Kanile’a 2022 Platinum

Veritas99

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For those that missed the live stream, Kanile’a had its live reveal of the 2022 platinum model today. I don’t see any photos up yet, but I’m sure others can add links as they become available.

Here are the highlights to me from the Live Stream:
  • Kanile’a has acquired Ukulele Underground. More to come on that, but certainly the most unexpected part for me.
  • Builder experience - they are adding shop cameras with live feed of build process. I missed some of the details, but this seems to be at an additional cost where you can watch them make your uke. They will also include a USB drive of your uke being built with this package.
  • 2022 platinum is a super tenor with scoop cutaway and tru-r relief. Will be limited to 50. Partnered with Craig Levin on the inlay, which is water themed and involves a waterfall down the fretboard. Many other features and woods, but I didn’t get them all.
  • Buying the 2022 platinum gives you first right of refusal for the 2023 25th anniversary platinum in the same number. (This rubbed me wrong as it’s something that happens with Rolex and other watch ADs who make you buy “cheaper” watches to move up the list for the one you want).
  • I didn’t hear anything about price, but they said that orders are already in from many of the dealers familiar to the forum.

    Would love to hear other’s thoughts on the uke. Personally, the inlay is nice, but I’d rather wait for the 25th anniversary model (assuming you can buy it if you didn’t get the 2022 model)
 

a green field

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Looks pretty nice. I think the inlay looks like what Chuck Moore puts out (in a good but obviously not as good way). I'm not in the market but I like how they keep experimenting and making pretty ukes!
 

ghostrdr

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My first thought is how much?

looks great. My second thought was they should have dyed a maple soundboard blue and had the waterfall going all the way down the fretboard.

my third thought is what it means for ukulele underground.

finally, glad to see them switch to worth strings…
 

Brad Bordessa

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I have no facts, but I'll make the first guess.

$9,995
That's insane for a production uke, but wouldn't surprise me at this point.

The Kanileʻa business model is fascinating because it's so very different from the other Hawaiʻi makers. It seems like their long term goal is to build a Fender or Martin-like empire around their brand. Everything they do is bizarrely polished for Hawaiʻi - kind of what I imagine the Hawaiʻi Tourism Authority would have been like if they were around in the 1920s. I've got to get Joe on my podcast to try to understand it better.

Bets? Next year will be the Palladium series. :ROFLMAO:
 

Cluze

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For those who are interested, the bit about the Ukulele Underground acquisition is at about 21 minutes into the YouTube video of the Live-Stream. They also said that Kaimana Souza will be joining the Ukulele Underground Podcast livestream on Friday 04 Feb 2022 at 1 PM Hawaii standard time to discuss all the details. I assume that podcast will be added to their normal podcast feed if you don't catch it live.
 

merlin666

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Loved watching the recording of the stream. They totally have me hooked with their marketing approach. But I also have to admit that the new Platinum though interesting in concept is not inducing any UAS in me at all.
 

DanY

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Loved watching the recording of the stream. They totally have me hooked with their marketing approach. But I also have to admit that the new Platinum though interesting in concept is not inducing any UAS in me at all.
same here. I would be interested in a plain jane version without the inlays.
 

Rakelele

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Thanks for reporting. Looks like Kanile'a is determined to become one of the most influential companies in the ukulele business.
 

IslandSounds

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I’m a big Kanile’a fan. I really like how they are trying to grow their message and brand to include elements of family, reforestation etc, and how they are always trying to innovate and push things forward.
I’m sure they won’t always get everything right always, but I love them for trying.

I really enjoyed the live stream recording. For me the big news was the UU acquisition and changing over to Worth strings.

I’m delighted for Aldrine and the team at UU. All their years of hard work bringing joy to the community being recognised in this way - fantastic.

I know strings are a subjective and personal topic….. but I’ve tried a LOT of strings on my Kanile’a, and currently my favourites are…. Worth Clears :)

I think the new platinum looks amazing, and I really appreciate the story and message behind it. I’m also slightly relieved that it hasn’t triggered my UAS for now. Phew!
 

Counter

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My goodness, they seem to be going more and more Versace every year.


2022-PLATINUM-00_1-scaled.jpg

I think they are taken less seriously as a maker of fine ukuleles than they were just a few years ago. Thankfully they still make good players instruments but the 'bling specials' for the nouveau riche do separate them from their main competitors and, not in a good way.
 

Rakelele

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Interesting switch to Worth strings. I have been using Worth on two of my three Kanile'a ukes for almost a decade and thought the sound was much richer than with the Aquila strings they came stock with. On the third one, a baritone, intonation was thrown off completely with the Worth strings and no way to fix it.

Speaking of wich: I just wish Kanile'a would throw the same amount of effort into their customer service as they do with their marketing.
 

merlin666

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I am disappointed by their move to fluorocarbon strings. The few times I had opportunity to play three K ukes side by side I thought that the Kanile'a had a slight edge over the others because they were strung with Aquila. But of course I will also be happy to change my opinion once I had a chance to play them with the Worth set up.
 

a green field

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I am disappointed by their move to fluorocarbon strings. The few times I had opportunity to play three K ukes side by side I thought that the Kanile'a had a slight edge over the others because they were strung with Aquila. But of course I will also be happy to change my opinion once I had a chance to play them with the Worth set up.
It seems like more folks than not prefer fluorocarbon, at least on this forum. But no clue if that's at all a representative sample of the general population. One assumes not.
 

Dohle

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My goodness, they seem to be going more and more Versace every year.


View attachment 138526

I think they are taken less seriously as a maker of fine ukuleles than they were just a few years ago. Thankfully they still make good players instruments but the 'bling specials' for the nouveau riche do separate them from their main competitors and, not in a good way.
I have to agree there. While I recognize that they make excellent instruments I don't really like the direction they've been going recently.

I also don't like consolidation and I'm always worried that bigger players will suffocate the smaller ones, regardless of the industry. I always root for the little guys and seems like Kanile'a aren't one of those anymore if they've ever been. However, I do love the people behind the company and what they do but I'm always just a bit concerned when seeing news like this.
 

Cluze

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I have such complicated feelings about Kanile'a. I love so many things about the company. They have top notch build quality and make some absolutely beautiful instruments. They consistently have some of the most stunning looking koa of any of the big "K" brands. I love their commitment to conservation and planting koa trees in Hawaii.

But I just don't enjoy playing a Kanile'a. The sound just isn't right for me, and I strongly prefer KoAloha or Kamaka when playing. Please don't get me wrong, am not saying that Kanile'a sound bad, they don't. It's just not for me. I owned one for a while, and it just didn't bring me the kind of joy that my other koa concerts did.

As for their Platinum series, most of the recent ones haven't really spoken to me either. The 2022 really isn't my cup of tea. They are definitely leaning into that sort of "Moore Bettah" intricate inlay look, and that is certainly not for me. I appreciate the beauty and craftsmanship that these kinds of designs feature, but I don't personally like it.

As for their acquisition of Ukulele Underground, it makes a lot of sense for both of them, I think. They had a pretty synergistic relationship already, and this really just cements that partnership. I do worry about what it means for this forum going forward. This forum isn't really a major part of the UU business model in any meaningful way. It is almost certainly a net loss in terms of money and time for the guys behind the scenes, but it has been kept alive by their goodwill and recognition that it is a great resource for the community. The question is: will Kanile'a feel the need to continue to keep it going long term? I do hope so, but it does worry me.

So like I said, I have complicated feelings about Kanile'a. I like a lot of what they do, who they are, and what they stand for. But I don't personally enjoy their instruments.

(I also want to stress that I think that is totally ok. Everyone doesn't need to like the same things, and that shouldn't take away from anyone's enjoyment of what they do personally like.)
 

Kenn2018

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The Platinum model with its annual reveal has generated all kinds of positive press for Kanile'a. The designs have really stretched the creativity and engineering abilities of the Luthiers. Pushing them every year to make a splash.

Some of the design innovations have made it into their standard production models.

I am not enamored with the bling inlays. Not my cuppa at all. But I can see a lot of people liking it. It will definitely be talked about.

The Souza family has given a lot back to the ukulele community. Early on they have been committed to replanting koa trees and raising awareness of their deforestation in Hawaii. I really respect them for that.

Certainly, they will help Ukulele Underground to be an even better resource for players from beginners to advanced. Plus, promoting and attracting more people to the fun we all feel when we play.

Hopefully, they will also see the benefit of the UU Forum and support it as a part of their plans.
 

Dohle

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I have such complicated feelings about Kanile'a. I love so many things about the company. They have top notch build quality and make some absolutely beautiful instruments. They consistently have some of the most stunning looking koa of any of the big "K" brands. I love their commitment to conservation and planting koa trees in Hawaii.

But I just don't enjoy playing a Kanile'a. The sound just isn't right for me, and I strongly prefer KoAloha or Kamaka when playing. Please don't get me wrong, am not saying that Kanile'a sound bad, they don't. It's just not for me. I owned one for a while, and it just didn't bring me the kind of joy that my other koa concerts did.

As for their Platinum series, most of the recent ones haven't really spoken to me either. The 2022 really isn't my cup of tea. They are definitely leaning into that sort of "Moore Bettah" intricate inlay look, and that is certainly not for me. I appreciate the beauty and craftsmanship that these kinds of designs feature, but I don't personally like it.

As for their acquisition of Ukulele Underground, it makes a lot of sense for both of them, I think. They had a pretty synergistic relationship already, and this really just cements that partnership. I do worry about what it means for this forum going forward. This forum isn't really a major part of the UU business model in any meaningful way. It is almost certainly a net loss in terms of money and time for the guys behind the scenes, but it has been kept alive by their goodwill and recognition that it is a great resource for the community. The question is: will Kanile'a feel the need to continue to keep it going long term? I do hope so, but it does worry me.

So like I said, I have complicated feelings about Kanile'a. I like a lot of what they do, who they are, and what they stand for. But I don't personally enjoy their instruments.

(I also want to stress that I think that is totally ok. Everyone doesn't need to like the same things, and that shouldn't take away from anyone's enjoyment of what they do personally like.)
Couldn't have said it better myself.
 

Bluesy

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Thanks for reporting. Looks like Kanile'a is determined to become one of the most influential companies in the ukulele business.
I agree and it makes sense to extend their reach. Joe Souza is still very active, Kristen seems to lead the charitable, public service arm, and they have three sons in the business, each of whom have their own interests that serve the whole. That's a deep bench of potential and talent, and it permits the company to broaden the scope of the company's reach with a higher probability of success, provided they follow the maxim to "keep the main thing the main thing". It also gives them the opportunity to try new approaches to serve their customers and grow their business. On the whole, it's a dynamic business with no shortage of new ideas and approaches.

However, in the end it should be all about the instruments and I see less innovation with the 2022 Platinum, but chime in if I've omitted something. Maybe that's not the point of the Platinum. Other than aesthetic changes (the tear drop sound hole that echoes the water theme, the inlay, and the koa neck), the only technical innovations appears to be a tweeked design for the bracing. The true-r relief (which I'd love to try) is included, but that was part of last year's innovation package. Last year's Platinum impressed me as a greater design leap.

They had fun with the water themed inlay. It's not going to be everyone's cup of tea, but it really only needs to be 50 people's cup of tea, so that's OK.

Apologies for rambling, but Kanilea has gotten everyone thinking and talking about their Platinum, so it may have already achieved most of its objective.

Bluesy.