Big Island Ukulele is a manufacturer of ukes for all levels of players. The company offers very high-end instruments appropriate for professional performers and recording artists. The company also offers a line that is made with hobbyists in mind. This company uses Hawaiian Koa wood, all of which is harvested on the Big Island. The wood is sent to manufacturers overseas for the actual production of the instruments. Big Island keeps a tight relationship with these suppliers and selects them based on their skills. The company’s products are currently produced by a factory located in Vietnam, selected for the quality of the instruments they produce.
The instruments available from Big Island include the very high end Koa Tortoise Rope series, appropriate for those who make their living playing the instrument. Like most of their lines, these ukuleles come in soprano, concert and tenor voices. The tenor voices feature a cutaway body design, facilitating access to the higher frets and allowing the performer to exploit the full range of pitches on the instrument. The Traditional and Mango series are slightly less expensive but still maintain the high quality construction and the excellent tone these instruments are known for. The Mango series, of course, has a body, back and top made out of mango.
They are currently pushing their HONU series vigorously. This series ranges in price from over $1,000 to around $300. This series, as well as the company’s other offerings, come with the three-point headstock that is a traditional element of Hawaiian design.
These ukuleles can be purchased with pickups, making them suitable for those who perform in larger venues. The Hawaiian Koa wood gives the instruments a very rich tone with or without amplification.
The inlays on the instruments are almost universally Abalone, ensuring that they look classy and professional in all regards. The company also uses high end tuners, bone saddles and other elements that make their instruments high quality from the top down.
The Big Island Ukulele Company is not a discount brand and they say as much. The company does endeavor, however, to provide professional quality instruments that are competitively priced among other high-quality ukes. The company’s higher-end instruments should prove suitable options for those who play at the professional level. Their less expensive series of instruments are affordable enough for beginners but high enough in quality that a novice player’s progress won’t be hindered because of having to learn on an instrument that isn’t capable of offering good sound and good playability.
The Big Island Ukulele Co is located on Hawaii Island and maintains a showroom in Japan, as well. They have been in business since 2002.