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View Full Version : So I Bought A "K" Brand



Chris Tarman
05-22-2012, 05:42 PM
I broke down and bought a new uke from MGM at the Denver Ukefest on Saturday. He had a gorgeous Kanile'a super-soprano, but it was way too much for me right now. Then I played this. It sounded great, and felt really nice. It wasn't terribly expensive. And it had pretty interesting grain compared to other KoAloha ukes I've seen.

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It has a nice "chimey" tone all up the fingerboard. Speaking of fingerboards, what wood is this one??? It isn't as dark as the pictures on their website, and it has inlaid wooden position markers (white dots on the side). Is it koa?
So far, I'm liking it a lot. This is my first Hawaiian-made ukulele.

consitter
05-22-2012, 05:47 PM
Congratulations! You'll now want another. Then another, etc......

Chris Tarman
05-22-2012, 06:13 PM
Luckily, I don't really like concert or tenor scale ukes. So that means that I really only need ONE more KoAloha... A pineapple. And I don't know if I like the look of them. Actually, if I hadn't have played and heard this, I don't know that I would have ever bought one. I have to say, I'm not a huge fan of them aesthetically. I think it could grow on me, but I think they're a bit over the top. The headstock shape combined with the laser-etched logo and name on the bridge... it's all a bit much. It does make them easy to spot from a distance though, so I guess it's successful from a "branding" standpoint.

roxhum
05-22-2012, 06:33 PM
Congratulations on your new koAloha. I hope it's looks grow on you.

janeray1940
05-22-2012, 06:43 PM
I have to say, I'm not a huge fan of them aesthetically. I think it could grow on me, but I think they're a bit over the top. The headstock shape combined with the laser-etched logo and name on the bridge... it's all a bit much.

Totally agree with you on this, but then every time I hear or play one I realize how nice they are, sound-wise. In the end, that's really what matters, right? But I do wish Koaloha would dial back the branding just a little bit.

Congrats on the new uke! It really does have an unusual grain compared to most Koalohas that I've seen. Nice!

Hippie Dribble
05-22-2012, 06:49 PM
Totally agree with you on this, but then every time I hear or play one I realize how nice they are, sound-wise. In the end, that's really what matters, right? But I do wish Koaloha would dial back the branding just a little bit.

Congrats on the new uke! It really does have an unusual grain compared to most Koalohas that I've seen. Nice!
+1 on the aesthetics...the soundhole shape irritates me a bit too I admit. But that said, the sound of those KoAloha sopranos is so nice. Congrats on dipping your toe into the cool, clear Hawaiian waters Chris! :)

bynapkinart
05-23-2012, 02:58 AM
I broke down and bought a new uke from MGM at the Denver Ukefest on Saturday. He had a gorgeous Kanilea super-soprano, but it was way too much for me right now. Then I played this. It sounded great, and felt really nice. It wasn't terribly expensive. And it had pretty interesting grain compared to other Ko'Aloha ukes I've seen.

3814538146381473814838149

It has a nice "chimey" tone all up the fingerboard. Speaking of fingerboards, what wood is this one??? It isn't as dark as the pictures on their website, and it has inlaid wooden position markers (white dots on the side). Is it koa?
So far, I'm liking it a lot. This is my first Hawaiian-made ukulele.

Yes, it is Koa. Great buy, too. The KoAloha soprano is an incredible sounding instrument. Not very traditional looking, but usually to get the best sounds you have to step outside of convention and think a little differently. I love them.

PhilUSAFRet
05-23-2012, 03:05 AM
Noticed how many Ko'Alohas were being played at the PBS Hawaii 1 hr special on the Waimea uke and slack key institute. The "bargains" of the K ukes. I may have to have a nice koa concert one day.

mascompro
05-23-2012, 05:16 AM
........ Actually, if I hadn't have played and heard this, I don't know that I would have ever bought one. I have to say, I'm not a huge fan of them aesthetically. I think it could grow on me, but I think they're a bit over the top. The headstock shape combined with the laser-etched logo and name on the bridge... it's all a bit much. It does make them easy to spot from a distance though, so I guess it's successful from a "branding" standpoint.

I know exactly how you feel, I avoided them because of the aesthetics, but finally picked my baby up one day, because I just, wasn't feeling the other options available to me at the time. I was instantly in love with the sound, and feel. Now, because I love the feel and sound, so much, I have grown to appreciate the aesthetics as well.

I hope to be able to add a concert to my stable soon.

hibiscus
05-23-2012, 05:33 AM
Congratulations! I love the "aesthetics"! I consider it my grand piano of ukes and treat it carefully.

GKK
05-23-2012, 05:52 AM
The design of the Koaloha's headstock relates to the Okami's Christian faith.

The double K's represent the "King of Kings" which is God Almighty and the center staff is the Kings Sceptor. The seven points on the headstock represent the number 7 which God used to represent "perfection or completeness", the 7 days of the week and many other examples in the Bible.

The sound hole is the shape of a Musubi or Japanese rice ball.

I never really cared for the headstock design but, after I visited the Koaloha factory, The sound and quality of the Ukulele's won me over!

kvehe
05-23-2012, 06:09 AM
Congratulations! You're right about the grain - it's lovely. I have a soprano pineapple and a Pineapple Sunday, both of which I love. One of these days I'll need a more conventional shape. Yours is terrific!

Kathryn

bombbuddy
05-23-2012, 06:14 AM
Congratulations!! enjoy!

OldePhart
05-23-2012, 06:24 AM
I love the headstock and the end of the fretboard on the KoAloha ukes. Not so crazy about the new bridges with the lazer engraved logo but it wouldn't stop me from buying one. Fortunately, my longneck soprano was made before they started using those bridges.

They also tend to come with bridge saddles a bit high for my liking, but that's easily remedied.

Above all, though, the sound is just amazing, and that's what really counts at the end of the day.

John

hmgberg
05-23-2012, 08:13 AM
Hi Chris:

You know, like you I'm a fan of vintage, mainland-made ukuleles. I like the traditional aesthetics and the tone. I do have 3 Kamakas however (a newer soprano, a newer concert, and an older pineapple), and I really like them. It's a different kind of tone, but if you are going to have multiple sopranos, why not have some that capture the Hawaiian sound as well? Right?

As for the Koaloha aesthetic, I'm on the other side of the fence, even though I agree it is over-the-top...or at least dramatic. It's a strong statement. I bet it will grow on you.

TheOnlyUkeThatMatters
05-23-2012, 10:36 AM
Congratulations!

jhanover
05-23-2012, 10:59 AM
I really wanted to go to UKE-Fest but it was sold out in hours. Next year, the venue is one minute drive from my house. I have a pineapple they are a little higher in tone than the soprano but love it all the same. That's a beauty you have there.

OldePhart
05-23-2012, 12:08 PM
Next year, the venue is one minute drive from my house.
Hmmm...I think I'd call that a short walk... :)

John

stevepetergal
05-23-2012, 01:18 PM
You will love this ukulele for a long, long time. Congratulations.

Chris Tarman
05-23-2012, 02:28 PM
I really wanted to go to UKE-Fest but it was sold out in hours. Next year, the venue is one minute drive from my house. I have a pineapple they are a little higher in tone than the soprano but love it all the same. That's a beauty you have there.

Are they moving it next year? I meant to get the dates but forgot... I should be able to make it for the Saturday workshops and concert at least, although the whole weekend will be tough because of my work schedule and the fact that I have a vacation at the beginning of May. My work's vacation scheduling is kind of complicated. The place where it was this year and last is a good size, but leaves a little to be desired as far as actually being able to play in small groups and try out ukes to buy. It's pretty noisy and crowded in that lobby!

Chris Tarman
05-23-2012, 02:30 PM
Thanks everyone! I didn't mean to imply that I think KoAloha ukes are ugly exactly... It's just that the design elements don't GRAB me. It is definitely growing on me though! The fact that it sounds fabulous and plays great are really helping with that.

Chris Tarman
05-23-2012, 02:32 PM
You will love this ukulele for a long, long time. Congratulations.

I just noticed that you live in Oak Park... Do you go to the Harrison Street meeting on Thursdays? I went to the meeting on May 3rd when I was in St. Charles for the pipe-collecting show I go to every year. I also went to the meeting LAST May, and plan to be there NEXT May!

stevepetergal
05-24-2012, 04:28 PM
I just noticed that you live in Oak Park... Do you go to the Harrison Street meeting on Thursdays? I went to the meeting on May 3rd when I was in St. Charles for the pipe-collecting show I go to every year. I also went to the meeting LAST May, and plan to be there NEXT May!

Yes, we met there. Sorry you didn't like the looks of my Koaloha. I love everything about it.

Chris Tarman
05-25-2012, 12:10 PM
Yes, we met there. Sorry you didn't like the looks of my Koaloha. I love everything about it.

Oops! It will grow on me, I'm sure. When I was in high school and started playing bass, I hated Fender basses, maple fingerboards, and tortoiseshell pick guards. Guess what I play now? A white 1977 Fender Jazz with a maple fingerboard and a tortoiseshell pick guard.

hmgberg
05-25-2012, 01:05 PM
We'll have to start calling Chris, "Honu."