Rebel is an ukulele maker from Thailand. The company is run by a bright young man named Peng. I got to meet Peng at NAMM as well as a few of the team there, and the instruments they brought were very impressive. So much so that we brought 4 of them back to show you and put more on order. I knew they made the KoAloha Opio line, which is fantastic, but I wanted to know more about them so I messaged Peng for some background info on Rebel; who they are, where they’re going, why they’re so rebellious.. Here’s Pengs response and some insight into this new ukulele company.
Hey Andrew. Howzit?
“The Rebel” team is a small team of ten people who love doing something different. We have full-time graphic designers and professional luthiers working together collaboratively. The guy I introduced to you at NAMM, “Yo”, is the head of the design team. He received many awards from his work of arts and films and he loves ukuleles and guitars! He was the man behind the limited KoAlana box (later became KoAloha Opio), Baan Ukulele’s website, accessories, leather bags and many of our ukulele and guitar custom works.
All of our craftsmen had been trained by KoAloha folks for years from the ground up when we first built the factory in Bangkok in 2011. Our lead luthier named “Chote” was once Paul Okami’s apprentice. He was a fine carpenter with over 20 years of experience and he now leads the Rebel custom shop and oversees the KoAloha Opio production. We further studied from Wiroon, the best guitar-making teacher in Thailand who was once Jose Romanillos’s student.
I first learned how to build an ukulele in 2009 from Mike Uyeno, a private teacher in Hawaii, who has a small workshop in his own garage. Every steps mostly done by hand in old-fashioned ways. Later that year, I was trained by Paul and Griz to understand the ins and outs of KoAloha building methodology. I learned the craftsmanship, technology, creativity and the Aloha spirit that go into every instrument. That was the seed and the beginning of our journey. We couldn’t have made it without all our teachers and those helping hands.
The Rebel is young and reckless! …hahaha. We know we still have a lot to learn. The direction and goal we have for “The Rebel” is to create something different for the music community especially for ukuleles and guitars. Never forget to give back to the community and never forget where we came from. With the blend of good taste in design and fine craftsmanship, we’re trying our best and couldn’t be happier for the support we’ve got! Mahalo for your friendship!
Well, what can I say, Peng and the crew seem like genuinely cool guys with something really special to offer. We’ll try our best to stock these super sounding ukes at the store and online at The Ukulele Site. Hopefully you will experience the quality and value Rebel is coming with. If you have an Opio KoAloha, you already have experienced it.