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Thread: Koloa KU-650 Baritone Ukulele

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2010

    Default Koloa KU-650 Baritone Ukulele

    Hey all,

    Just received this baritone today! I'm in Australia and had it sent to Sydney from a Canberra music store. $280 with shipping free and it arrived in 4 days (I've seen that it is even cheaper from Elderly, or in America generally.) Solid mahogany top, back, sides, neck with rosewood fingerboard and bone nut and saddle. Sealed geared tuners.

    This baritone came strung with D'addario strings and as I was carrying it home from the post office the D string totally unraveled and snapped, which was totally shocking and means I haven't really been able to play properly, so I can't give an extensive review on sound yet (I'm having it strung with Aquilas later in the week, so I'll update.)

    But anyway, first impressions are that the wood is extremely beautiful with a high gloss finish. From what I can tell the mahogany is either American or Honduras? The top is beautiful with that solid wood luminescence in different light, with an almost cross-hatch grain to the wood. It seems very well built, though a little top heavy in the neck/headstock area. Fretboard is very smooth and well finished. The frets are also well finished though not as smooth on the edges as my Lanikai - that being said, they are by no means rough. Nothing that you could nick yourself on.

    My only complaint is that there is a ding in the back (very small, and probably during shipping) and a few smears of glue around the tailpiece and edge of the fretboard (near the soundhole) though there are no huge obvious blobs, and this isn't particularly noticeable. The company I bought it from has offered to replace the strings free of charge and were very nice to deal with.

    As far as sound (so far, with incomplete strings) - the G string rings and rings forever. The B and E are quite plinky, though I'm not sure if this is the ukulele or the D'addario strings, which are settling and which I've never used before. They feel slack compared to the Aquilas on my tenor which is another reason I'm changing them.

    Anyway - overall a very beautiful, well-made instrument, and I'll update when I've played it a lot!

  2. #2


    Well, just hope I bought the right Baritone ukulele!.. Choosing the right ukulele online is like, well, strange to say the least!...who the hell would buy a musical instrument online
    without even hearing how it sounds? This DOPE, right here!...look, there's time you've simply gotta throw caution to the freakin' wind and just DO IT!...
    I did go to my local music stores seeking the baritone uke, but they were hard to come by or they were simply too expensive...

    I did buy a Lanikai 21BE baritone, but the acoustic plate was falling apart, so I just returned it. But, it did sound pretty good to me. But, what the hell do I know!..
    Anyway......I've just ordered the KOLOA Bariton uke from, sight unseen and sound unheard!..

    But, was simply terrific with their return policy and returning the Lanikai could not have been easier for me. They do know how to satify a customer!..
    Okay, if anyone can send me a comment on the KOLOA (sounds like a soft drink) Baritone uke, I'd really appreciate it. If its something terrible, please don't respond,
    I cry quite easily for a grown man!...

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Florida Space Coast


    If you aren't happy with it after you install aquila strings, check with for their string guide and learn about baritone ukes strings. Their Linear strings may be what you need. Those Koloas are gorgeous and may be the most underrated baritone on the market.

    Start here before going to the string guide link:
    Soooooo many ukes, sooooooo little time

    Soprano: Pre-war Martin "O"; 81-82 Kamaka White Label; Grizzly kit;
    Concert: Pono MCD-E; Kala Reso-burst; Rally banjo; Bruce Wei Acacia teardrop; KPK acacia Cutaway; Mele Solid Mahogany 6 string; Ohana CM35-8 Taropatch; Goldtone Metal Resouke;
    Epiphone LP vintage burst; Asmus solid maple/spruce; Alida Jazz electric
    Tenor: Risa semi-hollowbody electric (red one); Mele Koa; Kala solid mahogany A/E cutaway

    Bass: Oscar Schmidt Curley Maple;

  4. #4


    I've just bought the Koloa from Elderly. It has a low action, very good intonation. To me playability of an instrument (low action and good intonation) is pretty important to me and this instrument delivers. Since I am new to ukes, I cannot comment about the tone of a baritone uke, but at least to my ear, the Koloa delivers what you would expect from a solid wood instrument (it sounds more like a guitar than a uke ). Though I have never handled or able to tell a difference between a Koloa and a high end baritone, it is a great deal for a little more than $200 including a hard foam case.

    My only complaint was the fit and finish. I was initially very surprise about the fit and finish (very nice and even gloss finish) until I peered in the sound hole and notice some very small spots of leftover paint. I wish they would come in matte finish too since I prefer them to gloss.

    For low end instrument, initial setup is very important to get a good, playable instrument. My "go to vendor" is Elderly Instruments since I always get great customer service from them, though there are other excellent vendors out there too. If you get a Koloa from a vendor that provides good setup, I think the Koloa is a great instrument for the money.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
    South Carolina

    Smile Koloa KU-650 Baritone

    I recently purchased my KU-650 Koloa baritone from a popular online auction site. It was an incredible price compared to regular retail and, to be honest, I was expecting an average sounding ukulele commensurate with the cost. However, I was secretly hoping that the solid mahogany would make it sound a little better than average. I was very pleasantly surprised by the quality of this instrument. It sounds wonderfully warm and mellow. It supposedly came with D'Addario strings on it as shipped to me, but the string tension felt a little floppy so I changed them. I went with Ko'olau Mahana baritone strings (DGBE) and they improved the string tension while keeping the sound smooth and mellow. It sounds very guitar-like, almost like a small classical guitar. The playing action is very good and the intonation seems fine. With the deep, mellow, rounded tones produced on this ukulele, I naturally fall into picking or rolling notes of chords rather than my usual percussive ukulele strumming. The finish on this model is a high gloss on a dark, maybe stained, mahogany. The finish looks fine to my casual inspection, so I don't plan to go looking for micro-blemishes. This ukulele would be a good buy at regular retail, but I feel like I got a fantastic deal considering I paid less for this solid mahogany baritone than I have paid for laminate sopranos and tenors. This will be an excellent uke to take along on road trips and to acoustic jams and strum alongs.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Rockledge, FL


    I have one too and like it very much. I currently have it strung with Ko'okay Alohi strings and it is very mellow. The high gloss finish and beautiful mahogany make it seem like a much more expensive ukulele.
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