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View Full Version : New Uke Day!



bynapkinart
04-09-2012, 09:27 AM
My Koa Pili Koko Deluxe Soprano got here this morning and I'm thrilled with it. Kind of taken aback by how nice it is for the money I bought it for (Jason is selling these for $180 these days). It has a really awesome voice, very similar to the KoAloha I used to have but a tad mellower. Sounds kind of like a cross between Kamaka and KoAloha.

This fact really surprises me because I paid over $500 for the KoAloha and Kamakas go for over $800. This thing is very close.

Couple of notes after playing it for a few hours:

The fretwork is unbelievable. This might be the nicest finished neck I've ever played in a ukulele. Jason clearly knows what he's doing, because it just feels like butter with no high frets and no sharp ends. I can't say enough about the finishing.

The nitro finish really shines and is very awesome to look at. Less modern and shiny looking than my Pono, it has a very cool vintage look and tone.

The rosewood saddle had a good sound to it, but I switched it out with a bone saddle I have within the first hour. I think wood saddles are great, and it had a nice mellow tone, but really think that ebony is just about as soft as you should go with a saddle to maximize sustain. The bone, predictably, sounds awesome.

The tuners are horrible. Switched those out first thing with friction tuners from Mike at Mainland...I only like sopranos with friction tuners. Problem is that the headstock is pretty narrow towards the top, so it'll take some finesse to tune the C and E strings without the tuners getting in the way of each other.

I'll take some pictures later, but for right now I'm just enjoying this very surprising "budget" soprano!

bynapkinart
04-09-2012, 02:00 PM
Some pictures for the curious:

http://i581.photobucket.com/albums/ss258/bynapkinart/P4090022.jpg

http://i581.photobucket.com/albums/ss258/bynapkinart/P4090023.jpg

http://i581.photobucket.com/albums/ss258/bynapkinart/P4090032.jpg

http://i581.photobucket.com/albums/ss258/bynapkinart/P4090026.jpg

bynapkinart
04-09-2012, 02:08 PM
I also took a few of the KPK with my Pono solid koa tenor to show the difference between the acacia and koa woods. I tried to balance them the best I could to show the difference...the koa is more red with a curly grain, while the acacia wood is more orange/yellow and flamed. It's really surprising to me how much acacia looks like koa, and the tone is very similar as well. I'll have to wait till the soprano breaks in to pass judgement on koa vs acacia, but to continue using a term I've used all day, I'm really surprised at how similar they are. Especially because I've specifically NOT bought a ukulele because it used acacia.

Here's the koa and acacia ukes together:

http://i581.photobucket.com/albums/ss258/bynapkinart/P4090013.jpg

http://i581.photobucket.com/albums/ss258/bynapkinart/P4090009.jpg

http://i581.photobucket.com/albums/ss258/bynapkinart/P4090008.jpg

http://i581.photobucket.com/albums/ss258/bynapkinart/P4090016.jpg

Trinimon
04-09-2012, 03:14 PM
Beauty of a uke! Congrats!

808boy
04-09-2012, 03:28 PM
Aloha bynapkinart,
Congrats on you new KPK, great bang for your buck. I have a KPK Deluxe Tenor and a KPK Standard Concert, love them both.
On your tuners, you may be able to "index" them if they have square holes for the knobs. I did it to my Koalana Concert fitted with genuine Koaloha tuners. They now all line up with the headstock when tuned instead of facing every which way............................................... BO.............................................

Nickie
04-09-2012, 07:35 PM
Congratulations! It sounds like you're in love. I love a good romance...

mm stan
04-09-2012, 07:56 PM
I had both the reg and deluxe KPK soprano's..only two distributors in usa....yes I love the warm tone of mine
I like the wood saddle and nut better..as it makes them warmer..

bynapkinart
04-10-2012, 05:06 AM
I had both the reg and deluxe KPK soprano's..only two distributors in usa....yes I love the warm tone of mine
I like the wood saddle and nut better..as it makes them warmer..

I liked the tone of the rosewood saddle a lot, but I wanted to get a little more sustain out of it. I think the rosewood adds a lot of that warmth but (at least on mine) seemed to make it a lot more plinky.

I'll definitely be experimenting with the saddle a little more, because I did like the sound of the rosewood. I'm thinking that ebony or purpleheart might have the density to retain some of bone's sustain, but soft enough to add a little warmth. With the bone saddle as is, it's bright...but bright in the way that almost every koa soprano I've played is.

That's another reason why I picked this guy up...it's a great way to experiment!

TheOnlyUkeThatMatters
04-10-2012, 06:20 AM
Congratulations! Cool that you're tweaking your uke to suit your style, too.

1937Scott
04-16-2012, 02:09 PM
Very pretty wood. I have a question:

When you replaced the tuners, did it leave exposed holes from removing the geared tuners? I like Sopranos with friction tuners as well....

Thanks ahead of time,

Scott

kvehe
04-16-2012, 02:21 PM
Great pictures, especially the last three. I am so happy to see that they are friends.

bynapkinart
04-16-2012, 04:00 PM
Very pretty wood. I have a question:

When you replaced the tuners, did it leave exposed holes from removing the geared tuners? I like Sopranos with friction tuners as well....

Thanks ahead of time,

Scott

Hey Scott, it did leave the holes exposed, but it bothers me less to see the holes than it does to have geared tuners that don't hold tune!

This is a look at the backside of the headstock:

http://i581.photobucket.com/albums/ss258/bynapkinart/P4090030.jpg

tigersister
04-16-2012, 05:57 PM
It's lovely! Glad to hear it's a good player, too.

1937Scott
04-17-2012, 04:40 PM
Thanks for posting the pic!

I agree, I also think that you might be able to get creative to maybe hide the holes....

Anyway, I'd never seen that done, I appreciate you posting about it.


Scott

bynapkinart
04-17-2012, 05:32 PM
Thanks for posting the pic!

I agree, I also think that you might be able to get creative to maybe hide the holes....

Anyway, I'd never seen that done, I appreciate you posting about it.


Scott

No problem! I agree, it would be easy to patch those holes...I'm having too much fun playing it though for right now. It's a great complement to the Pono, even if it is a little jarring to go from the huge, deep warmth of the Pono sound to the smaller, tighter sound of the KPK. They are very different instruments.

bynapkinart
04-17-2012, 05:33 PM
Thanks for posting the pic!

I agree, I also think that you might be able to get creative to maybe hide the holes....

Anyway, I'd never seen that done, I appreciate you posting about it.


Scott

No problem! I agree, it would be easy to patch those holes...I'm having too much fun playing it though for right now. It's a great complement to the Pono, even if it is a little jarring to go from the huge, deep warmth of the Pono sound to the smaller, tighter sound of the KPK. They are very different instruments.

bynapkinart
04-17-2012, 05:35 PM
Double post. Bad internet! Bad!

play4Him
04-17-2012, 05:48 PM
Congratulations on the new uke. I have the Koa Pili Koko Tenor. I'm still deciding whether I'll stay with it or not. I've played guitar for years, and thought the uke might be fun to add to the mix. So far I can't seem to get into it. This uke is nicely made, but hasn't really inspired me. Hope you enjoy yours for years to come.

snunez
04-18-2012, 04:55 AM
No problem! I agree, it would be easy to patch those holes...

Hey Ben, I went ahead and ordered the friction tuners too! Now what exactly would be the quick and easy patch for those holes?

bynapkinart
04-18-2012, 12:51 PM
Congratulations on the new uke. I have the Koa Pili Koko Tenor. I'm still deciding whether I'll stay with it or not. I've played guitar for years, and thought the uke might be fun to add to the mix. So far I can't seem to get into it. This uke is nicely made, but hasn't really inspired me. Hope you enjoy yours for years to come.

I've not played the KPK tenor yet, so I can't really pass judgement on it. All I can say is stick with it. I've played guitar for 15 years, and picked up the uke last summer. I think the uke has slowly grown on me more and more...at first it was a pleasant way to end the way, then it grew as I realized its power as a songwriting tool and finally most recently when I realized that it just works better with my voice. I'm a baritone/tenor singer, and I have to fight a lot harder to sing over a guitar, which makes me more of a tenor as I use more of my upper register. Because the ukulele doesn't have as much low end and it is overall mellower, it's much easier to use my full range of vocals yet still have a full and rich sounding melody. Guitar loses a lot when you're not pushing it, while ukulele (I feel) has a more consistent full sound no matter how you attack it.

I hope that you grow to love the ukulele...it has become my go to instrument after years of guitar. I love guitar, it's just that the ukulele has something that I can't describe, and it gives me opportunities to write stuff I've never been able to write. Yours will too, someday...just give it a little time and you'll probably get as crazy about it as I am!

PoiDog
04-19-2012, 05:57 AM
I've always had this weird suspicion that KPK were the under-the-radar maker out there that offered perhaps the best value : dollar ratio out there.

But am I right in thinking that they don't actually use koa for their ukes, opting for the more affordable acacia?

That's not an issue as far as I can tell ... different wood is all. Just wondering if that's how KPK keeps their cost so reasonable.

snunez
04-19-2012, 06:09 AM
But am I right in thinking that they don't actually use koa for their ukes, opting for the more affordable acacia?

You're right.. they use acacia. It's specified in the product description on the KPK website. I can see how the name could be confusing. Shouldn't it be APK?