Kanile'a vs Rebel quality

MentalAtom

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Short version:
- I have some money "burning a hole in my pocket" for a nice $1000+ ukulele
- I was always looking at Kanile'a due to the nice wide nut width and the beautiful instruments, and they always sound great online.
- I saw a crazy deal on a "The Rebel" Original Fake (Western Yellow Cedar/Red Cedar/Padauk/Ebony) where it's $400 off list price just because they didn't sell it yet. Also sounds great although of course not so "conventional"
- Nut width on Rebel is 37mm instead of my usual 38mm but I figure it'll still be fine (no way of trying to it to find out, but just 1mm and at least it's not super narrow 35mm or so)

So, the question is, the Rebel would normally cost more than a K-1, but is the quality comparable (for those of you who own or have played both)? Of course the Rebel is not Hawaiian made but it's a pretty unique instrument and they have some up on the ukulele site too right now (apparently they only built 20).

What would you do?
 

Steedy

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Rebels are great, but Kanile'a are greater. I'd go with a K-1T.
 
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It’s all in what you want. You’re paying for a premium either way, but the Kanile’a is a premium that is made in the US (Hawaii no less) by a family business. To some people this is important and to others less so - everyone’s different and there’s no wrong choice.
 

Final_form

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Rebel and kanilea quality are superb. Oryginał fake has spruce and cedar top usually these Woods are louder than koa. Rebel nut is 37/38mm but string spacing at nut is narrow 27mm/k1 has 29+. I always have to Say this when People want to buy rebel uke.
 
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Jerryc41

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I have both, and I can't find problems with either brand. Look for online reviews, especially from Baz. Buying one or the other isn't going to get you better quality. It's not like comparing a Yugo to a Toyota.
 

badhabits

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will you regret not getting that "rare" 1/20 rebel? or, will it upset you if you find out tomorrow that it has already sold?
 

thaidye39

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I have both, and I can't find problems with either brand. Look for online reviews, especially from Baz. Buying one or the other isn't going to get you better quality. It's not like comparing a Yugo to a Toyota.

I drive a Toyota (just got it 6 weeks ago!) and play a Kanilea K1 Tenor.
 

MentalAtom

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Thanks for all the comments and different viewpoints. I think I'm gonna hold off on the Rebel for now as I would still feel like I "missed out" next Kanile'a that comes up... so I'll stick with my "dream uke" of a Kanile'a and wait a little longer. The Rebel is a bargain... but it won't "cure" me long time from continuing to ogle more ukes.
 

Kenn2018

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I think either would be good. Some considerations:

The Rebel is more of an oddity. Many buyers will not be interested in its quirkiness, so the resale value may not be as high.
The Kanile'a will sell pretty well, especially if it has a nice Koa wood grain on the body.

My 2017 Kainile'a Koa gloss tenor has string separation of 10mm. While my 2021 Rebel satin mango tenor has a string separation of 9mm.
The neck of my Kanile'a is a bit flatter than the neck of the Rebel. I believe both brands have satin necks on current models. Both are very playable.
The Kanile'a is louder than the Rebel. But that's Koa vs. Mango. The Kanile'a has a peg bridge, the Rebel has a tie bridge.
I think the construction quality of both are comparable. Though I am comparing a 2017 Kanile'a to a 2021 Rebel.

Either way, I think you'll enjoy whichever you choose.
 

man0a

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From what I've seen, Rebel build quality is very similar to Koaloha Opio build quality, just with quirkier/innovative wood choices. Opios (usually made from solid acacia) sell for about half the price of Hawaii-made solid koa Koalohas and Kanileas. Buy the Rebel if you really really like the wood choices, but quirky often affects the looks of an instrument more than the sound quality.

Personally, I don't mind the string spacing on Rebel/Opio/Koaloha. If the strings are too close to the edge of the neck, my fingers slide off the fretboard too easily when I'm doing bends or pull-offs or even suspended chords.
 

Cadia

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From what I've seen, Rebel build quality is very similar to Koaloha Opio build quality, just with quirkier/innovative wood choices. Opios (usually made from solid acacia) sell for about half the price of Hawaii-made solid koa Koalohas and Kanileas. Buy the Rebel if you really really like the wood choices, but quirky often affects the looks of an instrument more than the sound quality.

Personally, I don't mind the string spacing on Rebel/Opio/Koaloha. If the strings are too close to the edge of the neck, my fingers slide off the fretboard too easily when I'm doing bends or pull-offs or even suspended chords.

Well I sort of agree with most of this, but I do think the Rebel build quality is nicer than an Opio, and more comparable to my KoAloha KTM. I like the nut width on my Kanile'a, but I find the string spacing is a bit too wide for me so I rarely play it. I prefer the nut width and string spacing of the Rebel, which is comparable to the KoAloha. Like man0a, I also like some room at the side of the neck so as not to pull off the fretboard. That being said, I'd probably buy a Kanile'a if you're comfortable with the string spacing, or a KoAloha if you'd like them a little closer. Or an aNueNue Moonbird. :cheers: