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Thread: First post, first time having UAS...

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2018
    Posts
    6

    Default First post, first time having UAS...

    Hi fellow members,

    A loooong time guitar player here, who has never paid much attention to uke. I do have a Martin S1 made in Mexico for a long time, but uke to me is just a convenient tool that I can very easily carry around while camping or going to friend's parties etc. I bought that Martin because I play Martin guitars and I trust the quality and all solid wood construction.

    Until recently...

    I went to Hawaii for a friend's wedding and visited some vintage guitar shops. Obviously in Hawaii you gotta try some uke. I played some Martin ukes made in the old days - they sound so sweet. It made me feel like my modern Martin uke is a cheap sounding instrument. That sure opened some cans of worms for me.

    Afterwards I discovered there are all those venerable Ks but they are pricey. There are also Kiwaya which are very faithful Martin copies. Ohana has Martin copy models too. Doing some research, I found the old Martins and Kiwaya can be had around $500 in US. Cheapest Kamaka though is double the price.

    I'm thinking of getting an "upgrade" for my S1 and leaning towards an old Martin but would like to humbly listen to the people's advice here. Really appreciate your time and help.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2015
    Location
    USA
    Posts
    503

    Default

    Welcome to the forum!

    My opinions:
    I actually think the S1 is a very good instrument in every way, including sound. Maybe you should try a variety of strings on it before writing it off completely. I also wonder if it has been played a lot and has had time to open up a bit. I know, even then it's not a vintage Martin that many love, but perhaps you could at least like it a bit better.
    I would scratch Ohana off the list, personally (not saying they're bad, just not as good)...but Kiwaya are known to have a very high build quality. I haven't played one of their more expensive ukes. I only got to play their least expensive model and it was exceptionally well built. That should say something for them.

    That said, if what you're really wanting is a vintage Martin, by all means go for that if you can. Try to find one that you love. Maybe any other uke would just be a substitute for what you really want and you'd still be longing for that vintage Martin. I've learned if you can afford to get what you really want to begin with, it can save you some money on down the road. Wait and save up if you have to. You have a fine uke now in the meantime.
    <><

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2015
    Location
    Upper Hale, Surrey/Hants border, UK.
    Posts
    4,424

    Default

    Welcome aboard.

    Guitar companies make great guitars, but they don't always make a great uke, they are relying on their reputations.

    I think you might be surprised at how some of the uke companies can make a uke sound good.

    I'd suggest you take a good look & listen to uke performances, Youtubes, etc, before buying another one.

    Different sizes, woods, laminates, & of course strings, make for different sounds with ukes.
    Trying to do justice to various musical instruments.
    Formerly known as uke1950.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2013
    Location
    Los Angeles, near the Beverly Center.
    Posts
    3,353

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Croaky Keith View Post
    Welcome aboard.

    Guitar companies make great guitars, but they don't always make a great uke, they are relying on their reputations.
    Not when it comes to Martin.

    -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    7 tenor cutaway ukes, 3 acoustic bass ukes, 8 solid body bass ukes, 7 mini bass guitars

    • Donate to The Ukulele Kids Club, they provide ukuleles to children's hospital music therapy programs. http://.www.theukc.org
    • Member The CC Strummers: https://www.youtube.com/user/CCStrummers/videos
    Last edited by kohanmike; 01-13-2018 at 09:06 PM.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2018
    Posts
    6

    Default

    Thanks. Those are some sensible advice, appreciate it.

    I like D'Addario strings a lot. EJ16 for acoustic, EJ46 for classical and EXL110 for electric. No complaint as they are very consistent. On my S1 I've been using Martin M600 since day one - as mentioned, never really paid attention and wasn't even aware of the uke community. Now that I've learned some, I think to try out different string could be the first step.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2014
    Location
    Raleigh, NC
    Posts
    1,274

    Default

    Actually, the M600s are fine strings. I've used them often.

    And if you dive into the UU community, you'll learn that people take their string preferences VERY seriously. Be warned!
    KoAlana KCA- 0010 mahogany concert <VBG> • Ohana CK-50WG concert (solid cedar top, willow back/sides) • Ohana SK-35G solid mahogany gloss finish soprano • Fluke natural concert <BG> • Firefly maple concert banjolele <yee-haw!> • Koa soprano Flea • Islander MAT-4 spalted maple tenor • Makala MK-CE concert • Lanakai LU-21 baritone

    Raleigh Uke Jam:

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  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2015
    Location
    USA
    Posts
    503

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by omlove View Post
    Thanks. Those are some sensible advice, appreciate it.

    I like D'Addario strings a lot. EJ16 for acoustic, EJ46 for classical and EXL110 for electric. No complaint as they are very consistent. On my S1 I've been using Martin M600 since day one - as mentioned, never really paid attention and wasn't even aware of the uke community. Now that I've learned some, I think to try out different string could be the first step.
    So only fluorocarbon strings so far. I would suggest you try some standard nylon strings. D'Addario has one soprano set that claims to be for a higher tuning, but I have been thinking of trying those lately in standard gCEA. D'Addario Nyltech are also worth a play for you. I find strings can make an even bigger difference on uke than guitar since they vary so wildly.
    I'm a big fan of the LaBella Uke Pro 200 series rectified nylon strings. I think the nylons have a softer feel and a warmer and more interesting sound.. Some people find them dull and dead sounding, and much prefer the brighter tone of fluoros. To put it in guitar terms, at least the way I see it: Fluorocarbon=Taylor sound, Nylon=Martin sound.

    Try one set of everything.

    P.S. : In all fairness, not all fluoro sets are the same either...I was just speaking in very general terms.
    Last edited by jer; 01-13-2018 at 10:06 AM.
    <><

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Nov 2017
    Location
    NorCal
    Posts
    35

    Default

    Play as many different ukes as you can and then form your own opinion. Since, well, opinions are like bellybuttons -- everybody has one.
    One thing I believe most do agree on is that strings can make a difference and not every uke will respond the same to the same strings.

  9. #9

    Default

    There is nothing like a vintage Martin soprano.
    Martin 1950s Tenor 1M
    Martin 1940s Soprano 0M
    Blackbird Clara 2016
    Mya Moe Myrtle Classic Tenor #1009 2013
    Mya Moe Lap Steel Tenor #273 2010
    Mya Moe Myrtle Classic Concert #2213 2017
    Mya Moe Resonator Concert #421 2011

    Donate to The Ukulele Kids Club, an organization that provides ukuleles to kids in hospital music therapy programs.Like them on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/UkuleleKidsClubInc

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jan 2018
    Posts
    6

    Default

    Please pardon my ignorance. I understand fluorocarbon is much thinner than nylon. But compare nylon to nylon, for instance these two D'Addario sets:

    EJ65S Pro-Arté Custom Extruded
    A 0.024 E 0.032 C 0.034 g 0.028

    EJ88S Nyltech
    A 0.023 E 0.03 C 0.036 g 0.025

    The first set is consistently thicker but suddenly the tension/diameter drops on the C string? I can't wrap my head around it.

    Also there are differences between brands on fluorocarbon too. Unlike acoustic or electric strings that I'm used to - 12-53 or 13-56 pretty much means the same across brands and models.

    EJ99SC Pro-Arté Carbon Ukulele
    A 0.0205 E 0.026 C 0.0319 g 0.0224

    Martin M600
    A 0.0191 E 0.0256 C 0.034 g 0.0216

    Again the EJ99SC C strings is considerably smaller than the peers.

    Never knew I'd one day dive so deep into uke world lol... I'm intrigued.
    Last edited by omlove; 01-13-2018 at 04:42 PM.

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