Frequently Asked Questions


How do I order a Kanile`a `Ukulele?

Kristen and Lina

Kristen Souza, co-owner & Lina Girl Langi, marketing director

We at Kanile’a ‘Ukulele want to make purchasing or ordering your new instrument as easy as possible. If you feel more comfortable making a purchase over the phone, call us at 808-234-2868 to speak with our incredible office team. They can answer any questions you may have. Another convenient method is via e-mail.

To contact us directly regarding custom design questions please email us at:

For general information and dealer inquiries:

Our mailing address:
Kanile’a ‘Ukulele
46-216 Kahuhipa Street #3
Kaneohe, Hawaii 96744

Each Kanile’a ‘Ukulele is unique in its own way. We look forward to assisting you in designing your own custom Kanile’a!


How long will it take to build my Kanile`a once I order it?

Pete Santos in Assembly

Once all the final details are worked out and the materials needed are available and ready, the building process can take 4 to 6 weeks for a model and up to 12 weeks for a custom.

The biggest variable will be the type of features your Kanile`a will have such as binding, a rosette and/or a custom inlay. This will determine the total work time involved in creating your instrument.


Which types of payment methods do you accept?

We accept:

  • PayPal via
  • Credit/Debit cards: VISA and MasterCard
  • Check with account holder’s information imprinted on it drawn on a U.S. Bank
  • Money Order
  • Wire Transfer (please email us at for banking details)
  • Cash payments in person only – please DO NOT send cash via mail or courier


Do you require a deposit?

We do require a non-refundable 50% deposit. This secures your instrument’s position in the build schedule once the design has been approved by you.

You may make periodic payments while your instrument is in production or pay off the balance upon completion…whichever is easiest for you. Once it is finished, we will contact you to confirm your delivery option of choice and complete payment. Your instrument will then be sent to you.


What types of shipping methods do you use?

Within the United States, your instrument will typically be sent via FedEx. For international orders, we often send via USPS International. We will also deliver international orders via FedEx and DHL per the customer’s request. We always insure each package and with your e-mail address, will forward tracking information to you. Upon request we can send your instrument via the carrier of your choice.


What type of strings do you use?

World renown artist Willie K uses Aquila Corde on his Willie K model

Kanile`a `Ukulele was the first and still the only `ukulele manufacture in Hawai`i to utilize Italian-made Aquila Corde Super Nylgut `ukulele strings. These Super Nylgut strings are designed as a contemporary synthetic string that carries the same acoustic properties as a traditional gut string with the durability and longevity expected of a modern string. Many of our customers and dealers prefer the “white” Aquila strings because of the brilliant tones they produce which aid in giving that unique Kanile`a tone.

We understand that each `ukulele player has their own vision of a sound they would like their instrument to produce. We can outfit your new Kanile`a with strings of your choice that you provide. Our goal is to create an instrument that you will love to play!


How do you ensure perfect intonation?

Intonation is how true a note is to pitch as the player moves up the fingerboard. A “true” instrument, when properly set up, should produce the same note as an open string just one octave higher (e.g. open A string first course 440Hz, twelfth fret 880Hz). Another test is to play a 12th fret “harmonic” and then check it with a fretted 12 fret note. A “true” instrument should hit each note played exactly to the frequency that is required (G=392 Hz, C=261.6 Hz, E=329.6 Hz and so on).

For Kanile`a, intonation is the most important facet in building a fine instrument. This is followed very closely by playability. Now, how do we achieve perfect intonation? It would be very simple to just double the measurement from the twelfth fret, glue on the bridge and say it’s close enough, right? Many builders still build instruments this way. They believe that only a trained ear could hear the difference. Not true! As a player develops their skill they will appreciate having their instrument stay in tune as they progress up the fingerboard. Each Kanile’a ‘ukulele has a scale length that has been compensated for our setup and allows for each note to be at perfect pitch. A computer program designed jig that cuts our fingerboard slots, rides in a keyway that ensures a perfectly placed slot each and every time.

Now understand, an instrument moves and wood breathes. We address these problems with a controlled building environment and utilizing properly seasoned woods.

What we cannot control is an individual’s playing-style. This will eventually play a role in the instrument’s intonation. If a player is a hard strummer and bends his strings during chording (which elongates the strings and throws off the pitch) this can affect intonation. This type of player should change their strings often to ensure intonation stays proper.


While I’m in Hawai’i can I visit your shop?

Joe leads a tour

Master luthier Joe Souza leads a tour

Absolutely! A guided tour is offered daily, Monday through Friday at 10:30 am. You are more than welcome to experience and see our facilities, building process and have a chance to play one of our sample instruments. Reservations are encouraged but not required. Please be in our Gallery Showroom by 10:25 am for a simple safety briefing.

We are located on the windward side of O’ahu in Kāne’ohe. Any questions? Please call (808) 234-2868.


Kanile`a `Ukulele
46-216 Kahuhipa Street, #3
Kāne’ohe, HI 96744