Ko’olau CS – Sinker Redwood/ Hawaiian Mahogany

Today we were handed a new tenor from Noa at Ko'olau and it's quite impressive. The refinement of a Ko'olau really sets them apart. This is one of the lightest Ko'olau ukes I have played, partly due to the Madagascar rosewood and bridge. This wood is very light yet dense and has become Noa's favorite for the bridge and fingerboard. ...

Ukulele at NAMM 2014- Part 1

Uke News from NAMM – Day 1 This year I’ll be posting a blog each day of the NAMM, or at least that’s my plan. Corey arrives tonight and we have scheduled recording with many of the manufacturers before the show starts to give high quality sound samples. Today I will just share photos and reviews of the ukes that …


Ko’olau CS!

This model has been the top choice for many. The feel of the neck, bell like response, and rich harmonic sustain all make it an ultimate ukulele. This must be the 10th CS model in a row from Ko'olau that blew me away. The quality and precision Noa and Ryan are now coming with is, realistically,  flawless.Noa Bonk has been ...

Ukulele Strings

1.Aquila’s are the most popular and probably best in the tension/volume ratio. D’addario’s new version Nyltech , made in conjunction with Aquila, have a slightly higher tension but better articulation and often better intonation. I predict those becoming more popular as people try them.
2.100% percent Fluorocarbon. Many string companies, 100% same material……..


Better than Koa?- A Look at the Ko’olau CS Redwood/Milo Tenor~

Once in a great while Ko’olau will get their hands on some of this precious wood indigenous to the Hawaiian Islands. MILO has been highly valued for many years here in Hawaii. To the ancient Hawaiians it was the most valuable wood used for furniture, paddles, and bowls, and was and was used by the Kings more than any other tree. This dazzling Hawaiian wood is in VERY limited supply and has the most wonderful deep tones you could wish for. The dimension of colors is truly a testament to the beauty of gods creation! And the sound…wow! Of course it doesn’t hurt that it has a Redwood top. If you did not already know, Redwood has an astounding resonance and is arguably the best soundboard wood money can buy. 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…


Tenor String Review

In this video Aaron runs through 6 of the 20 or more string options you have with a tenor ukulele. The first set is the Kamaka all nylon. Aaron describes them as bright and loud. To me they are strong in the higher mid range, so you get a cutting, punchy, mid range tone. Very different from the Aquila strings brightness, which are sharper in the highest frequencies with a more scooped mid section. The scooped mid range is a common way to make an acoustic sound “sweeter”, but you lose a little body as you go. The two biggest factors are the way the instrument was built and the technique of the player. And even after that, the way a string affects the EQ of an instrument can not prove it to be better, because the best sound is still an opinion.


Ko’olau Curly Koa Cutaway

This is one of the finest instruments to come through the shop and so I wanted to share it with you. The Ko’olau ukulele sound has excellent body and balance. An instrument of this caliber gives a player the inspiration to attain a higher level of musicianship, and enjoyment! Corey here plays the Tenor Ko’olau in a few different styles …

The Ko’olau Tenor Deluxe!

This is a Tenor Deluxe, Spruce top and Myrtle wood back and sides. It is framed off with curly koa binding giving it an elegant look without being too “fancy”. It still retains a woody, natural look. Most importantly it has a fantastic tone and perfect intonation. Noa Bonk custom builds these and is adamant on solid construction that will last hundreds of years. He builds with a solid foundation of instrument making from years of warranty repair for Martin, Taylor, Gibson and others.


New Pono Pro Classic Ukulele – Custom shop quality at an affordable price

Pono is a production model version of the custom shop Ko’olau, but when you look at the build quality, and attention to detail, you can tell that only very skilled and experienced craftsmen could have such a critical “artist eye” for this precision and beauty.John Kitakis, owner of Ko’olau, didn’t want to just “move boxes” with a cheap import line. He wanted to make the quality and depth of a Ko’olau instrument available to you at a price. And even though their is an unsurpassed refinement to the Ko’olau custom models, Pono is built the same quality, design, woods, and most importantly, there is meticulous oversite by the builders at Ko’olau, and it shows!