Hawaiian Travelogue from Lichty Guitars
From the moment the wheels hit the tarmac in Honolulu Jay and I began learning about aloha spirit. It is about feeling welcomed and embraced and “a part of.” We were met at the airport by our friend and Hawaiian host while on Oahu, Kimo Hussey. Affectionately called Uncle Kimo, Kimo shared the experience of ukulele in his part of the world with us and that included visiting luthier shops, ukulele stores, a wood supplier, a ukulele contest, a ukulele festival and more. Here are just a few of the highlights:
Specific to instrument builders, we have always found guitar luthiers to be a big-hearted lot of folks who are generous about sharing knowledge, tips and ideas. We’ve found the same holds true with ukulele builders and, of course, when in Hawaii you are in the heart of ukulele country! In the world of luthiery, it just isn’t about competition. Each builder has something truly unique to offer. There is something about a Lichty ukulele or guitar that is unlike any other. The same is true of every maker’s instruments.
Our Hawaii travels landed us on the doorstep of Kanile’a Ukuleles and Koolau Ukuleles on Oahu and at Hummingbird Ukuleles on Kauai. At each stop we were invited behind the scenes and given shop tours. We are so grateful to all the wonderful folks we met! Here is a snapshot of our experience:
It is safe to say ukulele has been in Joe Souza’s blood since the day he was born.
Joe, his wife Kristen and his talented team make up Kanile’a Ukulele and Islander Ukulele. One of the events we attended while on Oahu was The 3rd Annual International Ukulele Contest which was sponsored by Kanile’a Ukulele. Super great folks!
Ko’olau Guitar and Ukulele Company
Jay first met John Katakis years ago when John lived in Flat Rock NC and Jay would take his banjo in for repair work. Fast forward many years and Jay and John met again in Hawaii, where John lives, as one ukulele builder to another. John and his family have a thriving ukulele business – Ko’olau Guitar and Ukulele Business. They also have one of the biggest ukulele retail shops in the islands, The Ukulele Site, which is also a robust online retailer. If you are looking for a ukulele teacher, no matter where in the world you live, Aaron at The Ukulele Site is your guy. His internet lessons have had over 3 million views and he even Skypes private lessons. Many thanks to John, Noah, Andrew, Aaron, Mike and the whole crew for such a warm welcome!
Dale Thomas (Hummingbird Ukuleles) is a luthier who lives on Kauai. From the moment we met him there was a great connection. Dale and Jay have a great deal in common when it comes to their approach to building and Dale was extremely supportive and enthusiastic about sharing his knowledge. We thoroughly enjoyed our time spent with Dale!