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View Full Version : Koolau CS Custom, worth it?



drose
03-06-2013, 11:33 AM
HI all,

Was looking at the koolau cs customs you can makethrough HMS, and love the sound of the ebony/redwood tenor. But I was wondering is it worth the money if you have it?

Thanks, would like to know from someone who has one.

DRose

Joshypogi
03-07-2013, 12:08 AM
Worth every penny, amazing quality build from Noa Bonk.

Doc_J
03-07-2013, 07:42 AM
Worth every penny, amazing quality build from Noa Bonk.

+1 on that. While I do not have a CS, I really enjoy my Ko'olau Hawaiian Ash tenor.

Dan Uke
03-07-2013, 07:45 AM
This is one of my favorite sounding ukes of all time!!


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6D3RT6oJpLM&feature=player_embedded

KimosTherapy
03-07-2013, 08:35 AM
This is my favorite Ko'olau Deluxe:


http://vimeo.com/37221130

bearbike137
03-07-2013, 08:52 AM
I am one of those people who just can't bring myself to custom order a uke.

Usually, I walk into a store full of instruments and find that there are only one or two that really grab me. So what is the chance I am going to order that one or two out of fifty that will speak to me? Seems like the odds are against me. That said, Koolau makes a great instrument.

PedalFreak
03-07-2013, 09:04 AM
Yep I think it's worth it. Never played a Ko'olau I didn't like. Saving my pennies for a Custom Ko'olau now :)

bearbike137
03-07-2013, 09:11 AM
This is one of my favorite sounding ukes of all time!!


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6D3RT6oJpLM&feature=player_embedded

Sounds great - however, it sounds more like a guitar than a uke to me...

Dan Uke
03-07-2013, 09:18 AM
Sounds great - however, it sounds more like a guitar than a uke to me...

So does my Moore Bettah in my opinion! :)

drose
03-07-2013, 12:21 PM
Thanks guys!

How about this?
http://vimeo.com/37221130

Newportlocal
03-07-2013, 02:09 PM
HI all,

Was looking at the koolau cs customs you can makethrough HMS, and love the sound of the ebony/redwood tenor. But I was wondering is it worth the money if you have it?

Thanks, would like to know from someone who has one.

DRose

Sounds like you have been looking at this one. One of my all time favorites.
http://www.theukulelesite.com/koolau-tenor-deluxe-quilted-redwood-macassar-ebony-gloss.html

Wicked
03-07-2013, 02:37 PM
I'm giving serious thought to a Koolau CS.

I have arrived at a point that I was at years ago regarding guitars.. thinning the herd, so to speak. I was thinking of boiling things down to two ukes - one traditional (Hawaiian, reentrant tuning) and one more "modern" (you know, the ones that people complain aout sounding guitarish - with linear tuning). After watching Kimo Hussey's video with the redwood/milo Koolau, I am starting to think that perhaps a more modern style Hawaiian instrument (made with a Hawaiian wood) could be a good compromise between my two desires (at least for now).

.........I am sure that I will ponder and test for months to come, but I'm getting there.

Telperion
03-07-2013, 02:44 PM
I owned a Ko'olau model 200 tenor for a while (koa/spruce) and absolutely loved it. based on that, I can almost guarantee that a custom CS from Noa Bonk would blow you away. I've actually missed that model 200 so much that I have been shopping around for a replacement of some sort recently. I came very close to ordering a CS with the milo body and redwood top. Milo is gorgeous wood and the example on HMS just has incredible depth of tone. The problem is that I wouldn't want to custom order one without a slotted headstock, or without the gloss finish, and with those options the price gets pretty steep. I made a sort of compromise and just ordered an old stock Ko'olau model 300 concert with redwood top and koa body. I've enjoyed playing a concert size a lot lately so I think it will be fun to try.

Also, any talk I hear about 'sounding too much like a guitar' just doesn't make sense to me. In my opinion, it's all about find something that sounds amazing, period. I guess I can understand if someone just doesn't like guitars, but personally, I don't care what it is if it sounds great and is a joy to play. If you can afford it, order the CS in tone woods that compliment your other uke(s). It probably won't matter though, as your other ukes will likely get neglected once you get the Ko'olau. One last bit of advice would be to contact HMS or Ko'olau directly and see what your options are. These ukes may be more customizable than what is shown on the HMS website. Good luck!

KimosTherapy
03-07-2013, 08:15 PM
This is one of my favorite Ko'olau CS ukes:


http://vimeo.com/59389068

KimosTherapy
03-07-2013, 08:18 PM
..... And this is the other one:


https://vimeo.com/46914382

bearbike137
03-08-2013, 05:04 AM
Also, any talk I hear about 'sounding too much like a guitar' just doesn't make sense to me.

Well, I didn't say it was a bad thing. In fact, I said that the Ko'olau sounded great. However, my personal preference is for something that has a more traditional uke sound.

rasputinsghost
03-08-2013, 05:08 AM
They're expensive but they're great ukes. Try out other customs from other builders if that's at all possible, they all have their own characteristics (and price ranges) and you should expose yourself to the greatest variety possible before dropping money

PedalFreak
03-08-2013, 05:47 AM
They're expensive but they're great ukes. Try out other customs from other builders if that's at all possible, they all have their own characteristics (and price ranges) and you should expose yourself to the greatest variety possible before dropping money

For what you get from a Ko'olau I think they're one of the best values in Custom ukes. But you're right it's best to play as many as you can to make sure you know what you may be getting.

wayfarer75
03-08-2013, 06:52 AM
Well, I didn't say it was a bad thing. In fact, I said that the Ko'olau sounded great. However, my personal preference is for something that has a more traditional uke sound.

I've never been into ukes that sound "guitary" until I saw that video of Kimo Hussey demonstrating the redwood/milo uke. I think it's amazing! However, I also love the "classic" uke sound, which to me is percussive and kinda spunky. I have a soprano and a concert, and I particularly like my concert's ability to have a traditional uke sound when I want to, and a more resonant, ringing sound when I want to play that way.

But a light went off when Kimo said he was going to "play to the instrument," and switched from a Uke 101 type of strum to playing in a way that brings out what that Ko'olau can do. If he played "The Girl from Ipanema" on a koa soprano in the same way, no doubt it would sound totally different--even if it's another custom from Ko'olau. Suddenly I could see myself getting a low-G tenor one day, made out of tonewood ususally reserved for guitars.

Dan Uke
03-08-2013, 08:17 PM
Here's another one


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g011KoypnkM

KimosTherapy
03-09-2013, 04:42 AM
Ho, Bruddah Daniel!

Somehow I wen go miss dis video of Bruddah Aaron playing dis awesome Ko'olau Premium tenor uke! Mahalo fo posting!

.... Eh, how come you wen go post dis video??? I know you one Spruce guy ... not Cedar!!! I love Cedar tops and Cutaways!!!

Dan Uke
03-09-2013, 05:40 AM
hehehe...you are right that I prefer spruce but I just wanna show how good these Ko'olau are. If you love Cedar, you like the Jay Lichty even no cutaway on HMS? I personally think these Ko'olaus blow it away!! BTW, I love, love cutaways too! Suburst is not too bad either :o

UCLAMAN
06-04-2014, 08:29 AM
I own a koolau T100SP and a mya moe tenor. I think the Koolau feels better and sounds better. I still love my mya moe... but I feel the koolau is a better instrument in looks, feel and sound. Just my two cents.

Telperion
06-04-2014, 08:53 AM
I own a koolau T100SP and a mya moe tenor. I think the Koolau feels better and sounds better. I still love my mya moe... but I feel the koolau is a better instrument in looks, feel and sound. Just my two cents.

I agree 100%. Noa's ukes are outstanding, and are true custom ukes with very high attention to detail. I think I would call Mya Moe more of a "customizable production uke". They're great players, and look and sound very good, but Ko'olau is on a different level. I'm sure there are many Mya Moe fans that would defend them to the death. Nothing wrong with that, and my comment is not at all meant as a slight to MM. Just my opinion from personal observation.

-Steve

coolkayaker1
06-04-2014, 10:08 AM
I owned many ukes, including Mya Moe, KoOlau, KoAloha, etc. . I agree with everything UCLAman and Telperion have written.

Plus, I consider the KoOlau to be the best Hawaiian "K" brand out there, based on my experience. Noa rules.

And I will add: although Pono is made by the same parent company, the thick neck on the Pono (much thicker than on a KoOlua) is an absolute buzzkill. Ponos lack the finesse and light weight of a KoOlau. Ponos are rather heavily constructed, KoOlaus are not. Ponos have rather thick finishes (glosses), KoOlaus do not.

Here's another KoOlau video, since we're throwing those up here for brother drose: the incomparable Paul Hemmings rocking his cutaway (and yes, he does use the cut, esp. at the intro and 3 minutes plus. Way to go, Paul!)


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MfSk6mAc2sc