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View Full Version : Decent starter baritone....~$200-300?



Photojosh
01-24-2015, 03:57 PM
We recently had a thread suggesting high end baritones (http://forum.ukuleleunderground.com/showthread.php?103924-Quality-Baritone-Advice-please&highlight=baritone).

But here I'm asking about starter baritones. Not so much for someone new to ukulele, but for someone who is unsure if they love the baritone sound. So, probably solid top, but not necessarily solid body?

I'm thinking along the lines of the Mainland or Kala spruce or mahogany models. Sort of seems like you can't go wrong with the $199 Kala spruce top KA-SB. And nobody ever seems to say anything bad about the Mainlands.

Essentially, I'm looking for a smooth/full "campfire" sort of sound. Another way to say it might be "best value in a baritone". To be clear, I have a tenor guitar, so I'm not really looking to repeat that sound. That said, would most likely keep things DGBE.

Opinions?

Cfiimei
01-24-2015, 06:45 PM
One of the solid mahogany Harmony baritones from the 50's would do. I have one and love it. They can be found for around $200 on eBay.

Patrick Madsen
01-24-2015, 06:52 PM
You could find a great Favilla for around 300 or just a tad more.

SweetWaterBlue
01-24-2015, 09:31 PM
There is no easy answer to this question, because the best one for you is like most ukes a personal thing. I have 3 baritones. The first was one I made from an old Harmony kids guitar, but you can't buy that one. The second is one of the Lanikia LU21Bs (laminate) (that Butler Music dumped on eBay as a gambler special ($25 plus shipping). My last acquisition was a Mainland all sold cedar topped beauty.

The LU21 B has a slimmer neck profile and I've lowered the action several times, so its easier to play. Even though its a laminate, its very thin and loud, but somewhat muddy in a bluesy way. I'd choose it in a minute as a campfire bari. Its mostly unaffected by the weather. You can hear it in the "folk" playlist of my SoundCloud channel. If it was destroyed tomorrow, I'd buy another one.

My Mainland has a sweet voice and is very pretty, but being solid wood is more delicate. I really don't want to scratch or beat it up, so I would be reluctant to take it to a campfire jamming session. I certainly would not want to get it wet. It has a thicker neck profile and higher action than my beater, so its harder to play.

I think you need to play the ones you think you want and see which one is most comfortable and you would feel comfortable taking out into the elements.

mingus
01-25-2015, 03:08 AM
Here is one of the best in that price range - Kala KA-ABP-CTG Solid Cedar Top, Acacia Baritone Ukulele!

I got mine from Uke Republic; this bari rocks it:

http://cargo.ukerepublic.com/product/kala-ka-abp-ctg-solid-cedar-top-acacia-baritone-ukulele

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CrFprcUDk1U

wayward
01-25-2015, 04:48 AM
Here is one of the best in that price range - Kala KA-ABP-CTG Solid Cedar Top, Acacia Baritone Ukulele!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CrFprcUDk1U

Yep, that was top of my starter baritone list until I heard the Pono Mango Baritone which was, of course, more expensive but I fell for. Luckily I love the tone of the Pono Mango so much that it's a keeper & I don't regret the extra cost, but if I was unsure I'd opt for the Kala.

elderuku
01-25-2015, 05:38 AM
I'm very happy with my Kala mahogany http://www.theukulelesite.com/kala-all-solid-mahogany-baritone.html purchased through HMS.
It's a good quality instrument at a really decent price point. I wasn't sure I would like a baritone scale, but now it's my favorite size -- so much so, that I splurged for a Pono Baritone Nui for Christmas. Love it! Not sure I would have taken the plunge if not for the Kala.

cb56
01-25-2015, 05:58 AM
These are surprisingly good for the price.
http://www.ebay.com/itm/Greg-Bennett-Baritone-Ukulele/151561498357?_trksid=p2047675.c100011.m1850&_trkparms=aid%3D222007%26algo%3DSIC.MBE%26ao%3D1%2 6asc%3D27673%26meid%3D1bbba96f1f274f8fada445727203 5ff3%26pid%3D100011%26rk%3D2%26rkt%3D2%26sd%3D3506 61630329

BUT....If a Mainland is in your budget, I'd suggest getting one.
Even better if you can make the trip to his shop and pick one out yourself.
IMO you can't go wrong with Mainland.

strumsilly
01-25-2015, 06:07 AM
I have a Harmony[125] and a Favilla [325]for sale.
.\The pics on the Favilla are on the Harmony link. I couldn't get the pics uploaded to UU. will do sound samples when I get time.
http://forum.ukuleleunderground.com/showthread.php?103869-FS-Harmony-Baritone

studemobile
01-25-2015, 07:08 AM
I bought one of Butler Musics Lanikia LU21B "set up and ready to play" for $65 and $14 to ship.
Found the action too high at the nut and not "ready to play" and sent it back. Is was however a good candidate for
professional setup and might make a good campfire bari.
Stu

Patrick Madsen
01-25-2015, 09:26 AM
IMO best deal here is Strumsilly's Favilla for 325.00. It was considered a poor mans Martin back in the day but many professionals picked the Favilla over the Martin. There is no bari in your price range or hundreds more, than can come close to a vintage Favilla.

strumsilly
01-25-2015, 09:32 AM
IMO best deal here is Strumsilly's Favilla for 325.00. It was considered a poor mans Martin back in the day but many professionals picked the Favilla over the Martin. There is no bari in your price range or hundreds more, than can come close to a vintage Favilla.
that's why I sold my Martin and gibson and pono

Photojosh
01-25-2015, 12:16 PM
Here is one of the best in that price range - Kala KA-ABP-CTG Solid Cedar Top, Acacia Baritone Ukulele!

I got mine from Uke Republic; this bari rocks it:


I actually like the look of that uke a lot for some reason! I've admired it while web-surfing.

Photojosh
01-25-2015, 05:18 PM
I'll keep the vintage ones in mind. For whatever reason, I just hadn't been thinking of those.

The spruce Kalas are still tempting, and I'll look into the other suggestions.

Thanks everyone.

bonesigh
01-25-2015, 06:16 PM
I also got a Lanikai Baritone second at Butler Music. Set up is just fine and plays very well. I have it set up with Low D, then G, B, E. Cost was minimal somewhere around 70 bucks all together.

stevejfc
01-25-2015, 06:27 PM
koloa. All solid mahogany for around $250.

Kimosabe
01-26-2015, 06:07 AM
There is no bari in your price range or hundreds more, than can come close to a vintage Favilla.[/QUOTE]

I beg to differ. Perhaps you've never experienced a Giannini baritone? The gods play them on Sundays.

Patrick Madsen
01-26-2015, 08:31 AM
Never played a Giannini nor heard of anyone selling off a Gibson or Martin bari because of one. It sounds like they are very nice instruments though.

Looking them up, most were made as laminates, very few solid wood, according to Jake at Antebellum music. Which is okay but for myself I'll take a vintage quarter sawn solid mahogany Favilla over a laminate anytime. Especially one that is for sale in the condition of Strumsilly's.

GregT
01-26-2015, 09:53 AM
Yep, that was top of my starter baritone list until I heard the Pono Mango Baritone which was, of course, more expensive but I fell for. Luckily I love the tone of the Pono Mango so much that it's a keeper & I don't regret the extra cost, but if I was unsure I'd opt for the Kala.

Pono mahogany is very good when set up properly.

Kimosabe
01-26-2015, 10:24 AM
I have a solid mahogany Pono but my laminate Giannini beats it by a long shot. People mistake them for a Martin if they hear it without seeing it.