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Thread: 1st time buyer: KoAloha, Kanilea, KoAloha...???

  1. #1
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    Default 1st time buyer: KoAloha, Kanilea, KoAloha...???

    Difficult question to answer; as it is totally "subjective"; however here I go...

    I play Taylor acoustic guitars for years and own Vintage Gibson's. So - I'm looking for a Tenor uke for about $1K and I'm confused as to the sound vs. the look. I need both; great "full" sound (mostly rhythm/strumming) and cool funky wood grain/color.

    So here's the 3 I'm looking at: (2 Tenor's or a Concert with a Tenor neck):

    Kanilea K1 -T UV, KoAloha Super C or a used Kamaka HF3-6 string
    It appears that the Kamaka has some curly grain.... could someone confirm this; also someone else suggested a Satin Finish vs. the UV - for a more mellow-woodsy sound....??

    Thanks for any insight you may have.....

    Anthony
    Last edited by antnycwolf; 04-29-2012 at 12:10 PM.

  2. #2
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    I'll bite -- but you may not understand what I mean.

    What do YOU want? I play a super-concert (concert with tenor neck). That is my preference. I also LOVE a glossy finish. The higher gloss the better. I am not into more than 4 strings. But, see? That's what I want. Also -- I used to have a KoAloha concert. I love them. I would steer you to that one. Especially since the one you picked is a KoAloha super concert. Now, somebody else is gonna post about how awesome Kamakas are. I've played a couple Kamakas and I think they are too quiet.

    Good luck choosing. They're all lovely.

  3. #3
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    Default

    Well, I don't have a super concert, but I do have tenors from Kanilea (K2), Kamaka and KoAloha, so I'll base my advice off of that. For wood grain, I usually think the Kanilea seem to look great (their UV finish is also very eye catching). For aesthetic design and playability, plus history and name cache, I'd give it to Kamaka. But for sound, volume, warranty and customer service, I think KoAloha leads the pack. The warranty/customer service alone would make me pick them over the other two.

    But all three are great makers and you can't go wrong with any of them. You will get lots of fanboys and fangirls steering you to one over the other two, as each company has its diehard fans. No matter what you choose, I'm sure you will like it.
    Moore Bettah Kauai Dreams undersea inlay tenor "Hui Nani"
    Moore Bettah slothead offset soundhole tenor "Kula Leo"
    KoAloha KTMS-00 "Lokomaika'i"

    Building and Owning a Bettah Ukulele: The story of Moore Bettah Ukuleles
    Listen With Your Heart: The KoAloha Ukulele Story
    Listen With Your Heart: The KoAloha Ukulele Story e-book edition

  4. #4
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    Each "K" brand is very high quality and has a unique sound of it's own.

    You'll have to play each and buy the one that you like.

  5. #5
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    What GKK said. At this level you are getting an amazing uke from all three makers, so only you could decide.

    It's like you asking us to tell YOU what Malt Whisky or wine you would like best. Totally subjective.
    The GOT A UKULELE REVIEWS DATABASE!

    www.gotaukulele.com - uke reviews, songs, tips & tricks for beginners!

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    Ukes include (!) Kanile'a K1 Tenor, Tinguitar custom solid tenor, Fluke, Flea, Kamaka HF-1, Koaloha KTM-00, Tinguitar Reclaimed Mahogany soprano

  6. #6
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    What everyone else said, you can't go wrong with your choices so you'll have choose what'll make you happy.
    9:23448

    Passionately Untalented

    Compass Rose (Custom Tenor) Kamaka HF-3 Kamoa SM-P Kala KA-STg Tenor Pineapple (Rick Turner Build Class)

    Gary Yoshida (added for Mim)

  7. #7
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    My son recently bought a custom 6 string tenor and with some Southcoast strings, it's the very definition of "full sounding." Some folks get 8 strings for strumming, but I like the sound of 6 strings better....also better if you do want to do a little fingerpicking. Tone wise, that K-1 would be hard to beat.
    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;

  8. #8
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    Since it's your first uke, why not get a Mainland mahogany tenor?
    It will save you quite a few bucks and give you tons of enjoyment.
    Once you're seasoned and hooked you will have a better idea of which K brand fits you.
    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]

  9. #9
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    None of the ukes you mentioned will disappoint you. They are all great instruments. If you have the opportunity to play them and handle them then one might "grab you" - but if not just go by what you like the looks of and rest assured you'll have a fine instrument.

    I will say the six-string might not be the best choice for a beginner - not that you can't play it, but just that a six-string is kind of "on the edge" and it would probably be better to get a four-string as your first uke so you develop an affinity for what the uke is all about.

    @Shazzbot - I'm about as big a Mainland fan as there is (have four of them in the house right this minute), but you can't really compare them to the ukes the OP is talking about. A volkswagon is a great car and a very good bargain for the money - but it's not a Porshe and never will be. The Volkswagon is probably a better deal dollar-for-dollar - but if you have the scratch for the Porshe then that's what you should buy. That's about the best analogy I can make, I think.

    If the OP is used to playing high-end guitars like Taylor's then he already has the chops to appreciate the difference between a K and a Mainland
    and he indicates that he has the money for a K - so that's the direction he really should go.

    John
    I'm not entirely convinced that it is possible to polish a turd. However, if one were to accomplish that feat one would still have a turd, and one all the more noticeable for being shiny.

    Check out my ukulele-themed "stuff" at http://www.cafepress.com/fivebyfiveukulele - proceeds go to a good cause...UAS treatment!

  10. #10
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    Not to sound like a complete and utter %#&$((@, but didn't this forum just have this very same discussion like a week or two ago?
    I got my wife, my dogs, and my Kanile'a. What else would I need?

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