Koaloha Pikake Soprano - more detailed analysis

29 Aug 2011

Koaloha Pikake Soprano - more detailed analysis

Well I've had my Koaloha soprano for a good few days now and I have been playing it constantly. I wrote an initial review of the instrument here, but as promised I said I would let you have a more detailed review of the sound once I had played it more.

Well, the uke has continued to totally impress me. The volume and projection are quite staggering for a ukulele of such a diminutive size, and played side by side with my Kanile'a tenor, it's actually the louder of the two. If you are playing with others there is no way your sound will be lost, and in fact I proved that last night playing in a jam with four other ukes (a concert, a tenor and a baritone) AND a Cajon drum and all agreed that the Koaloha was providing the clearest voice through the mix. Almost like the lead singer of the band!

Despite what I thought about the uke when it arrived, that I would prefer the Kanile'a for fingerpicking, I've actually really enjoyed picking this little uke. Fingerboard space actually feels quite generous, and the impeccable setup helps, but again the volume and clarity of sound help in this respect. Earthy it is not, but picked with nails and the uke really sings and sustains well. I suppose the best way to compare it to, say, my tenor is that if the tenor is equivalent to Bob Dylan picking an acoustic guitar, then the Koaloha is the lead electric guitarist on a screaming guitar solo! It's bright and punchy!

It's not all about volume though as the uke is equally happy being played softly, or gently thumb strummed. This is where I find that cheaper instruments tend to suffer as they tend to lose their projection and tone when played soft. The Koaloha on the other hand still wants to sing and is still clear across all strings. And that is a feature of this ukes sound that appeals so much. Whether strumming or picking, whether playing fast or slow, hard or soft, but every note in your playing comes through with bell like clarity.

It's also extremely easy to play. I mentioned the neck and action above and they certainly allow quick finger work with the fretting hand, but it's also a very light and comfortable ukulele to hold. I think it helps that the lower bout of the body is slightly wider than the traditional soprano shape uke, but this is, without a doubt, the easiest ukulele to hold out of the models that I own.

So, I'm clearly delighted and suspect this will become my 'go to' ukulele, particularly when jamming with others. HIGHLY recommended.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad


  1. Barry, can I ask how much you paid for the Pikake?



  2. For me it was just over £350 but that was European import. In UK they are about £450

  3. Barry, the fluorocarbon strings seem to create a very strident sound. Do you have any substitute recommend?

  4. The flouros are what Koaloha themselves recommend. Personally I like a bright and strident sound on a soprano - its kind of what they are made to sound like. Sorry not sure what would mellow it - Aquila reds?

  5. I have just tried Aquila Reds on my Tenor neck Soprano KoAloha, G, E and A strings sound fab, mellowed a little but still LOUD. However, the C string is too much... something, ends up boomy and muddles the whole sound. I ended up going back to using a worth brown C string. Love it.


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