts about the quality and visual beauty of its koa and with good reason.

Congratulations on the new uke and thanks for the review!

08-11-2011, 04:07 AM
Very nice little fella you got there. I was angling toward getting a Big Island Honu myself after having played one at a local shop, but I just wasn't able to work out a reasonable deal. Seems like you succeeded where I didn't :) Congrats again on getting such a good fit for you!

08-11-2011, 10:42 AM
Wow, gorgeous!

08-18-2011, 01:45 PM
I have the Big Island Kayha Mahogany Tenor with single cutaway and electronic suite by Fishman.

Plain jane satin finish minimal cosmetics. I love the thing and concur that the tone is sweet and clear and the playability is better than my others. Big Island makes some serious instruments that are only now beginning to grab traction.

For my personal tastes, the Honu's are too dressed up as I prefer traditional styling, but they are all excellent, and exceedingly well made instruments. Folks might be put off by their VietNam construction, but I know the woods are grown on the Big Island and then sent there for manufacture. I must say that the VietNamese are excellent workmen and luthiers. I have looked my instrument over from top to bottom and have never found any flaws that I didn't put there. My only flaw is a slight dimple I made in the back by playing when wearing aloha shirts, the coconut buttons and my exuberance do not mix well...;-)

08-18-2011, 03:18 PM
i played a big island tenor for the first time the other day at mim's ukes. they really do make fine ukuleles! they are imports, but still.

i'm very impressed with their craftsmanship and sound. maybe i'll get one the next time my uas coincides with an adequate "new uke fund."

08-16-2013, 10:56 AM
I just received my Honu rope style tenor from Sea Strings music in Seattle. This is by far the nicest looking ukulele I own. The curly koa is absolutely beautiful and with the high gloss finish in the light it has an pearly illusion effect like I've never seen even with the highest quality maple. It really is a trip. Pictures do not do this instrument justice. The roping is flawless, the maple detailing outlined in black is awesome looking. I have worked with wood my whole life so I love when I see something that is so perfect. You can't just dump wood into a mold and have something like this, it takes time and that makes me appreciate this instrument all the more.

The sound?...it arrived almost perfectly tuned and even before I tuned it my first few strums were very very nice sounding. After I tuned it I was even more impressed, it just sounds so good. I have good ukes but nothing over a grand. I have played all the K's and many other high quality ukuleles and this thing sounds much nicer than any uke I own and reminds me of the more expensive ones. Not gonna try and say it sounds sweet or happy or mellow or anything like that.... All I can say is it just sounds great..whatever that is that's how it sounds. I wanted a quality instrument at a reasonable price and I have without a doubt found it.

One last thing. I purchased this instrument from amazon but it came from Seattle's Sea Strings music. I wanted to give them a fine review on yelp but they were not listed. They are amazing. They sent me a full page handwritten note, not photocopied. With a nice thank you, and suggestion to a great uke website for lessons and songs. A very nice micro fiber polishing towel, a song chart for Johnny cash's " I walk the line". And an extra set of Aquila strings. I consider that above average service. Not to mention my uke was neatly and very sucurely packaged. All the things that should have been done were and then some so a big thanks to John for taking care of me.

Ok friends that's it!!?.. I love this uke and for some reason they are on sale right now... Get one