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View Full Version : What makes KoAlohas so Loud?



Paul December
05-07-2013, 06:04 AM
I've owned 2 KoAlohas, and have read other posts confirming that they really project. Presently I have a concert that is louder than every uke I've ever played, regardless of size. What's even better, they seem to do it without detracting from their nice tone.

Just curious, what part of their design accounts for this? Why wouldn't other manufacturers do the same :confused:

rossjr
05-07-2013, 06:34 AM
My guess wouldnt be the design as much as it is the materials. I toured their factory while on Oahu a couple of years ago and the construction and design didn't seem all that remarkable when comparing them to let's say a Uke kit. But the craftsmanship and quality materials they use really make a big difference.

I also think that different solid woods sound differently....

Doc_J
05-07-2013, 06:35 AM
I've owned 2 KoAlohas, and have read other posts confirming that they really project. Presently I have a concert that is louder than every uke I've ever played, regardless of size. What's even better, they seem to do it without detracting from their nice tone.

Just curious, what part of their design accounts for this? Why wouldn't other manufacturers do the same :confused:


They have no longitudinal braces, just the unibrace.
Thin tops.
No kerfing.

Maybe its the combination of all that plus ?

dkcrown
05-07-2013, 06:43 AM
I agree with Doc. I think that their unibrace design has a lot to do with the increased volume.

hawaii 50
05-07-2013, 06:45 AM
Yeah..it is the bracing or lack of bracing..the whole uke vibrates like crazy..

Paul December
05-07-2013, 06:54 AM
With fewer braces, I wonder how their structural failure rate compares to other brands :confused:

Doc_J
05-07-2013, 07:01 AM
With fewer braces, I wonder how their structural failure rate compares to other brands :confused:

As an engineer that bothered me when I first saw a KoAloha.

But their "better than the weather" guarantee and with so many folks playing them, no worry.

haolejohn
05-07-2013, 07:55 AM
With fewer braces, I wonder how their structural failure rate compares to other brands :confused:

You guys need to watch that video where Brian (I think) is standing on one of their ukes showing off the strength of the unibrace. I would look it up but YT is blocked.

dav_9
05-07-2013, 08:00 AM
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OR42awvtqR4

This? omg i wouldn't dare stand on one.. they feel so thin as is

hawaii 50
05-07-2013, 08:03 AM
You guys need to watch that video where Brian (I think) is standing on one of their ukes showing off the strength of the unibrace. I would look it up but YT is blocked.

I have seen the video it is Paul Okami standing on the uke..he is standing on the brace..you can stand on a glass vase too,,haha

but the volume comes because there are less braces on the uke than a normal uke,,i thought we were talking about volume not strength or warranties..

quiltingshirley
05-07-2013, 08:12 AM
When we took the tour of their factory in March, one of the guys, I think it was Bruce stood on it and even though I knew it was secure, it made me shudder. (We'd just been in the glue and clamp area) My biggest problem is getting the uke to sound quieter. Even strumming softer (not too good at that) my long neck soprano booms. (I've got "Jake's" type strings on it now and it is better but you can still hear me and I'm not that good)

Paul December
05-07-2013, 08:33 AM
You guys need to watch that video where Brian (I think) is standing on one of their ukes showing off the strength of the unibrace. I would look it up but YT is blocked.

:confused: I thought the brace was to keep the top from pulling-off (the opposite direction of standing on it).

haolejohn
05-07-2013, 08:57 AM
:confused: I thought the brace was to keep the top from pulling-off (the opposite direction of standing on it).

I have no idea. I just know that I believe that brace they use and their thin tops are what make their ukes so loud. I have no problem playing my concert with guitars. If I wanted to hog the show, I'd break out my sceptre and drown out all the other players:)

UkueBass23
05-07-2013, 10:59 AM
I always thought they used magic dust in the varnish....

SweetWaterBlue
05-07-2013, 12:12 PM
I agree with Doc and the others that say its the unibrace and thin top. I am sure it also has something to do with good wood selection for the top. I once was in a jam with HaoleJohn, DarkWater, and Deg. They were all playing Koalohas (tenors and maybe a scepter). I could hear neither my own singing nor my poor little Ohana SK-35 (and it was pretty loud). The whole experience made me buy a tenor lol.

iDavid
05-07-2013, 12:29 PM
I got a factory tour and one of the biggest guys there stood on a soprano uke and it was not over the bracing. He stood right on the sound hole!

hawaii 50
05-07-2013, 12:32 PM
I got a factory tour and one of the biggest guys there stood on a soprano uke and it was not over the bracing. He stood right on the sound hole!

haha you expect me to believe that..come on now! for me that is hard to believe,,i saw Paul stand on the back of the uke

just my 2 cents

Dan Uke
05-07-2013, 12:36 PM
haha you expect me to believe that..come on now! for me that is hard to believe,,i saw Paul stand on the back of the uke

just my 2 cents

Paul at least 130 lbs? I wouldn't do that with any uke!!

hawaii 50
05-07-2013, 12:42 PM
Paul at least 130 lbs? I wouldn't do that with any uke!!


Hey Daniel

this thread was about why a KoAloha has a large voice..but it tuned into standing on a uke wow..haha
but nowadays i guess what else is new..thats why you don't see me on the UU like before..Lol

and you and me are one of the worst to derail a thread..haha

just to stay on the subject..the uni brace is strong and saves time on the builds..and KoAlohas are great sounding loud ukes..i think due to less bracing..

another 2 cents

Dan Uke
05-07-2013, 01:11 PM
Hey Daniel

this thread was about why a KoAloha has a large voice..but it tuned into standing on a uke wow..haha
but nowadays i guess what else is new..thats why you don't see me on the UU like before..Lol

and you and me are one of the worst to derail a thread..haha

just to stay on the subject..the uni brace is strong and saves time on the builds..and KoAlohas are great sounding loud ukes..i think due to less bracing..

another 2 cents

Oopps...if you didn't copy my quote, I would delete but now I can't!! LOL

Paul, I tend to agree about less brace but I have a lattice braced uke, which people would consider over braced but it is significantly louder than any other uke I've played.

It's probably a combination of less brace and thinness of top. You will probably get better answers in Luthier Lounge than Uke Talk as they have experience in builds vs. here, where you have lots of people guessing.

OldePhart
05-07-2013, 03:08 PM
:confused: I thought the brace was to keep the top from pulling-off (the opposite direction of standing on it).

Actually, the bracing is to keep the bridge from "curling" the top - i.e. making it dip in front of the bridge and raise up behind it. (Edit - actually, this is an oversimplification but it will do.)

The unibrace works well at least on the longneck soprano and concert KoAloha ukes I've owned - but I do suspect that "archival longevity" - as in having an heirloom to pass down to your grandkids 60 years from now - is probably not as great on a KoAloha as it is on, for example, a Kamaka or Martin. There is definitely a bit of dip in front of the bridge on mine and it's about four years old. I say so what - I didn't buy the uke to pass it on to my grandkids - 60 years from now they can buy their own danged ukes - I bought 'em 'cause they sound great!

I don't look at a musical instrument as something that should last a lifetime - though obviously some do. I look at a musical instrument more like I look at a car - it should be the very best it can be but if I have to replace it after ten years, or twenty years, that's okay. If my KoAloha lasts for only twenty years (and I've no real reason to believe it won't last far longer) then the cost of ownership has been about nine cents a day. Compare this to cable TV at two dollars or more a day - and cable TV brings me a lot less enjoyment than does my KoAloha - in fact, I haven't even had cable TV for about four years now and don't miss it at all!

John

iDavid
05-07-2013, 05:45 PM
The tenors have more than just the unibrace and I believe the concerts do also. At least with the more recent models.

Kamanaaloha
05-07-2013, 05:55 PM
Ah come on! It's da "musubi" sound hole <facepalm>:wallbash:

plus all da oduh stuff befoa!:nana:

1300cc
05-07-2013, 06:19 PM
and still patented

experimentjon
05-07-2013, 06:30 PM
They have no longitudinal braces, just the unibrace.
Thin tops.
No kerfing.

Maybe its the combination of all that plus ?

I'm quite certain its these factors that make the KoAloha sound.

And now that people mention it, yup, standing on the Unibrace is a common KoAloha demonstration during the tour...but don't try it in heels. My friend (tall and thin) stood on it, and it worked fine until she was stepping off and there was a cracking sound. Oops. Haha.