Impressions of Ordering a Custom Ukulele

No real news this week. I heard from Ed yesterday that my ukulele is ready for the spray booth, but it is waiting in line for access. Also, it sounds like Pops has had his hands full since Moms and "KoAloha Management" (his two sons) were in Japan for a week or so and Pops was keeping things running in their absence. I guess it is part of his being semi-retired. My expectation is that my Concert Wow will be finished in the next week or two pending any other setups, but it sound like we are in the home stretch.

I am traveling May 31 to June 8, so while there may be reports and/or pictures, I don't expect a NUD before sometime mid June.
 
Gloss or satin?
 
Thanks for sharing this great story! I've been rediscovering the joy of the ukulele after a few demanding and distracting years. The passion and skill I see in this process is really exciting. My next purchase may need to be a Wow soprano.
 
My soprano from Pops is satin, so I presume this will be too.
Pops has said to me that a high gloss finish, though attractive, would only diminish the volume and resonance of the Wows. He only uses satin finish on his Wows and Masterpiece Collection (Pineapple Sunday, Sceptre, and Juke-a-lele). A number of years ago, he sold a Wow kit. The kit was all pine, including the face. It had a great sound. His suggestion to owners of the kit was to rub the uke with lemon oil rather than to apply a finish.

Here is an edit to the above because I know people will ask: The kits were made by Rebel in Thailand for Pops. We do not have any more kits but I saw a few of them for sale in Tyler Gilman's store (@theukulelestore) in Waikiki when I visited in February. They are easy to assemble and sound great, but not a handmade Pops instrument. We did not sell any of these because the price of the kit was $300 (don't know how much it costs now from Tyler) and a handmade Wow from Pops with a spruce top was only $360 at that time for the Wow with the "H" headstock, which was used as a fundraiser for the Harmony Show Choir kids. Buyers chose the handmade for sure.
 

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I recall that KoAloha had a kit to make a ukulele while visiting their factory. Also saw a video where they went to a school (?) and had the kids make their own KoAloha ukulele (last year).
Maybe buy the kit and have Pops help you make it? That would be a keeper!
 
There's a fairly current thread on satin vs. gloss finish in this forum. It is another one of those things that depend more on the skill and judgement of the luthier than anything else. This post by @Beau Hannam Ukuleles gives a fairly detailed luthier's take on the different options. His conclusion is that it is really all about the thickness and uniformity of the finish.
 
I heard from Ed last night. It sound like my Wow Concert will get two spray coats this weekend. If all goes well, it will be ready next week. Unfortunately, I am traveling next week, so even if it is ready, I've asked Pops to delay shipping for another week until I get home. I expect there will be pictures pictures when it is finished, and I will post them.
 
Ed forwarded a message from Pops this evening along with pictures after the finish was applied. Pops said there were a couple spots he wanted to rework and he will let me know when it is ready to ship. I will have access to WiFi while I'm on the road next week. If there are updates I will be able to post them.



PopsConcertFront2252580.jpgPopsConcertBack2252580.jpgPopsConcertSide2252580-.jpg
 
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I intend to visit their factory next week. I’ll ask Pops if I can try your ukulele…

Sad UPDATE: Just postponed the trip due to a major plumbing issue. First quote on the fix is $15k (to repipe kitchen drainage from under the house to go around the house (versus tearing up the entire kitchen floor and concrete slab). Second plumber attempt and opinion later today.

Will miss the opportunity to try and take a photo with ailevin's new ukulele. That is the worst part. We will reschedule the trip in the next few months.

Happy UPDATE to the UPDATE: Drainage pipe cleared without having to repipe, so rescheduled to leave for Hawaii this Friday!
 
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Thanks for sharing all of this. I'm enjoying the thread and can't wait until your NUD. I hope that the ukulele is as great as this thread. :D
 
I intend to visit their factory next week. I’ll ask Pops if I can try your ukulele…

Sad UPDATE: Just postponed the trip due to a major plumbing issue. First quote on the fix is $15k (to repipe kitchen drainage from under the house to go around the house (versus tearing up the entire kitchen floor and concrete slab). Second plumber attempt and opinion later today.

Will miss the opportunity to try and take a photo with ailevin's new ukulele. That is the worst part. We will reschedule the trip in the next few months.
We were offered those options. We chose re-piping.
 
Sad UPDATE: Just postponed the trip due to a major plumbing issue. First quote on the fix is $15k (to repipe kitchen drainage from under the house to go around the house (versus tearing up the entire kitchen floor and concrete slab). Second plumber attempt and opinion later today.

Will miss the opportunity to try and take a photo with ailevin's new ukulele. That is the worst part. We will reschedule the trip in the next few months.
Aw! That is such a bummer; best of luck on coping with that in as inexpensive, timely, and non-disruptive way possible.
 
I intend to visit their factory next week. I’ll ask Pops if I can try your ukulele…

Sad UPDATE: Just postponed the trip due to a major plumbing issue. First quote on the fix is $15k (to repipe kitchen drainage from under the house to go around the house (versus tearing up the entire kitchen floor and concrete slab). Second plumber attempt and opinion later today.

Will miss the opportunity to try and take a photo with ailevin's new ukulele. That is the worst part. We will reschedule the trip in the next few months.
Sorry to hear, and I can commiserate. We are in the midst of a remodel and just got hit with a suprise $12K to shore up foundations. Not the way you'd like to spend money, but it's really not discretionary. You can always visit my ukulele any time you are in Southern California.
 
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