No worries bud - I (honestly) am humbled by being in this thread amongst some incredible Uke luthier royalty! I'm on island a number of times/yearly & have looked all over for something affordable (to travel with) to buy, but past two trips I just played lots & lots of different stuff & never found anything that floated my boat, with the exception of some stuff I played at Ken Potts custom shop in Lahaina, but (as I indicated previously) I'd made a pact that there would be no liens on the Lamborghini for ANY instrument purchases!
My 15-y/o nephew works at Lahaina Music -- he's been playing since 3 & just won the Maui Ukulele competition at Hula Grill, so he's no slouch when it comes to uke knowledge -- which is a well-run, honest shop....but unless you're buying custom, nobody is gonna be able to give you construction history on a production Uke, with the exception of perhaps going to KoAloha or Kamaka & conniving them into selling you something OTC..
Anyway, after two trips looking/playing (& even with my nephews discount), and may be chastised for recommending this, but I purchased a closeout Kala after directly speaking with Kala's shop technician, where he assured me that the only difference between the last years (I was bidding on/buying) & the newer ($500) model (that I'd played & really liked at Lahaina Music) they just released at NAMM, was the source of the Mahogany and the heads.
I bought this FULLY expecting to have to do some fretwork & with the chance I may receive "B-stock" which would necessitate a return/refund, but there was only a VERY teeny tiny flaw on the side near the EQ, and an inordinately small fret buzz at the 1st fret on top string (many wouldn't even notice, but it was easily addressed by moi..) that the seller ended up crediting me an additional $20 for. So I got the ALL solid Mahogany Kala, KA-SMHGTE-C cutaway, w/pickup/EQ for $169 total! Bought a nice foam case on Musicians friend for $35 w/ coupon code & I'm set with a travel uke for just over $200 bones!
Now, it doesn't quite compare to my custom, Koa concert that was built by a very persnickety Kona luthier, but it certainly doesn't sound like it set me back over a grand cheaper either! (we worked out a guitar trade for the custom uke.. ; )
Anyway, here is the link -- there are like 3 more, but they're all over the web at closeout pricing ($200ish), which is less than half normal retail & an even much larger discount over the newer model..
And to NoKaoi, sorry, my bad. I don't have some inside line on a Gibson uke, I just assumed they made them but had them confused with Martin (who oddly enough has a factory near my childhood home town).
So another question. In my price range (around $300, maybe a small bit more) I suspect I'm scratching the bottom of the solid top ukes and not getting something made in HI, certainly not custom - right?
How likely is it that the retailers who I'll visit in Maui will know what the conditions were in the place of manufacture of any given uke tat they stock in my price range