Koaloha factory tour unveils some interesting things to come….

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So I am back in Honolulu again and took the chance to do the Koaloha factory tour. Lo and behold I was greeted by Mom and Pops at the door and had such a great time there chatting with them before and after the tour. Egan, Pops grandson took us on the tour.
There was a bunch of red labels with mango top and cherry sides and back. And also a solid body tenor in the making! The bracing for the standard models are also changing to the oval looking shape ones that are in the red labels. And there was a batch of old vintage ukes from the 90s that they were working on. All of them had round sound holes. Next year there is going to be a Baritone model too! Lots of exciting stuff. Can’t wait!
 

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No free samples?? ;)
 
I think I was on the phone with Pops when you walked in and joined Egan’s tour.

I did not know they were putting out some of the 1990’s models. I have a 1997 and it is awesome. Round sound hole. No unibrace. A mixture of Kamaka sound with the beginnings of that special KoAloha sound. Kamaka meets KoAloha.
 
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That’s a lot of updates that are exciting to hear about. Thanks!
 
I think I was on the phone with Pops when you walked in and joined Egan’s tour.

I did not know they were putting out some of the 1990’s models. I have a 1997 and it is awesome. Round sound hole. No unibrace. A mixture of Kamaka sound with the beginnings of that special KoAloha sound. Kamaka meets KoAloha.
Pops is a busy man. He was on the phone a few times when I was there! 🤣
 
Pops is a busy man. He was on the phone a few times when I was there! 🤣
yea-- the time I am referring to I called him 4 times- lol. We were on the phone when people came in for a tour and he told them, "Hi Pops and this is Moms" that Eagan would take them and then a guy came in behind them and Pops said hello and that he could join the tour. the guy said something like, "Oh I did not come here for a tour but I would love a tour" and off they went with Egan, who is very good. It may not have been you but could have been - lol. Pops is a busy guy.
 
Wow, finally doing a baritone! I wonder why now after all these years?

....am I the only person that hates the LP/telecaster shape...? It's always disappointing that everyone seems to gravitate towards it. Never been a fan of the look of cutaways on acoustics, either.

Still, looks like lots of cool stuff in the works; thanks for sharing!
 
An odd detail to notice maybe, but I'm curious about the Japanese (?) character on one of the forms (I think it is).
 
A lady in our tour group bought a concert after the tour and before she left Pops wanted to checked the nut action for her and said he wanted to adjust it further to make it buttery smooth. 10 mins later he brought the uke back and was demonstrating to his grandson the technique he uses to check it. He said the playability on the first fret should be effortless with minimum pressure from the fretting finger. Many experienced years of building ukes is a skill that only comes with time. He shared that he has personally built over 15000 ukes himself.
 
....am I the only person that hates the LP/telecaster shape...? It's always disappointing that everyone seems to gravitate towards it. Never been a fan of the look of cutaways on acoustics, either.
Yeah, one of the first things I noticed... and thought, "why a LP?!" and, "ugh, not another LP." Gibson lawyers are gonna stay busy... 😬
 
The last time I did the factory tour was about 10 years back and I remember Pops singing for us after our tour. This trip I mentioned it to him and he was so excited and happy and started to sing for all of us again. The children voices in the song are his grandkids.

 
The last time I did the factory tour was about 10 years back and I remember Pops singing for us after our tour. This trip I mentioned it to him and he was so excited and happy and started to sing for all of us again. The children voices in the song are his grandkids.


Good thing the grandkids are singing! For some reason, I can't picture Paul ever doing this 😅
 
You were fortunate to encounter Pop. When I was on the tour about a month ago and I asked if he was in Egon said that he rarely shows up in the factory any more and rather tends to his garden and other things. I was impressed by all the new machinery and automation which helps them build more ukes but makes the little factory feel very crammed. You had to watch your step moving around. Here are the new bending machines that they use now:

1000008108.jpg
 
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