The Southern Ukulele Store is proud to bring you this exclusive Kanile'a concert ukulele. We're their biggest overseas dealer and our love for
Kanile'a ukuleles is unquestionable. To offer this model really is a dream come true for us.
After lots of discussions that started way back in 2016, and more recent chats at NAMM shows Rob began discussions with Kanile'a about a model unique to SUS way back in 2016 during an annual visit to Joe Souza at Kanile'a HQ. Our recent visits to see them at the NAMM show really nailed down the specifics for the uke. It took a while to get to this point, but it was completely worth the wait. This SUS exclusive Kanile'a ukulele offers a beautiful look, beautiful sound, exquisite build quality - and excellent value for money.
We all know how excellent Kanile'a are at handling koa and spruce but we have always loved the way that cedar looks and sounds on ukuleles. So, we asked if Kanile'a could get some good cedar, and without compromising on any aspect of quality, make the range of sizes to include a concert uke for around £1000 retail.
So - what is the result?
In short - utterly glorious. You will notice that the Alaskan rainbow cedar top is gorgeous. Though it's not quite as uniform in grain as traditional western red cedar, we got a rather more textured, gorgeously defined rainbow effect with beautiful shapes in browns, purples and blacks in the figuring. The grain may not always run completely straight but the complex streaks have personality. They make the instrument both look and sound mature and inviting like good wood should.
The back and sides are a little more conventional (not a bad thing). Mahogany is not a wood commonly associated with many contemporary Hawaiian instrument makers but its history with the ukulele going back to early Martin sopranos of the teens and '20s make it an elegant choice for our SUS Kanile'a model.
The fact that Kanile'a have carefully matched the stain on the mahogany to compliment the cedar tops is a lovely bonus. Don't be tricked into thinking the back and sides are koa because of that lovely gold and amber tinge under the UV gloss finish.
How does it sound?
It sounds wonderful... we are happy to change the
strings upon request but thought this one really suited the Aquila super nylgut. These give a nice clean attack as you strum the ukulele, but with no distortion like you might experience with cedar being driven hard. Instead, you just get the clarity and harp like undertones you normally get from a great soft wood top combined with decent fluorocarbon strings.
If you pick it you will get a clear, fairly crisp and clean response. This would be a great ukulele choice for a finger picking concert player or somebody that likes to cut through in a mix surrounded by other players, or in the recording studio.
The UV cured gloss finish does several key jobs as well as protecting the wood from scratches and play-wear, like dampening some of the natural boominess of mahogany, focusing and tightening the sound, and finally working visually to bring all of these gorgeous materials together to resonate in just the right way.
What else is there to know?
concert ukulele has a CITES friendly ebony fingerboard, bridge and dark chocolatey figured headplate. Kanile'a have also allowed us to use their popular and very identifiable sand inlays on the fingerboard and headstock logo. Some players get put off by a satin neck but fear not because despite having Kanile'as environmentally friendly UV gloss finish on the body; the neck remains satin with a slight 'played in' feel from new.
The SUS signature Kanile'a will not replace the look and tradition of Hawaiian koa. Still, plenty of players the world over are on the hunt for something different - a unique sound, a different look. Whether you are the ultimate bedroom musician or opening act at the Royal Albert Hall - the SUS model is a ukulele that can inspire you and grow with you.
Solid Alaskan rainbow cedar soundboard (top) Solid South American mahogany back and sides Mahogany neck 38mm nut width 15.25" scale length Aquila super nylgut strings New TRU-R bracing system Ebony fretboard, pin bridge and head plate position markers and Kanile'a logo inlayed in sand Kanile'a open geared chrome tuners NuBone nut and saddle UV high gloss body/satin neck Kanile'a Deluxe Gigbag Inclued
Pictures show actual instrument. Video clips show a different instrument, but give you an idea of what sound to expect.