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Thread: Mahalo 2500 Kahiko Soprano REVIEW

  1. #1
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    Default Mahalo 2500 Kahiko Soprano REVIEW

    An improvement for Mahalo when it comes to their entry level instruments, but still some issues

    http://www.gotaukulele.com/2015/12/m...o-ukulele.html
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    I came across this old post by chance, one of the problems with the instrument seemed to be the as supplied strings. Dr B bought one of these, sorted the nut and saddle heights, fitted new strings and fitted friction pegs. The result can be found here: https://forum.ukuleleunderground.com...ghlight=Mahalo . I think he was pleased with what he ended up with, IIRC he still preferred his Martin.

    I found the other thread interesting, I’d been negative towards Mahalo but became more open after Dr B’s posts. A second-hand U50 crossed my path and after a bit of work - learnt a lot on something that I couldn’t really devalue - and some better strings it became a passable sounding beater. I gave it away to a friend as a spare, sometimes I wish I’d kept it (tough as old boots and did a good job as a beater).

    Edit. I find no new Kahiko Ukes on eBay for a decent price and no second hand ones either, however other places on-line supply for circa £25 inc delivery and sometimes a bit less. I think the Kahiko a better Uke and better value that a U30. eBay does have lots of new and old U30’s, the new ones seem overpriced but some of the second hand ones are under £15 inc delivery. That’s not very much for a beater but then they’re also not something to expect much from .... unless you have a spare set best factor another £7 for some Aquila Concerts too, to make it (U30) sound approaching half reasonable.
    Last edited by Graham Greenbag; 03-20-2020 at 05:34 AM.

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    Blimey that's an old one... IMHO, it's far more than the strings... I'd change MUCH more. Sorry. I'd still not recommend them either way.

    And in the current climate - certainly not - independent builders and stores need your business - not mass market uke makers.
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    Quote Originally Posted by bazmaz View Post
    Blimey that's an old one... IMHO, it's far more than the strings... I'd change MUCH more. Sorry. I'd still not recommend them either way.

    And in the current climate - certainly not - independent builders and stores need your business - not mass market uke makers.
    Yes, an old one but it came up when I did a search. Later I found this video of yours and at one point I had a similar Mahalo: https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=1fdOOoEEm7c . I did a lot to sort mine out and it did improve over what I heard on your video. Yes, in side by side comparison it didn’t sound near as good as my other laminates but it did end up being fine enough for practicing on by myself. Basically it cost little and ended up playable, which is (to my way of thinking) perfectly acceptable in many circumstances. As demonstrated by Dr B you pays your money and you takes your choice, and IMHO he extracts something worth hearing from his choice that only a small percentage of players could manage to equal with instruments that cost ten times the price. Skill matters.

    I’m sure that independent makers do need business too but the employees of mass market manufacturers also like work to do and the funds to put bread on their tables so why not recommend then too? Personally I’d almost certainly always buy a mass market instrument over a Luthier made one; I’ve never needed or bought an instrument that cost more than £150 and for that money no Luthier can build anything. Luthiers have their place in the market but not at my price point and certainly not at the £30 that Mahalo’s are for sale for in the shops. As for independent retailers, well my experience of them is mixed and in my particular experience not all of them (here in the U.K.) live up to the hype - YMMV. For me it’s (now) a case of buy on price, then sort out the issues or return it.
    Last edited by Graham Greenbag; 03-23-2020 at 12:32 AM.

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    I understand both points of view, though I lean more towards Graham's position. I absolutely love the cheap ukes I have and I love practising on them.Don't get me wrong: there are high end instruments I'd like to own: the new Klos, a Farallon and a Rebel Particle spring to mind (all of them obviously not really independent luthier built). However, I don't have the means to spend a lot of money on a nice ukulele (I would if I could). I know that some of the independent luthiers are not asking loads, and if I was in the US, I would already own a Bonanza. Maybe a preloved Brueko will eventually find its way to me.
    I do hope that the builders can keep on building and selling their instruments and that players can enjoy and appreciate all instruments, mass produced or custom, to help them keep sane in these times of social distancing and self-isolation.

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    I think the key take away is if you have the skill (and tools) to do a proper setup, you can make some cheap ukes playable.

    If you don't have that skill, you really want to pick the right cheap uke that plays well out of the box (or had Mim go over it - who else sets up cheap ukes?). Because a proper setup will probably cost as much as or more than your bargain uke.
    Glenn

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    Quote Originally Posted by Graham Greenbag View Post

    I’m sure that independent makers do need business too but the employees of mass market manufacturers also like work to do and the funds to put bread on their tables so why not recommend then too? Personally I’d almost certainly always buy a mass market instrument over a Luthier made one; I’ve never needed or bought an instrument that cost more than £150 and for that money no Luthier can build anything. Luthiers have their place in the market but not at my price point and certainly not at the £30 that Mahalo’s are for sale for in the shops. As for independent retailers, well my experience of them is mixed and in my particular experience not all of them (here in the U.K.) live up to the hype - YMMV. For me it’s (now) a case of buy on price, then sort out the issues or return it.
    I wasn't suggesting you must go to a luthier (though I do know some luthier models that can be had for £150! It was more about supporting the indie, small, specialist uke stores. Those stores don't tend to carry Mahalo.
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    Quote Originally Posted by glennerd View Post
    I think the key take away is if you have the skill (and tools) to do a proper setup, you can make some cheap ukes playable.

    If you don't have that skill, you really want to pick the right cheap uke that plays well out of the box (or had Mim go over it - who else sets up cheap ukes?). Because a proper setup will probably cost as much as or more than your bargain uke.

    Yes - i've been setting up stringed instruments for over 30 years. I have the tools. HOWEVER - when i see the state of some Mahalo ukes, i just don't think it would be worth my time and effort. I saw one once with a fret in the wrong place, and another with the bridge on an angle. That's a BIG fix...
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    Quote Originally Posted by bazmaz View Post
    Yes - i've been setting up stringed instruments for over 30 years. I have the tools. HOWEVER - when i see the state of some Mahalo ukes, i just don't think it would be worth my time and effort. I saw one once with a fret in the wrong place, and another with the bridge on an angle. That's a BIG fix...
    Fair enough, I agree. I was more attempting to make the point that if Dr. B hadn't spent the time to set up his Mahalo, his great playing would have sounded less great. It's slightly deceptive of Mahalo to use his video and imply "this is what our ukulele sounds like", when he had to fix it up to get it to sound like that.
    Glenn

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    Quote Originally Posted by glennerd View Post
    Fair enough, I agree. I was more attempting to make the point that if Dr. B hadn't spent the time to set up his Mahalo, his great playing would have sounded less great. It's slightly deceptive of Mahalo to use his video and imply "this is what our ukulele sounds like", when he had to fix it up to get it to sound like that.
    I quite agree. My site is about taking snapshots of ukes and telling it like it is. It doesn't really ever go back and take second looks or tell people what 'could be' - but that's just me - i'd rather use time to bring more models to the site than dwell on something.

    What I do know though is that, over the years and seeing a LOT of Mahalo ukes - they've had some of the worst out of the box quality control I've known from any brand. And that's based on 10 years of writing reviews and having many hundred instruments come through my hands.

    I'd rather find better alternatives!
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