Budget Imports to Hawaii

Over the years there have been a lot of low end Ukuleles imported into Hawaii for the Tourist market, usually from Mainland China though some of the older ones will have come from Japan. These Ukuleles, particularly the modern ones, are usually very poor quality, even totally unplayable and good only for decoration. In addition to the tourist shop "Aloha" models a number of Hawaiian hotels and businesses also have their "own brand" of Ukulele. You often see them advertised for sale as "Genuine Hawaiian Ukuleles" because they were originally purchased in Hawaii by a tourist. I have also seen Hawaiian traders buying in poor quality "handmade" Philippine Ukuleles and trying to pass them off as Hawaiian made
Another thing that is often sold for tourist consumption is the Cocolele This is Ukulele like object with a neck and strings, often decorated with island scenes sound board, and the body apart from the soundboard made from one or more coconut shells. The suggestion is that it's the pre-colonial precursor to the Ukulele, (it isn't!) and a musical instrument, however none of the ones I have seen have been remotely playable or musical and so are only good as a wall hanger. Though these can be made in Hawaii, (especially the older ones), they are more likely to come from the far east.
cheap Hawaiian Ukulele

They are usually decorated in a Hawaiian theme
Hawaiian Tourist Ukulele

and often have Aloha or Hawaii written on them
hawaiian tourist mini Ukulele

They can be smaller than a Soprano, but never bigger
Hawiaan cheap tourist Cocolele coconut Ukulele

and a lot of them definitely aren't musical instruments
Duke Kahanamoku

However some of the older Japanese Import Ukuleles can be of reasonable quality

Names I have seen branding the Ukuleles or businesses selling them

  • Accoutrements
  • Duke Kahanamoku - a legendary surfer who is remembered on some 50's models
  • Hawaiian King
  • Hawaiian Masters
  • Hong Mei
  • Island Import Co (importers of "the Hawaiian")
  • KC Hawaii
  • Omi International
  • NG
  • Pacific Enterprises
  • the Hawaiian
  • Tiki (another oft used name)
  • Tzu Ling Hawaii Inc.
  • Universal Worldwide Trading
  • Zotos Hawaiian Cruise

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