Here are my personal recommendations for custom and production ukuleles.
I have a few Kalas, a Ko'olau CS Tenor, a Fluke and Martin Tenor. I have played the Glyph, MyaMoe and Dave Talsma ukuleles. They are all on my list to get one day.
These are some of the best ukuleles available. I personally have played ukuleles from all theses builder and have a Ko'olau CS Contemporary Tenor.
401 N.Cane St. A-10
Wahiawa, Hawaii 96786
Our family store, Funky Frets is an authorized dealer and carries the Ko’olau Guitar and Ukulele Company brand.
from the Ko’olau Guitar and Ukulele Company web site
Ko’olau Guitars and ‘Ukuleles are professional quality, hand crafted instruments. The shop is located in Kaneohe, on the Island of Oahu, Hawaii, approximately fifteen minutes from Honolulu, at the foot of the the beautiful Ko’olau Mountains.
For many years Ko’olau Guitar and Ukulele has been building some of the finest quality ukes money can buy, allowing the customer to pick from many woods and decorative options. The company was founded and is still run by John Kitakis, whose career began as a furniture maker. He moved from the mainland US to Hawaii forty years ago, then for a period of time went back to the mainland doing warranty repair work for Martin, Taylor, Gibson, Guild and other guitar manufacturers, and in between built custom guitars and mandolins. Eventually he, his wife and children returned to Oahu to begin Ko’olau Guitar & Ukulele Company. All of John’s children worked in the family business, from sorting screws to sweeping floors. His oldest son, Noa eventually chose to pursue stringed instrument making, and now manages all Ko’olau production. His youngest son, Andrew also joined the family doing repairs and assisting in Ko’olau construction and finishing, but eventually established his own retail guitar and ‘ukulele business.
18 Forbes Road
White Salmon, Washington 98672
from the Mya-Moe Ukuleles web site
Gordon **& Char Mayer** and Aaron Keim are the luthiers who build all Mya-Moe Ukuleles. They have combined expertise in design, engineering, music, and lutherie. They both have masters degrees in engineering. Gordon has been building guitars for 7 years. Char is a professional musician. Before building guitars, Gordon was a wood-turning artist, giving him extended knowledge of different woods & their properties.
Char’s artistic bent was expressed in hand-pieced Roman shades. Together, they hand-craft each instrument, a culmination of their combined educations & experiences in engineering, art & music.
I’ve had or have a few of theses. Great uses to upgrade up from cheap beginner models.
pronounced Kah’ la
P.O. Box 751149
Petaluma, California 94975-1149
tel:1 877 Uke Duke
Our family store, Funky Frets is an authorized dealer and carries the Kala Brand Music Company brand.
from the Kala Brand Music Company web site
Mike Upton is the founder of Kala Brand Music Company in northern California. Established in 2005, Kala builds 120-plus models of ukulele, including travel and bass variations. Kala amd Makala brand of ukuleles.
EAST COAST: 1000 Technology Park Dr.
Glen Allen, VA 23059
Phone: (800) 446-6010
Fax: (804) 515-0347
WEST COAST: 1240 Quarry St.
Corona, CA 92879
Phone: (800) 637-0477
Our family store, Funky Frets is an authorized dealer and carries the Lanikai Ukuleles brand.
from the Lanikai Ukuleles web site
Lanikai Beach, Hawaii - its name means “Heavenly Ocean”… and Lanikai Ukuleles let you “ride the wave” to your own heavenly musical landscape.
292 South Main Street
Sheffield, MA 01257
Our family store, Funky Frets is an authorized dealer and carries the Magic Fluke Company brand.
from the Magic Fluke Company web site
The Magic Fluke Co. was started by Dale and Phyllis Webb in 1999 in the basement of our home in New Hartford Connecticut. I was inspired and encouraged by Phyllis’s brother Jim Beloff, an accomplished musician and guitarist who discovered the uke a few years earlier. Jim realized anyone interested in playing the uke back then had very little to choose from in the way of available music or instruments and in 1992, he incorporated as Flea Market Music and released the first of many music books and videos. In the late nineties, I had the motivation to jump ship from the corporate world and decided to make an attempt at an affordable, USA-made ukulele. Armed with prototypes made with thermoformed parts from the kitchen oven, and a handful of Jim’s books and CDs, we committed to exhibit at The National Association of Music Merchants annual trade show in LA, January of 1999. The Magic Fluke Company was born and there was no looking back as orders started coming in and we had to tool up and start producing instruments.
Ko’olau Guitar and ‘Ukulele Company
**401 N.Cane St. A-10
Wahiawa, **Hawaii ;96786
Our family store, Funky Frets is an authorized dealer and carries the Pono brand.
from the Pono web site
Pono instruments are professionally designed and handcrafted by the Ko’olau Guitar and ‘Ukulele Company on the Island of Java, with final adjustments and set-up on the Island of Oahu, Hawaii.
Here is what the Kitakis familay says about a Pono vs. their higher end Ko’olau, and I whole heartily agree.
“And our Pono workers have the same meticulous and conscientious attitude that we have in Hawaii. We consider our Pono and Ko’olau ukuleles similar to the duo level auto makers such as Toyota/Lexus, Nissan/Infinity, and Honda/Acura. Both are made by the same manufacturer, but made in various locations around the world, and both are very high quality.”
“I’ve owned five or six Pono ukuleles in the past before I got my Ko’olau and we opened our Funky Frets music store. These are amazing instruments for the cost.” - **Curt Sheller**
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