Thursday, May 19, 2016

All NEW KoAloha Opio Ukulele Series for 2016

It was January 2016 at the winter NAMM (National Association of Music Merchants) show when I found out about the new KoAloha Opio. I was very excited to find out KoAloha was using solid acacia and were implementing a satin semi-gloss finish on these. Surely this would be a winner.

Well fast forward into spring 2016 and we received our first shipments of these new KoAloha Opios and I must say we are very impressed. The first look and play on these ukuleles said it all!

KoAloha Opio All Solid Acacia Concert Ukulele
  • The fit and finish are top notch. KoAloha is making these in Thailand but with trained luthiers building the KoAloha way with KoAloha's molds and jigs. The tonewood is solid acacia which looks and sounds very close to its Hawaiian koa relative but priced at a fraction of the cost.
The KoAloha Opio Series Features: Signature Musubi Soundhole, Signature Orange Etched Friction Tuners, Etched Headstock Logo, and Signature KoAloha Embossed Rosewood Bridge.
  • The sound is all KoAloha. Rich with plenty of projection we all love. The sustain lingers and lilts, like an ocean wave.
  • Playability is once again total KoAloha. Easy, lean, fast neck that's perfect for any style of player. Strum it, pick it and you'll feel how good these really are.
Currently, KoAloha offers these new Opios in soprano standard, concert, and tenor.
Uke Republic is an authorized KoAloha Ukulele dealer and carries their full line of Hawaiian and Opio ukuleles including special editions and limited series. Uke Republic ships all over the world since 2007, so please don't hesitate to order your KoAloha Ukulele from Uke Republic or come and pay us a visit at our store right outside of Atlanta.

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Wednesday, August 12, 2015

The Take-Anywhere Plastic Ukulele, Makala Waterman Soprano Ukulele

So you own some very nice ukuleles and you may be a bit squeamish about taking one out in extreme conditions. Well I can't blame you. So what's a good alternative? I'd say some of the new plastic ukuleles out on the market. We have been carrying Woodi USA and Bugsgear for a while and were well pleased when Kala came out with their Makala Waterman. The Waterman features a body very close to the classic Maccaferri ukuleles that premiered in 1959 and sold more than 9 million. The plastic poly-carbonate used is very durable and is not too heavy and dense, so the sound projects well. The Waterman comes standard with a back pack style bag, geared tuners and Aquila Super Nylgut strings.

UKE Republic Demo - Makala Waterman Soprano Ukulele

Lots of colors and other choices like swirl patterns and translucent.Soon to appear in later 2015 a glow-in-the-dark top Waterman coming to Uke Republic.

Makala Waterman, many color choices!

So, will a plastic ukulele replace your current wood ukulele? I don't think so but it's a great addition to your ukulele family and truly adds to your possibilities of playing most anywhere.
So, is the Waterman a good choice to take out in the elements? From personal experience I'd say yes.

During a recent vacation, I took one to Daytona Beach Shores, Florida and left it in the sun by the pool, took it into the pool, put it into the ocean and more. The little soprano still played well and brought a lot of fun with it. Oh! do be sure to rinse off salt water.

Greetings from UKE Republic - Daytona Beach Shores, Florida

I also had the chance to go down Georgia's famous Chattahoochee River with friends in our local Uke Club - The SouthEast Ukers. Many of us used our ukuleles as paddles and rudders along with playing many tunes with no ill effect on our plastic ukes. We had Watermans, Bugsgear and Woodi being used.
Way down yonder on the Chattahoochee with a Makala Waterman Ukulele!


In June 2015, we sponsored a friend with a Waterman, to take on tour of the Olympic Mountains in Washington. So it was exposed to cold temps and high altitude and a little bit of a fall, but held up well I'm here to report. See his full blog here: http://traversetheday.blogspot.com/



Makala Waterman Olympic Mt. testing tour

So if you have a plastic ukulele, you know how fun they are. If not, I'd suggest getting one for a take most anywhere ukulele. Perfect choice for camping, water-sports, boating, hiking, beach time, singing in the shower, lunch breaks at work, crossing barren wastelands,  arctic research bases, emergency paddling, playing bad mitten and more.

So where can I buy one of these nifty Makala Waterman Soprano Ukuleles? Why, at UKE Republic of course!

Please enjoy our videos.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Pineapple Ukuleles

Pineapples! Pineapples! Pineapples! Perhaps you own one or two in your own personal collection or maybe you've thought about trying one out and wanted to know something about them.

To start with the pineapple's design was patented first by Samuel K. Kamaka in Hawaii, 1928. The design and style proved to be popular and over the years others have produced their own pineapple styled ukulele in various scales and tonewoods. Some that we carry are Kala, Makala, Ohana, Kamoa, Mainland Ukes, Pono, Ko Aloha, Ko'olau, Makai, Magic Fluke's Flea and sort of a pineapple shape from Pepe Romero's Tiny Tenor.

Tone wise it seems the pineapple shape produces more bass than the traditional figure eight shaped ukuleles. Using a variety of tone woods change the sound as it would with any other ukulele.
mahogany and Koa tend to produce the warmest tone with mango adding a bit more treble. Very lively sounds are coming from the spruce and cedar tops. The sizes UKE Republic carries are soprano, soprano with concert scale neck, concert and concert with tenor necks and then of course tenor body and scale currently being produced by Ko'olau and Pono using solid mango wood.

So what's coming in 2015 for pineapples? Ohana is producing a solid spruce top with solid mahogany back and sides in a deluxe model. I had the opportunity to play it in both soprano and concert and was very impressed. I'm sure many more models will be produced by all the makers as this style of ukulele continues it's popularity.

We carry an excellent hard case that fits soprano pineapples from Ohana, Mainland Ukes, Makai and Kamoa ukuleles.The Steady semi rigid case and RBX by Reunion Blues will fit the other sizes and styles.

Currently we are featuring some excellent prices on pineapple ukuleles so check out UKE Republic's  Pineapple and Unique Ukulele category page and try out one of these "sweet" ukuleles. 

Here's a sneak peak of Ohana's new pineapple for 2015 being demoed by Ken Middleton.
video

Friday, August 22, 2014

Parrot Island Ukulele

Do you love ukuleles?  Do you love a great beach vacation? Prefer flip flops to shoes? 

Well then you should check out Parrot Island Band's CD Ukulele. It's filled with original music played via ukulele, steel pan, congas and guitar. The music is what some call TropRock in style. All I know is this music will make you happy! This album is especially valuable if the weather is bad. 

When you look at the cover art by Jas Ingram aka Captain LoveHandles (artist who did logos for Sailor Brand Ukulele Co. and Uke Republic) it's a good indicator of what's on the CD.


Ukulele

  
So many fine original songs on this album such as Ukulele State Of Mind, If I Just Sailed Away and our favorite Down To The Uke Republic.
Down To The Uke Republic was actually written about our store and Bry's experience when coming here.
Bry says "A lot of people love that song but didn't know it was an actual place you could visit." We hope they get a chance to come here some day.
Bry Harris of Parrot Island Band - Down To The Uke Republic 

Parrot Island Band members are the talented  Bry Harris, Linda Harris and Kevin Garrelts. They tour from Key West Florida all the way up to Maryland. They often play venues in the Atlanta area including Uke Republic.
Bry Harris - Voted Most Likely To Open For Jimmy Buffett by his high school graduating class
Bry Harris is the real deal when it comes to tropical styled music. Growing up in a beach town, being an avid Jimmy Buffett fan before there were Parrot Heads and playing music since he was 12.

He was named "most likely to open for Jimmy Buffett" by his high school graduating class. Still waiting for that one. Bry is also a Kala Ukulele endorsed artist. The Parrot Island Band was also once nominated 
as Trop Rock duo/trio of the year by Trop Rock Association.... then Margarita M.A.F.I.A.

Bry also has a great percussion crew.The lovely Linda Harris, who happens to be married to Bry, does backing vocals and steel pan. Kevin Garrelts keeps the rhythm going on the congos, bongos and anything else to keep the beat on!


The Parrot Island Band L to R: Linda Harris, Kevin Garrelts, and Bry Harris


Several stations are playing Parrot Island Band's music such as (just to name a few):

Palm Tree Radio 
Uke Farm
Beachfront Radio
Conch Republic Radio
Island Dreamz Radio
Radio A1A
Tiki Beach Shop Radio and on regular rotation in Uke Republic.
You can purchase the album via I-Tunes, CD Baby or get a hard copy at Uke Republic or Parrot Island Band.com



So, just turn it on and let Parrot Island's music take you to a sunny place where you can walk barefoot and splash in the waves.



Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Living Water Ukulele Strings 100% Pure Fluorocarbon Made In Heaven

When I first heard about these ukulele strings I was intrigued especially when I understood they were being produced by a friend Ken Middleton. Ken Middleton you may already be familiar with from YouTube or perhaps you have seen or met him at a ukulele festival somewhere around the world.

Ken is a fantastic player and instructor giving workshops and explaining songs online. Ken is also one of those persons who has high standards when it comes to musical instruments and their complements such as strings so when Living Water Strings were made available I knew it was going to be something wonderful. I quickly popped an email over to Ken in England asking if we might be able to carry the strings at Uke Republic and the next day I received a phone call. Ken and I have known each other for a bit and he told me straight that if he did decide to have dealers carry I would be the first to have the option of stocking them. Well, fast forward to May 2014 and I'm honored to say Uke Republic is currently the only authorised dealer of Living Water Strings outside of England. This is also fantastic for our customers who have been requesting from Uke Republic.


http://ukerepublic.bigcartel.com/product/living-water-ukulele-fluorocarbon-strings

These strings are 100% Fluorocarbon and lend their bell like finish to an instrument. The strings are also a little less susceptible to environmental changes compared to a nylon string. Living Water strings have been reported to last a long time and have rave reviews from uke players. If you have a chance, please give them a try. If you already have used Living Water Strings you now have another place to order from.
Several sizes to choose from for your ukulele. The Low G and Baritone ukulele string sets are also made from Fluorocarbon.
Standard sizes:
soprano
concert
tenor
5 string tenor
baritone
Low G sets for concert and tenor

Here is a quote from Living Water. I like how the packaging says made in heaven but Ken lets us know where they are really made.
Manufactured from hi-tech fluorocarbon, these strings give a wonderfully vibrant, crystal-clear tone to your ukulele. They are made to exacting standards, with a complex polymer structure that is formulated to give both strength and flexibility, whilst maintaining an excellent resistance to abrasion. In other words, they don't break easily, they vibrate well and last a long time."

They are actually made in England.

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Long Neck, Small Body, Narrow waist

What on earth am I speaking of? Super soprano ukuleles of course!
You may ask what is a super soprano ukulele? Well, basically it is a concert scale married to a soprano body. Some also put tenor necks with soprano bodies as well. Oh and then there is a tenor neck on a concert body but that's for another post.
Long Neck Soprano Ukuleles - UKE Republic
Kala Spruce Mahogany Long Neck Soprano

Okay, so what might be the advantage of the super soprano ukulele? For one you get to keep the soprano sound but have the room and additional frets of a concert. The feel and balance on many of the brands feels quite nice to. The portability of a soprano is still there. Now anyone who loves the tonal characteristics of soprano ukulele but felt the fingerboard a little cramped can get on playing one.
If you already play a super soprano or if perhaps it may be your first, you will be happy to know that there plenty of combinations to choose from!
Long Neck Soprano Ukuleles, Made in USA, UKE Republic, Sailor Brand
Sailor Brand Custom Cedar/Black Limba Super Soprano

There are more and more ukulele makers doing this combination. To name a few - Mainland makes a soprano pineapple body in solid mahogany and solid cedar with a solid rosewood back and sides and a concert scale. aNueNue makes a mahogany and koa super soprano (comes with a really nice bag too). Kala has mahogany, koa and a solid spruce top super sopranos. Sailor Brand Ukulele offer several combinations in tonewood for a super soprano and even custom orders. Kelii offers solid mahogany, solid koa and a solid koa top with a solid mahogany back and sides super sopranos. Ohana has a solid mahogany tenor scale super soprano and The Magic Fluke Company offers their Flea with either soprano, concert or tenor scale and what a variety of combinations they have.
Long Neck Soprano Ukuleles - UKE Republic
Kelii Bronze Series Solid Mahogany Long Neck Soprano

Long Neck Soprano Ukulele - UKE Republic
Mainland Solid Mahogany Pineapple Long Neck Soprano

Long Neck Soprano Ukulele - Uke Republic
The Magic Fluke Co. Concert Scale Flea in Red Hibiscus

Uke Republic has a great variety of quality super soprano ukuleles setup and available for you!
You can find them here: http://cargo.ukerepublic.com/category/pineapple-unique-ukuleles

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

LaBella Ukulele Strings

Variety in strings is a wonderful thing. Often times a fresh set of strings helps a ukulele come to life, especially when they are quality strings. LaBella has been making ukulele strings for a while but have honed their skill improving and making some wonderful sets. Their Uke Pro Series line are a notable offering. They tend to add warmth and clarity to many ukuleles. The strings are rectified nylon giving consistent quality and tonal clarity. This isn't an inexpensive process as the strings are ground to give precise diameter. The process also gives a little texture to the strings and a cloudy appearance. The texture gives your fingers a little grip when playing and reminds us of real gut string texture. This process is done on LaBella's well respected Argento classical strings as well.
LaBella has quite a pedigree. The company has roots that date back to Italy in the 17th century. Established in the 1640's in Salle, the Mari family became of the suppliers of violin strings to both Amati and Stradivari in Cremona. In the early part of the 20th century some of the family emigrated to the US and now make their strings in New York. The company is still owned by the Mari family who continue to carry on the craft of making fine strings in over 2000 varieties.
Uke Republic carries all the LaBella Ukulele sets along with Tiple, Guitar and Hawaiian steel guitar.
LaBella also makes an amazing flat wound low G from a bronze alloy that we are fond of. Rich lows that add interest to ones playing.
Take the opportunity to try LaBella strings, we think you'll enjoy.

Happy strumming,

-Mike