It’s pretty hard to do any kind of ukulele searching without coming across the Mahalo brand at some point. They’re literally everywhere. Mahalo are a Japanese company that started in 1999 and whilst they do have the exposure, they’ve never really hit the same quality that Kala have become associated with.
Mahalo ukuleles sit at the cheaper end of the market. Their brightly coloured sopranos are incredibly popular among the beginners out there although this is largely down to price and availability rather than any association of quality. That said, the few Mahalo’s that I’ve played have all been plenty playable.
Among Mahalo’s most popular ukuleles is their take on the Gibson Flying V. The V is an interesting looking ukulele that will always find an audience but in reality is unlikely to find a place in any serious musician’s collection. Mahalo have an entire line based on popular electric guitars which includes a Telecaster and Les Paul shape.
For the more serious out there Mahalo do have an Acacia and Mahogany line and an electric bass that has been well received recently.
Recommended Mahalo Ukuleles
The Mahalo Smile is a yellow ukulele with a great big smile plastered across the top. The eyes of the smile are actually the sound holes and although it’s pretty much a cosmetic choice I have to admit that I’ve always been tempted to buy one myself. The Smile does come in a range of colours but let’s face it it – it’s got to be yellow.
Mahalo Flying V
I’m recommending this one as more of a wall hanger than a playable ukulele. The Flying V looks great but in reality the shape isn’t well suited to a ukulele. The small body means that you’re not going to get much volume out of it and it’s exactly easy to play. If you’re looking for a decorative uke and you’re a bit of a rocker, this is the one.