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Thread: How is Ohana for overall quality?

  1. #11
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    I've reviewed a lot of Ohana ukes, but I am consicious that the ones I had reviewed had all first been through specialist ukulele dealers - they were all in good order and I liked them.

    Some time later I worked with Ohana direct and they sent three over from USA to UK for review - you'd expect the same thing - knowing they were going to a reviewer. Two were fine. One was really poor in a lot of departments - poor setup, scruffy finishing. I was staggered.

    But it led me to the view I have heard from some others who grabbed them from 'non specialist uke stores' who also came across poor examples - that they are a brand that really DO need a once over from a specialist. I know Mim does a great job on the ones she sells and am sure other specialists do too. Would I buy one from another channel though? No, I wouldn't.
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  2. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Puglele View Post
    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.
    I read your other post and you really need to try some fluorocarbon strings on that Ohana before condemning it and the Ohana brand in general. My first all solid wood uke was a Ohana limited edition (sinker redwood, rosewood) which came with Aquila (nylon) strings. Once I got over the initial excitement of a new uke where objectivity is kind of pushed to the background, I grew more and more disappointed with the sound. I found the sound to be dull and kind of muddy. My first instinct was to blame the uke. I was under the (false) impression that strings were strings and one was pretty much like the other. I was really disappointed having spent so much money on a uke which was supposed to be nice but had such a disappointing sound. I then put some Martin fluorocarbon strings on it and I couldn't believe the difference it made. It sounded like a different uke! I liked the feel of the fluorocarbon strings better as well. The string change totally changed my impression of the uke.

    I'd be among those people who would tell you that a light uke/light build is a good thing. I also have a long neck, all solid mahogany soprano Ohana uke which is light. When I first picked it up the word "airy" came to mind when I thought of the feel. It would be considered to be on the lower end of the "non-starter" ukes but I'm very happy with the sound and feel of it. Knowing I didn't like Aquila strings, I had it strung with Worth brown (fluorocarbon) strings before I bought it.

    Having said all that, I really like the Ohana brand. Three of my five ukes are Ohanas and I wouldn't hesitate to buy another were I in the market nor would I hesitate to recommend them to others. I would also advise buying through Mim, Uke Republic or other specialist who do their own inspections and set-ups and who are familiar with the brand. My one Ohana was purchased through an independent seller who didn't do inspections and set-ups and I did have to take that uke into a guitar/uke tech guy at a music store to get set up properly and to change out the tuners because it came with tuners that were different that what I was expecting.
    Last edited by mikelz777; 01-17-2020 at 05:06 AM.
    Money can't buy happiness but it can buy a uke which is basically the same thing.

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  3. #13
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    I have four Ohanas, and I've seen nothing to complain about. Of course, if you buy from a good dealer, you can return it if you see defects. If you mention your concern when you order it, you can bet the dealer will check it over to make sure there's nothing you wouldn't like.

    I've bought some ukes that were listed as factory seconds, and I was never able to find a flaw. Maybe that means I don't have a critical enough eye.
    Too many ukes, but I can't stop buying!
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  4. #14
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    I really like the Ohana brand, mainly because they offer many options that deviate from the main shapes and sizes such as multi-string ukuleles at affordable prices. But when it comes to your basic 4-string sopranos, concerts, and tenors, I perceive very little difference between Ohana and any other mass production brand. The vast majority of instruments differ mainly in colour and other specs, and reflect the average due to the sheer number of ukes made, and there will be a few that are really great, and a few that are really terrible. Ohana is one of the biggest brands so they are closest to the average. But there can be a distinction between brands, as pricing is an important part of their marketing strategy. For example, in a recent thread it was revealed that Luna seems to be performing below the average at a given price point. So the tricky thing would be to find some brand that performs above average and provides best bang for the buck. Some of the newer Chinese brands that sell directly without having to go through stores, have received some favourable mention here on UU in that regard.

  5. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Puglele View Post
    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 wasnít impressed. Itís too light (although some people said itís 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 donít know if the gloss finish makes mainland more substantial. Maybe I should try a gloss Ohana as well?
    I donít 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 wonít be hesitated to get a mainland again.
    Interesting perspective. I associate heavy with cheap construction and less resonance. In my mind, it takes more talent to build something light and is still strong enough to stay together.

    In the end, if the Ohana doesn't have the sound you want and you're otherwise not in love with it, a string change might not do much to change your mind. Everyone has their own criteria.
    Glenn

  6. #16

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    I think I’m going to see if I can borrow it and make a video of the “issues” since this site hates mobile pics. Might help some with showing what I perceive as issues

    Also from what I’m told it came direct from Ohana so who knows.

  7. #17
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    I have two. Neither is a beginner level bottom tier ukulele. I like them both. I also own a Mainland.
    I don't want to live in a world that is linear.

    I just want everyone to understand that I am not a ukulele expert, even though it may look at times like I'm pretending to be.

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  8. #18
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    Oct 2018
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    I have one ohana, i thought it was quite high quality. No obvious flaws when i got it. Of course it has lots of flaws now :-)

  9. #19
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    I'd be curious to see the video. Sometimes "issues" are issues and sometimes "issues" are nit-picking and inconsequential. I'd be interested to see what the issues are.
    Money can't buy happiness but it can buy a uke which is basically the same thing.

    Ukes are a lot like potato chips. It's hard to stop with just one!

  10. #20

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    Quote Originally Posted by mikelz777 View Post
    I'd be curious to see the video. Sometimes "issues" are issues and sometimes "issues" are nit-picking and inconsequential. I'd be interested to see what the issues are.
    Honestly itís probably not picking. I made a video (a few times) and what I could see in order of concern are:

    1, Head misdrilled for a tuner mounting screw and hole not filled
    2, Thereís a hole between the fretboard and the neck around the 3rd fret that actually looks like a someone took a fret saw to it (hole looks squared off). Hole is about the same size as a thumb tack would make
    3, the nut isnít centered and is shifted right about a business card width.
    4, The glue/stuff around the fretboard edge. This is on the board thatís over the body.
    5, Glue at the end of the fretboard is sloppy and could have been cleaned up better
    6, Owner said that when he got it, a he found a few ďstringsĒ on the actual strings like they were frayed. (Actual description was that in a few spots the strings looked like peeling string cheese)
    7, frets over the body a little sharper than the rest.

    Thereís a couple other REALLY picky things (they used black/dark wood filler on a blonde neck, binding discoloring) that by themselves wouldnít matter.


    And after looking at it more and seeing the good things about it, Iím satisfied at least for the time on the quality.

    As for the good things:

    Light
    Thinner than a Kala Concert surprisingly
    Grover tuners (altho I donít like the buttons)
    Solid top with a decent finish
    I like the binding
    Strap buttons
    Surprising sound

    Iím just a picky ass 🤪

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