Heaukulani 'ukulele & guitar
Catalog - Kala Koa

Kala Koa

Biography and specifications

 Birthplace: Kala Koa was harvested from the Puanahulu koa forest on the Big Island of Hawaii. Boards from the parent tree were milled on Oahu and several lots were purchased by Uncle Dave for crafting into Heaukulani ukulele instruments.

Uncle Dave gives each instrument he builds a personal name. This ukulele is named kala koa. In Hawaii kala koa is an expression to indicate mixed colors. This ukulele has a two tone effect. The top and back plates of a stringed instrument are made from two pieces that are joined in a technique called book match. The two pieces are joined in a butterfly effect to create a mirror image of the wood grain pattern. In some cases the grain will be dark in one direction and light in the other. If you look at it in one position one side will be darker. When you turn the instrument over the other side will be darker. Hence, the selection of the name kala koa. It is also a play on words because the sound box is constructed of Hawaiian  Koa wood.

Specifications: Dreadnaught style, tenor size. Overall length is 26.5 inches. Upper bout 6 inches wide, lower bout 8.5 inches wide. Weight 1.75 pounds. Scale is 17 inches with 3/32 inch compensation. The sound box is koa, the neck is Honduran mahogany, and the fret board and head plate are rosewood. Interior braces are spruce, the heel block, tail block, back plate brace, sound hole patch, and tentalones are mahogany. A fan brace design is employed under the sound plate. Nut and saddle are corian. Instead of an adjustable  truss rod, kala koa like all Heaukulani ukulele, uses the Martin non-adjustable tube truss rod design. If you play a Martin guitar with adjustable rods and one with a non-adjustable tube you will hear the difference in timbre. Instead of steel alloy like Martin the Heaukulani ukulele uses brass. This enhances the “voice” in the neck. The finish is polyurethane. Tuners are encased gears Grover brand. It comes stringed with a set of Kamaka tenor low G strings.

Kane tenor: Kala koa was designed for a player with a big hand and strong fingers (wide fret and thick neck). Think of Iz Kamakawiwoole. Therefore, it is not recommended for children or even females with small hands. It is stringed initially with a tenor Kamaka low G string set so the two wire-wound G and C strings alone will be difficult for a player unfamiliar with wire-wound strings.

Design: Kala koa is a Hawaiian theme instrument in the Hawaiian surfing theme series. It features a Hawaiian surf woody scene inlay on the fret board made of mother-of-pearl and paua abalone, a paua abalone rosette, tortoise binding, herringbone purfling on the sound plate and the Heauk Uke honu logo of paua abalone. The heel cap is paua abalone. The sound box tail cap is Brazilian rosewood (pre-ban).

Adjustments: The saddle is snug but not permanent. It can be removed to lower the action. Hold the bridge down when removing the saddle.

Care and feeding: Kala koa was allowed to season in a controlled environment of 45 percent relative humidity. Any stringed instrument cannot survive in a hot car or hot climate which causes wood shrinkage. Likewise, areas of high humidity may cause wood swelling. Keep the instrument in a case in a climate controlled location when in storage as much as possible.


MSRP $350 (sold)

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