View Full Version : Wha are your thoughts please?

01-07-2017, 05:25 AM
Hello, I am new to playing the ukulele, and at present playing a soprano model by Kahua that I purchased a few days ago. I would like to eventually upgrade to a concert model.

I have a gift certificate from Adorama, which is primarily a camera store, but they do sell ukuleles. I was looking at a few models by Ibanez. One in particular is the Ibanez UEW15E Concert Ukulele Acoustic-Electric. Are they a good ukulele? I know their guitars are very good, and I would assume that their line of ukuleles are as well.

What are you thoughts please.

Thank you for your help

01-07-2017, 06:14 AM
Firstly, a move from a soprano to a concert would not generally be considered an "upgrade" per se. Upgrading to better/solid wood, better finish/features, custom made, etc. etc. would be. There is not a lot on these ukes, but many owners of them are happy with them while others feel their design, fit, finish may not be up to the standard of some better models. I appreciate them for that they are and if I found the right deal on the maple concert cutaway with a pickup, I might grab it. Here are some videos. In general, they compare favorably to Ibanez's budget line of guitars unless they started making solid wood models. May or may not need a "setup", but if you are the least bit handy/crafty, much setup work may be within your skill set and there are many, many tutorials online. Good luck.


01-07-2017, 06:57 AM
Like Phil said, a concert isn't an automatic upgrade to a soprano, unless it's a higher quality instrument. Size is about preference and sound, and bigger isn't necessarily better. I'd argue that a concert is more suitable as a beginner's uke (using the term loosely as I don't believe there are any ukes that are chiefly for beginners) than a soprano, which requires more precision.

Anyway, my thoughts are that when it comes to entry or mid range ukuleles, it doesn't matter so much what model or brand you buy, but where you buy it from. Lower cost stringed instruments are usually not set up by the factory, so they frequently come with too high action (string height), poor intonation, shoddy tuning machines, etc. By buying the instrument from a vendor that includes set up (fixing these issues before sending the ukulele to you), you are much more likely to end up with an instrument that you'll enjoy and play for a long time. As Phil also said, this is different if you have the tools and the knowledge to fix these problems yourself. I don't, so I buy from vendors that do setup work on the instruments they sell (in Europe, this would be the Southern Ukulele Store, Omega Music, ukuMele, in the US, there's TheUkuleleSite, Mim's Ukes, Uke Republic, Mainland - probably more). You may pay a little more than you might if you go to a music retail store, but you'll be much more likely to enjoy what you get.

01-07-2017, 07:03 AM
Second Mivo.

If your instrument isn't set up and dressed properly, you may not be able to play in tune, the edges of the frets may be rough on your fingers, or the strings may be so far above the fretboard that it hurts your fingers to fret chords. Trust me. The second uke I got was from one of the big-box retailers, and while $25 may have seemed like a bargain, it wasn't set up and it was an easy one to get rid of at the earliest opportunity.

01-07-2017, 07:14 AM
Ibanez makes fine instruments. If it appeals to you, go for it! It looks like a cool uke!

01-07-2017, 08:03 AM
What the guys said above is moderately correct. However it sounds like you have a small amount to spend and may be looking to improve your instrument.

A concert will be a good move. Sopranos are not a friendly as a concert may be. I started with a tenor but had some problems until I got a concert and it was what got me moving in this hobby. Concerts generally will sound better than a plunky soprano,(IMHO) and they may give you a chance to develop your 'ear' which will be good.

Ibanez has been making Ukes and guitars for a long while, but I have no hands on knowledge of them so I can't guide you in that manner. If your gift card will cover 90% of the Ibanez I'd say do it, but if you have to spend more that $50 extra you can get a Caramel off Amazon for $40-50, with free shipping, that will be a good uke. It may need to be set up, but Caramel is getting better on their setups so I'll bet it would be playable and fun out of the box.

But first make sure you have a tuner, even the cheap ones will help. Check E-Bay and Amazon for a $5-10 tuner. Playing in tune makes a lot of difference.

Check out the resources on the beginners sticky's above. Lots of good free stuff in them.

01-07-2017, 01:15 PM
In terms of classical learning, soprano size is not a beginner size. It is very unwieldy and you need to develop proper technique and handling.
I would consider anything with wider fret widths a compensation for those learning and then 'graduate ' to soprano once you get a feel for proper fretting and a focus on precision.

01-08-2017, 05:50 AM
Thank you so much for responding. I must first say that I was wrong in saying that going from a soprano to a concert is an upgrade. I appreciate being corrected on that.

After playing the soprano ukulele for awhile now I realize that I will be more comfortable playing the larger concert model. I was out yesterday at a few guitar stores trying out different ukuleles, and I have to admit the feel of the concert is much better. Even the tenor feels very nice, but from listening to a few YouTube demos on each different size, it seams, well to my my ears anyway, that after you go beyond the concert, that unique ukulele sound diminishes.

I'm getting the hang of it, but I really need to spend time with learning proper strumming techniques. From playing guitar a number of years ago it was all about using a pick or perhaps the thumb, but the ukulele from what I have seen so far on various YouTube videos, there is quite an art involved.

Thank you again for the advice guys.