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View Full Version : $10 Cartoon Character Ukes at Walmart - get them today or take a chance this weekend



UkeCan1
11-26-2014, 04:04 AM
OOPS - I WAS WRONG ... IN-STORE SALE IS THURSDAY 6PM THROUGH FRIDAY ONLY!!!!!
And looks like all day Thursday and Friday (http://www.walmart.com/ip/Disney-Doc-McStuffins-Mini-Guitar/37424556)online (http://www.walmart.com/ip/Disney-Doc-McStuffins-Mini-Guitar/37424556) - free store pickup (AFTER the rush - yay! http://ukuleleunderground.com/smilies/smiley-eatdrink004.gif).


So, I have no idea yet whether these are any good at all, but thought some of you might like to know about this right away, because it's a Black Friday (really Thursday) weekend-only special - Thursday 6pm through Sunday.

I happened to skim through the Black Friday / Black Weekend circulars in my mailbox this morning ... I don't usually do this, really! I stay away. (Or shop online. :))

But ... I happened to notice that Wal-Mart has a special this weekend on a "Disney Character Guitar" for only $10. Despite the label "guitar", which is also on the box, it's quite clearly a cute little plastic soprano ukulele.

The sale starts tomorrow, Thanksgiving Day, at 6pm (US only, presumably ... the rest of the world doesn't have Black Friday, surely, do you?) ... which happens to be exactly when my family (and yours, perhaps) is sitting down to dinner.

So, I thought ... why not run out this morning before the snow and pick one up at the regular price? I can always come back at some quiet time like Sunday morning and either get the price discount or return them, depending on how they work out between now and then. (I did confirm with a store employee that both are possible, who also recommended the quietest time to return to the store is 7 to 10am Saturday or Sunday.)

So I did it ... I picked up two! The ad shows three different characters, including Snow White, which was the one I hoped to get. The actual store had only Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse. I picked up two (because, why not?) adorable hot pink Minnie Mouse ukes that say "Happy to Be Me!" on them. I love the look of them ... I hope they turn out to be playable and able to hold tune, because they will be so much fun to play and make videos with.

I did try them out in the store. I forgot to bring a tuner, so I could tune the strings relative to each other, but I have no idea whether I was in remotely the right key. They did not hold tune long enough to get through a song, but that's pretty typical for a brand new never-tuned never-played uke, right? I'll tune them both up this morning and keep them tuned up through Sunday, and by then I should know whether I want to 1) keep both and return for the price discount, 2) keep one and return one, or 3) return both.

(Or maybe 4), return and buy out the store of whatever they have left by then. Or some other store with other cool designs. Or all the local stores. :))

They were pretty easy to play ... the strings are pretty "soft" (at least in the key I tuned them to :)), the action felt nice and easy. They play pretty quietly. They sounded as reasonable as I could expect from a brand new beginner uke. I have found that most beginner ukes benefit greatly from a string transplant ... I like the $5 Martin M600 fluorocarbons, which can be picked up at local music stores. So if I keep them, I'll probably do that eventually.

The regular price is only $19.97, so pretty inexpensive anyway, and probably available any time ... or at least, when they come back in stock after Black Friday weekend. There's also an actual kid's guitar for I think about $40.

I was inspired to buy them by a fellow Seasonista (birdseyeviewofmyukulele) who has recently acquired a plastic cartoon-character uke in the UK and loves it. Hers sounds great, so I figured these were worth a shot. I'll keep you posted.

actadh
11-26-2014, 04:44 AM
I have two of these First Act Minnie/Mickey ukuleles - they are calling them "guitars" on the box - and they are not half bad. My grandkids love them. They do hold a tune, but had to play around with it to get tuned. I changed out the Minnie strings for a set of soprano Aquilas and kept the original strings on the Mickey. I keep the Minnie in my car and rotate it with my yellow Aloha First Act Discovery with slightly better tuners. I wrote about these on the plastic ukulele threads that were prevalent this summer on the forum. I have pics of the yellow one in my profile.

RAB11
11-26-2014, 04:53 AM
Sounds good Wendy.

Black Friday is making an appearance over here, even though we don't do Thanksgiving. Think Amazon kicked it off a few years ago and it's a week-long thing over here.

I don't get paid till Friday but when I do I'll be keeping an eye out for some uke deals, just in case. Planning on putting any Christmas/Birthday money (they're only like a week apart which works well) I get towards a new uke anyway, so I can sort of justify it that way.

There's a Marvel Avengers uke on Amazon over here I really want but it's like 30 quid which just isn't worth it for the novelty. :(

chefuke
11-26-2014, 05:40 AM
You lost me at Wal-mart and plastic uke....

Kanaka916
11-26-2014, 06:17 AM
I merged the threads to one and deleted your last entry. No reason for double posts.

UkeCan1
11-26-2014, 06:45 AM
Laura, thanks so much for the positive review ... it's good to know there's hope for these cute things. Right now they are at the going-out-of-tune-before-I-finish-tuning them stage. Do you remember how long it took for them to settle? New strings on my Flea have never been anywhere near this stretchy! Also, did the Aquila strings make them louder? They are awfully quiet. I'll have to go check out that plastic uke thread.

Ryan, I was wondering about that ... since Black Friday has recently taken over the entire long weekend and then some ... and the internet ... I wondered whether it might have started invading local stores in other countries as well. Do you have the Walmart chain or Target or other deep-discount-type store chains over there? Maybe you can get a deal too. :-)

Kanaka, sorry about cross-posting in the Seasons of the Ukulele area. I do want my fellow Seasonistas to see this, since many of us have been inspired by one member's recent Seasons videos featuring a really great-sounding (and looking!) cartoon uke. I thought if others there, like me, had been influenced by hers to want one too, they would want to know about this one and the current sale. Many of us in the Seasons (I am one) rarely venture outside that area into the rest of the forum, and would be bound to miss this post.

Would it maybe be okay to post a thread there that just lets them know there is a sale and points back to this thread?

Oh ... for me, it still shows up in the listing ... as "moved" to here. Is everyone seeing that, and will that stay there, because that's certainly good enough!

RAB11
11-26-2014, 06:56 AM
Laura, thanks so much for the positive review ... it's good to know there's hope for these cute things. Right now they are at the going-out-of-tune-before-I-finish-tuning them stage. Do you remember how long it took for them to settle? New strings on my Flea have never been anywhere near this stretchy! Also, did the Aquila strings make them louder? They are awfully quiet. I'll have to go check out that plastic uke thread.

Ryan, I was wondering about that ... since Black Friday has recently taken over the entire long weekend and then some ... and the internet ... I wondered whether it might have started invading local stores in other countries as well. Do you have the Walmart chain or Target or other deep-discount-type store chains over there? Maybe you can get a deal too. :-)

Kanaka, sorry about cross-posting in the Seasons of the Ukulele area. I do want my fellow Seasonistas to see this, since many of us have been inspired by one member's recent Seasons videos featuring a really great-sounding (and looking!) cartoon uke. I thought if others there, like me, had been influenced by hers to want one too, they would want to know about this one and the current sale. Many of us in the Seasons (I am one) rarely venture outside that area into the rest of the forum, and would be bound to miss this post.

Would it maybe be okay to post a thread there that just lets them know there is a sale and points back to this thread?

Oh ... for me, it still shows up in the listing ... as "moved" to here. Is everyone seeing that, and will that stay there, because that's certainly good enough!

Closest thing I can think of in terms of high street store with as much variety (although no clothes) is Argos. I suppose supermarkets are getting similar to that now but no ukes as yet. Can certainly think of a couple of similar chains in Australia though.

That 'moved' thread will stay on the seasons forum, yeah.

bnolsen
11-26-2014, 07:01 AM
howz the fret wear? I notice these use a zero fret with string guides and it looks like maybe a removable saddle. For 10usd looks very tempting for kicking around, especially if the plastic is durable and the intonation is decent. Strings are probably just throwaway.

UkeCan1
11-26-2014, 07:19 AM
BNolsen - the plastic looks pretty solid to me. And they are starting to finally hold tune a bit, so later today I'll play it some more and probably make a video. Yeah, zero fret with string guides. Which hold the lower strings pretty firmly, but the high string (A string if tuned GCEA) has all kinds of wiggle room, and on one of the ukes that string is "plinking" a bit - I can't quite tell why.

The strings seem quite decent, actually. Clear strings. Way better than the cheap off-white nylon ones on most beginner ukes I've seen. I might well end up doing what Laura's done, and restring just one for comparison. At least for a start. I was planning to give one away, possibly ... but I am already starting to get attached to them both. Which seems rather silly, since they're the same. This is how it starts, I guess, right? :)

Ryan ... these were in the toy section at Walmart ... so maybe look in a toy store? That might be a good potential source for cheap-but-hopefully-playable plastic ukes in any country, I dunno.

Chopped Liver
11-26-2014, 07:32 AM
Hm . . . you said really quiet. Quiet enough not to disturb anyone? Hm . . .$16 (retail) vs $110 for a Peanut. Might be worth a try. I don't need gret sound on it - just good enough to practice on quietly . . .

bnolsen
11-26-2014, 07:52 AM
Having an electrified solid body is pretty nice though. I bought a used eleuke pineapple that had been sitting for months at the local GC and worked over the setup. I couldn't quite get the saddle low enough for good intonation (for me). I probably should have tried a string change at the very last. It was gone less than a week after I returned it to the store.

You can ebay a peanut for ~100usd shipped, I even see one for just over 80usd right now.

Chopped Liver
11-26-2014, 07:56 AM
Having an electrified solid body is pretty nice though. I bought a used eleuke pineapple that had been sitting for months at the local GC and worked over the setup. I couldn't quite get the saddle low enough for good intonation (for me). I probably should have tried a string change at the very last. It was gone less than a week after I returned it to the store.

You can ebay a peanut for ~100usd shipped, I even see one for just over 80usd right now.

Yep, I've seen them on ebay, but I am not putting my bank info on PayPal so that won't work . . .

actadh
11-26-2014, 08:00 AM
You lost me at Wal-mart and plastic uke....

Is TJ Maxx any better? I got the yellow Aloha one from there for $15, and the pink and blue Disney ones for $17 at Walmart - not as good as the Black Friday price, but after working in retail I have vowed never to set foot in a store the day after Thanksgiving.

As many threads here attest, plastic ukes have their advantages. They are nice travel ukes. I would never take my Opio out on the choppy waters of Lake Erie (pictured) , nor would I give my Opio to my toddler grandkids to play in the backseat.

The strings took about a week to settle. It is a nice thin uke with geared tuners. I usually have one in the car for the occasional ukulele playing urge.

bnolsen
11-26-2014, 08:42 AM
Is TJ Maxx any better? I got the yellow Aloha one from there for $15, and the pink and blue Disney ones for $17 at Walmart - not as good as the Black Friday price, but after working in retail I have vowed never to set foot in a store the day after Thanksgiving.

As many threads here attest, plastic ukes have their advantages. They are nice travel ukes. I would never take my Opio out on the choppy waters of Lake Erie (pictured) , nor would I give my Opio to my toddler grandkids to play in the backseat.

The strings took about a week to settle. It is a nice thin uke with geared tuners. I usually have one in the car for the occasional ukulele playing urge.

do you see any fret wear on yours ?

UkeCan1
11-26-2014, 08:44 AM
UkeMania ... depends how close you are to the people you are trying not to disturb. :) (And how hard you play - you have heaps of control over how loud you make any uke sound.) If you are in a separate room, I doubt they'd even hear you at all. When I first got my (much louder) Flea, I was able to play in my room at night without disturbing sleeping people in other rooms, just by playing really softly. These days I make videos in a separate room (with no door!) while others sleep (playing and singing as loud as I need to), and they've all said they don't hear me or it isn't a problem. On this uke, I should think you could play it just as softly as you wish, so yeah ... might be good for that. But playing softly on any uke can work too, in my experience.

Laura - just to be clear for anyone considering getting the Wal-Mart deal - it runs all weekend - starting tomorrow (Thanksgiving Day, Thursday) at 6pm through store closing Sunday. I was told by a store employee the store would probably be pretty quiet Saturday and Sunday morning before 10am - they open at 7. But they could well be sold out by then ... so I opted to buy them at the regular price ($19.97) today. If I decide to keep them, I'll go back Saturday or Sunday morning nice and early and get the sale price. No way do I wish to brave the Black Friday store scene either! This was my way around it.

Chefuke - haha, I missed that.

Wal-Mart + Black Friday deal = $10. So, that's why Wal-Mart. Laura (and apparently others) says it's a decent uke ... and you can't beat that price!

Plastic - what she said - outdoors, keep in the car, take places. It's also very small and light, so easy to carry around - much smaller and lighter than my soprano Flea, which is pretty portable already. It's 20" x 6.5" x 1.5" (51cm x 16cm x 3.5cm to those in the civilized world). Seems pretty solid and indestructible - it's much thicker plastic than the Flea body. It's a play-anywhere uke. If it sounds decent, I'm going to be a happy uker.

Oh, plus it is hot pink and completely adorable - has Minnie in sunglasses and says "Happy to be ME!" in big letters. The tuner knobs are pink plastic hair bows. It's a really fun uke. It's going to look great in videos ... if it sounds good enough to play in them. It was the cartoon uke aspect of it that drew me to it in the first place. A fellow Seasonista in the UK has recently acquired a quite decent-sounding and really fun-looking cartoon uke and has been having a heap of fun making videos with it ... I wanted in on that. :)

Inksplosive AL
11-26-2014, 09:05 AM
Welcome to UAS. It starts with the cheaper ukuleles at least it did for me then you move up as you go along. You started with a flea so you have a good standard to judge by. The shoulders look a bit thin on the body design the aesthetics are off to me but for $10 if you have to go shopping that day anyway.

With the magic of overdubbing it could be a cute ukulele in videos even if we never really hear it at all.

~Ink~meister~

Chopped Liver
11-26-2014, 11:22 AM
Well, I ordered mine online because my store won't carry it (plus there is NO WAY I will be in any store this weekend!). $16.09 plus shipping. Will arrive on Tuesday. Even if it isn't much I am not out much and I can always give it to one of my second graders as a reward.

If it works, it will allow me to take it to seminary on the weekends and play in my room without bothering the person on the other side of the thin walls. :)

UkeCan1
11-26-2014, 12:03 PM
UkeMania - cool! I hope you'll come back and let us know what you think. Did you get it from Walmart.com, or somewhere else online? I didn't see them on Walmart.com, but I didn't look real hard. Which design did you get? Mickey or Minnie ... or did you indeed find there are other characters available?

By the way, there was no crowd at all at the store today, and I was told by a store employee that Saturday and Sunday morning should be quiet ... I plan to go back early for my discount. But yeah, anything under $20 is surely a good enough deal.

The strings are settling in nicely already ... I've been tuning them up and up and up all day. Soon I will make you a video! (No way am I overdubbing it - way too much trouble. My Tiki Flea is plenty cute for videos and sounds great. If this one sounds good enough for videos, I'll make some, and if not, I think it's destined at least to be a car / outdoor / camping / carry-along-everywhere kind of uke.)

Inkmeister AL, I rather like the esthetics of them ... I think they're adorable and eye-catching, which was what I wanted. I really liked the Snow White design in the ad, but I'm quite happy with the hot pink Minnie.

And you are so right about the UAS ... I'm tempted to go back tonight and buy out the store! Ten BUCKS!!!!! And the blizzard they promised us seems not to be happening so far. :)

Nickie
11-26-2014, 12:20 PM
Plastic ukes? I have no problem with that, we had a Flea for a while, it was just too hard to hold on to. Walmart? never shop there....I won't go in to that here, but you should see some of my rants on FB! LOL. I wouldn't buy a even Kamaka from them for half price!
But they sound cute. Any pics?

ohmless
11-26-2014, 12:57 PM
Just bought one on a whim figuring if I didn't like it my son can play with it. It appeared to have plastic fret "wires" and mine was quite buzzy. Oh well. off to the son. I am sure he will love it.

Kanaka916
11-26-2014, 01:00 PM
Oh ... for me, it still shows up in the listing ... as "moved" to here. Is everyone seeing that, and will that stay there, because that's certainly good enough!

It will be seen by all.

Jim Yates
11-26-2014, 02:07 PM
73387
Speaking of plastic ukes, this one was in a local second hand shop last summer. It's an Arthur Godfrey Islander by Macaferri. All plastic with zero fret.

Chopped Liver
11-26-2014, 02:38 PM
Yep, I got mine from walmart.com (very rarely go to the store - maybe once or twice a year). I got the Minnie, too! The saying on it suits me!
http://www.walmart.com/search/?query=disney+guitar

The first four are actually ukes; the other ones are guitars.

bird's eye view of my ukelele
11-26-2014, 02:38 PM
omg the tuner buttons on the mickey uke!!!!

http://www.walmart.com/ip/Disney-Mickey-Mouse-Mini-Guitar/38236313

:bowdown:

Chopped Liver
11-26-2014, 02:43 PM
omg the tuner buttons on the mickey uke!!!!

http://www.walmart.com/ip/Disney-Mickey-Mouse-Mini-Guitar/38236313

:bowdown:

:D The Minnie one has bow tuners!

ohmless
11-26-2014, 02:49 PM
yeah it grew on me. Think I will keep it. The tuners are a big plus in that the knobs are large and easy to turn, but for my bigger hands it gets tight against the other tuner. Also the "brass" gear in the back of the tuner is just painted plastic. Hope that part can be swapped out for a real metal gear. I am working on a full review. Just waiting for the strings to be stretched enough to last through a demo vid.

actadh
11-26-2014, 03:24 PM
These are wonderful little ukuleles. The yellow one is the one that started it all for me last year.

Yellow Aloha First Act Discovery - original strings and a year of playing. I included a closeup of the nut and a penny at the 12th fret. Very slight zero fret wear under the A string - had to wiggle the string to find it to answer the previous poster. No buzzing.

Blue Mickey First Act - original strings, but more rubbery strings than the yellow one. Good for the 2 year old who uses it as a baseball bat.

Pink Minnie First Act - has the thicker Aquila strings and buzzes a bit on the A string if played hard

Picture of the back of the ukuleles for comparison of the bows, ears, and regular pegs. (They are the same size, even though the yellow one looks bigger in this picture.)

Harmony soprano with plastic fretboard for comparison - same size, thicker body than the plastic ones. Sounds about the same as the plastic Minnie, but a bit deeper tone.

All four ukuleles sound best with a very light touch and fingered close to the fret. The Outdoor Uke/Plastic Uke threads found on this forum go into a lot of detail on how to play these types of ukuleles.

My Minnie has a different picture than yours, UkeCan1. I want to read your review once it the strings settle. I wrote about these when the BugsGear and Woodi ones came out, but it didn't attract much interest. Thanks for starting this thread!

UkeCan1
11-26-2014, 03:52 PM
The strings are settling pretty fast, actually. Hopefully by tomorrow I can actually play the thing. In the meantime, here's a preview video:


http://youtu.be/TEmwQylXsnk

ohmless
11-26-2014, 04:19 PM
http://youtu.be/GSFsyY7XQuo

REVIEW:At first glance I thought this was a junk ukulele considering the price and initial strum had lots of buzzing. This does not occur with weaker strums so it is good to practice playing quietly. This is a quiet instrument.

Build: I like the design of the tuner cute pegs, but the downside is they have a plastic gear painted to look like brass. Already after just a couple hours it is showing some wear on mine. It has plastic fret wires that will eventually wear down. Also there is a triangular piece of plastic inside the body to support the top to prevent dimpling. I think this is the main reason the instrument is quiet. An acceptable trade off in my opinion,though this will make adding a pickup difficult.

Conclusion: There is good value in this ukulele for the cost. $10 dollars to find out if your child will like playing the instrument isn't bad at all(your tuner will likely cost more). I see this as an instrument for quietly practicing inside the car or boat so that it won't deafen the people with me. This instrument really shines when finger picked compared to strumming. this would also be a good choice for a child to feel out their interest and will likely need upgrading soon after getting serious.

UkeCan1
11-26-2014, 05:20 PM
Plastic ukes? I have no problem with that, we had a Flea for a while, it was just too hard to hold on to.

Here's how I hold my Flea. It's ultra-solid, leaves both hands completely free for playing. I'll show the video here, even though Flea is OT, because I will be doing something similar for the Minnie.


http://youtu.be/x2KTgLe9G1M


Yep, I got mine from walmart.com (very rarely go to the store - maybe once or twice a year). I got the Minnie, too! The saying on it suits me!
http://www.walmart.com/search/?query=disney+guitar
The first four are actually ukes; the other ones are guitars.

Yeah, I love "Happy to Be ME!" That's my very favorite thing about the Minnie uke.
Ooh ... I want an Ariel guitar now! (Only 20 bucks ... hey.....) Interesting that the guitars cost less than some of the ukes.


omg the tuner buttons on the mickey uke!!!!
http://www.walmart.com/ip/Disney-Mickey-Mouse-Mini-Guitar/38236313
:bowdown:

Ah ... the inspirer of this whole endeavor has arrived in the thread. Welcome, BirdsEye! You and your Beano planted this seed in my head that has sprouted today.

I know, right?! Love those tuners ... and the pink bows on Minnie!


yeah it grew on me. Think I will keep it. The tuners are a big plus in that the knobs are large and easy to turn, but for my bigger hands it gets tight against the other tuner. Also the "brass" gear in the back of the tuner is just painted plastic. Hope that part can be swapped out for a real metal gear. I am working on a full review. Just waiting for the strings to be stretched enough to last through a demo vid.

Kelly, great sound test video and initial review. I love that you're keeping it after all ... I was going to keep one and give away one ... and now I am just wanting to buy more .... :)


All four ukuleles sound best with a very light touch and fingered close to the fret. The Outdoor Uke/Plastic Uke threads found on this forum go into a lot of detail on how to play these types of ukuleles.

My Minnie has a different picture than yours, UkeCan1. I want to read your review once it the strings settle. I wrote about these when the BugsGear and Woodi ones came out, but it didn't attract much interest. Thanks for starting this thread!

Laura, thanks for the great pics and your love of these ukes ... makes me confident I'll love it too once it settles. I love your yellow Aloha ... do they not make that one any more? I didn't see it anywhere.

And thanks for the playing tips! I'll look for the thread you mentioned. If you can find it, do let us know - it looks really helpful.

And yeah, I noticed at http://discovery.firstact.com that the pics are different. They're also completely different characters and designs than the three pictured in the Wal-Mart ad. (Which you can also see on their web site.) Seems like they keep changing them up. So if you like the current designs, you might want to snap them up!

I will most likely do a video review rather than written - easier for me - hope that suffices. It's amazing to me the attention this little thread is attracting. I'm learning as much as anyone, about these new ukes I bought ... so thanks, everyone!

bird's eye view of my ukelele
11-26-2014, 06:32 PM
:D The Minnie one has bow tuners!
so cute! this kind of detailing shows care and thought went into the design. my beano uke has very small tuner buttons, again i think it's a nice touch, they look good, it makes the headstock look nice.


the beano gnasher uke i have (the beano is a UK comic, main character in it is dennis the menace, he has a dog called gnasher, and there is a girl character minnie the minx, all three characters have their own beano uke, all three characters are in fact on each of the three uke designs, but if you have the gnasher uke, it is gnasher the dog who is the biggest character on the uke, he is the star of it, and so on and so forth with whoever your fave out of the three is) blah what was i saying oh yeah...

my uke was quiet when i first got it, but it tuned up very well, i could hear straight away it had good intonation. the strings it came with were clear, but a bit thicker than living water fluorocarbons, i changed the strings to living water fluorocarbons, my fave strings for soprano and concert ukes, it made the uke a lot louder and clearer and cleaner sounding. the beano uke is 13 and a half inch scale, and it is wood.

the key thing with the strings is yes change them to something good, defo fluorocarbon, in my opinion they sound better on the small ukes, soprano and concert, than aquilas. (i use aquilas on my tenor and baritone ukes, i like them, i like the wound strings (low g on the tenor) so i am not anti aquilas i just think the fluorocarbons sound brighter and that really suits a small uke). also stretch the strings very thoroughly when you first put them on and tune up, keep stretching them and re-tuning until you aren't getting huge drops on pitch every time you stretch them, this really really REALLY helps new strings settle fast and be genuinely playable quicker.

the tuners on my uke seem to be all metal...

ok i think i'm done here, forgive me for banging on about my uke, i just wanted to share my experiences with a cute cheap cartoon uke in case any of it might help.

YES i play mine ALL THE TIME! it sounds fab, i play loud, i am not gentle with my strumming!

oh and wendy, i fitted strap pins to my tenor uke and my baritone but i've never felt i personally needed to for my soprano and concert ukes, i know everyone is different and if a strap helps a person play then yay for the strap, but for a small uke, just try holding it so your strumming arm firmly holds the uke to your body, your fretting hand should not have to support the neck very much, your body and forearm are doing all the holding work. this works for high on the chest or lower around tummy level. i will not get into the specifics of female anatomy but this holding technique can work above the problem area or on your tummy near the hip, below the problem area.

end of beano uke meandering, back to you guys and your fab disney ukes

bird's eye view of my ukelele
11-26-2014, 07:21 PM
ooh no excuse me one more time, ohmless, i use a cherub clip-on mic on my beano uke and alot of my other ukes, sometimes on the headstock, sometimes clipped slightly precariously to the bridge, they work really well, you pick up some of the sounds of moving your hands up and down the neck but i think that is true of any piezo pick up, even built in, clipping to the bridge helps with that, well worth a try before drilling and adding something, or sticking something to the uke, the clip-on mics are literally just a couple of quid, just a few bucks, well worth trying one

ok no really i am outta here for typing but will be back for reading!

Brian1
11-26-2014, 08:40 PM
I have been looking for the last few days to try the mod-podge idea from last week on a ukulele and change it up to any character(s) I like. I think this might be worth trying, pick up some gorilla glue or apoxy to glue on a couple of buttons and maybe even try to instal one of those cheap pick ups they have on e-bay.

I have not looked at the ukes they have at walmart for about a year or so, they seem to have a lot of Uke related stuff on their website for store pick up.

Brian1
11-26-2014, 09:56 PM
I just noticed that the website has lowered the price on a few plastic cartoon ukes from $24 to $10 The Micky and Mini are more on the website but there is a princess and a "cars" uke available for $10 and it looks like if you buy $50 there is free shipping or free store pick up at a store of your choice. (not just in ukuleles)

(purple and brown)

Walmart #: 552704861

Walmart #: 552704857

actadh
11-27-2014, 02:27 AM
Look at at the ToysRus website for more options. Bit pricier but they have Black Friday discounts.

UkeCan1
11-27-2014, 02:33 AM
OOPS - I WAS WRONG ... SALE IS THURSDAY 6PM THROUGH FRIDAY ONLY!!!!!
And looks like all day Thursday and Friday online (http://www.walmart.com/ip/Disney-Doc-McStuffins-Mini-Guitar/37424556) - free store pickup (AFTER the rush - yay! :cheers:).

So first, of all - that. The sale is only today and tomorrow - I discovered last night I misread it. Sorry for misleading you all!

And, I followed Brian1's message to see that, yes indeed, they are available online for $10 NOW (http://www.walmart.com/ip/Disney-Doc-McStuffins-Mini-Guitar/37424556) ... with free in-store pickup.
And just to clarify, there's no minimum order required for free in-store pickup. The $50 minimum is only if you want it shipped to you free.
Which means ... yes, indeed ... you can buy them for $10 without ever having to enter a Wal-Mart store during the dreaded Black Friday weekend, or leaving your Thanksgiving table in the middle of dinner.
So, happy Thanksgiving!

(Me, I now have to go back to my store ON BLACK FRIDAY if I'm going to get the $20 back on the two I bought. Which, you know, I'd like to, because then I can buy two more online. :) Gonna try 7am ... but that might be worse ... maybe midnight is better. Or tonight on my way home.... :))

The designs available online for $10 are the three that were in the ad (Doc McStuffins, Cars, and Sofia (the one I was calling Snow White)) ... and not the Mickey and Minnie models available in the stores ... or at least, my local store. Though I should think if you bought one online, you could maybe trade it in for Mickey or Minnie after the holiday, if you really wanted that one.

bnolsen
11-27-2014, 03:41 AM
thx. just ordered a cars one the lazy way. pickup est dec 2

UkeCan1
11-27-2014, 03:50 AM
By the way, I want this one (http://discovery.firstact.com/content/ss285-elmo-uke). Elmo. In red. I haven't yet seen this one for sale online ... will investigate.

Also, at that page, under "Resources", is a link to this helpful PDF (http://discovery.firstact.com/sites/default/files/product_resources/FG404-Uke%20guide.pdf), that shows how to restring these ... for those like me who have not had to do anything more complicated than tie an overhand knot in the bottom end of our Flea strings so far.

It also shows how to tune it. I find it a bit disappointing that this PDF is not in the packaging of all these First Act ukes (and also that they don't call them ukes, so people know what they're getting!). We here know, of course ... but I imagining all those non-musician parents who pick up one of these on a whim, thinking it will be a great first instrument for their little one ... and then hand it over to said little one out of the box, with the strings all slack and unplayable ... with absolutely no instructions in the box on how to turn it into an actual music-making thing ... AND a misleading name on the box so they can't even look it up, if it even occurs to them to do so. There really ought to be some small piece of paper in the box ... and/or instructions on the box. Makes me sad to think of all those missed opportunities.

Laura - yes, Toys R Us carries First Act products too, and other stores. The http://discovery.firstact.com web site shows also Target, K-Mart, Meijer, and Amazon. And Claire's. (Who?!) If you go to that link and check out each brand under the "Co-Brands" menu, you'll see a few other cartoon ukes under some of the brands ... Disney, Sesame Street, 1D (One Direction), and Nickelodeon. So it might be worth checking all those stores' and brands' web sites too.

Lynda / BirdsEye - since you are the inspirer of this whole thread in the first place, I could not be more thrilled you've joined the party, and provided such great info, ideas, and more about your fabulous Beano. Thanks for all that! "Bang on" (in both the conversational and musical senses) to your heart's content, my friend ... always great.

I'm a big fan of fluorocarbon strings. I have (courtesy of the marvelous Magic Fluke company) Fremont Black Lines on my Flea now, and I love them. Before that I had Martin M600's on it, briefly, before the gouged fretboard that Magic Fluke ended up replacing for free broke one of them ... and I loved those almost as much. I haven't tried Living Waters yet ... but maybe I will for one of these cartoon ukes. They are now available in the US for only $14 with shipping (http://ukerepublic.bigcartel.com/product/living-water-ukulele-fluorocarbon-strings) - not too bad. The Martins are also great, and will instantly transform any cheap uke into a way more playable, better sounding uke, are about $5, and available in local music stores like Sam Ash. I'll try those first ... the Living Waters are more than the uke, lol.

Re straps: I am close to useless with any uke that does not hold itself exactly where I want to play it with no help from my hands and arms, so that's my criterion for straps ... they must hold the uke firmly exactly where I want to play it, with no help from me. I'll figure something out for this one. And will no doubt make a video of it. :)

Anyway, I envision this as my wearable, carry-around, go-anywhere uke ... so a good strap will be required for it to be that. Currently I wear my Flea like that, and it's great ... I can talk to people, eat, fetch things, do most anything ... and then ... oh, hey - there's this uke right here, ready to play at a moment's notice. (And of course, a wearable uke worn on the front of a person does attract the occasional request....) I am hoping that this cute tiny hot pink light-as-air cartoon uke will be even better for that than the Flea. The strap is what makes that work.

Thanks for all the great suggestions!

UkeCan1
11-27-2014, 03:53 AM
thx. just ordered a cars one the lazy way. pickup est dec 2

That is definitely the better way! If I'd known about it yesterday, I'd have ordered the Sofia online and be done with it. But now I have two hot pink Minnies! That I would not have known about otherwise. And I have them now. :) And this thread might not be all that it is.

You definitely chose the smart route ... and I am happy I did what I did ... in service of you all. :)

Chopped Liver
11-27-2014, 03:54 AM
I saw the Elmo one. I want a Grover one!

Hm . . . I guess it's UAS no matter how low the price is . . .

UkeCan1
11-27-2014, 04:00 AM
I saw the Elmo one. I want a Grover one!

Hm . . . I guess it's UAS no matter how low the price is . . .

Like AL said, this is where it starts. (http://forum.ukuleleunderground.com/showthread.php?102404-10-Cartoon-Character-Ukes-at-Walmart-get-them-today-or-take-a-chance-this-weekend&p=1610108#post1610108) :)

UkeCan1
11-27-2014, 04:27 AM
Toys R Us has a tie-dye one. I'm in love! (http://www.toysrus.com/product/index.jsp?productId=43544786)

vanflynn
11-27-2014, 04:38 AM
By the way, I want this one (http://discovery.firstact.com/content/ss285-elmo-uke). Elmo. In red.



I bet it comes with Grover tuners. (Sorry, couldn't resist)

kvehe
11-27-2014, 04:43 AM
Take your pick:

(1) You guys are so bad!

or

(2) I love you all.

Having said that, the last thing in the world that I need is another knock-about soprano. I mean, come on, I have two Outdoor Ukes. In addition, I hate cartoons; always have, always will (possible exception - some episodes of South Park). I have never been a Disney fan. Ever. I used to love WalMart; now I'm bordering on viewing them as evil incarnate.

I will pick up my Doc McStuffins on Tuesday.

Happy Thanksgiving to all!

UkeCan1
11-27-2014, 04:46 AM
Take your pick:

(1) You guys are so bad!

or

(2) I love you all.

Having said that, the last thing in the world that I need is another knock-about soprano. I mean, come on, I have two Outdoor Ukes. In addition, I hate cartoons; always have, always will (possible exception - some episodes of South Park). I have never been a Disney fan. Ever.

I will pick up my Doc McStuffins on Tuesday.

Happy Thanksgiving to all!

Please accept my apologies. Sincerely. :)
What the heck is Doc McStuffins anyway? I never heard of that!

Why choose? I see absolutely no conflict between #1 and #2.

actadh
11-27-2014, 04:59 AM
Regarding straps - I use a bright yellow sound hole strap to match my bright yellow ukulele. Cost is about $3 on eBay. I also use my Mobius strap.

kvehe
11-27-2014, 05:07 AM
LOL, no apologies necessary!

I had never heard of Doc McStuffins either, but the uke is purple and has various medical symbols all over it. I'm a pharmacist and may keep this as my office uke (replacing or supplementing a green [the official color of pharmacy - how many of you knew that? - you learn something here every day] Dolphin)*. Apparently Doc McStuffins is a Disney TV show about a young girl of color who can heal broken toys. Or something like that.

You're right, of course. I love all of you bad people. :D

* OTOH, having a ukulele in my office is strange enough; maybe I shouldn't make it worse by bringing in a cartoon-character one or (worse) having two of them. Oh well, I've worked here for 25 years; everyone knows me by now. :D

Rllink
11-27-2014, 05:17 AM
Hahaha, I love this thread. Not a single post about getting a set up. A few about changing out the strings. Wouldn't want those cheap factory strings on your cheap Disney ukulele. No, it is OK, I love the videos of people having fun with their ukes. That is what it is really all about, as far as I'm concerned.

bnolsen
11-27-2014, 05:28 AM
Toys R Us has a tie-dye one. I'm in love! (http://www.toysrus.com/product/index.jsp?productId=43544786)

this is probably the best one looks wise, not price wise tho...

actadh
11-27-2014, 05:29 AM
I am using the cheap factory strings going on a year now. I have a set of Martins for it, but it is easier to plunk away on the original strings.

The tuners are tight. I can practice chords or fingerpicking.

It sounds better to play quietly than loudly, so it is perfect for playing at work, while traveling and being a model guest in a motel room, or to play around sleeping family members.

I can match it to my accessories since I wear bright gaudy stuff.

And, it brings a smile to my face. What is not to love?

Rllink
11-27-2014, 05:35 AM
I am using the cheap factory strings going on a year now. I have a set of Martins for it, but it is easier to plunk away on the original strings.

The tuners are tight. I can practice chords or fingerpicking. It plays better quietly than loudly so it is perfect for playing at work or around sleeping family members. I can match it to my accessories. And, it brings a smile to my face. What is not to love?I'm in total agreement.

ohmless
11-27-2014, 06:15 AM
here is another small bit of finger pickin' on the new little one.


http://youtu.be/CthhsnWrdW0

ohmless
11-27-2014, 06:36 AM
sorry can only add one vid per post. This is the last demo i will post on it. it is a fun little sucker.


http://youtu.be/KuHqcFCYxx0

UkeCan1
11-27-2014, 06:46 AM
Well, Kelly is posting much better reviews than me, and his uke appears to have settled a lot better and faster than mine. Anyway, here's mine:

Here's a quick Thanksgiving Day update on my $10 Wal-Mart Disney Minnie Mouse cartoon uke purchase. It's growing on me. I played it a bit at 6:50 and (better) 7:20. Yeah, I talk too much. Sorry.


http://youtu.be/NqmP4w51EqY

actadh
11-27-2014, 10:16 AM
Love all of your videos.

These are great little ukuleles for travel since you don't have to bother with a gig bag or case. They fit in my vintage overnight cases. Tie them down and tuck clothes around them.

bird's eye view of my ukelele
11-27-2014, 12:32 PM
actadh - the aloha uke is just gorgeous

and i love the colour matching with the cases!

Chopped Liver
11-27-2014, 01:03 PM
i bet it comes with grover tuners. (sorry, couldn't resist)
hahahahahahahaha! :D

rickkes
11-27-2014, 01:48 PM
I just came home from my local WallyWorld with 3 of 'em. a Doc McStuffins, a Sofia the First and a Lightning McQueen. I love that the McQueen uke has car wheels for tuner buttons! they are super easy to turn . . .

as a P.S., I will never go to Walmart on Thanksgiving day again . . .the crowd was massive!. . .but everybody was in a good mood. two folks with 2 filled shopping carts each even let me go in front of them in line after they saw I only had 3 things . . .

timmit65
11-27-2014, 03:24 PM
After reading this thread, I had to go get one! For $10.00, you just cant beat it. Mine doesn't have any paint on the tuner gears as mentioned earlier. Here are a couple of pix of mine. I didn't see any of the black based Cars version. 73413

Brian1
11-27-2014, 05:41 PM
Will I ever learn ??

I went to the walmart to look for a $10 ukulele, they were out of them but I spent $70
I came home to buy one on line and now the $10 ukes are sold out on line (but still have Mickey for $16.09)
So I bought TWO Schoenhut ukes (for $29.95ea) so I could save $4.95 on shipping when spending more than $50.

How does anyone fall for this ?

UkeCan1
11-27-2014, 06:21 PM
Haha, Brian!!!!! So sorry your trip went that way. Sounds like Timmit and Rickkes and I had better luck at the Thanksgiving night Wal-Mart game.

I was in fact able to get $9.97 + tax refunded on each of the two Minnies I bought yesterday ... and although the store had apparently sold out of the ukes hours before, I did also manage to find a Sofia (the very one I had been about to buy online earlier and hadn't ... and now learn are sold out) in one of a group of shopping carts full of random stuff. So I came home with $10.64 more than I went in with, plus a third cartoon uke. Hopefully after the holidays the ukes will come back in stock, and I can trade the plinky Minnie in for a blue Mickey.

Don't know what I'll do for a Season 150 prize now, because I want to keep them all. :) Hopefully I can still get somebody a Mickey or Minnie online for $16 after the New Year, because I would love to give one away!

I was at a different store than the one I bought at yesterday (because it was more on my way home from Thanksgiving dinner at 10:45pm). At first the two customer service reps told me they could not in fact give me the sale price on yesterday's ukes, but I just kept smiling and being friendly and believing they would do it ... and one turned to the other and said, "Do it for her," and she did.

Yeah, the parking lot and store were buzzing, but it wasn't bad at all, really - full but not really bottle-necked, everyone was friendly, I smiled a lot and was patient and friendly, and I quite enjoyed myself. I was quite happy I'd gone late and not tried to brave the crowds at 6! I had a really fun Thanksgiving dinner, where I got to play ukes with another guest ... because I had the Minnies with me, in addition to my Flea. I left when everybody else did, and I stopped by Wal-Mart on the way back with a relaxed attitude, trusting it would all work out, and it did.

So all good in Wally-World!

UkeCan1
11-27-2014, 06:34 PM
Laura, I love your color-coordinated uke packing! That's a whole lotta pink in that one case. But how do you protect the strings? Just clothes? I'd think I'd want at least a backpack around them or cloth bag or something.

The Minnies are settling nicely as of tonight ... at least the non-plinky one, which I played a bit at the Thanksgiving gathering. I got to experience two advantages to having one of these:

1) As someone hinted earlier, quiet can be a benefit. I was able to play a bit by myself at the dining table during a lull in the action, without disturbing the Eagles game and its watchers in the neighboring living room, or the conversation in the adjoining kitchen. I was able to run through a song I'm working on, make mistakes and fix them, and not worry about who was hearing me.

I was overheard just enough though, that one of the game watchers asked what I was playing, so I started to play the song for them during a commercial ... and the two of us soon ended up sitting around my iPad of song charts on a nice music stand they happened to have right there, playing Pete Seeger songs and Santana and Woody Guthrie (his requests).

2) So, second benefit of the cartoon ukes ... I can supply an impromptu uke jam. Those cute things make it a whole lot easier to get others playing with me.

Captain Simian
11-29-2014, 04:51 AM
Just got back from a quick trip to Walmart and as of 8:30AM MST they're still priced at $10, a few marked down to $7 because of damaged packaging.

UkeCan1
11-29-2014, 05:31 AM
Interesting! My local store was sold out of them by 11pm Thursday night. And they're sold out online. So I guess it's worth a trip to your local store if you're up for that. There are other stores near me ... it's New Jersey, we have many ... maybe I should call around. Because, you know, I only have three at this point. :)

$7! My bargain-shopper UAS is really itching right now.....
HELP!!!!!

bunnyf
11-29-2014, 03:01 PM
Got my Minnie on Friday, no problem. They didn't have a ton, but they had a few each of Minnie's, Mickey, and princesses. Tuned it n the car on the way home, found the clear strings a bit floppy in C tuning and obviously didn't hold a tune for more than a second. I guess once the string settle I could tune it up a bit for better tension, if don't care what key I'm in or I'll just restring with different set. I will bring this Uke into school and leave it there to play when the urge strikes, without being too noisy (it is on the quiet side but as others have said, that's not always a bad thing). Good enough to play around preschoolers without the worry. Thanks for posting, I would not have thought of looking at W-M (in fact, I wasn't looking for or needing another uke, but I thought, how cute and what the heck...$10!!! I had been using my Flea at school but real young kids can be awfully rough with things. This little cheapie will take its place and the Flea saved for camping and beach.

Brian1
11-29-2014, 05:29 PM
I found one these yesterday at the second walmart I tried. I got it home and tuned it up, after a day I am not sure it was worth the effort.

Has anyone replaced the strings and tried it out yet? I spent another $5 plus tax at Guitar Center on Martin Strings, but I don't know if I should waist them on this thing or not. I don't want crimp and shorten the strings so they can't be used on another uke if they are not going to sound much better or play at least a little louder.

I hear "its only the cost of new strings" a lot around here I can't be the only tight-wad who cringes every time he hears that. When they cost 50% as much as an instrument strings are expensive !

bunnyf
11-30-2014, 01:25 AM
Brian1, I'm with you! I was going to change them right out (I have the Minnie with clear strings).,when I thought I had a set of Aquilas or LW laying around from a previous string swap. When I found that I didn't, I figured I'd wait til a few people posted that they made a huge difference. Not the only frugal one.

UkeCan1
11-30-2014, 03:49 AM
Okay, so here's Minnie's music video debut ... a happy version of a depressing song (transformed to a major key). I have her tuned up to D instead of C ... her intonation issues are less egregious up there. (And, as Bunny mentioned, the strings feel tighter, more playable, less floppy.)

But yeah, the intonations are less, but still there. I'll post the promised review video soon. In the meantime, I think this is the perfect kind of song for my "Happy to Be ME!" Minnie ... so see what you think.


http://youtu.be/J8Zdh6AtrZk

I too am very curious to know how much difference a string change will make, and which ones, from anybody who's tried it. Laura, you didn't mention the intonation problems, but all three of mine have them. Do better strings help this at all? And the loudness? The tone? I will go read the older thread about these ukes before I purchase anything.

ohmless
11-30-2014, 05:16 AM
I would have made the string change already but this one ends up having to be mailed to my son. When I went to buy another online for him the delivery date was December 15th, much too late to send him the second one. I would change these strings but my boy is only six and these strings are pretty well staying in tune for a song or two before needing touched again.

My plan for the volume issue is to get a cheap adhesive pickup for it, and to also change to a set of strings I am comfortable/familiar with.

UkeCan1
12-01-2014, 01:13 PM
Hahaha, I love this thread. Not a single post about getting a set up. A few about changing out the strings. Wouldn't want those cheap factory strings on your cheap Disney ukulele. No, it is OK, I love the videos of people having fun with their ukes. That is what it is really all about, as far as I'm concerned.

Thanks for pointing out our communal lack of mention of setup. In my case, at least, I plead new-ness to the whole ukulele / stringed instrument world. I've heard this term "setup", and the value of it, but until three days ago I didn't really know what it was ... and then it seemed expensive and something only a qualified professional could do ... and so therefore probably a bit out of reach for a $10 plastic cartoon uke.

A $5 string change (Martin fluorocarbons) has made a massive difference for my own soprano Flea, and to a number of cheap ukes bought by beginners who I've recommended it to. So that was the quick cheap fix I knew to try that seemed likely to help, even if wasn't going to fix all the problems with these cheap ukes. Seemed like the best bang for the buck ... worth a try.

But ... today I came across this: http://uke4u.com/how-to-do-a-ukulele-setup-tutorial/

It's exactly what I think we need to improve these Disney ukes. There are two videos - "Diagnosis" and "Therapy". The first shows how a uke should be setup, and how to test how it actually is. The second shows how to do your own setup with simple inexpensive tools you may already have on hand. The demonstration instrument is ... a 15-euro Sponge Bob plastic cartoon uke! (Pineapple-shaped, of course. (http://youtu.be/NiYPqcdDzlM))


SPOILER ALERT:
One of the most interesting things to me about the second video is that while the setup fix did indeed result in a setup that "looked" (measured) better ... it made little difference to the sound.

The thing that really made a night-and-day difference to the sound at the end of the video ... you guessed it ... a string change!
He recommends Aquila Nylguts or fluorocarbons ... same ones most of us have been talking about here.

SPOILER OVER ... U.A.S. WARNING NEXT!

I want one of these Sponge Bob ukes!!!!!!
(Or maybe three. :))

CeeJay
12-01-2014, 01:32 PM
I found one these yesterday at the second walmart I tried. I got it home and tuned it up, after a day I am not sure it was worth the effort.

Has anyone replaced the strings and tried it out yet? I spent another $5 plus tax at Guitar Center on Martin Strings, but I don't know if I should waist them on this thing or not. I don't want crimp and shorten the strings so they can't be used on another uke if they are not going to sound much better or play at least a little louder.

I hear "its only the cost of new strings" a lot around here I can't be the only tight-wad who cringes every time he hears that. When they cost 50% as much as an instrument strings are expensive !

Get some fishing line then ...that is all it flaming well is anyway really ...with a jazzypants fancy name and superslick marketing campaign behind it....:old:


Listening to Wendy's version of Those Were The Days I think the uke would benefit from heavier grade strings to give a bit more depth ...the lightweights that are on it make it sound a little "plastic" (no kidding duh ??) but with a heavier guage nylon and sat in the bath or the shower cubicle could sound a lot of fun .......that is what plaggy yooks are for, yes ?:nana:

perep
12-02-2014, 04:50 AM
Hey everyone out there, I wound up with 5 (FIVE) of these, they are so pretty with the designs on them. I traded out for Aquilas on my Mickey which I will keep for display,but it did sound a little better than orig. strings, others still in boxes. Got two Sofia, 2 mickeys, one Minnie. Two of the grandchildren will have Sofia & Mickey with orig strings which when tuned were not so bad. I will see how the strings hold up, WHAT DO YOU WANT FOR 10 BUCKS? Worth every penny to have laying around the house for kids to pick up & plunk. FUN, FUN, FUN

UkeCan1
12-02-2014, 05:21 AM
Get some fishing line then ...that is all it flaming well is anyway really ...with a jazzypants fancy name and superslick marketing campaign behind it....:old:

Listening to Wendy's version of Those Were The Days I think the uke would benefit from heavier grade strings to give a bit more depth ...the lightweights that are on it make it sound a little "plastic" (no kidding duh ??) but with a heavier guage nylon and sat in the bath or the shower cubicle could sound a lot of fun .......that is what plaggy yooks are for, yes ?:nana:

Apparently fishing line is exactly what these original strings are ... several folks have said so. A friend of mine has tried buying fishing line for strings that break frequently ... the experiment did not go all that well, as I recall. Better to get decent strings, is my guess.

Any recommendations for what to try, Ceej? The original strings are thinner than nylon, but thicker than fluorocarbon strings. The Martin M600 fluoros have so far been my go-to strings for transforming cheap ukes. Would you recommend against that?


Hey everyone out there, I wound up with 5 (FIVE) of these, they are so pretty with the designs on them. I traded out for Aquilas on my Mickey which I will keep for display,but it did sound a little better than orig. strings, others still in boxes. Got two Sofia, 2 mickeys, one Minnie. Two of the grandchildren will have Sofia & Mickey with orig strings which when tuned were not so bad. I will see how the strings hold up, WHAT DO YOU WANT FOR 10 BUCKS? Worth every penny to have laying around the house for kids to pick up & plunk. FUN, FUN, FUN

I'm curious how everyone but me seems to be finding these ukes to be reasonably playable, tunable, and intonated, even with the original strings. My experience has been not so much. I seem to be the only one who's needed to tune them up to D ... and even then ..... My "Those Were the Days" video (http://youtu.be/J8Zdh6AtrZk) makes me cringe to listen to. I don't have these issues with my Flea, but I dunno ... am I doing something wrong? Playing wrong? I'm pretty much self-taught, and relatively new, so it's entirely possible.

Please help!

Olarte
12-02-2014, 05:39 AM
I don't care for aquila strings. So I usually change them for worth Browns right Away and keep the aquilas for cas a like this. Big you don't have any old sets perhaps it's time to upgrade strings on one of your other Ukes and use the old ones on the Disney Ukes?

perep
12-02-2014, 05:50 AM
UkeCan1
For 10 bucks it plays really wel (for 10 bucks)l, sorry about yours BUT you have a GREAT LOOKING uke there in the end. When I was starting to tighten strings I kept hearing a cracking sound like the bridge would fly off because of tension of Aquilas, so far, so good, still stretching

UkeCan1
12-02-2014, 07:19 AM
UkeCan1
For 10 bucks it plays really wel (for 10 bucks)l, sorry about yours BUT you have a GREAT LOOKING uke there in the end. When I was starting to tighten strings I kept hearing a cracking sound like the bridge would fly off because of tension of Aquilas, so far, so good, still stretching

I have three of them, and they all play and sound about the same. I handed one around to at least three or four other better players than me (one uke, one string bass, and at least one guitar player) ... and it sounded way better in all of their hands than when I play it. I don't think it's the ukes ... I think it's me!

My Fleas plays, sounds, and intonates just fine in my hands. That said, I quite recently replaced the plastic fretboard due to string gouges in it, and already the new fretboard is starting to get some grooves in it too. I can't see anything I'm doing that's different from what anybody else does, but from these two pieces of evidence, I'm starting to think I'm doing something wrong!

Thoughts, anyone?


I don't care for aquila strings. So I usually change them for worth Browns right Away and keep the aquilas for cas a like this. Big you don't have any old sets perhaps it's time to upgrade strings on one of your other Ukes and use the old ones on the Disney Ukes?

Haha, I have only one other uke ... a soprano Flea ... and it has quite new strings already that I love a lot ... Fremont Black Line fluorocarbons.

I'll wait to hear more suggestions, but I think I will start with a $5 set of Martins from my local Sam Ash store on one of the ukes, and see how I like those. Depending on results, I might try something else on one of the others.

kvehe
12-02-2014, 07:33 AM
So much for that. I received an email from WalMart telling me that my order was complete. I thought, incorrectly as it turned out, that that meant it was ready for pickup today. I went to WalMart and the guy yelled at me that it was in the store, but he had 150 other items ahead of me, and what was my hurry? No hurry at all, sir, in fact you can keep it. I wouldn't mind going back, but he was appallingly rude. I'm done with WalMart.

Update: I received the official "your item is ready to be picked up" email. I waited six hours and went back. I waited in line for thirty minutes, only to be yelled at again by the same guy, who said it was not ready, and why had I come back so soon? Ummmm....because the email said it was ready? The service manager went to look for it, but the yelling guy said she'd never find it because it was in a bin with 200 other items. I canceled the order, and thirty minutes later had a text telling me to come back because they had found it. No way.

Brian1
12-02-2014, 07:51 AM
Get some fishing line then ...that is all it flaming well is anyway really ...with a jazzypants fancy name and superslick marketing campaign behind it....:old:

:

I would like to know what type of fishing line what gage etc... I have heard ukes played with fishing line that sounded good, but they used 4 different types of fishing line. I have looked into it, but fishing line is about 15 per roll at 4 different rolls you are looking at about $60 to string your first uke. (The cost of 12 sets of martin strings and may not sound as good)



I'm curious how everyone but me seems to be finding these ukes to be reasonably playable, tunable, and intonated, even with the original strings. My experience has been not so much. I seem to be the only one who's needed to tune them up to D ... and even then ..... !

No you are not the only one mine doesn't play worth a flip. I ended up getting two, i opened one and am taking the other back. The first one I am going to take apart and see what is going on inside it seems for some reason they decided to put a thick plastic wall inside blocking off all vibration from the bridge to the sound hole area.


UkeCan1
For 10 bucks it plays really wel (for 10 bucks)l, sorry about yours BUT you have a GREAT LOOKING uke there in the end. When I was starting to tighten strings I kept hearing a cracking sound like the bridge would fly off because of tension of Aquilas, so far, so good, still stretching

For 10 bucks I expected more, when I can go to guitar center and get a $30 playable uke or e-bay and get something fun for even less.
Here is a uke made out of a cardboard box that sounds better :https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XSOpltXnJPQ (go to 2:10)
Here is one that is made out of a plastic kitchen bowl : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4GCSSI5HCkk
And a frying pan: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nX9PhDpKVZU (not much better)

actadh
12-02-2014, 08:13 AM
I have three of these ukes and have had them for nearly a year.

My yellow one is a First Act Discovery Aloha bought at TJ Maxx. The Discovery ones are also sold at Toys R Us like the cool tie dyed one. The Discovery ones are aimed at the preschool market.

While it looks the same as my Walmart First Act pink and blue Disney ones -First Act are aimed at the elementary school set - the yellow Discovery one is much smoother where the top meets the sides, and the tuners hold much better.

So, it might be that the Walmart ones are made from the same molds, but put together somewhat sloppy/in haste etc.

Brian1
12-02-2014, 08:49 AM
I have three of these ukes and have had them for nearly a year.

My yellow one is a First Act Discovery Aloha bought at TJ Maxx. The Discovery ones are also sold at Toys R Us like the cool tie dyed one. The Discovery ones are aimed at the preschool market.

While it looks the same as my Walmart First Act pink and blue Disney ones -First Act are aimed at the elementary school set - the yellow Discovery one is much smoother where the top meets the sides, and the tuners hold much better.

So, it might be that the Walmart ones are made from the same molds, but put together somewhat sloppy/in haste etc.



Does the discovery also have that > shaped wall inside that keeps the top from vibrating ? It would make sense if you are making an instrument for a preschool market that you deaden the sound.

Olarte
12-02-2014, 08:58 AM
honestly I only see this strictly as collectible toys\ukes. I have a toy story one from a few years that I hang on the wall as part of my collection. And being Disney's Mickey and Minnie, that's the only value I see for them. Other than using old or spare strings on them, I would not bother adding more to their cost.

$45 will buy you a Makala dolphin, or shark which are actually decent playable ukes for the price.

just my 2 cents here.. :2cents::old:

UkeCan1
12-02-2014, 10:37 AM
I have three of these ukes and have had them for nearly a year.

My yellow one is a First Act Discovery Aloha bought at TJ Maxx. The Discovery ones are also sold at Toys R Us like the cool tie dyed one. The Discovery ones are aimed at the preschool market.

While it looks the same as my Walmart First Act pink and blue Disney ones -First Act are aimed at the elementary school set - the yellow Discovery one is much smoother where the top meets the sides, and the tuners hold much better.

So, it might be that the Walmart ones are made from the same molds, but put together somewhat sloppy/in haste etc.

Ah, interesting ... and too bad. But previously you said all three of yours played reasonably well? Or do the Walmart ones play less well?

actadh
12-02-2014, 11:29 AM
They all play well, it was the finishing aspects that were better on the Discovery version such as no burrs and the parts fit together well. The tuners are a better on the Discovery one. I have to hold the top and bottom on the A string tuner on the Minnie while winding, but that is the only one that has an issue.

All three cost me about $50 and I don't have to worry about them when I "play ukulele" with the kids. My toddler granddaughter loves the process of playing and mimics what she sees me do. She puts my Snark on and re-tunes everything (actually, she takes it out of tune) by plucking each string and looking at the Snark while twisting the geared tuners. Then she flips through my binder to find a song - she always picks one that has a picture even if it is just a chord sheet, and it may be upside down. She is a lefty, and she strums away, sings, and dances while she plays. When she is done, she wipes it down and puts it away.

Yes, they are toys, but they are fun toys that can light a spark of interest. They come in handy when a better built ukulele may get damaged, or when weather conditions may limit playing a "real" ukulele. I am building memories - I will gladly be the grandma with the silly plastic ukes that can be played anytime you want. We will use them for caroling in a couple of weeks.

Olarte
12-02-2014, 11:42 AM
Exactly, in fact I got the cars one for my first grandson who is expected in Aprol 2015. It's his first xmas present from me, and hopefully something similar to what you wrote will happen. Lovely story by the way. Thanks for sharing it!


They all play well, it was the finishing aspects that were better on the Discovery version such as no burrs and the parts fit together well. The tuners are a better on the Discovery one. I have to hold the top and bottom on the A string tuner on the Minnie while winding, but that is the only one that has an issue.

All three cost me about $50 and I don't have to worry about them when I "play ukulele" with the kids. My toddler granddaughter loves the process of playing and mimics what she sees me do. She puts my Snark on and re-tunes everything (actually, she takes it out of tune) by plucking each string and looking at the Snark while twisting the geared tuners. Then she flips through my binder to find a song - she always picks one that has a picture even if it is just a chord sheet, and it may be upside down. She is a lefty, and she strums away, sings, and dances while she plays. When she is done, she wipes it down and puts it away.

Yes, they are toys, but they are fun toys that can light a spark of interest. They come in handy when a better built ukulele may get damaged, or when weather conditions may limit playing a "real" ukulele. I am building memories - I will gladly be the grandma with the silly plastic ukes that can be played anytime you want. We will use them for caroling in a couple of weeks.

Brian1
12-02-2014, 03:02 PM
I have to say that these things are really well put together it took for ever for me to take it apart.

7360273603

It seems the big problem with the sound is that triangular part that connects the part where the bridge is screwed in from underneath. It basically is there for support but prevents the top from vibrating because the support connects the the top and is glued to the back in the middle of the body.

I am going to try to cut the support out with a dremel tool and see if I can put it back together the thing is sturdy enough to not need that added support.

Edit: My dremel is missing it's charger, and they have discontinued the replacement part.

CeeJay
12-02-2014, 03:27 PM
Fishing Line ..you would need four different breaking strengths I suppose (you could probably get away with two different ones on Minnie and Co. to start with)....Cultivate a friendship with someone who likes sitting on the banks of a river for hours and get some odds and ends to start with I suppose....or cheapo fishing line


http://www.gooutdoors.co.uk/fishing/fishing-accessories/fishing-line

scroll down and you will some spools at about 3.50 .....one set of Worths is about 15 squids in the UK.......so you could be well ahead of the game.....



I may try this out on Little Red ..the 10 quid Lazy Palm ...

Brian1
12-02-2014, 04:27 PM
Be careful with fishing line if you get too strong you could possibly damage your bridge.

CeeJay
12-02-2014, 04:43 PM
Be careful with fishing line if you get too strong you could possibly damage your bridge.

Good call ...I will try it on the old banjer uke...steel bridge ...well steel string holder ...thing -- thingy ...

theabsurdman
12-03-2014, 12:38 AM
I like plastic ukes, but they don't seem to age very well.
I have a couple of 1950s examples as projects: a Selcol "The Columbian" and a Mauna Loa which are both awaiting work to strighten/ stiffen their necks.

Chopped Liver
12-03-2014, 01:08 AM
Hm . . . seems like that plastic might also get a tad soft if you leave it in a hot car - which would affect the neck, too . . .

Brian1
12-03-2014, 07:37 AM
Speaking as the guy that took one of these things apart, I don't think leaving it in the car will be an issue. I think these things could last for 50 years. They are put together REALLY well they just have a horrible design flaw.

Chopped Liver
12-03-2014, 12:29 PM
OK, thanks for the info! I guess Minnie might just be living in my car . . .

Brian1
12-03-2014, 12:41 PM
OK, thanks for the info! I guess Minnie might just be living in my car . . .

I am not an expert but am guessing this plastic is similar to the kind that the fake wood on a dashboard is made of. I don't know how well the strings will hold up in a hot car.

bnolsen
12-04-2014, 04:18 AM
Just got mine last night and got to play with it a little this morning.
It's definitely overbuilt. The pillar connecting the back to the top under the bridge makes sure of that.
Strings feel like monofilament. Really bad stuff.
From the photo I thought it might have a removable and adjustable saddle. Nope it's just a white plastic cap.

Intonation is superbly bad. After sort of getting it tuned up the C string intones directly between C and C# at the 12th fret. The best string intones about 25c sharp at the 12th fret. I'm thinking to not bother and probably return it as a toy for some kid. A string change won't fix the intonation problems. I guess it was interesting playing!

UkeCan1
12-04-2014, 04:41 AM
From the photo I thought it might have a removable and adjustable saddle. Nope it's just a white plastic cap.

Really? It looks removable to me ... haven't tried it yet ... it might be glued in tightly, but it sure looks like it should slide right out like in the DIY setup videos I posted.

ohmless
12-04-2014, 07:35 AM
mine wasn't nearly that bad at the 12th but it was sharp a couple ticks if i remember correctly. If you look at the profile of the uke you will see the action is much higher toward the saddle. At my stage of development I rarely go past the 5th fret so the couple ticks off tone I doubt could be heard, especially with how quiet the instrument is.

I look forward to December 15th when I can pick up the uke from Walmart. I am going to put some Martin strings on it right off. I hope the intonation isn't much worse on the new uke though. *fingers crossed*

Brian1
12-04-2014, 08:34 AM
Really? It looks removable to me ... haven't tried it yet ... it might be glued in tightly, but it sure looks like it should slide right out like in the DIY setup videos I posted.

No it is NOT removable, the top is ONE PIECE and the triangular post in the center is part of that piece and that piece is GLUED to the bottom of the inside. I spent an hour trying to remove that post (with a saw on a pocket knife) from the inside and gave up when I realized that the bridge is set down in a pocket not flat across the top. so only a small part of the bridge on the sideds even comes in contact with the top.

The poor design is poor.

That said was ANYBODY expecting to play this at the 12th fret ?

bnolsen
12-04-2014, 09:31 AM
In its current state I probably can't get past the 3rd fret before it gets annoying on the intonation.

timmit65
12-04-2014, 11:56 AM
I put a set of Curt Mangan strings on mine. I bought them on sale, to try. I think I've learned two things:
1-I'm not a fan of the Curt Mangan Uke strings!
2-Even the Curt Mangan strings are a vast improvement over what comes on these Ukes!

The intonation improved with the new strings and the tuning is more stable. As I mess around with it, I'm planning to describe the tone as "Low-Fi", from here on.

Brian1
12-04-2014, 01:27 PM
In its current state I probably can't get past the 3rd fret before it gets annoying on the intonation.

LOL

I got two of these and two Schoenhuts at Walmart, the one of these that I didn't take apart and cut up is going back. Both have plastic fret boards, and I noticed there are threads (somewhat heated for UU) about the schoenhuts, about the damage to the plastic fretboard, I did notice that the plastic fretboard on a schoenbut was damaged with florcarbin strings, I would not put florocarbin strings on one of these first act ukes (or any other string really). I notice that you have a shoenhut listed in your ukuleles have you been using nylon strings and if so how is the fretboard holding up ?

UkeCan1
12-04-2014, 02:18 PM
mine wasn't nearly that bad at the 12th but it was sharp a couple ticks if i remember correctly. If you look at the profile of the uke you will see the action is much higher toward the saddle. At my stage of development I rarely go past the 5th fret so the couple ticks off tone I doubt could be heard, especially with how quiet the instrument is.

Hmmm ... the first time I tested, mine was way off right from the first fret. I just tested again. In C tuning it's pretty bad (I tested Minnie 1). In D tuning, Sofia is not too bad at all ... the low string is worst, the others are not too bad. I played it gently and it sounded a lot better than it had before. Minnie 1's off a bit more, but still much less than the first time I tested.

Still, I think I have been pressing much too hard with my fretting hand. When other people played Minnie 1 last Friday it sounded pretty decent. When I played, it sounded hideous. Also, my brand new plastic fretboard on my Flea is already getting grooves, even though the Dale at Magic Fluke swore he didn't think that my playing or the fluorocarbon strings could be causing the damage. (I really need to call them again soon!)


No it is NOT removable, the top is ONE PIECE and the triangular post in the center is part of that piece and that piece is GLUED to the bottom of the inside. I spent an hour trying to remove that post (with a saw on a pocket knife) from the inside and gave up when I realized that the bridge is set down in a pocket not flat across the top. so only a small part of the bridge on the sideds even comes in contact with the top.

The poor design is poor.

Brian, nobody's arguing with you about the poor design of the very solid triangular tether in the middle of the uke ... and several of us have already pointed it out. It's never going to be a nice loud resonant uke. I suspect that may be on purpose. Parents who give these to their three-year-olds might well prefer them quiet.

The thing Bnolsen was asking about was the saddle, not the bridge or the triangle thing.

The saddle is indeed removable ... I just removed the one from my Minnie 2 (she of the plinky A string). It looked like it might slide right out like in the Sponge Bob DIY setup video. It didn't ... it has a bit of a peg near each end holding it down into the bridge. So I had to slack the strings way down (more than if it was slide-able) and pry it out with a small screwdriver. But once I did that, it came out easily. It's not glued in at all. It's a rather thin piece of plastic, so whether it can be filed down enough to improve the action, or replaced with something lower, remains to be seen. But it did come out easily.


I put a set of Curt Mangan strings on mine. I bought them on sale, to try. I think I've learned two things:
1-I'm not a fan of the Curt Mangan Uke strings!
2-Even the Curt Mangan strings are a vast improvement over what comes on these Ukes!

The intonation improved with the new strings and the tuning is more stable. As I mess around with it, I'm planning to describe the tone as "Low-Fi", from here on.

That is actually really great news! The Sponge Bob videos showed the same thing ... that a string change made a pretty big difference to the intonation, where all that hard work he showed fixing the setup made almost no difference.


I got two of these and two Schoenhuts at Walmart, the one of these that I didn't take apart and cut up is going back. Both have plastic fret boards, and I noticed there are threads (somewhat heated for UU) about the schoenhuts, about the damage to the plastic fretboard, I did notice that the plastic fretboard on a schoenbut was damaged with florcarbin strings, I would not put florocarbin strings on one of these first act ukes (or any other string really). I notice that you have a shoenhut listed in your ukuleles have you been using nylon strings and if so how is the fretboard holding up ?

I thought Laura had said she had Martins on one of hers, but I just looked back ... she has Aquilas on the restrung one. So ... try the Aquilas instead of the Martins?

Brian1
12-04-2014, 02:45 PM
Brian, nobody's arguing with you about the poor design of the very solid triangular tether in the middle of the uke ... and several of us have already pointed it out. It's never going to be a nice loud resonant uke. I suspect that may be on purpose. Parents who give these to their three-year-olds might well prefer them quiet.

The thing Bnolsen was asking about was the saddle, not the bridge or the triangle thing.

The saddle is indeed removable ... I just removed the one from my Minnie 2 (she of the plinky A string). It looked like it might slide right out like in the Sponge Bob DIY setup video. It didn't ... it has a bit of a peg near each end holding it down into the bridge. So I had to slack the strings way down (more than if it was slide-able) and pry it out with a small screwdriver. But once I did that, it came out easily. It's not glued in at all. It's a rather thin piece of plastic, so whether it can be filed down enough to improve the action, or replaced with something lower, remains to be seen. But it did come out easily.



That is actually really great news! The Sponge Bob videos showed the same thing ... that a string change made a pretty big difference to the intonation, where all that hard work he showed fixing the setup made almost no difference.



I thought Laura had said she had Martins on one of hers, but I just looked back ... she has Aquilas on the restrung one. So ... try the Aquilas instead of the Martins?

Sorry I misunderstood that AND I missed the link to the sponge bob video, that I just took a quick peek at. Yes this piece does come out:
73727

I don't know if it would be worth working on though I am just going to let people decide for themselves to make the best choices for them. I don't mean to keep poo-pooing the cute ukes you found.

I am guessing on the Aquilla (nylon) vs. Martins (f.c.) on the plastic fretboard (on these ukes frets that are colored to look like metal) based on the thread that showed damage by Worth Strings on a Schoenhut and was asking someone who had one for a while if he had better luck and if it was w/nylon.

I think I was the first to point out the triangle piece btw several posts before the picture.

ohmless
12-04-2014, 03:32 PM
kk. will go that route. It should be fine with aquilas IRT my comfort with the low action from having the zero fret methinks

UkeCan1
12-04-2014, 04:30 PM
Sorry I misunderstood that AND I missed the link to the sponge bob video, that I just took a quick peek at. Yes this piece does come out:

I don't know if it would be worth working on though I am just going to let people decide for themselves to make the best choices for them. I don't mean to keep poo-pooing the cute ukes you found.

I am guessing on the Aquilla (nylon) vs. Martins (f.c.) on the plastic fretboard (on these ukes frets that are colored to look like metal) based on the thread that showed damage by Worth Strings on a Schoenhut and was asking someone who had one for a while if he had better luck and if it was w/nylon.

I think I was the first to point out the triangle piece btw several posts before the picture.

You beat me to the pics ... I took some right after I posted, but then got called away.

73728

Kelly (Ohmless / BuddyJesusSmokes) was the first to point out the triangle thingy ... before you even had your Walmart ukes ... in his first video. I also mentioned it in my subsequent video. I can't remember whether either of us mentioned it in text or just in video.

I wonder if the lovely Fremont Black Line fluoros are gouging my Flea's plastic fretboard. Very disappointed about that. I had a quite new-ish set of Martins snap an A string a few months back, leading to the discovery of the sharp grooves in the previous fretboard that were cutting little nicks in my strings. But then I checked the previous two sets of replaced strings ... both nylons ... and they had the nicks too. So it seems likely it was nylon strings that caused the initial damage (I bought the uke third-hand, so no idea whether the strings I received it with were original or not).

Or me. Playing wrong. Is that possible? I've mentioned it umpteen times here (and elsewhere at the time), and not one person has responded at all. Thoughts?

Yes, it's a separate issue from Walmart ukes, but it's related, because I think it might also be why these ukes sound so much better when other people play them than when I do.

Brian1
12-04-2014, 05:24 PM
Sorry if I have misrepresented anything or offended anyone.

I have posted a lot in this thread because I feel that there is a misrepresentation of what to expect from these ukuleles in this thread. I get the feeling from many posts in this thread that someone who went and got one of these things might be expecting them to play as well as a plastic TV Pal or a Flamingo (which sold last night on e-bay for under $20 - and would have sold for $13 had I not bid on it) with a few minor adjustments. It won't.

IF someone had posted on the first page what I have posted here it would have saved me time and money. All I intend to do is make make it perfectly clear that changing the strings, lowering the bridge, or cutting it open and removing the triangular support WILL NOT make this thing sound any louder or any better than what anyone has heard in the videos in this thread. If that is what someone is looking for this is the ukulele for you. If all you want is something cute for a collection these things are cute.

If anyone wants a cute plastic uke that actually plays check e-bay from time to time to get a vintage Flamingo for less than the retail price of a First Act.

That isn't how I wanted to say what I just said, however it is clear now.

bnolsen
12-04-2014, 05:53 PM
I notice that you have a shoenhut listed in your ukuleles have you been using nylon strings and if so how is the fretboard holding up ?

my fretboard and bridge have been replaced with the real deal. a few weeks and i noticed wear on the upper frets before i got the new parts. unfortunately the bridge is a bit higher than the original so it runs a bit sharp.

i had no problems returning the little bugger. even if the saddle could be removed its not the typical saddle than can be lowered by sanding the bottom.

Brian1
12-04-2014, 05:57 PM
thank for the heads up :)

Rllink
12-07-2014, 04:38 AM
I took my in-laws to Farm and Fleet yesterday and they had a bunch of little plastic guitars and ukuleles for sale. I didn't even think the check the prices. I don't know why, except maybe I had no intention of buying one, but they had shelves and shelves of them. Lots of cartoon characters, and even a John Deere one. Don't ask me anything about them, because my wife pointed them out to me and I just gave them a look and a laugh, but they were there. I probably would have paid more attention if they weren't all boxed up with a little of the actual ukulele peeking out of a plastic window. I don't remember ukuleles being sold everywhere like that, but then I was never interested in ukuleles before. But if you are all about those little plastic ukes like that, run to Farm and Fleet before they sell out.