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Thread: New brand - Aolani?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2021
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    Virginia
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    Default New brand - Aolani?

    Looks like Cornerstone Custom has developed a budget line made in China and modified in the US called Aolani.

    A bunch of their tenors hit Uke Like The Pros tonight and the company has a half developed website (a lot is “coming soon”).

    Anyone know more about the new brand?

    http://aolaniukes.com/

    https://store.ukelikethepros.com/col...olani&q=Aolani
    Last edited by Veritas99; 04-21-2021 at 05:08 PM. Reason: Original cut off
    KoAloha KSNP-00; KoAloha KCNP-00; KoAloha KTM-25; Kamaka HF-3; Cocobolo concert; Kala Journeyman UBass

    Technically my wife's collection:
    Kanilea K-3 S Premium; Kanilea K-1 C; Kanilea KPA-C 5 string Premium; Kanilea P-1 T Premium; Kamaka HP-1; Kamaka HF-2D2IS; KoAloha KTNP-00; Blackbird Cara; Ohana SK-21A; Ohana CK-450QEL; Ohana TK-270G; Outdoor soprano; Risa Tenor Tele T-Style

  2. #2
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    Los Angeles, near the Beverly Center.
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    Default

    Is $600 to $900US considered budget?


    This is Michael Kohan in Los Angeles, Beverly Grove near the Beverly Center
    8 tenor cutaway ukes, 4 acoustic bass ukes, 12 solid body bass ukes, 14 mini electric bass guitars (Total: 38)

    Donate to The Ukulele Kids Club, they provide ukuleles to children in hospital music therapy programs. www.theukc.org
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  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2019
    Location
    Finland
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by kohanmike View Post
    Is $600 to $900US considered budget?
    I'd say it is when their ukes are normally sold at around $5000 or more.

    Cornerstone is one of those high-end brands I've barely ever heard of but I do see them pop up in reputable uke shops. That said, I have even less experience with this new line of models they are producing. No doubt the custom shop ukes are top tier but I'll have to look for some reviews of these Aolani models.

  4. #4
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by kohanmike View Post
    Is $600 to $900US considered budget?
    My bad, I should have used quotes around "budget." Not trying to suggest they are cheap, only that they are cheap compared to their custom line like Dohle said.

    Seems to be somewhat similar to Ko'olau and Pono, where the custom Ko'olau branded stuff starts at $5k and goes to five figures, but the Pono ukes range from around $300-$1100.

    I was just wondering if others here had been involved in testing them or knew more about them as it seems odd for a luthier to not get feedback before dropping a dozen or so on a major retailer at that price point.
    KoAloha KSNP-00; KoAloha KCNP-00; KoAloha KTM-25; Kamaka HF-3; Cocobolo concert; Kala Journeyman UBass

    Technically my wife's collection:
    Kanilea K-3 S Premium; Kanilea K-1 C; Kanilea KPA-C 5 string Premium; Kanilea P-1 T Premium; Kamaka HP-1; Kamaka HF-2D2IS; KoAloha KTNP-00; Blackbird Cara; Ohana SK-21A; Ohana CK-450QEL; Ohana TK-270G; Outdoor soprano; Risa Tenor Tele T-Style

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Sep 2018
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    NorCal
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    Default

    Hmmm... they order the ukes from the China factory. Then they do some major modifications in the USA. Guess they don't trust the factory to do certain things like putting in the compensated saddle. One issue may be they are trusting them for the process of actually manufacturing the uke (or just going cheap) and ornamenting it with better parts. Or other than cutting in a soundport, they are just doing a good setup and charging a whole lot more.

    From the website:
    ..." Then the work begins. First we cut a soundport on the upper bout ( a tedious and nerve wrecking process), then the nut and saddle gets replaced with an in-house aged bone nut and compensated saddle. Tuners get replaced with quality tuning machines such as Gotoh or Schaller. The frets are leveled and dressed and the ends attended to in order to smooth out the sharp edges. We then polish every fret and condition the fretboard..."

    http://aolaniukes.com/about

  6. #6
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    Feb 2012
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    Derbyshire, UK
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    I'm with Kohanmike on this one.

    $900 is in no way budget. For that much money, I expect them to be special.

    This is a mass-produced Chinese uke. There's nothing wrong with that at all, but don't pretend it's something it isn't.

  7. #7

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by chris667 View Post
    I'm with Kohanmike on this one.

    $900 is in no way budget. For that much money, I expect them to be special.

    This is a mass-produced Chinese uke. There's nothing wrong with that at all, but don't pretend it's something it isn't.
    I heard that some Chinese factories pretend to be American brand (they just need to register a company in the US, that's pretty simple.).

  8. #8
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    I wouldn't normally comment on threads like this, but I have just realised why I find it so annoying.

    They're paying what would be poverty wages in the US to get their instruments made, then implying that the bit they do (cutting a soundhole in the body) is somehow beyond the capabilities of the Chinese luthiers that make them. What a strange attitude to have to foreign labour.

    Claiming it's a work of great American craftsmanship because they've added a bone nut and saddle (how much does a bone nut and saddle cost, anyway?) and then carving a bit in the side is really disingenuous.

  9. #9
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    Aug 2019
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    Finland
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    Just saw this video about these new Aolani ukes:



    It's the typical sales pitch by Terry but at least you get a glimpse and sound sample of the Aolani models.

    Cornerstone seems to make ukes only in tenor size which is really disappointing. The spruce top koa back and sides in concert size would be the exact thing I've been searching for quite some time now.

  10. #10

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    Yeah - Tenors only. Seem to be aiming for a specific market Makes me wonder whether it's carefully contrived. It's a little different than Koaloha not building Baritones.

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