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View Full Version : My new Koa Pili Koko



Valerie
01-10-2009, 01:53 PM
Here's a brief review of my new uke.

Overall, I'm happy with it, but currently in a bit of post-obtainment depression, in which I am semi-regretting getting it (buyers remorse happens whenever I buy something new, even when it's just a new flavor of toothpaste, and it almost always goes away with time.)

The good:

Sounds wonderful
Easy to play/ great action
Well crafted (with one minor exception...)
Looks awesome


The bad:

The two pieces that make up the back were well matched, but weren't cut correctly (see picture... black line is the back seam, blue line is the center of the back)
The tuners are cheap and make tuning a bit of a chore (I'm seriously considering switching them out). I've a fluke with friction tuners and a Lanikai with geared- and I've never had tuning problems with either~ but the KPK makes me want to pull my hair out. The strings make these poping noises (like I'm turning the peg, and turning the peg and turning some more... no change in pitch. Then POP! major change in pitch. Turning... turning... you get the picture.)


The meh:
-I was a bit upset the KPK sounded so similar to my Lanikai (video (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ps7R6naLcJo)). I mean, I can definetly hear a difference (the lanikai is punchier~ a bit brighter, a bit louder.), yet they are very alike. I'm wondering if this could be that I've Worth browns (a relatively melow string) on my Lanikai, and aquilas (brighter strings) on my KPK... I was looking for a mellow sound out of the KPK. So... I might have to play the string game and try out a few different strings until I get a sound I really like on the KPK (I mean I do like the sound right now, I just wish it were even mellower).


Some pics!
http://i270.photobucket.com/albums/jj89/ValerieValirah/IMG_0004.jpg
http://i270.photobucket.com/albums/jj89/ValerieValirah/IMG_0003.jpg
http://i270.photobucket.com/albums/jj89/ValerieValirah/IMG_0002.jpg
http://i270.photobucket.com/albums/jj89/ValerieValirah/IMG_0001.jpg

dnewton2
01-10-2009, 02:44 PM
Nice uke! I have a KPK soprano and I have the same thing with the center line not matching with the line of the bookematch. Mine is on the top though.

I don't think the tuners are that bad. They are not the greatest but they get the job done. I'm sure it will grow on you and you will have some good times with your new uke.

gobes
01-10-2009, 02:53 PM
From what you describe I don't think that it's the tuners. Instead it sounds like the strings are binding in the nut.

Valerie
01-10-2009, 02:57 PM
hmmm... you're probably right... Which is totally okie dorie b/c I'm planning on switching the strings to ones with a smaller gage. (So I'll try that first before I pay up for new tuners.)

*thanks*

dnewton2
01-10-2009, 02:59 PM
The tuners are cheap and make tuning a bit of a chore (I'm seriously considering switching them out). I've a fluke with friction tuners and a Lanikai with geared- and I've never had tuning problems with either~ but the KPK makes me want to pull my hair out. The strings make these poping noises (like I'm turning the peg, and turning the peg and turning some more... no change in pitch. Then POP! major change in pitch. Turning... turning... you get the picture.)


Is the nut wood. I have a similar issue. I think the strings sort of stick on the wood nut.

EDIT: Gobes beat me to it, but I think that is the case. You may need to get a new nut, I put D'addarios on and it still happens.

wickedwahine11
01-10-2009, 03:13 PM
I understand the buying euphoria changing into post buying regrets, but I think once you step back from the immediate moment and start to play your new ukulele, you will really love it.

And if the tuners don't work for you, you can always change them out. I'm in love with my Kanile'a but still thinking about switching out my gold tuners since I'm not a fan of the gold look.

On the whole though, your KPK is a beautiful instrument. I get that you had wanted it to be "perfect" so the seam is bothering you, but in truth, it is on the back so nobody will notice it is there but you.

The wood looks gorgeous, and most important of all, you think it sounds good. It may not be love at first sight, but I don't doubt you will grow to love it in the end. Congratulations on obtaining a gorgeous ukulele.

MisoHappy
01-10-2009, 03:30 PM
The wood is beautiful!!! I like the look of the tuners, but as you said, they have a cheap feeling. I think the back looks good, (can explain why it's cut incorrectly, beside the fact that they're of center?) The blue is a nice touch :D

You'll love her (him?) in time, don't worry :)

Did you happen to name her (him?) yet?

deach
01-10-2009, 03:34 PM
...
The meh:
-I was a bit upset the KPK sounded so similar to my Lanikai ....


Give it a few more days to acclimate to it's new home. I've only had one or two that sounded great the first couple days.

Valerie
01-10-2009, 04:00 PM
@Miso: nope... I don't really name my ukes. I don't even name my pets (although my pets are usually fish or frogs of some sort...) I normally just refer to their maker (lanikai, fluke, pili koko)

@Deach: you're most likely right. I'm not going to mess with it for at least a month or so. It used up all my available cash to buy it so I've no spending money to buy new strings and such right now... Which, in the end is probably a very good thing. Getting use to a new brand of strings takes time too (maybe in a month I'll love the aquilas)

deach
01-10-2009, 04:01 PM
@Miso: nope... I don't really name my ukes. I don't even name my pets (although my pets are usually fish or frogs of some sort...) I normally just refer to their maker (lanikai, fluke, pili koko)

Does the skeleton have a name?

Valerie
01-10-2009, 04:11 PM
YES!

His name is Fred, and he was the gift my parents gave me when I started grad school- I spent a year studying human anatomy (I was spending so much time in the cadavar lab that they thought if I had something skeletal to look at in the house I'd spend more time at home). (I put him in the vid because I've this horrid fear that when people watch my vids they pay attention to the state of my room. My friend said they don't and as long as I didn't have a puppy in the frame- no one cares what's in the frame. Fred was a test to see how observant people are. He's made cameos in almost every one of my vids- but no one has noticed before-- but the cameo's tend to be Fred's hand... Fred's leg... so on.)

*edit* almost all of the recent ones- since I've started pointing my camera towards my closet, rather than the bookshelf, because, lets be honest that's where skeletons belong.)

*double edit* I also named all of my cadavars... There was Bertha, Sue (who was a man), Thor, and Patty

MisoHappy
01-10-2009, 05:01 PM
It gives you a sense of ardor, I guess, when you call your uke something. And when you're gratified by it, calling it a name gives it sentimental value. Now my uke's name (signature) and the ukulele itself compliment each other, because the name's meaning in Japanese matches the "personality" (sound, size etc.) of the ukulele.

But you don't have to name your uke. For some people, it's a best friend, to others, an instrument.

deach
01-10-2009, 05:07 PM
YES!

His name is Fred, and he was the gift my parents gave me when I started grad school- I spent a year studying human anatomy (I was spending so much time in the cadavar lab that they thought if I had something skeletal to look at in the house I'd spend more time at home). (I put him in the vid because I've this horrid fear that when people watch my vids they pay attention to the state of my room. My friend said they don't and as long as I didn't have a puppy in the frame- no one cares what's in the frame. Fred was a test to see how observant people are. He's made cameos in almost every one of my vids- but no one has noticed before-- but the cameo's tend to be Fred's hand... Fred's leg... so on.)

*edit* almost all of the recent ones- since I've started pointing my camera towards my closet, rather than the bookshelf, because, lets be honest that's where skeletons belong.)

*double edit* I also named all of my cadavars... There was Bertha, Sue (who was a man), Thor, and Patty


I went and checked out all your vids. So easy to miss if you're not looking him. How cool! I'll definitely be looking for him in all your upcoming vids.

rayan
01-10-2009, 05:09 PM
When I put D'addario pro-arte strings on my tenor KPK i was very impressed.

Plainsong
01-10-2009, 10:20 PM
Give it a few more days to acclimate to it's new home. I've only had one or two that sounded great the first couple days.

That is so true. My MP uke sounded nice when I opened it on Christmas Eve (the big day here). Then a few days later it sounded NICE.

See what new strings do for the tuning problems. Maybe it's the nut?

UkuLeLesReggAe
01-10-2009, 11:37 PM
NOOOOOOO

:( i want this ukulele so bad haha :( :( :(

but congrats on the new uke, u shud be heaps happy that u own that uke, i tihnk its great!!

HoldinCoffee
01-11-2009, 12:01 AM
Ive read quite a few statements from people saying their centerline was not center, these spanned several different makes and sizes. Do hand-made customs come with a true center-line? In theory, symmetry facilitates harmonic resonance within the ukulele molecules and yields a more pleasing sound? I don't buy it. I think symmetry is overrated. Rather, it is the asymmetries that give an instrument its signature.


As for your comparison, I lack poeticosity to clearly litigerate my observatory. However, Goonies never say die, so here goes:
I think your Pili Koko sounds wondruffle, is very striking in its beauty and certainly compliments your playing style. You made a good purchase there. The attack of the two sound pretty similar, but the... umm, what comes after the attack? Defense? Ok, the "defense" of the Lanikai sucks, sounds horrible. Makes my ears bleed. However, the Pili Koko, holds the notes much more boldly.

I'm wondering what it would sound like with a tenor string set-up (don't try it without first consulting a professional as the string-tension may hurl your sadddle into the ceiling).

MisoHappy
01-11-2009, 07:19 AM
Ive read quite a few statements from people saying their centerline was not center, these spanned several different makes and sizes. Do hand-made customs come with a true center-line? In theory, symmetry facilitates harmonic resonance within the ukulele molecules and yields a more pleasing sound? I don't buy it. I think symmetry is overrated. Rather, it is the asymmetries that give an instrument its signature.


As for your comparison, I lack poeticosity to clearly litigerate my observatory. However, Goonies never say die, so here goes:
I think your Pili Koko sounds wondruffle, is very striking in its beauty and certainly compliments your playing style. You made a good purchase there. The attack of the two sound pretty similar, but the... umm, what comes after the attack? Defense? Ok, the "defense" of the Lanikai sucks, sounds horrible. Makes my ears bleed. However, the Pili Koko, holds the notes much more boldly.

I'm wondering what it would sound like with a tenor string set-up (don't try it without first consulting a professional as the string-tension may hurl your sadddle into the ceiling).


Sorry for veering waaaaaay off topic, but what in the world does your signature mean? Shoot me a PM :D

TheDonEffect
01-13-2009, 09:00 PM
I got a kpk tenor, when I first got it it was rather frustrating, my tuners do the same thing too. The friggin thing looked awesome though, although I wish they went with a more glossy finish that I've grown accustomed to when I think ukuleles. My only gripe now is that the c string buzzes a lot, but it's a combination of design and poor hand placement. The uke def breaks in a bit if that makes any sense and found it pretty rewarding. My only regret is that I kinda wish I went with a concert size instead. My centerline isnt dead center but it still looks symmetric, book matching coulda been a lil better but overall i'm please, i mean it isn't like i paid koaloha prices for it right?

deach
01-14-2009, 12:42 AM
I got a kpk tenor, when I first got it it was rather frustrating, my tuners do the same thing too. The friggin thing looked awesome though, although I wish they went with a more glossy finish that I've grown accustomed to when I think ukuleles. My only gripe now is that the c string buzzes a lot, but it's a combination of design and poor hand placement. The uke def breaks in a bit if that makes any sense and found it pretty rewarding. My only regret is that I kinda wish I went with a concert size instead. My centerline isnt dead center but it still looks symmetric, book matching coulda been a lil better but overall i'm please, i mean it isn't like i paid koaloha prices for it right?

No, you didn't pay Koaloha prices but you did pay a decent amount of money. I've owned $80 Makalas that didn't buzz, tuning held and craftsmanship was good.

Link
01-14-2009, 01:24 AM
Wow, the KPK is quite similar to the Lanikai. On the video, the KPK seemed to have more note definition to me.

Either way, you have 3 excellent ukuleles in that video. Congrats!

seeso
01-14-2009, 01:50 AM
Sorry for veering waaaaaay off topic, but what in the world does your signature mean? Shoot me a PM :D

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KQgfgB-vgT0

Paul December
02-14-2009, 06:58 AM
Valerie, I remember seeing guitarists do something to reduce the string binding at the nut...
...they rub a soft-lead pencil into the groove. I'd guess the graphite helps reduce the friction between the string and the groove. Might be worth a try.
~Paul

ikele
11-13-2009, 09:10 AM
Ive read quite a few statements from people saying their centerline was not center, these spanned several different makes and sizes. Do hand-made customs come with a true center-line? In theory, symmetry facilitates harmonic resonance within the ukulele molecules and yields a more pleasing sound? I don't buy it. I think symmetry is overrated. Rather, it is the asymmetries that give an instrument its signature.

Well, it may not affect sound or playability but still it's a construction flaw! it should be symmetrical unless you do it asymetrical on purpose. It's not about symmetry being overrated, it's a flaw. You want a wheel to be round and a book matched back symetrically aligned with the heel.

shimpiphany
11-13-2009, 06:56 PM
the first KPK had a warped neck, returned it, and got another. wasn't that happy with the sound or feel (its a bit heavy for me) and sold it soon after that, and according to the new owner the back separated. i tried to get another replacement for him, but he just passed it on to a nephew.

not sure i would buy one of these again.

UkÚDan
11-17-2009, 08:35 AM
I think they may have had quality control issues lately. I've had mine for close to two years now and it's holding up well. It's strung with D'Addario Pro Arte's for now and looks older as the saddle is definitely smaller than the one's I see regularly now. The only issue I've got is with the skimpy tuners. I may replace them pretty soon, with Gotoh UK12's (which seem like a perfect match).