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View Full Version : Koaloha v Kamaka - Strings/Sound



HBolte
11-27-2012, 02:27 PM
I'm going to buy a soprano. Listening to this comparison I like the sound of the Koaloha first, then the Kamaka. I like the looks, build and history of the Kamaka.

Question. If the Kamaka had the same strings as the Koaloha(Worth) would the sound be closer?

http://m.youtube.com/#/watch?v=MUHB9jnsuUg&desktop_uri=%2Fwatch%3Fv%3DMUHB9jnsuUg

Thanks for your thoughts!

wickedwahine11
11-27-2012, 02:46 PM
I can't speak as to a soprano, but I have put the same strings on my Kamaka and KoAloha tenor ukes in the past, and they did not end up sounding alike.

OldePhart
11-27-2012, 02:49 PM
Hard to say. I'm sure they'd move a little closer, especially since a lot of people seem to dislike the Kamaka strings. That said, I think the two companies use different bracing patterns so I suspect that the KoAloha is going to still have the edge (if you like the "open" sound of the KoAloha, which I do).

Also...history doesn't butter the beans and from everything I've heard KoAloha's customer service is far better than Kamaka's if you ever do need service - this has been mentioned even by a couple of big Kamaka fans here at UU. I'm not saying Kamaka's service is bad, just that KoAloha seems to go the extra mile and to me that's a lot more important than any historical factors.

But...the biggest thing is you're looking at a pretty significant investment in a musical instrument - it seems to me that it makes sense to buy the one that has the sound that appeals to you most. To buy an instrument in the hopes that you can make it sound like another seems a little counter-productive but that's just my $0.02.

John

quiltingshirley
11-27-2012, 03:25 PM
I have a KoAloha soprano with a concert neck and a Kamaka Pineapple. I have had the same strings on these and they sound different to me. The Kamaka sounds more mellow and the Koaloha sound brighter. Both are Koa wood and both sound good to me but not the same.

mds725
11-27-2012, 03:26 PM
........the biggest thing is you're looking at a pretty significant investment in a musical instrument - it seems to me that it makes sense to buy the one that has the sound that appeals to you most. To buy an instrument in the hopes that you can make it sound like another seems a little counter-productive but that's just my $0.02.

John

I completely agree with John on this. I love the people at KoAloha and the stories about their aloha and customer support are heartwarming, and the instruments are beautiful (except, maybe, for that distinctive Lisa Simpson headstock), but I just happen to prefer the sound of my Kamaka tenor over the sound of my KoAloha tenor, even with the same strings.


history doesn't butter the beans

I'd never heard that expression before. It made me smile.

strumsilly
11-27-2012, 03:47 PM
If you can, play both, and see which sound you like better. I have a Koaloha tenor, and have played a Kamaka tenor, and they are both great ukes. I personally like the brighter and more open sound my Koaloha, but that is going to vary from instrument to instrument. I recently was in a shop had a new Kamaka tenor and concert, and the sound of the concert blew away the tenor. I thought it was the best in the shop. the tenor was nice , the concert was amazing.

coolkayaker1
11-27-2012, 04:18 PM
I can't speak as to a soprano, but I have put the same strings on my Kamaka and KoAloha tenor ukes in the past, and they did not end up sounding alike.

Wickedwahine has extensive experience with both ukulele brands---I'd take her word for it.

Like they say, history doesn't burn the toast. And you can take that to the bank.

Doc_J
11-27-2012, 04:31 PM
I agree with the advice given. Close your eyes and listen. Buy the one whose sound you prefer.

roxhum
11-27-2012, 04:51 PM
Ditto what has been said. The Kamaka is mellower, the KoAloha brighter. Both are great ukes. I personally prefer the Kamaka. I also preferred the feel of the Kamaka over the KoAloha. The KoAloha is lighter, I think that maybe why it is brighter. The Kamaka has a little thicker/width in the body that I thinks affects the sound too.

tigersister
11-27-2012, 05:07 PM
If you prefer the sound of the KoAloha, then I'd recommend buying the KoAloha.

With different strings the Kamaka will have a clearer sound with more note separation and sustain than the stock strings, but they still have a much warmer tone than the KoAloha. The KoAloha has a ringing, almost harp like quality about them to me. Personally I prefer the Kamaka sound and look a bit more overall, but KoAlohas have lovely distinctive voices. I currently own a KoAloha soprano and while it's not my go to uke, I love to play it.

HBolte
11-27-2012, 05:43 PM
Thank you all for the helpful information. Buying based on sound from a video is not easy. How it feels and plays is as important. I thought I'd have to buy online but it looks like I'll be back in Honolulu in a couple of weeks and hopefully I'll have time to play them both. Thanks again.

Ken Middleton
11-27-2012, 08:35 PM
Question. If the Kamaka had the same strings as the Koaloha(Worth) would the sound be closer?



What you must also keep in mind is that if the the instruments were played by the same player they would sound closer.

The player is often a very important factor when it come to tone.

guitharsis
11-27-2012, 11:25 PM
I have Fremont blacklines on both my Kamaka and KoAloha sopranos. Yes, they sound quite different. The Kamaka has a richer more mellow tone.
The KoAloha is bright and punchy. Not as bright with the Fremonts as with the stock string.

Kamanaaloha
11-28-2012, 06:38 AM
Do you have a Pono yet? Not only is it cheaper but the sound is very big from it...best bang for the buck...but not Hawaiian made is all.

Kanaka916
11-28-2012, 07:00 AM
Thank you all for the helpful information. Buying based on sound from a video is not easy. How it feels and plays is as important. I thought I'd have to buy online but it looks like I'll be back in Honolulu in a couple of weeks and hopefully I'll have time to play them both. Thanks again.
That would be your best bet . . . that way, you can actually feel and hear how brands compare with each other. Who knows, you may end up gettin something else.