Ukulele at NAMM 2015 – Day 1

Aloha friends. It’s that time again. NAMM! I am gonna space this out because I’ll be posting every night of the show so I’ll just go over some of the cool new brands and models I bought today. First off I’ll mention the KoAloha booth since it was their first year setting up at NAMM. There is a new series from them that will only be about $80 more than their standard series but with a unique wood rosette. We bought the three they brought to the show that you can see in the gallery below. I was using a new lens and will get it down better tomorrow. I see now my f-stop was a bit too open. Also Corey and Zach just showed up this evening so starting tomorrow we’ll be doing sound samples of all these models. We also got a real cool Red Label solid body that you can see Alan holding. Other news from KoAloha is that they have finally released the tenor Opio! We got 30 on order so stay tuned for those to arrive. Also, they released a new KoAlana series made in Indonesia. They are laminate and very affordable but they sound great! The last picture here shows them behind a few Rebel ukes that they shared the booth with. Speaking of Rebel…

Rebel Ukuleles are made in Thailand by the folks that make the Opio line for KoAloha. They shared a booth with KoAloha and it was great to meet the kind Thai brothers doing such great work. We bought most of the ukes Rebel brought because, well, they sound and look amazing. I’ll take some better pics and give you some sound samples in the coming days. They sound good. REAL good! Also the leather bag you see in the last picture is coming back with us and we’ll be ordering more from Rebel though they say it is very limited in production. Let me know if you are interested and I can share more info on these super stylish gig bags.

From there I’ll take you over to the Takumi booth where I snagged some uber cool ukes I think you’ll like. The D’Angelico ukes are electric archtop sopranos made in Japan and I LOVE them! They have previously only been available in Japan but I bought the three that Nobu and Hitomi brought. They sound and feel so good and come with a really nice custom case. Even though they are soprano they are extremely comfortable with wonderful tone and a quality pickup system. At Takumi’s booth I also hand picked a half dozen LoPrinzis that I thought were an exceptional value. We also bought the Kiwaya Telecaster style ukes. Kiwaya made some improvements to this design and we are excited to bring them back to The Ukulele Site.

Speaking of the website…Today we launched a brand new version of the site I have been working on for months. In the next few months I’ll be adding many features and improving on it but it’s up running so check it out HERE! Ok, back to the show.

A few booths over from Takumi I found an amazing custom builder from Japan named Teruyuki Tashiro. Without hesitation I bought a spruce top concert and tenor that sound and look top notch. Real top of the line quality from this one man shop and I can’t wait to show them to you.

A great company I haven’t ordered from in a while (who knows why) is Fluke. Their Firefly banjo uke is one that I have been meaning to reorder for a long time so I have more of those coming and also got the last of a limited edition run of Mandala Fireflies. I also ordered some of the fleas for us to stock. We only order from Fluke with the wood fretboard and metal frets so that we can adjust as we need to and maintain our standard quality control as needed. Flukes are all American made and they simply have a great product. There’s no reason for us not to be supporting these great folks and soon you will see them back at the store and website. I also odered a new double CD from Jim Beloff that includes the sheet music for all of the songs as well as a new book they are putting out from Fred Sokolow. See samples of these in the gallery below.

Oh, I forgot, they are also coming out with a UBass fluke that sounded and felt good. I ordered for our store though we most likely won’t be listing them online.

So let’s visit some of the other Hawaiian makers that we love so much. Kanile’a just introduced a new scoop cutaway and the one Joe is holding will be coming home with us. This style cutaway takes very little from the soundboard while still offering easier access to the highest frets. On a side note Islander introduced some mini guitars that are quite an impressive value. We’ll have a few of these in the store though they won’t make it on the website. Inquire for more info on these.

Kamaka is always a fun booth to hang out at with fantastic artists like Benny Chong, Bryan Tolentino, and Kalei Gamiao. I am gonna try to catch some sound samples of their new prototypes with these guys before the end of show. These models include the slothead tenor and (for the first time) slothead concert, as well as a sweet new tenor with a headstock inlay of a honu riding a wave! More pics and videos will come so stay tuned throughout the weekend.

We pre-bought most of what Ko’olau brought including a mind blowing CS slothead we’ll show you later in the show and the first ever slotted headstock CS you see here.

We also pre-bought the Collings ukes they brought and I’ll be showing you those and many other ukes as the show goes on. Check back tomorrow for more ukes from NAMM 2015 and sound samples to go along with them! Also, feel free to comment or ask any questions below, and let me know if there are any models or brands you want us to sample. Aloha from Anaheim. A hui ho~

Comments 18

  1. Nice Ko’olau teaser at the end there Andrew, great write up. What’s new or by word in production for Pono? Would love the scoop on that and if there any new TE models: pics and vids please! Aloha

  2. Thanks so much for your great coverage! Wow, just when we thought things couldn’t get any better… particularly interested in seeing and hearing the KoAloha Opio tenor, the d’Angelico archtops (are these just sopranos, or tenors and concerts as well?), and of course all the news from Pono.

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  3. I can’t wait to hear the sound samples on these new ukes. Mahalo Andrew! Also, the Fred Sokolow jazz book is something I didn’t know I wanted until I saw it. Will be getting that for sure.

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  4. Hi Andrew,
    I’m excited to be here at NAMM as well to check out all the new exciting ukes. So glad KoAloha finally made it to the show this year! Yesterday (Day 1), I spent lots of time at the Kala and Lanikai booths, checking out their new (and old but still awesome) ukes. Kala even has some new thinline nylon and steel string guitars that were cool. I even checked out all the impressive ukes at the C.F. Martin booth, including a little soprano they had for $5,399! It was beautiful! Finally, I focused on banjoleles at the Kala booth, as well as at Recording King and Pilgrim. I still have to go downstairs today see if Kumalae brought theirs to the show. It’s mind blowing to see all these amazing new ukes (as well as all the other cool new tech from Pioneer DJ, Numark, Korg, Roland, Dave Smith, and even Tom Oberheim is there!) Can’t wait to go back today! Maybe, I’ll bump in to you at the show!

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  5. Thanks Andrew….

    wow you been busy buying all the great new ukes already…..hope too see them all when you get back

    have fun and tell everyone I said Hi….

  6. I used to receive your posts, but they have stopped coming. Pretty sure I did not unsubscribe. Please put me back on your mailing list.

  7. Pingback: Ukulele at NAMM 2015- Day 4 | Ukulele Resource Center

  8. Aloha Andrew — you have a short mention of the Islander guitar and I saw a short clip in the UU video. Any other information you can chare with us? What about price?


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