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View Full Version : Best entry-level brand for solid mahogany ukes.



SnakeOilWilly
01-16-2015, 08:43 PM
I was wondering what entry-level uke brand (Kala, Lanikai, Oscar Schmidt, etc) Makes the best solid mahogany ukes. I'd prefer a price range of $200-300 (USD).

Thanks.

kissing
01-16-2015, 09:30 PM
Gretsch solid mahogany top/cutaway with Fishman tuner/pickup from Hawaii Music Supply

http://www.theukulelesite.com/gretsch-solid-top-tenor-cutaway-fishman-active-pickup-gig-bag.html

Hard to beat

AndrewKuker
01-16-2015, 10:23 PM
Gretsch solid mahogany top/cutaway with Fishman tuner/pickup from Hawaii Music Supply

http://www.theukulelesite.com/gretsch-solid-top-tenor-cutaway-fishman-active-pickup-gig-bag.html

Hard to beat

Well it used to be the unbeatable deal. But the last batch of 30 we got are all set for return because they totally changed the bracing to three totally oversized tone bars and a thicker top. That along with the amount of neck issues and defective pickups made them unsellable to me. And this happens more than you would believe where a models production specs change for whatever reason. It makes it hard to really recommend a model and feel confident your advice will be accurate over the years. One thing I am confident of is that we will not change our standards and will keep looking out for our customers best interest.

mds725
01-16-2015, 10:24 PM
I'd suggest an Islander solid mahogany. You didn't specify size; this link is to a tenor that costs 269 USD.
http://www.theukulelesite.com/islander-all-solid-mahogany-tenor-mst-4.html
Islanders are designed and overseen by Kanile'a. The quality control, from what I've heard, is superior for ukuleles that originate in Asia, and Islanders are set up on Oahu. I recently bought an Acacia laminate Islander tenor for a friend, and I was very impressed with it.

SnakeOilWilly
01-16-2015, 10:29 PM
Sorry for not saying size but yes I was looking around at tenors.

kissing
01-17-2015, 12:03 AM
Well it used to be the unbeatable deal. But the last batch of 30 we got are all set for return because they totally changed the bracing to three totally oversized tone bars and a thicker top. That along with the amount of neck issues and defective pickups made them unsellable to me. And this happens more than you would believe where a models production specs change for whatever reason. It makes it hard to really recommend a model and feel confident your advice will be accurate over the years. One thing I am confident of is that we will not change our standards and will keep looking out for our customers best interest.

Wow, very sad to hear that. I had one of the earlier models from you - it was an AMAZING instrument. Perhaps the high standards became hard for Gretsch to maintain?

Phuufme
01-17-2015, 01:50 AM
I started with a Cordoba 20. Solid top Mahogany the CE version comes with electronics.

studemobile
01-17-2015, 02:08 AM
I agree on the Islander. I bought a Laminate tenor for $140 and had Elderly do a setup on it. As to solid woods I think Mainland and Ohana might also be considered along with the Islander.
Stu

pluck
01-17-2015, 02:43 AM
I like my new Mainland quite a lot. The tone is very nice if not particularly loud. The wood on the top is pretty impressive looking though the back and sides are a little boring in comparison. Mainland gives the buyer some choice regarding hardware and finish which is probably what helped me choose their uke. Some folks complain about the rope binding but I actually enjoy looking at it. It seems to me that $250 is an excellent price point with lots of options. Unfortunately I'm already wanting something fancier but that's the way it goes.

wayfarer75
01-17-2015, 02:46 AM
I started with a Cordoba 20. Solid top Mahogany the CE version comes with electronics.

Those are very nice. I tried a Cordoba 20TM (no cutaway or electronics) in a local Sam Ash and it easily was the best sounding uke in the store, beating the Kala and Lanikai models in there.

I have not tried Mainland, Islander or Ohana, so I can't speak to those. Lots of UUers sure seem to love their Mainlands, though.

Recstar24
01-17-2015, 02:50 AM
Sounds like a mainland is right in your price range. The mahogany model is a very nice instrument. I should know, I have 30 sopranos and 30 concerts in my classroom :)

Definitely check out HMS at the ukulele site, especially after reading what Andrew wrote. I remember asking them about the Córdoba 15cm which they used to carry, and he was very clear they do not have them anymore due to production issues. I appreciate their high standards even for budget instruments. The islanders seem like a nice bet, the one I heard a friend play was suprisingly loud and sweet.

Tootler
01-17-2015, 03:06 AM
I have a cloud music mahogany soprano I won in a prize draw and very nice it is too. I'd not heard of them before I won it but I have been really pleased with it. It's the one I normally play out with now.

They are priced in the middle of your range.

http://www.cloud-music.us

Kayak Jim
01-17-2015, 03:28 AM
My Mainland mahogany concert has just gotten better and better in the two years I've had it. I almost prefer it to my Koaloha concert from both sound and playability, and that is saying a lot.

Recstar24
01-17-2015, 03:40 AM
Arg - it seems HMS is out of islanders. I shall wait patiently :)

kohanmike
01-17-2015, 05:23 AM
Over a year ago I got a Gretsch G9121 A.C.E. tenor cutaway from a dealer in Pennsylvania for $199, free shipping, but it took 2 months for it to get here. It's a solid top and when I changed the strings to Worth CT, it sounded really good. When they said it would be that long to deliver, I decided to wait instead of canceling the order, I'm glad I did.

westcoast
01-17-2015, 07:39 AM
Well it used to be the unbeatable deal. But the last batch of 30 we got are all set for return because they totally changed the bracing to three totally oversized tone bars and a thicker top. That along with the amount of neck issues and defective pickups made them unsellable to me. And this happens more than you would believe where a models production specs change for whatever reason. It makes it hard to really recommend a model and feel confident your advice will be accurate over the years. One thing I am confident of is that we will not change our standards and will keep looking out for our customers best interest.

Thanks for chiming in! This makes me want to get my next uke from HMS.

mm stan
01-17-2015, 10:31 AM
Aloha slick willy,
For a few hundred more you may get one like this.... oops this is solid koa, better yet... :)

75138

PhilUSAFRet
01-17-2015, 11:14 AM
This one: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=95r6fxMmRqk = Mainland red cedar topped solid mahogany tenor

vcs700s
01-17-2015, 11:33 AM
I started with a Cordoba 20. Solid top Mahogany the CE version comes with electronics.

Me too. Great uke. $200.