Custom Made Ukuleles by Alvin “Pops KoAloha” Okami
E Komo Mai! (Welcome!)
Since 1995 when my wife and I started KoAloha Ukulele, it was general knowledge that koa wood was very expensive because it was regarded as a hardwood that wasn’t readily available and plentiful. Even knowing this fact, I went ahead and started the prototyping process because I loved the beautiful grain and endless variety of wood colors that made Koa so attractive and desirable as furniture and other products. In fact, the premier ukulele company, Kamaka, used only koa wood to establish itself as Hawaii’s oldest and most reputable ukulele-producing company with a rich history of over one hundred years.
So without any hesitation, I jumped in and started to make some prototypes. To my absolute delight, the sound that koa wood produced was so beautiful that I was hypnotized. I loved koa wood so much that in searching for a company name, I was determined to have the name of the wood as part of the name. In short, my love ( aloha) for koa wood was put together to form one word which became the name of our ukulele company called KoAloha.
Because I was always aware of the scarcity of koa, I made the decision to experiment and seek out another more plentifully available wood and came across the combination of Engelman spruce and select Pine. I was surprised to find that this combination produced such an excellent sound that pleased my oboist ears ( retired as a professional oboist) and could produce this in plentiful quantity because of its lower price per board foot. However, since KoAloha had built its reputation on utilizing koa wood, I made the decision to start another ukulele company called UKESA Hawaii (Ukulele Specialties of America).
With UKESA Hawaii, I was free to introduce original ukulele designs and utilize hardwoods that were readily available and economical. Thus the concept for the Wow ukulele was born. In addition to this model, another spinoff version equipped with a cutaway was introduced called the H.U.I. ( Hawaii’s Ukulele Islands ). This new ukulele company has already been actively busy since 2015 and is keeping this ole’ ukulele maker very busy and most of all, enjoy the absolute freedom to experiment with original designs along with discovering new acoustic wonders.
So please stay tuned because you never know what new and exciting ukulele Pops will be introducing in the future. So much for a brief history and mahalo for your continued interest in staying abreast of what Pops will be introducing as fresh ideas just pop into Pop’s creative mind.
All my Aloha,
An Important Note about our website
Pops builds Ukuleles on orders only. All of the ukuleles here that are “sold” are here to give you an idea of what others have ordered and purchased and the price they paid for each at that time. Pops will be happy to make the same for you, or any variation of what is here. We can discuss the price based on your custom design. If you are interested in talking about a one-of-a-kind ukulele built just for you by Pops, just drop us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you see an ukulele that is available, then this ukulele was built by Pops as a prototype and is available “as is” and you can order right from this website. If you like the design but would like some changes, that is no problem at all– just send us an email.
The important thing to realize is that Pops is not making a production ukulele. The only ukuleles that are on these pages are either prototypes or ukes that were commissioned and sold. Both, however, are pictured here so that you can see that a handmade custom uke by Pops can be yours and to give you some idea of what others have chosen and a relative price. Most of our custom ukes are built and delivered in a month or less.