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Thread: Snail 'Ukuleles: Heads up.

  1. #1
    Join Date
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    Default Snail 'Ukuleles: Heads up.

    Last few months I've played a couple of Snail ukes. They were great and I was beginning to think of them as a potential Kala-killer: inexpensive but good quality. So, I ordered a tenor with a solid koa top.

    The instrument that arrived was not as depicted in many of the pics being posted by dealers. The model I ordered has usually been shown with gold hardware and a tie bar bridge. The one that arrived had chrome tuners and a through-strung bridge. Furthermore the bridge was lifting slightly and the A string intonation was out with no scope left in the compensated saddle to correct it.

    The dealer, Nick at Cantabile Music, has been very responsive and helpful. He was told recently by the distributor that the Snails are now being made in a different factory. Maybe we're just seeing teething problems, but these unexpected changes in spec and quality don't impress me. The uke is going back and I'm probably going to go Pono or for one of the better Kalas for this current purchase.

    Based on the two I played before, I had been recommending Snail. For the moment I withdraw that recommendation. I'm happy to sing the praises of Cantabile's customer service. The new generation of Snails though? Meh.
    And whether the blood be highland, lowland or no,
    And whether the skin be black or white as the snow,
    Of kith and of kin we are one, be it right, be it wrong,
    As long as our hearts beat true to the lilt of a song.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
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    St. Louis, MO, USA
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    6,886

    Default

    Thanks for the info. My Snail laminate concert sounds terrific, but I bought it three years ago. A local guitar shop has replaced much of their Kala inventory with Snails, so I hope they’re prepared for possible issues.
    Kathryn

  3. #3
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    Aug 2017
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    Pennsylvania, USA
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    142

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    It's just like a Snail to leave a trail of slime behind them... while it is perhaps better than a trail of Kaka I suppose that is no consolation at all to those who get stuck eating it.

  4. #4
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    Sounds like that Snail was actually a slug
    Always be yourself, unless you can be a ukulele player, then always be a ukulele player
    Unknown

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by kvehe View Post
    Thanks for the info. My Snail laminate concert sounds terrific, but I bought it three years ago. A local guitar shop has replaced much of their Kala inventory with Snails, so I hope they’re prepared for possible issues.
    One of the Snails I played was a stripy laminate one. It sounded great - a bit similar in character to a Kiwaya my mate has. The other one I tried was the one I ordered and just returned, but the older version as shown in most of the promo images in online listings. That was excellent too - quite a bit louder than the one I received.
    And whether the blood be highland, lowland or no,
    And whether the skin be black or white as the snow,
    Of kith and of kin we are one, be it right, be it wrong,
    As long as our hearts beat true to the lilt of a song.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2013
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    I can hear Disneyland fireworks...
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    Any Snail, Ammoon, Ukboy, Caramel, Mu$ic, etc. that sounds like a Kiwaya, in my opinion, would be an exception.

    I think that they are terrific for a beginner on a budget, but expecting much more, I feel, is unrealistic.

    I’d be happy if I got a good one.
    If life seems jolly rotten,
    There's something you've forgotten,
    And that's to laugh and smile and dance and sing! - Eric Idle

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Xtradust View Post
    Any Snail, Ammoon, Ukboy, Caramel, Mu$ic, etc. that sounds like a Kiwaya, in my opinion, would be an exception.

    I think that they are terrific for a beginner on a budget, but expecting much more, I feel, is unrealistic.

    I’d be happy if I got a good one.
    LOL. I said "a bit", not "exactly"! Great tone for a laminate and loud as heck. I thought the very stripy "wood" looked a bit garish though. The ones I tried (before the lemon) were more than beginners' fare - although the prices are certainly in that ball park. It's like a lot of the low-intermediate brands: they come from the same factories as the industrial waste standard USOs, but quality control and attention to detail make all the difference.

    I still have the cheap Stagg solid mahogany soprano we started out with a decade ago and it's one of the loudest, sweetest sopranos I ever played. Every other Stagg I tried has been junk. This one has a paper-thin top (**exaggeration alert**) and is really resonant. With worth browns it sounds huge. Almost like a concert. Surprisingly excellent things do come out of those mass production facilities sometimes.
    And whether the blood be highland, lowland or no,
    And whether the skin be black or white as the snow,
    Of kith and of kin we are one, be it right, be it wrong,
    As long as our hearts beat true to the lilt of a song.

  8. #8
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    Apr 2013
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    over yonder...
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    Quote Originally Posted by buddhuu View Post
    ...Based on the two I played before, I had been recommending Snail. For the moment I withdraw that recommendation. I'm happy to sing the praises of Cantabile's customer service. The new generation of Snails though? Meh.
    Kudos to you for sharing you experience here.

    Good looking out brother.
    Just the FAQs __________Less > more.__________Serenity now, insanity later.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Booli View Post
    Kudos to you for sharing you experience here.

    Good looking out brother.
    To be honest, I probably wouldn't have said anything but, based on my experiences with the other two that I'd played a few times, I was impressed enough to actually recommend to several people that they try Snail over other similar level but more established brands. Now I have reason to think I spoke too soon it would be irresponsible not to set the record straight.

    I expect the other mods get the same thing: I quite often get messages/emails from people asking my opinion on 'ukuleles. They seem surprised that my experience is as limited as it is. I've never owned a >500 'ukulele. Neither my bank account nor my ability would justify it. I do know the low-intermediates reasonably well though.

    I survive on relatively cheap instruments: Chinese, Indonesian or Romanian guitars, mandolins, fiddles, bouzoukis and 'ukuleles. Just don't ever ask me about 'real' instruments: they're not my territory.
    And whether the blood be highland, lowland or no,
    And whether the skin be black or white as the snow,
    Of kith and of kin we are one, be it right, be it wrong,
    As long as our hearts beat true to the lilt of a song.

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