The Custom K Brand~

koolau-logoThe Ko’olau mountain range you can see in the picture did not start out as a range, but simply a mountain known as Ko’olau Volcano. What we see here is the western half of the original volcano that was destroyed in prehistoric times when the entire eastern half slid into the pacific ocean.

The volcano continued to erupt and give our island landmarks like Daimond Head, Koko Head, Haunama Bay, Punchbowl Crater,Tantalus and more.

The Ko’olau Ukulele company began production nearly 15 years ago in a small shop at the bottom of this gorgeous green range that juts into the sky a mere half mile from the ocean at times. To be in the water staring up at this mountain range is quite a surreal treat to the senses. As is my usual trip to the Ko’olau Ukulele company to check out what Noa and Ryan have in the works and what makes their ukes sound so good.
This page highlights some recent models to come through.

Model 100 Tenor
The Ko’olau line starts in custom territory and these model 100’s sound as good as it gets. This one has a Cedar top and Koa sides and back-
CE Chambored Body Electric Tenor
Ko’olau has been perfecting their electric CE tenor ukulele model for over 10 years now. The result is an amazing instrument with lots of advantages. It has the perfect amount of acoustic volume to practice and be inspired while still being “under the radar”. The mahogany body is chambered out allowing a warm tone and sustain not found in most solid body ukes.

Deluxe Tenor
The Deluxe model Tenor has been the choice for many of Ko’olau’s performing Artists including Lyle Ritz, Abe Lagrimas, Corey Fujimoto and many more. 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…

CS Tenor
The CS has a slightly rounder body shape and a slightly different bracing from the deluxe. This model has been the top choice for many. The feel of the neck, bell like response, and wonderful sustain all make it an ultimate ukulele. (I actually own 2 of them now!:D)

Hand-Carved Archtop

“This archtop Koolau has a tone that you’ll never find in a regular ukulele,…. especially on those high notes, it’s just perfect!” – Corey Fujimoto

The Premium Ko’olau gets into another world of artistic design. A real treat for the eyes and ears.
Though Ko’olau at one point was more of a production line, they are now much like the custom shop they started as. With Noa Bonk building these from start to finish you get the continuity of a master builder sanding the woods and shaping the braces, all the way to stringing it up. The other member of Ko’olau is Ryan Condon. Ryan built super high end classical guitars with Ron Pinkerton for ten years before joining Ko’olau. I’ve never been less than impressed with Ryan. He does all the finishing right now at Ko’olau and it can’t be done any better. He also hand carves the amazing archtop ukulele they make. The quality and precision that Noa and Ryan are now coming with is, realistically, flawless. They have both been full time luthiers for many years and are at the top of their game. To learn more about Ko’olau models and options view this article- A Look into Ko’olau Guitar & Ukulele Company – 15 Years as Hawaii’s Custom Ukulele Shop

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