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Down Up Dick
03-19-2015, 04:46 AM
Hey, any steel ukulele players out there? If so, whadaya think--good? --Heavy? -- Loud? I think the sound is a little "tinny" or metallic, but I could maybe get usta it. A local music store is supposed to have 'em, and I'm interested enough to try one out.

If you have one, do you play blues on it? How's it sound? :old:

PhilUSAFRet
03-19-2015, 05:34 AM
Which ones are you talking about? MyaMoe? another brand?

Patrick Madsen
03-19-2015, 05:42 AM
John Morton put out a really nice resonator.

Cornfield
03-19-2015, 05:48 AM
If you are talking about the $300-$500 Chinese made ukes that have a variety of brand names but all look like a Recording King RU-998 Metal Body Resonator Ukulele, you get what you pay for.
I had one, spent an additional $500 putting on decent tuners, repairing the setup and installing a pickup. When I was done, I was still disappointed in it.
A National Resonator that costs around $1300 or a John Morton (even higher), on the other hand, is an outstanding musical instrument

janeray1940
03-19-2015, 05:52 AM
If you are talking about the $300-$500 Chinese made ukes that have a variety of brand names but all look like a Recording King RU-998 Metal Body Resonator Ukulele, you get what you pay for.
I had one, spent an additional $500 putting on decent tuners, repairing the setup and installing a pickup. When I was done, I was still disappointed in it.
A National Resonator that costs around $1300 or a John Morton (even higher), on the other hand, is an outstanding musical instrument

Second all of that. I don't own one but a National Reso has been on my wish list for a long time - they have a very sweet sound, not brash and metallic like the aforementioned knockoffs.

Cornfield
03-19-2015, 05:56 AM
AS far as what to play on a metal ukulele, check out Del Rey http://delreyplays.com/


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wxk3N7GOgX4

Down Up Dick
03-19-2015, 05:59 AM
Which ones are you talking about? MyaMoe? another brand?

I've been looking at Luna and Recording King, but I'd like tenor. :old:

Down Up Dick
03-19-2015, 06:00 AM
John Morton put out a really nice resonator.

I know that Morton puts out a tenor, but I'm not familiar with the brand. :old:

Down Up Dick
03-19-2015, 06:03 AM
If you are talking about the $300-$500 Chinese made ukes that have a variety of brand names but all look like a Recording King RU-998 Metal Body Resonator Ukulele, you get what you pay for.
I had one, spent an additional $500 putting on decent tuners, repairing the setup and installing a pickup. When I was done, I was still disappointed in it.
A National Resonator that costs around $1300 or a John Morton (even higher), on the other hand, is an outstanding musical instrument

$1300 sounds pretty steep. If I was gonna spend that much, I buy a blackbird. :old:

Down Up Dick
03-19-2015, 06:05 AM
I watched Del Rey's videos yesterday--great! :old:

Cornfield
03-19-2015, 06:06 AM
Sometimes you can find a deal on a used one. In 20 years, would a National be worth more than a Blackbird? I think so.

Down Up Dick
03-19-2015, 06:09 AM
Ha! I hope I don't have twenty years left to think about it. :old:

phil_doleman
03-19-2015, 07:41 AM
I've played a lot of reso ukes. My fave is my Argapa wood-bodied one, but a couple of metal Nationals have really been tempting. I tend to prefer the steel bodied ones to the brass ones, but that's just my preference. Unfortunately, my experience of the 'cheap' ones (200-300) is that they are disappointing. You can get lucky and get a decent one, and you can, if you know what you're doing, tweak and modify them to be much better, but if you're really into the reso sound, then something more expensive will probably be the way to go.

Down Up Dick
03-19-2015, 07:45 AM
Well, this has been a disappointing thread so far, but I wanted info--so it goes. :old:

Osprey
03-19-2015, 08:29 AM
Del Rey really makes that resonator sing. It is a specialty instrument,but if I could play half that good I would justify the expense.

PhilUSAFRet
03-19-2015, 12:16 PM
Anyone check out the new MyaMoe Lapsteel uke? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0qMHkYM6ZtI

Down Up Dick
03-19-2015, 03:56 PM
Thanks for all the info, Bill1, I think I've pretty much changed my mind about getting a Steel unless I decide on a National which I of course really do like.

I'll just have to be satisfied with my Gold Tone and Lanikai banjoleles for noise. :old:

Cornfield
03-19-2015, 03:58 PM
Anyone check out the new MyaMoe Lapsteel uke? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0qMHkYM6ZtI

I have one of these, bought it for my wife. It's the one that appears around 3:30 in this video.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hicabusfluY

Great instrument but for us it is a dust cvollector. She won't let me sell it though

ksiegel
03-19-2015, 04:26 PM
I can't play like Del Ray - I can't even play one note as well as she does! - but I have a Steel National Resophonic Triolian (Thanks again, Jon!)

It plays so nicely! I think I need the action a little higher than the way Jon set it up, but you can really play anything on it - blues is good, but so is rock, Irish music, folk songs...
You are limited by your imagination.


I have played a Recording King at a "musical instrument petting zoo" - didn't like it. And I played the Luna Resonator at a local music store. Didn't like it, either. I've enjoyed the Beltona, Mya Moe, and Kala resonators I've played, but the only two steel I've ever played and liked were Nationals. I'm leaving the door open, but nothing is walking in.


-Kurt

ukulelekarcsi
03-20-2015, 12:12 AM
Resonator ukuleles have the volume of banjo ukes, but with more sustain.

The East-Asian ones (brass, most often with a nickel plating) are generally not worth much. Loud: yes, playable: yes; very good: no. Recording King, Kala, Johnson, Regal, Gretsch, Luna, Ashbury, Kala fall into this category.

It's true that it's a high step up pricewise from there. From there it's a leap up to the 1000-and-above category. Stuart Wailing makes one-offs as well for a mid-way price, but they're quite heavy and not to everyone's liking.

In the upper bracket, there are antique ones, NRP ones (steel, wood, brass), Fine Resophonic ones (in a modernistic style, or the very rare inverted spider cone ones) and a host of bespoke luthiers: Argapa, DonMo, Beltona, Mya-Moe and Argapa have been mentioned, Ron Philips makes the Del Rey ones but they're very rare. Paul Beard makes wood-bodies ones. Pete Howlett makes very good ones as well, in an art deco style.

'Steel ukulele' is not a very good term. I thought at first it might be about playing lap style (with a steel bar, as in 'steel guitar') or having steel strings on a ukulele. Resonator describes the instruments better, regardless of the body material (either brass, german silver, steel or wood) and the cone system (forward facing 'spider' cones, backward facing 'biscuit' cones or the handful of 'tricone' instruments with a backward facing trio of small cones).

As with banjo ukes, resonators require some attention to set-up: if you restring them with care, the intonation can become far off, buzzes and rattles develop and the cone might collapse - even on very high quality instruments. The main tricks are that the bridge is loose and can be twisted (even with the push of a pencil end), tension of the strings should be perpendicular/downward, and the cone can't handle uneven pressure (so restring string by string, or outside strings followed by inside strings).

But they are great instruments, with unrivalled dynamics (soft to loud).

Cornfield
03-20-2015, 01:38 AM
This is in the marketplace right now http://forum.ukuleleunderground.com/showthread.php?100402-FS-Beltona-Concert-Resonator
I have never seen or played one but reviews I have read put this resonator in the $1000 plus category. Supposed to sound much better than the Recording King type cheepos

Down Up Dick
03-20-2015, 04:51 AM
Well, I surely appreciate all the info I've gotten about resonators so far. I've heard 'em played before, and I've always thought that they had a metalic sound that I don't like. I thought maybe I could get usta it.. In addition, they look very heavy, and I'll bet they are. I've seen videos about their innards, and I don't know that I wanna mess with that stuff. And finally, if I were to spend $1300 on a ukulele, I'd much rather have a Blackbird. I wanted a tenor anyway.

I'd like to play old timey blues, and I thought it would be cool on a steel. Also, at least for now, I'm done with wood. I just don't wanna be bothered with all that hydrating stuff.

Well, onward and upward! There's no where else ta go. :old:

Hms
03-20-2015, 05:27 AM
Beltona's are really great, I have a Tenor Songster that can growl and whisper.
And for Down Up Dick, Beltona's are made of fibreglass, so no hydration issues.
Don't mess with the innards, get one and play it, that's all you have to do.
In the UK a new Songster Tenor is 950, so $650 shipped is a billy bargain!
http://www.beltona.net/wordpress/ukuleles/
h

Down Up Dick
03-20-2015, 05:57 AM
Beltona's are really great, I have a Tenor Songster that can growl and whisper.
And for Down Up Dick, Beltona's are made of fibreglass, so no hydration issues.
Don't mess with the innards, get one and play it, that's all you have to do.
In the UK a new Songster Tenor is 950, so $650 shipped is a billy bargain!
http://www.beltona.net/wordpress/ukuleles/
h

Oh! I didn't know they were carbon fibre or that price--thanks a lot! :old:

BigMamaJ40
03-20-2015, 07:05 AM
For those of you with a Beltona, how would you compare the tone of a Beltona to a National?

I am specifically interested in learning some Dey Ray tunes, and really dig the look and vibe of a resonator uke, but I can't yet financially swing my dream reso-Uke, the National Style 2 Bright Nickel Uke with engraved Wild Rose design. Thanks!

igorthebarbarian
03-20-2015, 08:17 AM
I had a "cheap" (well not cheap to me!) ~$400 Gold Tone Resonator concert uke that I got from MIM; MIM rules by the way.

It was nice and well set-up, and it played nicely/comfortably. Gold Tone makes quality stuff. Also, it looked great in person; my wife thought it was the best looking uke I had. Also, mine had the tie-bar at the bottom for strings; this was a problem on some of the other cheaper ones where they had these holes that would slice through strings eventually.

However, I just never loved the uke. It was too heavy. It wasn't comfortable to play or hold for long periods of time. So I didn't play it too often and it just sat lonely in the closet. So I wound up selling it.

seonachan
03-26-2015, 06:12 PM
For those of you with a Beltona, how would you compare the tone of a Beltona to a National?

Well full disclosure, I'm the guy selling the Beltona in the marketplace, but here's a video I just did comparing it to a National NRP:


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e9yj5jAhP1I

The Beltona comes off much louder, but to be honest I don't hear a big difference playing them. But maybe they project differently. The Beltona also has a darker bite to it, whereas the National is sweeter and more "old-timey" sounding to my ear.

BigMamaJ40
03-28-2015, 07:09 AM
seonachan, thanks for the video. They really do sound quite different. Different horses for different courses!