Ohana TK-260GCE Cedar Acacia Tenor Ukulele - REVIEW

1 May 2023

Ohana TK-260GCE Cedar Acacia Tenor Ukulele - REVIEW

A return this week to a ukulele brand that was one of the first I encountered, but hasn't featured on the site for a while. This is the Ohana TK-260GCE Cedar Acacia Tenor Ukulele.

Ohana TK-260GCE Ukulele

Back in the day at the start of the current ukulele boom the choice of ukes in the UK was pretty pitiful. Sure you could just about get some high end stuff and then it was a massive leap down to the brightly painted 'cheap and cheerfuls'. A few brands had a presence in the more serious yet not hard to find or affford category, including the likes of Kala and Lanikai, but also this one - the US brand Ohana. I've played a great many of them in my time, owned them and largely enjoyed them. For whatever reason they seem to have gone off my radar and much of what I was seeing was the 'same old same old'. Alex from Southern Ukulele Store suggested I take another look as they seem to be 're-booting' a little and he's been impressed with their newer models. Lets have a look!


This one is an all solid wood offering made from a classy combination of a solid cedar top and solid acacia back and sides. Apparently it's a new model from Ohana and also likely to only be made in a limited run. I'm immediately drawn to the looks / wood combo here too. No, it's not ultra modern, it's not going with kooky shaping, painting or styling, but it's just dead classy. These are two woods that pair nicely and look 'just plain good'. The grain on both of these sets is  nice, particularly the back which is really rich in colour and whilst not having the most stripe i've seen in acacia, the two quarter-sawn pieces do that wonderful 'colour switch' as you turn it in the light. There are also touches of flame in the sides which are nice too. The cedar grain is straight and tight, though there are a couple of curls and marks in the grain which I think take it down from being the highest grade (nitpicking).  And this version comes with a top shoulder cutaway. OK, cutaways tend to divide opinion, but they've never been an issue with me and I think it suits the tenor here and gives it a touch more interest (plus easier access to the dusty end of course). 

Ohana TK-260GCE Ukulele body

I said earlier that I had started to find Ohana a bit 'same old' and many brands like them stick to tried and tested (looking at you Kala..), but the bridge here is different to what I usually expect from Ohana being a through body style.  It's a nice shape too rather than some of the 'parts bin' shapes you see on models these days, made from ovangkol and is very tidy. Sitting in that is a 42mm topped bone saddle with tapered ends. All very nice. I'm increasingly seeing through bridges and like them a lot both for the unfussy look, but also the arguable benefit that attaching strings this way brings without using pins.

Ohana TK-260GCE Ukulele bridge

Decor is mixed and I think is classy looking. We have Indian rosewood binding to the top and back coupled with white and black striped purfling strips to the top and a more yellowy and black stripe to the back, back seam and tail joint. Around the sound-hole is an abalone rosette, and none of it seems over-done to me or standing out too much like some brands can do. It's balanced well with the woods and gives it a premium look.  The whole body is then finished in a very well done gloss that I can't find issue with. This is a pretty instrument!

Ohana TK-260GCE Ukulele decor

Well, I say 'pretty'.. All is not great with the body when I mention my, very much subjective, dislike of active pickup systems with side mounted controls. This Ohana branded model totally spoils the look of the side of the instrument and is simply not needed. It's also adding unnecessary weight, wiring, more to go wrong.. Yadda yadda. You KNOW I don't like them and I'd want this acoustic only rather than being forced to have this. Grumble grumble... At least it's powered by cell batteries rather than a 9 volt brick!

Inside is nice and tidy with vertical top bracing, notched linings and no mess. You do see a lot of wiring though!!

Ohana TK-620GCE Tenor Ukulele inside

The neck is made from mahogany in three pieces with a fairly obvious heel joint which tapers down to a profile that seems a little shallower in memory to me compared to earlier Ohana ukuleles I have seen. The nut width though remains a pretty standard 36mm (27mm G to A) which I think i'd liked them to have addressed in these new models. It's glossed too.

The fingerboard is made of ovangkol and is in superb condition that I have zero complaints with. It's shiny and smooth and rather lovely. It's fitted with 19 frets, 14 to the body and the rosewood edge binding isn't just for 'show' as there are no sharp ends at all. Pearloid position dots are facing out at the 5th, 7th, 10th, 12th and 15th and they are paired with side dots. Tidy.

Ohana TK-260GCE Ukulele neck

Ohana headstocks have always appealed to me, particularly on their higher end models. Not a crown, but a swooping curve of a top that looks dead classy. This is faced in more acacia and edge bound with purfling around the face which looks excellent. I've always like the Ohana logo too, even if it is just a silver screen print. Very attractive.

Ohana TK-260GCE Ukulele headstock

The tuners are a step up from what I was expecting too - gold open gear Grover tuners with small black buttons. They are excellent.

Ohana TK-260GCE Ukulele tuners

And finishing it off are a set of Aquila strings and, like some longer standing contemporaries - no gig bag... I think that is becoming a standout flaw with some of these brands now considering the very decent bags you now get for less money with the likes of Flight, Kai, aNueNue and Uma etc. Ohana and Kala are missing a trick there, particularly when you see the asking price of £499. Now, I can mostly see where the money is here (though i'd prefer no pickup to get a saving..) as this is a very well appointed, built and finished uke. But it doesn't take long to look at some of those other names I mention above to see that you can get this sort of spec for less.  I'm not saying I think it's overly expensive, but just that I don't think it's the best value out there. I guess it's the same price as the Fireball from Flight (less intrusive pickup, gig bag included!), but then the all solid electro Flight Phantom is considerably less money. Bear in mind also that they make this model without cutaway or pickup and you save £150... I know which I would choose.

Ohana TK-260GCE Ukulele back

So all is pretty good here bar a couple of subjective points on my part. The build is excellent, as is the finish and I love the overall look (if you ignore the pickup controls). Despite all those electrics it doesn't feel overly heavy, though does come in at 620g. It balances ok too and the setup is great (though bear in mind this is on loan from Southern Ukulele Store!).

The volume here is absolutely excellent - it projects wonderfully and has a great bark. Sustain is reasonably good, though I have heard better, but it does have some and a string swap may well switch that around a bit.

Tone wise I'd expect cedar to bring a woodier earthier tone to an instrument and of course acacia has those koa properties of richness across the range. And sure enough that is what is going on here. This is not overly bright, yet not muddy but has a wonderful harmonic shimmer in the middle and good bass too. Strummed this gives it a rich and very interesting jangly tone that I am absolutely loving to be honest with you. There is lots going on in the mix that I find extremely pleasing. Fingerpicking too is extremely pretty all over the neck and because of that darker tone is not shrill or piercing, rather warm and lush. Tone wise I think this is an absolute belter that comes across as a very grown up, serious sounding ukulele that would suit any player.

All in all this is clearly a very good ukulele and I applaud Ohana for refreshing their line in ways that some of their long time competitors still seem to need to. It's very well appointed, looks and sounds superb. The pickup issue is a subjective one for me, and I wouldn't buy it with this one fitted and would go to the straight acoustic. But hey, that's just me. The price is serious, and whilst I can see where the money is, I think they need an eye over their shoulder to what some of their newer competitors are offering which make this less attractive on that point - just throwing in a decent gig bag could swing it. 

Still, a great core ukulele as I say so it has to get a strong recommendation!


Model: Ohana TK-260GCE 
Scale: Tenor
Body: Solid acacia back and sides, solid cedar top
Bridge: Ovangkol, through body bridge
Saddle: Bone
Spacing at saddle: 42mm
Finish: Gloss
Neck: Mahogany
Fingerboard: Ovangkol
Frets: 19, 14 to body
Nut: Bone
Nut width: 36mm, 27mm G to A
Tuners: Grover open gears
Strings: Aquila
Extras: Ohana UK-T3 active pickup
Weight: 620g
Country of origin: China
Price: £499


Great classy looks
Excellent build and finish
Excellent tuners
Great volume
Rich, warm, characterful tone


Ugly pickup system spoils the look
Not the strongest value for money


Looks - 9 out of 10
Fit and finish - 9 out of 10
Sound - 9.5 out of 10
Value for money - 8.5 out of 10









  1. I am interested in the metal bits used to secure the strings in the through the top system. In your inside photo, they look kind of like ferrules from tuners? Do you know what these are and why they might be used in stead of beads. Thanks for another great review!

    1. Just small metal rings used to tie off strings. You could use small beads instead or just large knots


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