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mike_terror
03-11-2009, 07:55 PM
Hi guys, I've been browsing through this forum lately, and I was actually brought here by someone's youtube video that had this link.

Anyways, I'm in the market for my first ukulele and I'm just trying to get some insight on what brands or models that people might recommend through experience.

Before I start, I used to play the trumpet during my youth years, but haven't played in maybe 4 years. I'm hoping some of my music knowledge(whatever is left of it) will help me with learning the ukulele. I plan to teach myself through free tutorials online and as well as through videos.

I'm basically looking for a Soprano classic size Ukulele, and I'm actually quite overwhelemed with all the different brands and wood. I understand that it requires some time to check out the instruments in person and play them and see how they sound. But if someone can recommend a brand or model through their own personal experience, I would greatly appreciate it. I'm sure certain people have dealt with some common problems with certain brands, and have had a great experience with others. I'm looking for recommendations on my first very soprano to learn with, making it a rather enjoyable experience than one that will make me put the ukulele in my closet because it was unplayable or ran into many problems.

My budget is $150, I don't need something thats top of the line, but wouldn't mind paying a bit extra for something that will last me, and make learning the uke a fun experience rather than cheaping out. :shaka:

UkuCouS
03-11-2009, 09:25 PM
The Bruko Slim are a good compromise between a low price and a quality instrument.
Link to Bruko °5 (http://www.brueko.de/shop/product_info.php?info=p20_Brueko-No--6-Soprano-Ukulele-with-flat-body.html&XTCsid=d6b41356f1d1ca7b2aadc2743f5e19da) or
Link to Bruko Slim maple (http://www.brueko.de/shop/product_info.php?info=p43_Soprano-Ukulele-Maple-Flat.html&XTCsid=aa4382667d87b9ae125cf0c78fdbf214)
It's 115€ witch is a it less than 150$, you can hear it HERE (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9SHVijKvmGA).
I've tried it several times, and it was hard for me not to buy it, it has a huge sound projection for it's tiny body.
Hope it will help you,

CouS

mike_terror
03-11-2009, 11:46 PM
I'm thinking about the OHANA SK-50MG Soprano. Does anyone have any experience regarding this model??

MGM also sells it
http://cgi.ebay.com/NEW-ITEM-OHANA-SK-50MG-SOPRANO-UKULELE-W-CASE_W0QQitemZ250385631013QQihZ015QQcategoryZ16224 QQcmdZViewItemQQ_trksidZp1742.m153.l1262

Besides that, I was also looking at the KALA KA ASMS soprano offered from MGM's store as well. Both are actually the same price
http://cgi.ebay.com/Kala-ka-asms-SOLID-MAHOGANY-SOPRANO-UKULELE-Package_W0QQitemZ330313607894QQihZ014QQcategoryZ16 224QQcmdZViewItem

based on experience, which one would you guys recommend as the better model / brand / build


EDIT: I really dont know much about tuners, but so far based on my readings, more people prefer the GEARED SIDE TUNERS than the FRICTION TUNERS. The KALA model listed above has the geared tuners, so I plan to go with that one. Any suggestions?

Kaneohe til the end
03-11-2009, 11:52 PM
for a starter uke in that price range, you really cant go wrong with a kala. Youre at the right place in MGM's shop. i havent played an Ohana, but i started on a kala, and it was just fine. beware though, any one of your choices will leave you thirsting for more.

and i do recommend the geared tuners. youll find its much much easier to fine tune the instrument.

HoldinCoffee
03-12-2009, 01:57 AM
The solid mahogany is a perfect first uke!
Just do yourself a HUGE favor and get one from someone who's gonna give ya a setup and knows ukes.

MGM
ukulele4u
elderly

I recently got a "deal" from a guitar dude and now I have a nut made of superglue (looks horrible, but sounds nice).

ahreeka
03-12-2009, 07:24 AM
How about a Lanikai LU-21T? :)
http://folk-instruments.musiciansfriend.com/product/Lanikai-LU21T-Tenor-Ukulele?sku=512522

Lori
03-12-2009, 07:42 AM
I have had my first uke only a few weeks now, but I'm very happy with my Kala tenor. I had tried some really nice looking/sounding Ohanas, but the action was set a bit high, and would need adjustment. Maybe with the right set up they would be perfect.

Try and get your hands on one in a store, and make sure you can be comfortable playing all the way up the fretboard. I am looking at sopranos with long necks, and both Kala and Ohana make those.

The choice of strings will make a difference too. I replaced the GHS strings that came on my Kala with clear Worths, and it sounds brighter.

I went back to the music stores a few days ago to check out the selection (UAS... got it bad), but ended up liking my Kala better than the higher end ukes in the store. I had cash to buy, if I saw something that knocked my socks off, but my uke at home sounded just as good (if not better to me). I escaped this time, and should be satisfied for awhile. But new models are coming....


–Lori

spazus_maximus
03-12-2009, 09:25 AM
I'm thinking about the OHANA SK-50MG Soprano. Does anyone have any experience regarding this model??

MGM also sells it
http://cgi.ebay.com/NEW-ITEM-OHANA-SK-50MG-SOPRANO-UKULELE-W-CASE_W0QQitemZ250385631013QQihZ015QQcategoryZ16224 QQcmdZViewItemQQ_trksidZp1742.m153.l1262

Besides that, I was also looking at the KALA KA ASMS soprano offered from MGM's store as well. Both are actually the same price
http://cgi.ebay.com/Kala-ka-asms-SOLID-MAHOGANY-SOPRANO-UKULELE-Package_W0QQitemZ330313607894QQihZ014QQcategoryZ16 224QQcmdZViewItem

based on experience, which one would you guys recommend as the better model / brand / build


EDIT: I really dont know much about tuners, but so far based on my readings, more people prefer the GEARED SIDE TUNERS than the FRICTION TUNERS. The KALA model listed above has the geared tuners, so I plan to go with that one. Any suggestions?

I think if you stick with something MGM has to offer you will be happy....I bought a tenor from him & the setup is great....To me that's whats important when buying a low end instrument....Your not going to get the perfect tone but with mgm you'll definately get good action & upgraded strings!:shaka:

mike_terror
03-12-2009, 09:58 AM
Thanks for all your great insight guys.

I think I will bite the bullet and go with the KALA solid mohangany that is offered from MGM. Only $189 :)


Btw, sorry for the newbie question, but what is a "nut" for the ukulele. I read many post regarding people having to change the nut or replace it because they ran into problems with it on their uke.

luigidk
03-12-2009, 10:31 AM
I was in the exact same boat as you about 1 week ago... too much information and tough to make a decision.

The first decision was size - and I was originally leaning towards a Tenor but this forum helped convince me a concert would be a better way to go for a beginner... (I thought a tenor would be easier because it was bigger - not so!)

The second decision was to go with solid wood... if you can afford it that seemed to be a given.

Third was looks and quality... would have loved a Koa but too much $$$. I really liked the Koa Pili Kala (KPK) with the Accacia wood (like Koa) but there are too many quality issues I read about (cracking).

I went to several stores and tried the Kala and they were great - but for not much more $$$ I found i could get solid wood.

I ended up purchasing a Mainland Concert Uke... I felt it was a lot more for the money than the Kala - even though it cost a little more. solid wood - great craftsmanship. Something that feels like I can grow into it and will last long term... I really liked the idea of ordering directly from them and not going through third parties...

The service and attention from Mainland when I ordered it were very very good and I am very very pleased with my purchase.

Last thing you need is more information and more Ukes to consider - but I thought you might benefit from experience.

Here is a nice review: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ovc4MsISep4 - there are several other great youtube reviews on the Mainland and others... take a look at the mainland tenor review...!

Good Luck

p.s.: I'm learning on my own following online tutorials/videos - many here in UU and some others. Let me know which ones you like and your experience - I'll do the same!

islander92223
03-12-2009, 10:53 AM
Thought i'd share my thought process of getting my first Uke:

Not being musically talented, i was interested in the uke but was not totally sure about what to buy, nor knew anything about ukes. I ended up purchasing a $60 Oschar & Schmidt mahogany to start out with at the beginning of the year.

This way, if I didn't enjoy the product or was too brain dead to learn, the $$$ spent wouldn't have hurt me so hard.

After getting the uke, I started surfing the net and found a lot of good info....This site being one my primary sources. Being a gear junky, i started searching for online shops. It really helped to know what to look for and where to search.

Aside from Quality & Looks, i've learned that the wood YOU select plays a role in the sound you like as well...so if you have the opportunity to see the product in person, do so.

Although i'm still a total newbie and still wanting to learn more, I have come to love this wonderful instrument. I now have the PONO Tenor 4-String Koa Cutaway and a KoAloha SuperConcert. Both with pickups. Currently looking for a decent amp now. Ha ha.

PONO was purchased from MGM on Ebay. I got the KoAloha direct from Hawaii.

:shaka:

mailman
03-12-2009, 11:30 AM
I bought my first uke from MGM in January. I decided on a Kala concert, with the spruce top. I love the sound of mine, although I'm not that experienced with the sound of other ukes.

I'm more than pleased with my dealings with MGM, and love the package deal and the pro set-up.

My package was only $139....the difference between the spruce top and the mahogany, I guess. The rest of the body of mine is mahagony, also.

Somehow I can see more ukuleles in my future....:)

freedive135
03-12-2009, 11:40 AM
Well my .02 says

The all Solid Mahogany Kala's are not "starter" Ukes, they are better than that...
The KA-S would be more along the lines of a "starter", and nothing wrong starting with a good laminate Uke.
That way you have a decent Uke to travel with and keep in your backpack!!!!

I'd put the one your thinking of against the Pono's any day, I know I own the Pono Mahogany Soprano and I play the the Kala Solid every time I go to my local Uke shop, tryin to justify not buying it!!!!!

mike_terror
03-12-2009, 12:56 PM
Well my .02 says

The all Solid Mahogany Kala's are not "starter" Ukes.
The KA-S would be more along the lines of a "starter", and nothing wrong starting with a good laminate Uke.
That way you have a decent Uke to travel with and keep in your backpack!!!!

I'd put the one your thinking of against the Pono's any day, I know I own the Pono Mahogany Soprano and I play the the Kala Solid every time I go to my local Uke shop, tryin to justify not buying it!!!!!

Sorry, but did you mean the kala solid mahogany that i listed from MGM's website is NOT a good buy? or a good buy



PS. I really have my mind set on the Soprano, as it is the "classic" to learn off of. Would there be any good reason to go with a concert size? as I do see many people purchase those as their first.

mike_terror
03-12-2009, 01:00 PM
I was in the exact same boat as you about 1 week ago... too much information and tough to make a decision.

The first decision was size - and I was originally leaning towards a Tenor but this forum helped convince me a concert would be a better way to go for a beginner... (I thought a tenor would be easier because it was bigger - not so!)

The second decision was to go with solid wood... if you can afford it that seemed to be a given.

Third was looks and quality... would have loved a Koa but too much $$$. I really liked the Koa Pili Kala (KPK) with the Accacia wood (like Koa) but there are too many quality issues I read about (cracking).

I went to several stores and tried the Kala and they were great - but for not much more $$$ I found i could get solid wood.

I ended up purchasing a Mainland Concert Uke... I felt it was a lot more for the money than the Kala - even though it cost a little more. solid wood - great craftsmanship. Something that feels like I can grow into it and will last long term... I really liked the idea of ordering directly from them and not going through third parties...

The service and attention from Mainland when I ordered it were very very good and I am very very pleased with my purchase.

Last thing you need is more information and more Ukes to consider - but I thought you might benefit from experience.

Here is a nice review: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ovc4MsISep4 - there are several other great youtube reviews on the Mainland and others... take a look at the mainland tenor review...!

Good Luck

p.s.: I'm learning on my own following online tutorials/videos - many here in UU and some others. Let me know which ones you like and your experience - I'll do the same!

Luigidk, was this the model you purchased? http://shop.mainlandukuleles.com/product.sc?categoryId=3&productId=9

freedive135
03-12-2009, 01:06 PM
Sorry bout that I was typing at work!!!!!

That Kala in your link is a Great Uke and for the $$$$ would be hard to beat...
You will be very happy with it, I know I would be.

I am thinking very hard on getting the Tenor model and it would be my 3rd Tenor if I do.

About the Concert ????
Alot of new Ukers think that a Soprano is to small or their fingers are to fat and such....
So some folks will tell them to start with a Concert as they have a little more space between the frets especialy when you head closer to the body.

luigidk
03-12-2009, 01:17 PM
Yes - that is the model I purchased.

though others on this forum are much more informed than I am. Just passing on my experience.

As far as size - I figure concert is right in the middle... I did try Soprano models as well as tenor and it did feel like concert was just the right temp! Again - not knowing how to play made it tough to try out!!!

Take a look at the thread I used for helping my decision - might be some other good help!
http://ukuleleunderground.com/forum/showthread.php?t=10552

mike_terror
03-12-2009, 01:59 PM
wow, right now im really stumped between the KALA solid mahogany from MGM or the Mainland uke soprano model since luigidk brought that up.

luigidk
03-12-2009, 02:37 PM
...sorry I brought it up!!!

Toucan Mango
03-12-2009, 04:20 PM
I would go for that solid Kala. If I could do it over that's one I would consider as my first uke.

HoldinCoffee
03-12-2009, 04:42 PM
My first uke was the Kala laminate soprano and I love it and still play it but after I got it and kept playing, I regretted not shelling out the dough for the solid wood. BUT, Freedive brings up a good point, a tough laminate soprano really is good for taking places and not having to baby it... however he neglected to inform you that your first Flea will take-on that particular role thus leaving you with two knock-about sopranos... so you see, we're kinda guiding you in a different direction here. Solid Mahogany: BUY NOW!!

mike_terror
03-12-2009, 05:40 PM
I think I'm going to go with the KALA solid mahogany, thanks everyone for their great input.

I notice many people purchased the CONCERT size as their first, and I also saw the poll on the beginner's forum, that the Concert size has the most votes.

I'm not a really tall or big guy, 5 feet 8. Would the size make any difference in the enjoyment of learning the uke or cause me to run into any possible problems? 12 fret from a soprano vs a higher # of frets on a concert?

I did have my mind on a soprano originally, since it is considered the "classic", but after reading many more post of other users, it's causing me to question it and maybe go concert?

My main concern is that I've also read that the space of the frets will be smaller on a soprano, making it harder for beginners? I'm ready to bite the bullet and by my uke, just can't decide on the size. I don't want something that will make my learning experience difficult and cause me to not play my uke

Kaneohe til the end
03-12-2009, 06:54 PM
I did have my mind on a soprano originally, since it is considered the "classic", but after reading many more post of other users, it's causing me to question it and maybe go concert?


i dont think there are that many people who consider the soprano to be classic. while it is technically original, the 'ukulele has evolved so much since its origin that it has its own market now. its my guess that people buy almost as many ukes across the world as trumpets or other instruments. im not saying dont buy the soprano, just dont be too heavily swayed by the classical thing, it doesnt matter that much. buy what you think you will enjoy.

mike_terror
03-12-2009, 08:01 PM
is it possible that there are certain things that a soprano cant play, because of its limited 12 fret? or any advantages or disadvantages of the soprano vs concert for a beginner fresh to the uke

Kaneohe til the end
03-12-2009, 08:50 PM
is it possible that there are certain things that a soprano cant play, because of its limited 12 fret? or any advantages or disadvantages of the soprano vs concert for a beginner fresh to the uke

there are things the soprano cant play. because of, like you mentioned, the limited 12th fret. on concerts, tenors and any size above, you can play more notes, simply because you have more frets, although itll be rare for a beginner to go past the 12th fret. my advice, buy the concert. its the "in-between" size. cant really go wrong, especially since your just starting. if you later decide you want something smaller, or vice versa, youll know exactly what you want (you will buy more, trust me). i think youre chances of finding something youll like will start at a concert.

from experience i say that i started on a concert. loved it, but some chords were hard to fret, i had to tuck my fingers in and all kinds of jazz etc etc. going a size down would make the problem worse. i went up to tenor, because of the wider, longer fretboard, and the fuller sound. it may take more finger stretching for me to do those chords now, but i like it.

the only real way to find out is to take the plunge, buy one and see if you like it. if you dont, look around at music stores and try to find the size you like by playing each option.

freedive135
03-13-2009, 07:18 AM
Don't "fret" to much on the # of frets close to the body between the Soprano and the Concert...
Yes a Concert does have alittle more space between them BUT as a beginner by the time you are moving that far up the fret board you are learning fingerstyle playing or 4th&5th position chord shapes and will have other Ukes that fit that bill.
Most of the 1st position chord stay above the 5th fret anyway.

I have been playin for a little over 9 months and still don't go past the 12th fret and that is on my Tenors...but then again I don't have any sheet music that goes past there!!!!!!

If you think you want to start Soprano do it more than likely by the time you are moving past the 7th fret you will have another Uke!!!!!!!

notalent31
04-27-2011, 10:01 AM
Okay......I took the step, after much pondering and not wanting to purchase something that I'd never know how to handle, I did it!....just a couple of minutes ago.
I bought a LANIKAI LU 21BE acoustic Baritone ukulele and I only hope that I can learn the freakin' thing. The reason I also bought the acoustic connection is that I've already
got a speaker and mic which I plan on attaching when I can get to playing this instrument fairly decently!..

I understand that if you purchase something called "PLug ins" that you can then alter the SOUNDS on your ukulele. But, that will come much later. First I"ve got to learn to
play this little midget of a thing!..

I paid $179.00 for the Lanikai LU 21BE, with the acoustic package. Hope I didn't pay too much. Look, I know there are cheaper ukes's out there, and I suspect if
you're a terrific uke player, that you can make it sound like a much more expensive uke.

I'll be receiving the uke next week sometime and am looking forward. I have no idea how this uke will sound when plugged into the speaker. But, that will come much later
after I can make some musical sense with the Lanikai. Another thing.....for an adult man, I have pretty small fingers and only hope that I can reach some of those
extended far reaching chords.

Look, Ill be 80 years old this year, and I decided to learn a musical instument and the uke sort of popped up in my head, the reason being that it just might be
somewhat easy to learn how to play it.

OKay, judgment day will be coming for me when I receive this new uke and find out what its all about..
I do hope I get some responses to this post....I've got much to learn!...

Regards
notalent31

Lori
04-27-2011, 06:37 PM
Okay......I took the step, after much pondering and not wanting to purchase something that I'd never know how to handle, I did it!....just a couple of minutes ago.
I bought a LANIKAI LU 21BE acoustic Baritone ukulele and I only hope that I can learn the freakin' thing. The reason I also bought the acoustic connection is that I've already
got a speaker and mic which I plan on attaching when I can get to playing this instrument fairly decently!..

I understand that if you purchase something called "PLug ins" that you can then alter the SOUNDS on your ukulele. But, that will come much later. First I"ve got to learn to
play this little midget of a thing!..

I paid $179.00 for the Lanikai LU 21BE, with the acoustic package. Hope I didn't pay too much. Look, I know there are cheaper ukes's out there, and I suspect if
you're a terrific uke player, that you can make it sound like a much more expensive uke.

I'll be receiving the uke next week sometime and am looking forward. I have no idea how this uke will sound when plugged into the speaker. But, that will come much later
after I can make some musical sense with the Lanikai. Another thing.....for an adult man, I have pretty small fingers and only hope that I can reach some of those
extended far reaching chords.

Look, Ill be 80 years old this year, and I decided to learn a musical instument and the uke sort of popped up in my head, the reason being that it just might be
somewhat easy to learn how to play it.

OKay, judgment day will be coming for me when I receive this new uke and find out what its all about..
I do hope I get some responses to this post....I've got much to learn!...

Regards
notalent31

Welcome to UU notalent31!
Congrats on your soon-to-be-delivered bari uke! I don't have any amplified ukes, but I am sure you will have tons of fun with it. It is always good to learn new things, especially if you can still do it at 80! Depending on the strings you buy, you can play the baritone in DGBE tuning (which is like a 4 string guitar) or GCEA tuning, which is common to the rest of the ukulele family. So, when looking at music, be aware that there are different tunings. This is a great place to come with your questions, and I am sure you will have a few. I hope you got an electronic tuner with your uke. They are very helpful.

–Lori

TheOnlyUkeThatMatters
04-27-2011, 07:31 PM
If you're leaning toward soprano, go for it!

There's plenty of room on those frets for you. Twelve frets has been plenty for me. If you want a few more, check out these discounted Ohana SK-25s:

http://www.ukuleleworld.com/soprano-specials/

I bet Roy at ukuleleworld would be happy to strum all three and send you the nicest one.