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Thread: Ohana vs Mainland

  1. #1
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    Default Ohana vs Mainland

    In a recent thread about Ohana ukes, I mentioned that their construction seemed identical to Mainland (at least at the headstock), and I had a feeling that they were probably made in the same factory. That was based on headstock shape and the construction around the nut and headstock. I added some side-by-side photos below, showing Ohana on left and Mainland on the right, both tenors (Ohana TK-35 on left, and Mainland Mango Tenor on right). To me, the headstock seems identical in shape. The headstock and nut areas also seem identical: thick fingerboard, and a thick headstock veneer, which extends down below the nut, where it meets the neck. I don't think I've seen this exact construction method on any other uke brand. Is this a common method of joining neck, fingerboard and headstock veneer?

    I've owned both brands, both like this, and liked them both. I still own one Ohana tenor, although that one is older, with different construction.

    Ohana & Mainland1.jpg
    Ohana & Mainland2.jpg

    Here's my older TK-30, from 2007

    Headstock.jpg
    Last edited by Ukecaster; 01-22-2020 at 08:21 AM.
    John

  2. #2
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    Default

    Ohana is a large company and it is possible that the have their ukes produced by more than one factory. It is also well-known that large instrument factories commonly produce ukes for multiple brands. So I would not be surprised if there were also many similarities in materials, design elements, and build execution. It is likely that the factories have tooling set up for a limited number of generic ukes, that are then cosmetically modified with veneers, laser etchings, inlays, labels, etc according to the brand specs.

  3. #3
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    Ask Mike from Mainland (Hoosierhiver on here) - he's very straight and obliging.

    It wouldn't surprise me that same factory is involved - end of the day - there are far fewer Chinese factories than there are ukulele brands! There's a lot of shared production going on. I once had a list of some crossovers with the Kala lines too, can't remember who they were.
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  4. #4
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    The only people who know for sure what’s sold to who are those that make it and we have no window onto them - it’s commercially sensitive info too so they’re unlikely divulge anything. Clones are not unusual and sometimes past employees set up in competition to who they once worked for. Of course, just because an item is made in the same factory as another does not mean that it is made to the same detailed specification, they can look identical enough but hidden detail sometimes distinguished the two.

    I’ve often wondered whether Ukuleles are played and sold in China, and if so where the associated marketplace might be. Like nearly everybody else I have too many Ukes already, but if I could just buy that special one direct then one more would sort of be OK ...
    Last edited by Graham Greenbag; 01-22-2020 at 10:00 AM.

  5. #5
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    It's not that commercially sensitive - a chat with any brand will tell you that they all know which factory is making lines for which ukulele brands.
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    Ukes include (!) Kanile'a K1 Tenor, Tinguitar custom solid tenor, Fluke, Flea, Tinguitar Reclaimed Mahogany soprano, KM Ukuleles Dreadnought Concert, Brüko walnut soprano

  6. #6
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    Throw Lani into this mix as well - had a baritone of theirs that was identical to an Ohana one aside from the badge. This is what budget brands do - source products from factories that can produce them reliably and cheaply and sell them at a mark up. It's the same with TVs, laptops, etc.

  7. #7
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    Clearwater in the UK - identical to Ohana instruments bar the name on the headstock. Except for their solid steel strung electrics which are identical to Vorson!!
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  8. #8
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    I had a mainland red cedar tenor that was very similar to my Ohana TK 35G.
    A2647AEF-04AC-4986-BFA3-2C68B39F5A7E.jpg
    Ohana TK-35G, Kanilea K1 DLX tenor, Kanilea K1 SF concert, Imua ICN, Famous FS-5, Luna (Kiwaya L400), Islander AC4, Flea concert, Anuenue Light Bird cedar tenor, Kala Rumbler FL, The Rebel Double Cheesecake

  9. #9
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    Wonder if Mike at Mainland will jump in here and enlighten us?
    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.

    https://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_n...tective+Agency

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by bazmaz View Post
    Ask Mike from Mainland (Hoosierhiver on here) - he's very straight and obliging.

    It wouldn't surprise me that same factory is involved - end of the day - there are far fewer Chinese factories than there are ukulele brands! There's a lot of shared production going on. I once had a list of some crossovers with the Kala lines too, can't remember who they were.
    I've seen Leho's that seem a whole lot like Kalas. Seeing the thinlines is what really made me aware of the similarities across the lines. For some reason, they're a bit pricier.
    Glenn

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