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View Full Version : The Alida Uke story revisited: Where are they now?



Wagster
09-20-2015, 06:39 AM
After all this time I'm curious....whatever became of all the Alida ukes? I know Mike ended up selling his but I kind of dropped off the scene shortly after.

As for mine, it has been sitting in the case all this time waiting for the ukulele fairy to come bless it. I'm starting to think the ukulele fairy is just a myth...

Pulled the uke out a few weeks ago and was determined to make it or break it. Worked the frets a little more. Installed the shorter bass tail like Mike had done. Filed the nut slots. Filed the nut slots some more. Filed the nut slots. Again. Then I bought a rosewood mandolin bridge that was vaguely close to the right dimensions. Cut, filed, sanded, cussed and hollered until it worked well enough to actually let me play this thing. Blew thru 4 or 5 sets of strings trying to find some that matched up well.

At this point, I actually have a glimmer of hope that with some more tinkering it may morph into an actual ukulele one day. Still has a ways to go, but its at least starting to stabilize....


So now, please tell use the story of your Alida. Im really curious to know what fates the ukulele fairy dished out to each one!

kohanmike
09-20-2015, 07:15 AM
Interesting timing Wagster, yesterday I opened the FileMaker database I created for the group buy for nostalgic purposes. I sold mine not long after modifying it because I found I had no occasion to play it, and I preferred to play my acoustic ukes. I too am curious where everyone stands. I could actually email them all to look at this post and give their answer, and include that in the database.

Wagster
09-20-2015, 09:28 AM
Hmmmmm...maybe a better question is what happened to the people that bought them? lol

A few months ago i started playing in a band again and thats what re-ignited my interest in a steel string. And I was actually close to just snatching up a Risa LP. Wanting one in a bad way. But I just couldnt justify laying out that kind of money until the Alida issue was resolved one way or another. I will probably end up getting a Risa down the road anyway, but I'm happy that the Alida has a pulse again. Still think it can become a great uke....if the ukulele fairy smiles down upon it....

Lardy Fatboy
09-20-2015, 10:35 AM
A chunk of the story of mine is at Ukulele Corner (http://home.ukulelecorner.co.uk/home/in-the-corner/tenor/alida-semi) What happened when it arrived and what I thought Since then it has largely been a wall hanger after all it does look pretty good from a distance. I sometimes think about at least getting the knobs on properly but I have never quite got around to it (partly my problem of being keener on the next Ukulele than the ones I've already got) At the moment I'm in the process of moving house so an old guitarist friend of mine is looking after it along with a few other of my ukuleles I though it interesting he did get it out and was initially very taken with it but after playing it for a bit he took came to the conclusion it looks better than it plays. I will hang on to it for a while and apart from one day sorting the knobs out I will leave it with all for the partly re purposed guitar metalwork it came with for, (for want of a better word), posterity.

cigarfan
09-20-2015, 12:04 PM
I messed with mine a little when we got them but it just didn't come out of the case after that. I just didn't play plugged in enough to make it worthwhile to keep. So mine ended up in the hands of a gentleman who lives on an island off the coast of SC.

PhilUSAFRet
09-20-2015, 12:31 PM
Still in the box the way I got it. I have been collecting tips and tricks that others have used and added a few ideas to consider that I came up with on my own. I am trying to keep in mind it's original cost in trying to determine how much I want to spend on it. Bridge a big obstacle. The new tailpiece is no problem. I have some Kluson style tuners for it and will essentially try and get it to look as much like a Gibson ES350 as I can, including gold tuning knobs and a Gibson style pick guard. Not sure how to access the inside to install new pots. Pickups may or may not stay. Have to be some out there that will fit that will sound better. Welcome all suggestions and offer to share what ideas I have saved up to this point. It's still on my "to do" list.

Patrick Madsen
09-20-2015, 01:32 PM
I have mine also. It looks like a Gibson ES330. I wanted mainly because it matched my Red ES330. Turns out their red is actually brown. The case is a checkered red and brown. I sold it once and got it back as part of a deal with his buying my Ubass.

I changed the tailpiece for the one like Mike suggested and took it down to my luthier for a setup. He leveled the frets, moved the bridge for proper intonation and had it pretty spot on. He thought it was really cool. He recommended changing out the pickups at a future date. It would entail cutting a door for access if he couldn't change thru the pickup slots. It was no big deal to do.


I have Slinky's on it. Any suggestions for a different set?

I'd been thinking of selling it for a while because I don't really play it then change my mind once I play it. It has a great neck and possibilities. I was originally looking for a Risa LP when this deal came along. Considering what i have in it, I saved money by not buying the Risa that would probably would be sitting on the stand, not played, like the Alida does. I have a new preamp and amp so I'll have to fire it up.

Wagster
09-20-2015, 01:36 PM
I am trying to keep in mind it's original cost in trying to determine how much I want to spend on it. Bridge a big obstacle.

Yessir... you nailed the main cause for my procrastination. I had resigned myself to living with a trapeze tail, much as I dislike them, but that piece of scrap metal they called a bridge was a show stopper. I kept hoping a better option would surface but so far the mando bridge I modded is the best I could come up with. It does, at least, work fairly well and the intonation is surprisingly close! The last set of strings I put on (GHS Nickel Rockers if anyone cares) are starting to settle in and feel/sound pretty good. I actually made it thru a whole song today. Progress!

Skinny Money McGee
09-20-2015, 01:53 PM
Thanks for the email Mike. I still have mine. Got it all dialed in by a guitar tech, bought a nice case, and lost interest in playing a steel string uke, so here it sits in the closet with the strings loosened. I'm keeping it though, and will eventually replace all the electronics with new Dimarzio pickups. Never bought the adjustable bridge since the guy wanted almost as much as the uke cost to make one.

1300cc
09-20-2015, 02:13 PM
Mine is for sale now, so far i have changed the tail bridge and tried several brand of strings and for me i realized im a nylon man

greenie44
09-20-2015, 02:19 PM
Still have mine. Spent a few bucks on getting the frets done properly, a new bridge and a number of other things. I still play it on occasion when I need that wild electric sound, as you can see by the following YouTube clip. But that is only once a month or so. A steel string uke is fairly foreign to my fingers after playing acoustic most of the time, so it's the exception uke rather than the rule.

But it was a fun trip, and worth the money, in my mind.


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sUqSYkQapC8

bigphil
09-20-2015, 03:26 PM
I still have mine too, I did quite a bit of work on it myself that was all detailed back when we got them so I won't rehash that here. I have occasional songs that call for the steel string unit but it isn't played all that much. Especially since I got my MB.

Most uke players probably aren't looking for a screaming replacement for a guitar, but this is exactly how I use mine, like I said, some tunes just need steel, and the price of this uke was right. Especially if you can do the needed refinements yourself.

kohanmike
09-20-2015, 08:32 PM
So far out of 22, 10 people replied; 2 sold it, 1 is up for sale, 3 play occasionally, 4 don't play it.

ChaosToo
09-20-2015, 09:28 PM
I hope you guys will be glad to hear that, whilst I don't play any of my ukes half as much as I used to, nor anywhere near as much as I want to, the Alida will never get sold! It will always remind me of the generosity of the people of this group!

:-)

Rodney.
09-20-2015, 11:52 PM
I gained 20 lbs from all the popcorn I had while following those Alida/East star threads.

kohanmike
09-21-2015, 04:48 AM
I hope you guys will be glad to hear that, whilst I don't play any of my ukes half as much as I used to, nor anywhere near as much as I want to, the Alida will never get sold! It will always remind me of the generosity of the people of this group!:-)

With thanks for your service.

Wagster
09-21-2015, 10:35 AM
Steel strings are and always will be a novelty uke. They will never become daily players outside the walls of a psychiatric ward. But I found the commentary on Lardy Fatboy's site very interesting....and very true. East-Start had an opportunity to flood the market with these ukes and blew it. What little money they made off our modest purchase is long gone, but their reputation from it will suffer a long, slow agonizing death....

SailorUke!
09-21-2015, 01:19 PM
These are the kinda posts above that makes people leave forums. Sad. In fact, it is odd that an instrument like the Uke with the spirit that follows it also has one of the most negative forums I have seen in many ways. (I say this as a mod on many "hard core" sites that make many more jokes, but rarely attack the love of another person so much as I have seen here as a new user.)

One person's novelty may be another's way to make a living. I doubt Risa thinks of their products as "novelties". I bet that is what people heard when the first electric guitars were coming out.

kohanmike
09-21-2015, 02:26 PM
These are the kinda posts above that makes people leave forums. Sad. In fact, it is odd that an instrument like the Uke with the spirit that follows it also has one of the most negative forums I have seen in many ways. (I say this as a mod on many "hard core" sites that make many more jokes, but rarely attack the love of another person so much as I have seen here as a new user.) One person's novelty may be another's way to make a living. I doubt Risa thinks of their products as "novelties." I bet that is what people heard when the first electric guitars were coming out.

Please don't denigrate the entire thread/forum because you disagree with one post. Maybe Wagster could have been less absolute by saying steel string ukes have a limited customer base, but "makes people leave forums" is unnecessarily absolute as well. I've found far and away the people on this forum to be kind, receptive and informative, rarely "attacking" anyone.

SailorUke!
09-22-2015, 05:31 AM
Sorry to offend but " They will never become daily players outside the walls of a psychiatric ward. " seemed way out of bounds. I see that kind of comment on sites populated by kids arguing of video games. not so much on sites geared to adults. When I do see it on those sites, the regulars on the site are the ones that jump in and stop it, not the mods or a newbie.

I see posts on here that use the title itself to try to avoid posts of this type. I was just noting a tone that seemed odd for a site dedicated to music and this isn't the most active of forums out there. There may be a link. It only takes a few people to change the whole color of a forum if no one cares to stop it.

And back to the original purpose of the post, I myself have a steel string electric that I play almost daily and have worked it into some songs that I really like the sound. I also see how it could work great in a live setting. Seems the thread was about a specific group of instruments purchased and was very interesting. The comment just seemed a way to sneak in an attack on something for no real reason.

kohanmike
09-22-2015, 05:56 AM
My suggestion would be to PM the person with your disagreement since he was the only one that made those statements. That actually just happened to me when I shortsightedly hijacked a post. I immediately deleted my post and apologized to him. I would PM you, but thought this would be useful for other people to see.

Barbablanca
09-22-2015, 06:14 AM
I have still got mine and still use it (basically as a lead guitar) on some of my Seasons videos or my own home produced multi-tracking stuff. I was hoping to use it more with the band, but I must confess that the range in which it plays clashes with our lead guitarist who is a much better lead player than I'll ever be. Electric rhythm on the Alida somehow just doesn't cut it like my Nylon 8 stringed Oscar Schmidt does - The OS8 is my go to uke in the band these days (used to be the Epiphone Les Paul). The OS8 gives the rhythm section a kind of mandolin like edge that breaks through and somehow doesn't clash with the lead guitar. Think "When I'm dead and gone".

Why have I not used it more? Partly because it could do with a good set up and I haven't felt motivated to get it, but largely because it really is a different animal and I need to have the time to someday really get into exploring it. I need to put aside some time to improve as a soloist and learn scales and all that. So, essentially, the uke isn't the real problem; time is the real problem. Thanks to the "crisis" I'm keeping down two jobs just to keep my head above water.

I got the Alida with the intention of really getting into solos, etc, at a price I could justify (unlike the apparently superior Risa). As such it has done its job. Had I bought the Risa I would be more out of pocket, but perhaps I would have played it more. I honestly can't answer that... or maybe I can't answer that honestly. If I had to guess I'd say 20% of the blame for not using it regularly is down to the instrument, but 80% is down to me. So, all told, I guess I have learned some lessons in there somewhere.

I shall keep it for now and I expect if I ever needed to sell it, it is a novelty enough item to get back at least 60% of what I paid for it.

So, overall, I don't regret the purchase. Also, as someone else said here, it was also good being part of that group of hopefuls, who then had to cope with various levels of disappointment and find solutions to that disappointment in modifications, etc. The subsequent Mods thread also added to the experience in spades.

PS I got the brown chequered case and that goes everywhere I go, I love that. Been a great conversation starter wherever it appears :)

focsle
09-22-2015, 09:12 AM
Got mine as well. Bought a portable Roland amp to go with it. It is fun to play with electric boys.

Big shout out to greenie44 for the assist.

Mine needed serious help. The neck had a bad hook in it because the wood was green when used. It also had undulations on the fret board like a washboard. Electronics all tested fine.

Still using the original tail piece.

Here is where things get weird, or maybe not. Consensus at the shop, where everyone played it for sometime, was it needed to have "D" tuning. From rockers to bluesmen et al...

So it does. Hadn't planned on that part, but it works.

Glad to catch up and hear the short stories!!

Wagster
09-22-2015, 07:19 PM
The ukulele nazis have hunted me down again...

Welcome to the forum new guy. I didnt want folks here to know this but since you hijacked my thread to make a point i guess i better come clean. Back when i was in "the ward" i did play a steel string every day. Its all they had but i did think it was very novel. Now that im out i miss it very much which is why i bought this alida. You also may have glossed over my earlier post where i stated i was shopping around for a risa lp. Now, if your experiences in the ward were different please feel free to go post your own thread and tell evetyone all about it. And again....welcome aboard....you are gonna love it here....

Rodney.
09-22-2015, 07:28 PM
Please keep this forum Godwin-free.

anthonyg
09-22-2015, 09:46 PM
Mine's been sitting in its case for a while, which isn't unusual for me. I like to let some ukulele's sit for 12 months maturing before I decide if I'm going to keep it and spend more money on it or otherwise. I'm a finger picker who used to reenforce my nails. I'm waiting for my nails to get stronger but steel strings still rip them up.

I just pulled it out for this thread, and thankfully it straight. I gave it a little play and while the intonation isn't spot on its not that bad. It has a characterful sound. I'll keep it and spend some money on it at some point.

Anthony

yao
09-23-2015, 04:38 PM
i still have mine and play it occasionally. i like it a lot! it's my only steel stringed uke, so it's a nice change of pace. also my only low G at the moment.

i did nothing to it, but things i'd like done:
- fix the bridge
- fix tail piece (purchased, but not installed)
- replace old looking plastic knob
- maybe some fretwork?

anyone have any suggestions on a luthier in the SF bay area where i might get work done?

Wagster
10-07-2015, 08:29 AM
Theres a guy in a white lab coat carrying a butterfly net looking for me...so I gotta make this quick....

Thanks to you all for taking the time to come share your tale. It was very interesting! Maybe next year we'll do it again. See how many are still floating around.

I had mentioned a mando bridge I modified for mine. I took a few photos just in case it might be an option for some others. These are all over the web. A search for mando bridges should pop one up.

Its not a perfect solution. At least, mine isn't, considering my modest luthering skills. Now that mine has been on the uke awhile and Ive had a chance to play with it, I think it will be worth my time to try and fine tune it some more. I havent notched the saddles yet, but will be doing that soon. The strings can easily be bumped off with them un-notched.

Uh -oh....net approaching. Gotta scram....

Take care guys!

8418384184

anthonyg
02-24-2016, 08:20 PM
Well I've just got mine back from the luthier so I thought I would update this thread. The neck and body on mine had stayed straight so it was time to get it working and actually it didn't take that much. Firstly, he just unscrewed the saddle/bridge and left it floating in the right spot. It works fine. Original bridge and original tail piece. I may replace them both yet but at this point they work fine.

Secondly he did a little nut work. The action was VERY high with the intonation going WAY sharp in the open position. Firstly he just lowered the nut action which improved things but the intonation was still sharp. I asked him to make a shim for the nut which shortened the distance between the nut and first fret. It works a treat.

The instrument is playable now with quite good intonation. I think I'm going to have to change the tuners now for stronger/slower ones and clean the nut slots a little to make the strings slide better but so far so good. The electrics are fine and it has a nice sound. The pickup selector switch is wired back to front but that's only a minor fault.

Anthony

anthonyg
02-26-2016, 12:44 AM
I've just got back from my first busking session with this Alida ukulele. It sounded really funky using the middle pickup position. The luthier said that it was wired to be a humbucker in the middle position. Neck position is good too. The bridge position was a little quiet but I think I just need to raise the bridge pickup closer to the strings. Running into my Roland AC-33 it was very quiet. Just as well I had a preamp with me as I needed it. Into a guitar amp its probably fine but if your having problems with yours when trying for a clean sound then try a preamp.

Its taken me a while and a little work to get it going but at this point its a very nice instrument.

Anthony

Fritzer
08-04-2016, 05:40 PM
If anyone want to sell Drop me a line.
Thanks