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View Full Version : Opinions on good laminate tenor for travel



M3Ukulele
12-14-2015, 05:28 PM
Wondering about opinions on Kala KA-TG or the newer Kala KA-EBY both laminate tenors or any other laminate tenors as a travel ukulele. Going to Mexico and wondering if my Pono AT will get ruined in a gig bag on plane and with humidity ranging from 50-80%

Both above seem to be good value and sound good on line at HMS. of course great,players showing them off.

Opinions if you have traveled with a laminate tenor or have any experience with these or other laminate tenors.

Finally, what happened to Islander by Kamilea. i don't see any of these at HMS anymore?

Jim Hanks
12-14-2015, 05:59 PM
My ohana thinline is billed as a travel uke. Mine has never left the house but I'm guessing it would travel well. It's for sale if you're interested.

igorthebarbarian
12-14-2015, 08:05 PM
I have the Kala Tenor travel. I did not get it properly set-up though and the action was uncomfortably high for me. If you get one, I would get it from HMS for their amazingly awesome setup. The bag that it comes in is fitted specifically for its thin-body. It is nice but not a whole lot of support/padding. If you're gentle with it, I am sure it would be ok. I was considering getting a soprano for easier transport/smaller size.
Or you could just buy Jim's Ohana, which he got from MIM, who also does good setups. Probably quicker too given HMS' Christmas backlog.

DownUpDave
12-15-2015, 01:12 AM
I travel by plane with my Collings UT2, just carry it on and throw it in the overhead. I take my Pono ET-PC and Koaloha Opio concert car camping, stays in it's hardcase when not being played. I've never had a moments problem. I know "bilten" flies all over the world with his Kinnard tenor. I would definitely recommend a hardcase for your Pono for extended travel.

If you are looking for a reason to buy another uke..........you have my blessing:p. My first uke is a Gretsch G9120 all mahogany laminate tenor and it is a good instrument that is built like a tank. I thought that would be my travel uke but life is to short to leave the ones you really want to play at home.

My brother inlaw bought a Gibson guitar at the age of 17. He left home and hitch hiked around the southern US for almost three years with that guitar. He is 60 years old now and still has the guitar. I think we are all a little too paranoid about the fragilities of our instruments. Jake flies all over the place from show to show with his Kamaka, James Hill with his Da Sivas. Every touring musician does the same thing

Croaky Keith
12-15-2015, 02:03 AM
Happy with my Makala MK-T, although I don't travel.

Tootler
12-15-2015, 02:21 AM
For travel, you can't beat a Fluke. Robust, good tone.

seneystretch
12-15-2015, 03:05 AM
I'll put in a good word for a brand that's come and gone.

My first uke is a Makai concert with a flame maple finish and a plastic-y tortoise shell binding, bought about the time I joined here.

It hit the sidewalk when I slipped on the ice and it didn't even scratch. It's had drinks spilled on it and been bopped with kid toys and not a blemish. Don't know what the finish is but a coffee table should be this tough. Travel quite a bit in winter, just leave it in the trunk and take it with me to my room. I quit bothering about temp and humidity changes with this one.

It's loud and bright with good intonation, still looks brand new and it doesn't seem to matter what it's strung with.

Got it for a C note.

dkcrown
12-15-2015, 03:10 AM
I bought a Kala TG mahogany from HMS this summer to take with me on trips in my retro vintage travel trailer and like it a lot. I don't worry about stuffing it in the small storage compartment where I keep it. It came with Aquillas which I still want to change out, but it sounds nice and plays great due to HMS' set up. For $127, you can't go wrong.

Mxyzptik
12-15-2015, 03:42 AM
I travel by plane with my Collings UT2, just carry it on and throw it in the overhead. I take my Pono ET-PC and Koaloha Opio concert car camping, stays in it's hardcase when not being played. I've never had a moments problem. I know "bilten" flies all over the world with his Kinnard tenor. I would definitely recommend a hardcase for your Pono for extended travel.

If you are looking for a reason to buy another uke..........you have my blessing:p. My first uke is a Gretsch G9120 all mahogany laminate tenor and it is a good instrument that is built like a tank. I thought that would be my travel uke but life is to short to leave the ones you really want to play at home.

My brother inlaw bought a Gibson guitar at the age of 17. He left home and hitch hiked around the southern US for almost three years with that guitar. He is 60 years old now and still has the guitar. I think we are all a little too paranoid about the fragilities of our instruments. Jake flies all over the place from show to show with his Kamaka, James Hill with his Da Sivas. Every touring musician does the same thing

I tend to agree with this post, I travel with my Collings all the time, like Dave, I stow it in the overhead in it's hard case without second thought. The temperature changes from -30 to + 30 in just a few hours. I take it on camping and hunting trips in all kinds of weather and see no issues with it what so ever . I started out babying it and only taking my Fender Nohea out of the house but I preferred playing the Collings so much that I decided what the hell, now I have some scratches and a couple of dings but I figure if I wear this baby out then that only means I have had a heck of a lot of joy playing it. By the time I reach old age I suspect it may look like Willie Nelsons guitar and that would be a good thing.
Having said all that there is absolutely nothing wrong with the Fender for an inexpensive tenor, I put some Living Waters fluoros on it and it sounds great, I just prefer the Collings.

actadh
12-15-2015, 03:56 AM
It isn't laminate, but my Outdoor Ukulele tenor is either in my car or my little travel trailer. Always sounds great with a sweet sound, and is easy to play.

I got a Fusion F4 soft case for it off eBay, and the OUT looks as good as the day I bought it. It is fairly indestructible, but I wanted to keep dust off of it. The humidity factor was why I bought mine. Wipe off any sweat, moisture, stickiness or goo that gets on it, and it is good to go - very low maintenance.

$150 for bottle brown color or the new bottle green color. There are pricier ceramic covered models in gold, silver, or camo, but I like my bottle brown - not showy and the matte finish of the composite polycarbonate feels really good in my hands.

wayfarer75
12-15-2015, 04:15 AM
I would get a hard case for your Pono over a laminate.

DownUpDave
12-15-2015, 05:53 AM
I would get a hard case for your Pono over a laminate.

Laura basically gave you the short answer to my long winded novel ;)

bnolsen
12-15-2015, 06:50 AM
caramel thin body tenor? not a lot of crying if it gets broke.

MickeyD
12-15-2015, 08:13 AM
I travel with both my Kala Thinline Tenor and Kala Long Neck Soprano (mahogony). The Thinline is solid top and the Long Neck is laminate. I use the bag that the Thinline comes in and put it in the overhead and literally throw the Long Neck into my backpack with my clothes when I fly (and store it under the seat in front of me). The Long Neck has some scratches but I've been pretty rough with it. It still plays great. I've never had any problems with storing my Thinline in overhead. I think you'd be fine to take your Pono with you in a case, OR buy a new uke if you want a travel one! Really, what's so wrong with having another uke to play!?

spookelele
12-15-2015, 08:52 AM
I think Laura's advice is solid. A good case might serve you better than a beater, esp since you've just got the gig bag right now.

But.. if you're wanting a second uke, to have a second uke, for like.. the other G, then maybe.
Have you considered a solid top, laminate body? You don't lose much compared to an all solid, and they tend to sound better than all laminates.

The Kala ka-stg is only $10 more than the ebony you mentioned in the original post and gets you a solid spruce top. I've played the ebony... and its pretty but sounds much the same as the ka-t, but for double the price.

If you want to go the laminate direction.. the makala+new strings might be a better choice, esp for the money... cuz it's cheap.

M3Ukulele
12-15-2015, 04:30 PM
Thanks all for comments. First, Pono came from HMS with a hard case when I was in Hawaii. To get it home I had to buy another bag and check with luggage. As carry on....... I'm more paranoid of getting to the gate and someone telling me I can't take the Ukulele onboard in the hard case because its too big. My Oahu is bigger than the allowed length for West Jet This is what got me thinking gig bag for Pono or just getting a laminate beater. I think I will take Pono to West Jet and ASK if it will be allowed the hard case on. If not, show them the gig bag and see that they think.

Second concern was humidity. I keep all my Ukuleles in hard case, with Oasis humidifies and have gauges to measure. I see Cabo can be 50 -80% humidity so wonder if too much humidity is a issue.

Dave et all, agree..... life it too short to not play something you like especially if away for a month. I have a Fluke, take it in the car for short weekend trips. Its fine..... but for a month to relax I want to play on something nicer. I did almost buy an outdoor Ukulele but passed. I would like to try one first. I like the idea of a solid top ukulele and am OK with laminate back and sides........ but I'm careful with my Ukuleles so no issue bringing a good one except SIZE of case. I did look at the new Crossrock semi hard cases that are zippered but not that much smaller than an Oahu case. Also, would like to play a Tiny Tenor and just see how these size up for overhead bin.

I like the idea of a Ekoa tenor if Blackbird ever make one. I just can't do the concert scale. I like looks of BBT but would like to play one before shelling out the dollars, especially with exchange the way it is.

So will report back in once I talk to the airline people on taking Oahu cased Pono AT.
Thanks

M3Ukulele
12-15-2015, 04:32 PM
Thanks all for comments. First, Pono came from HMS with a hard case when I was in Hawaii. To get it home I had to buy another bag and check with luggage. As carry on....... I'm more paranoid of getting to the gate and someone telling me I can't take the Ukulele onboard in the hard case because its too big. My Oahu is bigger than the allowed length for West Jet This is what got me thinking gig bag for Pono or just getting a laminate beater. I think I will take Pono to West Jet and ASK if it will be allowed the hard case on. If not, show them the gig bag and see that they think.

Second concern was humidity. I keep all my Ukuleles in hard case, with Oasis humidifies and have gauges to measure. I see Cabo can be 50 -80% humidity so wonder if too much humidity is a issue.

Dave et all, agree..... life it too short to not play something you like especially if away for a month. I have a Fluke, take it in the car for short weekend trips. Its fine..... but for a month to relax I want to play on something nicer. I did almost buy an outdoor Ukulele but passed. I would like to try one first. I like the idea of a solid top ukulele and am OK with laminate back and sides........ but I'm careful with my Ukuleles so no issue bringing a good one except SIZE of case. I did look at the new Crossrock semi hard cases that are zippered but not that much smaller than an Oahu case. Also, would like to play a Tiny Tenor and just see how these size up for overhead bin.

I like the idea of a Ekoa tenor if Blackbird ever make one. I just can't do the concert scale. I like looks of BBT but would like to play one before shelling out the dollars, especially with exchange the way it is.

So will report back in once I talk to the airline people on taking Oahu cased Pono AT.
Thanks

spookelele
12-15-2015, 05:38 PM
If it wont fit in the overhead, most planes, the steward/ess will put it in the coat closet at the front of the plane, and then you get it back when you get off. I've seen them do this with guitars in hard case. Uke case would be much smaller.

coolforcats99
12-18-2015, 03:17 PM
As I write this, I am in Mandalay, Myanmar. I've been travelling now for about a month with a Lunar pineapple soprano, much of it on local buses, ferries and planes. I carry it as hand-held luggage in the Lunar soft bag which has a handy shoulder strap. After a serious lowering of the action and some Fremont strings, this little uke sounds great and has performed admirably, holding it's tuning really well and And for a serious change of humidity, next stop is Yunnan province in China.

natchez
12-18-2015, 08:12 PM
"Technically", as the OP noted a cased tenor is too long for most airlines as carry on. Here is one link to a compilation of carry on sizes allowed by airline: http://travel-made-simple.com/carry-on-size-chart/ However, also as mentioned above many airlines will let an instrument go on as carry-on. But, others might stop you and charge the extra bag fee, as the OP found leaving Hawaii. A soprano would likely meet most requirements, a concert size you could probably get away with, but a tenor just may be pushing it.

I just took a trip on Southwest with a cased Pono MT tenor as carry-on, and although the TSA folks were curious and wanted to see the capo, no one from Southwest hassled me. Southwest does tend to be rather lenient.

I have a cross-country trip to NY for two weeks scheduled for spring, with a continuation to London for a month, and then a return to NY for another couple of weeks before heading back out west. So, I am also curious as to whether I should take a tenor, or drop to my knock around concert size uke.

actadh
12-19-2015, 04:35 AM
Travel with a musical instrument still seems to be a varying experience even with the new rules.

Here is the Department of Transportation site for here in the States:
https://www.transportation.gov/airconsumer/air-travel-musical-instruments