Ko'olau vs. Kanile'a tenors

mr moonlight

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So I'm trying to decide between going with either a Ko'olau or Kanilea'a Tenor. I play a good mix of strumming and fingerpicking styles. Since I live in South Florida where there really are no Ukulele stores, I'm stuck with just listening to sound clips on YouTube to make my decision. Currently I play a Solid cedar top Kala set up as low G. From what I can hear and what I've been told the Ko'olau has a more even tone and the Kanile'a is a little heavier on the low and high ends. Compared to what I'm currently playing they both sound amazing although I'm leaning toward the Ko'olau. Just wondering what others who have played both think about these two Ukes.
 

mm stan

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I played alot of Kanilea's and don't skimp and go for a K3 and above.. way to go... the K1 was kinda bright for me.. good luck...MM Stan
 

PhilUSAFRet

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One of my uke goals is to be able to give you the assessment of these ukes that you want......someday!
 

d-mace

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I've had both and they are both excellent. I think your description of tone difference is similar to my experience. The main differences I recall were neck shape and weight. The Ko'olau was very lightly built for a tenor. Also the neck shape on the the Ko'olau had a similar feel to the necks on Fleas and Flukes. It didn't have a continuously smooth C shape to it.
 

mr moonlight

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I was sort of figuring if I'm going to spend that kind a cash, I should do it right. Either way, I figure it won't be my last uke... or nearly that. I'm on MoBetta's list, but that's 2 years off, so in the meantime...
 

mr moonlight

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I've had both and they are both excellent. I think your description of tone difference is similar to my experience. The main differences I recall were neck shape and weight. The Ko'olau was very lightly built for a tenor. Also the neck shape on the the Ko'olau had a similar feel to the necks on Fleas and Flukes. It didn't have a continuously smooth C shape to it.

So for Ko'olau I my main concern was that the bass strings wouldn't be loud enough. I am wondering what your take is on that. The trebles and mids I can get a fairly good idea on Youtube, but the basses seem to get lost in the compression. Thanks for the help!
 

mr moonlight

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I never noticed any volume issue with low or high g nor have I ever heard it as a complaint with Ko'olau.

Thanks!
I'm sort of getting the idea that I can't go wrong with either one. Also, it looks like I can get a bit better price for the exact Ko'olau I want so that's a plus.
 

wearymicrobe

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Ok I have had 5 Ko'olau and 10ish Kanile'as

The Ko'olau ukes are the better uke in my opinion without taking pricing into consideration. Lets just say above the 2-3K mark. They record better as well and require less intonation adjustment on the bridge. They are more of a strum then fingerpicker ukulele. The T100 uke's are good but not as great as the higher rung stuff, don;t know why. I actually like the older Ko'olau ukes better because they each break in differently. The redwood tops are great, but every now and again a bearclaw spruce ko'olau will pop up and those are the best ones they make regardless of size. But those then to be 400+ ukes with prices in the 4-6K range.



The Kanile'a is a gigging uke and my personal favorite K uke on the market for the money. The UV holds up to everything and the kitchen sink. A little fiddling with the stings and you can play unamped. The are loud when you want them to be and soft when you want that.They are less reactive to humidity swings. They are more reactive to strings. They lose a little bit on the softer volume you play when you record that can be fixed with a few tweaks in your software.
 

mr moonlight

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Ok I have had 5 Ko'olau and 10ish Kanile'as

The Ko'olau ukes are the better uke in my opinion without taking pricing into consideration. Lets just say above the 2-3K mark. They record better as well and require less intonation adjustment on the bridge. They are more of a strum then fingerpicker ukulele. The T100 uke's are good but not as great as the higher rung stuff, don;t know why. I actually like the older Ko'olau ukes better because they each break in differently. The redwood tops are great, but every now and again a bearclaw spruce ko'olau will pop up and those are the best ones they make regardless of size. But those then to be 400+ ukes with prices in the 4-6K range.



The Kanile'a is a gigging uke and my personal favorite K uke on the market for the money. The UV holds up to everything and the kitchen sink. A little fiddling with the stings and you can play unamped. The are loud when you want them to be and soft when you want that.They are less reactive to humidity swings. They are more reactive to strings. They lose a little bit on the softer volume you play when you record that can be fixed with a few tweaks in your software.

Thanks! most helpful. Do you have any thoughts on the Koa top versions?
 

wearymicrobe

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90% of mine have been Koa, My personal opinion is that Koa is the very best for strumming, I think that bearclaw spruce is better for finger picking depending on the bracing. If your not going to go custom your best bet is to try a few or have someone try a few for you.

what did you want to spend?


Also Koa will always be a easy resale, spruce not so much.
 

dnewton2

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I'm on MoBetta's list, but that's 2 years off, so in the meantime...

Hyjack: Is chucks list 2 years????? I got mine about two and a half years ago and was lucky to email him and he had a spot open, had a uke in 2 months. I knew he Was backed up but 2 years.

As for what uke you really can't go wrong both makers are highly regarded in the industry. I have played a hand full of each at shops and they are both fine instruments.
 

mr moonlight

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90% of mine have been Koa, My personal opinion is that Koa is the very best for strumming, I think that bearclaw spruce is better for finger picking depending on the bracing. If your not going to go custom your best bet is to try a few or have someone try a few for you.

what did you want to spend?


Also Koa will always be a easy resale, spruce not so much.

Thanks!
I have my order in for a custom Koa Ko'olau just to my specs. So I got 6 weeks to wait.
 

mr moonlight

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Hyjack: Is chucks list 2 years????? I got mine about two and a half years ago and was lucky to email him and he had a spot open, had a uke in 2 months. I knew he Was backed up but 2 years.

As for what uke you really can't go wrong both makers are highly regarded in the industry. I have played a hand full of each at shops and they are both fine instruments.

Yeah, I first hit up Chuck for a uke and he told me there was a 2 year waiting list but it may be less time. We'll just have to wait and see. Either way I couldn't wait anywhere near 2 years to get something nicer, so I'm picking up a Ko'olau now and then it looks like a MoBetta in around 2 years.
 

wearymicrobe

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Thanks!
I have my order in for a custom Koa Ko'olau just to my specs. So I got 6 weeks to wait.

6 weeks that is super fast for them, you got lucky. I waited almost 9 months for mine.

Also what are the spec's, we all want to know!!!!!
 

mr moonlight

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6 weeks that is super fast for them, you got lucky. I waited almost 9 months for mine.

Also what are the spec's, we all want to know!!!!!

I kept it pretty simple. Just went with the better grade Koa, binding, rosette, ebony bridge/headplate/fingerboard, slotted headstock and no fret markers on the finger board. I like to keep it looking clean. I still have a ways to go and I'm already gettin anxious!