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View Full Version : Picked up my new Kanile'a Premium Island Inlay tenor from HMS



wickedwahine11
06-08-2012, 10:25 AM
About four years ago when I started playing the ukulele, the first "real" uke I bought was my Kanilea K2 tenor. I really wanted one of their island inlay tenors but couldn't afford it at the time. Ever since then, I've been fortunate enough to have some great ukes, but I couldn't get that island inlay one out of my head. Still, I just couldn't justify having two Kanilea tenors.

So a couple of weeks ago I was browsing the Hawaii Music Supply website and happened to notice that they had a sale on one that they had in stock. I mentioned it to my spouse as a joke, and asked for it as my anniversary present. To my shock, I was told that if I sold my current Kanilea tenor (I have a one uke in, one uke out policy now), the balance owed would in fact be my anniversary present.

So I ended up selling my K2 tenor (thanks Mike I hope you like it!) and bought the new one from Music Guy Mike last Friday. He ended up dropping it off at the Kanilea factory this week so that Joe could install a pickup in it, and yesterday I took a bus out to Kaneohe and got my new baby.

I'm not going to lie, when Joe opened up the case to show it to me, I got incredibly choked up and almost started to cry. This uke had been my dream for so long and I couldn't believe it was finally mine.

I am still in Hawaii so I don't have any photos taken of it yet, other than the one Kristen took yesterday of my Mom, Joe and I (and put on Kanilea's twitter and Facebook), and the ones from the Hawaii Music Supply website. I'll take more when I get home and put it in its humidified cabinet next to its sibling ukes.

I am naming her "Ailana" which means island in Hawaiian, due to the island inlay. I know it is probably too much bling for some folks but I love the abalone. I ended up replacing the stock plastic bridge pins with some koa ones that I bought years ago. They are a little too loose in this uke so I just ordered some rosewood w/ abalone that I will use instead.

So far yesterday I tried four types of strings on it (I brought six types with me to try out). First, I tried my fave PhD (that I use on my KoAloha and Kamoa) -- to my surprise, they seemed kind of muddy, while they are great on those other ukes. I then tried my old standby Worth CHLGHD and both A strings I tried snapped on me when I was tuning it. The Worth CMLG were not bad but they were a bit too tinny. On a lark, I tried Worth BTLG strings. I usually find them too warm, but I was pleasantly surprised to find they sounded good. They were loud and had a nice clarity. So for now, they are what I will use until try some Fremont Blacklines (that I forgot at home).

First impressions, the curly koa is nice eye candy. The neck is super smooth and fast. I haven't tried the pickup since I don't have an amp with me, but I will at home. The tone is not quite as good as my KoAloha, but seems to rival my Kamaka and I much prefer the glassy UV finish to the Kamaka and KoAloha finish. It isn't as loud as the KoAloha either but I don't mind that. Joe mentioned it was from log 45, but I forgot to ask if it had the sand inlay on the logo.

I just want to thank Music Guy Mike so much. Not only did he get the uke to Kanilea but he delivered a hard case to my hotel in Waikiki last night since he forgot to bring it to Kaneohe. He really went above and beyond and his customer service was amazing.

I also want to thank Joe for installing the pickup for me in such short order so I could pick up the uke before I leave Oahu tomorrow. He and Kristen are such wonderful people and I can't thank them enough for letting me bug them with calls and emails.

Until I can take some photos at home, here are the ones from the factory and the HMS site.

http://www.ukuleleunderground.com/forum/attachment.php?attachmentid=38776&d=1339186113

http://www.ukuleleunderground.com/forum/attachment.php?attachmentid=38636&d=1338762131

http://www.ukuleleunderground.com/forum/attachment.php?attachmentid=38637&d=1338762133

bdukes
06-08-2012, 10:33 AM
Congrats, Staci. It's gorgeous and super unique.

A special uke made more special by the experience.

GinnyT11
06-08-2012, 10:38 AM
A dream is a wish your heart makes, according to Cinderella in the movie. Congratulations on having your dream come true! (And bravo for keeping an eye out for a bargain price, and for living right so that people go out of their way to help you.)

PoiDog
06-08-2012, 10:41 AM
Much congratulations!

I also salivated when I first saw that uke, but there was no way I could afford it. I'm really glad it went to you, because there's no doubt you'll have that special bond with it.

Great picture of you with Joe and your new baby, too!

ukuraleigh
06-08-2012, 10:41 AM
A beautiful uke and a wonderful story!

808boy
06-08-2012, 11:04 AM
Aloha Staci,
I seen one of those in a uke shop in Waikiki last year, don't remember which store as I went to all that was in walking distance from my hotel. Anyway, THE Islands inlay got to me cause that's where my heart always was, born and raised in Honolulu but moved to Cali. 45 years ago.
I seen the pix on FB and was happy to see YOU holding it. Congrats bigtime Staci. May you have many happy moments with Ailana.....................................BO..... ........................

janeray1940
06-08-2012, 11:22 AM
Congratulations Staci, some things are just meant to be!

Pueo
06-08-2012, 11:29 AM
Sweeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeet!
Congratulations on your new ukulele!

Tsaw
06-08-2012, 11:39 AM
Congrats, it's beautiful!
Happy strummin'!
-Tsaw

guitharsis
06-08-2012, 11:51 AM
Congrats, Staci. Wonderful story and absolutely gorgeous uke. MGM provides amazing service and Joe did his part too. Enjoy your new dream uke!

patfia
06-08-2012, 12:08 PM
Congratulations to you. It's beautiful. Will hope that she opens up to rival or surpass the Koaloha.

Am curious where you bought your koa bridge pins and ordered the rosewood/abalone pins from.

Tigeralum2001
06-08-2012, 12:36 PM
Congrats, Staci! I saw that on FB and thought "That looks like WW, but she already has a Kanilea and I think she likes KoAloha" then I saw you posted to FB.

I love that uke! I want a modern Kanilea premium model pretty bad. I played a K1 and it sounded great and I love the Kanilea neck; I think their neck is the best I've played regardless of brand. I bought a vintage Kanilea, but it was before they perfected the neck design. I also like the inlay (I like tasteful bling). That grain is simply spectacular!

Congrats on the uke! It's a beauty!

Ronnie Aloha
06-08-2012, 12:43 PM
Nice Staci. Is the uke shopping over for good?

wickedwahine11
06-08-2012, 12:56 PM
Thank you everyone for the very kind words. This uke means a great deal to me. I guess the wait was worth it...I just have to find the perfect strings for it.


Congratulations to you. It's beautiful. Will hope that she opens up to rival or surpass the Koaloha.

Am curious where you bought your koa bridge pins and ordered the rosewood/abalone pins from.

I got the koa bridge pins from Stewart Macdonald ages ago. I had gotten a couple of sets, and sent one off with my old KoAloha, and currently have the other set in this one. Unfortunately, they don't carry them anymore, but they do have snakewood ones that a lot of UU users have. I got the rosewood/abalone ones from a store in the UK. It will probably take a long time to get to me, but I thought they would go well with the bridge. The link is here: http://www.smallwonder-music.co.uk/shop/Bridge-Pins/c-1-125/

I think you can get them a lot cheaper though on ebay but I already placed my order.


Nice Staci. Is the uke shopping over for good?

Ha, I would like to say so, but I guess never say never. I think Moore Bettahs are wonderful but even if I was lucky enough to be on the waitlist, I wouldn't want to get one unless I knew exactly what I wanted on the inlay and I am too fickle to know the right design for me, so I will just love those from afar.

Lori
06-08-2012, 12:57 PM
Congrats on your new uke! I know you will enjoy it for many, many years to come. Glad you finally got one!
–Lori

kvehe
06-08-2012, 01:48 PM
Wonderful uke and wonderful story!

Joshypogi
06-08-2012, 01:59 PM
Congrats on that beautiful uke!!!!

uke42
06-08-2012, 01:59 PM
Congratulation from one Kanile'a Premium Island Inlay Tenor owner to another :). MGM also sold me mine when I visited HMS in January. Love playing it but sometimes I'm afraid to bring it outside fearing I may scratch it. To me it's a playable piece of art. One I'll never part with.

Trinimon
06-08-2012, 02:21 PM
Wow, she's a beauty! Congrats on the new uke!

kirbo
06-08-2012, 03:11 PM
Absolutely beautiful. I have been looking at that same one for a while now.

mm stan
06-08-2012, 04:09 PM
Aloha Staci,
Wow what a Awesome looking uke....love the island inlay...happy Strummings..Congratulations on your dream ukulele...
maybe some Martins will sweeten that baby up....

Nickie
06-08-2012, 05:01 PM
Wow, congratulations!

Canoe Lady
06-08-2012, 07:29 PM
Great story. Very, very cool uke!

guitharsis
06-09-2012, 01:12 AM
Congrats, Staci! I saw that on FB and thought "That looks like WW, but she already has a Kanilea and I think she likes KoAloha" then I saw you posted to FB.

I love that uke! I want a modern Kanilea premium model pretty bad. I played a K1 and it sounded great and I love the Kanilea neck; I think their neck is the best I've played regardless of brand. I bought a vintage Kanilea, but it wasP before they perfected the neck design. I also like the inlay (I like tasteful bling). That grain is simply spectacular!

Congrats on the uke! It's a beauty!

"tasteful bling". Yes, LOVE that inlay and usually prefer "simple elegance". And yes the grain is spectacular!
Congrats again, Staci!

Tack
06-09-2012, 02:36 AM
Wow - that is a beauty ! Congratulations indeed!

consitter
06-09-2012, 03:06 AM
Absolutely beautiful! Congratulations!

thiam
06-09-2012, 03:34 AM
Congratulations....it's Kanile'a...

dkcrown
06-09-2012, 04:14 AM
What a beauty Staci! I now see what you were waiting for. A stunning uke indeed, but even more so with the story behind it. BTW, Happy Anniversary!

wickedwahine11
06-09-2012, 06:14 AM
I actually was browsing the Kanilea Facebook page last night and came across a message I left on May 8th, commenting on some Flickr photos, "Those Hawaiian island ukes are just so gorgeous, one day I hope to make one mine." I never imagined a month later one would be. :)

wickedwahine11
06-17-2012, 02:34 PM
I just got home from out of town last night so today was my first chance to take some pictures myself of this uke. I was planning on switching out the tuners to some Waverly koa knob ones but when I opened up the box last night, they were a very light yellow color -- they actually looked more like pine than koa so I am going to return them and keep these black tuners for now, possibly try to have Joe switch them to chrome for me at a later date. I did swap out the plastic bridge pins for my koa ones with the abalone dots.

I'm still trying out different strings -- so far I've tried Worth BTLG (good but a little soft), Savarez low g setup with a K91 (a little brassy), PhD (a little muddy though I love them on my KoAloha and Kamoa ukes), and Fremont Blacklines (they sound the best so far). I'm going to put on some Worth BMLG right now to test those out otherwise I'll stick with Fremonts for the time being.

I plugged it in for the first time, just in my little Honeytone amp, and I was very pleased with it. I also forgot how much I like the UV gloss of Kanilea. It does leave fingerprints, but I like the slick feel and the way it brings out the curl in the koa grain.

Here is a photo of the front of the uke:
http://www.ukuleleunderground.com/forum/attachment.php?attachmentid=39111&d=1339979211

This is the side view, which shows the tortoiseshell binding:
http://www.ukuleleunderground.com/forum/attachment.php?attachmentid=39113&d=1339979249

This is the backside of the uke:
http://www.ukuleleunderground.com/forum/attachment.php?attachmentid=39112&d=1339979245

And here she is with her siblings:
http://www.ukuleleunderground.com/forum/attachment.php?attachmentid=39110&d=1339979135

consitter
06-17-2012, 03:08 PM
Beautiful pics! That tortoise shell binding really makes the uke pop. Congratulations again!

Markr1
06-17-2012, 03:29 PM
That's a beauty. I'm sure your proud of it. I love the island inlay.

joekulele
06-17-2012, 03:44 PM
What a great story, what a great ukulele! HMS is the best. Congratulations.
-joe

Doc_J
06-17-2012, 04:45 PM
......

And here she is with her siblings:
http://www.ukuleleunderground.com/forum/attachment.php?attachmentid=39110&d=1339979135

Congrats on the attaining you longed awaited Kanile'a Island Inlay Tenor!

BW I love that uke case of yours. Every time I see your case of tenors, I think, "That is the way to hang up ukes!"

Nickie
06-17-2012, 05:11 PM
Congratulations on finally geting that beautiful uke. Thanks for sharing the story and pics.

mds725
06-17-2012, 06:26 PM
Your new Kanile'a is amazing, and that koa is incredible. Your whole ukulele family is amazing! Congratulations!

ukunuke
06-17-2012, 07:27 PM
Simply beautiful. I have the Custom T Islands, and I love the inlay. Nothing says "uke" like the islands. Enjoy!