View Full Version : Ukulele Brand Advice

02-16-2008, 09:51 AM
Hi Friends,

I'm a longtime musician, jazz, blues, and folk, and a recent ukulele convert. I play in high G tuning, both fingerpicking and strumming. I've been playing on a Bushman Jenny tenor for a while and am ready to move on to a higher quality professional grade ukulele. I know I want a tenor and I know I want handmade. Unfortunately there are no uke stores in my area (Atlanta). So, I'll be buying without having played it first. I've read good things about the Kanile'a K1-T, the KoAloha Tenor, and the Ko'olau and Kamaka tenors. All are roughly in the same price range ($800-1000). So I'm seeking your advice: does one of these four stand out among the others? Also, where is the best place to buy from, direct from the maker, from an online retailer (musicguymike), or a store such as Elderly or Buffalo Brothers Guitars?

All views welcomed. Thanks in advance and best regards,


02-16-2008, 10:01 AM
honestly, i wouldnt mind owning any of the ones you mentioned. what i would do is go on youtube and search for each of those ukes. many times you will find someone that lists what kind of uke theyre playing and you will get an idea of how it sounds.

this is how i decided on my most recent pono mahogany tenor.

02-17-2008, 06:00 AM

Ukulele are like women. You know it's the right one, once you old it in your arms !!!!
Seriously, You should order your uke to someone who can show you actual pictures of the instrument. Each one has a special color and wood design.
The 4 brand yours talking about are all realy good.
The choice of the wood and the strings play a very impotant part on the sound too.
I also have a Pono Ko'olau, and it's a superb instrument for the price.

02-17-2008, 06:53 PM
If you're ordering it online and you can't try it before hand, I would go with the Kamaka. It is probably the most sought after brand of ukulele as well as one of the oldest. Not to take anything away from the other companies you mentioned but if it were me I would go with a Kamaka.

02-18-2008, 06:06 AM
If your price range is $800-$1000, I'd say get a Ko'olau tenor. You can get the new T-1 model under $1000. I've tried all the brands you've listed and a Ko'olau was far and away the best in my opinion (and I was somewhat of a skeptic on whether Ko'olaus are worth the money). The example I tried was a series 100 w/slothead that was selling for $1700, but I believe the only real difference between different models of Ko'olau is the amount of bling you put on it. A T-1 or series 100 will be fairly plain looking but should sound as good as the more expensive models.

All of those brands you mentioned are excellent, but that Ko'olau series 100 I tried was something special.

02-18-2008, 07:42 AM
All of those brands are excellent. Im sure you will be satisfied with whatever you chose. My opinion will be a Kamaka Tenor. Every single one i've played on whether it was mine or a friends had excellent sound. So even if you get it online without playing it, you can guarentee it will look and sound Great.