If you have been searching for an affordable solid wood ukulele with a traditional Hawaiian look and sound, you should take a look at a new line of instruments created by luthier Casey Moore of Kelii Ukuleles. The Koa Pili Koko ukes are not made of Koa as their name implies, instead they are constructed from a relative of the Acacia wood family which looks similar to Hawaiian Koa. These instruments are imported from China, but are setup in Hawaii.
21-1/4″ overall length
5-1/4 upper bout
7″ lower bout
1-3/8″ at nut
The top, back and sides are all constructed of solid Acacia, along with the headstock cap. Mahogany is used for the neck.
The wood grain is very pretty as you can tell from these images.
The wood really does look like Koa doesn’t it?
The construction is top notch. I could find no problems with the workmanship on this instrument. All of the wood seams are perfectly smooth and the finish is well done. Mcfadden’s Lacquer (Nitrocellulose) finish is used, giving the Koko a very nice semi gloss appearance. It’s not visible in these images, but the finish does not completely fill the pores in the wood. If you hold the ukulele at a certain angle, you can see tiny pits in the finish. This doesn’t both me, but I did want to mention it.
When I purchased my Koa Pili Koko from MusicguyMic’s eBay shop, I opted for the deluxe model, which has some added pizzaz in the way of Mahogany top body binding and hand inlaid Paua Abalone purflings and rosette.
The standard and deluxe models both have a Rosewood fretboard, bridge, nut and saddle. I really like the contrast of the Rosewood against the Acadia. It is very striking visually.
Open geared tuners with White plastic knobs are used.
The action on the instrument that I received is great. I’ve found the Koko very easy and comfortable to play.
Using my trusty Intelli IMT-500 digital tuner, I verified that the intonation is right on the money up and down the neck. No problems found.
For such a small instrument, the Koa Pili Koko has a surprisingly loud voice. I really like the tone too. Here are a couple short sound samples to give you an idea of what this instrument sounds like. My Koko is strung with Worth Clears.
Right now you can buy (from MusicguyMic’s eBay shop) the Koa Pili Koa deluxe soprano for $219.00. The standard version sells for $189.95. I really don’t think you will be disappointed in this sweet little ukulele. If you already have one or end up buying one, please do leave a comment to let me know what you think of this instrument.