Hawaiian 21st c. small importers/distributors click for more

Leolani Bean  Sopranino Ukulele Corner
My "tourist tat" Sopranino Bean
There are a number of Hawaiian based importers and retailers who have a range of Ukuleles they import, usually from China, and then usually brand with some kind of Hawaii based motif for sale to tourists. Most of these are very poor quality and I have a page to talk about them! Some however are properly made instruments, available to tourists and locals alike from retailers who are willing to put their own branding on. These are usually better than the budget end, (though may include a budget end model), and some can be quite good quality

LeLe Poweruke

Founded in Kona, Hawaii in 2012 by Rar Jungle-Wahlquist. The main aim of the Poweruke was to produce an electric Ukulele with a good quality internal amplifier that looked like a traditional Ukulele. The original prototypes were made using Tenor Makala Ukuleles, cutting out a section of the back and fitting an amplifier. This proved successful enough to start proper production with Ukulele bodies supplied by, (I believe), Supreme Musical Instruments and the final assembly being carried out in Hawaii. The Ukuleles are all Tenor scale, (to be big enough to hold the amp) but there is a choice of woods.

Omi International

This is one of the main brands responsible for importing poor quality "tourist" Ukuleles into Hawaii and this is big part in this business, however they also use the brand name Leolani for supposedly better than budget quality Ukuleles that are at least partly assembled in Hawaii to justify the "made in Hawaii" tag. The Leolani range covers all the scales from Mini to Baritone in a variety of, usually laminate, woods and I have seen Pineapples, Lili'us and Taropatches too In 2012 they started with a new branding of the Waikiki Ukulele Company, (makes for a crowded headstock logo), and I have seen Sopranos Concerts and Tenors carrying this branding. They may well own other brand names too but it is difficult to work out what they own, what they just distribute, and what they have received from their, (I believe its Rockson Music) manufacturing supplier and not rebranded?


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