View Full Version : The uke makes me a fickle person...UAS is raging

03-30-2012, 02:24 PM
So I want a soprano. I owned a KoAloha for a few months before I realized that I tied up a lot of money in an instrument that was less versatile than I'd like, so I traded that up for a tenor w/ a pickup (which is much more versatile for me and is kind of my first choice uke).

However, now I'm left without a nicer soprano, and I really really want one.

I don't want to buy a K standard -- not yet. My plan is to probably buy either a Kanilea Concert (I've heard wonderful things), a KoAloha concert, or a Kanilea tenor when I buy my next K uke.

I'm very, very interested in 2 ukes: the Ohana SK-38 and the Koa Pili Koko Soprano. There's pros and cons for both. I've never played either brand, I've actually not played a Chinese uke yet save for my Makala.

Ohana seems to have a stellar reputation and this particular model has a lot going for it: it's a good homage to a vintage Martin, has much the same sound and features, is elegantly simple and is priced right.

The Koa Pili Koko is beautiful. They seem to use great wood and the uke just screams Hawaii. I've also read many reviews that say that the sound of the soprano and the concert models sound very similar to those of KoAloha...my personal favorite K uke, and my favorite sound out of Hawaii these days.

On the other hand, the Ohana sounds really warm and mellow and vintage, which would be perfect for me if I didn't already own my Johnny Marvin. I'm not really needing another vintage tone in my arsenal, and even though I love the sound of old Martins I just don't think its as versatile a tone in today's music. I get a ton of vintage vibe out of my Marvin. Also (and this is purely vanity) I don't like the Ohana logo on the front of the headstock. It seems really stupid of me to be concerned about that, I know, but if I want an homage I want to be as close to the original as possible.

The KPK has all the tone and looks I want (even the bling on the Deluxe seems well done, it was overwhelming at first but I saw better pictures online that show it as much more understated and elegant along the lines of a 5k). The sound is even spot on, if the reviews and the sound samples are correct - I love the KoAloha tone and I'd love to get my hands on that again. The way I look at it, I'd be getting something close to what I had in the KoAloha with a little more bling and a lot less worry on my part. The only thing is, Koa Pili Koko seems to have had trouble with cracking bodies. There was a lot of talk about it on this forum a couple of years ago, but it seems to have quieted down since Keli'i sold it off to Jason. Are they still cracking all the time or have they figured out the wood?

Both companies are young and although Ohana has the better track record in terms of durability, both seem to be known for making very nice instruments for the price and the KPK in particular seems to have a very Hawaiian vibe to it. Any owners of both care to chime in? What should I do?

03-30-2012, 02:40 PM
Aloha bynapkinart,
I have both a standard concert and a deluxe tenor by KPK. For me, a good bang for the buck and yes, it sounds like a higher priced uke (that's why I bought them). Cracking issues are all resolved and haven't heard of any.
Good luck in your choice. Oh, Jason is GREAT to deal with...............................BO............. ............
P.S. I also have an Ohana Pineapple Soprano and it's okay to me. Gifted to me but I rarely play sopranos.

03-30-2012, 04:07 PM
Hi Ben:

I'd like to help, but I'm afraid I may ultimately make your decision a more difficult one. I prefer a soprano to any of the other sizes. While I own a Kamaka concert and a few baris, I have about a dozen sopranos, some very nice ones, vintage and luthier-made, among them. One thing I would admit is that none of them is what I would call "versatile." They all seem to have their own unique voices, which is something that I really enjoy about them. My recommendation is to select a soprano ukulele that has a sound you dig, and then get another one when you want some versatility. I have not played a KPK, so I won't make any judgements about them I've played the Ohana. For the money, it's pretty terrific. But, were I to buy another soprano, I'd go for something as individual as possible, as opposed to something that sounds a little like this and a little like that. Brukos intrigue me for this reason. They don't sound like any other sopranos. They are also affordable.

Anyway, good luck with the hunt.