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whistleman123
09-13-2015, 02:33 AM
I'm swimming in deep water here and am looking for opinions.

I know you can play jazz on any uke, but if you were going to play just straight ahead jazz and stadards (playing and singing, comping changes, chord solos, and single note solos) what kind of uke would you choose?

Acustic, electric? Solid body? Hollow body? Size? Brand? Model?

I'm progressing well and have been asked to "sit in" with a rehersal band. Sometimes it's just a rythem section. Sometimes there are horn players. Sometimes a vocalist. So I need to start looking for a uke that will fit into this setting.

Thanks

AcousticTones
09-13-2015, 03:04 AM
Well here are a few videos of Abe and Jeff playing some great jazz on some nice Tenor Uke's. I don't think it takes any specific type of uke to play jazz though. It's about how and what you're playing (musically) and then just getting a tone you're happy with (whatever that may be for your taste). But I think most decent uke's would work just fine.

Video links:

https://youtu.be/OdB3v6MQyUk

https://youtu.be/sWw5gSImXfA

https://youtu.be/WCmEzky3aMQ

wayward
09-13-2015, 03:08 AM
These things always depend on budget of course. Here's a link to my fantasy answer: http://www.jazzboxukes.com/ The Kala Archtop is also an obvious choice. But we play a couple of Jazz songs, and we use the same ukuleles we have for all our other songs as they're fairly mellow sounding: a Pono Acacia, a Pono Mango and a Kala Acacia. Happy Hunting!

photoshooter
09-13-2015, 03:25 AM
If I were looking to make a stage presence I'd be wanting a Godin Multiuke, Pono solid body or Kala Archtop (in descending order of cost). Of course we've already acknowledged that any uke will get the job done.

Mivo
09-13-2015, 03:26 AM
Here's a link to my fantasy answer: http://www.jazzboxukes.com/

83358

These are gorgeous. I didn't see prices anywhere, but that's just as well!

Futurethink
09-13-2015, 05:26 AM
You mentioned wanting something that can occasionally play rhythm, occasionally play single-note solos, and which would fit in with the other instruments. I don't know what other instruments you are talking about, but perhaps a bass ukulele (different from a u-bass ukulele) is what you are looking for.

I looked at your previous posts, and you mentioned being an experienced horn player, but new to fretted instruments. I am also new, and am currently learning on an octave-ukulele, but am thinking about a ukulele-bass (but not a u-bass).

I'm currently fascinated by this Kamoa:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DT7fp8ByJs8
Luna makes a similar Uke-Bass. Both the Kamoa and the Luna are tuned like a bass guitar, but an octave higher.

C4 is middle C on a piano, and is typically the lowest note on a re-entrant ukulele (with C-tuning). C3 is an octave below middle C. The following chart might help you evaluate your options.

Re-entrant Tenor Ukulele; G4-C4-E4-A4
Linear Tenor Ukulele; G3-C4-E4-A4
Linear Baritone Ukulele: D3-G3-B3-E4
Guitalele; A2-D3-G3-C4-E4-A4
Guitar; E2-A2-D3-G3-B3-E4
Octave Ukulele; G3-C3-E3-A3
Kamoa and Luna Bass Ukulele; E2-A2-D3-G3
Bass Guitar and Ukulele U-Bass; E1-A1-D2-G2

bennyhana22
09-13-2015, 06:03 AM
83358

These are gorgeous. I didn't see prices anywhere, but that's just as well!

I have one arriving in two weeks. It is a soprano. I will play jazz on it (amongst other things). I am unable to express the level of my excitement!

:D

Ben

JustinJ
09-13-2015, 06:03 AM
I think most ukes can play Jazz. I have someone helping me learn Jazz and he picks up an old yamaha acoustic guitar and plays Jazz on it. It sounds good.

It's not so much the instrument as it is the chords and tuning you have. You will definitely want low G .

I would suggest looking at a Baritone. I play Jazz on a tenor ukulele. It has a spruce top. I also have a Pono MTD, which has a great sound.

If money is an issue, I really like the Cordoba for the price. Personally, I think the Pono ukuleles are hard to beat especially basic model. They sound great and are reasonable price for the quality of the instrument.

Here is a video of the basic Pono tenors in three different woods. These are tuned to high g but you can get an idea of the sound of each

https://vimeo.com/124688954

bennyhana22
09-13-2015, 06:12 AM
I think most ukes can play Jazz. I have someone helping me learn Jazz and he picks up an old yamaha acoustic guitar and plays Jazz on it. It sounds good.

It's not so much the instrument as it is the chords and tuning you have. You will definitely want low G .

I would suggest looking at a Baritone. I play Jazz on a tenor ukulele. It has a spruce top. I also have a Pono MTD, which has a great sound.

If money is an issue, I really like the Cordoba for the price. Personally, I think the Pono ukuleles are hard to beat especially basic model. They sound great and are reasonable price for the quality of the instrument.

Here is a video of the basic Pono tenors in three different woods. These are tuned to high g but you can get an idea of the sound of each

https://vimeo.com/124688954

I think most people think that you need to play with a low G if you;re playing jazz, to get the depth and body of a chord. Most people playing jazz uke probably do it on a tenor (I think most people play tenor, period!). However, just a quick note in support of playing jazz on a soprano. I only play soprano, only play re-entrant, and can make some pretty nice jazz sounds with my (opens another can of worms...!) Aquila Reds!

Ben

PhilUSAFRet
09-13-2015, 06:33 AM
Agree on the Cordoba 20CM-TE. It sounds amazing for the money (can be had for less than $150 used, often with a decent gig bag) I prefer a mellow low G set on it. I couldn't get the Aquilas off of it quick enough....too brash. I gave it to my grand daughter and replaced it with a Kala solid mahogany acoustic/electric with a cutaway. It's my jazz and blues uke. I like the old time look and tortoise binding. May be a pickguard in it's future solely for cosmetics. Getting some Southcoast medium low G strings with wound 3 and 4. Sounds better than my old Cordoba.


I think most ukes can play Jazz. I have someone helping me learn Jazz and he picks up an old yamaha acoustic guitar and plays Jazz on it. It sounds good.

It's not so much the instrument as it is the chords and tuning you have. You will definitely want low G .

I would suggest looking at a Baritone. I play Jazz on a tenor ukulele. It has a spruce top. I also have a Pono MTD, which has a great sound.

If money is an issue, I really like the Cordoba for the price. Personally, I think the Pono ukuleles are hard to beat especially basic model. They sound great and are reasonable price for the quality of the instrument.

Here is a video of the basic Pono tenors in three different woods. These are tuned to high g but you can get an idea of the sound of each

https://vimeo.com/124688954

sam13
09-13-2015, 07:29 AM
I think most people think that you need to play with a low G if you;re playing jazz, to get the depth and body of a chord. Most people playing jazz uke probably do it on a tenor (I think most people play tenor, period!). However, just a quick note in support of playing jazz on a soprano. I only play soprano, only play re-entrant, and can make some pretty nice jazz sounds with my (opens another can of worms...!) Aquila Reds!

Ben

Congrats on the new Jazz Box Ukes coming in ... I am very excited for you.

I play jazz on Baritone, Tenor and Soprano with Linear and re entrant tuning. I am gonna have to look one of those up!

If you are playing with a group you might consider a tonal wood that is just a little brighter to punch through the other musicians ... I really prefer Engelmann Spruce ... and have two Pro Classic Tenors ... one Linear with Oasis Warm linear and the RTC Spruce with re entrant Browns.

Will you be thumb dragging or strumming?

wayward
09-13-2015, 07:36 AM
I have one arriving in two weeks. It is a soprano. I will play jazz on it (amongst other things). I am unable to express the level of my excitement!

:D

Ben

Jealous! :iwant: Please share the sound with us soon after you get it. Enjoy!

Mivo
09-13-2015, 07:55 AM
I have one arriving in two weeks. It is a soprano. I will play jazz on it (amongst other things). I am unable to express the level of my excitement

Woo! Congratulations! :) Will you treat us with a "NUD" post (photos, sound samples) when you get it? Definitely looking forward to it!

whistleman123
09-13-2015, 08:08 AM
Congrats on the new Jazz Box Ukes coming in ... I am very excited for you.

I play jazz on Baritone, Tenor and Soprano with Linear and re entrant tuning. I am gonna have to look one of those up!

If you are playing with a group you might consider a tonal wood that is just a little brighter to punch through the other musicians ... I really prefer Engelmann Spruce ... and have two Pro Classic Tenors ... one Linear with Oasis Warm linear and the RTC Spruce with re entrant Browns.

Will you be thumb dragging or strumming?

In this setting I will be strimming with a plastic pick.

Wicked
09-13-2015, 09:37 AM
If you are playing with horns, you really need to be able to amplify that thing - so I'm guessing that should be one of your main criteria.

bennyhana22
09-13-2015, 09:47 AM
Woo! Congratulations! :) Will you treat us with a "NUD" post (photos, sound samples) when you get it? Definitely looking forward to it!

Hi Mivo (and wayward!).

I'm not much of 'NUD'er, if I'm honest! And I can't see myself uploading any sound files, even if I could record them at a decent quality!

BUT, yes, I will endeavour to upload a picture or two once I have my new archtop (and back!) sop. It might not impress you guys a lot as it is being built intentionally very low bling! That's how I like my ukes to be...

Will post 'em up after I get it and we get acquainted!

Ben

wayfarer75
09-13-2015, 09:55 AM
I'm really interested in seeing your new uke, too! I can see why you're excited!

Mivo
09-13-2015, 07:23 PM
BUT, yes, I will endeavour to upload a picture or two once I have my new archtop (and back!) sop. It might not impress you guys a lot as it is being built intentionally very low bling! That's how I like my ukes to be...

No worries about the sound samples! I have yet to upload the ones of the Barron River, because I didn't have enough confidence of doing so (I even have the equipment, just not the courage), so I definitely understand. :) (I intend to do it eventually, though - it's part of what keeps me practicing.) I was mostly just curious about what their sopranos sound like because one day (which is not now or soon) I might like a soprano with fantastic sustain up the neck.

Just pictures will be great! I also prefer low-bling ukuleles. I can find deep appreciation in very elaborate instruments that take one's breath away, but strictly for playing I enjoy a more simple instrument (with a great sound).

wayward
09-13-2015, 08:50 PM
Hi Mivo (and wayward!).

I'm not much of 'NUD'er, if I'm honest! And I can't see myself uploading any sound files, even if I could record them at a decent quality!

BUT, yes, I will endeavour to upload a picture or two once I have my new archtop (and back!) sop. It might not impress you guys a lot as it is being built intentionally very low bling! That's how I like my ukes to be...

Will post 'em up after I get it and we get acquainted!

Ben
Like Mivo said, no worries about the sound clips. I'll look forward to the pics as another "no bling just let it sing" proponent.

kypfer
09-13-2015, 09:32 PM
Returning to the original topic of this thread ... ;)

Overall size of instrument needs to be a consideration, in my opinion, especially if you're a "standard size male" or larger. Fitting a bunch of "glove-size large" fingers onto the fret-board of a soprano or concert above the 5th fret or thereabouts for a four-finger chord can be an uncomfortable squeeze, at best, especially when trying to change chords in a hurry.

I bought a tenor specifically for this genre. I'm not very good at it, and my repertoire is very limited, but I was just getting frustrated on my concert ... which limited my enthusiasm!!

Obviously, YMMV ;)

k0k0peli
09-13-2015, 10:59 PM
If you are playing with horns, you really need to be able to amplify that thing - so I'm guessing that should be one of your main criteria.
That was the first thought that struck me, too. I think your priorities may revolve around:

1) Can you afford it?
2) Is it the right size for you; does it play comfortably?
3) Can it be heard in your ensemble?
4) Do you prefer an acoustic or semi-acoustic or solid electric sound?

Jazz (in some form or another) can be played on just about anything. In this context that could include 'ukes with any number of strings between 3 and 12; any size from sopranino to bass; any number of stringings and tunings; banjo or resonator or tin-can or cigar-box or Tahitian 'ukes; archtop or flattop or solid-body or wire-frame or plastic 'ukes; et al. What sound do you want? What jazz do you play?

whistleman123
09-16-2015, 01:12 AM
Thanks for all your thoughts! You've given me a lot to think about. I think I need to do a lot more listening and watching of videos before I make a decision! for now my trusty Vox played through a small amp sweetened with a little reverb will have to do!

Patrick Madsen
09-16-2015, 06:04 AM
I had this Jazzbox Baritone built for use in Jazz. I like it a lot but find the f holes have a completely different volume and sound than any of my other ukes. Not bad, just different. I am going to make a few changes and it should be ideal. One being to try a set of steel strings and the other is to add a pickup to it. Toby said a set of light steel strings would be okay because there's no stress from a floating bridge vs one that's glued on. I'm still deciding whether to use a piezo pickup or active. Piezo would give it a more natural jazz sound.

I also bought this bass at the same time. The sides were originally going to be used on my bari but he found a better matching set so used the old ones to make this bass.

For jazz, I usually end up using one of my baritones. Though as the others have said, any uke will do.

DaveY
09-16-2015, 06:24 AM
I'm finding that my Pono TE-C works well with any music, including jazz. The almost-solid (chambered) body helps with feedback issues, of course, and also makes it a less-worry uke when traveling. I do sometimes use an external preamp, but I don't mind that. I got the $575 one that comes with a Pono passive pickup and an Oahu hard case, from HMS/TUS. The quiet acoustic sound makes it easy to tune up or practice a little before going on, without having to disappear into another room. I think it's the best value of the ten or more ukuleles I have bought.