What Makes an Ukulele Good?

About 6 years ago, when Hawaii Music Supply was above Ko’olau Ukulele in Kaneohe, Mike Aratani would come by and do “blind” sound tests with our ukes. While keeping your eyes closed and back turned he would play the same thing on 5 or 6 different ones. We would have to guess which model was being played. Now, I can hear the difference in a Hawaiian Made ukulele and an import, usually. Recently, some of the Pono’s are amazing. But pretty much, Hawaiian ukes rule.
You just can’t get what we got in China. You can have a good value, a deal you will never see in a Hawaiian made uke. People ask if the $60 uke was made here. I can’t even fill up my tank for $60. But listen, in this video, to the difference of what is made here. Of course I know “tone is subjective”, but I think it just works out naturally. Because if you can’t hear the difference, then you don’t need to spend that much anyway.

Pono Makes Super Big Ukes!

Ok, they’re guitars. Our most popular ukulele company is making guitars again! When I first got news of these coming I may have rolled my eyes. Not that I didn’t always like Pono Guitars, but it’s been impossible to keep their ukes in stock, especially the tenors. Their small team of builders don’t mass produce, but they do it right. With models like the AT or MT we can’t get enough. So the prospect of guitars seemed a little beside the point, if you know what I mean. BUT…

Better than Koa?- A Look at the Ko’olau CS Redwood/Milo Tenor~

Once in a great while Ko’olau will get their hands on some of this precious wood indigenous to the Hawaiian Islands. MILO has been highly valued for many years here in Hawaii. To the ancient Hawaiians it was the most valuable wood used for furniture, paddles, and bowls, and was and was used by the Kings more than any other tree. This dazzling Hawaiian wood is in VERY limited supply and has the most wonderful deep tones you could wish for. The dimension of colors is truly a testament to the beauty of gods creation! And the sound…wow! Of course it doesn’t hurt that it has a Redwood top. If you did not already know, Redwood has an astounding resonance and is arguably the best soundboard wood money can buy. It sounds how it looks, warm and rich, with beautiful harmonic overtones; a perfect match to the natural bright tones of the tenor ukulele. Ko’olau finishes with a striking nitro cellulose finish taken to under three thousandths of an inch so as not to hinder the open tone of the wood…

Which Tonewoods are best for Ukulele?

was gonna do an article on this this last year, but it’s so abstract. I touched on it in the article- What Makes an Ukulele Good? but mainly pointing out that the design and skill of the maker is the first determinate of tone. Great builders adjust to the woods attributes.

Beyond all of those other considerations,  woods do make a difference. This is the material that is transmitting the vibration that makes the sound. The density and makeup of their cell structure in conjunction the other factors is what determine it’s tonality. Here’s my mix of facts and opinions on the most common woods used.

Ryan Condon and the 1st Koolau Archtop Ukulele

It has been a while since I just sat back and appreciated the sound of music. There’s always some sort of responsibilities or initiative keeping me from really experiencing the good in life, like the sound of an amazing instrument. Well, last night as Corey started playing this Koolau archtop ukulele I transcended all of that. It was about midnight at the Koolau warehouse in the country side of Oahu. The natural reverb and resonance created inside of this instrument…the clarity and bell like tones…what can I say, I fell in love with this ukulele!

10 MORE Great Ukuleles under $200!!

So last year we did a video showcasing 10 ukulele models you can buy for less than $200. We also did a blog review here of those 10 ukes. But there are so… Continue reading

The Most Extremely Awesome Ukes!!

The sure way to be really good at something is to continue doing it, day after day, after day. Whether it’s business, or health, or learning ukulele…., to be good at it, you just gotta keep doin’ it. We are constantly working at being the best ukulele shop you can find. A big part of that is bringing in the most outstanding models from the best makers out there and showing you the most remarkable ukuleles being made. For those of you in search of the best ukulele money can buy, or simply intrigued by the ultimate uke, this post is for you! These three instruments have recently come through The Ukulele Site. Any one of these instruments could be, “The Most Extremely Awesome Uke” depending on your taste. In any case, these tenors are undeniably incredible. Check them out –

Ukulele Highlights from NAMM 2012 -Part 2

NAMM is a playground for maniacs. It can be quite a fun spectacle seeing so much leather and enhanced body parts, but this year I had no time to appreciate such novelties. I was on a mission; To see the latest and greatest in ukulele!

Ukulele Highlights from NAMM 2012! – Part 1

Our store, Hawaii Music Supply aka The Ukulele Site, had Mike Aratani aka Music Guy Mic there all four days. He gladly scoured for every esoteric uke related product in this ginormous center of music madness, as he does every year. However, I had the pleasure of going for just a day with one purpose; To see the latest and greatest ukuleles on the market. I took along my camera so I can share with you the best in ukulele from NAMM 2012~

There are tons of ukulele makers now. Hundreds! But many are coming from the same factory and most are….not good. (don’t want to say total crap)

From all of the new ukes popping up on the market the only new import line that impressed me was …..

Exciting News for Ukulele Lovers!

Now that we are solely focusing on the ukulele and working with Michael Aratani, a.k.a Music Guy Mic, we’ve made orders with some great ukulele companies that are new to us! These include Ana’ole Ukulele , Kiwaya Ukulele , Keli’i Ukulele, Worth Ukulele Strings, and Fremont Ukulele Strings. We will be bringing you many more video reviews and comparisons from these new products in the months to come.

Earlier, we mentioned Skype lessons with Aaron. He will continue to give lessons free of charge on our website. But, for an optimal learning experience, technology now enables you to get one on one lessons with Aaron, no matter where on Earth you are. (provided it has internet). We will be posting his link on our homepage soon.

Dat lucky buggah Aaron… he got his new custom Ko’olau!!!

Here is a video of it.-