View Full Version : Your 'best' laminate uke of each size

02-12-2016, 02:45 AM
We all have different ideas on the 'right' sound for our perfect uke and because it is the middle of winter with about 10% humidity in my apartment right now i was wondering what everyone's take is on their best laminate uke. Price doesn't matter and if you want we can include a solid top and laminate back and sides, so here's mine (without doing a ton of research):

Soprano - easy choice, kiwaya KS anything, for me a clear winner in the soprano category
Concert - Flea because it's a flea, i mean come on...
Tenor - Gretch 9120, great tone and finish
Bari - really tough one, don't have a selection

What are yours?

02-12-2016, 03:04 AM
Soprano - Martin OXK HPL
Concert - Luna solid spruce top

(I edited my answer because I was hijacking the thread.)

Croaky Keith
02-12-2016, 03:15 AM
Kala Exotic Mahogany laminates. :)

Down Up Dick
02-12-2016, 03:37 AM
All my Ukes are plywood now, except that my baritone has a solid spruce top. I like 'em all, except I don't care for the look of the spruce top--too plain.

I don't play well enough to be choosy about their sound, and I'm done buying Ukes. Now I have BAS! :old:

02-12-2016, 03:54 AM
Martin OXK soprano
Kmise tenor (laminate mahogany)
Lanikai LU21B baritone

Don't have a concert.

02-12-2016, 04:11 AM
Soprano-Aria[vintage Japanese]
Tenor-Islander AT-4[Kanilea] Kmise - [$50] close 2nd
I also have a Lanikai LU-8 that sounds pretty awesome

02-12-2016, 04:14 AM
Does a Risa stick count? It's one I don't have to worry about humidifying. Otherwise, my only laminate right now is a 60's Harmony baritone. These are the only 2 that don't spend the majority of their time in a case at this time of year.

I've got a Martin OXK on my list to acquire if I come across a used one at some point.

02-12-2016, 05:49 AM
Kiwaya ks 5 soprano
Islander AC-4 concert

02-12-2016, 06:02 AM
I own two laminates so those two are my favorites :p

Bill I do own your tenor pick, the Gretsch 9120, first uke I bought and a keeper.
The other laminate is a Islander AS-4 which is a long neck soprano that has suprised many people with its sweet tone.

It is my car-uke


02-12-2016, 07:18 AM
The best all lam I ever had was a Kala KA-C
My mate has a Boulder Creek Riptide tenor that is wonderful, for $140!

02-13-2016, 07:27 AM
I have an EddyFinn concert TRVL (for travel) that has a rich full bodied sound and plays in tune all the way up the neck. I have made two modifications to it. Goodbye geared geared tuners that stick out the sides..hello short bodied PEGHEDS, and it is strung through the body and the block on the back of the bridge was completely removed. Their Lacewood soprano and tenor have good playability, and drop dead gorgeous wood. I don't know why I didn't get a concert. Probably because I got a solid mahogany with a side port.

02-13-2016, 02:27 PM
I can only speak from my experience with a soprano, and it would be my Martin 0XK.......great ukulele!

02-13-2016, 02:42 PM
Sop. Gretsch G9100 Truly amazing! Honorable mention Amahi UK120 for the money is crazy good.

Baritone Amahi B220 Still looking for the "right" strings, but has the potential.

02-13-2016, 07:05 PM
Ah, a great topic for me in very dry desert Arizona. I try to stick to laminates myself.
Agreed on the Kiwaya KS-anything laminate. I actually have the budget-line Famous versions and they're great. Probably the best of them all.
I do need a concert or another tenor (the Outdoor Uke tenor is very good but I'm sure there's better).
I like banjo ukes too since they're fairly stable.

02-13-2016, 10:59 PM
Soprano Flea, Tenor Fluke.

02-13-2016, 11:25 PM
Since I only have one laminate ukulele (a soprano), so it'll have to be my best.

02-14-2016, 02:44 AM
My only laminate is the OXK soprano. I'd get more sizes if Martin would offer them.

02-15-2016, 01:19 AM
Snail Rosewood Mahogany Tenor Uke
Fluke Concert Uke
Kala Slimline Soprano Travel Uke
My car uke is a Luna Pineapple Tattoo soprano uke

02-15-2016, 09:25 AM
soprano - Makala Shark (it's better than my Mahalo)
concert - Gretsch 9110 (amazing sound & playability for $119)
tenor - Islander MT-4 (another great value)

02-15-2016, 02:03 PM
I am a solid wood snob but just got a Kala KA-KTG koa laminate tenor. The store had me try the Kala all solid koa US made tenor which clearly sounded better but only by direct comparison. This all laminate tenor has a beautiful sound, very playable all the way up the fretboard, great intonation and stunning looks. It quickly became my favorite even besting my Ponos.

02-15-2016, 02:10 PM
My husband's first uke was the Gretsch solid mahogany - they only made them for a year. Lovely instrument and Gretsch seems to be quite thoughtful in their ukulele design!

We own two laminate Lanikai concerts and they are purdy to look at and sound quite good. The string spacing is wider than I'm used to, but my kids love them. Got them for a steal, as well, so definite win win situation.

02-15-2016, 08:34 PM
My Brunswick BU5T tenor (re-entrant gCEA) and BU5B baritone (tuned in 5th's, GDAE), both natural maple finish, are my "go-to" ukuleles at the moment.

My Kala KA-C concert is tuned low-G, just for when I come across a tab set out that way.

The only soprano I have that I use regularly is my Mahalo pineapple, also tuned in 5th's


02-16-2016, 02:21 AM
Takamine mahogany laminate tenor. Nothing particularly special in the looks department, but great sound for under $100.!

02-16-2016, 03:23 AM
Since I only have two ukuleles, and only one of them is a laminate, my best laminate uke is an Oscar Schmidt OU2 Mahogany Concert. My first uke and still gets a fair amount of play time.

02-16-2016, 03:40 AM
I have only owned 3 laminates, and the best sounding one of the bunch is a Tom 17" (Sopranino?) by far.

02-16-2016, 04:59 AM
my list to acquire if I come across a used one at some point.

Re OXK: they were going dirt cheap new for a while, under 170usd. If those deals are still around I strongly suggest jumping on one now.

02-16-2016, 08:06 PM
I only have one laminate uke, but it's by far my favorite. I splurged some money on my first uke, because I borrowed one from a friend and knew I would be into playing it. But this baritone Kala KA-B is so nice, maybe paying in part to the low sound. I did a bit of work on the saddle and I plan to go with a full fret dressing and "nut job" once I find some tools. Intonation is decent, but a little off at the octave. Nothing I notice, but the tuner says so, so it must be true.

I played a few of these Kala baritone before buying one, including the Makala model. I think they're basically the same aside from asthetics.

02-17-2016, 03:46 AM
Islander of any size, several people have already mentioned them. I think they are a great value, well made, great fit and finish, although not blingy at all, but they sound great, at least the 2 I've had, an MC-4 and my present AC-4 sound great with Fremont blacklines.

05-27-2016, 05:05 PM
Since I live a desert, I've gone laminate and/or plastic. My flea is probably my favorite laminate uke, although I sure like my daughter's Islander. Not sure what the Clara classifies as, but in terms of humidity (or lack thereof) hardened instruments, it is probably near the top.

05-27-2016, 05:39 PM
I really am loving my Gretsch G9110 concert. All I really need, or want in a uke for that matter. While shopping around recently, I tried a lot of mass-produced laminate ukes, basically all I care to own these days. Not that I don't appreciate nice vintage or more finely crafted solid wood instrument, but they don't suit my vagabond lifestyle.

I did like the Oscar Schmidt OU2. 16 years ago I owned an OU2 as well as an OU3, which was my first ever uke.

I was very impressed by the entire Gretsch line, and I played several. Loved their clarophone banjo uke and reso uke too. A longneck soprano was very hard to walk away from. But I love the concert I ended up with. I chose it out of two identical models I got to play. The current Gretsch ukes, to me, are an improvement over the vintage ones I've owned and played.

A few slight sharp fret ends, but that's a quick and easy fix, and seem to be increasingly common for all mass-produced string instruments in this range.

05-28-2016, 06:38 AM
Soprano: Kala KA-SLNG
Tenor: Oscar Schmidt OU5T

05-28-2016, 03:40 PM
Kala KA-KSLNG Super Soprano :cool:
Kala KA-KCG Slothead Concert :cool:
Kala KA-KTG Slothead Tenor :cool:

05-29-2016, 02:11 AM
Of the laminates, the Kala KA-BE baritone and the Oscar Schmidt OU28T 8-string tenor get the most love. The Lanikai LU-6 6-string tenor and Amahi C-220 concert get honorable mention as well.

05-30-2016, 06:31 AM
Kala ka-song longneck soprano, caramel zebra wood thin-body tenor. Both excellent instruments that get more playing time than my solid ukes.