4 Hawaii "K" brand ukuleles, which is your favourite?

4 Hawaii "K" brand ukuleles, which is your favourite?

  • Kanilea

    Votes: 33 22.6%
  • Koolau

    Votes: 14 9.6%
  • Kamaka

    Votes: 44 30.1%
  • Koaloha

    Votes: 55 37.7%

  • Total voters
    146

Cadia

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Apr 13, 2020
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I completely expected Koaloha to win because they go cheap and appeal to the hoi polloi. More power to them and their marketing department. I personally have a Kamaka to appease the traditional ukulele gods. I have a hf3-LDS. It is my concession to the traditional sound of the assembly line product. It is my only re-entrant instrument. I bought and keep it to remind me of the ways of our ukulele forefathers. It keeps me grounded whereas my other custom ukes soar to new, unexplored heights.

That's a lame reason to expect KoAloha to win, and this post does sound snooty. The OP is asking a valid question regarding the Hawaiian K brands. I have a Kanile'a. a KoAloha, and a custom. All three sound great. But because of ease of playability I seem to prefer the KoAloha. So I guess I'm one of the hoi polloi. The Kanile'a is beautiful, but the string spacing is a little wide for me. Though honestly, I love all my ukes, and they all sound very good or better. I would really like to try a Ko'olau, though. I did try two Kamakas, a soprano and a concert, but they did not impress me. Perhaps I haven't met the right Kamaka yet.
 

PeteyHoudini

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Mar 13, 2011
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1,218
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48
I have played some KoAlohas. I like them very much. I even visited their factory back in 2015. I like Kamaka cause it has a jangly sound like Martins. Kanile'a are nice tenor instruments. Have no idea about Ko'olau.
 

bynapkinart

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Jul 17, 2011
Messages
408
Points
18
I completely expected Koaloha to win because they go cheap and appeal to the hoi polloi. More power to them and their marketing department. I personally have a Kamaka to appease the traditional ukulele gods. I have a hf3-LDS. It is my concession to the traditional sound of the assembly line product. It is my only re-entrant instrument. I bought and keep it to remind me of the ways of our ukulele forefathers. It keeps me grounded whereas my other custom ukes soar to new, unexplored heights.

I get the appeal of custom, but personally have never found enough of a difference between high-quality factory instruments and custom shop instruments besides ornamentation.

Plus I was at Foodland yesterday in line and got into a good chat with a guy in line wearing a Koaloha shirt, he was on his lunch break from the factory. Just a normal guy who takes pride in the work that he does. Same with Pops and the rest of the Koaloha crowd that I’ve met — they’re all pretty down to earth genuine people and it makes it easy to want to support them and their work through purchasing their fantastic products.
 

Kenn2018

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Jun 13, 2018
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I've owned: three Kanile'a K1-T tenors. Two Ko'Aloha KTM-00 tenors. One Kamaka HF-3 tenor. They are all excellent instruments. They all sound differently. Each brand plays differently. And their designs look different from the other brands. At one point in time, I had one of each brand strung with Living Waters Low-G fluorocarbon strings. They all sounded great.

If I had to choose only one to have as my only tenor for the rest of my life, I'd choose the Kamaka. It's not the easiest to play. It isn't the loudest. It wasn't the prettiest. (Though it had a beautiful dark, rich, iridescent koa that puts the current stripey models to shame.) But, it had the most balanced, sophisticated, wonderful sound that could handle any kind of music with aplomb. I'm not a good player. But when I gave it to people who are excellent players, it could handle whatever they played and sound amazing. From bluegrass, to jazz to rock to classical. It all sounded fantastic.

And sometimes, it made me sound as though i knew what I was doing. I often regret trading it away. But I have other tenors with which I console myself.
 

BBegall

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Joined
Mar 16, 2019
Messages
155
Points
18
I've only owned and played two of the four.

The Kamaka I owned was a vintage soprano I nursed back to life with the help of Donna LoPrinzi but I never was any good playing it and finally sold her. I bought and own a Koaloha tenor that is a beautiful great sounding ukulele. I've been wanting to buy a Kanile'a for awhile, maybe a baritone but I'm trying to control my UAS so I have to sell something first. Kala cedar top baritone, I'm looking at you.
 

JJFN

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Joined
Feb 18, 2014
Messages
1,093
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38
I've owned or own two Kamaka's. They are great. I own a Ko'olau and it is outstanding, this is the instrument I would run into a burning building to save. I've owned two Koaloha's. They are beautiful instruments and people love them, however for some reason Koaloha and I are not compatible. I realize it's probably my problem, not the instruments, but that's the way it is.
 

ukudancer

Active member
Joined
May 19, 2021
Messages
203
Points
28
I've only played a Kamaka out of all of them. I thought it was nice.