Hamano Ukulele

Hamano are Chinese made ukuleles but that doesn’t mean, as it can do, that they are low quality ukuleles. Hamano make solid wood ukuleles to a high spec. When they first started doing this, they were the only Chinese made solid wood uke around which made them an excellent choice for someone wanting a high quality ukulele at a reasonable price. However, there are quite a few other companies like Kala and Ohana doing the same thing now. So there’s a much wider choice if that’s what you’re looking for.

The highest profile Hamano user I’ve noticed is Sophie Madeleine (although she’s switched to Pono recently.

On eBay
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On Video

Sophie Madeleine playing her Hamano H-100C concert ukulele.

15 Comments

  1. Roger B January 30th, 2010 10:25 pm

    Yep I have a Hamano H-100 Soprano Uke. It’s a great uke. really out plays any other Chinese made Uke I have had my hands on.. Mainland Bushman Kala etc.. Deeper more soulful classic sound.. solid mahogany… Use Aquila strings and polish up the mat finish a little and you will be V.Happy.

  2. Hillfield March 12th, 2010 11:22 am

    Have to agree with Roger – the Hamano is in a different class from most of the Kalas and Ohanas I’ve tried. The finish is to a very high standard, lovely narrow frets, and a wonderful tone. Obviously I’m biased, having a lovely Hamano tenor at home, but I think they really are quite special.

    this isn’t to denigrate Kalas and Ohanas, but I think you can see where the extra 100 quid goes on a Hamano…

    and I second the Aquilas comment – the black fishwire they come fitted with is the only drawback to an excellent uke

  3. Patrick Spencer August 6th, 2010 6:18 am

    Though I am new to ukulele’s, I have been playing guitar for over 40 years and I like to think I can tell a quality instrument when I see one. The Hamano H-100t is just such an instrument. I bought a Kala KA-SMHT solid mahogany tenor from MGM and though it was nicely made, it didn’t feel or sound right and I sent it back. I could see where some short cuts were taken to provide a solid wood uke at a reasonable price, more cosmetic than structural. I paid $100 more for the Hamano and it was worth every penny. The quality of the woods, fit and finish, playability and sound were much higher than the Kala. I think Hamano has completely nailed the vintage 20’s look and feel, sometimes classy is all about being understated. I expect to enjoy this ukulele for many years. I would be happy to recommend this uke to any of my friends. BTW, Michael at MGM is amazing. Funny thing, I thought customer service was dead, it’s alive and well at MGM. They set mine up as a lefty and I got new Aquila strings, no extra charge!

  4. Sean Sharp January 26th, 2012 7:48 pm

    After owning my Hamano Concert for a month, and restringing with Aquila strings, the bridge came clean off! Since I bought the uke from Amazon, it was still under warranty, so have sent it back for a replacement. Hope the new uke doesn’t have bridge problems.

  5. diane February 6th, 2012 11:44 pm

    Hamano has been discontinued..??? Any information would be appreciated. I hear that Saga intends to offer something else about 6 to 8 months out. Wonder why the change?

  6. Sean Sharp March 15th, 2012 5:21 pm

    Got my new Hamano concert, after returning the old one to Amazon (please see my comment above of January 26) and have been playing it now for the last six weeks. Got to say: it plays easily and has a lovely tone. I am using Worth CM strings on it. After I bought mine on Amazon, I noticed the price went up by $130!

  7. diane April 21st, 2012 6:39 pm

    Well, I also scored one on Amazon..much to my amazement.!! Just appeared…suddenly…Must admit I was concerned that it was the uke returned for the bridge problem! LOL! I re strung it with Worth BM strings. Had trouble with action. Had that adjusted recently. Have had it since Valentine’s Day…2012..so far..so good??!!!!

  8. Derek May 18th, 2012 1:54 pm

    I have recently bought a Hamano tenor and it is, in my opinion, an extraordinary instrument. The sustain with Worth Brown High G strings is wonderful.

    I have had a Martin 000-15s mahogany guitar for many years now and it is my ‘go-to’ guitar, no matter what else is lying round the house (and my son and I have quite a collection between us).

    The Hamano just feels ‘right’ in exactly the way the Martin does and I know it will be a keeper. It also has the same understated looks as the old Martin that I love. I can’t think of any way in which this Uke could be improved – hence the 5 star rating.

    The only area in which I have marked this uke down is on the price – £350 in the UK which is £130 more than the Mainland mahogany tenor – but then the Mainland ukes are really extraordinary value for money.

    Bottom line is that I’d still pay the extra for the Hamono. It has mojo which just isn’t there with the Mainland.

  9. Scott July 3rd, 2012 5:01 am

    I own a Hamano Concert. I got it for $295. It is comparable to about $800- $1100 uku. It dusts Mainland ukes. I mean, no kidding, sad that there are even people putting Mainland in the same sentence as Hamano, other than they are in about the same price range. My Mainland is the worst purchase I ever made. I’m selling my Mainland Tenor because it is tinny and hollow and quiet next to the smaller, same purchase-priced Concert Hamano.
    It DOES appear that they are discontinued, so if you can score one, do it. It is likely going to be the finest musical instrument you’ll ever own and easily worth 3x what you pay for it. I have auditioned Kala, Ohana, man, you name it, trying to find a Tenor as lovely as my Concert Hamano under $700. They do not exist. There is a Chinese anti-bias, but I will tell you — other ukulele players stop and listen to the tone and depth and sweetness of my Hamano, and I play like crap (working on it). There is no much fluff on the net about ukes, but Hamano is the real deal.
    I just found Tenor Hamano for $300 and snatched it up. You should do the same, whether Tenor or Concert, as long as you can get them under, say, $600. Easy action, no string buzz, holds a tune, unbelievable sustain, sweet, deep sound that is not guitar-like, which is my knock on most other sub $1000 ukes. My Mainland twangs almost like a banjo. A uke shouldn’t sound like that.
    Needless to say, my opinion is that Hamano Concerts and Tenors meet in the eye of the perfect storm of unbelievable price, magical performance, and a bias against Chinese manufactured instruments. That bias is colossally misplaced here, to your benefit. Happy Hamano hunting!

  10. Meeple July 5th, 2012 4:11 am

    I bought a Hamano concert about eight months ago. It is a great ukulele. The finish is a bit dull, the strings are utter garbage – no punch to them at all, the uke already seems a bit mellow for me – so I put Aquilas on. Much better!

    A lovely little ukulele. Nothing wrong with this “Chinese made” product.

  11. Michael Fischer December 10th, 2012 5:19 pm

    I have played guitar for nearly fifty years, and finally decided that since I had downsized my computing equipment for fieldwork, why go without an instrument … I went into the shop to spend 100-200 on a good ukulele, walked out with a Hamano Concert and Tenor. These are great instruments. They just feel right as soon as you hold them. Light, thick and thin in just the right places. Then you play and in comparison to anything else in the shop these were miles ahead, even with the grotty strings they come with. I haven’t had to change set up as yet … action is already reasonably low, no buzzing anywhere, have only adjusted the tension on the tuning. Now the only problem is that I have thousands of pounds worth of guitars lying around unused.

    From photos, they appear to be more or less exact replicas of 1920s vintage Martin ukuleles. Definitely will be looking for one of the Martin’s some day to compare with.

  12. Equina January 7th, 2013 4:29 pm

    I’ve been playing my beautiful new Hamano Concert with Living Water strings for a few weeks and my feedback is this: The sound is amazingly sweet and clear, and the solid Mahogany and Acacia Mainlands, Kamoas and Kalas I have tried don’t come close. The Hamano is really great value for money.

    If I were forced to find a weakness, it would be its volume. It has a lower headroom than my Sitka Spruce soprano. It’s not suitable for aggressive playing.

    All in all, I have no regrets purchasing this enchanting uke and it’s definitely a permanent part of my uke collection. I’m so in love with it!

  13. Tony K April 8th, 2013 12:08 am

    I bought my Tenor Hamano in January this year, and I have not been able to go a day without wanting to hold it and play it late into the night, every night.

    To look at, it’s a very plain instrument: no abalone trim, no fancy stuff, you could say it looks boring compared to most other ukes out there. But once you hold it, you know that there’s nothing ordinary about it: It feels as if it was made by germans and given the heart and soul by Hawaians. It’s so understated but the sound is just amazing.

    Make sure you put some aquilas on it, preferably with an unwound low-G string, and enjoy one of the best kept uke secrets. I have just ordered a Concert Hamano, for when I prefer high-G tuning, they’re that good.

  14. Imaliar April 16th, 2013 1:24 am

    It’s trash. I urinated on it. My Wal-mart ukulele sounds better; Even with the fact that it only has one string. There’s a reason it was discontinued.

  15. Bill C June 4th, 2013 12:14 pm

    Mixed feelings about this Uke – wooden construction very, very good.Tuning pegs, the worst I’ve ever seen.
    Action good, sound nice just a little quiet, intonation not perfect but better than most of the Ohana’s and Kalas I’ve seen. Sharp edged, sharp cornered bridge with a thin 2mm saddle. SLots in the bridge too shallow to hold a good knot. Poor finish, supposedly matt, but feels grimy. Badly sprayed on black stain. Some sanding marks visible in the finish.

    This uke isn’t quite worth the premium price, as most people will want to rub down the finish and fit better tuners. Pity as the woodwork is really excellent.

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