Why do I love Ohana ukuleles? The first time I picked up on Ohana ukulele, there was something about it that just felt like coming home. I had already been collecting, er, playing ukulele for over two years, and I had already acquired over a dozen ukuleles. I certainly didn’t “need” another ukulele. But there was this Ohana ukulele that just called to me…so I answered. A few months later, I scored another Ohana ukulele for my birthday, and took it with us when we went camping over the Memorial Day weekend.
Sitting around the campfire with my friends, the little Ohana concert uke held its own when we played songs every afternoon and well into the evening. And then last year, I splurged and acquired my third Ohana ukulele, the lovely bari-tenor model with a baritone sized body and a tenor neck. It’s now one of my favorite ukuleles and my go-to instrument for practice sessions and ukulele jams with friends.
What makes Ohana ukuleles so special? Let’s find out!
The story behind Ohana Ukuleles
Ohana was started in 2006 by Louis Wu when he decided to quit his job as a biomedical engineer so he could spend more time with his children. Inspired by his love of music, he realized that the ukulele was a force to be reckoned with, a small but mighty instrument that could bring music to people everywhere. Working with one customer at a time, he identified an important niche market: at the time, most affordable ukuleles didn’t sound very good and wouldn’t stay in tune. On the other hand, ukuleles made by other instrument makers cost thousands of dollars and weren’t easily accessible to anyone who wanted to pick up a ukulele. So he focused on the mid-range priced ukulele market, working with builders overseas to create fantastic instruments at affordable prices.
Working with a friend who was importing guitars into the United States, the Ohana Ukulele company was started in a garage. While he was certainly tempted to expand the company when he noticed an increase in the popularity of the ukulele, he kept his focus on building high-quality instruments.
That focus certainly has paid off, as Ohana Ukulele is one of the most popular and recognizable ukulele brands in the music world today. Part of the reason why Ohana ukuleles are so popular is because of their quality: each instrument is set up and given a thorough quality control check before it’s shipped out to retailers.
What kinds of ukuleles does Ohana Ukuleles make?
In addition to their full line of traditional four-string ukuleles, Ohana also offers 8-string ukuleles in concert, tenor, and baritone sizes and a fun 6-string tenor ukulele. You can find Ohana ukuleles with beautiful cutaway shapes, the classic pineapple shape, and even the fun Roy Smeck-inspired soprano or concert ukulele.
They also offer the ukulele I mentioned earlier – the Ohana bari-tenor, a four-string ukulele with the body size of a baritone ukulele but with a tenor-length neck.
Read more: The Best Ukulele Tuners On The Market
No matter what kind of instrument you’re looking for, chances are you’ll find something to meet your needs in an Ohana ukulele. Their collection of ukuleles includes all laminate, solid wood top, and all solid wood builds. Let’s take a look at what each of those things mean.
Laminate ukuleles are made with thin pieces of wood that are made from thinner pieces of wood, similar to the way plywood is made. A laminate ukulele is not made from solid pieces of wood, but rather thin slices of wood that have been pressed together. Remember that just because a ukulele is made from laminate wood, that doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s a poor-quality instrument, but laminate ukuleles are more affordable than a solid wood ukulele.
One of the advantages of laminate ukuleles is that they are less fragile than a solid wood instrument and are far less prone to breaking and cracking from temperature and humidity changes like a solid wood instrument.
Solid top ukuleles have a top (sound board) that’s made from solid wood, and not a bonded laminate, but the rest of the ukulele body is laminate wood. Many of Ohana ukulele’s instruments are solid top, and they offer better projection and richer sound than an all-laminate instrument. Personally, I keep an eye on humidity with my solid top ukuleles to make sure they stay “healthy” and don’t split or crack from the extreme temperature and moisture level changes that come with living in the mountains of northern N.Y.
Solid wood ukuleles are, like the term suggests, made from solid pieces of wood. These are generally thinner than many laminate ukuleles and have to be monitored carefully for humidity levels. That said, solid wood ukuleles are superior in tone and projection, and really are the best bang for your buck when you’re looking to invest in a high-end instrument.
No matter what your budget, Ohana has a ukulele for you!
Other products from Ohana Ukuleles
Ohana doesn’t just make great ukuleles: you can also find a full line of ukulele accessories like gig bags, tuners, capos, polishing clothes, ukulele straps, hard shell ukulele cases, and percussion instruments. Everything you need to enjoy your ukulele experience.
If you’re getting that feeling of UAS (Ukulele Acquisition Syndrome), take a look at all the amazing Ohana ukuleles available in the ULTP store. Not sure which Ohana ukulele is right for you? You’ll find video clips with sound samples, customer reviews from real customers, and of course, friendly customer service to help you pick out your new favorite Ohana ukulele.
I own quite a few ukuleles, and I find myself grabbing for my Ohana sk 28 most of the time. I enjoy all of the Ohana’s I have though. They all have great tone, projection and sustain. Most importantly they all feel good in my hands and are comfortable to play.
If you don’t have or haven’t tried Ohana I highly recommend you do.