Show us your ukes!

In the last 13 years of buying and selling ukulele, I have always been around 20-25 personal ukes. There have been a ton of Kamaka, Kanile'a, Pono, and Kiwaya that have come and gone, but these are the ukes that I have settled on out of personal preference. No doubt, there are a few I wish I had back. I do have some from Pops that he asked me to sell for him, but all of these pictured are owned by me and not necessarily for sale, but if you ask, then maybe ;) I now understand why my wife gets upset when she sees an ukulele delivered to the house. Can you ever have too many? I think I might. Everyone of these ukes has a story attached and in some cases, I find the story even more interesting than the uke.
Holy moly, Ed! What a glorious lineup! I think it would be very cool to hear the story behind each one … should you ever have the time and inclination to share them with us.
 
In the last 13 years of buying and selling ukulele, I have always been around 20-25 personal ukes... Everyone of these ukes has a story attached and in some cases, I find the story even more interesting than the uke.
That 8-string which resembles a Jukebox is pretty rad. Can you tell us a little more about that one?
 
The Ukulele on the left is called the Juke-a-lele and the one on the right is the Sceptre. Let's talk about the one of the right, first. Pops tells me that he was lying in bed one night and he awoke in the middle of the night and he saw this shape on his ceiling. He rubbed his eyes a few times to clear his eyes and the form did not go away. Not wanting to forget it, he took a pen and a piece of paper that was on his nightstand and drew the shape so that he would remember in the morning. When he woke up he looked at the shape and decided that it reminded him of King Midas' Sceptre so the Sceptre would become part of the Masterpiece Mini-collection for KoAloha. He made many prototypes and just a few years back, after moving to a new factory location, KoAloha held an online Facebook auction to sell the original prototype scepters.

The story behind this specific uke is not so much about the uke itself but about me. Back in 2012, I was new to Ukulele and a well-known member on this board (who I have not seen on here in years) was selling an absolutely gorgeous sceptre. I was a new player and I did not have much money for ukulele purchases but I saw his sceptre and oh boy did I want it. However, I had just purchased the most amazing sounding 2009 KoAloha concert (which I just sold to @SkeeterAB). I would have to sell the concert to get the Sceptre and decided to do so. I was in discussion with the owner of the Sceptre and he knew I had a money problem, but he also knew that I loved his uke so he sent it to me and told me to pay him $100/mo for the next year, or when I sold the concert. I received the Sceptre and it was lovely, but I could not let that KoAloha concert go. Also, the Sceptre was difficult for me to hold (I was a beginner player) and I was not ready for it. It would not be fair to give it back to the owner and have him have to sell it again, so I put it up on the marketplace and sold it -- in an hour. I sold it for exactly the same amount that I purchased it for and sent the original owner full payment. This was my first uke sale and the beginning of me buying and selling about 100 ukes in the past 13 years.

But I never forgot that beautiful uke and when I started working with Pops, I asked him to make one for me to replace the one that I had sold. This is what Pops made. The Koa is not as beautiful as the first one, but the incredible sound is the same.

The Juke-a-lele (on the left) is another from Pops Masterpiece collection, but it is the first 8-string uke that Pops ever made. Pops had made the 4-string Juke-a-lele before but the 8-string concept was totally new to him. How I came to own one was unplanned and typical of Pops. Let's start with how I was involved. For years, I had been asking Pops to make a Wow Tenor but Pops was reluctant. He kept putting me off. This is for years!!! @rhiggie had purchased a Pineapple Sunday, Sceptre, and soprano Wow from Pops and he asked Pops to make a tenor. Pops agreed (thank you Rick!!). However, the old KoAloha jigs would not be suitable because the Wow tenor was a new form so Pops had to start from scratch by making new plexiglass jigs, and trying them out one after another until it was just right. This takes time, but it started to be months and I was not getting updates on Rick's Tenor. I finally called Pops and he was so excited about the new ukulele and he wanted me to hear how loud it was because it was 8-strings. EIGHT STRINGS!!!!!!! WHAT??????? Rick did not want 8-strings. Pops played for me over the phone and I told him that it was supposed to be a 4-sting tenor, and Pops said that it was his new 8-string Juke-a-lele. I was floored. What happened to Rick's Wow tenor? Apparently, that went on the back burner for a while. Pops told me that years ago, he gifted a juke-a-lele to a woman who was a missionary in Africa and she used it to play for the people at the mission. She was in Hawaii and brought the Juke with her because it was not holding its pitch and she wanted it adjusted. Pops decided to make a new one for her, but one that was even louder so that she could be better heard at the mission. This would call for 8-stings. A brand new form for Pops and when Pops starts on a new concept, there are many ukes made until he gets it where he wants it. It can take a long time. Pops sent me pictures.

I wrote to Rick to tell him that the main reason why his Wow tenor is taking so long was because of this Juke-a-lele. Rick saw the pics that I sent to him and said that he wanted an 8-string Juke and asked if Pops could make a second one. Well, I heard that and I thought, "Hell, I want one too" so I called Pops and put in an order for two more 8-string Juke-a-lele's. Only one other, a prototype, was made and that one is for sale at Ukulele Pua Pua at the Sheraton in Waikiki. @rhiggie has one that is totally unique in that it is the only one with an ebony faceplate headstock, front and back.

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Wow, thanks for that great write up. That uke (well both of them really) is an exquisite piece of craftsmanship that I can probably not begin to fully appreciate. Just beautiful.
 
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I'm lovin' hat es Paul uke!
 
I'm lovin' hat es Paul uke!
The pictured cut-a-way was a prototype of the very early Wow ukes. The one you see in my pics Pops signed and gave to me when I first visted the factory in 2015. Pops later put the cut-a-way with the Red, White, and Blue Star Bangled Banger (he loves to pay with words for names of the ukes) .

After a while the cut-a-way disappeared and then a few years later Pops mentioned to me that he was making "The Hui" ukulele for the Japanese Market. I had not idea about this. The Hui was basically a Wow but with a Cut-a-way body. When he redesigned the Wow to its current model, he included the Cut-a-way. Sounds just like the banger in the above video but now has the look and feel of a Wow.

https://ukesahawaii.com/product/all-new-wow-cutaway-soprano/
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the Cut-A-Way Wow at Ukesa
 
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Ok, time to put my cards on the table. I can’t compete with Ed, but I think I have a couple of pretty good ones.

The Tenors. First String:

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Kamaka HF-3, KoAloha 25th Silver, Moonbird, AMM3, Pono MS Cedar/Acacia, Romero Creations Spruce/Walnut

Tenors: Second String

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Kala Contour Acacia, Ohana TK-38 Mahogany, Islander Acacia, Mike Perra Walnut, Pono AT-CR Cedar/Acacia, Kala ASCP Cedar/Pau Ferra

Concerts:

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Bruko Walnut, AMM2, Kamaka HF-2, Ohana Sinker Redwood/Rosewood

Sopranos:

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Pops AO, Martin S1, Ken Timms Mahogany


So I think that perhaps, like Ed, I have too many, but I love them all. I’d like to think I’ve finally defeated UAS….
At least for this weekend.
 
Ok, time to put my cards on the table. I can’t compete with Ed, but I think I have a couple of pretty good ones.

So I think that perhaps, like Ed, I have too many, but I love them all. I’d like to think I’ve finally defeated UAS….
At least for this weekend.
Now if it were a competition, you would be right there in the game, my Friend. You have some beauties there. you are right, you have too many also, but I am sure each one has a story and a meaning behind it, and in the end, most, if not all of these will outlive us, so they are ours for now. Enjoy.
 
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The Ukulele on the left is called the Juke-a-lele and the one on the right is the Sceptre. Let's talk about the one of the right, first. Pops tells me that he was lying in bed one night and he awoke in the middle of the night and he saw this shape on his ceiling. He rubbed his eyes a few times to clear his eyes and the form did not go away. Not wanting to forget it, he took a pen and a piece of paper that was on his nightstand and drew the shape so that he would remember in the morning. When he woke up he looked at the shape and decided that it reminded him of King Midas' Sceptre so the Sceptre would become part of the Masterpiece Mini-collection for KoAloha. He made many prototypes and just a few years back, after moving to a new factory location, KoAloha held an online Facebook auction to sell the original prototype scepters.

The story behind this specific uke is not so much about the uke itself but about me. Back in 2012, I was new to Ukulele and a well-known member on this board (who I have not seen on here in years) was selling an absolutely gorgeous sceptre. I was a new player and I did not have much money for ukulele purchases but I saw his sceptre and oh boy did I want it. However, I had just purchased the most amazing sounding 2009 KoAloha concert (which I just sold to @SkeeterAB). I would have to sell the concert to get the Sceptre and decided to do so. I was in discussion with the owner of the Sceptre and he knew I had a money problem, but he also knew that I loved his uke so he sent it to me and told me to pay him $100/mo for the next year, or when I sold the concert. I received the Sceptre and it was lovely, but I could not let that KoAloha concert go. Also, the Sceptre was difficult for me to hold (I was a beginner player) and I was not ready for it. It would not be fair to give it back to the owner and have him have to sell it again, so I put it up on the marketplace and sold it -- in an hour. I sold it for exactly the same amount that I purchased it for and sent the original owner full payment. This was my first uke sale and the beginning of me buying and selling about 100 ukes in the past 13 years.

But I never forgot that beautiful uke and when I started working with Pops, I asked him to make one for me to replace the one that I had sold. This is what Pops made. The Koa is not as beautiful as the first one, but the incredible sound is the same.

The Juke-a-lele (on the left) is another from Pops Masterpiece collection, but it is the first 8-string uke that Pops ever made. Pops had made the 4-string Juke-a-lele before but the 8-string concept was totally new to him. How I came to own one was unplanned and typical of Pops. Let's start with how I was involved. For years, I had been asking Pops to make a Wow Tenor but Pops was reluctant. He kept putting me off. This is for years!!! @rhiggie had purchased a Pineapple Sunday, Sceptre, and soprano Wow from Pops and he asked Pops to make a tenor. Pops agreed (thank you Rick!!). However, the old KoAloha jigs would not be suitable because the Wow tenor was a new form so Pops had to start from scratch by making new plexiglass jigs, and trying them out one after another until it was just right. This takes time, but it started to be months and I was not getting updates on Rick's Tenor. I finally called Pops and he was so excited about the new ukulele and he wanted me to hear how loud it was because it was 8-strings. EIGHT STRINGS!!!!!!! WHAT??????? Rick did not want 8-strings. Pops played for me over the phone and I told him that it was supposed to be a 4-sting tenor, and Pops said that it was his new 8-string Juke-a-lele. I was floored. What happened to Rick's Wow tenor? Apparently, that went on the back burner for a while. Pops told me that years ago, he gifted a juke-a-lele to a woman who was a missionary in Africa and she used it to play for the people at the mission. She was in Hawaii and brought the Juke with her because it was not holding its pitch and she wanted it adjusted. Pops decided to make a new one for her, but one that was even louder so that she could be better heard at the mission. This would call for 8-stings. A brand new form for Pops and when Pops starts on a new concept, there are many ukes made until he gets it where he wants it. It can take a long time. Pops sent me pictures.

I wrote to Rick to tell him that the main reason why his Wow tenor is taking so long was because of this Juke-a-lele. Rick saw the pics that I sent to him and said that he wanted an 8-string Juke and asked if Pops could make a second one. Well, I heard that and I thought, "Hell, I want one too" so I called Pops and put in an order for two more 8-string Juke-a-lele's. Only one other, a prototype, was made and that one is for sale at Ukulele Pua Pua at the Sheraton in Waikiki. @rhiggie has one that is totally unique in that it is the only one with an ebony faceplate headstock, front and back.

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Wait - please, please make a sound clip. I am such a fan of 6 and 8 string ukulele
 
Wait - please, please make a sound clip. I am such a fan of 6 and 8 string ukulele
Keenouke, here are two video/sound clips. One is the 8-string Juke-a-lele and the other is the KoAloha 6-string Imaikalani (pictured on the left). I have an Imaikulani pictured with another tenor but I will show it again here.



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Soprano and concert were both around $75, the tenor was $140. Plus $25 in strings so far.

The concert is my favorite by far. It has a really deep body, which gives it excellent resonance. A great option for someone who wants a cheap low G concert. Maybe not the best option for someone with big boobs though. (Mine get in the way sometimes lol)
 
I uploaded the one I really liked, and took some new pics today when my new resonator uke came in... :D

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Cats and ukelele 😂 I see that trend with synthesizers!
 
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This is one of my all time favorites. It was sitting on a pallet which was run into and wounded by a forklift tine... the ultimate players sound port?

Anyhow, no one else bid on it on eBay and I got it for $18, shipping and tax included. It's a plywood Luna tattoo concert. I sanded out and smoothed the hole and one of my students played it for a year. Sounds pretty good actually. I can hear myself well as I play...
 
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This is one of my all time favorites. It was sitting on a pallet which was run into and wounded by a forklift tine... the ultimate players sound port?

Anyhow, no one else bid on it on eBay and I got it for $18, shipping and tax included. It's a plywood Luna tattoo concert. I sanded out and smoothed the hole and one of my students played it for a year. Sounds pretty good actually. I can hear myself well as I play...
The perfect uke for those of us who don’t hear so well these days. :)
 
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This is one of my all time favorites. It was sitting on a pallet which was run into and wounded by a forklift tine... the ultimate players sound port?

Anyhow, no one else bid on it on eBay and I got it for $18, shipping and tax included. It's a plywood Luna tattoo concert. I sanded out and smoothed the hole and one of my students played it for a year. Sounds pretty good actually. I can hear myself well as I play...
A very different kind of cutaway...
 
I had put all my ukes on my bed to make a photo for the background of my phone. So I can show them to you as well. All my current ukes are in my Signature, in the order I bought them. I think I love all of them equally well, except for the Leho Fish, whom I fell in love with instantly ( see my other post).
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