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Griffis
05-09-2016, 01:42 PM
I used to play mostly sopranos. Getting back into ukes recently a friend gave me a no-name baritone and I thought for a time the bari uke would be my main instrument. But I have been thinking on it and I believe I will probably go for a concert sized uke, and very likely string it for low G.

Briefly, I am not a beginner. I'm not a great player either, but I have played stringed instruments for almost 40 years.

There is a chance that whatever uke I buy will end up being exposed to significant and sudden changes in temp, humidity and altitude.

For that reason, I am specifically looking for something inexpensive and laminate. I realize I will sacrifice some tone, volume, sustain, etc., but I need something that can stand up to weather shifts and which isn't too precious or valuable.

I have even considered some of the plastic ukes on the market today (and I have some experience with Fleas and Flukes) but I know I wouldn't ultimately be happy with that.

Right now, these are the contenders and I'd love to hear any thoughts:

Cordoba 15CM
Kala KA-CG
Ohana CK-22
Oscar Schmidt OU2 or OU3

(I have owned the Oscar Schmidt OU2 and OU 3 before and liked them fine...lower in volume but sturdy as heck and intonated well...)

Thanks for any suggestions.

PS-- Need to keep it +/- $150 if possible...

Jim Hanks
05-09-2016, 02:31 PM
Hmm, the Ohana is solid top: http://cargo.ukerepublic.com/product/ohana-ck-22-solid-spruce-top-mhgy-b-s-concert-ukulele-player-pack

Maybe the 10s? http://www.ebay.com/itm/MIM-Ohana-Concert-CK-10S-Laminate-Mahogany-Setup-w-Aquilas-Ukulele-Uke-442/171889475144?_trksid=p2047675.c100005.m1851&_trkparms=aid%3D222007%26algo%3DSIC.MBE%26ao%3D1%2 6asc%3D36462%26meid%3D07ee8a7fe9964fc19e29bef166a8 38ee%26pid%3D100005%26rk%3D4%26rkt%3D6%26sd%3D1721 61196114

tkthompson
05-09-2016, 02:47 PM
Hands down: for the money, IMHO the Koa Pili Koko concert can't be beat (I have Mahogany with rosewood bridge and nut). My wife has a KA-FMCG, which is a loud little strummer, but I personally don't care for the tight(er) string spacing on the Kalas. The KPKs that Jason ships have a low action and worth clear strings that give clarity to the ample sound. Hard to fault. Never tried the Ohana, but heard good things.

natchez
05-09-2016, 02:53 PM
I purchased an Ohana 10s (the ukulele Jim mentions above) from Mim as a gift for my sister and she really likes it. I like playing it before I passed it on. I purchased an OU5 last Christmas for my friend's little girl and it is an okay ukulele, but to me it was just not as nice as the Ohana. I have not played the Kala or Cordoba models mentioned. Good luck with your decision.

PTOEguy
05-09-2016, 05:00 PM
The blackbird Clara will meet your specifications for durablilty, but alas, not price. On the other hand, the sound is amazing

vanflynn
05-09-2016, 06:19 PM
http://stores.ebay.com/Mims-Ukes/Concert-/_i.html?_fsub=1993947014

Ohana CK 20S have a solid mahogany top and is a great player

Super value IMHO

Nickie
05-09-2016, 06:23 PM
I have both Kalas and Ohanas. I had some problems with the Ohana concert, but now that they are all ironed out, I really love it. Kalas are pretty darn hard to beat, but they're common as heck. I had a Cordoba as my 2nd uke, but I never fell in love with it.

UkerDanno
05-09-2016, 06:40 PM
check out Islanders, you won't give up much in sound and nothing in playablility.

Croaky Keith
05-09-2016, 11:34 PM
I have a Kala KA-CEME (& KA-SLNG) & a Baton Rouge Hotrod that I have just bought, all are laminates, & I like them all. :)

Edit: They came with Aquila high G strings, but are now fitted with Living Water low G flourocarbon strings.

PhilUSAFRet
05-10-2016, 01:10 AM
For $100 bucks, you'll have a hard time beating this Cordoba for an all laminate uke.: http://www.theukulelesite.com/cordoba-15cm-mahogany-concert.html

If you and/or a friend can do some setup work, you can get one $69 on ebay.

actadh
05-10-2016, 04:15 AM
If you can go a bit more, the KoAlana from KoAloha set up by HMS would be a good choice
http://www.theukulelesite.com/shop-by/brand/koaloha/koalana-concert-kca-0010.html

Another two to consider are the Luna mahogany laminates from HMS - they did an amazing set up on my Luna solid spruce top concert and I would buy another Luna from them without hesitation.
http://www.theukulelesite.com/shop-by/size/concert/luna-mo-o-concert.html

Down Up Dick
05-10-2016, 04:44 AM
I have a Luna 'Peace" concert, and I really like it a lot. It's my "go-to" Uke for strumming songs. I paid $140ish for it. :old:

Griffis
05-10-2016, 04:52 AM
I really appreciate all the input. I played my baritone quite a while last night (it's my only playable uke at the mo'--I do have an old no-name soprano but it needs some work to make it a player again) and now am back to deciding on which size I will go with. I do like the range of the baritone, but...

I feel concert will win out. For one thing, I need something that takes up less space. For another, I'm not sure the baritone is "ukulelelike" enough for me.

Please allow me to delineate further on my likes/dislikes and concerns.

1. Must have geared tuners. I can do the work needed to swap tuners out, but would prefer not to have to mess with it.

2. I prefer wider string spacing (coming from a guitar/bass background, though I have played a lot of uke, makes this easier on me.)

3. Sort of a question--would you not think a laminate body and soundboard would be less likely to suffer from extremes of weather? I can't speak to this very specifically because our plans have yet to be set but it may be that before too many more moons we will be more or less full time travelers with an eye to heading South to Mexico and into South America indefinitely.

3.1 I am of the opinion that laminate construction WOULD be more stable under these circumstances. And, of course, generally such ukes would be less expensive.

There really are some great suggestions here. I know the Oscar Schmidt OU2 ($50-60) and OU3 ($100 or so) are decent players and are heavily constructed (counter-intuitive when one is seeking a fine instrument, but perhaps just the ticket for one that will be ridden hard on the road, yes?) but the ones I had before were just rather lifeless as far as sound goes. In fact, the cheaper one sounded better and more open, probably because it lacked the 1/2" thick gloss finish.

Some of the ukes mentioned thus far are either out of my price range or I am having a bit of trouble finding them available to purchase stateside.

I still have much to consider, but I would love it if this discussion continued.

I must say, outside of the Oscar Schmidts, I am leaning heavily towards this one:


For $100 bucks, you'll have a hard time beating this Cordoba for an all laminate uke.: http://www.theukulelesite.com/cordoba-15cm-mahogany-concert.html

I realize that in The Big Scheme Of Things, a ukulele purchase is no major concern, particularly if one is specifically looking for a relatively cheap workhorse, but it is important to me because my wife and I must have a way of making music, yet we need something very durable and inexpensive enough to be easily replaceable and not a great loss if damaged or stolen.

If we do indeed get to take to the road at some point, this ukulele will likely be our only instrument, at least while we are traveling.

Apologies for rambling so much. I am a talker. I will look more closely at the ukes already mentioned here as well.

Thanks, and I wish you All a wonderful day. Keep 'em coming!

stevepetergal
05-10-2016, 05:47 AM
I'll make this as difficult as possible for you. I have 2 (yes, that's TWO) Oscar Schmidt OU2 ukuleles. I bought one on a whim because I had a performance instrument in the shop, and one on the way. I needed a concert.
A year or so later, I shopped for several months for another concert (for winter use low G). Having nearly every budget brand available in Chicago, I tried them all (couldn't find a Mainland). I ended up getting the second Oscar OU2. Great and cheap.

bonesigh
05-10-2016, 08:39 AM
This was my all time favorite uke for taking around but alas, I ran over it ): Though it has been put back together it now sounds like a beginner's uke so it's on loan. I'd get another if I had the cash. Fast neck and sounds super with Living Water low G strings. Course every manufactured uke has subtle differences and maybe this was a "lucky" find for intonation and play-ability. Doesn't hurt that she's very pretty!

http://www.altomusic.com/ibanez-uew10gm-exotic-wood-quilted-maple-concert-ukulele

Here's a tutorial I made using her.
ttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KDS6cP7mSbk&index=1&list=PLyCDBKd_O5gChfEfVlvVm3BwMiSBA2ZNB

Griffis
05-10-2016, 09:30 AM
This was my all time favorite uke for taking around but alas, I ran over it ):

Gah, that's terrible! well, I lost all my instruments (along with 98% of everything else my family owned) in a flood back towards the end of 2010, so I can sympathize a bit. Man, I had some instruments that were worth a lot, both in sentimental and 'actual' value. Among them, a 1933 Gibson tenor banjo (that belonged to my grandfather) and a 50s-era martin baritone uke (that belonged to my uncle.)

I should say though, that while I find a lot of instruments that I wouldn't necessarily care to own personally very beautiful (like this Ibanez uke of yours), often they just aren't for me so much.

Personally, I don't care for cutaways and highly figured woods. I am kind of a plain jane sort of guy for the most part. Not very traditional in most aspects of my life, but I guess I sort of am traditional with regards to the instruments I like.

If I saw someone playing that Ibanez, I'd think "Man, what a gorgeous uke!" but it just wouldn't be the thing for me really.

THIS JUST IN: Man, I am such a mess. Now I am going back and forth again between the idea of a concert (smaller, more portable and more "uke-like") and a baritone (more range, more variety--you can capo one and have gcea tuning.)

I just don't know...can't decide between the concert or baritone. I don't care much for tenors...I'd just as soon go with the next size down or up...and while I love sopranos, I think my fingers and hands would benefit from the longer neck/fret spacing of a concert.

Just not sure which direction I'm gonna go in yet. Again, it's a trough decision because this will be my ONE uke purchase and sole instrument for the foreseeable future.

Mivo
05-10-2016, 09:33 AM
3.1 I am of the opinion that laminate construction WOULD be more stable under these circumstances. And, of course, generally such ukes would be less expensive.

But would you be happy with it? You might as well get a plastic ukulele, which probably won't sound worse than an inexpensive laminate ukuleles. There are good laminates, but they are not in the price range you mentioned (the laminate series by Kiwaya for example). I exaggerate a bit here, but I haven't heard an inexpensive, all laminate uke (without a solid top at least) that I felt sounded good. I'd at least get one with a solid top, even if the sides and back are laminated.

The Clara would probably be the best of all worlds, for your scenario, but it's expensive, though perhaps now that their tenor size model is out, some Claras may hit the used market.

Hms
05-10-2016, 12:27 PM
Griffis,
See you're over here also, makes sense!
Don't rule out the laminates, there are good laminate ukes around. Laminate ukes get bad press from the cheap chinese ukes that are overbuilt.
If you are offered a choice of the same uke, play them all, and pick the best. If you can't do that ask Mim, (That name again!) to either play them to you over the phone, or select the best for you. HMS in Hawaii I believe will do the same.
Mim and HMS are members of this forum, as is Mike of Mainland ukes. (Iirc hoosierhiver)
Enjoy the chase and your final selection!
H

tkthompson
05-10-2016, 03:33 PM
Another rec'd for an Islander if you're looking for a laminate with wider string spacing. My first concert was an Islander MC-4 purchased from HMS. Has flatish neck, a nice low action, and plenty of volume. Hard to fault for $120. I gave it to my son when I upgraded to a KPK hog concert, but am always stealing it out of his room to noodle around on.

FourSilverMoonbeams
05-10-2016, 07:58 PM
+1 for Islanders. I have the tenor version of this one. Sounds great and is virtually bullet-proof!

http://www.southernukulelestore.co.uk/Product/789/Kanile-a-Islander-RWSPC-Concert-Ukulele-Spruce-Rosewood

kkimura
05-11-2016, 02:39 AM
+2 for Islanders. The guy who leads our uke group uses an Islander tenor. No problems with tone or volume that I can hear in a group setting to boot.

Griffis
05-11-2016, 07:31 AM
I'll make this as difficult as possible for you. I have 2 (yes, that's TWO) Oscar Schmidt OU2 ukuleles. I bought one on a whim because I had a performance instrument in the shop, and one on the way. I needed a concert.
A year or so later, I shopped for several months for another concert (for winter use low G). Having nearly every budget brand available in Chicago, I tried them all (couldn't find a Mainland). I ended up getting the second Oscar OU2. Great and cheap.

I just found a music shop not far from me that deals in Oscars. They have a few OU2s and OU3s in stock. As I say, I have owned both of these models in the past, but it's been some years. I liked them quite a bit on most fronts...price, size, neck width, string spacing, looks, etc. Other aspects I felt weren't so terrific (really cheap nuts and saddles, low volume/lack of resonance, particularly in the OU3 with that heavy gloss finish.) The nuts and saddles I can handle. Also, these are impressions pulled from memories several years old. Overall I really liked these instruments and the cost coupled with their very sturdy builds make them a real contender in this search, particularly since I can play a few examples of each in person. I always prefer to play an instrument "in the flesh" whenever possible rather than from an online source (although I've had good luck with online purchases, knock wood.)


But would you be happy with it? You might as well get a plastic ukulele, which probably won't sound worse than an inexpensive laminate ukuleles. There are good laminates, but they are not in the price range you mentioned (the laminate series by Kiwaya for example). I exaggerate a bit here, but I haven't heard an inexpensive, all laminate uke (without a solid top at least) that I felt sounded good. I'd at least get one with a solid top, even if the sides and back are laminated.

Well, call me easy to please. And cheap!

Would I love a hand-crafted boutique ukulele made to my specs by a great builder that would sound like angels and be a lifetime, heirloom instrument? Well, in theory it would be nice, but it's not for me. I just want something to knock around on. Something to have fun with. Not something I have to worry about or take pains to care for...to fear every potential scratch or ding or smudge.

If I was planning to be recording in a serious studio or performing Bach transcriptions for ukulele in famous concert halls or something it could be different, but I just want something that can sit in a hot vehicle for short periods of time, to pull out at the beach or around a campfire, to leave by the nightstand to play before bedtime.

In fact, I feel confident in saying that I will never spend more than $200 total on another instrument in my lifetime, unless I get a wild hair and want to take up harpsichord, or I win the lottery or something. I used to own 15 ukuleles. I didn't get any more actual pleasure from one or the other of them based on the price I paid for them or of what materials or how they were made.


Another rec'd for an Islander...

Hmm...that is several recommendations for an Islander just in this thread. I am not familiar with them. When they first were mentioned what came to mind were the old plastic ukes from the 50s. And a plastic uke isn't out of the question for me and my purposes--one might be just the ticket in fact, but I'm enough of a traditionalist to just want that wooden, figure 8 ukulele.

I have, however, decided firmly on a concert uke. I played both my baritone and my messed-up soprano last night at some length. I love both sizes, but having had them before (and having them be the ones I was most comfortable with) I am pretty dead set on a concert scale uke, low G.

Right now I am tossed up between the Oscar Schmidt OU2 or OU3 and the Cordoba 15CM.

BUT--now I have to look more into the Islanders people keep bringing up.

Thanks again, everyone. Still happy to have more of this discussion!

SallyS
05-16-2016, 07:55 AM
We had our Oscarʻs for about six years. Hubby had an OU5 and I had an OU3. Fun and we hauled them around a bit. They Held tune well. Recently we gave them to our grandkids and now they are enjoying them.
I thought I would be fine with my tenors, but just bought myself another concert, guess I missed it.

JackLuis
05-16-2016, 09:07 AM
For good cheap and well built laminates try Caramel.
http://www.ebay.com/sch/i.html?_from=R40&_trksid=p2056350.m570.l1312.R1.TR5.TRC2.A0.H1.Xcar amel+U.TRS2&_nkw=Caramel+ukuleles&_sacat=0

I really like my Zebra wood Caramels. Their concerts are very nice and generally only need a little Nut and Bridge work. For $50-60 bucks, not a bad deal.

Griffis
05-16-2016, 09:46 AM
We had our Oscarʻs for about six years. Hubby had an OU5 and I had an OU3. Fun and we hauled them around a bit. They Held tune well. Recently we gave them to our grandkids and now they are enjoying them.
I thought I would be fine with my tenors, but just bought myself another concert, guess I missed it.

Yeah, it's concert scale for me all the way. I have a nice cheapo baritone that was given to me recently but for me it's a bit too guitar-like in scale and size and I want something where it's easier to stretch up frets. I played a really nice little Eddie Finn soprano uke the other day and liked it a lot, but I realized even more that the soprano size is a tad too small for me. The concert, said Goldilocks, is "juuust riiight."

It's nice to hear of others being happy with their Oscar Schmidts. At the moment I am still leaning this way...


For good cheap and well built laminates try Caramel.
http://www.ebay.com/sch/i.html?_from=R40&_trksid=p2056350.m570.l1312.R1.TR5.TRC2.A0.H1.Xcar amel+U.TRS2&_nkw=Caramel+ukuleles&_sacat=0

I really like my Zebra wood Caramels. Their concerts are very nice and generally only need a little Nut and Bridge work. For $50-60 bucks, not a bad deal.

Hmm. That is cool! Never heard of those but I suspect their quality would be on par with the Oscar Schnmidts, Cordobas, etc. I am going to have to see if they are available stateside anywhere other than through ebay sellers. I haven't used ebay in about 8 years and have no intention of ever doing so again.

They really look nice. I am going to try to check out these Carmels. Thanks!

Griffis
05-16-2016, 10:14 AM
Hmm. Amazon has this:

http://www.amazon.com/Caramel-CC200A-Concert-Acoustic-Ukulele/dp/B01AXOIKPY/ref=sr_1_40?srs=9511897011&ie=UTF8&qid=1463425495&sr=8-40

"Acacia" topped concert. It's about the same price as the Oscar Schmidt OU2 I was considering, and about $30-40 less than the OU3 and the Cordoba 15CM I was looking at.

Amazon had several other Carmels, but many were out of stock, several were sopranos or tenors, or they were A/E. I have no intention of going electric and would prefer not to even have the A/E guts in my uke. In other circumstances, I like that, but it doesn't suit my needs at this point.

The only other Carmel concert they have available on Amazon right now is a spruce-topped one, but I really, really dislike the soundhole rosette. I know I shouldn't be that picky regarding aesthetics, but I just know that would end up bugging me...

jollyboy
05-16-2016, 10:25 AM
That acacia Caramel looks pretty decent and that's a great price for a solid top.

JackLuis
05-16-2016, 10:43 AM
I have played quite a few OS and find they are not as loud and are heavier than my Caramels. I was excited about the OS OU5 for a while but thought that my Caramels were better all around, though the OS are nice looking they don't sound as nice. My CC-100 Zebra concert is really nice sounding, but they are out of them at this time.
My CT-100 Zebra Tenor is nice sounding but has a 'different" voice than my Rubin RT-102 travel tenor. The Rubin is only 40 mm thick and while a little less volume wise, 'chimes' better. ( Rubin was Caramel's old name.)

Realize that the price point is low and you may have to adjust the nut and bridge a bit, or file the fret ends, but my latest Caramels have all been very playable out of the box.
I'm working on figuring out how to record my Zebra Herd to show the difference in sounds between them. I just bought the software and I'm still figuring out how to use it.

Griffis
05-16-2016, 11:13 AM
JackLuis,

Really do appreciate that info and the comparison between the OS and the Carmel/Rubins. That is good to know.

I did feel, from previous experience, that the OS ukes tend to be lower volume. I didn't find that to be the case so much with the OU2 (cheaper) one I had, but the OU3 really didn't project much at all. I really liked it otherwise, but I suspect that very thick gloss finish is to blame for the lower volume.

However, one of my concerns is that I want something very sturdy. I am willing, odd as it seems, to sacrifice some tone, sustain and volume for something that will really hold up. The Oscar Schmidts are very, very solid. Really too solid, as I say, for more delicate playing and truly nice sound. (Well, to my recollection they SOUND fine...just that volume problem.)

For my uses (at this juncture in my life at any rate) I am in need of something specifically sturdy as all get-out, so even though I might have to sacrifice some volume, etc., I may end up going with an OS anyway, just because they are built like such tanks.

There is a shop not far from me that has several OS ukes including a few examples of the OU2 and OU3. I plan to head down there soon and try several out. if they really, really do not speak to me, I will look more deeply into the Carmels and the Cordoba.

Griffis
05-16-2016, 11:14 AM
PS-- I am so used to inexpensive instruments that filing fret ends and adjusting or even cutting new nuts and saddles is no sweat. In fact, I kind of like to tinker with stuff like that.

mm stan
05-16-2016, 01:02 PM
Personally I like my OU2, but throw a luna in there :)

JackLuis
05-16-2016, 06:58 PM
PS-- I am so used to inexpensive instruments that filing fret ends and adjusting or even cutting new nuts and saddles is no sweat. In fact, I kind of like to tinker with stuff like that.

It's too bad that Amazon is out of the CC-100 Zebra Concert, just now. I can really recommend them. Mine is louder than an OS OU4 that I had for a while, I gave it to my neighbor, and quite sweet sounding, easy to play and with PhD's or D'Addario Carbons a joy to play. I don't care for Aquila's much they seem brash to me.

Short of driving nails, the Caramel's seem pretty sturdy. I've got six of them, from sopranino to baritone. All of them are pretty well made and intonation is good, once they had the bridges adjusted, though that last two didn't need any work. As for A/E I just leave the batteries out of them and use a Snark tuner. If I need to amplify them I put the batteries in while I'm using them, but remove them as the batteries go flat even if you don't use the pickup. Caramel has good customer service too, though their shipping boxes are a bit thin.

Griffis
05-17-2016, 08:09 AM
Personally I like my OU2, but throw a luna in there :)

More and more I am leaning towards the OU2. Price alone makes it a contender. They ain't pretty but lacking in that heavy finish the OU3 and OU5 have they are significantly louder. I do remember really liking mine.

But, as I say, I plan to head to a music shop an hour or so away from me to check out their OS ukes. They tell me they have several of each of the OU2 and OU3 as well as some sopranos and other sizes.

Just going to try out all the concerts and see if any of them speak to me, whichever model it may be.

If none of them do, the search continues. And heck, I might end up with something else anyway...

JackLuis
05-17-2016, 08:14 AM
More and more I am leaning towards the OU2. Price alone makes it a contender. They ain't pretty but lacking in that heavy finish the OU3 and OU5 have they are significantly louder. I do remember really liking mine.

But, as I say, I plan to head to a music shop an hour or so away from me to check out their OS ukes. They tell me they have several of each of the OU2 and OU3 as well as some sopranos and other sizes.

Just going to try out all the concerts and see if any of them speak to me, whichever model it may be.

If none of them do, the search continues. And heck, I might end up with something else anyway...

Check out the Kala's in the same price range. Kala's do pretty well and their higher priced units are really nice.

mm stan
05-17-2016, 02:42 PM
My ou5k was overbuilt, but with aquilas on it's loud enough, it a great deal with the gloss koa lam finish, back den i got mine for 139.00

More and more I am leaning towards the OU2. Price alone makes it a contender. They ain't pretty but lacking in that heavy finish the OU3 and OU5 have they are significantly louder. I do remember really liking mine.

But, as I say, I plan to head to a music shop an hour or so away from me to check out their OS ukes. They tell me they have several of each of the OU2 and OU3 as well as some sopranos and other sizes.

Just going to try out all the concerts and see if any of them speak to me, whichever model it may be.

If none of them do, the search continues. And heck, I might end up with something else anyway...

Ukejenny
05-18-2016, 04:33 AM
Oscar Schmidt, Kala, Luna (tattoo) - Of these three brands that I've played (folks in my uke group have them) - the Lunas seem to have the nicest sounds. But, I would have to agree that the OS would probably be a little more sturdy. I got a concert Aqualele by Bugsgear and love that thing. Even the sound is pretty nice. The feel is really quite nice. And it is really sturdy and weather proof.

Griffis
05-18-2016, 06:26 AM
***UPDATE***

Well folks, y'all may end up thinking I'm schizoid, but last night I had a little epiphany and I think I have come to My Ultimate Conclusion with regards to this decision.

Going counter to what I said about looking for overbuilt/rough sturdiness and geared tuners, I have settled on the

*drumroll*

Gretsch G9110.

I was watching old clips of Ukulele Ike last night (always loved him) and it struck me that deep in my heart I think I will be happiest with the more vintage styling of the Gretsch. I also read as many reviews as I could find and listened to as many sound samples as I could.

It hits many of my marks including being inexpensive and of laminate construction.

There are a few personal aspects to the decision as well...I used to own a ca. 1940s Gretsch soprano uke that was one of the best ukes I ever played. I am not expecting the G9110 to be on par with it, but I like the fact there is a sort of lineage there as far as my own ukulele history.

Also, I have long been a fan of Gretsch instruments and have owned several Gretsch acoustic and electric guitars as well as a few basses...some vintage and some recent. I have always loved their products.

I finally decided too that what I feel would make me happiest is something more traditional and "ukulele-like" whereas, to my eyes, the Oscars and Cordobas lean a bit more towards the "classical guitar" side of things (and there's nothing wrong with that!)...at least as far as lacking resemblance to what my mind envisions as a "classic, vintage uke" (which to my mind is something similar to old Martins...mahogany build, etc..)

(I realize all of this is completely subjective with regards to what constitutes something more "uke-ish" as opposed to more "guitar-ish.")

If the friction tuners aren't that great, I may replace them, but I am hoping I can play the Gretsch stock for awhile before it "needs" anything.

I appreciate all the input, and would love to hear form anyone here who has experience with the Gretsch. Unfortunately I will not be able to "try before I buy" but I am ordering from Sweetwater. They will send you pics of the specific instrument you'll be sent and their customer service is excellent.

One final thing: until the trigger is actually pulled, I reserve the right to keep changing my mind!

TheCraftedCow
05-18-2016, 08:16 AM
Since the trigger has yet to be pulled...throw another name and model into consideration. EddyFinn Travel. EF-TRVL ...looks good-sounds great-plays nicely as reentrant or linear. One of mine is Aquila white and another is Aquila red laminated cedar top and mahogany back and sides. The arched back really develops the sound. It's light and easy to pack. One I have "tweaked a bit" strung through the body rather than tie to the bridge, so I removed all of the excess wood to let the top more freely vibrate, and I removed the nice geared tuners with the buttons out the side, and replaced them with the short model of PEGHEDS. At $115.00, it seems to be a bargain. I have other concerts which cost far more, but The TRVL puts out the sound. The classic trim around the top, and plain black around the back add a bit of bling to it. The way the thinner body does not leave the crease in the right forearm is greatly appreciated.

mm stan
05-18-2016, 09:36 AM
Oscar Schmidt, Kala, Luna (tattoo) - Of these three brands that I've played (folks in my uke group have them) - the Lunas seem to have the nicest sounds. But, I would have to agree that the OS would probably be a little more sturdy. I got a concert Aqualele by Bugsgear and love that thing. Even the sound is pretty nice. The feel is really quite nice. And it is really sturdy and weather proof.

I did also play a bugsgear, and I was surprised how good it sounded. It made me play and sing

PTOEguy
05-18-2016, 01:39 PM
check out Islanders, you won't give up much in sound and nothing in playablility.

I concur - Islanders are fantastic, particularly if you like a slightly wider neck. An Islander figured very heavily in my becoming uke obsessed several years back.

bonesigh
05-18-2016, 06:02 PM
Another vote for the BugsGear. I have the old models and I've heard the newer ones are better. One of the BG's I left out in the gazebo for a full year 100 or so degrees to below zero and while the gears have some rust (I believe they fixed that) she was still in tune every time I picked her up. Whatever you decide, the best of luck to you!