View Full Version : Uke set up question..........

07-27-2013, 04:40 AM
Does anyone know how well a Kanile'a is set up from the factory? I found a tenor at a local music store and really like the wood grain and gloss finish. Price is close to other online sites and HMS. Normally,I would just deal with HMS, but they don't have what I'm looking for at this time. I asked Andrew to keep an eye out for one. Maybe I'll just wait ? Your thoughts!

07-27-2013, 04:57 AM
When it comes to Hawaiian ukulele's, I've played a Kamaka tenor that was very well setup and a Ko'aloha that was very poorly setup. This isn't helping you with the Kanile'a. You can assess the setup of the instrument in the shop yourself. Take a headstock tuner or borrow on from the shop. Get the instrument in tune first and then fret each string up the neck one at a time and check the tuner to see if its staying in tune at each fret(you should accept some variation but you don't want to see the intonation progressively getting sharper or flatter as you go up the neck). How does it feel? Can your fret at the first fret without if feeling to heavy?

Nothing against HMS but I would check out the local instrument properly first.


mm stan
07-27-2013, 05:00 AM
I would go with HMS....all ukes get set up whether cheap or not....why take a chance.....when buying ukes, patience for the right one makes better sense...

07-27-2013, 05:06 AM
I've found that what I consider to be the critical part of the setup - getting the nut right for good intonation - is pretty good on the Hawaiian-made ukes. However, that doesn't mean that it's a "good" setup for your particular style. For example, both of the KoAloha ukes I've owned came with perfect intonation at the first fret (i.e. the nut was set up properly) but the action at the bridge was far higher than I am comfortable with. I think this is intentional - it's far easier to lower a saddle than raise one - but when you deal with the guys at HMS you can talk to them about what kind of action you like and they'll adjust it if need be.

Woah, wait a minute, why are we having this conversation? It's local??? Just go to the music store and play it - you will know in a heartbeat whether it is the uke for you or not!


07-27-2013, 09:15 AM
I have played the uke once, but a couple of guys came into the same room and started testing guitars. Needless to say, I was drowned out. I waited but they were there for the long haul. LOL The action felt good but I like the idea of testing the notes with a tuner. The koa on this uke is not "curly", its more like a piece of furniture. I'm not a big curly fan! Just my preference. I think I'm going to stop by the shop again.Thanks for the replies.

Brian W
07-28-2013, 07:35 AM
I went to a local music store in Durham (right outside of Raleigh) NC that sells kanilea's, and found that the setup varied between instruments. They had a super soprano, a K1 concert, and a K2 tenor in stock. The setup on the super soprano was absolutely perfect, and was ready go. However the concert and tenor were not as good, and needed tweaking. The tenor was actually the worst, with very high action at the 12th fret, and some sharp fret ends. I would recommend either playing one first, or order from HMS (they really know these instruments and will set it up exactly how you want it). I would call and ask to speak to Andrew directly, then tell him what you are looking for. He periodically goes directly to the Kanilea factory (they are on the same island) and may be willing to pick one out for you during his trip. I think Kanilea are building some of the best ukuleles right now. I owned a K1-C for a short time and later sold it (I prefer the more traditional sound and playability of a soprano), and found that they can be a little finicky with the strings that you put on them. I like fluorocarbon strings, but they sounded bad on my uke; Kanilea's sound best with either Aquila's or D'Addario Nyltech strings.