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Thread: NUD: Solid Koa Pineapple Sunday (2019)

  1. #1

    Default NUD: Solid Koa Pineapple Sunday (2019)

    I suspect I am doing the NUD thing a bit wrong, as this kind of spiraled out a bit into a full blown review.

    Last week, Mim had some blem stock Pineapple Sundays pop up, and I couldn't resist. It arrived over the weekend, but I needed some time with it before I wrote anything up...

    Here is my beautiful Pineapple Sunday, made by "Pops" KoAloha himself, Alvin Okami!

    It is technically a "blem" because there is a small dent on the backside where the back meets the side. To be honest, I probably wouldn't have noticed it if I didn't know it was there from the listing on Mim's site.

    It is a solid koa body, with two book-matched pieces used for the top and back. As has been discussed in another thread, KoAloha is constantly making tweaks and changes to their instruments, and Pops is no exception to this. The Pineapple Sunday, being Pops' passion project, is constantly being refined, so no two batches of Pineapple Sundays are exactly the same. The "current" batch (as of June 2019) of koa instruments appear to have the re-designed spiky pineapple headstock and pineapple logo, so I suspect that this one, with its crown headstock and traditional KoAloha logo, is from a batch from late 2018 or early 2019. Unfortunately, there is no date or serial number inside, so it is hard to pin down exactly. This transient nature and lack of date leads to some details being... tricky.

    The listing claimed a rosewood fretboard and bridge, but these look way too dark for that. I suspect it is ebony. Here is the Pineapple Sunday next to my Kamaka HF-2 anniversary edition, which *definitely* has a rosewood fretboard for comparison. The position markers are also a bit of a curiosity as well.

    The listing labels them as mango, but user efiscella describes the ones he had, of the same look and design, as curly maple. I can't tell for sure what the wood here is, but they look great! The pictures simply don't do them justice. (I do plan to write to KoAloha to see if they can clear up the material questions I have.)

    So, what's it like? In one word: exquisite. This instrument is extremely well made. It feels more like it was crafted rather than built. Yes, I know that is a bit of a fine distinction, but there is just something special about it. It feels very solid, with a nice heft and weight, but a delicateness that tells you it isn't overbuilt. The sound has a clarity to it that is unmatched in anything I have played. Every note is clear and balanced, with good sustain. It is a bit quieter than I had expected from a KoAloha, but that is not the same thing as saying it is quiet. There is still plenty of volume here.

    There is one oddity of the sound that bears mention. The instrument exhibits a fairly strong directional component to the sound. This is something that I first noticed on my Blackbird Clara; the instrument sounds very different when you are playing vs. when you are simply listening to it being played by someone else. In the case of the Clara, when playing it the instrument sounds very "boomy" to my ears, with the low end exaggerated and the treble side muted. When you listen to a Clara when not playing it, it is quite balanced and lovely. The Pineapple Sunday seems to exhibit a reverse-Clara effect. When you play it, the low end seems to be somewhat lost and the sound, overall, seems a bit thinner than I had expected. It isn't all that noticeable if you play just the Pineapple Sunday, but if you play it back-to-back with something else (like say, a Kamaka HF-2) I feel it seems thin. If you instead listen to the instrument being played by someone else, the low end is back, and the sound is much more balanced. I may try to capture this with a pair of microphones with one in front of the instrument and one near my shoulder.
    Last edited by Cluze; 07-09-2019 at 05:04 PM.
    Ukes include (but are not limited to)
    • Blackbird Clara
    • Kamaka HF-2A (Koa Concert)
    • KoAloha Opio KCO-10 (Acacia Concert)
    • KoAloha Opio KCO-10S (Spruce Top Concert)

  2. #2

    Default Continued...

    I will also mention that I am likely to change the strings soon. The A string has a flaw in it, between the first and second fret.

    I don't know that the string will fail anytime soon, but I am also a fan of trying different strings on different instruments. I suspect that Living Water strings would suit this instrument nicely (EDIT: They do! Still settling in, but the volume and sustain are improved with the Living Water strings.)

    While the Pineapple Sunday, with its tenor scale neck on a concert body, has an extremely generous 38 mm nut width, the string-to-string spacing might surprise you. I happened to be measuring these things (I keep track of all of these things in a spreadsheet) and I noticed something odd. I had also recently purchased a Kala KA-FMCG concert ukulele, and while its nut is only 35 mm, the string-to-string spacing is identical on the Pineapple Sunday at about 27 mm from G to A. (These exact numbers might be tiny bit off as my digital calipers have a dead battery, so I had to use a ruler.)

    Sounds insane right? Have a look at both necks.

    Now, have a look at the Kala stacked (carefully!) on top of the Pineapple Sunday.

    The string slots match exactly. And yet the Pineapple Sunday "feels" much more roomy and comfortable. It is quite odd.

    Bottom line? The Pineapple Sunday is something special. It looks, feels, and sounds amazing. If you have never played one, you probably should if you get the chance. If you are on the fence about owning one, I recommend getting one.

    Just not this one. This one is mine!
    Ukes include (but are not limited to)
    • Blackbird Clara
    • Kamaka HF-2A (Koa Concert)
    • KoAloha Opio KCO-10 (Acacia Concert)
    • KoAloha Opio KCO-10S (Spruce Top Concert)

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    JoCo, NC (near Raleigh)


    Nice! Love the fingerboard.

    Rosewood can be that dark for sure. Here's my latest:
    Iriguchi Tenor "Weeble" - A, WoU Clarity
    Blue Star 19" baritone Konablaster - DGBE
    Cocobolo 16" SC#1-gCEA, SC SLMU
    Ono #42 19" baritone, Ab, LW
    Imua iET-Bb, M600
    Covered Bridge CLN pineapple - Eb cuatro, SC XLL
    Rogue bari
    Bonanza super tenor, cFAD SC LHU
    Kala KSLNG, Eb SC XLU
    Flea soprano, C LW
    Hanson 5-string tenor, dGCEA
    Bonanza SLN GCEA
    Jupiter #47, G, TI CF127


  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2016
    Twin Cities Area, Minnesota


    So if you look up the sound hole, towards the neck, there is no date stamped on the bottom of the headstock?
    My ukulele blog:

    My ukulele YouTube channels:

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2018
    Sparta, Wisconsin, USA


    A lot of rosewood and even ebony fretboards are stained to even out the dark color of the wood. I've had some of the color come off when I oiled the fingerboard of my Martin T1 IZ. (Music Nomad F1 Oil.)

    Not saying that's the case here. But you can't always rely on the color to determine the wood.

    Fabulous Sundae. Just beautiful. Congratulations!
    There is a subtle yet profound difference between the learning of something and the knowing of that thing.
    You can learn by reading, but you don’t begin to know until you begin to try to do.

    —Lou Churchill, Plane & Pilot Magazine

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2018


    Congrats! It’s a beauty and glad that the volume and sustain improved with the string change.
    Kamaka HF-1 || 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

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Apr 2019


    Congratulations! What a little beauty
    Happy just to be a Newbie, Penny

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Oct 2015


    What a stunning collection in those pictures!
    Is that Five Tribes in the bottom?
    The ukuleles are nice too.
    Ohana SK30M mahogany super-soprano, Cort UKEBWCOP Blackwood concert, Anuenue African Mahogany Tenor, Fluke Koa Tenor, Hora M1176 spruce Tenor

  9. #9
    Join Date
    May 2015


    Quote Originally Posted by Choirguy View Post
    So if you look up the sound hole, towards the neck, there is no date stamped on the bottom of the headstock?
    There isn't on my Special Issue. I don't know if they leave date stamps off custom or semi custom builds.
    Kamaka HF-2LD - Kanile'a Custom 5 string Super Tenor - KoAloha Special Issue Tenor - Mya Moe Maple & Spruce Tenor - Pono MGTDP

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    San Diego


    Quote Originally Posted by Kenn2018 View Post
    A lot of rosewood and even ebony fretboards are stained to even out the dark color of the wood. Not saying that's the case here. But you can't always rely on the color to determine the wood.Fabulous Sundae. Just beautiful. Congratulations!
    I asked a similar question directly to Mim regarding the fretboard woods used, and the possibility of the use of a dye or stain.

    Mims answer:
    "I believe it is ebony and mango. It could be rosewood but not dyed"

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