It was recently revealed that Fender, famous for their Telecaster & Stratocaster electric guitars, will be making ukuleles. The will be offering 3 tenor sized ukuleles, the Pa'ina (solid mahogany w/pickup, MSRP $400), the Koa Nohea (laminated koa, MSRP $300), and the Hau'oli (laminated mahogany, MSRP $200). These ukes appear to be the same tenor ukes currently being cranked out of Indonesian factories except it has the Fender one side tuner headstock. Elderly Instruments have these listed at $300, $200, and $150 respectively, which makes them about the same price as equivalent Pono (PTO-E) and Kala (laminated koa and mahogany) ukes.
These are mostly met with skepticism on various ukulele forums. However, I like the idea of having these Fender ukes possibly being available at local music stores. I mean, if these are indeed of similar quality to Pono and/or Kala ukes, they should be pretty decent. It also could mean a few more ukes to try in person in cities such as Minneapolis, which qualifies as a good thing in my books. Sure, they are just Ponos and/or Kalas with the Fender headstock, but at least the headstock is unique right? It would be easier for them if they just applied the Fender logo on the same headstock as the other Asian made ukes would it?
So, while these definitely will not make you forget your KoAloha or even Pono, at least they should be halfway decent and available to try in person. I certainly hope to see a few of them locally in the near future.