View Full Version : Travel Uke

05-08-2016, 02:12 AM
Looking for a uke to take along in the camper. All the recent plastic uke threads had me thinking along those lines but then I thought about the Luna Tatto that's getting bored in the corner since I picked up a Pono.

Is there a reason a laminated uke will not be sufficient as a travel uke as opposed to a plastic one?

I have no reason to leave either out in the rain or drop it in a puddle, It will be subjected to temperature changes as the trailer can get up in the 80's or 90's as we travel, then drop down to 60's or 70's at night when the AC gets fired up. Same goes for humidity, it can vary quite a bit throughout the day.


Croaky Keith
05-08-2016, 02:40 AM
I'd imagine a laminate to be just as good as a plastic if it's not going to get wet.

05-08-2016, 03:06 AM
There seems to be two approaches to the "travel ukulele" question. In no particular order, one is to get a uke that will survive whatever conditions your traveling will involve. That could be rain, snow, sand, backpacking, airplanes, etc. etc. The other one is to get a uke that you won't mind being damaged by your traveling conditions.

The OXK is my choice for it's ability to deal with temperature and humidity changes when I'm driving around New England in the Summers and Winters.

05-08-2016, 03:35 AM
Hi Bob, I bought a fantastic Gretsch G9121 years ago that is laminate just for that very reason. It lives in the trunk of my car so it's been through cold 30's to hot (100+) for years and has no issues. I even play it on the beach. Sand just shakes out or I blow it out with canned air if any sand gets on or in it. It does not have a gloss finish which I think for a travel uke is smart. The intonation was spot on when I got it.

Here is a review I did. http://youtu.be/DWuFJji7VHU

They run $219.00 and come with a descent Gretsch gig bag but I use a hard shell case to keep it in which I would recommend. Happy uke hunting! You probably could get it for 200 with a little negotiation :-)

05-08-2016, 03:59 AM
I have a Islander AS-4 which is an all laminate soprano. It is my "car-uke" and stays in my car all summer with no issues.

An all plastic uke would be more indestructible and could be played outside while it's raining but I don't think you will be doing that. In the 70's my brother in law hitch hiked around the US for 3 years with a Martin D-28 in all kinds of weather and it is still going strong and is still his main stage guitar.

05-08-2016, 04:06 AM
All lam will be fine ... Fleas and Flukes make GREAT travel companions.

Pukulele Pete
05-08-2016, 04:12 AM
I would go solid wood and take my chances .

mm stan
05-08-2016, 05:06 AM
whats your budget, Id get a laminate one too

05-08-2016, 05:52 AM
Already have a cheap laminate that sounds fine to me, Luna Tattoo. That's was the question, do I need to spend another $100 for a plastic or will the Luna laminate stand up? Sounds like it will so I'll save my cash, maybe spend it on a couple Dolphins for the grand daughters instead.

Croaky Keith
05-08-2016, 06:14 AM
Already have a cheap laminate ......... so I'll save my cash, maybe spend it on a couple Dolphins for the grand daughters instead.

Sounds like a good plan. :)

05-08-2016, 06:48 AM
Ive read bad stories about Kamaka's Waterman ukes lately on Facebook, tales of the top dipping after a while killing the action.

05-08-2016, 10:16 AM
Whatever the OP chooses, suggest getting an inexpensive chromatic tuner to keep with the travel uke. The high temp swings affect the strings as much as the uke.

05-08-2016, 11:00 AM
Unless the uke is going to get wet, I agree with the choice of an inexpensive laminate. From my experience, I'd choose a Makala MK-S or MK-C, or a Kala KA-15S, no others in that price range sound as good. I don't think I'd leave one in a hot car, but it'll take a fair amount of abuse, and if it breaks, it won't cost much to replace it.

05-08-2016, 12:21 PM
My first uke, a Makala concert, became exactly that. I don't try to paddle a canoe with it, I mean, who really needs to paddle a canoe with a unkulele? But it has served me well in that role as a beater.

05-08-2016, 12:27 PM
I have laminates and plastics. The laminates are going to sound better. But in terms of beater-ability/zero maintenance, I think the plastic helps for a throw-around uke. For me, I guess it depends on how rough you're planning to be with it.
If you're looking for a deluxe laminate, check out Kiwaya/Famous.

05-08-2016, 12:45 PM
My Luna is solid top/laminate sides and was my travel uke for a year. Nice playing instrument and it was nice to have something that sounded good in my travels. I never left it in the non-running car longer than an hour, though, nor do I leave my all laminate OXK in the car.

05-08-2016, 01:06 PM
Already have a cheap laminate that sounds fine to me, Luna Tattoo. That's was the question, do I need to spend another $100 for a plastic or will the Luna laminate stand up? Sounds like it will so I'll save my cash, maybe spend it on a couple Dolphins for the grand daughters instead.

I guess the question is, if your luna gets wrecked, are you going to lose any sleep over it?
If it's just a thing in a corner, might as well take it and give it some life on the road.

If it gets wrecked, you're out the used value of the instrument. All things considered... that value might be less than the cost of buying a "beater/travel/plastic" uke.

05-08-2016, 01:27 PM
Use your Luna Tattoo as your traveler. You already have it. I had a Tattoo I didn't much like that I re-homed to my son who isn't scrupulous. Should the Luna not survive as a traveler you can replace it with a plastic uke.


Get a Flea. Mine has visited 3 continents. It lives in my car in all weathers: 140 inside my car in summer and below zero in the winter. It still plays and sounds nice. Plus you can get a nice color or design on the soundboard.

05-08-2016, 04:45 PM
I have a Luna Tattoo Pineapple that I take everywhere. Love that uke.

05-09-2016, 02:49 AM
As you already have the Luna and it is not getting much play time I would just use it. Being laminate it should hold up fairly well. If not, it wasn't getting played anyway. If so, you've saved yourself some $$ and your grandkids get great little starter ukes (I got my daughter a Shark for Christmas last year and they are great!)

05-09-2016, 02:49 AM
If you have another better, nicer, more expensive, more delicate, solid wood uke that you would like to spare from the rigors of outdoor/travel conditions, I would certainly repurpose your existing laminate to be your beater uke. My old Lanikai laminate held up very well as a beach and camping uke. It would seem to be the smartest use of what you own already. Often times that more modest uke is just not getting played with as much when the new sibling arrives. Rather than having it sit around unplayed or sold off at a substantial loss, it makes perfect sense to reuse it.