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Thread: How is Ohana for overall quality?

  1. #1

    Default How is Ohana for overall quality?

    Hey guys, Iím having a dilemma.

    Iíve been considering a certain Ohana for a while now and itís one that Iíll probably have to order rather than get locally. I decided to look at a different model to try to gauge the brand as far as quality is concerned and Iím split 50/50, so I come to you to tell me the good bad and ugly as is needed.

    I was able to look at a nice TK-22 today, which is nice because I have a Kala thatís almost the twin of it (aside from finish, head stock and wood). The Ohana goes for about $190 and the Kala can be hard for $280, so I kept that in mind. Also both are solid tops with Groverís

    At first blush I was really impressed, the feel was good, thinner body overall and I was surprised by the volume and tone.

    But when I got to really looking over it, I noticed some sloppy work, such as either excess glue or ďfinishĒ along the fretboard flaking off, a missdrilled tuner hole (way off from where the tuner would have been) and overall just a bit less quality than the Kala.

    I could just be being picky, or not accounting for that nearly $100 price difference, so Iíd like yíallís honest feedback on the brand and if I just need to shut up 🤪

    My main concern is that this is going to be a ďbigĒ purchase and I know the uke I want well sound good, but I need it to really be worth the cost to avoid that whole never meet your heroes ď feeling.

    I appreciate this forum so much...

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2017


    To be honest, I would never even consider an Ohana...especially after your description of that ukulele. I don't have anything specific to cite as my evidence. It is more of a vibe. I believe if I were at gunpoint and forced to buy a cheap ukulele or die, I would go for a Mainland Uke. I've seen people I respect playing them, they're solid wood, and I imagine they are set up adequately since they are made from a smallish company. ukuleles like Ohana, Shark, Waterman...they obviously have a market but they don't do it for me.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2016
    Central Illinois


    I have purchased a few Ohanas from both Mim's Ukes and Uke Republic, and all have been excellent, undoubtedly because those sellers do a thorough quality check and setup. I have bought ukes of other brands from The Ukulele Site, and they're awesome too, for the same reasons!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Capital District, New York


    I own two Vita Ukes, one of which I won from a magazine, the other I bought used AFTER having had the first for more than a year, The other two are concerts - one an Art Deco style with a "D" shaped sound hole, and the other the quilted eucalyptus. Love 'em all.

    The only issue I have had was with the one I won - the tuner buttons were cracking. I contacted Ken Middleton here on UU, He had someone from Ohana contact me. I sent photos, they sent replacement tuners, I installed them, and not an issue since. I use Worth Clears or Browns on them, and they are great.

    Do buy an Ohana - get it from Mim or Uke Republic. Both do set ups, and stand behind their products, 100%.
    Banjo Ukes: Southern Cross, Firefly, Stella
    Sopranos: Donaldson, Timms, Moku, Waterman, Bugsgear, Outdoor, Waverly Street, Harmony
    Concerts:Cocobolo #412, Ohana CK450QEL, CK-65D, Rosewood Vita, Mahogany Vita,
    Donaldson Custom, Epi Les Paul, National Triolian Reso, Republic
    Tenors: Kala KA-KTG-CY, KoAloha Sceptre, Fluke, Cordoba 20TM
    Bass: Fluke Timber

    Am I done?


    My YouTube Channel

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2009


    riprock, interesting take on Ohana vs Mainland. They are both imports from China. I've heard some say that Ohana and Mainland might be made in the same factory, since there are similarities, I don't know for sure. But I once had solid hog tenors from both at the same time, an Ohana TK-35 and a Mainland Classic Mahogany Tenor, and overall they seemed very similar to me: the headstock shape was identical, and the scarf joint at the neck was identical. I've never seen a joint exactly like that on any other uke, it started slightly south of the nut, very distinctive. Those 2 features alone made me think they were the same exact uke from the same factory, just with different appointments like purfling, binding, rosette, etc. I still have one solid Ohana tenor, and like it fine.
    Last edited by Ukecaster; 01-17-2020 at 06:17 AM.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Apr 2016
    the we(s)t coast, Canada


    I've had 3 Ohana's, all from Mim, and they were perfect. Still have one. Even her B-stocks have very minor blemishes or finishing details which she photographs well to identify before you buy (for a discount). I think if she received one like you describe, she'd send it back. Plus she does a setup on everything that goes through her shop. I'm not saying they're the greatest brand, but they're great value for what they are. You just have to buy through a dealer who cares about and knows ukuleles. I'm sure Uke Republic is good too, but I haven't dealt with them, so don't know. HMS is great, but don't sell Ohanas.

    Kala tends to impress me less, the higher the model. Their entry level models are great, but their mid-range models leave me flat (ironic that I use that term as I like the thinline Kalas). But that's purely my opinion of what I like, not based on quality.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2014
    Perth, Australia


    I've enjoyed the three Ohana ukuleles I've had and some of their limited edition models are really nice. I've currently got a SK-38 mahogany soprano and for the price (I picked it up for US$240 new) it's a really nice uke.

    They do a variety of solid wood combinations that are hard to get at that price point. Sure some will have minor defects like excess glue etc but the tonewoods and bling on some of their uke's would cost significantly more in other brands.

    I've had good experiences with Kala as well. I've owned a concert banjo uke, Acacia Sweet Pea tenor and a Tri back and spruce tenor. All good uke's for the price.

    I do think you do get what you pay for regardless of the brand though and a lower end Kala and Ohana are not the best examples of those brands.
    Soprano: Ohana SK-38 (Mahogany)
    Concert: Barron River (Curly Maple)
    Tenor: Pono PKT-2E (Koa) / Romero Creations Replica (Spruce/Acacia)

  8. #8


    Funny I just posted something about Ohana yesterday. I have a ck-39 all hog concert which should be a higher end product in their line but I wasn’t impressed. It’s too light (although some people said it’s a good thing, but I appreciate something more substantial.) almost feels cheap.
    I also have a mainland mango soprano glossy finished. To me the mainland is in the next category, so much better than the ck-39. I don’t know if the gloss finish makes mainland more substantial. Maybe I should try a gloss Ohana as well?
    I don’t just judge by the weight of course. The sound of Mainland is just nice, even with the stock strings. Ohana is a little dead to me. Based on my experience, I would not want to purchase another Ohana. But I won’t be hesitated to get a mainland again.
    My Ukes collection:
    Rebel Mango Sublime Soprano (Creme brŻlťe)
    Mainland Mango Pineapple
    KoAloha Opio Acacia Soprano KSO-10
    Ohana CK-39
    Pono MCD - Mahogany concert deluxe
    Famous FS-5
    Ohana SK-21m
    Cocobolo Super Soprano

    Looking to sell:
    KoAloha Opio Acacia Soprano KSO-10
    Ohana Ck-39
    (let me know if you are interested)

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Nashville, TN USA


    I LOVE Ohana ukes, Kala ukes, and Mainland ukes! But like any brand, you should order from a dealer who does a good setup on them, or you may be disappointed with whichever instrument you purchase.
    If music be the food of love, play on! -Bill Shakespeare

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Nov 2015
    Upper Hale, Surrey/Hants border, UK.


    Three Ohana solid mahogany, long neck soprano, giraffe neck soprano, & long neck concert, great ukes with fluorocarbon low G stings (Living Water in my case).

    These, & my KoAloha Opio solid acacia long neck concert, are my favourite ukes, (& I've got a few!).
    Trying to do justice to various musical instruments.

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