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Thread: Lehua Ukuleles?

  1. #1
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    Default Lehua Ukuleles?

    Has anyone here had any experience with Lehua 'ukuleles? If so, what sort of cohort would they be in? Are they similar to the K's, G-String, or Iwi'i, or are they more a 2nd-tier (for lack of a better word) name?
    I got my wife, my dogs, and my Kanile'a. What else would I need?

  2. #2
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    I've looked into them a bit when I was considering a long neck soprano. I'd consider them a '2nd tier' uke in the vein of the solid acacia Cordoba or Kala. I haven't heard anything bad but no raves. I'm still considering their long neck soprano but I'm holding out for an acacia pineapple as my next purchase.
    My 4-String Family:
    Kamoa E3 Pineapple Soprano
    Martin S-O (given to my brother for Christmas with the stipulation he learns to play it)
    Early-70s Kamaka Soprano
    KPK Acacia Concert (given to a friend for his birthday because he wanted to learn to play ukulele)
    KPK Deluxe Long Neck Acacia Pineapple Soprano
    Gretsch Concert Resonator
    Lanikai O-8 Spruce/Ovangkol 8 String Tenor
    and various guitars

  3. #3
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    Aug 2011
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    I have three different Lehua's. They're awesome. I have two tenors. They're both about 5 years old. They get better as they get older. In my opinion, they're way better than Kala's. I also have a concert. It has solid mahogany back and sides and a solid cedar top. It sounds and plays like butter. I have Aquila strings with a low, wound G string. It sounds super cool like this. I would highly recommend Lehua ukes. DON'T get the long neck soprano though. I've played several. They don't feel or play so great. Not enough volume. Maybe it was just the strings but I would't recommend it. It's more of a novelty item. Might as well get a regular concert since it's the same scale.

    Cheers!

  4. #4
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    Had a Lehua soprano. Nice little uke very similar to a Cordoba.

  5. #5

    Default Sonically Better Than Kala and Cordoba

    I have a Lehua Concert that I got sometime about 2004. It has a gorgeous tone, one that wows even high end players. Playability is, though, perhaps another story compared to the best ukes.

    The sound is loud, open, rich and immediate. The midrange is killer, and the it never sounds restrained the way I hear lower end Ponos and some other instruments in the price range. The Australian Blackwood is gorgeous to look at.

    Where the sound comes up short is its sustain. I have a Kanilea Islander and the sustain is better on that, but the tone is not as interesting.

    The action isn't the lowest, but it's not bad. It's not the quickest. Intonation is excellent. It's a good instrument. Again, it's tone is so great that it can rival much better instruments, but the sustain and playability keep it grounded in the 2nd tier, albeit in the higher strata of that.

    I have heard Kalas and the like which sound really good, but I can always tell from listening that they're a 2nd tier instrument. For example, I have heard and played Mainland Ukulele instruments. To my ears, they sound restrained and their sustain is so-so (no worse or better than the Lehua). Mainland ukuleles have a nice tone, but not nearly as open and loud as the Lehua. When people first hear the Lehua, they're blown away, but superior players playing it brings them down to earth. Beginners and intermediates will really like this instrument as is. I'm guessing that the playability of the Lehua might be able to be improved if I bring it to a luthier. Don't know, though.

  6. #6
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    I just traded for a solid acacia Lehua longneck soprano and have observed several things about it. Construction is decent, but not great, definately a "2nd tier" instrument....I was hoping it would be a little nicer. It's on the heavy side and the top is a little thicker than I think it should be. There is some odd U shaped braces inside, above and below the sound hole, different sizes, more or less facing one another. Can see no other bracing.
    There are some roller sander marks at identical places running the full width of the waist....wonder how much of it is "hand made." A neat but very thick glue line is visible where the fretboard is glued to the top. It has some thin black strings on it and although it has a pleasant "ring" to it, it is not very loud. I am sure this is why it's sound is inferior to larger models. IMHO, that is why Kala's sound better as they get bigger (to my ears). Also, in it's "stock" state, it does not sound nearly as good as my Son's solid spruce-topped, maple Kala longneck soprano. I hope to change that.

    The action is nice and low and the intonation seems ok. Will be very careful when I do new nut and saddle to maintain, or hopefully improve the intonation.

    The gold friction tuners with white buttons look decent, but I don't care for them on this uke. It has plastic nut and saddle. Nut slots appear square cut. I knew this when I traded for it. The acacia top appears solid on very close inspection...just thick for a soprano. I plan on replacing the nut and saddle and, as soon as I determine which strings might make it sing (at least as much as it's going to), I'll change them.. I will then come up with a review on the whole upgrade. May just do Grover deluxe friction tuners with black knobs while I'm at it.

    Anyone happy with the volume and sound of one of these babies, please let me know what strings you use.
    Last edited by PhilUSAFRet; 05-03-2012 at 09:47 PM.

  7. #7
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    Actually, I happened to get a chance to try out a solid wood Lehua concert at a local music shop (no, not the one you're probably thinking), and I was very impressed.

    Solid build, good look, nice balance, and it had a very full, complex tone. When I tried standard Lehua, Kala & Fender lams afterwards, they all sounded and felt, well ... how to be nice about it ... ummm ... cheap.

    I wasn't expecting much from the Lehua, and the verdict is their lams are nothing at which to look twice, but the solids are better than you might expect.
    I got my wife, my dogs, and my Kanile'a. What else would I need?

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by PoiDog View Post
    Actually, I happened to get a chance to try out a solid wood Lehua concert at a local music shop (no, not the one you're probably thinking), and I was very impressed.

    Solid build, good look, nice balance, and it had a very full, complex tone. When I tried standard Lehua, Kala & Fender lams afterwards, they all sounded and felt, well ... how to be nice about it ... ummm ... cheap.

    I wasn't expecting much from the Lehua, and the verdict is their lams are nothing at which to look twice, but the solids are better than you might expect.
    I have the solid acacia, but It's a soprano longneck. I just typed it in wrong.....old brain cells sometimes mis-fire.

  9. #9
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    My KPK solid acacia concert came with Worth Clears and sounds great. My overall favorite strings so far are Worth Medium Browns and may try them on the KPK.
    My 4-String Family:
    Kamoa E3 Pineapple Soprano
    Martin S-O (given to my brother for Christmas with the stipulation he learns to play it)
    Early-70s Kamaka Soprano
    KPK Acacia Concert (given to a friend for his birthday because he wanted to learn to play ukulele)
    KPK Deluxe Long Neck Acacia Pineapple Soprano
    Gretsch Concert Resonator
    Lanikai O-8 Spruce/Ovangkol 8 String Tenor
    and various guitars

  10. #10
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    Apr 2012
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    Mojave Desert
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    I have a solid acacia longneck tenor Lehua that I bought 7 years ago. The action is acceptable, though a little high. I love playing it, though. I put Aquila nylguts on it, low g tuning. Made a big difference in the sustain and tone. I can never sell it - Bill Tapia autographed it personally. He said, Oh, yeah, I know those guys, they make nice ukuleles! Besides, it's really pretty to look at.
    Debbie
    Sopranos: Martin style 0, 1929 Kamaka pineapple, 1950's Kamaka pineapple, Maybell banjo uke, custom koa by Bob Brown
    Concerts: Oscar Schmidt OU2, Washburn bell reissue, Oscar Schmidt OU5 Koa
    Tenors: Lehua longneck, Ukuleles Hawaii curly koa, Lute-kulele
    Baritones: Oscar Schmidt, 1951 Harmony, Prelude, custom koa 8-string by Bob Brown

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