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rogerthedodger
09-19-2015, 01:34 PM
I am considering an entry level uke like Kala Makala Tenor Ukulele from Guitar Center. Is it worth the $40 they want for setup on this uke?
Thank you, Roger

Camsuke
09-19-2015, 02:44 PM
A proper setup is absolutely essential. Some suppliers include a setup with the sale. Check out HMS http://www.theukulelesite.com/

Debby
09-19-2015, 02:50 PM
I am considering an entry level uke like Kala Makala Tenor Ukulele from Guitar Center. Is it worth the $40 they want for setup on this uke?
Thank you, Roger

I would just order it from someone that includes the set up. I personally wouldn't want Guitar Center to set up my uke. I don't know much about guitar or Uke set ups, but I'm assuming there are differences, and I would prefer someone who specializes in ukuleles to set mine up. I've bought a couple Makalas from a chain music store and it's a crap shoot. One plays good, while the other was a huge disappointment.

Debby
09-19-2015, 02:51 PM
Also, welcome to UU!

ubulele
09-19-2015, 02:54 PM
Setup is definitely worth it, but not necessarily from Guitar Center. For the same money you'd pay (plus a bit more for shipping), you can upgrade to a Kala KA-T from Hawaiian Music Supply, they'll set it up better at no extra charge, and there's virtually no risk they'll send you a dud. Why settle?

k0k0peli
09-19-2015, 03:19 PM
I will not set foot in a Guitar Center again except to escape bad weather or use the restroom. The suggestions above are excellent.

Brian1
09-19-2015, 03:45 PM
I am considering an entry level uke like Kala Makala Tenor Ukulele from Guitar Center. Is it worth the $40 they want for setup on this uke?
Thank you, Roger

I have mixed feelings about getting a ukulele set up I think a lot depends on who it is for and what they intend to do with it. But you should judge for yourself:

Here is a video from HMS showing what they do when they set up an instrument and what they might need to do:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Elfo9xHPhZE
At one point in this video you can see he has to fix a buzz but that buzz was noticed after he slightly lowered the action so it may not have been there out of the box but it is gone by the time he finishes.

When he is asked about what the most common issues are on this video at 1:35 he says that most issues are cosmetic
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FWWAm8eJGig

I personally want to know what condition something I buy is in when it comes from the factory and what has been done to it.

And If I spend hours picking out the instrument that I think is perfect I don't want someone to take it to the back room and make changes before I am consulted. But when you are spending hundreds of dollars it is good to have someone who you can trust look over what you are buying. (and I have never heard a complaint from an HMS customer about the condition their uke arrived in)

vanflynn
09-19-2015, 04:25 PM
Aloha and welcome to UU Roger. Glad you joined us.

I agree with the suggestion of getting the uke from HMS or Mim's Ukes or Ukulele Republic. They will screen out the bad instruments, set it up as a matter of course, and be there if you have any problems (and make it right)

Happy hunting and let us know what you get.

rogerthedodger
09-19-2015, 07:32 PM
Thank you for all of the responses. I was looking at a uke from HMS but have a hard time paying shipping of $25. I do think you should go to the stores you can depend on to do do it right. I am an old dude, but in my younger days played piano, violin, guitar, and a little uke. I want to have a good experience with my uke, so your input Is appreciated. BTW I love this website. So much info, I can tell you are wanting to get it right.
Thank you, Roger

kohanmike
09-19-2015, 10:00 PM
Mim, located in Virginia, is another top notch web dealer that does setup.

I've had very good work done by the West L.A. Guitar Center repair guy Jeff. He can setup a uke just as well as a guitar. Too bad the store is getting more and more empty of equipment and customers. I keep wondering if Guitar Center is getting ready to shut it's brick and mortar stores.

Mivo
09-19-2015, 11:42 PM
I was looking at a uke from HMS but have a hard time paying shipping of $25. I do think you should go to the stores you can depend on to do do it right.

Hello Roger, and welcome to UU. :) Happy to have you on board!

As for the $25 for shipping: Since HMS, Uke Republic and Mim include the setup for free, it's still cheaper than paying $40 in a regular store for just the setup. The real advantage is that with those places you buy from the experts who really do a proper and focused setup, and who will also not sell you duds. They are much more dependent on their reputation than a brickstone store as word of mouth about online stores travels quickly and has a strong impact in a relatively small, specialized field. In the end it'll be a better (and safer) deal even with the shipping costs in the picture.

The downside is that you can't try out the instrument you buy. Then again, if you stick with the hobby and may some day buy a high end ukulele, chances are that you also won't be able to try it out before buying (unless you travel to Hawaii or are in the rare and fortunate position to live near a place that sells the really good stuff). There are lots of video demonstrations around that may help, and folks here also tend to freely share their recommendations for brands and models, if you let them know what size, wood, and other features you're interested in (with a budget). :)

rogerthedodger
09-20-2015, 05:02 AM
Thanks for the welcomes from all of you. I have not touched a musical instrument for many years, so the instrument I buy, I may not know enough to try it first anyway. I must admit, I joined a Uke class on a cruise to Hawaii, and the basic chords came right back, kind of like riding a bicycle. haha. My mother had a Uke and when I was young, I used to play it, along with my guitar. My interest now is basic, mostly to entertain myself, so a high end instrument is not in my near future. I have learned more from this website about the instruments, now to make a decision, but not hastily.
Thanks again, Roger

UncleMoon
09-20-2015, 07:35 AM
+1 on Mim - I've purchased from her, and a recommendation from Mike at Uke Republic - I've purchased from him too. Both did an excellent job on my new ukes before I got them. I have no experience with HMS but wouldn't hesitate to buy from them either.

rogerthedodger
09-20-2015, 10:12 AM
I am now looking at a Kala KA-C Concert from HMS. Any comments on it? Maybe I will start a new thread, see if anyone has good/bad about this entry level Uke.
Roger

Brian1
09-20-2015, 11:49 AM
I don't think you can go wrong if you start out with a Kala. No matter where you get it or how it comes.

Nickie
09-20-2015, 02:31 PM
Hi and welcome to UU. As you can tell, we're enablers here!
You can't go wrong with a Kala from Mim's. I've bought three, and the Kala I bought will stay with me from now on. I wouldn't hesitate buying a uke from HMS, if Mim's can't get it for me.
Keep us posted....UU is a great resource!

rogerthedodger
09-20-2015, 03:00 PM
I checked Mims website. They don't have Kala.
Thank you, Roger

photoshooter
09-20-2015, 04:51 PM
Mim has an eBay store, mimsukes where you'll find all of her stock.
I started with a Kala concert laminate and still love it.
Welcome to UU.

rance
09-20-2015, 05:00 PM
To buy a Kala ukulele from Mim you have to use ebay. Type in "mim kala tenor ukulele" in the search blank.

vanflynn
09-20-2015, 05:23 PM
Mim has her upper end ukes and bling on her main site http://mimsukes.com and the stuff I buy in her eBay store http://stores.ebay.com/mimsukes/ (upper left pull down on the main site). She often has items not listed so feel free to call/email. She's great to work with (as are HMS and Mike at Uke Republic)

ubulele
09-20-2015, 05:34 PM
Actually, you can just call her. Then she can tell you what she has in stock and on order. If a certain item isn't listed on her eBay store, it doesn't mean she doesn't carry it, and some things she's recently received may not yet be listed online.

gyosh
09-20-2015, 06:03 PM
Aloha and welcome to UU Roger. Glad you joined us.

I agree with the suggestion of getting the uke from HMS or Mim's Ukes or Ukulele Republic. They will screen out the bad instruments, set it up as a matter of course, and be there if you have any problems (and make it right)

Happy hunting and let us know what you get.

Welcome Roger!

All the places mentioned have stellar reputations as does Mainland Mike of Mainland ukuleles

Pukulele Pete
09-21-2015, 12:31 AM
Ukuleles do not need to be "setup" . They are playable right out of the box. Good dealers will look over the uke will check the uke for cosmetic problems but they don't need a "setup" . Free "setup" is OK but I wouldn't think every uke needs a "setup" , don't waste your money.:stop::old:

Mivo
09-21-2015, 12:41 AM
Ukuleles do not need to be "setup" . They are playable right out of the box. Good dealers will look over the uke will check the uke for cosmetic problems but they don't need a "setup" . Free "setup" is OK but I wouldn't think every uke needs a "setup" , don't waste your money.:stop::old:

So all the issues with intonation, action, evenness of frets, buzzing, etc. that inexpensive ukuleles off the shelf are frequently reported to have, are purely cosmetic? :)

My first ukulele was not set up properly. Intonation was not good, and the action was painfully high. Getting one without a setup was, in fact, a waste of money and time for me. Not every ukulele benefits from or needs a setup, but with cheaper ukuleles it is at least a gamble -- one that can easily be sidestep by buying from a reputable vendor that specializes in ukuleles and goes the extra mile.

I feel it is irresponsible to tell new ukulele players that a setup is a waste of money.

Pukulele Pete
09-21-2015, 01:34 AM
I feel it is irresponsible to tell new ukulele players that a setup is a waste of money.

It is not irresponsible , it is my opinion. It is irresponsible to tell new players they need to waste money on a "setup" when they don't.

lewclev
09-21-2015, 02:09 AM
I am now looking at a Kala KA-C Concert from HMS. Any comments on it? Maybe I will start a new thread, see if anyone has good/bad about this entry level Uke.
Roger

I purchased a Kala KA-C for my son from HMS a couple of years ago and have been very happy with it. I would recommend it for a starter uke.

I have to agree with all that has been said about setups in this thread. It is essential; especially for the less expensive ukuleles. I don't think you can go wrong with HMS, Mims or Uke Republic.

I did notice that Mim has the Ohana CK-10 Concert (laminate mahogany) for $107 shipped and for about 30 dollars more than you would pay for the Kala shipped from HMS, she has the Ohana CK-20S with a solid mahogany top.

Although I don't have any experience with the Ohana brand, I would pay the extra for a solid top. My personal experience is the sound quality is worth the difference.

Good Luck and welcome.

Rodney.
09-21-2015, 02:34 AM
I've gone the setup-route before, but have left it. I'm not very good at working with my hands (playing the ukulele included) but it's so easy to fix action and intonation that I'm doing it myself these days. Nuts and saddles can be found very cheap at eBay, just sand of the bottom to the required height. I have owned several ukuleles, and I never encountered any fret problems, even my Dolphin had decent straight frets. I might have been lucky though.
I'm not saying a setup is not needed, or it's a waist of money, but I am stating that a little d.i.y. can solve a lot of issues, and it's very satisfying to do it yourself.

Pukulele Pete
09-21-2015, 02:43 AM
I've gone the setup-route before, but have left it. I'm not very good at working with my hands (playing the ukulele included) but it's so easy to fix action and intonation that I'm doing it myself these days. Nuts and saddles can be found very cheap at eBay, just sand of the bottom to the required height. I have owned several ukuleles, and I never encountered any fret problems, even my Dolphin had decent straight frets. I might have been lucky though.
I'm not saying a setup is not needed, or it's a waist of money, but I am stating that a little d.i.y. can solve a lot of issues, and it's very satisfying to do it yourself.

Absolutely , learn to do it yourself , it's part of learning to play. Instead of paying $40 for a "setup" , buy a better uke, it wont need to be "setup".

Mivo
09-21-2015, 02:46 AM
It is not irresponsible , it is my opinion. It is irresponsible to tell new players they need to waste money on a "setup" when they don't.

What I disagree with is the implication that a proper setup is irrelevant (I feel it is important). I equally disagree with the practice of e.g. Guitar Center selling ukuleles that may need a setup and charging $40 for something I believe should be included in the price.

My recommendation is for buying from places that do the necessary work for free, as part of the service. I don't recommend paying $40 for the service.

zztush
09-21-2015, 02:59 AM
$40 setup is obviously too expensive for $75 uke to me.

I think you can set up by yourself. Setup saddle is not difficult. Setup nut is bit difficult but not too difficult. Even if you payed $40 for setup this time, you may setup nut by yourself whenever you change your strings or even play styles. Setup is different from person to person and string to strings. I like low action for easy and fast play. It may cause buzz for other people.

matakazer
09-21-2015, 02:59 AM
May I ask what is an intonation issue?

RichM
09-21-2015, 03:11 AM
1. Ukuleles often do require setup, especially import ukes which probably went from a container on a ship directly to a stockroom.
2. Any reputable retailer should not put an instrument with playability issues up for sale in general stock. I believe it is absurd for Guitar Center (or anybody) to put an instrument with playability or intonation issues up for sale, and then charge extra to make it playable.
3. I am assuming that the OP is buying his first uke. While I agree that many basic setup issues are learnable, I don't think it's rational to ask someone who is just learning the instrument to be asked to do a setup on his first uke.

I do agree with the prevailing advice here, which is to buy from one of the many reputable dealers who take time to make their ukes playable before you buy them.

mm stan
09-21-2015, 03:12 AM
The accuracy of the pitch....

Mivo
09-21-2015, 03:13 AM
May I ask what is an intonation issue?

Baz wrote a good explanation, please see here (http://www.gotaukulele.com/2010/04/ukulele-basics-intonation.html). Checking for such problems, and fixing them, is part of the setup process.

SteveZ
09-21-2015, 03:17 AM
Absolutely , learn to do it yourself , it's part of learning to play. Instead of paying $40 for a "setup" , buy a better uke, it wont need to be "setup".

"Set-up" is one of the most abused terms with stringed instruments. What a set-up entails depends on what the shop advertises and what the musician demands (or does him/herself). Set-up can be as simple as filing one string slot in the nut or a complete fret dressing, neck adjustment, nut/saddle replacement and even moving a mismounted bridge. Whether it is needed or worth the effort/expense is often very subjective.

I agree that most instruments are playable right out of the box. How playable that is depends on the player. The new player is usually much more tolerant during the initial learning process, much the same as the new car driver is with whatever the first car may be. As time goes by and experience grows, so does the desire for more of a custom fit and performance increase. Very few experienced drivers want a car that drove like their first one, and the same holds true with experienced musicians regarding instruments. It's having the experience that makes us understand and appreciate the sometimes subtle and not-so-subtle factors between "standard" and "custom."

The new player who buys a boxed instrument would do well to have the instrument checked by someone (for free) to see that the instrument does not have any quality failures which can significantly impact playability. Other than that, until the player learns more about what factors affect playability and whether any of the factors affect the player's "style," messing with the instrument based on "maybe it needs a set-up" may indeed be wasted money. It's amazing how much effort and money are saved by having a bit of experience before making changes.

matakazer
09-21-2015, 03:37 AM
Baz wrote a good explanation, please see here (http://www.gotaukulele.com/2010/04/ukulele-basics-intonation.html). Checking for such problems, and fixing them, is part of the setup process.

How do I tell it is perfectly one octave higher. Is using a tuner to check whether is it the same note accurate?

Mivo
09-21-2015, 03:45 AM
It may depend a little on the tuner (some have limited range, some don't show how many cents a note is off), but yes, most tuners should do fine. :) Just hold down a string at the 12th fret and it should be the same note (just an octave higher) as the open string (when it's not held down). When you fret the G string in the 12th fret, the tuner should tell you that it's also a G.

rogerthedodger
09-21-2015, 04:48 AM
I think we are a little off topic, I have enough info, thanks all.
Roger