If you were taking a dream vacation to Hawaii...

rhiggie

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...what would be your top ukelele builders or shops to check out?
Obviously it depends on which island (s) you will be on. If Oahu, I did the Kamaka, Kanile'a and KoAloha factory tours on 3 different mornings. That still leaves the rest of the days uninterrupted. They were all great tours and all very different. I also went to HMS before the tours to play all 3 brands Koa tenors to compare feel/sounds. In NC there isn't one music store that gives me this opportunity. I was able to determine my order of which ones I liked best (and least). And make sure you don't bring a lot of carry-on luggage so you can still carry a uke home with you... just in case! I snagged a prototype Platinum Edition at the Kanile'a tour!
 

Voran

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Kamaka, if I were hypothetically rich I'd get a personalized uke from them just for fun. I'm thinking the text 'Voran' and a raven in flight.
 

badhabits

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Oahu is the center of the ukulele world, there's much less on other islands. There are a lot of shops is Waikiki... Tyler at Ukulele store has a lot of high-end and local-made and some vintage stuff. Ukulele pua pua is know for great selection. There is also Ukulele lab, Best hawaiian ukulele, and others that I'm sure I am missing. Ukulele friend is a museum of the high end, I think you need a reservation to visit. And of course most here would not miss The ukulele site in Haleiwa/north shore, but it's smaller than you would think. You will also find Leolani/Kumu at the swap meet and street fairs. For builders, Kamaka (the grand-daddy of 'em all), Koaloha and Kanilea are the big 3 and all give tours. The first 2 are pretty close, Koaloha is basically across from the mall and Kanilea is farther out in Kaneohe (and reportedly now charges for the tour). On Maui there's Mele ( 3 locations), and also Bounty music (biggest selection), Lahaina music (Jason has a decent selection, but not extensive) and a few small shops with even smaller selection in Lahaina (e.g., D&D, Kula gold). You will prob be surprised at all the Kalas you see everywhere.
 
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Paul1973UK

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I'd like to visit the Israel Kamakawiwo'ole memorial statue as he's one of my Ukulele heroes, the other being George Formby. Visiting the USS Missouri would also be on my to do list if i ever went to Hawaii.

 

Abbollonia

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I'd like to visit the Israel Kamakawiwo'ole memorial statue as he's one of my Ukulele heroes, the other being George Formby. Visiting the USS Missouri would also be on my to do list if i ever went to Hawaii.

Good answer!!!!
 

Abbollonia

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Oahu is the center of the ukulele world, there's much less on other islands. There are a lot of shops is Waikiki... Tyler at Ukulele store has a lot of high-end and local-made and some vintage stuff. Ukulele pua pua is know for great selection. There is also Ukulele lab, Best hawaiian ukulele, and others that I'm sure I am missing. And of course most here would not miss The ukulele site in Haleiwa/north shore, but it's smaller than you would think. You will also find Leolani/Kumu at the swap meet and street fairs. For builders, Kamaka (the grand-daddy of 'em all), Koaloha and Kanilea are the big 3 and all give tours. The first 2 are pretty close, Koaloha is basically across from the mall and Kanilea is farther out in Kaneohe (and reportedly now charges for the tour). On Maui there's Mele ( 3 locations), and also Bounty music (biggest selection), Lahaina music (Jason has a decent selection, but not extensive) and a few small shops with even smaller selection in Lahaina (e.g., D&D, Kula gold). You will prob be surprised at all the Kalas you see everywhere.
I got my very first ukelele at Kula Gold and it's still my favorite. Mike gave me a little lesson before I left and I played the whole rest of the trip (sorry fam lol).
 

Abbollonia

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Obviously it depends on which island (s) you will be on. If Oahu, I did the Kamaka, Kanile'a and KoAloha factory tours on 3 different mornings. That still leaves the rest of the days uninterrupted. They were all great tours and all very different. I also went to HMS before the tours to play all 3 brands Koa tenors to compare feel/sounds. In NC there isn't one music store that gives me this opportunity. I was able to determine my order of which ones I liked best (and least). And make sure you don't bring a lot of carry-on luggage so you can still carry a uke home with you... just in case! I snagged a prototype Platinum Edition at the Kanile'a tour!
Holy moly, deets on the platinum edition you got?? Have you seen the inlays on the 2022 🤤???
 

man0a

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In addition to shopping, make sure you check out the live music scene in Hawaii. The real life culture is half the fun of visiting Hawaii. The pandemic shut down some of the casual ukulele jam sessions, so check the schedules for the latest details. Many of the professional music venues reopened late last year, including the Hawaii Theater in Chinatown and the Blue Note and Kani Ka Pila Grille in Waikiki. These places often host ukulele players, including some of the greats like Taimane and Jake Shimabukuro and Kelly Boy Delima. Also, if you're on Kauai, I hear that the Ukulele Underground management (Aldrine and Aaron) hold weekly live concerts at a club in Kapaa and love when Ukulele Underground members show up to say hi.
 

Mike $

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I wish I were into ukes in the '90s when me and 350 of my best navy buddies chartered a dream cruise to the middle east. We stopped at Hawaii on the way out and on the way back. I would've loved to stop at the Kamaka factory, order a custom uke and pick it up on my return with 6 months of pay in the bank. That would have made my dream vacation even more dreamy.
 
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badhabits

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Agree on the live music scene. HB social is a great venue. Nicos restaurants features local talent most nights (Bryan Tolentino, Herb Jr, K Fernandez, Kailua moon, etc.). I know Kelly boy plays every Thurs at the Surfjack, fo free, he and the kids play around town other nights as well. So much to see and do there....... and then there's the food.
 
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PeteyHoudini

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Was in Hawaii in 2015 and 2020. I’d recommend going for a Kamaka tour and Koaloha tour. Closest to downtown. The Puapua uke store is nice and has good books too. There are a few other little uke stores in the area (in 2020). The Ukulele site is worth visiting on the North shore. I also bought a Kamaka longneck pineapple soprano at the Ukulele Site.

Visit the Don Ho statue at International Marketplace. The IZ statue is far away. The Jack Lord statue bust is at Kahala Mall. You will find ukes everywhere.
 
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DJ Mango

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Was in Hawaii in 2015 and 2020. I’d recommend going for a Kamaka tour and Koaloha tour. The Puapua uke store is nice and has good books too. There are a few other little uke stores in the area (in 2020). The Ukulele site is worth visiting on the North shore. I also bought a Kamaka longneck pineapple soprano at the Ukulele Site.

Visit the Don Ho statue at International Marketplace. The IZ statue is far away. The Jack Lord statue bust is at Kahala Mall. You will find ukes everywhere.
You will find ukes everywhere but don't just buy anywhere . :)

Easy Music Center is also worth a visit . It's just outside Waikiki .
It has more of a corporate vibe but the customer service is excellent and friendly .
And they have a large selection of Kamaka , and some Kanile'a .
https://easymusiccenter.com/collect...an Handmades&pf_t_features_and_condition=true
 

PeteyHoudini

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You will find ukes everywhere but don't just buy anywhere . :)
Agreed. as i once saw a uke store with vitamin supplements on one side.

Easy Music Centre looks ok. Never been there. Maybe others can comment?

Petey
 
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DJ Mango

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Agreed. as i once saw a uke store with vitamin supplements on one side.

Easy Music Centre looks ok. Never been there. Maybe others can comment?

Petey
I was checking out ukes one day at Kamaka and they said if you want a better selection of what's available to buy now go to Easy Music Center . :)
 
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PeteyHoudini

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I was checking out ukes one day at Kamaka and they said if you want a better selection go to Easy Music Center . :)
I’m totally game if Kamaka recommends it. Let the UU group chime in. I don’t know you. I’m a big Kamaka fan.
 

DJ Mango

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You’ve inspired me to play my longneck soprano Kamaka and sing about the trees of Banyan Drive in Hilo. My latest song.
Ha Ha ; I asked at Kamaka to see a longneck soprano and they said go to Easy Music Center :)