Types of KoAloha Ukulele
(KoAloha Part 2)
To continue our look into KoAloha ukulele, we will now talk about the different types of ukulele produced by KoAloha.
KoAloha ukulele are made with 6 pieces of wood, 2 in the front, 2 in the back and 2 pieces for the sides. Koa wood dries for 4-6 weeks before the process begins of becoming an instrument. Normally this drying process can take years, but KoAloha has found a method of boiling then drying the wood to remove moisture from the wood faster. By using this method, KoAloha is able to produce ukulele quickly, once producing 500 ukulele in a month. KoAloha ukulele come in a variety of price ranges as well as unique pieces developed by Alvin “Papaloha” himself.
Classic KoAloha and Royal Pikake:
Classic KoAloha models are made of solid koa or solid mango wood. These pieces have a high gloss finish and metal tuning pegs. The neck and bracing is made of mahogany and features an abalone KoAloha logo at the top as well as abalone fret markers. The neck and saddle are made of ebony wood.
KoAloha has since started a subset of these classic ‘ukulele known as the Naupaka, named after a flowering plant endemic to Hawaii and the Polynesian islands. These models are made of half solid Koa and half solid mango, providing a clean, even sound to the instrument.
Royal Pikake (meaning “Jasmine” in Hawaiian, as named by Princess Ka’iulani) ukulele are very similar to the classic KoAloha but with a few distinct differences. Royal Pikake ukulele have a matte finish and an additional crown engraving at the end of the fretboard. There is also an ebony head plate that allows the abalone logo to pop.
KoAloha tenor ukulele are one of the few major ukulele companies to default to low G tuning. Despite being made of just koa and mango wood, the koa and mango pieces used by KoAloha take advantage of the wide variety of colors and patterns that these woods exhibit. Each piece is unique with its own personality and character.
KoAloha Opio and Koalana
KoAloha developed the Opio and Koalana series to create high quality starter ‘ukulele that were more accessible to a wider audience. The Opio model is the mid tier KoAloha model. Made in Thailand with solid Acacia wood with a matte finish, Opio models boast the bold and full sound that KoAloha models are known for but at a fraction of the cost.
The Koalana series is KoAloha’s entry series. Made in Thailand with laminate trembesi wood, also known as Monkey pod, with a high gloss finish, these ‘ukulele sport a more mellow sound.
KoAloha Red, Black Labels, and PopCustoms
The KoAloha red label is KoAloha’s premier ‘ukulele, with the abalone KoAloha logo on the head plate being designed with wings. These models change depending on the year; the current 2023 edition has a top of solid cedar wood, back and sides of Hawaiian Koa, and a top binding of Bloodwood. The fretboard contains a Hawaiian quilt inlay design and a resin rosette.
The KoAloha black label is the top of the line for KoAloha models. These pieces are custom-made models tailored made for a performer. Each element of the ukulele, from the inlays, to the woods used, to the setup and specially designed to fit the performing preference and style of the musician.
PopCustoms are ukulele handcrafted by the founder of KoAloha himself, Alvin “Papaloha” Okami. Each model made by Papaloha is unique, incorporating a variety of tone woods, most commonly koa, spruce, pine, and often with a head stocked plated with maple. Many of the PopCustom ukulele fall under Pop’s masterwork series, models that highlight his unique style and mastery of woodworking. The first in the series is the Pineapple Sunday, a concert pineapple shaped pineapple ukulele with a tenor scale neck. This is followed by the sceptre, a tenor scale ukulele with a jagged bottom that is surprisingly comfortable to hold. The most recent model in the masterworks series is the jukulele, a model created with a mixture of koa, spruce, and maple to look like a jukebox with engravings of the KoAloha logo and the Hawaii state motto.
KoAloha models are fantastic models for all players, with models for all ranges of experience playing the ukulele. No matter what ukulele you choose from them, you know you are getting a high quality instrument with a rich, lush sound. If you have any questions about these fantastic ukulele, let us know!