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Thread: Kamaka vs. KoAloha ??

  1. #41
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    I can only judge Kanilea and KoAloha from personal experience as I have both, but it seems like a lot of sound samples on Kamakas are a bit off. It may be the stock strings though. HMS uploaded a video a few days ago comparing Kanilea, KoAaloha and Kamaka tenors and the Kamaka was easily the worst of the 3 in that comparison. Sounded muddy to me.
    Just Feel The Groooooove

  2. #42
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    Mar 2019
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    Quote Originally Posted by rclifford13 View Post
    I am trying to decide between my next tenor ukulele being a Kamaka or a KoAloha. They are both beautiful and roughly the same price so what are the differences between the models? What would YOU recommend? Please help me out as I am really torn between the two! Thanks so much.
    Rob
    I've tried both. I own a Koaloha. I now love love my Koaloha but it wasn't love at first strum and it took time for it to become my favorite. When I played the Kamaka I wasn't a fan of the strings or action. However both those can be changed. So since it takes time for me to develop a fondness for an instrument perhaps I should retry a Kamaka. :-)
    K
    Sopranos: Kala Travel , Style 2 Martin, Seagull Electric, Antica Libero
    Concert: Takumi TM, Graziano Selmer, Ohana 5 String, National Reso
    Tenors: Koaloha KTM, Luna Tribal
    4 Sale: Pineapple - MP Cali, Tenor: Washburn, Pono MTD-CR Radius

  3. #43
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    Nov 2009
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    Interesting to see this thread come up after 10 years (2009!). During those years, I've owned several of each. The Koalohas got re-homed pretty quickly each time; I still own three Kamakas that I play regularly. For me it comes down to a combination of sound and playability but YMMV.

  4. #44

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    Quote Originally Posted by janeray1940 View Post
    Interesting to see this thread come up after 10 years (2009!).
    And it will come up again in another 10 years, simply because there’s no right answer...except maybe ‘I’ll take one of each please.’

    Joking aside, it’s great to hear other people’s experiences with both brands. I’ve found the comments from the last 10 years interesting and enlightening. Thanks everyone for sharing.

  5. #45
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    May 2016
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    Kamakas should never be judged with their stock strings.

  6. #46
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    Jul 2014
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    Quote Originally Posted by Just Russ View Post
    Kamakas should never be judged with their stock strings.
    +1.
    It seems like enough people agree that when sound samples are posted, it should be with stock strings, and another sample with something else.

  7. #47
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    Quote Originally Posted by Just Russ View Post
    Kamakas should never be judged with their stock strings.
    I agree, however you have to put some blame on Kamaka for using them as their stock strings. I'm not sure if it is to cut costs or whatever, but they do not sound good.
    Just Feel The Groooooove

  8. #48
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    Jan 2012
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    Steveston, B.C. Canada
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    I say, get one of each!

    I have a Koaloha tenor and like it a lot.

    The Koaloha is strung low G and I’d like a tenor that’s running a high G. I am now in the process to adding a Kamaka tenor to my herd. Then no problem about which to buy. Get one of each and play ‘em according to your mood and the music you dig.
    Kamaka Tenor (koa)
    KoAloha Tenor (mango)
    Lone Tree Custom Soprano (hemlock, western maple, pacific yew)
    Lone Tree Custom Tenor (driftwood red cedar, black cherry, western maple)
    Lone Tree ‘Mutt’ Five String Tenor (cedar/spruce top, hickory sides, koa back, birdseye maple fretboard)

  9. #49
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    Dec 2018
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kyle23 View Post
    I agree, however you have to put some blame on Kamaka for using them as their stock strings. I'm not sure if it is to cut costs or whatever, but they do not sound good.
    I like Kamaka strings so much that I put them on my Martin. I used to not like them but grew to appreciate them more every time I play on them. I don’t think the Kamaka string are inferior but rather a different sound that is more rounded and balanced. I admit it’s relatively harder to press down compared to fluorocarbon and I’m okay with it cos I could tease out many subtle beautiful notes out of the same chord. In my personal opinion, a fluorocarbon is more of a one or zero kind of sound. So I think the Kamaka strings are great for finger style. Well try the Kamaka with stock strings on a quiet day and maybe you will be converted as I have. Just my 2 cents and not out to offend anyone.
    Martin S-1 Uke || Eddy Finn EFTS-20-S || Martin C1K Uke || Enya EUT-M6E
    Check out my ukulele themed paintings in UU forum thread

  10. #50
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    Jan 2010
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    st. paul, MN
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    I once had a pretty 2002 Kamaka tenor, which I decided was a bit heavy and over-built...... until I put a set of Worth "Heavy" strings on it.
    WOW, did that thing come alive! It sounded fantastic.

    Lookswise (if that matters to you), they are such different creatures.
    The wood set and finish on the Kamaka was way prettier than the 2007 Koaloha concert I had at the same time.

    The Koaloha sounded really good, but I found I needed to warm up that crystaline sound with a set of Worth Browns.
    I never attached to the headstock or the thick gloss finish and ended up selling.
    Tracie

    Island Koa Instruments, prototype soprano, Peter Howlett #153
    Weymann soprano, 1918
    Martin O, 1960's
    Kamaka white label sop (Tiki added!)
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    Kala Elite 1MHG Concert
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