Time for another 'long term test' of one of my ukuleles with a look again at the Koaloha Pikake Soprano uke. I think long term tests are helpful as they show whether my views have changed having had a ukulele with me for a considerable period. (You can read my other long term tests on my Reviews Page)
I have had the Koaloha now for about 20 months, and it is regularly played. You can read my original review of it HERE, which as you can see heaped a lot of praise on this little instrument. How have my views changed?
Well, in a word - only for the better. This is an instrument that I just keep going back to again and again. It's fun to play, light as a feather, comfortable, and ohhh..... that sound! Despite its diminutive size, this remains to be one of the loudest and fullest sounding ukuleles in my collection! Even though I have owned it for some time, when I get it out and start playing it always surprises me what a rich loud voice it has.
The build has stood up really well. I occasionally see people questioning how strong they are on account of their unique bracing system, but I can attest that there has been no movement on this uke at all - no sinking in the top, no cracks.
One thing that those who are completely precious about their instruments may want to know - that satin finish (I prefer the satin on the Koalohas to their gloss) has started to buff to a shine where it has been rubbed with my playing arm (see picture below). I actually love that it has done that - it makes the ukulele mine and shows that it has been played.
It's accuracy in the setup has remained spot on, and intonation all over the neck is perfect. And what about those tuners? Well I do know that many of my readers don't like friction tuners, but the pegs on this uke are just brilliant. Not only do they look great, they move like butter and keep the instrument bang in tune. I can put this uke away for a few weeks and I know it will be perfectly in tune when I pick it up again. Strings wise, I know that Koalohas ship with a variety of Worth Clear strings, but I have since re-strung this with Ken Middleton's Living Water strings which work very well on this uke.
In my initial review you will note that I was a little disappointed with the finish on the fret markers when this uke arrived. That issue still niggles me, but less so since I applied new fret marker stickers to the neck which I think look rather good!
So in summary, it's a uke that has the looks, the build and the sound. I honestly can't speak highly enough of how much I like this instrument. It sits firmly in the 'never going to be sold' camp in my collection.