KoAloha Ukulele

KoAloha started making ukuleles in 1995 and have quickly become very highly respected. There are an impressive number of top ukulelists using KoAloha ukuleles including Herb Ohta Jnr, Daniel Ho, Britt Paiva and Victoria Vox.

KoAloha ukuleles are all made of solid Koa wood (hence the name: koa+aloha=KoAloha) and built in their factory in Hawaii. As a result they are fairly expensive instruments, usually upwards of $400. They do also have a budget range called KoAlana which are built in China and finished in Hawaii. These ukuleles are in the $100 - $200 range but are hard to come by right now.

It can be quite tricky to get your hands on a KoAloha. From what I've heard, they're not easy to come across on the US mainland. Certainly, they're not easy to get in Europe. However, MGM usually has a good selection of them up on eBay and is always the first on the net with new models.

On Video


CNBC talk to Alvin 'Pops KoAloha' Okami.

On eBay

KoAloha Signature Series

At the moment, KoAloha are working their way through a seven part Masterpiece Collection. This signature series will be seven individual and distinctive new designs of ukulele.

The first was the KoAloha Pineapple Sunday which takes the idea of a pineapple ukulele and takes it to its logical conclusion.

The second in the series was the KoAloha Sceptre. This is an absolutely incredible ukulele design. Here's a video of Alvin Okami doing a little mythologising about the instrument and displaying its incredible sound.

17 Comments

  1. buathier robert November 20th, 2009 7:56 am

    hello
    my son Bastien live in Bordeaux and he play ukulle
    So for his birhday i want to buy
    KOALOHA SCEPTRE CONCERT UKULELE tweed
    i live en france
    can you give me a good price all included wih shipping
    for this birhday its old of 25 years

    i pay with CB

    Thanks for your video and the song of charlie chalpin on the
    KOALOHA SCEPTRE CONCERT UKULELE tweed

  2. Woodshed November 21st, 2009 7:14 am

    buathier: I don’t sell any ukes myself I’m afraid. The Sceptres are hard to come by – particularly in Europe. The only place I know selling one is musicguymic on eBay but don’t hang around because they tend to go quite fast.

  3. benlew March 4th, 2010 8:57 pm

    I LOVE KoAloha! Some great people there in the factory and the ukuleles are an incredible work of art. Very cool.

  4. Dave Eriksen March 19th, 2010 8:31 pm

    I got my KoAloha soprano back in 2000 at the Ala Moana Mall ukulele kiosk. Sadly, it sat around, gathering dust, for 7 or 8 years, until I finally turned to it as my travel instrument–airlines can make a cheap guitar very expensive. I kick myself for the lost time. This baby has serious tone and volume! When I let someone check it out, I tell them, “Treat it like a gun, brah: Dis no toy!” No ka oi!

    BTW, my Korg AW-2 tuner makes precise tuning a breeze! Now I have no excuse for not picking up my uke and learning more song.

    Mahalo nui loa, KoAloha!

    –Dave Eriksen

  5. Fabio Ponta October 11th, 2010 2:30 pm

    I bougth an koaloha super concert by MGM on ebay in july 2010. I love the great loud sound, intonation perfect and art. Now, i,m junt waiting my new koaloha soprano (by MGM again), to make another sounds! Any other uke is so good!
    (Fabio – Brasil)

  6. Steve Petergal October 17th, 2010 8:02 pm

    I’ve had a Koaloha Concert for about three years. It sounds as good as everybody claims. It has held up to many, many hours of hard use, and still been perfect for concert performance. I play it with Worth Clear fluorocarbon. These give it a darker sound than any others I’ve tried. I’ve had a K-Spot pickup installed and I did have the friction tuners replaced with Gotoh Mini tuning machines. Although the instrument always held very well, the Gotohs make accurate tuning very easy. I know Koaloha has some models with geared tuners. They would be my preference. Unless you want to have an ukulele custom made to your liking and needs, you can’t get any better than a Koaloha.

  7. Franco February 22nd, 2011 3:29 am

    The best so far in sound and looks, I’m very please.

  8. Belen Ruiz May 4th, 2012 9:29 pm

    A few years back, I bought a Pineapple Sunday Concert Ukulele here in Hilo. I just love it and have a lot of compliments. I wish I can have Pops autograph it for me. What are the chances? Mahalo

  9. VibroCount May 23rd, 2012 12:14 am

    I went looking for a Kamaka-quality tenor uke, and the only one I found was a gold-label vintage tenor that was dead sounding… must have been a second-quality instrument when new and store in a dry home with no humidifier. But the shop had a pretty KoAloha concert. I was trying various tenors and a couple sopranos when I tried this KoAloha… wow! It played so easy and had the sound of a beautiful jazz guitar. I pulled out all the hundreds and fifties I had for the tenor and bought the uke, a humidifier and a hardshell case. It is still my number one, go-to ukulele. I found I disliked the tone of Aquila strings but prefer the tone of Worth Browns over the factory-installed Worth Clears… but the clears would be second choice. I am rethinking buying a high-end tenor unless it is as good or better than my KoAloha concert.

  10. John Hubbard June 27th, 2012 5:57 pm

    I have a long neck soprano Koaloha and I wouldnt change it for anything. Some would find it a bit plinky plonky in sound but thats what appeals to me. It possibly would not be as good as some other quality makes for the classical arrangements but its what I call an instant access instrument .In short the necks thin, the sound is quite loud and it sounds great every time.I wonder if the concert is as good.

  11. kaizersoza August 8th, 2012 5:57 pm

    I had a KoAloha Pikkake today for my birthday prezzie, it is a superb sounding ukulele, it also looks stunningly beautiful with a really great grain pattern, this uke is definitely a keeper, I will be buying more KoAloha ukes the next one on my agenda will be a concert size

  12. mark R January 22nd, 2013 11:47 pm

    I have both Tenor Sceptre and Super concert models and they are amazing. I have been playing over 45 years, and teaching over 20 years, so when I say a great instrument, I know a great one. There is nothing negative about either instruments. I play them daily and the sound amazes me every time I pick one up. My suggestion, buy your own.

  13. mark R July 2nd, 2013 2:46 am

    I wrote the earlier review stating that I have both the Tenor Sceptre and Super Concert models. Unfortunately, last winter, my Sceptre met it’s fate, warped soundboard. I sent it to Pops and he built the new 7 point Tenor Sceptres, of which he is about to send me one. I just got off the telephone with him and he is so happy with the new model and wants me to review it for him. He also said that they had to rework them because they didn’t fit into my ukulele case, so all 7 point Sceptre Tenors are now modeled to fit my ukulele case! Awesome, I’m a part of KoAloha history now! I will submit a written and video review as soon as it is in my excited hands! Thanks Pops! You make the best ukuleles period. Mark R. Sacramento, CA USA

  14. Mark August 22nd, 2013 10:16 pm

    Koaloha concert. 2 years ago. Call Brian at the factory and ask about their factory ‘seconds.’ ;^)

    The sound is brilliant and Hawaiian, the set up is perfect, the folks at Koaloha are as wonderful as their instruments. If you’re thinking about one and are worried that it might be a bit outside your budget, I was too — until I played mine. I have no second thoughts.

  15. Carlo October 22nd, 2013 4:25 am

    My first concert Ukulele was KoAloha, I returned it to to music store the next day because the 1st & 4th strings buzz/rattling sounds on 1st-4th fret. I exchange it to Ohana CK-25S, the sound is great. Two(2) weeks ago i won an auction in ebay,A store demo KoAloha K3-C for $38..Im so happy about it and it is now my favorite among my 4 ukulele. Happy strummings !!!

  16. Ty June 10th, 2014 9:13 am

    I happened to be in Honolulu last weekend and took a tour of the KoAloha factory. It was almost exactly what I expected, but smaller. The guy that took me on the tour (sorry, I don’t remember his name) was great and patiently answered every one of my asinine questions. I did see Pops, passing on his knowledge to a couple of the more senior staff, but didn’t get to meet him. If you play and are in HNL, I recommend it, not least because you can sometimes get a factory second at a decent discount. You’re going to ding it sooner or later, you know you are, so why not buy it that way to begin with?

  17. Tyler July 30th, 2014 10:24 pm

    I got a KoAloha Tenor ukulele when I was in Waikiki last week. It’s my second ukulele, but is the best uke I’ve ever played and heard. I played it and then we got it sent back to the factory to get active pickups installed. They installed a LR Baggs FIVE.0 ukulele pick up in it which sounds absolutely fantastic. It sounds just like the ukulele does.. but louder haha. I highly recommend this uke and the pickups to everyone who is serious about playing ukulele! Keep on playin’!!

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