View Full Version : Anything close to a Kanilea K-1 but less expensive

07-13-2014, 12:25 PM
I have a great K-1 Kanilea that I love and keep tuned low G. I want to get something comparable to keep tuned high G. Any recommendations?

Tried and tested?

07-13-2014, 12:39 PM

Check out the comparison picture.


07-13-2014, 02:12 PM
Very interesting. Didn't know anything about them. thanks.

07-13-2014, 03:36 PM
Try a Kanilea again if you can afford it> Watch for one here or FMMU

07-13-2014, 03:37 PM
I've got a Kanilea k-1 concert (you don't say Concert or Tenor). I've also got a couple of Islanders. While the Islander is imported by Kanilea and there are some superficial similarities, they are really very different. You don't say how much less expensive. Also you don't say what it is about the Kanilea that makes you want something similar. Is it the wide fingerboard - then look for a Covered Bridge - much cheaper but very high quality - very different uke. If you want something more Hawaiian then look at a used Koaloha or Koaloha Opio. I keep my Kanilea k-1 also tuned low G. There are many many less expensive ukes that are, in their own way, equally as great. But they all are in their own way very different. The only other ukes I have experienced that have similar tonal characteristics to the K-1 cost as much or more. The solid wood Islander is a very nice uke, but don't expect it to be a cheaper Kanilea, almost nothing about them is the same, not the bracing, not the materials, not the body shape.

07-13-2014, 04:30 PM
I have a great K-1 Kanilea that I love and keep tuned low G. I want to get something comparable to keep tuned high G. Any recommendations?

Tried and tested?

Islander is kanilea's 'budget' and i hate using the term budget with these ukes as their very good quality and look/sound great.
I would look into them they have the exact kanilea look and good sound with out costing as much.

07-13-2014, 04:35 PM
Good points. I edited my original to adjust.

I love the sound of my Kanilea K-1 and with Aguilas on it. I don't care about looks at all. The width of the neck is fine but not a necessity. If mahogany can sound like the koa so be it. I know spruce won't. Acacia might. I play thinner necks and like them also. I have small hands. I do chord melody mostly in a variety of styles: jazz, classical, folk, and Hawaiian. I'm into Mark Kailana Nelson's picking books, Craig Brandau's jazz book, Tony Mizen's Renaissance book, and Pekelo's Hawaiian picking books. and Glen Rose's jazz songs.And I like the Lyle Ritz books. My Kanilea K-I tenor really sounds nice on the songs that work with low G.

What is FMMU? Probably looking for a used Kanilea is the answer if someone doesn't have a better idea. I appreciate all the answers so far.

Rick Turner
07-13-2014, 06:17 PM
Look for a used Kanilea and/or contact Joe and Kristen and see if they ever sell off demo models or "scratch and dents". It's the sound you're after, and a cheap uke is not likely to deliver the quality that the Silvas build in in Hawaii. They make wonderful ukes.

07-14-2014, 01:03 AM
Define "less expensive." I've seen quite a few used Ko'Aloha's go for way less than the equivalent Kanilea. Both of their concerts are often referred to as "the tone monsters." In that respect, they cousins.

07-14-2014, 02:21 AM
Besides Islander, (I have a laminate Islander, which is great to have something handy without needing humidification) Pono? Mainland? Kelii? Ohana? browse theukulelesite.com and ukerepublic.com and mimsukes.com, I'm sure you can find something that strikes your fancy.

07-14-2014, 07:01 AM
Thanks to kindly advice from Underground members I just purchased an all Koa super-concert made by Ceniza. I am advised that I got a very good price and that the sound and quality of the uke should equal or surpass the sound and quality of my Kanilea K-1, which I love. If anyone can give me talk story on Ceniza ukuleles I would greatly appreciate it.

I understand that they were made by a couple in Waianae, T and K, and that the wife recently sadly passed away. I read her obituary. I also understand that the son or a relative continues the tradition of ukulele building under the name Valley Made. I believe that T and K Ceniza learned to build from Sonny D. Please correct me if I'm wrong. I also have intimations that these ukes are greatly sought after in Japan. I don't find much information on line.

The great lesson from this thread is that Flea Market Music Marketplace is a great place to look for deals.

Tommy B
07-18-2014, 06:42 AM
Congratulations, Kimosabe. I was eyeing that Ceniza both times it came up for sale. Everything about that uke screamed "buy." Everything, that is, but my bank account:). I think you got a scarce and wonderful uke. Looking forward to the report.

The Big Kahuna
07-18-2014, 06:52 AM
If anyone else is reading this thread and wondering about the original question, let me just say this; I have a Kanile'a K1-TP Gloss and an Islander GL-6. The Islander is a fantastic instrument, especially when you consider the price, but it isn't a Kanile'a...not even close.

07-19-2014, 03:26 PM
Hey Tommy,

Yes, I really like the Ceniza super-concert. The sound is loud and clear for a small body and the neck is very comfortable.

The most surprising thing for me is how the neck makes fingering easier. The neck seems really long and there is a lot of room between frets. My fingers don't feel cramped, even less so than on my Kanilea tenor. The tone is very satisfying to my ears for high G.

So, things that were a bit difficult to pick are now easier. The fact that it's all koa and unusual in design, a small body like a Sonny D, makes me feel I'm picking out in the cane fields.

Katysax on the UU inspired me to take advantage of it and I did. I'd never really heard of Ceniza. Really nice.

There's slight wear and tear but nothing unsightly, rather a bit of character.

thanks for enquiring.