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View Full Version : Kudos to KoAloha and a new Pineapple Sunday



wickedwahine11
08-19-2012, 10:27 AM
As some of you are aware, back in April I sold my KoAloha Pineapple Sunday to a member here on UU. Although I was aware of some chips on it, and disclosed those, I very rarely played it, so I had no idea that the soundboard had gotten a bit distorted.

When the buyer received it, he notified me that it was canted by 12 degrees. I ended up refunding his money and paid him to ship it to KoAloha rather than back to me.

That was back in April. About two months had passed and I called KoAloha to check on the status of the inspection and whether they would need to repair or replace it. It turns out that they had accidentally misplaced the box and that day Mom KoAloha (Pat Okami) called me back apologizing profusely. Then I got a message from Pops (Alvin) and he said they would be replacing the ukulele because he was not happy with its condition.

Long backstory, I had actually gone through about five Pineapple Sundays looking for the one that I was happy with. Yeah, I know, I'm finicky and hard to please and so on...So I was sad to hear it would not be able to be repaired, but to be honest, I had already sold it, so I was figuring I would just sell the replacement uke.

I had sold the prior one for two reasons: I had always wanted a Kauai made uke and the sale of one ukulele would allow me to purchase it, and I also owed a friend $500, which I could pay back by selling one uke. I chose the PS because I generally only play tenors and low g, and because it was the only manufacturer I had two ukes from. So that way I would still have a Kamaka, KoAloha and Kanilea.

So my friend was very cool and understanding and told me not to rush to repay them and just to repay them when I got and sold the replacement PS. I had long ago bought the Kamoa, and did a bit of scrimping to pay that bill since I didn't have the sale proceeds any more. (Neither here nor there, but anyway...)

So I knew that my Mom had planned a trip to Hawaii for us in August. So about a week ago, I wrote an email to KoAloha asking if there was any chance there might be a PS to pick up, telling them no big deal if there wasn't but since I was in town, I figured it was worth a try.

I heard back from Pops and he told me he had just finished a batch of PS ukes, and he would choose the pick of the litter for me to have. We set up a date for me to come in (this past Thursday) and he also asked if I would join them for lunch that day.

I knew that KoAloha had a practice of eating lunch together as a group, and I felt very honored to accept the invitation.

Somewhere along the way though I began to feel very guilty about selling the replacement PS. I guess because they were being so generous, that I felt like it would be kind of rude to do so. But at the same time, I still owe the $500 and it seems wrong to not repay a debt predicated on the sale.

So I went down there on Thursday hoping that I would not like it, as that would make my decision so much easier. Then I could just relist it and go about my business. I still wanted them to know how much I appreciate their warranty replacement, and how much I love my crown bridge tenor, so I actually took it with me to the factory that day.

When I got there, I was shocked to find out that Pops had decided not to pick one out for me. He wanted me to choose my new uke, as he put it, "One will speak to you." He laid out 11 brand spanking new Pineapple Sundays for me to pick from. None of them had any strings or even tuners on them yet, so I had only aesthetics and wood grain to make my determination.

I find one gorgeous golden blonde honey color uke that stood out to me right away. The front was honey, but the back was almost a tan color. The fretboard was also golden with brown lines running down it and it had especially brilliant abalone fret marker dots.

I immediately picked that one as the one that spoke to me, though I still went through the other 10 to be sure. They then made me another generous offer, because it didn't have tuners yet, I could choose whether to install their new black ones with the KoAloha logo, or I could keep the tuners off my old PS (the dark chrome). I opted for the old tuners for two reasons: 1) it was a way to keep a part of my old PS for sentimental value, and 2) I don't really like the black tuners on the light blonde wood of this uke.

So while I waited for them to install the tuners and strings on the new uke, Mom KoAloha talked story with me. She was such a warm and lovely person, and I really enjoyed our time together. After that Pops said he wanted to get something for me, so he went into the office and returned with his solo CD, as well as his CD for the Tsunami relief and the song sheet for the music. He brought a boombox and put the CD on and then proceeded to sing me the song -- he has such a lovely voice!

We then discussed how I was going to the My KoAloha Story movie showing at the LA Grammy Museum on the 28th. He told me what a great film it was, and he and Mom both urged me to get the word out on the show. Just as a side shout out, the tickets are only $10, and Daniel Ho and Alan Okami are doing a workshop for free before it. If you are a KoAloha fan, a Daniel Ho fan, or even just an ukulele fan in LA, you should try to attend, it sound like it will be a great event.

Once my uke was finished, Brian (who I had also been chatting with) went to pick up lunch for everyone. They refused to accept any money from me for it (I tried a couple of times to pay), and then we had lunch together. It was a really nice opportunity to see the warmth and ohana that the KoAloha crew have for each other. I also enjoyed speaking with Alan during lunch. I had met his brother Paul a couple of times (a true sweetheart) and this was my first chance to meet Alan -- a really funny and smart guy.

After lunch, I told them it was time for me to get out of their hair and get back to Waikiki. I got goodbye hugs from them, and walked out the door with my new Pineapple Sunday.

All in all it was a fantastic experience, and it just proved to me once again how wonderful the KoAloha family are. The Okamis are incredibly kind and generous with their time and spirit, and I cannot thank them enough for replacing my uke, and allowing me to be a big part of the selection of the new one.

I would feel like such a jerk and so guilty for selling it. I sold the first one in part to finance my Kamoa, but also because while I love the PS looks, I prefer playing tenor and low g ukes, so it never got played.

So now I don't know what to do. It is really beautiful, but I probably won't play it that often and I still owe that $500. I could save up to get the $500 another way but it would be much easier to do so from selling this. In addition, I have a custom cabinet to hold my ukes and I'm not sure five will fit. And I don't want to store ukes anywhere else in my house as that is humidity controlled. Plus, if it is just sitting in a case somewhere, that doesn't seem like it will be appreciated.

But the last thing I want to do is be ungrateful after the generosity of time and spirit that the Okamis lavished on me. I know they don't really go on UU, or Flea Market Music, but they would probably know it was mine if sold. For one thing, they all kept remarking on the Ameritage case I had with it. Plus, it is a new bridge style but has the old tuners. And basically, if they ever knew, and if it would hurt them, I would never do it. In that case, it will just be expensive eye candy on my wall and I will find another way to pay my debt.

Plus, I really do like the looks of it. If I ever wanted another PS, I would regret selling this one. It is quite pretty and sounds good. Plus, it has the old tuners I really prefer.

If I end up keeping it, I want to sell my Ameritage case and get a Kamoa super concert case for it -- probably yellow to match the pineapple theme. Since I am in Kauai right now, and Sam is holding a yellow super concert case for me this week, I need to make up my mind now.

P.S. Yes, I travel to Hawaii a lot, but I am not rich. My mom pays for all these trips, so no, I don't have $500 just lying around.

Anyway, I just wanted to acknowledge the ohana of the Okamis. My experience is one more reason why I always recommend KoAloha to people in search of a K uke. Don't get me wrong, Kamakas are wonderful, and I love my Kanilea (and really like Joe and Kristen a lot). But when it comes to the best combination of sound, warranty and customer service, KoAloha is tough to beat. IMHO of course.

Without further ado, here is a pic I took with my phone of the new uke. Sorry for the quality but I didn't bring my camera on this trip. Now just to decide whether to sell it or keep it (I've gone from leaning sell, to being equally torn, to now leaning keep). Keeping it is what my soul tells me to do. If so, I'm naming it Makana, or "gift" in Hawaiian for the gift of ohana that the Okamis gave me.

41971

foxfair
08-19-2012, 10:41 AM
Even I(and many others) want to buy it from you, I'd say you should keep it! You may find a balanced solution for the financial concern later, but you'll never find another uke with so many spirit of Okami ohana and the story behind.

cheers,

v30
08-19-2012, 10:44 AM
Wow, they sound like truely lovely people. The world could use more like them.

Pippin
08-19-2012, 11:05 AM
Papa KoAloha and sons, along with Mrs Okami are the salt of the Earth. As people go, there are none better. It sounds as though you had a wonderful experience. I would never get rid of that Pineapple Sunday if I were you. The Okami family runs KoAloha as if everyone working there is part of their own family. That is so rare these days.

wickedwahine11
08-19-2012, 11:11 AM
I know you guys are right. :) That is what my heart tells me. As I told one of my friends since I don't want to sell this, I guess I have to find another method of repaying my debt. Selling blood perhaps? :)

Here are a couple more photos of the front and back of the uke.
41981
41982
41987

In that case (no pun intended) looks like I should probably list my Ameritage case so I can hopefully go buy the Kamoa case for this uke.

foxfair
08-19-2012, 11:14 AM
Next thing to request is plz upload a sound clip when you have available time!

chrimess
08-19-2012, 11:40 AM
that is a KoAloha story right there.

hibiscus
08-19-2012, 11:50 AM
Thank you for taking the time to share your wonderful experience! and keep that uke!!!!!!!!!!!!

Prius23
08-19-2012, 12:08 PM
That PS is the most gorgeous uke ever. Keep it. Thanks for sharing the 08/28 info. I will check it out and try to attend.

Tigeralum2001
08-19-2012, 12:19 PM
WW, you can always string a PS in low g. I have mine strung with low g right now. It is hard to find the right string.

Definitely keep the PS. Buy the Kamoa yellow case. You will find a way to make up the money, but that uke now means more to you than the cash.

PS- (not Pineapple Sunday) I love my Pineapple Sunday that we traded. The "Spikey" bridge is beginning to have the strings cut it. Not sure what I will do when it comes through as KoAloha wants to use the current bridge as the replacement...

Markr1
08-19-2012, 01:35 PM
I had the near exact same problem as you with my Sceptre. I sold it not knowing there was a problem with it. I didn't sell because I needed the money but because I simply didn't play it. Maybe it was because the action was high on up the neck which I think now is because of the problem it had. After talking over the phone with Brian about it and if they do replace it he was so nice about it I'm going to keep it and not sell it due simply that he was so nice about it and I wouldn't feel right about it. Maybe if the action was lower on it and there wasnt a problem I would enjoy playing it more. Regardless I'll be keeping it. I'm still waiting for the second phone call after I sent pics tho I know it will be coming.
I'm glad yours had a happy ending.

mds725
08-19-2012, 02:30 PM
Great story! Thanks for sharing it. And the new PS is gorgeous. As much as I would want to buy it (and I don't even generally like them) I think you need to keep it, and I think that, given its backstory, you will find time to play it.

And buy the yellow Kanoa case because (1) Sam is cool, (2) the cases are wonderful and (3) things that have stories behind them are great keepsakes. I finally bought a Kamoa tenor case (from the great people at The Strum Shop in Roseville, CA, near Sacramento), and while I love the case and the wonderful folks at The Strum Shop, I would have preferred to have brought one back from Kauai because then it would have had a better story behind it. In your position, I'd find another way to raise the $500 to pay my friend.

wickedwahine11
08-19-2012, 02:41 PM
The "Spikey" bridge is beginning to have the strings cut it. Not sure what I will do when it comes through as KoAloha wants to use the current bridge as the replacement...

I know how cool that bridge is and you may not like the new one. They did seem to add a reinforcement on the bottom of this bridge to deal with the soft koa. I think you can see it pretty well in this photo of one on the HMS website.

http://www.theukulelesite.com/catalog/product/gallery/id/285/image/1668/


I had the near exact same problem as you with my Sceptre. I sold it not knowing there was a problem with it. I didn't sell because I needed the money but because I simply didn't play it. Maybe it was because the action was high on up the neck which I think now is because of the problem it had. After talking over the phone with Brian about it and if they do replace it he was so nice about it I'm going to keep it and not sell it due simply that he was so nice about it and I wouldn't feel right about it. Maybe if the action was lower on it and there wasnt a problem I would enjoy playing it more. Regardless I'll be keeping it. I'm still waiting for the second phone call after I sent pics tho I know it will be coming.
I'm glad yours had a happy ending.

Mark, have them lower the action for you. They had me check it and I had them lower it before I left to match the action on my tenor. And I agree with you. They have been so kind to us, it just feels wrong to sell it, even if we had sold the initial ones.

dkcrown
08-19-2012, 02:52 PM
Aloha Staci. The amazing kindness of the "KoAloha" (Okami) family has become so common place that this is not surprising. How can any other company live up to KoAloha's incredible customer service.

Keep the Pineapple Sunday. Sell your body.:)

chrimess
08-19-2012, 02:53 PM
The boys will put the action anywhere you like- after they had optimized mine, I had thought that only a neck reset could have achieved that.


I know how cool that bridge is and you may not like the new one. They did seem to add a reinforcement on the bottom of this bridge to deal with the soft koa. I think you can see it pretty well in this photo of one on the HMS website.

http://www.theukulelesite.com/catalog/product/gallery/id/285/image/1668/



Mark, have them lower the action for you. They had me check it and I had them lower it before I left to match the action on my tenor. And I agree with you. They have been so kind to us, it just feels wrong to sell it, even if we had sold the initial ones.

wickedwahine11
08-19-2012, 02:57 PM
Aloha Staci. The amazing kindness of the "KoAloha" (Okami) family has become so common place that this is not surprising. How can any other company live up to KoAloha's incredible customer service.

Keep the Pineapple Sunday. Sell your body.:)

Hahaha. If you saw me, you would know it could take YEARS to come up with $500 at that rate. :)

chrimess
08-19-2012, 02:59 PM
I'd actually be prepared to sell my body for a Pineapple Sunday, if anyone is interested!


Hahaha. If you saw me, you would know it could take YEARS to come up with $500 at that rate. :)

coolkayaker1
08-19-2012, 03:02 PM
Just stumbled upon this, and glad it all worked out, Staci.

That's interesting that Papa found it unacceptable even after the string tension was tuned down to slack for the entire time it was missing, something like two months.

You "broke bread" with them and everything... that is so cool. You knew them before, but now you really are ohana!

You have a way with the spirit of the isles, and that is reflected in your posts on UU. Mahalo.

PS to Tiger: would Southcoast Bridge Beads help, or is it too late for that.
http://ukeeku.com/2011/06/19/bridge-bone-beads-review/

seeso
08-19-2012, 03:06 PM
Right on, WW! Makana is beautiful.

Steedy
08-19-2012, 03:17 PM
Awesome! Makes me want to save up for a KoAloha uke.

Tigeralum2001
08-19-2012, 03:19 PM
PS to Tiger: would Southcoast Bridge Beads help, or is it too late for that.
http://ukeeku.com/2011/06/19/bridge-bone-beads-review/

I actually bought a set, but the beauty of that bridge is in the design. I'm afraid of what it will look like with 4 "warts" hanging off the bottom of the bridge... I realize the other option is a new bridge, but somehow that doesn't make the choice easier. Here is my PS:
41990

coolkayaker1
08-19-2012, 05:38 PM
Oh, I see what you mean, t. It's a pretty bridge, not flat on the end.

4199942000

For what it's worth, here's photos of my Koaloha soprano early 2012, with bridge beads. The beads were brown but had white specs and white in the holes, so I took a black Sharpie and filled in all the white so it'd match the uke better. lol Whether they look like dingleberries is in the eye of the beholder. They are really exaggerated in these photos--they're not nearly as obtrusive when the uke is looked on as a whole. These photos are like those in the family album where someone shoots up from below and all you see is a two-car garage pair of nostrils. :D

The bridge has a black plastic piece on the bottom anyhow now, so pulling through is unlikely--perhaps a response to others with cutting strings. Plus, it's straight, obviously. Yours is pretty and curved.

PS Oh, wait yours is a knotted bridge type, not a tie bridge/ Do BBeads work on that anyhow, I don't know.

PPS Okay, back to Staci's thread...

Trinimon
08-19-2012, 06:01 PM
Congrats! Wow, I think you're very much part of the Okami ohana now, especially after you broke bread with them! It would break my heart to sell that uke if it were mine now that it has a history and filled with good intentions you can't put a price tag on. Sorry if that makes your decision tougher. :p

Canoe Lady
08-19-2012, 07:34 PM
Gosh, what an awesome story! That uke has built in karma from the start.

GKK
08-20-2012, 04:26 AM
Ask your mother for the $500 to pay your friend back and then repay your mother in payments or give her the Pineapple Sunday Uke. :)

molokinirum
08-20-2012, 06:06 AM
That is an awesome stroy Stacie!!! The KoAloha people are amazing and I am glad everthing worked out for you and the PS now has a new home!!!!

Markr1
08-20-2012, 12:46 PM
I got a call today from Brian at Koaloha today about my sceptre. I'm not going to post it here but rather in uke tech where my story is so I don't have to post it twice. What I am going to say is that Brian said that his family had a wonderful time hanging out with Staci and look forward to another visit with her. He talked about what a nice person she is and that they really enjoyed her. He is just so kind over the phone and I mentioned UU to him and he said he doesn't usually have time to visit this forum but said he may just come to it to see what it's all about. This was after I told him about all the wonderful stories here on UU about his family. I told him they were very much loved here. He told me thank you and all the UU members for our support of them.
So he might pay our site here a visit in the near future. I'm hoping.

wickedwahine11
08-22-2012, 12:57 PM
I got a call today from Brian at Koaloha today about my sceptre. I'm not going to post it here but rather in uke tech where my story is so I don't have to post it twice. What I am going to say is that Brian said that his family had a wonderful time hanging out with Staci and look forward to another visit with her. He talked about what a nice person she is and that they really enjoyed her. He is just so kind over the phone and I mentioned UU to him and he said he doesn't usually have time to visit this forum but said he may just come to it to see what it's all about. This was after I told him about all the wonderful stories here on UU about his family. I told him they were very much loved here. He told me thank you and all the UU members for our support of them.
So he might pay our site here a visit in the near future. I'm hoping.

Thanks for letting me know their kind words. :)

My mom actually just bought me a new Kamoa fiberglass case for this uke today as an early birthday present. Yay!
42123

And I have two potential buyers on my Ameritage case so I can give the proceeds for that sale to my friend to pay down my debt. I also plan to sell a Tangi mini uke as well as some Kamaka memorabilia either here or on eBay to help pay off my debt so I can keep this uke with a clear conscience for not wronging KoAloha or my friend.

janeray1940
08-22-2012, 01:17 PM
I can keep this uke with a clear conscience for not wronging KoAloha or my friend.

Glad to hear this - it really does sound like a keeper. Happy new uke week!

Gmoney
08-29-2012, 12:46 PM
SNIP...
My mom actually just bought me a new Kamoa fiberglass case for this uke today as an early birthday present. Yay!
42123

Staci, which case is that one w/your PS? The tenor case or?? I guess their Pineapple case is for a standard pineapple?

wickedwahine11
08-29-2012, 01:24 PM
Staci, which case is that one w/your PS? The tenor case or?? I guess their Pineapple case is for a standard pineapple?

That is their grand concert case. If you get one though, be sure to get the one for the wider headstock, they also make one with a slimmer headstock for non geared tuners, but the PS doesn't fit in that version.

experimentjon
01-18-2013, 09:15 PM
Late to the party, but horray for a new PS and another great KoAloha story! Those Kamoa cases are beautiful!