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Ko`olau Guitar and Ukulele Company
401 N.Cane St. A-10
Wahiawa, Hawaii 96786
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from the Ko`olau Guitar and Ukulele Company web site
Ko'olau Guitars and 'Ukuleles are professional quality, hand crafted instruments. The shop is located in Kaneohe, on the Island of Oahu, Hawaii, approximately fifteen minutes from Honolulu, at the foot of the the beautiful Ko'olau Mountains.
For many years Ko'olau Guitar and Ukulele has been building some of the finest quality ukes money can buy, allowing the customer to pick from many woods and decorative options. The company was founded and is still run by John Kitakis, whose career began as a furniture maker. He moved from the mainland US to Hawaii forty years ago, then for a period of time went back to the mainland doing warranty repair work for Martin, Taylor, Gibson, Guild and other guitar manufacturers, and in between built custom guitars and mandolins. Eventually he, his wife and children returned to Oahu to begin Ko'olau Guitar & Ukulele Company. All of John's children worked in the family business, from sorting screws to sweeping floors. His oldest son, Noa eventually chose to pursue stringed instrument making, and now manages all Ko'olau production. His youngest son, Andrew also joined the family doing repairs and assisting in Ko'olau construction and finishing, but eventually established his own retail guitar and 'ukulele business.
In the mid 90's John, Noa, and Andrew moved back to Hawaii and started Ko'olau Guitar and Ukulele. They had already repaired and refinished thousands of high end stringed instruments. And on a custom basis, built acoustic guitars. They knew what works, and now was the time to change the entire scene of `ukulele making. High end 'ukuleles, up to the early 90's were unknown, still not appreciated as a professional stringed instrument.
But the performers were there, and Ko'olau soon became known as the 'high' end ukulele. Finally the ukulele was respected, not as just a fun 'toy' but instead earning it's place in the world of professional music. Early on, the real 'old timers' like Lyle Ritz, Benny Chong, Led Kaapana, Ned Kaapana, Ernie Cruz, Chino Montero, Kimo Hussey, Mike Keale, Roy Sakuma, and Tracey Terada bought Kola's and were exposing others to the quality coming from the foothills of the Ko'olau mountains. In time the new and upcoming `ukulele masters, such as Abe Lagrimas, Craig Brandau, and Paul Hemmings discovered Ko'olau. And so, the beginning of a legend.
More information available on the Ko`olau Guitar and Ukulele Company's web site.
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