Kanilea Islander

4.08/5 (9)

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Kanilea have been best known as a high-end, high-price, Hawaiian-made ukulele maker. But more recently they launched the much cheaper (from $100 upwards) Islander range with both solid and laminated ukuleles. They’ve been picking up some very good reviews.

Kanilea Islander Review

ItsAMeCasey reviews his Kanilea Islander MST-4.

On eBay US

On eBay UK


  1. Georgia April 7th, 2012 7:52 pm

    I am relatively new to the ukulele however, in the short time that I have been playing, I have found that I love it. After buying a (very) cheap starter soprano, I got hooked. I really wanted something more advanced and came across the ‘Islander’ range by Kanile’a. Unfortunately, there was almost no information about these ukuleles on the internet – no reviews ect. Anyway, I bit the bullet and got an Islander MC-4 and I LOVE it. Honestly, the finish is beautiful and the sound is so good! It came fitted with Aquila strings which improve the sound quality immensely. I would recommend this ukulele to anyone wanting to advance and actually invest in a quality instrument. Again, it is amazing. The only downside was the price but compared to some ukuleles, it was reasonable and in my opinion, it was worth every penny – I play it everyday without fail.

  2. Derek April 30th, 2012 10:27 am

    I couldn’t get one of these here in the UK – nobody had any stock. I eventually sourced one from Ukebox.fr.
    Have to agree with everything the reviewer says – simply amazing value for money and the perfect uke for taking to sessions as it feels so robust.
    For me the best aspect of this great uke is the neck and string spacing. It’s slightly wider than any other tenor I’ve tried and this suits me perfectly. I didn’t like the stock Aquila sound either and restrung with Martin Fluorocarbon strings and it sounds absolutely wonderful. (By the way why are Martin tenor fluorocarbon strings so hard to source these days?) I know laminate instruments are not supposed to ‘open up’ with playing but I’m sure that this one is definitely sounding nicer every day – or maybe its just my playing improving because I can’t put the thing down….

  3. Shawn November 17th, 2013 7:30 am

    I purchased a Islander Ac-4 Acacia Concert Ukulele a few months ago as a travel ukulele. Very playable, low action. A bright sound distinguishes it from my mahogany laminate tenor Kala. The E string developed an odd intermittent buzzing after a while. I replaced the strings and the problem has not recurred. I used Aquila.

  4. Shawn November 17th, 2013 7:31 am

    Well, lets rate the Islander Ac-4 Acacia Concert Ukulele

  5. Rod January 31st, 2014 11:45 pm

    I bought an MT4 tenor ages ago. Like many of my ukes I bought it online from Hawaii Music Supply. Shipping is expensive but they setup the ukes beautifully. I love the Islander, loads of sustain and a full rich tone. Minor quality control issue as the lower bout was rough and a bit splintery (it is a laminate) and it was too much effort and expense to return it but 5 minutes with fine grade sandpaper and a quick spray with a polyurethane finish and all is good again. Did I say I love this uke? I see Islander is releasing heaps of new models at NAMM 2014 so I will be looking at one of their top of the range ones this time.

  6. Bob September 28th, 2015 12:46 am

    When I first got my Kanilea tenor it was OK, maybe even a little disappointed in it because it was kind of expensive. I played it some but always went back to my standby Pono mahogany concert (which I love!), picking up the Kanilea occasionally. After a while the Kanilea and I just started bonding, and it was sounding better and better. The tones now are so rich and full it makes me sound so much better and it is just a joy to play. I am now secretly stashing away pennies to buy a really deluxe Kanilea concert model.

    there, that’s my 2 cents worth

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