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KoAloha

KoAloha is one of our favorite uke makers. These ukes sound awesome and are a joy to play. This company started over 20 years ago from Alvin Okami and his sons. They came with an original approach to building. A unique design and structure with their signature “unibrace”, a one piece internal bracing support for the top, back, and sides.

The culture of ohana within the company is obvious. The instruments, their voices, designs, and the feel are what many ukulele enthusiasts and professionals have come to love. Check out this overview of the models in the tabs below and check individual available ukes from KoAloha HERE.

KSM-00 Koa Soprano

Kalei gives us a “raw” sound sample of the soprano KoAloha.
KoAloha’s soprano has always been a popular instrument for us because it’s “open” and loud with plenty of dynamic ability normally only available in larger instruments. It’s a breeze to play and just a really fun and beautiful little uke. It comes in the gloss finish, like you see, the KSM-00, or in satin finish that they call “Pikake”, the KSM-10, that you can hear below.

Pineapple & Pineapple Longneck

With guitar, the figure 8 classic shape is for the body to sit on your lap more comfortably. With the ukulele that’s not necessary and the pineapple shape allows for a larger soundboard with generally the same size instrument. There is a slight difference in tone and the KoAloha pineapple are well loved for the big bright sound.Take a listen-


KSM-02 Koa Soprano Long Neck

The long neck soprano, or super soprano as it’s sometimes called, is a soprano size body with a concert length scale. It has a soprano sound with a bit more brightness and a little more range with four more frets.



KSM-T2 Koa Soprano Tenor Scale

The T2 is like no other uke we know of. It has a soprano sized body with a tenor neck. The result is a soprano with more clarity and sustain, with the feel of a tenor. You also get a really wide range with access beyond the 15th fret before the body joint!

The sound on the T2 is bright and cuts through in a jam. It’s a a different sort of soprano tone with more sustain and the intonation up the neck of a tenor.  A unique instrument to KoAloha and something we enjoy.

KCM-10 Koa Concert “Pikake”

The KoAloha concert has a full body of sound and incredible projection. With this model you get excellent clarity over a warm bed of bass tones.

Above Corey samples the “Pikake” concert or KCM-10, which is the same as the KCM-00 but in the satin finish, whereas the KCM-00 below that Elof is playing has a gloss finish.

KCM-02 Koa Concert Long Neck

The KCM-02 has a a concert sized body with a tenor 17″ scale. For many this is the optimal KoAloha. You basically get a tenor with a voice more focused in the mid and higher frequencies. Classic ukulele sounds and a wonderful tenor feel.


KTM-00 Koa Tenors

Then we get to the KTM-00. For years this instrument has been a best seller for years. There’s something really unique and wonderful about the KoAloha tenor.

Variations on the KTM-00


KTM-10 “Pikake”
KTMS-00 Slimline

KTR-00 “Rosette”
KTN-00 “Naupaka”
Neal Chin is one of the artists that plays the KoAloha Tenor

DVI Koa Guilele (Tenor Scale)

The KoAloha D6 is a tenor sized 6 string tuned A to A, like a guitar with a capo on the 5th fret, or an ukulele with two lower strings.

Australian Musician Ryo Montgomery on his D-VI

Koa Concert “Special Issue”

Special Issues are a fairly new offering from KoAloha. Every few months they release a unique and always beautiful offering in a very limited run. This first one was done in each size. Above you can hear the concert size here and below is the tenor. These ones are the same thing as the normal koa models but with upgraded curly koa.


Spruce Top Koa Concert “Special Issue”

With this batch of Special Issues you get a spruce top with a curly koa sides and back and pickguard. Above is a concert and below is a tenor.

Jason Arakawa talks and demos his Special Issue tenor

There’s red labels and black labels, and once in a while a pig takes flight and there’s even a white label. All of these instruments are rare and a treat to share. We don’t really know when they will come but it’s always a treat!

Taro Tenor

This was a really cool red label from a few years back. The red and black label have a different bracing system and often get uniqwue inlays like this one with taro leaves going up the fretboard.

Honu Koa Tenor

This is a black label tenor with gorgeous koa and a honu inlay on the fretboard.


Solid Neck-Thru Body Tenor

This is a super cool solid body tenor. Recording this I plugged Corey into a Boss DR-880 drum machine and just flipped through some of the presets while Corey jammed along. A slew of amazing tones came out!

Comments 18

  1. Hold on…. there’s a solid body Koaloha!? I need one! Is that really the only one? Would I have to convince Koaloha to make another?

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      Author

      Yeah, only one like that. We’ve had a few others. Send them the link and ask though. I’ve asked for another a few times but they seem to come around like the eclipse. Mahalo Abe.

  2. Gotta start saving up for when the pig decides to take flight. Love my Koaloha, the playability is second to none!

  3. There is a “certain something” about Koaloha uke that just make me keep picking it up over and over again. Among my dozen of Ukes, the koaloha long neck Soprano probably gets the most playtime. It is just a pleasure to hold it and play it.

  4. When I got my KoAloha tenor several years ago, I felt as if I’d arrived in a different ukulele world. It wasn’t just that it was my first all-solid uke; I’ve played many other all-solids that didn’t move me. It’s that the KoAloha did move me, from the moment I first played one in a store, to when I got mine from The Ukulele Site several years later. What people like and praise is all subjective, of course; but the looks, sound and feel of my tenor still make me feel good. That the company is extremely generous with their lifelong warranty is a peace-of-mind bonus. But it’s my daily playing of the tenor – oh, and of the concert acacia Opio, which I got a year ago (also from TUS/HMS) – that reminds me that these ukuleles are two of the best happiness investments I’ve ever made.

  5. I bought my Koaloha concert from the Ukulele Site, and everyone I dealt with were awesome, responsive, knowledgeable, and friendly. Got great accessories, too. This is the uke I keep in my office for when I need a break from the daily grind — puts mind and spirit back in order:-)

  6. I have the KoAloha Opio, which is the primary uke I use in my learning. Mine is a soprano…I’m wondering if you think a concert or tenor might be easier to learn on. Thanks!

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      Author
  7. Love my KoAloha koa tenor, it’s a wonderful point of beauty in my life!
    Beautiful sound, beautiful finish, beautiful feel. Makes me smile literally every day.
    Andrew (and everyone) at the Ukulele Site went above and beyond as they helped me search for just the right uke.
    Setup, communication, shipping — couldn’t have asked for anything better.

  8. I bought my KoAloha tenor from Hawaii Music Supply three years ago. It’s so good that I’ve ended up selling all my other ukuleles! Two of which were Martins. KoAlohas are freaking great!

  9. I actually spent hours listening to the different ukuleles on TheUkuleleSite.com before purchasing one.
    I just love the look and sound of KoAloha ukuleles.

  10. I bought a KoAloha soprano KSM-00 from HMS in May of 2016, and it was one of the first few that arrived after KoAloha had changed to the new look with the abalone dots and KK on the headstock. HMS was very easy to work with, and the uke plays like a dream. The designers put a lot of thought into the details of these ukes. the curve of the neck joint feels really nice. It makes it easier to reach high frets. The shaping of the bridge makes it easier to get good clean strums and is also comfortable for finger picking. Overall, I couldn’t be happier with the instrument or HMS’ service.

  11. I know that they sound great, but I wasn’t sure about the look of the pointy crown headstock . It’s starting to grow on me and read an ukulele underground blog where they mention the religious christian angle for the design which may or may not be true (because it’s on the internet of course). You could say the headstock looks a little death metal guitar (or GWAR) inspired, pineapple inspired etc. as well. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder and ukulele designs much like music lyrics can be interpreted in different ways for the same song.

    Aloha

  12. I just got a Koaloha Soprano Classic from the Ukulele Site about a month ago, and I can’ t put it down! I love the sweetness of the tone, and I can’t believe how much such a small instrument projects.

  13. I’m ashamed to admit it, but I bought my Naupaka soprano mostly on looks. There was something about the two toned wood scheme that just screamed “freakin’ cool!” As it turns out, the advertised sound was 100% right on the money, too. It’s become by daily player.

  14. The spirit of KoAloha is what really makes them something special! I feel that I can hear it in their instruments..

  15. I purchased the KCM-10 KOA CONCERT “PIKAKE” about three years ago. Was looking for a no-frills, solid koa uke that would give me more volume and “body” than my Bushman Mahogany soprano. Upon receipt, I was not disappointed. The tone is open without being strident.
    I play “live” concerts for a multi-generational crowd. My previous uke stood out among my other instruments as the weak link. This little warrior is quite the contrary. The “concert” size strikes a balance – still sounding playful (like a soprano), but with more depth and easier playability (like a tenor). With a pick-up installed, it is every bit of a professional instrument and I find myself looking for more opportunities to utilize it in concerts and recording. If you’re looking for lots of fancy in-lay, this is not your uke. But, if you want a serviceable, quality instrument that will go the distance, look no further. This is the Toyota of ukuleles.
    One last thing…it shipped with a set of Worth strings, which not only matched well to the instruments tone, they lasted twice as long as expected!

  16. When I first began my ukulele Journey 4 years ago HMS was the place to explore options. But I don’t live in Hawaii and buying online seemed daunting. That is until we listened to Music Guy Mike introduce the KoAloha KoAlana sapele line. From the sound sample I felt like he was talking to me. Still unsure I called the store and I spoke to Aaron, Music Guy Mike and finally Andrew. I was debating between Pono and Koaloha. Andrew gently suggested “get the one that’s in your heart.” Yes! HMS is in my heart every time I play, and I feel lucky to to have been touched by Music Guy Mike. May his memory long live on.

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