Cocobolo Tenors - how do they compare to expensive K brand ukes?

kregger

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I really like the way the Cocbolo ukes look, and their price is very affordable, but I wonder how they compare to the prestigious Hawaiian K brands. I have a Koaloha KTM-00 and AnueNue AMM3 tenor. I'm really fond of my instruments and wonder if I purchase a Cocobolo, I'll hardly ever play it b/c I enjoy my KTM and AMM3. Sound wise, it's hard for me to imagine better bang for the buck than an AMM3. I only play Low G. Does anybody have experience with the Cocobolos? I'll never get a chance to play one in person so for me it's either make a blind purchase or nothing.
 

Cadia

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I have all three. The KoAloha KTM-00 and AMM3 are two of my favorite ukes. I like my Cocobolos, but not as much as the other two. One is a Cocobolo 5 string tenor, which sounds very good and offers me something a little different in sound. So I get to enjoy the looks and have a unique sound in my collection. One thing to be aware of though is that cocobolo wood is pretty dense and rather heavy. So it won't feel like a lightweight Hawaiian build.

Another thing to be aware of is that shipping adds significantly to the price, as does a case. So the final cost more than what they're listing them for. I also get their snakewood strap buttons, which also add to the price.
 
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rainbow21

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I believe they also have a radiused fretboard. One way to save $50 or more is to get on their mailing list and wait for one to go unsold in their auction. They will then notify you that it is available for immediate purchase and you can then decide if you like the appearance and want to go ahead without going through their lottery.
 

roastbeast

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I have not played a cocobolo uke but was very interested in getting one as well when I was going through UAS. I researched them quite a bit and decided to pass on one for myself. Only based upon my research, my opinion would be that the ukes you have now will probably be more pleasing to your ear if you really like what you have now. Cocobolo is heavy, dense and some reviews say more muted in sound than mahogany. If you're going for looks, then they are works of art.
 

Dohle

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I've owned one Kamaka, one KoAloha, two Kanile'as and three Cocobolo ukes. Of all of those, I have two Cocobolos left. The build quality is easily on-par with the K brand ukes and considering the added features I'd say they're better value. They are simply a joy to play.

That being said, the tone of Cocobolo ukes is quite unique which can be a positive and a negative. Even though they definitely have depth to the tone they are also surprisingly bright-sounding. Maybe they lack the mid range of woods like koa and mahogany and retain the higher and lower frequencies. It's hard to describe. This means that it's not hard to justify getting one - at least for me - but if you prefer that warm and mellow Hawaiian type sound it may not be for you. This holds true for the standard uke sizes but I will say that their baritone uke is a killer. Seems like cocobolo wood is brilliant for the lower tuning of a baritone since that thing is so warm and boomy it's a bit crazy. I sold my other baritone when I got the Cocobolo, that's how good it is.

So in conclusion, brilliant quality and value but tone might not be for everyone. Check out some sound samples if you can before you decide.
 

Tin Ear

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Apples and Oranges as far as making a comparison. Different animals.

The Cocobolo are very well built, heavier uke, dense wood.

As you have a Koaloha KTM-00 and AnueNue AMM3 tenor you have two really outstanding Ukes. The Cocobolo would be different for sure.

I had a Cocobolo tenor and sold it to help fund a Master Series Pono earlier this year when they ran the first batch of those. I liked the Cocobolo. The neck on the Cocobolo was a hair less chunky than I like for my hand - I like a chubby neck, but that's just personal preference. Quality is excellent. It's just a different uke being dense it has a different sound but it is pleasing. Also they started putting in a metal truss rod similar to what Pono does in a Tenor. The earlier Cocobolos had a wood stiffening rod in the neck. They changed to the metal truss rod to make the relief adjustable.

They are nice ukes - different from what you own. Comparison would be tough. They are just different. You have two dandy Ukes. Just depends if you want to have something different or not. Build, quality and all that - they are an excellent uke, with a variety in looks - each one different.
 

a green field

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I agree with what folks have said so far in the thread. Not my favorite uke compared to my customs or KoAloha, but well built and enjoyable nonetheless and certainly looks different!
 

M3Ukulele

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I’ve never played the Cocobolo ukuleles. They looks great And sound great from samples I have heard. Given your two current ukuleles and fact you really like the, why not try a five string tenor Cocobolo or a baritone Cocobolo? …..add some Color to your playing that you don’t have. I’m not sure of you string one Uke high and one Uke low but from experience….adding a five string is lots of fun. Kinda get both but not really. I’ve learned to pick both high and low G separately and in unison for different sound.

Another fun thing to do when changing the Color of your playing….try tuning down to B flat (half step). I’ve done this to a few ukuleles. I just recent did it to a Tenor Fluke, put low G Reds on it and find I’m pkaying it a lot.

Good luck with you quest!
 

UkingViking

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Not much of a tenor player, and my obly experience with a K brand is a vintage Kamaka.

But when I compare my Cocobolo (16" scale concert) with my AMM3, the build and playability is at least as good to me.

Looks and soundwise they are in completely different ballparks, so they will definately complement each other rather than compete. I love the immediate and loud yet warm response of my Cocobolo.

I play mine with high G, but I expect it would sound great with low G as well, given the warmth of it.
 
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perep

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I have several Cocobolo BRAND of diff sizes, ALL play well, like the little heavy wood & wormanship
ALSO have several cocobolo wood ukes of diff sizes AND THREE double neck cocobolo ukes, will sell TWO of those anyone interested. Love them all, how
ever the Cocobolo BRAND has an edge on Pilarte ukes but also higher priced. Don't be afraid of these. Waiting for 5 string Cocobolo Tenor to come up for sale with wood figure I like.
I also have the other K brands that I play, the girls take turns going out on the town to play. I am not sick even though I am sick.
 

aaronkb

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Why not get one in a different size, or try a different tuning?
 

Kenn2018

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I only play tenors. I have a High-g 2017 Kamaka HF-3, Low-G 2017 Ko'Aloha KTM-00, Low-G 2016 Kanile'a K-1T & High-g 2020 Pineapple P-1T. Plus Cocobolo Brand Low-G 2019 Double Bout Tenor and Hgh-g 2019 Cutaway Tenor.

I agree the Cocobolo tenors are slightly brighter than the Koa K-Brands. All of my K-brands have a deeper, slightly more resonant low end with Low-G. While I think the cocobolos have a better balance to the four strings. The Cocobolos have a curved backs to them which gives very good projection, but the Kanile'a K-1T (also has a curved back) and Ko'Aloha is slightly louder. Both the Cocobolos have standard radiused fretboards and side ports. I really like both features. Sustain is very good for all of the brands. The necks of the K-1T & Cocobolo are very similar. The Cocobolo Double bout came with PegHed tuners while the Cutaway has Grover open geared tuners.

I personally like the warmer Koa sound over the brighter Cocobolo. But I love the side port and the radius fretboard.
I enjoy the Cocobolo MiSi pickup sound more than the Kanile'a K-1T K&K Twin Spot.

Kanile'a & Ko'Aloha have redesigned their tenors since mine were made. And Cocobolo have added a truss rod. So keep that in mind as well.
 

JazVM

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I owned many Ukes and currently I still have a KoAloha Tenor 25th Anniversary and an aNueNue Moon Bird. I won the lottery for a concert Cocobolo last year. Their concerts scale is between tenor and concert (16").

I loved the look of the Cocobolo and it was impeccably made. However, the sound disappointed me a bit. You could hear and feel how dense and heavy to wood was. It didn't sound bad but compared to Koa and Spruce it lacked a lot of "ringing".

I was able to sell it more or less of what I bought it for, which was very lucky. It was a very expensive Uke after shipping, extra case and import duties.

I wouldn't recommend purchasing one if you didn't try one out before. The sound is definitely unique.

Jan