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Thread: Boring ukes?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2017
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    South Carolina
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    Default Boring ukes?

    I've been through many ukes over several years and have just sold an awesome older gloss Kamaka concert because I mainly play tenor. Am open to getting a nice tenor, so have been looking on the various retail sites for one. There used to be a whole lot of really cool Kanilea and Kamaka ukes for sale around this time. Koaloha and the occasional Koolau too. The woods on the current selection for sale over several sites seem to be kind of pale and bland in my opinion, compared to years past. Am I imagining this? Would love a nice dark Koa wood, or one with interesting wood pattern to it, but it seems like they are blah to me. It's probably a good thing, but have not been tempted to pulled the trigger on any.

    Maybe 2021??

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2018
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    NorCal
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    Default

    I think your impressions match mine. I love the deeper darker colored koa and many of the recent ones have been lighter. It may be that older aged woods that some shops had were used up or their dying/processing changed.

    For temptation, consider visiting the Kanile'a site and looking at their D models, platinums, or customs. Here is a link:

    https://www.kanileaukulele.com/produ...p/custom-shop/

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2020
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    354

    Default

    I picked up a beautiful koa Kanile'a this spring, but I agree that a lot of what I'm seeing now is not visually inspiring. The nice ukes go really quickly, and the plainer ones are what we end up seeing. I just jumped on a KoAloha KTM-00, because out of 5 that were recently listed, one (and only 1) was really nice. And I've been looking and waiting for a really nice mahogany Tiny Tenor. Even these have been rather uninspiring.
    "So many ukes, so little money..."

    Kanile'a KSR-T premium koa tenor
    KoAloha KTM-00 tenor
    Rebel Double Cheese spruce/mahogany tenor, my BFF.
    Pono ATC-PC acacia cutaway tenor
    Kala KA-ASFM-T-C flame maple tenor
    Pono MT-SP tenor
    Cocobolo concert #467
    Pono ASD acacia soprano deluxe
    Pono MGS mango soprano

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
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    New England, USA
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    Default

    It seems that often, wood ain't what it used to be
    John

  5. #5
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    Aug 2019
    Location
    Finland
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    Default

    I can definitely agree on that. It seems to me that Kamaka and KoAloha particularly save their best looking koa for their deluxe / more expensive models. I think KoAloha is the worst in this regard. Even some of their 25th anniversary models have really plain looking koa with almost no grain pattern. I was lucky to find a decent looking KoAloha for myself but you really have to look for it. In my experience, Kamaka is slightly better as they usually at least have some nice grain on their ukes. In my opinion, Kanile'a is easily the best. You can sometimes find really nice looking koa ukes from them that are supposedly "select koa", i.e., standard, but look much nicer. Same with the other grades, e.g., some deluxe koa can look as good as premium, etc. I have a Kanile'a that's standard grade koa but looks really nice with dark wood, very slight flaming, and a wonderful sapwood stripe in the middle.

  6. #6
    Join Date
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    Twin Cities Area, Minnesota
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    Default

    I know you're all talking about K models at the moment, but even in the entry level market, there's definitely a trend away from the very dark antique finishes, such as those found on the Makala entry level ukuleles to much lighter stains of mahogany, and tan colors in acacia.

    Interior design, I understand, is moving away from wood--both for cost and appearance, but dark cabinets have been out of style for 20 years. Remember some of those finishes from the 1970s and 80s?

    But Koa is definitely at premium prices these days, and while it doesn't seem like the supply is drying up completely, there may not be the choice there once was.
    My ukulele blog: http://ukestuff.info

    My ukulele YouTube channels:

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
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    Default

    These Kanilea K1T ukes sure look different. I like both, but probably the left side a bit better, it's a more recent model with the dark ebony fingerboard, faceplate and bridge. Both were base level K1T ukes, not premium. IME, the premiums usually show flame in the grain.

    K1T koa.JPG
    Last edited by Ukecaster; 12-29-2020 at 06:06 AM.
    John

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Apr 2020
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    354

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Dohle View Post
    I can definitely agree on that. It seems to me that Kamaka and KoAloha particularly save their best looking koa for their deluxe / more expensive models. I think KoAloha is the worst in this regard. Even some of their 25th anniversary models have really plain looking koa with almost no grain pattern. I was lucky to find a decent looking KoAloha for myself but you really have to look for it. In my experience, Kamaka is slightly better as they usually at least have some nice grain on their ukes. In my opinion, Kanile'a is easily the best. You can sometimes find really nice looking koa ukes from them that are supposedly "select koa", i.e., standard, but look much nicer. Same with the other grades, e.g., some deluxe koa can look as good as premium, etc.
    I totally agree. KoAloha has some pretty bland looking koa ukes. Kanile'a seems to consistently use the nicest looking koa.
    "So many ukes, so little money..."

    Kanile'a KSR-T premium koa tenor
    KoAloha KTM-00 tenor
    Rebel Double Cheese spruce/mahogany tenor, my BFF.
    Pono ATC-PC acacia cutaway tenor
    Kala KA-ASFM-T-C flame maple tenor
    Pono MT-SP tenor
    Cocobolo concert #467
    Pono ASD acacia soprano deluxe
    Pono MGS mango soprano

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jul 2015
    Location
    Catskill Mountains, NY
    Posts
    7,659

    Default

    I understand. Many of my purchases were based on appearance.
    Too many ukes, but I can't stop buying!
    https://www.catskillukulelegroup.com/

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Feb 2016
    Location
    Central Illinois
    Posts
    1,468

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Ukecaster View Post
    It seems that often, wood ain't what it used to be
    So, John, you're pining for something with a nice bark...?

    Okay, that was bad...

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