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Thread: k brand or custom

  1. #11

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    I "third" the comment on setup. I've bought from both HMS and Mim and would be happy to buy from either again. HMS has the advantage of someone there having time to spend with you on the phone to talk over your purchase; Mim is always on the run doing all the great things she does. The only disadvantage I can think with HMS is that you'll have to wait longer to get in the setup queue.

    If you want a concert, the cost of a new Hawaiian made concert (K brand) is just about in your range. I've been very happy buying above my "play grade" mostly because it has helped me understand what is considered the classic Hawaiian tone/sound. Most others on this forum know what they like and would have a custom aimed in that direction, which is why I wouldn't buy a custom until I really knew what I liked/wanted in a ukulele. However, buying a used Kamaka, Kanile'a, Koaloha, or Ko'olau for me would be a great idea.

  2. #12
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    Oahu
    Posts
    3,690

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    if you are looking for a custom built uke Hank Johnson is a great builder who likes to be under the radar..don't let his price point(1500.00) fool you he does great work. nice tone on his ukes and his fit and finish top notch....call him l would recommend him to you as I think he is who you may want to build for you...his building time is pretty fast to and he has a wide selection of tone woods

    http://www.kimoukulele.com/


    here is my Kimo uke with a short sound sample recorded on a cell phone
    http://www.kimoukulele.com/2019/09/2...tenor-ukulele/
    Last edited by hawaii 50; 11-20-2019 at 06:05 AM.
    Kanile'a K-2 Concert,Ko'Aloha Super Concert,Maui Music 1998 Koa Tenor,Compass Rose Koa Tenor,Graziano Koa Tenor,Kamaka HF3-S,Moore Bettah Milo/Sitka Spruce Tenor,DeVine mother of curl Koa/Engleman Spruce Tenor,Ko'olau Indo Rosewood/Sinker Redwood Tenor,Washburn Lyon and Healy 1936 Bell shaped soprano,Lfdm Bastogne Walnut/Carpathian Spruce Tenor,Rollo Scheurenbrand African Blackwood/Adirondack Spruce Tenor

  3. #13
    Join Date
    Jul 2015
    Location
    Catskill Mountains, NY
    Posts
    4,729

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    Quote Originally Posted by nobleark View Post
    was wanting to get a good ukulele. right now playing on a kala.

    i have around $1000 to spend. looking at kbrands or should i look for a nice used custom either in concert or tenor size.
    A custom involves lots of decisions and a long waiting period. Buying a used K brand will get you a beautiful, nice-sounding uke within a few days. A budget of $1,000 is cutting it close, though. That sounds ridiculous, doesn't it? $1,000 for a ukulele is cutting it close.

    My first good uke was a KoAloha soprano. Great company and great ukes.

    Kanile'a soprano - $950
    https://www.fleamarketmusic.com/imag...8-DSCF1851.jpg
    https://www.fleamarketmusic.com/marketplace/default.asp

    https://reverb.com/marketplace?query...condition=used
    https://reverb.com/marketplace?query...condition=used
    https://reverb.com/marketplace?query...condition=used
    Last edited by Jerryc41; 11-20-2019 at 03:50 AM.
    Too many ukes, but I can't stop buying!
    https://www.catskillukulelegroup.com/

  4. #14
    Join Date
    Nov 2012
    Posts
    348

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    I recently purchased a Koaloha koa tenor from their facility in Honolulu. The instrument was a factory special. The instrument plays great and has a small ding on the headstock. It went for a little over a grand and normally goes for around $1400.

  5. #15
    Join Date
    Sep 2018
    Location
    PNW
    Posts
    185

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    By this logic,

    Quote Originally Posted by ripock View Post
    First of all, a used custom uke makes no sense. The whole point is to create a uke to your own specifications.
    Ukulelefriend.com shouldn't really exist.
    keeping an eye out for a very special pre-owned concert....

  6. #16
    Join Date
    Jul 2015
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    Catskill Mountains, NY
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    4,729

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    Quote Originally Posted by Wukulele View Post
    By this logic,



    Ukulelefriend.com shouldn't really exist.
    I'm glad it does exist. I bought a couple of non-customs from them.
    Too many ukes, but I can't stop buying!
    https://www.catskillukulelegroup.com/

  7. #17
    Join Date
    Aug 2017
    Location
    Pennsylvania, USA
    Posts
    330

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    I think the distinction nobleark (the OP) is looking for in this discussion is between luthier-made ukes and factory-made K brand ukes.

    "Custom" is a misnomer in this context especially when talking about about "used customs," because they will not have been customized for nobleark, but rather for whoever originally commissioned them.


    My opinion:

    K brand ukuleles are very nice, and are probably the safer all-around choice if your goal is to obtain a consensus quality ukulele.

    Luthier-built ukes are also very nice, but the reputation and quality of a given luthier's work can be much harder to discern. Some people really enjoy the personality and individual character of luthier-made instruments. There is a sense of exclusivity and intimacy about an instrument lovingly, painstakingly built by a single artisan. There are perhaps a hundred thousand Kamakas in the world, many of them very similar to one another; any given luthier will only produce a few dozen to a few hundred instruments over their entire lifetime, and many of those will be completely unique.


    In the end, it comes down to what is important to you.

  8. #18
    Join Date
    Apr 2016
    Location
    the wild west, Canada
    Posts
    415

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    Right now, you're playing a Kala. Without knowing your background, I'm going to say it's pretty likely you haven't figured out exactly what you want/like in a ukulele yet and even if you think you have, you might change your mind in a year's time. Buying used will save you money in the long run if you end up experimenting a lot. If you're buying new and can't try before you buy, make sure you can return.

    It's such a personal decision. I'll get obsessed with a brand like Kamaka (or Kiwaya) and then I get the oportunity to play one and it's not for me. All the K-brands have their own distinct personality, that you'll probably find one that speaks to you. Custom really depends on who made it and is hugely variable.
    Glenn

  9. #19

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bill1 View Post
    I would choose the Kamaka at around the $1000 price point. A new Kamaka.
    Interestingly enough, I recently took possession of one and am experiencing intonation problems, which is what prompted the other thread you posted in.

  10. #20
    Join Date
    Jul 2018
    Posts
    666

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    Quote Originally Posted by nobleark View Post
    was wanting to get a good ukulele. right now playing on a kala.

    i have around $1000 to spend. looking at kbrands or should i look for a nice used custom either in concert or tenor size.
    A used Custom ukulele is made to the individual specifications and desires of the person who commissioned it
    Factory made ukuleles are made to specifications which will fit a broad range of people. You may not want a radiused fretboard or one with that particular radius. You may not want the neck profile the original purchaser chose. You also may not care for the additional embellishments which are part of the price. Until you know what you personally want in a ukulele, it is best to go for a factory made K brand since the are engineered to please and to hit the desired points of the greatest number of people.

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