My “Renewed” 2004 KoAloha Concert Ukulele
Last Spring, I went to a local used music store to check out a Kamaka Tenor Ukulele that was selling for $800. I went to play it, because you generally don’t see Kamaka Ukuleles in our area (there is one vendor), and certainly not at an $800 price point.
It was interesting to play the Kamaka, but I didn’t fall in love with it…but on the wall was a KoAloha concert ukulele from 2004, marked as “Mahogany,” and it was selling for $385. While there have been KoAlana models made from Mahogany, and KoAloha Opio models made from Sapele (a related variety of Mahogany), and very recent (2018) KoAloha models in Mahogany, I couldn’t recall any early KoAloha ukuleles made of Mahogany–so I contacted the company and asked if they had made Mahogany ukuleles in 2004. They replied that they had not–and that not only would the ukulele itself be made of Koa, the neck and fretboard likely would, too.
So I went back the next day, with approval from my wife, asked if I could have an educator discount, and walked out the door with a Koa “vintage” KoAloha concert for $385. It was a bargain of a lifetime.
While it looked fine and played well, the 2004 had a slotted bridge which appeared to be pulling away from the body. KoAloha has a “better than the weather” warranty, so I contacted the company and asked if that was covered. Griz (in charge of warranty repairs) got back to me and said that some early models suffered from this problem, which is why they moved to a tie bar bridge, and invited me to send in my ukulele whenever I wanted.
So I sent it as cheaply as I could…$35 via USPS. While companies can get decent shipping rates, the average person cannot. UPS would have been over $120! That was in July, and I was in no hurry…and my ukulele came back to me today. I love the new tie bar (it says “KoAloha” like the new ones), and the finish is beautiful. The ukulele used to have an “orange” appearance with the old finish–the new finish is lighter, and the wood looks more like the Koa that it is. The only disappointment (MINOR!) is that the bridge is now white instead of black. No worries…I’ll take it!
I’m thrilled, and I’m very happy to report that KoAloha stands behind its products 100%. This won’t be my last KoAloha (I have 3 others). I had a mishap with a strap last spring, where the ukulele dropped and there was a small crack. KoAloha fixed that–and the ukulele looks like new.
The communication was awesome from the company–and I continually insisted that they take their time as I was in no hurry…and they sent it back to me (free of charge) better than when I bought it.
A great ukulele is an investment…and while I am pretty sure that the other K brands stand behind their instruments, I know that KoAloha does. I love the sound of a KoAloha, I love the spirit of the company, and I love the customer service. I cannot recommend them highly enough.
- Posted in: My Ukuleles