KoAloha and Me: The Beginning

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KoAloha And Me - THUMBNAIL_Mesa de trabajo 1 copia 3

Did you win the KoAloha Mango KTM-00MG tenor ukulele? You know, the one that we gave away for my YouTube channel hitting 100,000 subscribers? 

I’ll tell you who won the amazing Mango KoAloha uke, but first let me rewind a few years back to 2015, and I’ll tell you how my relationship with KoAloha began. 

Can’t wait to see won? Watch the LIVE stream announcement HERE.

16 August 2015, I remember this like it was yesterday, although I did have to check my email to get the exact date. August 16th was the day I flew from LAX (Los Angeles International Airport) to Lexington, Kentucky, to film what has become my best-selling course and book, Master The Ukulele 1 (Click Here to see the course and HERE to see the book).

But just two weeks before I was scheduled to leave for Kentucky, I didn’t even have an ukulele to film the course on. You see, the only ukulele I owned at the time was a cheap $50 no-name baritone-sized ukulele (tuned G-C-E-A) that I had bought fifteen years earlier for an Elementary Music Class I took at Grossmont College in San Diego. I knew I wanted a nice ukulele, and I needed one with a pickup. So where was I going to find this ukulele? I decided to rest all my hopes on one person: Tony Gamble.

Tony Gamble is an amazing guitar and ukulele player that is sponsored by KoAloha Ukuleles. The only reason I knew this was because a few years earlier (probably around 2006), I produced Tony Gamble doing some guitar lessons for another online instructional site I was working for. This was right before my guitar site, Rock Like The Pros arrived on the scene.

During one of our filming sessions, Tony invited me to come see him play in a club in Hollywood for his record release of shred ukulele. Yes, shred, as in super-fast soloing on the ukulele. It must have been fate as I didn’t always venture out from East L.A. to Hollywood, but I was compelled to go this night.

Tony crushed it for his set, playing some of the fastest ukulele licks I have ever heard, on his KoAloha Slimline Tenor KTM-S00. Little did I realize I would be using this same uke a few years later to film Master The Ukulele 1

Now, back to 2015. Two weeks before I left for Kentucky, I was sitting in my office in my Long Beach house, and I called Tony up. I told him about my idea to record this ukulele course, but I didn’t have an ukulele to use. I timidly asked him if I could borrow his prized KoAloha Slimline to take to Kentucky with me.

I could tell he was a little hesitant, but to my relief he said yes. After I met up with Tony and got his KoAloha Slimline and started to play it, I was SOLD! I realized at that moment this was the ukulele for me. Then came another idea: what if I call KoAloha and tell them that I want to film not only Master The Ukulele 1 on their ukuleles, but every other course on one, as well? 

You have to remember that at this point I was a nobody in the ukulele world. Sure, I had some great credits in the Los Angeles music scene, but I had no Uke Like The Pros YouTube channel, no Uke Like The Pros Facebook, no Uke Like The Pros Instagram, no ukelikethepros.com, and no store.ukelikethepros.com

To my surprise, the VP of KoAloha, Brian Benavente, said “Sure! We’ll send you an ukulele, but it may be a while as we are moving to a new factory.” Although it took over 6 months for that first KoAloha KTM-00 to arrive, it did arrive, and that was the beginning of the great partnership with KoAloha.

Since my very first KTM-00, my quiver of KoAloha ukes has grown to include almost every model that they make in both their Hawaiian line and the Opio line, and yes I did get my very own KTO-S00 slimline as well.

As I write this post, my relationship with KoAloha is still going strong. I have developed a wonderful relationship with the entire Akami family, including Moms and Pops, Alan, Paul—the “mini-boss,” and all the staff at KoAloha. I have filmed thousands of lessons on KoAloha ukes, and many of my top-selling ukulele courses at ukelikethepros.com, including Beginning Ukulele Starter Course, Beginning BootcampMaster The Ukulele 1, Master The Ukulele 2, Beginning Music Reading, 23 Ultimate Chord Progressions, Fingerstyle Mastery Course, Beginning Blues Mastery, and of course, (no pun intended), the many more coming soon. I have also become the #1 KoAloha dealer in the USA at store.ukelikethepros.com, but I’ll save that story for another day.

 

Now for the winner for the KoAloha KTM-00MG Tenor Mango ukulele, in celebration of hitting 100,000 subscribers on the Uke Like The Pros YouTube channel. With 2414 entries that entered the giveaway, the winner is: Troy Janisch. Congratulations to Troy, and a big thank you to all of you that have supported Uke Like The Pros over the years. 

3 COMMENTS

  1. I think I’ve been with you since at least 2017. I started when we got an Ukulele and I searched The App Store for an app that could help me learn to play. I found your app and gladly paid the $10. I was having issues with it stopping in the middle of a lesson and emailed you. You gave me access through your web site. I was still working and didn’t have the time to practice as much as I would have liked. I also didn’t join your premium membership for the same reason. I think it was 2018 when I finally joined the premium membership, but because of work could only view the recordings. In 2019 I retired and took a few trips. It wasn’t until 2020 that I finally started sitting in on your Q&A’s. Thank you for all you do for the community!

  2. I loved this story. It’s nice to chat about ukes. I love the musical intermissions too on the videos.

    You are a fun person Terry.

  3. I know also I will play (and get mine ;O) ) a Koaloha uke one day. But I ‘d like to grap it during a travel in Hawaï… Thanks TC for this story that include some “lessons” about life…

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