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View Full Version : Koaloha soprano koa with solid sprucetop look see and sound sample



MGM
03-02-2012, 05:24 PM
Heres a Koaloha model not generally seen in USA and you will probably never see one at your local music store. Its the Gambalele line and yes i know it has the Japanese War Flag on it. I explain Alvins reasoning on how this model came about in the video..anyway if you're a Koaloha nut like me....its another for the collection...sounds great too!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gt9dcf6bvsY

Paul December
03-02-2012, 06:24 PM
:eek: Yikes, it appears that some designer at Koaloha doesn't know his history (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rising_Sun_Flag).

I'm sure it wasn't meant to be offensive, but it strikes me as a big blunder.

I'm sure others will chime-in...
...I'd be interested to hear how Chinese & Korean members here perceive it.

coolkayaker1
03-02-2012, 06:34 PM
MGM is it for sale?

foxfair
03-02-2012, 06:37 PM
No issue with the flag. Actually the whole Asia region was invaded by Japan in WWII. (turn boring history and political topics off)

From the wikipedia link:
When Japan was defeated in August 1945 and the Imperial Army and Navy were dissolved, the flag fell into disuse. However with the re-establishment of a Self-Defense Force the flag was re-adopted in 1954. The flag with 16 rays is today the ensign of the Maritime Self-Defense Force while the Ground Self-Defense Force uses an 8-ray version.[1]

Hippie Dribble
03-02-2012, 06:44 PM
Thanks Mike, nice sounding uke. I must agree with Paul though. The war flag soundhole is a mighty mistake and will be offensive to many, despite the good intentions behind it. Fear of the Japanese people in the aftermath of WWII extends as far south as Australia and exists to this day, particularly among our older citizens, my mother included, who was directly impacted by atrocities. That aside, the uke has that very sweet KoAloha sound and no doubt will be a collector's piece.

Hippie Dribble
03-02-2012, 06:47 PM
No issue with the flag. Actually the whole Asia region was invaded by Japan in WWII. (turn boring history and political topics off)

From the wikipedia link:
When Japan was defeated in August 1945 and the Imperial Army and Navy were dissolved, the flag fell into disuse. However with the re-establishment of a Self-Defense Force the flag was re-adopted in 1954. The flag with 16 rays is today the ensign of the Maritime Self-Defense Force while the Ground Self-Defense Force uses an 8-ray version.[1]

what you find boring political history destroyed the lives of many, irredeemably and beyond repair. Sorry to bring reality into it. Life isn't always pretty and airbrushed unfortunately. To not mention this would be ignorant and a glaring oversight.

Paul December
03-02-2012, 06:48 PM
Ironicly, since Koaloha uses an odd-shaped sound hole, changing to a simple round one would have been like the contemporary Japanese flag :D

Hippie Dribble
03-02-2012, 06:49 PM
Ironicly, since Koaloha uses an odd-shaped sound hole, changing to a simple round one would have been like the contemporary Japanese flag :D
that's it, if they wanted to stir up patriotism why didn't they just go for the current day Japanese flag? Would have looked nicer too, I reckon

Paul December
03-02-2012, 06:51 PM
that's it, if they wanted to stir up patriotism why didn't they just go for the current day Japanese flag? Would have looked nicer too, I reckon
They could have used a red circle label inside to accentuate the flag reference.

uke552
03-02-2012, 07:01 PM
what you find boring political history destroyed the lives of many, irredeemably and beyond repair. Sorry to bring reality into it. Life isn't always pretty and airbrushed unfortunately. To not mention this would be ignorant and a glaring oversight.

agreed and said so well my friend.

MGM
03-02-2012, 07:25 PM
As I suspected this will turn into a political thread and not a ukulele one...oh well. In my old and dying days I can do what many others won,t. If it offends you sorry....its about a uke..not politics...if you want to see it go to the video...if this turns into a political thread rather than a uke one moderators please delete it....now back to more important things like dinner and my date.....lol

Paul December
03-02-2012, 07:58 PM
As I suspected this will turn into a political thread and not a ukulele one...oh well. In my old and dying days I can do what many others won,t. If it offends you sorry....its about a uke..not politics...if you want to see it go to the video...if this turns into a political thread rather than a uke one moderators please delete it....now back to more important things like dinner and my date.....lol

Sorry Mike, I cannot agree with you.
I am sure Koaloha intended it to simply be a uke...
...but (I'm giving them the benefit-of-doubt here) they unintentionally made it something else. Those who are offended or find it distasteful are not making it political. History makes it political.
IMO it might be good for Koaloha to see this thread, if they aren't already aware of the symbol's connotation. I think every "Introduction to International Business" class has case examples similar mistakes.

Tigeralum2001
03-02-2012, 08:06 PM
As I suspected this will turn into a political thread and not a ukulele one...oh well. In my old and dying days I can do what many others won,t. If it offends you sorry....its about a uke..not politics...if you want to see it go to the video...if this turns into a political thread rather than a uke one moderators please delete it....now back to more important things like dinner and my date.....lol
Bringing this back to the ukulele topic, I'm just happy to see that it is more like a ukulele than the jukeulele. Don't get me wrong, I'd love a jukeulele, but not at $4,000! I appreciate the artistry, but 4K puts it in the class of many "holy grail" ukes. I'd rather have a Moore Bettah or vintage Martin 3K or several modern ukes for that price.


Sorry Mike, I cannot agree with you.
I am sure Koaloha intended it to simply be a uke...
...but (I'm giving them the benefit-of-doubt here) they unintentionally made it something else. Those who are offended or find it distasteful are not making it political. History makes it political.
IMO it might be good for Koaloha to see this thread, if they aren't already aware of the symbol's connotation. I think every "Introduction to International Business" class has case examples similar to this one.
The Okami's are of Japanese heritage, so I'm sure they are very well versed in the meaning of the flag. Also, living in Hawaii, I'm sure they are aware of what that flag means to some people. That said, if someone produced a confederate flag ukulele I'm sure we would see even more of this outrage.

Personally, I favor art over political correctness. It was a mighty fine sounding uke! I've been considering a Spruce top for a while because, as much as I love Koa, Spruce has a great sound to it.

Hippie Dribble
03-02-2012, 08:06 PM
As I suspected this will turn into a political thread and not a ukulele one...oh well. In my old and dying days I can do what many others won,t. If it offends you sorry....its about a uke..not politics...if you want to see it go to the video...if this turns into a political thread rather than a uke one moderators please delete it....now back to more important things like dinner and my date.....lol
Mike, seriously, what other way could it have gone? it's one of the most brutal and inflamatory symbols of warfare in existence mate.

edit: Mike, you say that the thread is "about a uke...not politics". This is just not a credible position to take because the politics is, in it's very conception and construction, emblazoned on the face of the ukulele for all to see. In that context you can't just draw a line between the two and dismiss it like that in such a perfunctory way. Don't want to make a scene here but these things just have to be said, I'm sorry.

Hippie Dribble
03-02-2012, 08:10 PM
Personally, I favor art over political correctness.
you gotta be kidding me. political correctness has nothing to do with it. I think we can all agree it's a great sounding uke. But it's an ill-conceived design.

MGM
03-02-2012, 08:13 PM
I could give hundreds of examples of symbols of atrocities but what's the point......it's a ukulele....like it or don't...I am not defending it nor bashing it. Just was showing something many of you will never see or touch....excuse me for loving the ukulele. I,m done and I guess I will never show a video of a vintage 5k Martin CONCERT since it may be controversial.....lol

Tigeralum2001
03-02-2012, 08:17 PM
you gotta be kidding me. political correctness has nothing to do with it. I think we can all agree it's a great sounding uke. But it's an ill-conceived design.
One could make the same argument against ANY flag. All countries are guilty of some atrocity. I'm sure the Australian flag would offend many Aborigines, as evidenced by the occasional protests making international news. Are you saying avoid all political references because it might offend someone? Art over politics.

Tigeralum2001
03-02-2012, 08:18 PM
I,m done and I guess I will never show a video of a 5k Martin since it may be controversial.....lol
Well, how WAS that Koa harvested? I find those practices, especially in the 1920s, despicable! ;)

Hippie Dribble
03-02-2012, 08:24 PM
One could make the same argument against ANY flag. All countries are guilty of some atrocity. I'm sure the Australian flag would offend many Aborigines, as evidenced by the occasional protests making international news. Are you saying avoid all political references because it might offend someone? Art over politics.
I totally agree with you re the flag thing in general. And certainly Australia has a heavy and ongoing burden to bear in it's treatment of its Native people. I find Nationalism a dangerous pursuit when taken to it's extreme, as Patriotism can be when it involves - as it inevitably does - the subjugation of minorities. Again though, I make the point, why display that flag that is so irrevocably linked to the atrocities of warfare when the current Japanese national flag could have been used.

Art over politics? Heck yeah. I think we are on the same page here. That is precisely why I object to the use of this symbol.

Hippie Dribble
03-02-2012, 08:32 PM
I could give hundreds of examples of symbols of atrocities but what's the point......it's a ukulele....like it or don't...I am not defending it nor bashing it. Just was showing something many of you will never see or touch....excuse me for loving the ukulele. I,m done and I guess I will never show a video of a vintage 5k Martin CONCERT since it may be controversial.....lol

Why is everyone always so bloody scared of a bit of controversy...that's what happens when people express opinions that differ. It's just life bro, big deal. Surely we're adult enough to be able to discuss and disagree sometimes???? I don't get this at all...Mike, we know your passion for your ukes, and that your intentions and motivations in sharing them are pure and are a blessing to us. We understand you were neither defending nor bashing it, you were showing it, and we're thankful for that. Because a couple of people raise an obvious issue does not mean you're under personal attack brother. YES, we are all interested, that's why we're talking about it mate

coolkayaker1
03-02-2012, 08:47 PM
Again though, I make the point, why display that flag that is so irrevocably linked to the atrocities of warfare when the current Japanese national flag could have been used.


I thought KoAloha used that flag because the wooden "rays" keep the "sun" from falling into the soundhole. lol

foxfair
03-02-2012, 09:26 PM
To help you understand more why KoAloha make this into the signature series, you can see Papa's introduction in youtube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OUez0jqlenE

And my previous comment was echoing to the one above me. I am a Taiwanese(Chinese people mean those from Mainland China in general, even my grandpa was from there too but us in the same generation consider that we are not the same type of them, we are Taiwanese who ever lived/are living in Taiwan) and I fully aware about how Japan had its great damage to the whole Asia region. I admire Papa's dedication and contribution of Japan Tsunami recovery, they even call for donation in their blog: http://www.koaloha.com/nippon-relief/

I like that type of ukulele, because it's like someone cheers you up behind it. But I don't think many people want to buy it, their customer range should be Japanese but not any of us though.

I am sorry if my answer made anyone uncomfortable, but -- life is short, play more ukuleles is more fun than talking about these all over again and again, especially in the internet forum.

consitter
03-02-2012, 11:53 PM
Wow, this has been one HELL of a thread!


I am sorry if my answer made anyone uncomfortable, but -- life is short, play more ukuleles is more fun than talking about these all over again and again, especially in the internet forum.

Amen, and amen.

Plainsong
03-03-2012, 12:37 AM
I totally agree with you re the flag thing in general. And certainly Australia has a heavy and ongoing burden to bear in it's treatment of its Native people. I find Nationalism a dangerous pursuit when taken to it's extreme, as Patriotism can be when it involves - as it inevitably does - the subjugation of minorities. Again though, I make the point, why display that flag that is so irrevocably linked to the atrocities of warfare when the current Japanese national flag could have been used.

Art over politics? Heck yeah. I think we are on the same page here. That is precisely why I object to the use of this symbol.

Yup. It's not even politics, it's just something that happened. Ya know how Navajo and Indian (meaning, India) cultures have a Swastika looking symbol? Then some genocidal maniac steals it, and there you are. You could have a uke with a swastika on it, and try explaining to people every which way that it doesn't mean what they think, but it's too late, the symbol means something else now.

I can see in a way why you go with the battle flag. Japan is battling to come back strong. But, it's like the Confederate battle flag.. not really something you use.

OTOH, I don't know why MGM has to get upset. He didn't build the thing. And it was awesome that he showed it off for us. Everyone knows the good works done by Koaloha, I really don't think anyone here is questioning their intentions. Seriously, no one would say a bad word about Koaloha on my watch!

We're just commenting on the strange design choice there. Why not be able to talk about it? It's there for all to see.

chrimess
03-03-2012, 12:46 AM
I am sure "Go for Broke' by Jake will sound interesting on it- wish they made a tenor.

dkcrown
03-03-2012, 03:39 AM
Yikes!!! I am staying clear of this one guys. I do understand both sides though.

I just wanted to tell Mike, keep the videos coming. All of them. I for one, love all of the reviews and tidbits. And I would REALLY like to see "Aloha Fridays" come back. Any chance Mike?

Plainsong
03-03-2012, 03:55 AM
But why say "steer clear" - I don't get why it's so impossible to have real discussions here. It seems the only thing anyone wants to talk about is strings and new ukes.

mketom
03-03-2012, 04:16 AM
But why say "steer clear" - I don't get why it's so impossible to have real discussions here. It seems the only thing anyone wants to talk about is strings and new ukes.

Oh, I dont know.. because it's a Ukulele forum?
Aloha MGM, Thanks for sharing a look at this nice, albiet misunderstood uke.

Plainsong
03-03-2012, 04:23 AM
Oh, I dont know.. because it's a Ukulele forum?
Aloha MGM, Thanks for sharing a look at this nice, albiet misunderstood uke.

Because ukes are instruments used to create music, but apparently we're just supposed to be musicians with no depth. Let's just have hidden shallows instead.

Hippie Dribble
03-03-2012, 04:34 AM
because it's a Ukulele forum?
...misunderstood uke.
normally I would agree, but in this instance, where the ukulele has the Japanese flag of war as it's main feature, surely some discussion is justified that scratches beneath the surface, as there are some heavy issues at play...

Your point of it being a "misunderstood" uke is the obvious point to raise. There is a gulf here between the facts of history and the intentions of a modern luthier. There is no misunderstanding from Papa's viewpoint, he knows what he's making and why, but I guarantee you there'll be plenty of misunderstanding from those who look at the top of the ukulele and associate the soundhole with horrific memories of war that are factually grounded in real historical events of 50+ years standing. That's the issue that needs to be addressed in my view. We ARE seeking to talk about the ukulele mate...

Paul December
03-03-2012, 06:00 AM
Bringing this back to the ukulele topic, I'm just happy to see that it is more like a ukulele than the jukeulele. Don't get me wrong, I'd love a jukeulele, but not at $4,000! I appreciate the artistry, but 4K puts it in the class of many "holy grail" ukes. I'd rather have a Moore Bettah or vintage Martin 3K or several modern ukes for that price.

Are you saying this uke sells for $4k? Did the $$$$ from its sale go to Tsunami relief? I hope so, because to make a profit off it IMO would be wrong.
Would someone please clarify this :confused:



The Okami's are of Japanese heritage, so I'm sure they are very well versed in the meaning of the flag. Also, living in Hawaii, I'm sure they are aware of what that flag means to some people.

Then all I can say is... they should have known better.

Tigeralum2001
03-03-2012, 06:13 AM
Are you saying this uke sells for $4k? Did the $$$$ from its sale go to Tsunami relief? I hope so, because to make a profit off it IMO would be wrong.
Would someone please clarify this :confused:
Yes, what is the price of the Gambalele? I assume the flag shaped (cigar box shaped) one is more than the standard sized one. I'd love to know prices on both.

Paul, the Jukealele sells for around $4k. This is the biggest reason I don't own one (or two since there are two versions). I love Papa's creative work.

MGM
03-03-2012, 06:46 AM
This model is around 699. No where near 4000. The larger ones were more and were made specifically to be marketed elsewhere in general and only to those with a desire to help the relief effort. Yes this thread has been fun...back to my cozy bed....you guys can argue all day long...I have better things to do.....zzzzzzzz

haolejohn
03-03-2012, 08:01 AM
Being a Marine...it doesn't bother me. My grandpa on the other hand , who fought in the Pacific, would be bothered by this uke. I currently teach elementary school and when I taught 5th grade we covered WWII. My students loved the Japanese flag and Nazi Germany's flag. I'll be honest with you...they are both cool flags. Yes both countries were misguided at that point and my students have never agreed with their views but the flags are cool looking.more to come...have to check out.

imabuddha
03-03-2012, 08:42 AM
I enjoyed your video MGM, thanks for making it! I was curious about how it would sound.

allanr
03-03-2012, 01:37 PM
There is an old saying that says, "The road to hell is paved with good intentions". While Koaloha had good intentions with this uke, it still represents a huge error in judgement. The flag ("cool looking" or not) is the symbol under which a foreign army massacred Americans worldwide. It is the flag that was painted on the airplanes that bombed Pearl Harbour.

imabuddha
03-03-2012, 02:05 PM
The flag ("cool looking" or not) is the symbol under which a foreign army massacred Americans worldwide. It is the flag that was painted on the airplanes that bombed Pearl Harbour.

And how many have been killed by forces & planes bearing the stars & stripes? Would it be a "huge error in judgement" if Koaloha created a ukulele with the American flag? Some might believe so, but I wouldn't.

No country with a large military is innocent. Sad but true.

haolejohn
03-03-2012, 02:24 PM
There is an old saying that says, "The road to hell is paved with good intentions". While Koaloha had good intentions with this uke, it still represents a huge error in judgement. The flag ("cool looking" or not) is the symbol under which a foreign army massacred Americans worldwide. It is the flag that was painted on the airplanes that bombed Pearl Harbour.

I agree but no country with a military is innocent. Just ask any native American

haolejohn
03-03-2012, 02:27 PM
I almost bought one of these ukes when they first came out. Japan is our ally now. I participated in many war games with the Japanese navy. I understand why some are upset. I have never.net a Pacific theater veteran who well buy anything Japanese made.

coolkayaker1
03-03-2012, 04:49 PM
I think the ukulele is attractive, and I honestly thought the rays were there to solely hold the sun in the middle of the soundhole.

I'm glad that I read this thread. Otherwise I'd be clueless if I played it in a coffee house and a war veteran came up and gave me a fat lip.

allanr
03-03-2012, 04:58 PM
I agree but no country with a military is innocent. Just ask any native American

...and nobody expects Iranians or North Koreans to buy ukuleles with US flags on them, or to make items with US flags on them for sale in America. And I'm pretty sure if anyone from either of those countries posted a video similar to Mike's they wouldn't be going off to bed to get a good night's sleep afterwards.

Hippie Dribble
03-03-2012, 05:08 PM
I think the uke is just downright ugly, that soundhole design is very unattractive and that red thing looks like a nipple. It's just an unsightly piece of work. But of course it sounds AWESOME as most KoAloha's do...I guess in this case it's beauty (and moral responsibility) all firmly in the eye of the beholder.

Tigeralum2001
03-03-2012, 06:03 PM
...and nobody expects Iranians or North Koreans to buy ukuleles with US flags on them, or to make items with US flags on them for sale in America. And I'm pretty sure if anyone from either of those countries posted a video similar to Mike's they wouldn't be going off to bed to get a good night's sleep afterwards.

Assuming those countries allow internet access (and I'm pretty sure most North Koreans have never even hear of the internet- and those who have think Kim Jong Il invented it).

My thoughts are if you don't like it, don't buy it. The market will determine if it was a smart move or now. I see no reason to be so upset by it, personally. Yes, 70 years ago this symbol was a symbol of destruction. Ask residents of Hiroshima or Nagasaki if they are offended by the Stars & Strips. There are so many other legitimate reasons to be upset, why make this an issue? Oh, and if anyone is so mad at KoAloha that they want to sell their ukes in protest, PM me. :)

Kanaka916
03-03-2012, 06:18 PM
This thread has run it's course . . . . Closed and Locked!