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anca
11-18-2016, 10:22 AM
I want to buy an ukulele as a gift. My friend is a begginer (this would be his first ukulele). I was wondering what would be the best choice for him considering that he has an electro-acoustic guitar. What would you recommend me (my budget is around 90 dollars)?

Booli
11-18-2016, 11:37 AM
I want to buy an ukulele as a gift. My friend is a begginer (this would be his first ukulele). I was wondering that would be the best choice for him considering that he has an electro-acoustic guitar. What would you recommend me (my budget is around 90 dollars)

Hi Anca,

Coming from guitar, for my first uke (3.5 yrs ago), I found the tenor scale very comfortable, with concert and soprano scale too small, and the baritone uke seemed too much like a guitar but with only 4 strings.

In your price range you will find the Makala MK-T (~$73), which is the 'budget' version of Kala's KA-T (the uke I got back then for $119 at local retail shop). Out-of-the-box playability was very good, as was the fit and finish.

If you want the uke to be perfectly playable you should get it from a vendor that does a setup to adjust the action and correct any intonation issues, otherwise from Amazon it will not be setup and might need to be tweaked at a local guitar shop unless your friend is handy with a needle file and an emery board to adjust the nut and saddle (if needed).

FYI, the soprano, concert and tenor ukes are all usually tuned to some flavor of GCEA, which is like putting a capo on the fifth fret of a guitar, but the baritone uke is usually tuned DGBE which is the same as guitar, but with the two lowest pitch (bass strings) removed. Chord shapes are the same, but the names change because the smaller ukes are in a C6 tuning or key and the baritone is in a G6 tuning/key.

In either case, tutorials and chord charts are widely available online and free to download, as well as tons of ukulele videos.

Coming from guitar, it was quite easy to transition to ukulele, and all of the fingering and fretting and strumming knowledge was EASILY portable, once I understood the re-entrant or High-G tuning, but as a beginner coming from guitar the transition might be easier by using strings with a LOW-G, so that the string intervals SOUND closer to the way the guitar is strung and played, either way is 'correct' and simply a matter of personal preference.

Here is a simple demo of the Makala MK-T (not me playing):


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GKmPVsr-KnI
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GKmPVsr-KnI

Some vendors you might want to check out, that do full setups and inspect the instrument before shipping it out, in the USA are Uke Republic, MIM's Ukes, Elderly, Hawaii Music Supply, and if you are in the UK, there is The Southern Ukulele Store, Omega Music and Really Useful Music Company, and if you are near Germany, there is Ukulele.de and thomann.de, but if you are elswehere in the world, I am not really familiar with other vendors, so hopefully other UU folks can chime in to add that info if you need it.

Hope this helps! :)

Any more questions please don't hesitate to ask.

-Booli

UkieOkie
11-18-2016, 12:59 PM
Booli you are a knowledgeable and helpful guy.

Booli
11-18-2016, 01:03 PM
Booli you are a knowledgeable and helpful guy.

Thanks brother!

I'm just trying to 'pay it forward' from all the wonderful help and info I got here from UU when I was first starting out :)

Booli
11-18-2016, 01:13 PM
Anca,

Also, I thought this recently posted video might help you, with Andrew Hardel (from rockclass101.com) and Mike McQueen (from Uke Republic), both of which are members here on UU.


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-m8HUTNG52s
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-m8HUTNG52s

:)

Nickie
11-18-2016, 02:33 PM
Booli, you are such a wonderful guy!
Mike is a great resource, he has helped hundreds of folks buy their 1st uke. One of my friends has bought a least a dozen from him. He is always so helpful and fun at TBUG, every year.
Might Anca also consider a Caramel tenor uke?

JackLuis
11-18-2016, 03:44 PM
Booli, you are such a wonderful guy!
Mike is a great resource, he has helped hundreds of folks buy their 1st uke. One of my friends has bought a least a dozen from him. He is always so helpful and fun at TBUG, every year.
Might Anca also consider a Caramel tenor uke?

I recommend Caramel as a low cost, low guilt if you step on it, Uke. The CT-100 Zebra wood Tenor (MSRP $200) is nice and loud, good setup and only needs minor tweeking, once you have the strings you like on it. At ~$65 for a elecro/acoustic tenor delivered in the USA. They have solid tops for under $90 and all solid for a few dollars more. The concerts are very good as well and about $10 cheaper. Check them out on Amazon or E-Bay.

While your on E-Bay check out Mim's, she has Ohana and lots of other brands.

Choirguy
11-18-2016, 06:24 PM
+1 for the Caramel, either the Concert or Tenor--and I'd say go for the least expensive $37 and $39 models for a beginner...and order a $4 Reverb tuner. While the Zebrawood laminate may not be as pretty as other patterns and solid wood ukuleles, they also require little maintenance and eventually allow you to put more money towards your next instrument if you decide to keep going, as Ukulele Acquisition Syndrome is a real thing.

I play Tenors 95% of the time; for beginners I like Concerts as they have a little more room if you have bigger hands and aren't gianormous if you have smaller hands. I like Sopranos for elementary students. But once you start playing, I think there are benefits to occasionally playing on all scale sizes. And with Caramels, you could buy all three entry level GCEA scale sizes for less than $120!

anca
11-19-2016, 12:42 AM
Thank you so much Booli for your advice! You recommended me the tenor size ukulele, but isn't the concert size a good option too? I don't know much about brands or vendors, but I would like to know your opinion about these ukuleles:
Brunswick BU4 Concert Ukulele
Laka VUC30 Concert Acoustic Ukulele
Kala Makala MK-C Concert Ukulele
Oscar Schmidt OU2 Concert Ukulele
Ashton UKE240 Concert Ukulele (i looked specifically after acoustic ukuleles)
Also, what do you think about this site: gear4music.com (i read a lot of good reviews about it and the prices are not to high)
Once again, thank you so much for your help!

Estudiante
11-21-2016, 02:50 AM
I agree with the Tenor scale suggestion.

My son has a Gretsch standard concert. That was around $100. It sounds good and plays very well. I expect the Tenor scale is good also.

Hawaii Music Supply has a couple of videos (both a couple of years old now) on recommended ukes under $200. A handful of those are probably a tad under $150.

Croaky Keith
11-21-2016, 04:05 AM
When I started out, I found the concert size best for learning, but I hadn't attempted to play a stringed instrument in the last 30 years prior, & my hands took a while to loosen up, but I think a concert scale is still the best option for a first uke. :)

(One of my first ukes was a Makala MK-C concert.)