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How to buy an ukulele from Hawaii

ukulele_hawaii_how_to_buyAlso, not all ukuleles labeled “made in Hawaii” are actually 100 percent made in Hawaii. This is also a key factor in price. An ukulele assembled in Hawaii with parts made outside the Islands may still carry a “made in Hawaii” label. If it matters to you, make sure to inquire whether the ukulele and its parts were entirely or partially made in and assembled in Hawaii.

The best way to ensure that you are purchasing a 100 percent “made in Hawaii” ukulele is to buy directly from the ukulele crafter, manufacturer or authorized retailers of their brands. Here are some notable brands:

• Kamaka Hawaii Inc.
One of the oldest and most prestigious ukulele makers in Hawaii. Kamaka’s ukuleles are hand-crafted from Hawaii koa at Kamaka's Oahu factory.
Musician endorsements: Jake Shimabukuro, Israel Kamakawiwoole
Available at the manufacturer, select music retailers and online.
550 South St., Honolulu, (808) 531-3165, www.kamakahawaii.com

• KoAloha Ukulele
A young company with the warranty slogan, “better than the weather,” their ukuleles are also made from Hawaii koa.
Musician endorsements: Raiatea Helm, Herb Ohta, Jr., Daniel Ho
Available at the manufacturer,  select music retailers and online.
744 Kohou St., Honolulu, (866) 840-4911, www.koaloha.com

• Sonny D.
More of a ukulele artisan than a manufacturer, this production line is a one-man factory; the ukes here are made from koa and other various types of wood.
Musician endorements: Troy Fernandez, Robi Kahakalau
Available at the manufacturer and select music retailers, but not online.
94-164 Awalau St., Waipahu, (808) 671-0267, www.sonnydukuleles.net

Whether you’re in the market as a collector looking for an investment or an occasional strummer seeking a souvenir, with a good Hawaii-made ukulele you’ll always have a piece of our Islands at your fingertips.

Happy shopping!
Photo: Kamaka Hawaii Inc. (pg.1), hawaii.gov (pg.2)

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