Joe and Kristen Souza run this humidity controlled and technology advanced workshop in Kaneohe with a team of talented craftsmen. They recently acquired a forest on the Big Island that they are planting Koa trees on and utilizing fallen trees with excellent wood. And that is one aspect that Kanile’a really has an advantage. They have amazing, and I mean amazing koa all the time! It’s ridiculous. How can you not be drawn toward such beautiful koa, and finished to perfection. They’re rich in tone, look gorgeous, and are reasonable for what you get. You can view available models at our website HERE. This is a look at a few of the models. We have had hundreds of different Kanile’a models and they always introduce more. So check this out for a fun overview, but regularly check the website because we try to grab from them weekly.
Corey gives us a “raw” sound sample of the soprano Kanile’a in both the gloss finish and the “natural” finish.The Kanile’a soprano is appealing to many players more comfortable with larger sized ukes because it has a 1.5″ nut width, is 14 frets to the body, and has the side geared tuners found on concerts and tenors. This gives you the classic soprano tone but with more of the feel of the larger sizes.
Super SopranosThe super soprano 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 and space on the fretboard. The DLX models from Kanile’a have upgraded Koa wood with more figuring than the standard models but not as much as the the premium models.
K-1 Concert Natural FinishThe Kanile’a concert has a rich tone and excellent feel. They come in various finished, woods and wood grades, and scale lengths. This is your basic K-1 Concert with the natural finish. This finish is still a lacquer UV cured finish but without the reflective gloss final coats and buffing. This gives it the natural wood look and feel many prefer.
K-1 Concert GlossOne of the reasons Kanile’a is so popular is their gloss finish is that professional level “glassy” look you see from guitar companies. The K-1 C is a very affordable instrument for being 100% made in Hawaii with Hawaiian koa and with a gorgeous finish to show it off.
K-2 Concert PremiumWhen you go from K-1 to K-2 you get top binding and a rosette. The two examples above are both with the upgraded “premium” curly koa. Figured koa like this is rarely found on anything but the most expensive custom ukes. Kanile’a offers their premium koa upgrade and give you a chance at a gorgeous Hawaiian instrument at a very fair price. The new version also available from this model offers ebony for the fingerboard and bridge and Hawaiian sand for the inlays. Corey goes over this new model below.
K-4 Super ConcertThe super concert models have a concert body size with the scale of a tenor. The K-4 has premium koa, top and back binding, and abalone purfling and rosette. Below is a super concert in the K-3 line. Those have top and back binding and a Maple rosette.
KCS-SCP Concert Long Neck Premium Koa Slothead
K-1 T Tenor
This is a best seller for us and I think you can see and hear why. Coming in around a grand, the K-1 Tenor is a stunning value in a totally Hawaiian made tenor with a fantastic look and tone.
This model also comes in with a new option of an ebony fretboard and Kailua Beach sand inlays. Corey goes over the new features of this model.
Ku’uipo TenorKu’uipo is Hawaiian for sweetheart and this specialty model from tenor features a heart-shaped sound hole and their ebony/sand appointments. This model comes in concert and tenor and either has deluxe wood as you see above or premium like this beauty below.
KPE-T Premium Koa/ Ebony Tenor
A long time favorite from Kanile’a, the KPE series features upgraded koa, top biniding, and their ebony faceplate and fingerboard with Kailua Beach sand inlays. This is such a great idea and works perfectly!You can see the grains of sand sparkle as you look closely, and you get a piece of the Hawaiian beaches forever.
Two of the different styles of slotted headstocks Kanile’a-
Diamond Super TenorKanile’a offers their super tenor with a larger lower bout for a bigger more dynamic tone. This model has a diamond inlay at the fretboard in sand and their “cobra” slotted headstock. The cobra slothead, like the KCS models, is thinner, lighter in weight, and pairs with the Gotoh “stealth” 18:1 geared tuners.
2016 Platinum TenorEach year Kanile’a does a special “Platinum” model for that year only. In 2016 the features included their scoop cutaway, smooth arm bevel, and thin slotted headstock.
Willie K Signature Tenor 5 string
Willie K. is one of Hawaii’s most fascinating artists and musical talents. His signature model has a tone of cool specs including a low and high G, 19″ scale (normal tenor is 17″), this super cool asymmetrical rosette, and his signature in the fretboard inlayed with sand. Astounding tenor for an amazing musician. We did a live recording at our NAMM hotel room with Willie. Check it out below-
K-2 Baritone Premium
Kanile’a makes a wonderful sounding baritone ukulele. This is a K-2 but of course they make baritones in the regular K-1, the K-3, and the KSDLX. Below are some examples of Kanile’a baritone models.
There are many many other models from Kanile’a… we have 595 Kanile’a videos at our vimeo channel as of now. Definitely more by the time I publish this website. And the models are always changing and evolving along with new additions. So like I said at the intro of this page, check models at our website HERE regularly to see what’s new.
Mahalo for visiting. What are your thoughts on Kanile’a? Leave a comment or question below. Aloha!