Your thoughts on the KoAloha tenor?

  1. GinnyT11
    In our house, we had a used Kamaka HF-3 for a while, but it wasn't quite right for us. (Yeah, we must be crazy, if you read UU boards.) It's gone on to make someone else happy.

    Now I'm looking carefully at the KoAloha tenor---this might be the koa tenor to fit into our uke family. I'm keeping my eye out for a used one. (We have a KoAloha soprano.)

    We aren't near a place to play this tenor, so comments are helpful. Any suggestions or advice in considering one? What does it mostly closely compare to?
  2. stmace
    I love the sound of my KoAloha tenor. However, it has some intonation and specific pitch resonance problems. I returned my original tenor to KoAloha, and Paul sent to me one he chose personally. The second tenor had the same problems, but to a slighlty lesser degree. I asked if the isssue is a price point, and that if I purchased a custom KoAloha, would the problems be eliminated. The reply was, No, that those are the tendencies of the instrument.
    My Problems
    C string increases in sharpness at each successive fret
    C string 2nd and third fret have resonance issues - not a clear D and D#/Eb, and they decay very quickly
    Low G string 7th fret resonance issue - not clear and decays quickly
  3. stmace
    I have changed the strings multiple times using various brands, but the tendencies are fixed.
    A luthier loved the challenge of the intonation issue, but was utterly perplexed as to why the problem exists. After working with the luthier, the C-string intonation is better, but not great.
    Resonance issues? Most likley, the brace causes the problem.

    When I purchased the KoAloha, I was at a store where I could compare KoAloha, Kamaka, Kanilea, and Pono. To me, the Pono was heavy at the headstock and out of balance and the Kanilea was heavier than I wanted to hold. I think I spent an hour going back and forth between the KoAloha and Kamaka. Both sounded good, and both had sothersome issues.
  4. stmace
    At my luthier's shop, I had the opportunity to try a Collings. Wow! The Collings is extremely consistent with pictch and timbre/resonance across strings and up the fretboard. However, the Collings was much quieter (maybe more like an ukulele should sound) than the KoAloha and old Gibson that my luthier loves. The Collings was very light weight and the weight distribution was fantastic. If I was going to use a pickup, I'd choose the Collings, and just turn it up.

    And now you have my two, three, and four cents worth.

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