Okay, so the first shipment of Ohana ukuleles arrived yesterday. Wow.
First up, let’s look at the SK-20s. This is a soprano with a solid mahogany top and laminated back and sides. It’s solidly built and well appointed for the price range. I went through six of them and found them all set up well and easily playable right out of the box. They are very traditional looking ukes, if that makes sense. Nicely finished, smooth fret-ends. The great thing about these ukes though, is the sound. They are head and shoulders in tone above the other ukes they are joining in the school’s elementary program. Surprisingly, they are strung with GHS strings… and they still sound fantastic. I’m guessing that swapping out the strings for Aquilas or Worths would really make them sing. Here’s hoping Ohana decides to start shipping them with Aquilas… they really bring out the tone of lower-priced ukuleles. With a suggested retail of $129, the SK-20s is a real deal… a great sounding instrument at a great price.
The other instrument that came in this shipment is a CK-25. This is a concert model (for those new to ukes, a little bit bigger than the standard soprano). It is, at first glance, a very simple uke… no body binding, very simple sound hole rosette, with a matte finish. Beneath this plain-Jane exterior though, lurks an absolute monster of a concert uke. With solid mahogany top, back and sides the CK-25 is all about the sound. It has a bone nut and saddle, Aquila strings and like the sopranos, came set up pretty darn well right out of the box. The intonation is absolutely flawless all the way up the neck. Strumming sounds great and played fingerstyle it is crisp and clear. It’s just solid. This one is staying right here… when I’m teaching I need a uke I can rely on and after only one day, the CK-25 seems like an old friend.