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Thread: NUD: Kanile'a K1 Concert

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2019
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    Finland
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    372

    Default NUD: Kanile'a K1 Concert

    Normally I wouldn't necessarily do a NUD post on just a Kanile'a concert but I've had a special interest in this uke company in particular. For the longest time, I never understood what's so special about Kanile'a ukes. In every video I watched/listened they never sounded like anything particularly special and always kinda muffled and underwhelming. This was the reason I've looked at various other higher-end brands previously. But after getting my first K brand uke, a KoAloha, I was still intrigued whether a Kanile'a could offer me a different experience. I almost exclusively play sopranos but I wanted to get a Kanile'a concert specifically because of a few reasons: First, every Kanile'a soprano I've heard has sounded extremely quiet and thin, and second, they only offer geared tuners even on sopranos which I dislike.

    20200527_124114.jpg

    Well, after receiving the uke, I definitely get why people revere these so much. Every aspect of this instrument looks and feels high-quality. The weight, the fretboard, the tuners, the feel of the neck, the absolutely stunning gloss finish, and of course the looks. I chose this particular one because of the beautiful stripe in the middle. For their basic grade koa, I think it looks stunning. And the sound? Let's just say that I think I now know why Kanile'a ukes sound so underwhelming in videos. The tone is so full and dark that I don't think even high-quality microphones can properly record the more low-end tones of these things, let alone that you could properly hear the tone after video and audio compression. Everything about this uke is just sublime. The single niggle I have is the strings which I will be changing soon. Ultimately, I can't imagine how I could be happier with this uke.

    Just a quick mention that I got this one from Gute Ukulele and - as opposed to the KoAloha I bought from them - this time there were no issues with the uke. They also provided a very nice case which you can see from the photo. It isn't the new Kanile'a ABS case but really high-quality nonetheless.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2020
    Location
    Durham, UK
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    337

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    Congratulations! I'm very happy for you. The wood is indeed stunning on this 'basic graded' Koa instrument.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2019
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    343

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    Nice. The stripe definitely makes it. Like you, I haven't really had much interest in Kanile'a, although I'm sure they're wonderful ukes. And I'm with you about the tuners on sopranos. Glad to hear you got such a great uke.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2018
    Location
    An airpark in NC
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    I'll be interested in hear about your impressions on strings. I've got a Kanile'a baritone I adore (despite the fact that I am a terrible baritone player and really struggle with the size of the neck), so I got a concert to try out as well. It's a beautiful uke, and it sounds good, but I can't shake the feeling I have yet to find the perfect strings for it. I've currently got Anuenue Blackwater strings on it, which are definitely sound better than the Aquilas it came with, but there is just something about the sounds I can't put my finger on that I feel like could be better. I tried worth browns on it as well, and I felt like those made it sound a little weak.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
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    Tampa Bay, FL
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    8,829

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    Congrats! I do love that stripe!
    I believe one can't go wrong with any of the K-brand ukes from Hawaii.
    Finding the right string set can be a crapshoot. What sounds fine on one uke may suck on another.
    Somewhere, here on UU, there is or was a thread or chart about which strings work best on which ukes.
    "Those who bring sunshine and laughter to the lives of others cannot keep it from themselves".

    Music washes from the soul, the dust of everyday living.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Apr 2020
    Posts
    209

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    Congrats to you! I've just pulled the trigger on my first Hawaiian K brand, a Kanile'a KSR-T - though I don't have it yet. It's a gift to me (quite a wonderful one!) that I got to pick out for myself. I listened to sooo many sound clips trying to make up my mind which K brand I wanted. Like you, I was a bit underwhelmed with some of the sound in videos, but managed to hear one or two that gave me high hopes for it. Plus the sheer beauty of the thing really grabbed me. I do agree about the strings, and will be looking to change them out. Your Kanile'a is lovely, enjoy!
    "So many ukes, so little money..."

    Kanile'a KSR-T premium koa tenor
    Rebel Double Cheese spruce/mahogany tenor, my BFF.
    Kala KA-ASFM-T-C flame maple tenor
    Pono MT-SP tenor
    Cocobolo concert #467
    Pono ASD acacia soprano deluxe
    Pono MGS mango soprano

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jul 2015
    Location
    Catskill Mountains, NY
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    That's a beauty.
    Too many ukes, but I can't stop buying!
    https://www.catskillukulelegroup.com/

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Aug 2019
    Location
    Finland
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    Now that I've had the chance to play a Kanile'a myself it's easier to identify the particular sound of a Kanile'a uke from videos but I still think no video can really properly represent the wonderfully deep sound these things make. The video that I think does the best job in this regard is the HMS string comparison video (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hr0h0FeOQP4) but even then I don't think that video compares to trying the uke yourself in person. So if you're on the fence on buying one, I would encourage anyone to try one in person if at all possible. Or you could just pull the trigger on a whim like I did. In any case, I'd be surprised if anyone was disappointed with a Kanile'a.

    Regarding the strings, I've fitter Worth CMs on my concert now and I think it's an improvement on the Aquilas (although even the Aquilas sounded surprisingly good). They give the uke a bit more punch and clarity while still retaining the warm tone. I tried to read some comments on string recommendations, and there were many suggestions for trying Living Water strings but I don't have a set handy right now. I would guess most clear fluorocarbon strings will do the job decently enough provided they don't mess with the intonation. I will probably try Worth BMs at some point but I have a feeling (judging by comments) that brown/black fluorocarbons don't work on a concert quite as well as clear fluorocarbon, possibly making the tone a bit too mellow.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jan 2019
    Location
    Bay Area
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    393

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    I love Kanile’a. From tone to fit and finish. I had a 2018 concert K2 that I thought sounded great with Living Water strings. Now I have a 2019 KSR-T with high tension Uke Logic strings that are a more favorable combo. In my experience, Kanile’a tone is very balanced and the volume is great with the right strings. If I needed more volume I’d be looking to plug in. Acoustically very satisfied. Neither models ever felt muted, (I have experience with loud ukes having owned and played a couple Blackbirds, a Moon Bird and a Opio) although my KSR-T is louder being a tenor and having high tension strings. The newer bracing may make a difference too, but I’m pretty sure my old K2 would have been quite a bit louder with the same Uke Logic strings. I can’t wait to try Uke Logic low g on my Kanile’a next. Living Water strings brought the K2 to life. They were a nice improvement from the original Aquila stock strings. I just now prefer what I consider a to be a louder more well rounded tone from uke logic strings.

    Another thing I adore is the neck and fretboard of my Kanile’a. Very subjective, (like string choice) but the the width, string spacing and thin neck profile are legit in my book.

    Congrats on an awesome uke!
    Last edited by Kibes37; 05-28-2020 at 09:21 PM.
    Kala Ka-ZTP-CTG-CE - Uke Logic - Low G Soft Tension
    Enya X2K Tenor - D'Addario EJ87T - High G

    If you Uke easy, life will be hard. If you Uke hard, life will be easy.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Aug 2019
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    Finland
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kibes37 View Post
    Another thing I adore is the neck and fretboard of my Kanile’a. Very subjective, (like string choice) but the the width string spacing and thin neck profile are legit I my book.
    I so agree with this. The neck is actually wider than what I'm used to but the string spacing is not that much larger. And the neck profile is incredibly comfortable. It's so thin, especially regarding how wide the neck width.

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