New Uke Day (NUD) Better late than never....Kamaka, KoAloha, and Ana'ole

Show and tell for your brand new ukes! Even if they're used!

ukeclass

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I actually joined UU shortly after obtaining these three gems, and so I think I'll do a NUD for them! These three instruments are my lifeblood that get me through my classes with so much joy :) All three are fitted with aNueNue ( there you go @KohanMike ) air air pickups for teaching.

1. Kamaka HF-3 D2i, this instrument is SO beautiful and plays so magically! While it originally had high G, I swapped to low G, but I might go back, not sure. Probably my most favorite of all.

2. KoAloha 2023 Red Label, the fretboard inlay on this instrument is wonderful, and reminds me everyday to try to make the most beautiful sound to match the instrument. KoAloha tenors NEED the unwound low G, its just so perfect on it.

3. Ana'ole Custom Hawaiian Flag Concert, this instrument is definitely the most unique. The top is a marquetry pieced together with walnut, koa, and walnut on top of a spruce top. Having master grade koa on the sides and the back, this thing sure is eye candy! I recently installed the pickup on this instrument myself and it was quite a fun job! I especially love fingerpicking on this ukulele. The high G balances out the two tenors with low G currently.
 

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Would love to hear your opinion of the voice differences between the Kamaka and KoAloha. I've never played a higher end Kamaka and I've heard they have a markedly better sound than their entry level brothers (and Jakes always sound great... must be the ukes!). I do own some nice KoAlohas/UKESAs but no red labels or spruce tops except my Pops Wows which are in a totally different category. Interested in your opinion. Thanks, Rick
 
Would love to hear your opinion of the voice differences between the Kamaka and KoAloha. I've never played a higher end Kamaka and I've heard they have a markedly better sound than their entry level brothers (and Jakes always sound great... must be the ukes!). I do own some nice KoAlohas/UKESAs but no red labels or spruce tops except my Pops Wows which are in a totally different category. Interested in your opinion. Thanks, Rick
Opinions here…

The Kamaka: has a VERY clear sound especially higher on the fingerboard. One of the best intonating instruments I’ve ever played as it gets higher on fingerboard. I really love the black nylon as it has quite high tension, which I think contributes to the brilliant high notes. The high tension makes my left hand fingertips sore after awhile, but not a dealbreaker at all. I do think it does sound remarkably better than my old HF-3 that I recently traded in. Overall, an extremely centered tone throughout the whole instrument.

KoAloha: SUPER warm and HUGE sound. The unwound low G really contributes to both. This uke overall has a very sweet tone, not as brilliant as the Kamaka. I’d compare to for example, bel canto, almost in a singing style; when single note melodies are played. The top is PO Cedar, back sides Claro Walnut. The cedar contributes warmth, while the walnut contributes an earthy sound. At least to my ears.

Hope this helps.

(On a side note; I have a vintage white label soprano, and I have factory Kamaka strings black nylon on it, but it has a very mellow sound but also the strings feel like they have quite low tension, making it so much easier to press the strings down)
 
Congrats! that Ana'ole is fantastic, definitely a showstopper. You can't tell us, but it would be interesting to know how (if at all) that top affects the sound.
Personally....I don't think it affects the way the top resonates. I'll attach a picture where you can easily see the solid spruce underneath (as well as the straight grain of it), with the marquetry above. I think due to how thin it is, in comparison to the thicker spruce soundboard, it doesn't dampen the sound as much as you would think. I'd estimate 2/3 soundboard, 1/3 flag top. The sustain on this instrument is quite remarkable to be honest. At least a good 4.5-5 seconds at forte.
 

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Beautiful instruments and thanks for sharing! I have the same Kamaka and a red label Koaloha of a different year (2021?). In short, I cannot agree more with your impressions.

The Kamaka especially has good intonation up the neck and its responsiveness to player input makes it one of my favorite ukes to play.

The red label has a “fat” tone that’s distinctively Koaloha and initially unanticipated given the small size of its body.
 
Opinions here…

The Kamaka: has a VERY clear sound especially higher on the fingerboard. One of the best intonating instruments I’ve ever played as it gets higher on fingerboard. I really love the black nylon as it has quite high tension, which I think contributes to the brilliant high notes. The high tension makes my left hand fingertips sore after awhile, but not a dealbreaker at all. I do think it does sound remarkably better than my old HF-3 that I recently traded in. Overall, an extremely centered tone throughout the whole instrument.
maybe it’s the high tension that is helping with the intonation and it is much harder to accidentally bend the strings.
 
maybe it’s the high tension that is helping with the intonation and it is much harder to accidentally bend the strings.
That's a real possibility! I wonder if the slotted headstock has anything to do with that...
 
Wonderful post and beautiful instruments! Congrats! Thanks for sharing!
 
I actually joined UU shortly after obtaining these three gems, and so I think I'll do a NUD for them! These three instruments are my lifeblood that get me through my classes with so much joy :) All three are fitted with aNueNue ( there you go @KohanMike ) air air pickups for teaching.

1. Kamaka HF-3 D2i, this instrument is SO beautiful and plays so magically! While it originally had high G, I swapped to low G, but I might go back, not sure. Probably my most favorite of all.

2. KoAloha 2023 Red Label, the fretboard inlay on this instrument is wonderful, and reminds me everyday to try to make the most beautiful sound to match the instrument. KoAloha tenors NEED the unwound low G, its just so perfect on it.

3. Ana'ole Custom Hawaiian Flag Concert, this instrument is definitely the most unique. The top is a marquetry pieced together with walnut, koa, and walnut on top of a spruce top. Having master grade koa on the sides and the back, this thing sure is eye candy! I recently installed the pickup on this instrument myself and it was quite a fun job! I especially love fingerpicking on this ukulele. The high G balances out the two tenors with low G currently.
That is some collection! So you are the one that got that Red Label! That probably was only up for a few hours.

Congrats on the cool ukes
 
That is some collection! So you are the one that got that Red Label! That probably was only up for a few hours.

Congrats on the cool ukes
Only paid $2600 for the red label tenor too 👀 but I think it was available for about two weeks before I pulled the trigger.
 
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