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idxxoutoftheblue
11-02-2016, 11:33 AM
What's your favorite soprano? I'm not looking for any specific price range or brand. Just wondering what people like :)

Uncle Rod Higuchi
11-02-2016, 11:44 AM
I'm a 'soprano' guy, and today, (NOTE: today), my favorite soprano uke is
my Martin OX-K, High Pressure Laminate (Formica?) uke. It's only a few weeks
old, but has been through several lessons and gigs :)

Prior to its arrival, I was playing my longneck soprano Maile (Ukulele PuaPua brand),
laminate.

keep uke'in',

efiscella
11-02-2016, 11:52 AM
I have had the privilege of working with Alvin "Pops KoAloha" Okami this past year. Pops has been working on a project that is truly unbelievable. He realizes that hand made, solid Koa wood ukulele made in Hawaii are expensive, so he sought to create an ukulele that is affordable, yet still great. In his research and development, he discovered what he now calls, THE WOW ukulele, and its cousin, the STAR SPANGLED BANGER. These are both soprano size but the BANGER is a cutaway with a 16 fret neck. Pops says, "My dream with this particular ukulele is to spread it to as many people as possible because I sincerely want to be able to share the joy of playing such a wonderfully sounding instrument. I never dreamed that an ukulele, especially a small standard could produce such volume, such tone, such sustain, such clarity, such brilliance and unbelievable ease of playing. In my twenty years of personally handcrafting over 15,000 ukulele, this Wow ukulele has captured my heart and like you, can't stop playing it once I start. It is truly my "Stradivarius" ukulele." Take a look at the video below and listen to Pops as he explains his vision. His new ukulele specialties company is called UKULELE SPECIALTIES OF AMERICA (UKE SA). This company operates out of the KoAloha factory, however, all of the ukulele are made by Pops, alone

I agree with Pops. The Wow and the Banger are the loudest, cleanest, and easiest to play soprano ukulele that I have ever played. Not only that, they are truly affordable, and all made by Pops personally, at the KoAloha factory in Hawaii. If you would like more info on this, please PM me.

Here are some pics:
9537995380
https://youtu.be/Gz3M71WiMPY

Mivo
11-02-2016, 12:09 PM
I currently have three sopranos and previously owned two others (ukuMele mahogany which I sat on, KoAloha koa LN pineapple which I sold). The three sopranos I have are a 2010 koa Black Bear, a 1920s mahogany Lyon&Healy Washburn, and (since today) a Famous/Kiwaya FS-5G.

I'm not sure I can pick a favorite as they are fundamentally different. The Black Bear sounded good both in C and D tuning, and I liked it just a bit better in D tuning (with Aquila 33U strings; I feel these work better than tuning up C tuning strings). It's great for picking due to the wider nut and has a very sweet, rich sound. It has Planetary tuners, which are a joy to use. Great intonation. It has an almost romantic sound.

The Lyon&Healy is also in D tuning, same Aquila 33U strings. It sounds far better in this tuning than in C tuning where it seems to lose all its sparkle and volume. This one has a narrower neck and is both very light and very loud. It has a more "in your face" kind of voice, very vintage. I love this one for fast strumming, though i also pick on it as it teaches me to play precisely. For a 90 year old instrument with original tuners it has fantastic intonation. I feel fond of this uke.

The Famous (Kiwaya) FS-5G only arrived today (will do a NUD post eventually) and I'm already smitten. I wanted a carefree, low maintenance laminated instrument that I don't have to worry about, but I also wanted a good sound and superb playability. The FS eco line seemed like the best choice to me, especially since I wanted the wider neck. It comes with a heavily (mountain range looking) compensated saddle, low action, and a fast neck. It's super responsive and plays like butter. The D'Addario Titanium strings that it came with (at least I think that is what they are) give it a full, rich in fundamentals sound in C tuning, and fairly good tension. I'm surprised I like these strings. It's too soon to say much about it yet, but this is very likely to become a daily player. I would never have guess it's a laminate. It's loud (slightly louder than the vintage uke, which is already very loud), full, resonant. It's as tall and deep as the Black Bear, whereas the 1920s uke is a little smaller and slightly more shallow.

So, really, I can't pick a favorite, they are just too different and equally great.

PhilUSAFRet
11-02-2016, 12:38 PM
Hard to choose between my pre-war Martin O and my Kamaka gold label....equal but different.

Joyful Uke
11-02-2016, 12:43 PM
Kinnard.
There is one for sale on HMS now, which I'd be jumping at if I didn't already have one, thanks to the Marketplace here.

Sven-Uke
11-02-2016, 12:56 PM
Easy! My Ohana SK-28, sweetest uke I've ever played.

Croaky Keith
11-02-2016, 01:09 PM
Kala KA-SLNG, just right & most picked up uke - though I have just got an Ohana SK30L, which might take over. :)

jer
11-02-2016, 01:23 PM
My only soprano right now is an Outdoor ukulele. If I'm counting past ukes I'm going to have to mention the first Koaloha soprano I ever owned. It was back when you could get one from Elderly Instruments brand new for about $300 (I wish I would've bought up a bunch of them back then for re-sell, if I could've afforded it somehow). They included the chipboard case with orange lining they used to send them with. The cases weren't anything special, but the ukes sure were. It was the first solid wood and first koa wood ukulele I'd ever touched. Then there's the LoPrinzi solid mahogany uke I sold to a fellow member here. Exceptional uke. Other than that, I thought the Martin S1 I had for a while was also a really great uke. So I'm going with all of the above as my favorites.

Ukulele Eddie
11-02-2016, 01:30 PM
I don't play soprano that often, but have owned many and currently own four. Brands owned include Timms, Martin (S1, cherry 3 and both vintage and new 2K), Kiwaya (KS5, KTS5 and KTS7), Loprinzi 3K, Laughlin 2K, Larrivee, two Kinnard large body sopranos and probably a few more I can't recall. My current stable is one of the Kinnards, the vintage and new 2K and a Kiwaya KTS5.

The first question is what genre(s) of music and what technique(s)[strumming, fingerstyle, etc) are your preferences?

The Kinnards are not what I would call a traditional soprano sound, but they are amazing instruments and having made the mistake of selling my first I can't imagine ever selling my current one. It is more like a concert in tone. I don't do so much strumming, mostly fingerstyle. It is very comfortable to play. Build quality is impeccable, it's lovely (important to me) and the tone is very rich.

While I love the sound of a traditional soprano and keep buying/selling/buying them, I don't do much strumming and I find them a bit uncomfortable to hold. Of those that I have had, the Laughlin 2K and Martin Cherry 3 and Martin 2K are the standouts for tone. The LoPrinzi was also excellent (and gorgeous) but it was a longneck and a bit neck heavy.

The Larrivee is sort of between the Kinnard and the traditional soprano. It has a larger body and longer scale than a standard soprano, which makes it more comfortable to me. And it is closer to a traditional soprano in sound than a Kinnard and yet is still comfortable for fingerstyle. I found it very versatile. The one I had was truly impressive. Another one I regret selling. I tried to buy a used one recently but the seller found a brIdge issue while packing it up (which I really appreciated knowing in advance, so we cancelled the transaction).

So for me, the Kinnard is #1 by a long shot. The Larrivee is probably the next best fit for me and I think an incredible value even at full retail. I imagine I'll likely turn out the three standard sopranos I currently own after I enjoy them a wee bit. But if the past is any indication of the future, there will be others in the future. LOL.

P.S. Several people are waiting on a review/sound sample of the vintage 2K. I've been experimenting with strings and hope to do a comparison to the new 2K and KTS5 before too long.

wayfarer75
11-02-2016, 01:31 PM
My Kamaka pineapple is my favorite uke, period.

janeray1940
11-02-2016, 03:55 PM
My favorite soprano is a long-neck soprano - concert neck on a soprano body. To me, it's the best of all possible worlds. Mine is a Kamaka HF-1L, and if I had to choose just one uke, that just might be the one.

(But my Kamaka pineapple soprano is pretty sweet too!)

spongeuke
11-02-2016, 07:52 PM
I have about 35 Sopranos. My top list are all vintage Martins. Some get played more although I can't say why. Martins aside I liked the Kamaka Pineapple, it has a new home. The first edition Bushman Jenny is still in the rotation. I like the punch of a modified (Redwood Top) Regal and then my first love is a Gretch. Also love the SS Stewart Banjo-Uke particularly in February.

cml
11-02-2016, 07:59 PM
I like my Timms, the vintage sound is a nice counterpart to my other ukes. I've had 3 sopranos, the Timms is staying. I'd like to try a Kinnard though, the HMS sound samples sound fantastic!

lelouden
11-02-2016, 08:08 PM
My fav is the only one I have. Its the only one I HAD TO HAVE. The Ohana SK-28. Its a throw back to the vintage and has a beautiful loud voice and is a dream to play.

BearMakingNoises
11-03-2016, 01:33 AM
I'm also a soprano guy. I like the post 2012 or so Kamaka. The ones with the good tuners. Really consistent and every now and then, if you play enough of them, a fantastic on appears.

Iulia
11-03-2016, 02:09 AM
My fav is the only one I have. Its the only one I HAD TO HAVE. The Ohana SK-28. Its a throw back to the vintage and has a beautiful loud voice and is a dream to play.

mmn I had my eye on that one :-)

actadh
11-03-2016, 03:09 AM
This week, my favorite soprano is my Brueko solid maple full body (the #2, which makes the 10 year old in me grin.)

I have set a goal of working through one of Mark Kailana Nelson's books that I have had for a couple of years. The Brueko with Worth Browns is perfect for fingerstyle. I have not steadily played it for a while, and my intention is to concentrate on one uke & one book (Learn To Play Fingerstyle Solos for Ukulele).

If you had asked me last month, I would have said my Opio....

UkerDanno
11-03-2016, 03:32 AM
My 1934 Martin style 0!!! Great vintage sound...

Thumbs up for a couple mentions of the Ohana SK-28's, I had one and it was so close to my Martin in sound, it was kind of redundant to keep it.

bonesoup
11-03-2016, 03:50 AM
I have about 35 Sopranos. My top list are all vintage Martins. Some get played more although I can't say why. Martins aside I liked the Kamaka Pineapple, it has a new home. The first edition Bushman Jenny is still in the rotation. I like the punch of a modified (Redwood Top) Regal and then my first love is a Gretch. Also love the SS Stewart Banjo-Uke particularly in February.

Wow, congrats on your collection. High-five. Amazing!

My favorite soprano is my
http://www.wunderkammerinstruments.co.uk/ike/. All solid mahogany, built light with everything by hand, vintage style and sound. A tone monster! A sound cannon!

unrealdark
11-03-2016, 05:52 AM
My Ken Timms!!! +1

WCBarnes
11-03-2016, 12:13 PM
My favorite is my Laughlin 2K. My Martin and Timms are also great, but the nod goes to the Laughlin as I prefer the sound of it's koa to the mahogany of the others. Since two are copies of the third, it is not surprising that their dimensions and playability are nearly exact. I would be happy to have just one in my collection and consider myself fortunate to have all three.

rpfrogner
11-03-2016, 04:15 PM
Most all vintage Martin made soprano's are my favorite. I do own ONE new Martin, a 0XK and it is great as well.

jimavery
11-04-2016, 02:36 AM
Personally I like both my Brüko thin-bodied sopranos. Happily one (the one with the curved back) seems to sound best tuned C and the other D. Both are far from perfect, but I like their characterful sound, small size, unadorned look and friction tuners. I rarely play any of my other ukuleles, and would happily reduce my collection down to these two only.

stevejfc
11-04-2016, 02:53 AM
Maria Callas..........Sorry, I couldn't resist.

YorkSteve
11-04-2016, 03:38 AM
I'm mostly a concert person, but the one soprano I will definitely keep is my Koaloha - it rings out so sweetly. I go for ukes that chime rather than plunk, if you know what I mean. I have owned others (Black Bear, Timms, Flea, LoPrinzi), but they have all moved on to new homes. At the other end of the spectrum, I will also be keeping my Maccaferri Islander - how can plastic sound so good?

Doc_J
11-04-2016, 04:47 AM
My favorite sopranos are Moore Bettah, Ken Timms, Boat Paddle (now Hoffmann) M-style, Kepasa, Black Bear, Pohaku, G-String.

hendulele
11-04-2016, 08:41 AM
Pure soprano: My Ohana SK-35 (solid mahogany). Every time I pick it up, it looks, feels, and sounds great.
Hybrid: Bonanza cherry longneck, just purchased. It plays wonderfully and has a very sweet sound.

FinnP
11-04-2016, 09:07 AM
My Ohana Sk 300G solid koa, I love everything about it. It's even better than my Kiwaya.95441

ewinters
08-25-2017, 05:50 PM
I bought a Laughlin a few years ago, but sadly had to sell it (lost my job briefly). It was a wonderful player. I am now in a much better financial situation and am thinking of buying the 5k on the Elderly site: https://www.elderly.com/laughlin-5-k-soprano-ukulele-with-case.htm
There is also a 3 k. which do you think would be the best investment?

Nickie
08-25-2017, 06:00 PM
My friend's William King.

Croaky Keith
08-25-2017, 10:07 PM
Recently, since its purchase, it was my Ohana SK30L (tenor scale - solid mahogany), but I've just got myself an Ohana SK30M (concert scale - solid mahogany) to go with it & my Kala KA-SLNG (concert scale - laminate mahogany), which has been a favourite of mine since getting it shortly after I started learning to play the uke, back at the end of 2015.

So, I guess, I have to say my 'long neck'. :)

Graham Greenbag
08-25-2017, 11:48 PM
What's your favorite soprano? I'm not looking for any specific price range or brand. Just wondering what people like :)

I've never owned an expensive Uke and come at this question from the perspective of a 'skin flint' and a very average club player who's more gifted with interest and determination than talent - I guess that sort of makes me an ordinary player rather than the typical UU expert. Several Ukes have passed through my hands but the Kala KA-P has stayed and is my favourite. Playing wise I love the bigger body on the Pineapple and I fitted a nut with wider spacing for the strings which made it much more comfortable for my fingers, with the Martin 600's on it it rings out a lovely tone to my ears. Finance wise I could afford to buy something much more expensive but choose not to; it's easy to buy something but very hard to buy the right something that will be perfect for you today, tomorrow and next year too. The Kala wasn't expensive, gives me more pleasure to play than any of the the other Sopranos that have passed through my hands and I have no worries about the cost or availability of an 'identical' replacement.

maki66
08-26-2017, 04:05 AM
Any decent affordable( under $400) sopranos with a 1.5 nut?

wayfarer75
08-26-2017, 07:54 AM
Any decent affordable( under $400) sopranos with a 1.5 nut?

Islander is the only one I can think of.

maki66
08-26-2017, 07:59 AM
Thank you!

janeray1940
08-26-2017, 08:12 AM
Any decent affordable( under $400) sopranos with a 1.5 nut?

Based on other threads, I've heard that the Kiwaya laminates have a 1.5" nut but I can't confirm for certain. Kiwaya makes awesome ukes and HMS has some in stock (https://www.theukulelesite.com/kiwaya-ks-1-mahogany-soprano.html) - you might want to call and ask for the specs.

FWIW, none of my Kiwayas have a 1.5" nut, but mine aren't the laminates, and I think the solid woods might have a different neck profile.

hendulele
08-26-2017, 10:36 AM
Based on other threads, I've heard that the Kiwaya laminates have a 1.5" nut but I can't confirm for certain. Kiwaya makes awesome ukes and HMS has some in stock (https://www.theukulelesite.com/kiwaya-ks-1-mahogany-soprano.html) - you might want to call and ask for the specs.

FWIW, none of my Kiwayas have a 1.5" nut, but mine aren't the laminates, and I think the solid woods might have a different neck profile.

A Kiwaya laminate is the next on my list. I played one at the N.C. Ukulele Academy just after I bought a Martin 0XK and still haven't forgiven myself for not going home with the Kiwaya.

chefuke
08-27-2017, 03:45 PM
Very beautiful uke! I would want a few more frets put into that board in order to get higher😂




QUOTE=bonesoup;1907747]Wow, congrats on your collection. High-five. Amazing!




My favorite soprano is my
http://www.wunderkammerinstruments.co.uk/ike/. All solid mahogany, built light with everything by hand, vintage style and sound. A tone monster! A sound cannon![/QUOTE]

Ukecaster
08-27-2017, 05:17 PM
Based on other threads, I've heard that the Kiwaya laminates have a 1.5" nut but I can't confirm for certain. Kiwaya makes awesome ukes and HMS has some in stock (https://www.theukulelesite.com/kiwaya-ks-1-mahogany-soprano.html) - you might want to call and ask for the specs.

FWIW, none of my Kiwayas have a 1.5" nut, but mine aren't the laminates, and I think the solid woods might have a different neck profile.

Kiwaya/Famous laminates I've seen (KS-5/FS-5 and KS-0/FS-0) had 37mm nut width, just shy of 1.5", which is much wider than many; very comfy for my ham fisted antics. The Kiwaya KTS-4 I measured was slighter smaller, at 36mm.

janeray1940
08-27-2017, 08:15 PM
Kiwaya/Famous laminates I've seen (KS-5/FS-5 and KS-0/FS-0) had 37mm nut width, just shy of 1.5", which is much wider than many; very comfy for my ham fisted antics. The Kiwaya KTS-4 I measured was slighter smaller, at 36mm.

I actually have a Famous laminate - the pineapple decal one, FLS-2G (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JBsbI9TWJS0) - and it has a 35mm/exactly 1 3/8" nut. But as a longneck soprano it's a bid of an oddity to begin with! The neck itself is chunkier than my solid wood Kiwayas so it's a bit of a different feel.