Upgrading my Ohana ck-20 (mahogany)

Ukemom4

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Hello! I am looking forward to thoughts from more experienced buyers/players!

I currently have a local luthier made tenor Koa pineapple uke which has a great sound. It was a gift and I love it, BUT it does have its quirks. Eventually I will be buying a KoAloha - but the ones I want break the bank 😅

For NOW, I’d like to focus on replacing my first uke, which has become my kids 😂 I’d love a mahogany or mahogany/spruce combo….

After reading up and listening to lots of clips, I am drawn to the Anuenue moon bird (a brand which I had never even heard of) OR the Rebel cheesecake slim line (rather than the double cheese).

I usually like my instruments satin, and the Anuenue is HIGH gloss which I don’t love, but the rest of the instrument looks great.

many thoughts on the quality and playability of these instruments? I will most likely be choosing a concert size as I already have a tenor and prefer options :)

also- I am scared of buying used. Any tips on this? I have found some good deals lately but I am highly skeptical!
 

LukuleleStrings

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Regarding buying used, I prefer not to unless the deal is super good. I like supporting a shop just as much as I like getting a uke that’s been set up properly (peace of mind matters, too).

Regarding aNueNue, I like them quite a bit. I also like gloss finishes primarily because they don’t make nearly the same amount of noise against my shirt when I’m recording. Some of the ukes I have sound almost like sandpaper and I have to focus almost as much on staying still when recording as playing the piece correctly.

They’re also just fantastic instruments. I love how it’s obvious that every single detail was considered and they weren’t afraid to do things differently, right down the neck block being canted where almost all ukes have it straight. The case it comes with is cool as well. ;-)

I’ve played thin Rebels and they’re pretty cool. Very loud. But there’s a warmth that comes with depth so, for me, between the two, I’d go with the moon bird. That’s just me, though.
 

hendulele

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If you buy used, the marketplace here tends to be really reliable. Folks who sell here regularly (check their posts) are great to deal with … otherwise they’d be booted off.

It’s a big price jump from Ohana CKs to Moon Birds and Rebels. (KoAloha makes models in that same range.)

I haven’t tried Flights but they get great reviews. Why not check Got A Ukulele for ideas?

 

Ukemom4

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If you buy used, the marketplace here tends to be really reliable. Folks who sell here regularly (check their posts) are great to deal with … otherwise they’d be booted off.

It’s a big price jump from Ohana CKs to Moon Birds and Rebels. (KoAloha makes models in that same range.)

I haven’t tried Flights but they get great reviews. Why not check Got A Ukulele for ideas?

Thank you! I didn’t know there was a marketplace as I just joined :) I will take a look.

so my thought process is this: my tenor Koa is a higher class uke. It cost a pretty penny and I’ve been spoiled by it. Now I want something to replace my beginner mahogany with another mahogany or spruce/mahogany combo that is of similar or better quality as my tenor - and after reading and listening to lots of reviews on Got A Ukulele (best reviewer EVER!), I’m drawn to the two I mentioned most. The Rebel is more in my price range, but as I only plan on having *one* mahogany uke in my collection, I want it to be a really good one! And a lot of reviews actually said the the Rebel is slightly better than the Koaloha opio (though I know this is subjective) so that was what started me in that direction. And I do light the sound of the Rebel.

I also don’t know that I want to drop the money on the Rebel and then wish that I had saved a little longer for the moonbird. 😂 am I making sense? My husband just thinks I’m crazy for needing more than one. He doesn’t understanddddddddddd, haha.
 

Ukemom4

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Regarding buying used, I prefer not to unless the deal is super good. I like supporting a shop just as much as I like getting a uke that’s been set up properly (peace of mind matters, too).

Regarding aNueNue, I like them quite a bit. I also like gloss finishes primarily because they don’t make nearly the same amount of noise against my shirt when I’m recording. Some of the ukes I have sound almost like sandpaper and I have to focus almost as much on staying still when recording as playing the piece correctly.

They’re also just fantastic instruments. I love how it’s obvious that every single detail was considered and they weren’t afraid to do things differently, right down the neck block being canted where almost all ukes have it straight. The case it comes with is cool as well. ;-)

I’ve played thin Rebels and they’re pretty cool. Very loud. But there’s a warmth that comes with depth so, for me, between the two, I’d go with the moon bird. That’s just me, though.
I appreciate your response. I love the slim look of the Rebel, but warmth is more important to me so you may have just tipped the scale with your opinion…. :)
 

rainbow21

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I can speak to the KoAloha and aNueNue ukes, having bought and sold both.

First, a KoAloha Pikake concert uke can likely be bought for around $600 - 800 used. It is as good (better to me) than a gloss KoAloha (I love the satin finish on these) and I would save for one while keeping an eye on the used market over getting an Opio. This is their top of the line, except for the Red Label line for another $2000 (which I have, love, and why I sold my Pikake). At this price point, I would get a KoAloha over a Rebel (having not played one). But a KoAloha will NOT give you a mellow sound.

I had an aNueNue Moon Bird concert. It is perhaps, the best production model ukulele out there, in some ways more impressive than the three Ks. It has a slight radiused fretboard (a plus to me) and a larger body, which I disliked at the time but should be a nonissue since you are a tenor player. The sound is beautiful, mellow, and balanced. For your wood combo and mellow sound, I would save up for this. Longer term, this will cost you less (especially if you find one used) and you will be able to enjoy it from the moment you have it in hand. I sold it after acquiring a custom build and the purchaser saved around $300 and will be able to sell it for the same price as she paid me.

The used market is a great place to buy and sell, especially on this forum. I expect to save about 30% off the new price and resell for around the same or a little less. It allows me to try various ones and usually resell without taking the big price hit of a new uke. You will get photos, identification of any cosmetic issues (like a ding here or there or strum marks) and sometimes a sound sample.

In either event, I recommend you save for the one you want. If it is a more expensive one, save longer.
 

Dohle

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The aNueNue Moon Bird is excellent, regardless of the size. I can't really say it has any downsides. It has great volume, balance, excellent playability with a slightly wider nut than average but not too much like Kanile'a ukes and the like, and it's finished beautifully. It is quite expensive though. If you're looking at the Rebel ukuleles you should also definitely check out the KoAloha Opio range which are made by the same people as the Rebel. They're the budget version of KoAloha but they're basically 80-90% there. Also check out the aNueNue AMM2. It's an all solid mahogany concert uke made in the same factory as the Moon Birds. Different design but similar quality and half the price. One of the best value for money if you can afford it.
 

EBlack

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Hello! I am looking forward to thoughts from more experienced buyers/players!

I currently have a local luthier made tenor Koa pineapple uke which has a great sound. It was a gift and I love it, BUT it does have its quirks. Eventually I will be buying a KoAloha - but the ones I want break the bank 😅

For NOW, I’d like to focus on replacing my first uke, which has become my kids 😂 I’d love a mahogany or mahogany/spruce combo….

After reading up and listening to lots of clips, I am drawn to the Anuenue moon bird (a brand which I had never even heard of) OR the Rebel cheesecake slim line (rather than the double cheese).

I usually like my instruments satin, and the Anuenue is HIGH gloss which I don’t love, but the rest of the instrument looks great.

many thoughts on the quality and playability of these instruments? I will most likely be choosing a concert size as I already have a tenor and prefer options :)

also- I am scared of buying used. Any tips on this? I have found some good deals lately but I am highly skeptical!
The Rebel is amazing. I tried both sizes at Aloha City Ukes. The Cheesecake and the double Cheesecake. What a pleasure to play. Will be my next tenor.
 

Cadia

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ANueNue Moonbirds are excellent, if somewhat expensive. Another great choice would be the aNueNue AMM2 (concert) or AMM3 (tenor). These all-mahogany ukes sound great, are beautiful to look at, and are of very high quality while still being reasonably priced. I'm a big Rebel fan too, though my first choice would not be a slimline as I like a fuller tone. I have both the aNueNues and a Rebel Double Cheese tenor, and I love them all. The AMMs probably represent the greatest value. I'd prefer any of these to the Opio, because I think they're equal in sound quality to my KoAloha, not a step down. They are all gloss, which I think brings out the beauty of the wood. But I think you can get a Rebel mango in a satin.
 

kkimura

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The Pono mahogany concert is a real "sleeper". It surprised me with its understated looks, quality build and intonation all for a relatively low price.
 

Ukemom4

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The Pono mahogany concert is a real "sleeper". It surprised me with its understated looks, quality build and intonation all for a relatively low price.
Thank you! I haven’t researched Pono at all, so I will take a look!
 

Ukemom4

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ANueNue Moonbirds are excellent, if somewhat expensive. Another great choice would be the aNueNue AMM2 (concert) or AMM3 (tenor). These all-mahogany ukes sound great, are beautiful to look at, and are of very high quality while still being reasonably priced. I'm a big Rebel fan too, though my first choice would not be a slimline as I like a fuller tone. I have both the aNueNues and a Rebel Double Cheese tenor, and I love them all. The AMMs probably represent the greatest value. I'd prefer any of these to the Opio, because I think they're equal in sound quality to my KoAloha, not a step down. They are all gloss, which I think brings out the beauty of the wood. But I think you can get a Rebel mango in a satin.
Thank you so much for your thoughts!!!