Periodically I'll feature a ukulele builder or manufacture that just goes above and beyond on the quality and customer care with their instruments. Mya-Moe is one of those builders that sprung on the scene a few years ago and has just shined. One of their ukuleles is on my list this year to finally have them build. I've been putting it off for far too long.
Kaua’i, HI 18901
Phone: (808) 822-1645
from the Anahola Stringed Instruments web site
Michael Sussman, Hawaii State Foundation on Culture and the Arts Master Folk Artist Tradition Bearer, has been building and restoring stringed instruments on the island of Kauai, Hawaii for 40 years. Honoring tradition these ukulele`, guitars and violins are built for today. These seductive custom made Hawaiian Koa instruments possess piercing highs, a big warm midrange and a growl in the bass. With unending sustain, the sound of the Hawaiian Koa can only be described as primal as the rain forest they are born of.
Luthier: Bill Hardin
Kula, Maui, Hawaii
Toll Free 1-877-622-8216
from the Bear Creek Guitars web site
In Hawaii, the Ukulele is an important part of the history and culture. It is the instrument that many Hawaiian school children learn, and continue to play throughout their lives. Bear Creek Ukuleles are precisely made, with sturdy but light construction, and fine detail. These are not miniature guitars. Every facet of the instrument is scaled down to the thicknesses and dimensions of the originals, creating a sound that is sweet, punchy and responsive. They’re made with Hawaiian Koa: either highly figured or straight grain Koa is available.
3057 Koapaka St.
F1 Honolulu, Hawaii 96819
Toll Free: 1-866-648-4036
from the Big Island Ukulele Co web site
The company was started to fill a need in the market for reasonably-priced, very high quality solid koa ukuleles. Having roots deep in Hawaii in the forestry industry supplying Hawaiian koa to ukulele makers around the world, we felt we could capitalize on our ability to supply high quality koa at an affordable cost for our own line of instruments. Decades of experience in the wood industry working with some of the finest luthiers in the world gave us a special insight into and access to one of the most important parts of an instrument- the wood! You cannot ever build an excellent instrument if you don’t start with excellent wood.
from the Blue Maui Ukulele web site
John (Colly) Norman was born in the late 40’s and grew up in Coconut Grove, Miami, Florida. “When I was 18, hanging around as a teenager in Miami, I had a friend named Skip Ruck whose brother was always in their parents’ garage building guitars. Though I never met the brother, the idea of building a musical instrument intrigued me throughout the next thirty five years of construction, custom woodworking, aviation, and other creative endeavors.”
Luthier: Eric DeVine
Lahaina, Maui, Hawaii
tel: (808) 298-6299
from the DeVine Guitars & Ukuleles web site
** DeVine Guitars & Ukuleles** have become known as some of the best handmade ukuleles in the world. From the beautiful curly koa they are made of, to the extremely smooth playability, DeVine ukuleles are truly musical works of art.
DeVine Guitars & Ukuleles has called Hawaii home since 1997. We draw a lot of inspiration from our home in the islands. The culture and building materials here in Hawaii are very conducive to instrument building and have been the foundation of DeVine Guitars & Ukuleles.
99-1451 Koaha Place
Halawa Valley, Hawaii 96701
Tel: 808.487.1193 Kikutani Music Co. (Authorized Distributor for GString Custom Ukuleles, Japan)
2-120-1 Inaba-cho, Owariasahi
from the GString Ukulele Co web site
Located in Halawa Valley, on the island of Oahu, GString Ukuleles continues to build instruments at a high degree of excellence at a competitive price. Our technicians take great pride in their work and endure intensive training in all aspects of the building process.
from the Grimes Guitars web site
Steve Grimes has built Archtop and Double Sound hole Flatop guitars for some of the top players in the world. He specializes in custom tailoring his guitars to suit the tonal, aesthetic, and playability requirements of his customers.
Pearl City HI
USA Hana Ukulele Japan
by TEMCA Inc.
Shimomeguro meguroku Tokyo Japan
from the Heaukulani Ukulele, Dave Heaukulani web site
ukulele - build it and play it. "Uncle" Dave of Hilo Hawaii builds custom ukulele and guitars, plays the ukulele [as well as guitar, banjo, string bass, steel guitar, fiddle, and maybe anything with strings once he fiddles with it]. He gives classes on playing the ukulele, writes books, composes music, and shares the aloha of Hawaii.
P.O. Box 689
Kalaheo, Hawaii 96741
from the Hummingbird Ukuleles web site
When I first came to Kauai many years ago I wanted to continue my Classical Guitar lessons and learn to play the beautiful Hawaiian Slack Key music. I had an old classical guitar that I had bought in Germany in 1964 that was made of East German Maple with a spruce top. It had a strong mid range for chamber music. It had traveled the world with me and been through at least four hurricanes so needless to say it was in need of serious repair.
from the Island Ukulele of Kauai web site
“Growing up here on Kauai, Hawaii I have 20 years of experience selecting the best wood and custom instrument production. This has given me the opportunity to work with top performers and to perfect the instruments for entertainment and for the serious ukulele collector. I know you’ll enjoy all my uke’s and guitars which will become heirlooms that you can pass down to your kids. Please call us if you have any kine of question.” -- Raymond Rapozo, Island Ukulele
Custom Ukuleles and Repair
Luthier: Ken Potts
Lahaina, Maui **Hawaii
Ken Potts - Luthier
from the Kamaka Ukuleles web site
Since 1916, Kamaka Hawaii, Inc. has prided itself on producing only ukuleles of the finest quality -- durable, exquisite instruments that improve with age. Like the ukuleles, the company itself continues to withstand the test of time. The company’s longevity shows its commitment to both customer and employee alike, and reflects other important values as well. The producers of a documentary entitled “Heart Strings: The Story of the Kamaka ‘Ukulele,” describe the Kamaka history this way: “Theirs is a story of hard work, fortitude, honesty and creativity as seen through a distinctly Hawaiian point of view, rooted in such concepts as Aloha (unconditional love), Malama (to serve and care for), and Pono (doing what’s right).”
from the Kamoa Ukulele web site
Kamoa™ Ukulele Company is dedicated to building high quality bell tone instruments. Our “One player at a time” philosophy is the basis for the countless experiences that will resonate with you for years to come through the lifelong enjoyment of music on your Kamoa™ ukulele. From Exceptional student models priced around $100 up to divine custom masterpieces, we have a tailored Kamoa™ experience ready for you whether you are a true beginner or ukulele master.
46-216 Kahuhipa Street #3
Kaneohe, Hawaii 96744
U.S. toll free number: 1-866-334-2868
Office number: 1-808-234-2868
Fax number: 1-808-234-2868
from the Kanilea Ukulele web site
We specialize in standard to professional grade musical instruments. Each ukulele is finely hand crafted using the highest grade, well-seasoned wood and scaled to produce a perfect intonation. These instruments are meticulously built by skilled craftsmen, under the guidance of Master Luthier, Joseph Souza. Our state of the art, humidity controlled facilities in Kaneohe, Hawaii allows Kanile‘a ‘Ukulele balance “Traditions and Technologies”. Every ‘ukulele comes with a 100% customer satisfaction, money back guarantee and our industry leading limited lifetime warranty.
David C. Hurd (aka Kawika)
1626 Kino’ole Street
Hilo, Hawaii 96720-5021
from the Ukuleles By Kawika, Inc. web site
David Hurd, who majored in chemistry, became an oceanographer in part on a whim. His senior year, he saw his first surf movie — Bruce Brown’s Surfing Hollow Days — in McGregory, he recalls. Then he saw an ad for the brand-new department of oceanography at the University of Hawaii in Honolulu. Still sniffling from his umpteenth bout with the flu and nasty colds, he thought, “There is a better life. Aloha to Chenango Valley.
Please note that David Hurd have retired from active ukulele making and are no longer taking orders or doing repairs. David’s web site is a wealth of ukulele information.
PO Box 68
Honaunau, Hawaii 96726
Bounty Music Inc.
111 Hana Hwy. #105
Kahului, Maui Hawaii 96732
Phone: (808) 871-1141
Fax: (808) 871-1138
from the Keoki’s Custom Ukulele’s web site
from the Ko Aloha Ukulele web site
KoAloha is proud to be regarded and recognized as one of the premier ukulele builders in Hawaii. Founder, Alvin S. Okami, has been called by many a modern day “Renaissance Man.” He is an inventor, an innovator, a composer/arranger, a singer, an accomplished oboist, an industrial designer, graphic designer, and overall brilliant conceptual and spontaneous idea man.
401 N.Cane St. A-10
Wahiawa, Hawaii 96786
Our family store, Funky Frets is an authorized dealer and carries the Ko’olau Guitar and Ukulele Company brand.
from the Ko’olau Guitar and Ukulele Company web site
Ko’olau Guitars and ‘Ukuleles are professional quality, hand crafted instruments. The shop is located in Kaneohe, on the Island of Oahu, Hawaii, approximately fifteen minutes from Honolulu, at the foot of the the beautiful Ko’olau Mountains.
For many years Ko’olau Guitar and Ukulele has been building some of the finest quality ukes money can buy, allowing the customer to pick from many woods and decorative options. The company was founded and is still run by John Kitakis, whose career began as a furniture maker. He moved from the mainland US to Hawaii forty years ago, then for a period of time went back to the mainland doing warranty repair work for Martin, Taylor, Gibson, Guild and other guitar manufacturers, and in between built custom guitars and mandolins. Eventually he, his wife and children returned to Oahu to begin Ko’olau Guitar & Ukulele Company. All of John’s children worked in the family business, from sorting screws to sweeping floors. His oldest son, Noa eventually chose to pursue stringed instrument making, and now manages all Ko’olau production. His youngest son, Andrew also joined the family doing repairs and assisting in Ko’olau construction and finishing, but eventually established his own retail guitar and ‘ukulele business.
Phone: 619-482-1046 e-mail: email@example.com
from the Lehua Ukuleles web site
We manufacture four sizes of instruments: standard or soprano, long neck soprano, concert and tenor. All our instruments are made in Portugal from beautiful Australian Blackwood, botanical name Acacia Melanoxylon, with very similar tonal and appearance characteristics to Koa Acacia, a close relative, the material of choice for Hawaiian ukuleles. All our ukes are solid wood, no laminates or plastic anywhere.
73-1382 Melemele Street
Kailua-Kona, Hawaii 96740
Tel. (808) 325-3488
from the MS Ukuleles web site
My journey in ukulele building started with classes from a local Kona luthier, the late, much respected, Andy Berard. The original class was to build only a single ukulele for myself, but I found I enjoyed building them so much I kept going and soon needed to start selling them or buy a bigger house. Over the years I have evolved my own techniques but the emphasis on quality and willingness to experiment is directly descended from Andy’s philosophy of building.
Bounty Music Inc.
111 Hana Hwy. #105
Kahului, Maui, Hawaii 96732
Phone: (808) 871-1141
Fax: (808) 871-1138
from the Maui Music Ukuleles web site
Maui Music ukuleles are hand crafted from the finest Hawaiian Koa woods. The craftsmanship, and attention to detail, make these instruments look and sound exceptional. Each Maui Music ukulele is personally made by luthier Peter Lieberman, who has been crafting fine ukuleles for over 25 years.
1750 Kaahumanu Avenue
Wailuku, Maui, Hawaii 96793
from the Mele Ukulele web site
Mele Ukulele builds and sells fine ENTIRELY HAND MADE ukuleles and guitars at incredibly low prices. Our ukuleles feature great tone and playability, top quality Hawaiian koa and other fine SOLID tonewoods, and detailed inlay work. For nearly 20 years, Mele Ukulele continues to offer what can be considered among the best value in instruments today
P.O. Box 1386
Pahoa, Hawaii 96778
Phone: (808) 640-6969
77-6379 Kenika Pl.
Kailua-Kona, Hawaii 96740
from the O Kona Ukuleles web site
O Kona Ukuleles & Guitars offers an extensive 10 week course with classes held on Saturdays that last for 4 hours. All material is provided to allow the student to build a professional quality 4 string tenor ukulele.Ê Options are available for different types of instruments as well as numbers of keys and tonewood for the top.
Bob Gleason / Pegasus Guitars & Ukuleles
Kurtistown, Hawaii 96760
Phone/Fax (808) 966-6323
P.O Box 845
Na’alehu, Hawaii 96772
from the Pō Mahina ukulele & Guitars web site
My name is Dennis Lake and here you‘ll find photos and information on the Custom ‘Ukulele and Guitars I make at my home shop here on the southern slope of Mauna Loa, in the remote and rural Ka‘u District of the Big Island of Hawai‘i. This is a very small shop. I work alone, with an occasional assist from a talented friend. Since all of my instruments are individually made, and most are custom orders, each is really “one of a kind”.
Ko’olau Guitar and ‘Ukulele Company
**401 N.Cane St. A-10
Wahiawa, **Hawaii ;96786
Our family store, Funky Frets is an authorized dealer and carries the Pono brand.
from the Pono web site
Pono instruments are professionally designed and handcrafted by the Ko’olau Guitar and ‘Ukulele Company on the Island of Java, with final adjustments and set-up on the Island of Oahu, Hawaii.
Here is what the Kitakis familay says about a Pono vs. their higher end Ko’olau, and I whole heartily agree.
“And our Pono workers have the same meticulous and conscientious attitude that we have in Hawaii. We consider our Pono and Ko’olau ukuleles similar to the duo level auto makers such as Toyota/Lexus, Nissan/Infinity, and Honda/Acura. Both are made by the same manufacturer, but made in various locations around the world, and both are very high quality.”
“I’ve owned five or six Pono ukuleles in the past before I got my Ko’olau and we opened our Funky Frets music store. These are amazing instruments for the cost.” - **Curt Sheller**
from the Les Rietfors web site
Les Rietfors Age 53, called to God February 17, 2005. A life-long resident of Kailua, he was born there on October 3, 1951. Les passed away peacefully at home, surrounded by his family, after a short illness. A loving and devoted husband and father, he is survived by Cheryl, his wife of 25 years, and daughters Amanda Rietfors and Ashley (Ken) Casazza of Fresno, California. He is also survived by his father Fritz (Lois) Rietfors, jr. of Kamuela and brothers Ron nieces. His mother, Esther Hodde Rietfors, preceded him in death.
R.W. "Rollo" Scheurenbrand
Phone: (808) 263 3878
from the Scheurenbrand Guitars web site
I work with a variety of tonewoods, and treat each piece individually to ensure that the wood’s voice is maximized. Living in the Islands, I have direct access to acacia koa, the precious hardwood of Hawaii. Koa trees exist naturally nowhere else on earth but Hawaii. Koa is an exceptionally beautiful wood, and for decades has been recognized as a quality tonewood. I also build with Hawaii-grown Cuban mahogany, another quality tonewood.
94-164 Awalua Street
Waipahu, Hawaii 96797
Shipman Business Park
16-185 Kalara St. Unit D
Keaau, Hawaii 96749
PH: 808 - 933 - 8537
Toll Free: 866 - 933 - UKES (8537)
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One of the largest collections of lessons, songs and TABS, archtop luthiers, ukulele builders, festival information, ukulele links on the web. I’ve been on the web since the early 90's and growing everyday. This site just never stops growing!!!