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View Full Version : Looking to purchase second uke - help me choose one for outdoor seakayak trips



MaineUke
03-18-2016, 02:48 PM
Hello. I live in Maine. I am a new member here. I play Big Island Koa uke. However I also do camping trips almost every weekend. From Spring to Fall I mostly take sea kayaking trips to nearby islands. I would like to purchase a ukulele that would easily fit into the kayak hatch. That means soft shell gig bag and a soprano size, maybe concert.

One of my primary objectives is to make sure the intonation is good at least throughout the first half of the frets. Otherwise I'm open to just about anything.

I looked into the plastic ukes, even tried a few at a local music shop - not impressed with the intonation. Maybe the Outdoor Ukulele plays better?

Or maybe I could just get regular ukulele and treat it right. Perhaps laminated body would hold up better so occasional exposure to the moisture and elements. I would not intentionally expose it to rain or sun but it would have to be a bit more resilient than a normal quality ukulele.

Any responses and recommendations would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks :-)

ZappCatt
03-18-2016, 03:03 PM
Which plastic ukes did you test? A coworker has a BugsGear and loves it. http://bugsgearukulele.com/bugsgear-aqulele-travelukulele.aspx

MaineUke
03-18-2016, 03:06 PM
I tested the Makala Waterman




Which plastic ukes did you test? A coworker has a BugsGear and loves it. http://bugsgearukulele.com/bugsgear-aqulele-travelukulele.aspx

johnson430
03-18-2016, 03:59 PM
I live near the beach and wanted a throw around 'get wet' uke.
After many reviews, I went with a Makala Waterman.
Although, the Bugsgear was my second choice.

MaineUke,
What didn't you like about the Makala Waterman, was it just a problem with intonation?

I ordered the purple variety, it is on the way. I have also ordered some sop/con PHD high g strings to put on it.
https://reverb.com/item/1901239-kala-mk-swf-pl-soprano-waterman-ukulele-in-purple

MaineUke
03-18-2016, 05:21 PM
The chords were just not in tune on the waterman, or not good enough for my ears.

I guess I'll try the bugs gear if I don't get a better idea. ��

Ukulelerick9255
03-18-2016, 05:53 PM
Try Guitar center for their house brand laminates Mitchell and keep it dry as you can. Nice sound inexpensive

70sSanO
03-18-2016, 06:36 PM
Look at a Flea or Fluke. Plastic back, laminate top. Pretty bulletproof.

John

Inksplosive AL
03-18-2016, 07:13 PM
A Risa stick of course! A small headphone amp or a small pocket amp in a sandwich bag and you are rocking out. http://www.monoprice.com/product?c_id=115&cp_id=11501&cs_id=1150102&p_id=611700&seq=1&format=2

Warning: The following video was found on YouTube. It is not my own so please keep this in mind while watching. Most is humorous but... a ukulele was harmed in this video. I believe it to be a fatality. (not as long as it reports a lot of dead blank screen at the end) The word expensive is subjective, the word respect is not.


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=woyW9XIZoHM

~peace~

UkieOkie
03-18-2016, 07:17 PM
I like the super cheap Vorsen from American Music Supply. Mine was $20 shipped and the intonation is great. The tone quality though isn't great. However i much prefer the tone and playbility of the vorsen over the Waterman. I still have the same strings on and it has served well on camp outs and outdoor stuff in general.

Croaky Keith
03-19-2016, 12:13 AM
Maybe a Makala MK-S or MK-P, or a Kala KA-S, fairly cheap laminates - they sound OK to me. :)

Pukulele Pete
03-19-2016, 02:09 AM
Martin OXK , great uke . You could even use it as a paddle and then play a song on it , seems made for trips like these.

Kyle23
03-19-2016, 02:39 AM
If I were you I'd go with an entry level laminate like kala, Luna or something under $110. I have a Luna solid cedar top and it must have fallen over one night and I stepped directly on the top while getting out of bed. It definitely cracked and still sounds decent lol. I'm sure a laminate would hold up just fine.

Mivo
03-19-2016, 02:45 AM
For your purpose, I'd get an Outdoor Ukulele or a Bugsgear one. I'd not even take a laminate to where it'll get wet frequently (or even occasionally).

kkimura
03-19-2016, 03:19 AM
Any uke that will fit in a "dry bag" should be okay.

actadh
03-19-2016, 03:46 AM
Outdoor Ukulele just retooled their soprano options. They are available in bottle brown and bottle green at this time - other colors would reflect their earlier run.
I have their tenor - and I am normally a soprano person. It is not that big, apparently, as tenors go, so please consider that one as well. It sounds very nice and I enjoy playing it. It does great on my boat, too. Holds up well to heat, spray, and fish guts.
I case it- did have to purchase a soft case- and strap the cased uke to a boat handgrip using the backpack strap when underway so it does not blow out of the boat.

johnson430
03-19-2016, 06:27 AM
For your purpose, I'd get an Outdoor Ukulele or a Bugsgear one. I'd not even take a laminate to where it'll get wet frequently (or even occasionally).

I agree, Mivo.
I do not know why people are suggesting MaineUke get a laminate uke. A laminated uke has exposed wood on the inside.
That is why I went with plastic. I can take it in my kayak, canoe, or bring it to the beach and wash it off when I am done.

Twibbly
03-19-2016, 06:34 AM
I haven't seen any opinions on the Aqualele, anybody played with them?

ETA: Nevermind, that's the Bugsgear you're all talking about.

kohanmike
03-19-2016, 06:46 AM
One of the members of my group brought in a clear Kala Waterman last week. To my ear it doesn't have much projection or sustain, but it was in tune. A few days later, inspired by it, another member brought one in, but it would not stay in tune. I'm guessing the first thing to do is change the strings.

Twibbly
03-19-2016, 06:52 AM
BTW, I found this thread on the Bugsgear Aqualele: http://forum.ukuleleunderground.com/showthread.php?101859-Aqualele

Ukejenny
03-19-2016, 07:41 AM
I have a Bugsgear concert aqualele, with a low G string and I love it. Plays well, sounds well, and feels well. Intonation seems pretty good. It lives in my van and I play it while waiting in car line at my sons' schools.

cml
03-19-2016, 08:05 AM
I will be getting a Korala Concert about a week from now, when my birthday is due. My wife asked me to order it ;), as she didnt know how to get it.
You can see more info on it from Baz here, he is quite positive about it and prefers it over the outdoors ukes etc:
(http://www.gotaukulele.com/2013/12/korala-explore-puc-20-bk-abs-concert.html)
I think it seems really good for what it is, which for me will be an outdoors ukulele!

joneo
03-19-2016, 08:17 AM
I have one of the new and improved soprano Outdoor Ukuleles in bottle green. Bought specifically for camping, etc. It is a hoot to play. However, it is a bit sharp at the 12th fret. While that is a bit irksome, it's still plenty playable and it is a very fun instrument. It feels more robust than a Waterman. And in a pinch, I suppose you could even use it as an emergency boat paddle LOL!

igorthebarbarian
03-19-2016, 08:30 AM
I have the same Outdoor Ukulele Tenor in bottle brown. I got the pickup and the dual strap buttons. Dual strap buttons are a great cheap add-on for only $10. I wouldn't do the pickup again in retrospect.
As Laura mentions, it does seem a little smaller in size for a tenor, but it feels good in your hands. It's sturdy, well built, and has a nice low action. Tuners are nice. The drop-slot bridge is something I never had before but I quite like that.
Made in the USA too, if you value that.
I would say it's a little quiet though in terms of volume as its one downside. I changed to Worth Clears and it's better.
I would buy it again.

Has anyone tried the re-tooled Soprano yet? (I have too many Sopranos otherwise I'd have already bought one of those)



Outdoor Ukulele just retooled their soprano options. They are available in bottle brown and bottle green at this time - other colors would reflect their earlier run.
I have their tenor - and I am normally a soprano person. It is not that big, apparently, as tenors go, so please consider that one as well. It sounds very nice and I enjoy playing it. It does great on my boat, too. Holds up well to heat, spray, and fish guts.
I case it- did have to purchase a soft case- and strap the cased uke to a boat handgrip using the backpack strap when underway so it does not blow out of the boat.

BigJackBrass
03-19-2016, 01:34 PM
One of the members of my group brought in a clear Kala Waterman last week... I'm guessing the first thing to do is change the strings.

I bought the same model recently. Much to like, but it seemed rather woolly and imprecise. As I was changing the strings on my other soprano I tried putting the old strings on the Waterman: instant improvement. It not only sounds better and has much improved projection, it also seems considerably more precise when strummed. The ones I fitted are Living Water, but I expect any fluorocarbon strings will do the trick.

Given its very low cost and the huge difference made by changing strings I'd say that the Waterman is worth a second look.

johnson430
03-19-2016, 05:27 PM
I bought the same model recently. Much to like, but it seemed rather woolly and imprecise. As I was changing the strings on my other soprano I tried putting the old strings on the Waterman: instant improvement. It not only sounds better and has much improved projection, it also seems considerably more precise when strummed. The ones I fitted are Living Water, but I expect any fluorocarbon strings will do the trick.

Given its very low cost and the huge difference made by changing strings I'd say that the Waterman is worth a second look.

So glad I ordered the PHD strings. I will do a sound recording comparison before removing the factory strings on my soon-to-arrive Waterman.

MaineUke
03-23-2016, 02:27 AM
So the day I posted this and got a few replies I ordered the BugsGear MelloYello uke on Amazon for around $30. I figured it was worth a try. Uke came within 2 days. I tuned it and it sounded terrible. Especially the G chord. Wth is so special with the G chord :-) ?

I took the strings off and put on a set of colorful Aquilla strings I had hanging around for a few months. The sound and the tuning was improved although it was still a little 'drunk' in some chords. Yes G was still a challenge. But it was borderline acceptable for giving it a chance and not returning it. So I'm keeping it and we'll see how it goes.

Thanks for all the responses. I especially liked the recommendation for the Martin Laminate - that UKE sounded pretty sweet for the money.

Pukulele Pete
03-23-2016, 02:39 AM
I don't think you can go wrong with any Martin ukulele. Buy an OXK and it will last you a lifetime. Great nut width , xlnt intonation , bla bla bla.

johnson430
03-23-2016, 06:32 AM
I don't think you can go wrong with any Martin ukulele. Buy an OXK and it will last you a lifetime. Great nut width , xlnt intonation , bla bla bla.

Can you get this uke wet?
He said he wants to take this near water, in a kayak, camping, etc.

Pukulele Pete
03-23-2016, 08:32 AM
Can you get this uke wet?
He said he wants to take this near water, in a kayak, camping, etc.

Yes , you can get it wet. It is like a Formica counter top with strings.

SoloRule
03-23-2016, 10:40 AM
Look at a Flea or Fluke. Plastic back, laminate top. Pretty bulletproof.

John

I agree. The fluke sounds pretty good !

Rllink
03-23-2016, 02:42 PM
I'm not recommending this, I'm sure that there are plenty of better options, but I have a Makala Concert that has been going out to the beach for two years. It has been subjected to sea spray and has been rained on several times. It gets thrown in the sand quite often. Now I don't take it out and drench it, submerge it, or paddle a canoe with it, but then that is what canoe paddles are for, not ukuleles, but it seems no worse for wear. For the record, I have a Waterman as well, and I wouldn't give it away, for fear of turning someone against ukuleles for life, and while you could probably paddle your canoe with it, I don't think that it would do a a very good job of that either.