Solid Koa

Highest Quality Ukulele: Ohana, Kamaka, Martin...?

Hey! I am an avid ukulele player and I have been playing a soprano lanakai for a while now but I'm thinking of getting a higher quality (and, yes, more expensive ukulele.) The highest quality ohana, all the kamakas, and some of the martins are all around the same price (Martins, however, get the most expensive overall). IZ played a martin and they're by far the most expensive (up to $3000), but I played the highest quality ohana and it was beautiful. Kamakas have a really good reputation. If there's another brand that's better let me know. Basically, what is the best soprano (concert or tenor is also okay) ukulele on the market?

It depends on what you are really looking for. Something expensive? Or something that sounds better to you (and others hearing you play)?

Older martin ukuleles (solid mahogany) will fetch a premium because they were made in Nazareth, PA and the mahogany sweetens over time. I know several Hawaiian afficionados that swear by them -- but they bought them new many years ago, or they found a bargain at a swap meet (no more bargains on eBay). Most would not pay the "collectors premium" on them today. Most new Martins are made in Mexico. The exceptions are the VERY expensive ones with tons of paua (or abalone) inlay work -- a visual collector's item. If you can finad a Tenor or Soprano Martin (over 20 years old) for under $500, in good shape, ask to play it and buy if you like the sound.

That said, the other alternative is a solid Koa ukulele made in Hawai'i. The top ones (IMHO) are KoAloha, Kamaka, and Kanile'a. Koa only grows above 5000 feet in Hawai'i and cannot be harvested unless the tree is felled by natural means (lightning, wind, volcano, etc.). That makes the wood rare and expensive. On top of that, US labor costs make these ukulele more expensive.

Kamaka ukulele have been the favorite among islanders for so long, they are an institution. Many people go for a Kamaka because of reputation. The factory has limited output and they are very hard to find -- further driving the cost up. But they are sweet instruments in the right hands. It is the instrument that Jake Shimabukuro plays -- you should listen to his "While My Guitar Gently Weeps".

My money goes to Kanile'a and KoAloha. Which are a little easier to find and don't have as much of an add-on premium as Martin and Kamaka.

Kanile'a has the nicest finish of the two -- using a technique learned from Taylor Guitars to use UV light to cure micro-thin layers of finish. These instruments have a very high gloss without the thickness that might restrict the resonance of the koa wood. Their "Super Tenor" is the best of the bunch.

My personal favorite based on price and tone, though, is KoAloha. I have two KoAloha tenors. One a standard four-string low G and the other strung like a small guitar with six strings (a custom order). I play the tenor four string every week in kanikapila and I am constantly asked what make I am playing and receive many comments on the sweet tone. Then they ask if they can play it and are reluctant to give it back to me because of the feel and touch to play. Danial Ho, Herb Ohta Jr., David Kamakahi, Riatea Helm, Brittni Paiva, and George Kahumoku all play KoAloha Tenors.

Many of the other ukuleles are made overseas to keep the labor costs down -- making them affordable for most people. Lanaka'i is one of these. they are sweet sounding, the quality has vastly improved over time and they are the best value but not what the "professionals" play.

Discover Solid Koa On eBay Below:

Bruce Wei Solid Acacia Koa Pineapple Pocket Ukulele Planet inlay UW11 2014
Bruce Wei Solid Acacia Koa Pineapple Pocket Ukulele Planet inlay UW11 2014
$129.00
Bruce Wei Solid Acacia Koa Tenor Ukulele The Islands Soundhole Bag UJ17 2400
Bruce Wei Solid Acacia Koa Tenor Ukulele The Islands Soundhole Bag UJ17 2400
$219.00
Bruce Wei Solid Acacia Koa Tenor Ukulele MOP Inlay Bag UI17 2319
Bruce Wei Solid Acacia Koa Tenor Ukulele MOP Inlay Bag UI17 2319
$41.00
Bruce Wei Solid Acacia Koa Pineapple Concert Ukulele MOP Inlay Bag UW15 2121
Bruce Wei Solid Acacia Koa Pineapple Concert Ukulele MOP Inlay Bag UW15 2121
$129.00
Bruce Wei Solid Acacia Koa Tenor Ukulele Hibiscus Inlay Soft Bag UG17 2496
Bruce Wei Solid Acacia Koa Tenor Ukulele Hibiscus Inlay Soft Bag UG17 2496
$219.00
Makai TKU 24 Solid Hawaiian Koa Tenor Ukulele
Makai TKU 24 Solid Hawaiian Koa Tenor Ukulele
$619.49
Hilo Ukuleles 2955 Premier Series Solid Koa Concert Uke Ukulele
Hilo Ukuleles 2955 Premier Series Solid Koa Concert Uke Ukulele
$350.41
Demo Gretsch G9120SK Tenor Ukulele All Solid Koa
Demo Gretsch G9120SK Tenor Ukulele All Solid Koa
$399.99
Antonio Floral Inlaid Solid Acacia PQ Koa Island Ukulele Tenor Handmade 2851
Antonio Floral Inlaid Solid Acacia PQ Koa Island Ukulele Tenor Handmade 2851
$189.00
Antonio Owl Inlaid Solid wood Acacia Koa 4 Strings Ukulele Tenor Handmade 2852
Antonio Owl Inlaid Solid wood Acacia Koa 4 Strings Ukulele Tenor Handmade 2852
$189.00
Antonio Lovely Girl Inlaid Solid wood Acacia Koa Ukulele Tenor Handmade 2850
Antonio Lovely Girl Inlaid Solid wood Acacia Koa Ukulele Tenor Handmade 2850
$189.00
Bruce Wei Solid Acacia Koa Tenor Ukulele MOP Inlay Bag UI17 2316
Bruce Wei Solid Acacia Koa Tenor Ukulele MOP Inlay Bag UI17 2316
$179.00
Bruce Wei Solid Acacia Koa Pineapple Concert Ukulele MOP Inlay Bag UW15 2128
Bruce Wei Solid Acacia Koa Pineapple Concert Ukulele MOP Inlay Bag UW15 2128
$31.00
Alulu Solid HAWAIIAN KOA Classic Head Tenor Ukulele with Hard Case BU689
Alulu Solid HAWAIIAN KOA Classic Head Tenor Ukulele with Hard Case BU689
$199.00
Alulu Solid Acacia Koa Tenor Ukulelerose and bird inlay BU807
Alulu Solid Acacia Koa Tenor Ukulelerose and bird inlay BU807
$119.00
Bruce Wei Solid Acacia Koa Tenor Ukulele Turtle Soundhole Soft Bag UJ17 2425
Bruce Wei Solid Acacia Koa Tenor Ukulele Turtle Soundhole Soft Bag UJ17 2425
$195.00
Bruce Wei Solid Acacia Koa Tenor Ukulele MOP Inlay Bag UG17 2484
Bruce Wei Solid Acacia Koa Tenor Ukulele MOP Inlay Bag UG17 2484
$129.00
Piki Koko Koa Long Neck Concert Ukulele Solid Koa 14 frets to body
Piki Koko Koa Long Neck Concert Ukulele Solid Koa 14 frets to body
$34.00
Alulu Solid Acacia Koa Baritone Guitarlelebutterfly MOP inlaid HUA605F
Alulu Solid Acacia Koa Baritone Guitarlelebutterfly MOP inlaid HUA605F
$126.00
Bruce Wei Solid Acacia Koa Concert Ukulele The Islands Soundhole Bag UG15 2473
Bruce Wei Solid Acacia Koa Concert Ukulele The Islands Soundhole Bag UG15 2473
$139.00
Alulu Solid Acacia PQ Koa Tenor Ukulelehummingbird rosette BU798
Alulu Solid Acacia PQ Koa Tenor Ukulelehummingbird rosette BU798
$139.00
Alulu Tenor Ukulele Solid Acacia Koa PQ Hummingbird Inlay Free Hard Case BU738
Alulu Tenor Ukulele Solid Acacia Koa PQ Hummingbird Inlay Free Hard Case BU738
$89.00
Alulu Solid Curly Acacia KOA Phu Quoc Island Baritone Guitarlele BGUE22
Alulu Solid Curly Acacia KOA Phu Quoc Island Baritone Guitarlele BGUE22
$179.00
Alulu Solid Hawaiian Koa Tenor Ukulele Koa Button Free Hard Case UKT288
Alulu Solid Hawaiian Koa Tenor Ukulele Koa Button Free Hard Case UKT288
$360.00
Alulu Tenor Ukulele Solid Curly Acacia Koa BU749 FREE SHIPPING
Alulu Tenor Ukulele Solid Curly Acacia Koa BU749 FREE SHIPPING
$170.00
Alulu Solid Acacia KOA Classical Head TENOR GUITARLELE Hard case HU1440
Alulu Solid Acacia KOA Classical Head TENOR GUITARLELE Hard case HU1440
$129.00
Alulu Solid REAL Koa wood from Hawaii Tenor Ukulele with hard case BU812
Alulu Solid REAL Koa wood from Hawaii Tenor Ukulele with hard case BU812
$150.00
Solid Acacia PQ Koa Tenor Ukulele Butterfly rosette abalone inlay BU791 Alulu
Solid Acacia PQ Koa Tenor Ukulele Butterfly rosette abalone inlay BU791 Alulu
$149.00
Solid Acacia PQ Koa Tenor Ukulele Moon rosette Carp abalone inlay BU795 Alulu
Solid Acacia PQ Koa Tenor Ukulele Moon rosette Carp abalone inlay BU795 Alulu
$119.00
Bruce Wei Solid Acacia Koa Tenor Ukulele Turtle Soundhole Bag UI17 2332
Bruce Wei Solid Acacia Koa Tenor Ukulele Turtle Soundhole Bag UI17 2332
$195.00
Solid Acacia KOA TENOR Ukulele KIT No Polish with accessories VNKITKT36 37
Solid Acacia KOA TENOR Ukulele KIT No Polish with accessories VNKITKT36 37
$70.00
Alulu Solid Acacia Koa Grain Pineapple Shape Concert UkuleleFree HardCaseBU656
Alulu Solid Acacia Koa Grain Pineapple Shape Concert UkuleleFree HardCaseBU656
$128.00


Recently Purchased Solid Koa:


bruce wei solid acacia koa pineapple concert ukulele mop inlay bag uw152133, bruce wei solid acacia koa tenor ukulele coconut inlay bag uj172403, bruce wei solid acacia koa tenor harp ukulele mop inlay hardcase hu172046g, rare 1920s sammo solid koa soprano antique ukulele restored ready to play , pono acd solid koa acacia concert ukulele case stand, pono at solid koa acacia tenor ukulele, bruce wei solid acacia koa tenor ukulele mop inlay bag ui172334, bruce wei solid acacia koa pineapple pocket ukulele rose inlay uw112003, bruce wei solid acacia koa pineapple concert ukulele mop inlay bag uw152126, bruce wei solid acacia koa tenor ukulele lotus inlay bag uj172414, bruce wei solid acacia koa tenor ukulele mop inlay softbag ug172451, lanikai lksceu solid spruce top koa electric ukesb concert ukulele hard case, alulu solid acacia koa dragon inlay pineapple shape concert ukulele hua18, solid acacia koa concert ukulele kit no polish aquila strings kitkc0352, alulu solid acacia koa baritone guitarlelehummingbird mop inlayhua386f, alulu solid acacia koa tenor ukuleleabalone classical inlaidhard caseukt262, alulu solid curly acacia koa tenor ukulele with hard case pq bu402, alulu solid acacia koa concert ukulele mop inlaid cat hardcase ukc208, 8 string alulu solid acacia koa tenor ukulele cactus inlay with hard case hu1622, alulu solid curly acacia koa tenor ukulelemop inlaid flowers rosette bu792, alulu solid acacia koa tenor classical head fretboard inlay ukulele bu700, alulu solid acacia pq koa tenor ukulelemoon rosette and carp abalone bu795, 8 string alulu solid acacia koa tenor ukulele fretboard inlay hard case hu1511, 8 string alulu solid acacia koa tenor ukulele hummingbird inlay hard case hu1003, alulu solid acacia koa tenor ukuleleabalone classical inlaidhard caseukt259, alulu solid curly acacia koa tenor ukulele with hard case pq bu500, alulu solid acacia koa pineapple style tenor ukulele eagle mop inlay hu944, alulu thin body solid hawaiian koa tenor ukulele koa button hard case ukt288, alulu solid curly acacia koa tenor ukuleleeagle inlaid rosettehard casebu794, alulu solid acacia koa pineapple shape tenor ukulele sun inlay rosette hu930, alulu solid acacia koa concert ukulele handmade eagle mop inlay hard case hu1079, solid acacia koa hummingbird inlay tenor ukulele kit vnkitkt39, alulu solid acacia koa tenor classical head guitarlele butterfly soft bag hu1424, alulu solid authentic hawaiian koa tenor ukulele hard case bu689, 6 string alulu solid acacia koa tenor ukulele turtle inlay hu1576, alulu solid hawaiian koa tenor ukulele with hard case bu339, alulu solid acacia curly koa mop inlaid hummingbird tenor ukulele hard pq bu738, bruce wei solid acacia koa tenor ukulele turtle inlay bag ue172064, bruce wei solid acacia koa concert ukulele turtle inlay softbag uc152178, bruce wei solid acacia koa soprano ukulele mop inlay bag uy132171, bruce wei solid acacia koa tenor ukulele the islands soundhole bag ui172309, bruce wei solid acacia koa pineapple concert ukulele mop inlay uw152143, bruce wei solid acacia koa tenor ukulele mop inlay bag uj172415, hawaiian solid koa t4kr maui music retro tenor ukulele w radius fret board nr, bruce wei solid acacia koa tenor ukulele mop inlay bag uj172357, bruce wei solid acacia koa concert ukulele mop inlay bag ue152166, bruce wei solid acacia koa pineapple pocket ukulele abalone inlay uw112009, mele custom soprano ukulele solid spruce top koa back amp; sides abolone amp; case, mele custom tenor ukulele solid koa top koa back amp; sides abolone amp; case, bruce wei solid acacia koa concert ukulele mop dragon inlay bag ug152486, bruce wei solid acacia koa tenor ukulele mermaid inlay softbag ue172065, bruce wei solid acacia koa concert ukulele mop inlay bag un152212, bruce wei solid acacia koa pineapple concert ukulele coconut inlay uw152130, bruce wei solid acacia koa tenor ukulele mop inlay softbag ug172482, bruce wei solid acacia koa soprano ukulele mop inlay bag uy132138, bruce wei solid acacia koa concert ukulele hibiscus inlay bag ue152188, bruce wei solid acacia koa tenor ukulele mop vine inlay armrest bag ui172315



Comments are closed.