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View Full Version : WTB: decent tenor uke for beginner



teryg
08-18-2016, 12:27 PM
Hi all,

I've been playing for about a month. I started with a used Cordoba baritone. I'm happy with the baritone but I want to branch out some. I also want to have a uke with standard uke tuning in addition to my baritone, which I want to keep tuned DGBE.

My current plan is to try a tenor next, then a concert after that.

So, I'm looking for a used tenor. For this first one, I need to stay under about $200. I've been told I should be able to get at least a solid top for that, though with laminate sides and back. That sounds like an acceptable place to start. I'm not interested in built-in electronics since that will just add to the cost for something I doubt I'll want to use.

If anyone is looking to move up and has a nice tenor you want to part with, please let me know. I tend to like a warm sound, and I find I'm leaning toward fingerstyle, though that's not what I want to do exclusively. I have small hands, so I'm going to particularly like a uke that plays comfortably with small hands. While I love a good looking instrument, I'm more interested in sound and playability. Total beauty might have to wait until my budget is larger.

Best,
Tery

bonesigh
08-18-2016, 01:28 PM
You can get a decent new uke at Butler Music on Ebay. They are 2nds from the factory usually with just cosmetic issues. Watch out though for neck issues like warping. Don't buy those. I've been very happy with my purchases from them.

teryg
08-18-2016, 03:09 PM
You can get a decent new uke at Butler Music on Ebay. They are 2nds from the factory usually with just cosmetic issues. Watch out though for neck issues like warping. Don't buy those. I've been very happy with my purchases from them.

Thanks! Do they (or can they) do setup? I haven't learned how to do that (yet).

Croaky Keith
08-18-2016, 11:28 PM
Kala do a cedar topped tenor uke - I have the bari, lovely warm tone. :)

PhilUSAFRet
08-18-2016, 11:43 PM
I'd check here first: http://forum.ukuleleunderground.com/showthread.php?122028-Mainland-cosmetic-2nds

If you like your Cordoba, I had one of their 20TM-CE solid topped models which is within your price range (usually) and is a good value (hates Aquila strings). Mine needed no setup work and had a full, rich sound. It wasn't particularly heavy and the electronics worked very well.

I agree with getting a solid topped model if you can. Those Kala solid topped models sound great for the $. Here's a few of them: http://www.ebay.com/sch/Musical-Instruments-Gear/619/i.html?_from=R40&_nkw=cordoba+20TM+CE+ukulele&LH_PrefLoc=1&_sop=15

bonesigh
08-19-2016, 07:06 AM
No set up but all of mine so far have not had huge intonation issues. Just fine for a beginner.


Thanks! Do they (or can they) do setup? I haven't learned how to do that (yet).

teryg
08-19-2016, 09:25 AM
Thanks! The Kala and Cordoba go on my list. I'm familiar with the Cordoba and I *might* know which Kala you mean. I listened to some comparisons on youtube and one had both a Kala and a Cordoba. Those were the two I really noticed in the price range.

I emailed Mike about 2nds, and am looking at ebay. I'm glad to have recommendations about good sellers there, since I know it's possible to get really burned.

teryg
08-21-2016, 05:56 AM
Having listened around on youtube a lot, I fell in love with the sound of the Mainland Uke mahogany tenor. It's driving me crazy that I have to wait until tomorrow morning to order one :-). I hope I like it as much when I get my hands on it (though I expect it will take years before it sounds anything like the best of the players I heard on youtube). I'm thinking I want low G. I searched around on the forums and saw lots of opinions either way. I'm going to go low G on mine, and trade off with some of the people in my uke group who use high G . . . see what I think of that. I like fingerstyle a lot, so I think the low G will give me something extra in the sound.

Thanks for the comments here. They really helped. And I'm saving several of the links for . . . well, for my next uke, though that one really does have to be down the line somewhere. Uke number 2 in one month raised some eyebrows at home.

actadh
08-21-2016, 07:14 AM
In May, I got my 2011 Mainland Mahogany Tenor used from Antebellum Music for $175 shipped. Jake reset everything on it and it plays so well, I think my tenor UAS is cured (for now). That is a good place to keep an eye on for a great bargain on a used ukulele.

teryg
08-22-2016, 05:26 AM
I just ordered a Mainland directly from Mike. Couldn't wait to find one elsewhere :-), but he did have a 2nd so I got a price break on that. Now my only problem is, I want it to be here immediately!

stevejfc
08-22-2016, 05:38 AM
Good choice!

sukie
08-22-2016, 07:44 AM
Excellent choice. I really like mine.

teryg
08-23-2016, 11:22 AM
I appreciate all the help I get here. It's a great community.

My tenor shipped today. It will be here on by mid-afternoon on Thursday. Can you say waiting by the door? :-)

Ukulele Eddie
08-23-2016, 02:36 PM
Congrats!!!

teryg
08-25-2016, 12:06 PM
The uke arrived today. It's a really amazing uke for the price. I love the sound. I think this is going to completely satisfy my UAS for the foreseeable future.

Now I just have to learn to play it properly :-).

SoloRule
08-26-2016, 12:42 AM
The uke arrived today. It's a really amazing uke for the price. I love the sound. I think this is going to completely satisfy my UAS for the foreseeable future.

Now I just have to learn to play it properly :-).

You are very knowledgable for someone only started looking for a second uke. You made a wise decision on the Mainland uke. I heard only good reviews on Mainland, never a negative comment.
Congratulations! Please share picture!
I have a question, do you find the Mainland heavy in weight?

teryg
08-26-2016, 03:10 AM
You are very knowledgable for someone only started looking for a second uke. You made a wise decision on the Mainland uke. I heard only good reviews on Mainland, never a negative comment.
Congratulations! Please share picture!
I have a question, do you find the Mainland heavy in weight?

Thanks. I'm an old guitar player so I'm used to shopping carefully for instruments. I also figured out early on, from that background, that I'll be more of a fingerstyle and chord/melody player than a sing-along strummer.

I do not find the Mainland heavy, but I have not played many other tenor ukes--just a few in a store when I was actually looking for a baritone. My other uke is a baritone, so the Mainland tenor is light by comparison. And, of course, I come from the world of acoustic guitars, so any uke I've tried is lighter than my old Gibson.

I'll spend more time on the Mainland today and will probably have more comments after that.

PTOEguy
08-26-2016, 07:16 AM
Thanks! Do they (or can they) do setup? I haven't learned how to do that (yet).

I've bought about 20 ukes from Butler - all of which were their gamblers specials (no returns, super low price) and somewhere around 40% them had unrecoverable neck profile issues. I don't know what their non-gamblers special terms are, but make sure you understand your risks when buying. That said, I found them pretty good to work with and had a lot of fun (and learned a lot) trying to fix ukes that had some significant problems.

If you're looking used, I'd see if you can find a tenor neck fluke - most of them have laminate tops, but the ones I've played kept up with lower end solid wood ukes pretty well.