Ko’olau Redwood/ Milo Strikes Again

Here is a look and listen to a new Ko'olau that our friend Eric ordered from us about 10 months back. He kindly awaited.I snapped a few shots after Noa built the body- We rarely will have a Ko'olau available. But we do regularly get gorgeous ones like this for customers that ordered on our website or in the store. ...

2 Phenomenal Tenors from Ko’olau!

Ko'olau ukes have always been anywhere from good to unbelievable. For the last year everything I have seen from them would fall into the latter, extremely awesome category. Less experienced builders often make a wonderful instrument, but they lack the ability to consistently produce at that level. Noa has been building Ko'olau guitars and ukes full time for 15 years. ...

A Look into Ko’olau Guitar & Ukulele Company – 15 Years as Hawaii’s Custom Ukulele Shop

Much of Noa’s building knowledge simply came from growing up at Kitakis stringed instrument repair. He was changing tuners and strings at 10 years old.  As a teenager, he was already doing warrantied Martin neck-resets. Later, Noa attended schooling in Michigan with Dan Erliwine, and a few years after in California with Charles Fox. He had a passion for building. I remember him reading Guitar Maker magazine late at night and thinking up new ideas for jigs in his head.

Noa has studied and personally experimented with different tools, techniques, and materials. At the foundation of all great artists and craftsman is this pursuit of mastery. I have witnessed it first hand consume him and now am able to witness the results.

Sound Waves from Ko’olau-

For those of you not able to get to a store with these models, the next best way to check them out is with pictures and videos. This is a Ko’olau T1 Koa and C100 Hawaiiand Ash wood. 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. Enjoy~


The Ukulele Keaka

I built Higher Ground with the same principle that has me up at night doing videos instead of eBay listings – The principle that if you do good things for the community, the money side of things will take care of itself….Unfortunately for Higher Ground, that was not totally the case, but it was fun, AND we have a ton of unreleased footage!! I am going to start putting it on The Ukulele Review exclusively! We want to have our own community of uke enthusiast. A portal of inspiration and education. So let your friends know, because we got some guys comin’ up that you probably have not heard yet. Up next is a young man named Kuhio, and his voice will blow you away.


Abe Lagrimas Jr. – The greatest Jazz Ukulele player – ever!

Abe’s tasteful yet exciting melodies move through bright and thoughtful lines into a flury of emotion and expression. The pure musical gift this young man has along with the fat tones of his tenor Ko’olau make this live performance a wonderful reminder of the infinite capabilities and applications of this small instrument. Abe maintains a warmth and fullness in the high register where guitar often gets thinner sounding. The tone Abe gets here is an ideal Jazz solo tone. Guitar players should recognize the advantages to the voicing of an ukulele!

Ko’olau Tenor CS – Sequoia Redwood- Kolohala back and sides

This wood is also called Pheasant wood because of it’s grain and colors resemblance to the Hawaiian pheasant. This beautiful piece was from a tree here on Oahu. It is a rare and expensive wood that Ko’olau has been using, when available, for over 10 years now.


The Ko’olau ukulele company is putting out professional level Hawaiian made ukuleles that sound and look great, and now are more affordable than ever.