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Thread: Trouble deciding between mainland and Koa Pili Koko

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2015
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    16

    Default Trouble deciding between mainland and Koa Pili Koko

    There are a couple of ukes I am looking atm. They are the Mainland Red Cedar, the Mainland Mango, and the KPK Mahogany. I have never played a mango instrument, but I do have a laminate mahogany, and I do have a seagull s6 (solid cedar top guitar) and really enjoy the tones on both of those. Never played a spruce instrument but the mainland also makes one of those.

    The mahogany I have now is very cheap, so I don't mind getting a diff mahogany to replace it basically.

    Anyone have experience with these specific models? Is there a noticable difference in build quality/sound between the 2 brands? And if I did go KPK, would you suggest the basic or with the binding? My current uke doesn't have a binding and it hasn't been an issue, but just curious.

  2. #2

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    Hi there,

    I have a KPK soprano acacia and I rate it pretty highly. Quite well constructed at a good price. I am sure the Mahogany would be similar. I have heard people say that it is a quiet uke as a soprano but I believe that is not entirely accurate. If you have experience with slightly heavier built solid ukes, you will know there are a few 'tricks' (triplet strumming, or a more enthusiastic attack on the strum) that really bring out the sound in these ukes. I certainly have no problem making it talk. Cedar, Mango and Mahogany are all going to sound different, so I would suggest immersing yourself in youtube to find out how these different ukes sound and possibly that elusive playability quality that is based more on personal preference than anything else.

    My little KPK really has an almost martin type 'bark' when you really get up and strumming. not too bad for finger picking styles but I will refrain from making definite comment on this apart from saying I was inspired to do more finger picking as a result of the way this uke plays for me.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2014
    Location
    MARTIN-sville Indiana
    Posts
    548

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    I have no experience with KPK ukuleles, but the cedar Mainlands are amazing! I have played a few and it is at the top of my "next uke" list.
    Main players:

    Soprano: WC Ukuleles

    Concert: Collings UC2 | Collings UC2K | Talsma Style 3 | Ono Pineapple

    Tenor: Collings UT2 | Collings UT3SMB

    Baritone: LoPrinzi


    Others to be re-homed: Kepasa Madera koa| Kiwaya KS-1 | 16" Koa Ono | Blackbird Farallon

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2015
    Posts
    16

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    @Chudith, did you get the deluxe with binding? Or the standard model? And thats good to know! One of the reasons I love cedar is how versatile it is with fingerpicking and strumming. As for the mahogany, I know I am in the vast minority but I have just never liked the tones of koa or acacia over the other options.

    @WCBarnes I Know, it's a very hard choice. The ones I have heard on youtube have all sounded absolutely amazing, and I really like the choice of woods too. I might would have paired the cedar with mahogany over the rosewood, but rosewood is probably the 2nd choice anyway and it's close.
    Last edited by Dejekt; 11-05-2015 at 06:46 AM.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2014
    Location
    Oahu Isle, Hawaii
    Posts
    354

    Default

    The KPK website hasn't been answering the mail in more than 2 days as of now.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Florida Space Coast
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    11,954

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    I have a KPK concert and a soprano long neck pineapple. The soprano is very "quiet" compared to the concert. (I emphasize "by comparison") That Mainland Cedar is sweet and full sounding and light and the KPK concert is a sound cannon, bright, woody, and punchy sounding with a ton of projection but heavy. I don't care for the abalone on the KPK, but then I don't like anything that looks like my Oscar Schmidt OU5 from across the room. Could get more specific if need be. I think the rope binding has gotten a little more "trendy" than it use to be, but they make models without it as well. Depends on the size. Soprano - Mainland, concert or tenor - either one.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Nov 2015
    Posts
    16

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    Your KPK is the acacia I'm guessing? I haven't really found any good sound samples of their mahogany.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Florida Space Coast
    Posts
    11,954

    Default

    yup, acacia....it's an older model and I would never change the ebony bridge and saddle on it.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Nov 2015
    Posts
    16

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    I actually listened to some pono's last night AT and MT and I have to say I am very impressed with those at the price point. Def think I like it more than the mainlands. Didn't care for their mango as much. So it's looking like its coming down to pono or KPK, and if it is worth the extra ~150$ to go from kpk to pono.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Location
    Blaine, Washington
    Posts
    2,337

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    It'a worth it or, for with the money, buy a higher quality used uke. Plenty in the Marketplace. Most ukes are rarely abused so used is almost like buying new.
    Last edited by Patrick Madsen; 11-06-2015 at 06:25 AM.

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