PDA

View Full Version : Observations from the ukulele store -- Collings/KoAloha/Kamaka/Martin



asleept
02-20-2012, 11:04 AM
Appreciate all of the tips I've taken from the forum. First day ukulele shopping at the local shop, first time for a ukulele in the hand.

Collings UC1K was only so-so in output & resonance. Very surprised as I own a couple of Bill's guitars and they both shout & sing.

Collings UC2K much better volume but resonance was still not huge. I liked the playability of this one, though.

Ko'Aloha concert just screamed. Huge dynamics and nice resonance. Really liked the sound, less so the all-one-color look. Biggest sound in the store.

Kamaka -- 1960s soprano with great balance, almost as much volume as the concert Ko'aloha. Fit/finish was not as professional looking, but sound was great.

Martin -- old O style with a number of repairs, mahogany. Great sound, good balance. Not sure I like mahogany versus koa. Blends the sound a bit -- not as plucky as koas. So-so action. Still a more familiar uke strum sound than I thought I'd hear from this wood.

So an interesting first outing. Quite disappointed in the UC1K Collings and a little disappointed in the UC2K. Ko'Aloha concert definitely has my attention, as do the Kamaka sopranos. They had a Ko'Aloha Sceptre & Kamaka Pineapple that I'll try next time. Not sure I like gloss finish over matte for ukes.

I'm leaning soprano/koa because it seems to hold what I think is the "traditional" ukulele sound. The salesman I worked with owns 28 ukes ... I'll certainly be buying more than one. ;)

Hippie Dribble
02-20-2012, 11:18 AM
yeah, go a Kamaka HF-1 soprano for your first uke, you can't go wrong if that's the sound you're looking for.

Thanks much for your impressions mate, I can only dream of such a selection of ukes to cuddle first hand. Our local shop has coloured mahalos, a couple of anuenue's and a few kala's and lanikai's...

Welcome to the forum and enjoy the journey! :)

dkcrown
02-20-2012, 11:21 AM
Welcome asleept. KoAloha has the concert size down. They are almost all fantastic. If you prefer the satin finish over the gloss, go with their Pikake concert. It has a straight cut fretboard and a satin finish. Less expensive too.

Regarding the Collings, I think that their Mahogany ukes are some of the best ukes made. They usually are loud and resonant. If you get a chance, I would try UC-1 if I were you. The only down side is that they come with Aquilla strings, which are not a good fit for their mahogany ukes. They really sing with Worth clears, especially low G, IMO.

itsme
02-20-2012, 11:32 AM
That's quite an assortment for a "local" store. Where are you?


The salesman I worked with owns 28 ukes ...
And that's quite impressive as well... a salesman who actually plays the instrument and knows about them. Probably won't find that at Guitar Center. :p

bynapkinart
02-20-2012, 12:01 PM
KoAloha really has their act together...out of all the K brands, I think that sonically there is nothing wrong with a KoAloha. I personally would like a more interesting Koa for the wood, but for the sound I don't care about what it looks like. The soprano I had until recently was easily the loudest uke I owned.

I'll definitely be looking into their tenors when the time comes.

OP, I'd highly recommend looking into the mid-priced ukes as well. Ponos, Mainlands, and Ohanas are pretty impressive considering how much cheaper they are than Kamaka or KoAloha. Also, try and find a Kanilea tenor...they rock!

WhenDogsSing
02-20-2012, 12:14 PM
I second/third all of the positive comments regarding Koaloha concerts. I have one that is simply one of the best playing and sounding ukuleles I have...!!!

1931jim
02-20-2012, 12:33 PM
yeah, go a Kamaka HF-1 soprano for your first uke, you can't go wrong if that's the sound you're looking for.

Thanks much for your impressions mate, I can only dream of such a selection of ukes to cuddle first hand. Our local shop has coloured mahalos, a couple of anuenue's and a few kala's and lanikai's...

Welcome to the forum and enjoy the journey! :)
Yes I agree with you mate, he is lucky to have such a local store. Also to be able to play Before you pay. Lucky lucky you are asleept.

PhilUSAFRet
02-20-2012, 01:50 PM
Can't believe how many raves I hear about a KoAloha Concert. Hope get to play one one day. Love to have one side by side with a Kanilea

fabioponta
02-20-2012, 05:28 PM
Just here to talk about my little subjetive experience:
I already have 3 Koalohas: a soprano , a concert Pikake and a Tenor. When I have some mahogany fetish symptom, suddenly I play my Kiwaya KTS-4. Wow...
I just need to say that I don't need any ukes anymore. If I bought some others, it's just UAS consumism.

Plainsong
02-20-2012, 05:49 PM
Can't believe how many raves I hear about a KoAloha Concert. Hope get to play one one day. Love to have one side by side with a Kanilea

While I don't have a Kanilea concert, I do have the superconcert, along with a pikake concert, and you'd think with just a difference in scale length, they'd be concerts that sound similar right? Wow, no. I think of it as the Kanile'a being of the earth, and the Koaloha being of the air. Just so lovely and so different. Both keepers!

1931jim
02-25-2012, 12:42 PM
That's quite an assortment for a "local" store. Where are you?


And that's quite impressive as well... a salesman who actually plays the instrument and knows about them. Probably won't find that at Guitar Center. :p
You started this thread asleept and we are waiting patiently for an answer to the above question regarding the location of this store with the salesman with all those ukes.