View Full Version : First Ukulele for this Newbie

03-23-2012, 09:07 AM
I just received my first ukulele yesterday. After letting it acclimate for awhile, I opened it up. It's a beautiful instrument ! It's a Deluxe Koa Pili Koko Tenor. Beautiful wood. After tuning it though, it doesn't seem to have much volume. Is that a case of the strings needing to get settled in or possibly my technique ?
I'm a guitar player, but not experienced with an ukulele. Can you experienced players help me out. Thanks for your help in advance.

Also, I'm going to need to get a hard case, as the ukulele barely fits in the gig bag. What are your recommendations ?


03-23-2012, 09:28 AM
Regarding the volume, it may be a combination of all the above in addition to you being used to the volume of a guitar. As with guitar, definitely experiment with different strings. In my own opinion, I see bigger differences in tone among different ukulele strings in comparison to different guitar strings (assuming all are the same gauge). I've found that Aquilas tend to be the loudest (and brightest) to my ears. Also consider wound G and C strings to add a more volume. I have a concert I picked up in Oahu that seems to only want to sound good with wound G and Cs.

If you still find yourself wanting more volume, then consider a pickup. The Mi-Si Acoustic Trip (http://mi-si.com/products/) seems to be the preferred electronics but I've only ever owned one one A/E uke and I barely even play it lol.

As for a hard case, I'm partial to Ameritage cases (http://www.ameritagecases.com/listing.php?cat=Gold_Series&line=Ukuleles) but they can be a little pricey. If you're just wanting storage, I would contact where you got the uke from and tell them the gig bag it came with is too tight a fit.

03-23-2012, 09:31 AM
Congratulations on your new Ukulele and welcome to UU.

It will take a few days for the strings to stretch, but you might want to try new strings. A lot of times, the strings that come on a ukulele are chosen for price, not quality.

If you play sitting down, try playing without the back of the uke touching your body. A lot of volume will come off the back if you aren't blocking it with your body.

You should be strumming or picking the strings near where the neck meets the body, not over the sound hole.

I don't have a Pili Koko Tenor, so I don't know what cases might work for you.


mm stan
03-23-2012, 12:05 PM
Aloha Mark,
Congrats on you new KPK, it could be the strings, What strings do you have on there...or you are used to
more to the volume of the guitar..for a case, it depends if you like a light case or a sturdy heavy one...
let us know..Happy Strummings..also get yourself a good clip on chronmatic tuner...google cherub WST 550C

03-23-2012, 12:51 PM
I just got the same uke yesterday, and I love it, great sound and resonance. It is not as loud as some of my ukes, and it may be because it has kind of a thin body. Definitely going to be my favorite one.

Koa Pili Koko deluxe tenor
Greg Bennett UK-70 concert
Makai TK-65 Tenor
Lanikai O-8 8 string Tenor

03-23-2012, 02:33 PM
It came with Worth clear strings. I'll try to work on my technique, and see if that helps.

Drew Bear
03-23-2012, 02:52 PM
Congrats on the new uke, Mark. Good choice. Worth Clears should be fine and will probably sound better with a little time to settle in. Don't be afraid to strum strong!

03-23-2012, 07:28 PM
Congratulations! what does a Pili Koko uke look like?

03-23-2012, 11:05 PM
First congrats!!! and you must know that we vicarious-new-uke people love to see pictures and hear soundclips when you can upload them.

And it's a good idea to get a hard case if you love your uke. I decided to get a Max Case (http://amzn.to/GJ7zAb) and I am very pleased with it. It has a lot of room for music, accessories (strings, tuner) and it is good-looking. Though I'd love to hang my uke on the wall to show it off, I keep it in the case. It is good insurance to store it properly. No regrets.

Secondly, there is a lot of good info on the forum on strings. I in fact am currently running through tests of Southcoast Strings (http://www.southcoastukes.com/stringuide_files/linuke.htm). The maker is going to have loud vs soft sounding strings in various tensions (looser, tighter) and they don't come in lengths such as soprano, concert, tenor. Single length fits multiple sizes. I tried D'Addario J71's (Jake Shimabukuro's faves) and the sound was about like the Southcoast and I didn't like Aquilas, but they are LOUD and you may adore them!

If someone has a ukulele like yours, ask them about the strings. It is a matter of taste but strings really make a lot of difference The bottom line is, if you have a great uke and it sounds like crap, try new strings. And of course, play a lot as the instrument has to open up as well (get used to vibrating.)

mm stan
03-23-2012, 11:22 PM
how long have you played, and can you tell yet if your uke sounds muted..if you still have concerns
contact the seller..I have had a couple KPK and know one seller..there are only two who distribute in
the US..it's either Ken(Chiang) or Jason..good luck..

03-23-2012, 11:57 PM
Congratulations on the new uke! Post some pics, we want to see it.

03-24-2012, 05:38 AM
I'll try to get some pics up soon. Thanks for all the suggestions. Still trying to get use to the new instrument.

03-24-2012, 11:56 AM
the other thing that could make the KPK a little mellower is the rosewood saddle and nut. I was thinking of changing over to bone or something else, but for now it's fine. Can't seem to put it down

03-24-2012, 12:21 PM
He did replace the saddle and nut with bone.

03-25-2012, 04:39 PM
Here's a few pics of the Koa Pili Koko.


05-20-2012, 01:42 PM
beautiful!!!!!!!!!!! I'm thinking of getting this in a soprano size..... Thinking hard.... ;)

05-23-2012, 06:31 PM
I ordered it..... Lol. Should be here Tuesday. Long way to east Texas from Hawaii...lol

05-23-2012, 10:18 PM
Congrats on the new uke, I just googled Deluxe Koa Pili Koko Tenor and they look really nice.

I too am a lifelong guitar player that came to the uke as a second instrument, the breakthrough moment for me was realising I could just play guitar chords on it and that the high g could initially just be ignored and played as if it was a low g same as if you took the e and the a low strings off your guitar and threw a capo in the 5th fret.

So once I got it that an Am shape on the guitar worked on a uke, and an F and a barred F on the fifth and seventh frets worked , and a d worked and hell they all work, the confusion comes from trying to get your head around an A minor actually being a D minor and a G is actually a C, forget all that rubbish to start with and just play the thing like a mini guitar at first, then all the correct uke chord names will eventually start to imprint themselves onto your brain after a while.

As for volume, I think maybe the strings are the problem, It looks like a well made uke and should project pretty well, try throwing a set of aquilas on it just to make the comparison (what strings did it come with by the way ?).

And...... welcome to Ukulele Underground, some fantastic people on here that have inspired me and helped me a lot.


here's a good pick of a uke like yours I think.


05-23-2012, 10:46 PM
Here's a few pics of the Koa Pili Koko.

35512355133551435515Beautiful uke, congratulations! Worth clears come highly recommended; I'm going to try some. At the moment I use Aquila new nylguts all the time..... you just have to experiment and see what you like.