View Full Version : Kanilea tenor break-in time

09-01-2011, 03:15 PM
I recently purchased a brand spankin' new (made in Aug. 2011) Kanilea K-1 tenor and although it's beautiful and the workmanship is excellent I'm a little concerned about the sound. Do these ukes open up much in the first couple of months? It just sounds a bit closed off and the sound is muffled. Maybe it's just me but I still have the opportunity to send it back and thought I would throw the question out there....

09-01-2011, 03:27 PM
Couldn't tell ya but curious to what strings are on it now?

Ronnie Aloha
09-01-2011, 04:26 PM
I think Kanileas may be hit and miss with volume. However, they all sound sweet.

09-01-2011, 05:19 PM
I had the same thought when I first got my kanilea. Ive had mine for about a year now and the volume has improved a lot.

09-01-2011, 05:51 PM
It came with Aquila strings on it which I thought tend to be brighter than other strings (subjective of course). Anyways, I think I'll give this one a chance and see if it fills out more.

09-01-2011, 06:27 PM
I would try Worth Clear or Fremont Blacklines if you're interested in hearing a completely different sound from the Aquilas. Sometimes a different string set brings out a whole new character in a uke. Definitely worth trying on a fine uke like a Kanilea before writing it off. The one all koa uke I have has definitely gotten louder and crisper in the 8-9 months since it was built.

09-01-2011, 06:47 PM
I definitely second the suggestion to use Worth clears or something along that line (I have limited experience with the Fremonts). I've owned three Kanile'as and changed the Aquilas out to Worths on all three and felt like it made a great improvement. They were all lovely sounding ukes that really came into their own with Worth clears on them.

09-01-2011, 09:34 PM
If it was made in August 2011 then I doubt the laquer is even dry yet. It should get better with age especially since it's just a newborn.

09-01-2011, 09:57 PM
I own one. Was not impressed at all with Aquilas on it and moved to Worth clears straight away. Much richer and chimes like a bell. Currently testing D'Addario Pro Arté strings on it.

09-02-2011, 02:40 AM
Great advice from Marymac... the worth clears and Freemont blacklines are great... both a completely different feel and sound from Aquilas. AND... both of them come in an all plastic "LOW G" version if you really want to change things up!

09-02-2011, 02:51 AM
I agree about switching out the Aquilas. I have had Worth Clears on my Kanilea concert and they were very good. Also consider Southcoast Medium set: that's what I'm using now and they are really terrific, very clear, balanced and excellent volume.

09-02-2011, 05:48 AM
Thanks everybody, I ordered up some Worth Clears and I'll give them a try.
As for the finish, it should be dry now as it has the UV coating on it.

09-02-2011, 06:02 AM
And if you want to go for a different look, but great sound, try Worth browns. That's what I have on mine. Joe Souza played it last time I was there with the Worths on it and his comment was, "wow, that sounds bright!" I just wanted the understated look of the browns with the gloss finish, and it also opened up quite a bit since I bought it.

09-02-2011, 06:15 AM
Worth Clear strings make a very complex sound in Kanileas. I have a K1 tenor satin finish, and it sound more complex than my others K brands with the same strings. TRU bracing system really makes this uke sound ressonant with worth clears. Volume increases a little bit, but it don't beat a koaloha in volume.

09-02-2011, 08:00 AM
As a koaloha owner, I wonder what DOES beat one for volume!! ;-)

09-02-2011, 08:14 AM
I have Southcoast Heavy's on mine and there is nothing to compare it to. Nothing is louder and nothing sounds more complex and sweet. Best uke out there. Put it in front of some bass pounding speakers for a few hours and let the speakers do the break in for you.

09-02-2011, 12:51 PM
I have a year old Kanilea and I think I can put your to ease. I bought a satin model straight from Joe and has not impressed with it when I got it.
The workmanship was perfect, it is light as a feather, great balance, and easy to play. I has not impressed with the volume and it also seemed a bit muted. Having no patience for such things I email Joe and was contemplating returning it. Joe asked me to give it some time. I pulled off the Aquilas (high-g) and put on worth clear (high-g). It has a much better tone, but the volume was about the same, in fact, my KoAloha concert was louder. After a few weeks the Kanilea was about as loud as the KoAloha. Recently I put Aquilas back on and it is much louder than the KoAloha, I mean the Kanilea is really LOUD!!! it
also has the chime I was looking for... it is a perfect tenor. I tried a low-g on it and was amazed at how much low-end this uke can pump out. It also
maintain its balance. I am not a low-g guy, so the high-g is back on. i may have gotten lucky, or it could be the satin finish is a different beast, but I
woud give it a good amount of time and playing and see how it goes.

09-02-2011, 01:16 PM
That's probably the best answer......just playing it will probably do the most for it. I have been playing a lot over the past few days and it does actually sound better. I think it probably had to get over shipping shock too ;)

09-03-2011, 12:29 AM
+1 for worth strings. I just don't think aquilas suit higher-end solid wood uke's, atleast not the ones that I've played. My Kanilea sounded OK with aquilas, but it sounds several times better now with the Worth's. It isn't the loudest uke, but the tone is amazing.

09-03-2011, 07:16 AM
In late 2004, I purchased my Taylor 814CE, fresh from Taylor. It was soooo bright, I felt it was unplayable and I kept thinking about returning it. Slowly, it started opening-up and developing a little warmth. Todate, the white spruce top is now a darker brown, approaching the look of a cedar top. 6 years later and it is still opening-up. Give the Kanilea time, it's a solid wood instrument that was recently assembled. The Kani should open-up with time.

About 3-1/2 months ago I purchased a new Epi Les Paul concert uke. With the stock black strings, the uke sounded dead and the C string off, although it was in tune. Put some Aquila strings on it and it improved, but it still sucked. Earlier this week I ordered some ProArte J92 strings to try on it this long weekend. Low and behold, when I went to play it Thursday, before changing the strings, it sounds better: and the Les Paul uke is a laminate, which I didn't think would ever change and especially after only 3-1/2 months. Give the Kani time to open-up

You might also try some D'Addario J71 ukulele strings on it, which are actually classical guitar strings. Jake, Aldrine, & other Pro's use the individually selected/purchased classical guitar strings, so D'Addario put this packaged set together so that it would be easier on us consumers. I'll try them on my custom after it gets built, delivered, & warms-up a little.

Just curious, Is your kani wood lite, medium, or very dark. It seems to me that the darker koa kani's are more muted. I'm ordering my custom tenor with a lighter honey colored curly koa, hope it works out.

09-04-2011, 05:01 AM
After having read info from luthiers, we have to remind ourselves that koa and its sound is not equal from instrument to instrument. They are not cookie cutter. Wood is wood, and there is a lot of range for variation. You have to give it time. Hang in there with it. I would not send it back unless there were visible manufacturing flaws. It will bloom, but change the strings ans play it a lot. It needs to vibrate some!

09-08-2011, 07:13 AM
Just a quick update: I changed to the Worth CT strings and the difference is quite nice. They aren't louder than the Aquilas but they have more character and depth. I am definitely happy with this uke and will not be sending it back!

09-08-2011, 07:28 AM
Come back in 4-5 months and see how it strikes you then. I bet it will have opened up even more. Hope you enjoy the intervening time! Worths are a good choice.