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View Full Version : A beginners choice! - Need help choosing a ukulele!



royklol11
01-26-2017, 03:49 AM
Hello everyone!

For a while now , I've been really wanting to buy a ukulele. I've done a lot of research for cost , best reviews and etc.
I've come to the conclusion of 3 ukuleles that best suit those criteria.
The Octopus Soprano VS The Makala Waterman VS The Makala Shark I've chosen these three mainly for the fact that i'm looking for a solid ukulele around 50$ (or under) that I can get around my area / order internationally (I live in Europe , so shipping costs A LOT/wont even ship to my country).
I would love some help on deciding which one should I get , and will greatly appreciate any other suggestions!

Thanks a lot,
Nero.

ukatee
01-26-2017, 04:39 AM
BazMaz has reviewed all three - go to http://www.gotaukulele.com/p/ukulele-reviews.html and scroll down the page a little way to find the links. He gives the Octopus the highest rating. Be prepared to change the strings to Aquilas. It's a straightforward job and there are lots of instructions on the internet.

Have fun!

royklol11
01-26-2017, 05:17 AM
Hey ukatee,
I've seen BazMaz and his reviews before and I think they're great!
But I also wanted wanted to know a personal opinion from people from the forums.
The thing is, the Octopus is ridiculously cheap, and I would love to hear more personal opinions regarding the 3 I listed.

royklol11
01-26-2017, 05:20 AM
Oh another thing!
Regarding Aquila strings, would this be alright?
http://www.ebay.com/itm/Free-ship-Aquila-Nylgut-Soprano-Ukulele-Strings-1-set-/152159498773?hash=item236d69b215:g:1S8AAOSw~oFXNEN Q
Regarding Ukulele sizes, i have big hands. BazMaz said that sizes dont matter regarding your hand size. Does someone have big hands and can confirm that?
Thanks a lot,
Nero.

Ukador
01-26-2017, 06:10 AM
Before you buy Aquila strings you should listen to a few vids. Theukulelesite compared several strings. It's a myth that Aquila strings are the "best".

jer
01-26-2017, 06:14 AM
I don't have any experience with the ukes you've mentioned, so nothing to add there...but...



Regarding Ukulele sizes, i have big hands. BazMaz said that sizes dont matter regarding your hand size. Does someone have big hands and can confirm that?
Thanks a lot,
Nero.
Ukulele size can be more about personal preference than hand size. I'm sure it would be more challenging for someone with large hands to play a soprano, but it can be done. It's just a question of whether or not the person prefers that size.
Ideally, you'd be able to get your hands on various sizes to see what feels best to you. If not, you just have to guess as best you can.

I hope you find an instrument that you enjoy!

ProfChris
01-26-2017, 08:31 AM
On the basis of Barry Maz's review I'd go for the Octopus. Your price, sub-$50, means you're going to get an "unsophisticated" instrument - the next step up in quality comes, I think, around the $150 mark. Certainly at $50 you can't expect a very complex sound. Which is fine if you're a beginner, as all you can make to start with are non-complex sounds!

But, and this is important, if the strings are set too high at the nut or the 12th fret (this is the "action") your uke will be really hard to play. Some are so bad as to be unplayable. If the fret ends are sharp the pain will stop you playing it. If the frets or bridge are misplaced, it can't make music. Many cheap ukes have these faults.

So I'd say pick the uke which is reviewed as being good in these aspects, and Barry really rates the Octopus here.

The other pitfall in the sub-$50 range is if the laminate or finish is so thick that the uke is nearly silent. Again, Barry says the Octopus is good here.

My point is that if these two aspects are OK, that's as good as you're going to get for $50 or less. In which case, save the change from buying the Octopus and put it in a jar in case you take to the uke. If you do, you'll want a $150 uke next. If not, spend it on beer :)

royklol11
01-26-2017, 09:33 AM
Ahaa!!
Thanks everyone for the comments so much!
I'm so glad people actually replied, and each comment really helped me!
Thanks a lot everyone.
As for the ukulele I think i'll go for the octopus! shipping costs 15$ but what can you do :D
Thanks a lot again!
Nero~

ukatee
01-26-2017, 10:18 AM
Hey ukatee,
I've seen BazMaz and his reviews before and I think they're great!
But I also wanted wanted to know a personal opinion from people from the forums....


Sorry - I should have made it clear that Bazmaz is a member of the forum. :)

JackLuis
01-26-2017, 12:11 PM
royklol11 you should check out Caramel's line. For ~$55 US shipped, you can get a very nice concert with tuner and pickup (the CC-100). I would put mine against any concert under $150 and it will blow them away. Concerts sound better than sopranos and even the cheaper Concert at Under $40 is good but no pickup or tuner.

A concert is much more flexible, asierr to play than a soprano and isn't plinky plunky.

Dan Gleibitz
01-26-2017, 01:51 PM
royklol11 you should check out Caramel's line. For ~$55 US shipped, you can get a very nice concert with tuner and pickup (the CC-100). I would put mine against any concert under $150 and it will blow them away.

I'd guess you've never tried the Kaka KUC-MAD? It's a big step up from Caramel and can be found for well under $150.

JackLuis
01-26-2017, 04:17 PM
I'd guess you've never tried the Kaka KUC-MAD? It's a big step up from Caramel and can be found for well under $150.

I'd have a hard time with a Kaka no matter how well it played. Sorry. I have heard that the Kaka's are petty good but the name is a turn off for me. The CC-100 is only $55 shipped. It may need the fret ends filed and maybe the saddle lowered but it will play well and you don't have to worry about low humidity.

stevepetergal
01-26-2017, 04:25 PM
Hey ukatee,
I've seen BazMaz and his reviews before and I think they're great!
But I also wanted wanted to know a personal opinion from people from the forums.
The thing is, the Octopus is ridiculously cheap, and I would love to hear more personal opinions regarding the 3 I listed.

Here's my personal opinion. Every time I try an instrument Baz has reviewed, I find he's 100% correct.

Dan Gleibitz
01-26-2017, 04:50 PM
I'd have a hard time with a Kaka no matter how well it played. Sorry. I have heard that the Kaka's are petty good but the name is a turn off for me. The CC-100 is only $55 shipped. It may need the fret ends filed and maybe the saddle lowered but it will play well and you don't have to worry about low humidity.

It's just got a K on the headstock. ;)

For $120 there's really no need to worry about humidity either. You really should try one, just to put the Caramels into perspective (I have both).

DownUpDave
01-27-2017, 01:00 AM
Get the the Shark or Dolphin and buy it from the Southern Ukulele Store. They are in England.......they do set ups on their ukes before shipping out. They really know their stuff and have a great reputation. This is more important then Bazmaz giving the Octopus a 8.2 and the Dolphin a 7.9 rating, too close to make a difference.

jollyboy
01-27-2017, 01:05 AM
Get the the Shark or Dolphin and buy it from the Southern Ukulele Store. They are in England.......they do set ups on their ukes before shipping out. They really know their stuff and have a great reputation. This is more important then Bazmaz giving the Octopus a 8.2 and the Dolphin a 7.9 rating, too close to make a difference.

I'll add another vote for buying from SUS. Just to muddy the waters they have the Brunswick BU1 available as a budget option too :)

DownUpDave
01-27-2017, 01:16 AM
I'll add another vote for buying from SUS. Just to muddy the waters they have the Brunswick BU1 available as a budget option too :)

I am glad you mentioned the Brunswick, I thought about that one but I've no experience with them. If the OP wants to spend a bit more the Kala KA- 15S is a GREAT instrument that has really proven itself over time. Something important in the grand scheme of things.

Rllink
01-27-2017, 01:28 AM
Don't go with the Waterman.

WCBarnes
01-27-2017, 04:09 AM
Don't go with the Waterman.

I have a Shark (Dolphin) and have played the Waterman. I could not agree more with this statement! I have never played an Octopus, so I can't comment there. IMHO, the Shark is probably the best entry level ukulele out there. As DUD mentioned, with the lower cost instruments it is extremely important to have a good set up. A set up makes it easier to play.

royklol11
01-27-2017, 04:37 AM
THANKS SO MUCH FOR ALL THE OVERWHELMING SUPPORT!
everyone who commented I would like to thank you so much!
I would like to reply for a few things that have been said here:
Well, First of all the southern ukulele does not ship to Israel, where I live (usually does count as European shipping , but seems like the website wont ship there. might contact them)
Second of all is the Caramel's line that JackLuis recommended. I found on ebay the store and a concert ukulele! Link : http://www.ebay.com/itm/Caramel-CC401A-Exotic-Mahogany-Concert-Acoustic-Ukulele-/252465719873
Third and last one is the brunswick! http://www.ebay.com/itm/Brunswick-Natural-Soprano-Ukulele-Fitted-With-Aquila-Strings-RRP-49-99-/371236640775?hash=item566f6d9807:g:dz4AAOSw1ZBUt8l P I've seen the item before but never seen some reviews on it!
Again, thanks everyone on replying to this thread!
Would love to hear more opinions and what choice i should make regarding what i wrote!
EDIT:
I've just heard the Caramel CC401A, and it sounds great! I really like the look of the wood and the price and shipping is perfect! might lean more towards that.

royklol11
01-27-2017, 08:09 AM
Jack do you also think I should buy aquila strings for the caramel ukulele?
I'm very intersted in buying this one : http://www.ebay.com/itm/Caramel-CC401A-Exotic-Mahogany-Concert-Acoustic-Ukulele-/252465719873
as I really like the wood look to it, and the way it sounds.
Thanks a lot!
Nero
EDIT:
Scratch that it says it comes with aquila strings already on it! my bad!

delmar500
01-27-2017, 03:08 PM
THANKS SO MUCH FOR ALL THE OVERWHELMING SUPPORT!
everyone who commented I would like to thank you so much!
I would like to reply for a few things that have been said here:
Well, First of all the southern ukulele does not ship to Israel, where I live (usually does count as European shipping , but seems like the website wont ship there. might contact them)
Second of all is the Caramel's line that JackLuis recommended. I found on ebay the store and a concert ukulele! Link : http://www.ebay.com/itm/Caramel-CC401A-Exotic-Mahogany-Concert-Acoustic-Ukulele-/252465719873
Third and last one is the brunswick! http://www.ebay.com/itm/Brunswick-Natural-Soprano-Ukulele-Fitted-With-Aquila-Strings-RRP-49-99-/371236640775?hash=item566f6d9807:g:dz4AAOSw1ZBUt8l P I've seen the item before but never seen some reviews on it!
Again, thanks everyone on replying to this thread!
Would love to hear more opinions and what choice i should make regarding what i wrote!
EDIT:
I've just heard the Caramel CC401A, and it sounds great! I really like the look of the wood and the price and shipping is perfect! might lean more towards that.

I sure like my Carmel tenor.

JackLuis
01-27-2017, 03:31 PM
Jack do you also think I should buy aquila strings for the caramel ukulele?
I'm very intersted in buying this one : http://www.ebay.com/itm/Caramel-CC401A-Exotic-Mahogany-Concert-Acoustic-Ukulele-/252465719873
as I really like the wood look to it, and the way it sounds.
Thanks a lot!
Nero
EDIT:
Scratch that it says it comes with aquila strings already on it! my bad!

I have no experience with the Caramel "Exotic Hogs", but expect they are well assembled and will sound good. I did buy a couple of Butterfly's for my daughter and granddaughter, two years ago, but they came poorly finished and needed setup. I bought them as a craft project and refinished them and they came out very nice and played well. My last two Caramels, bought last year, have needed no setup and just minor fret filing.

Play the Aquilas that come on them for a couple of months. Then try some Fluorocarbons. You can hear the difference, you might like one or the other.

royklol11
01-27-2017, 07:42 PM
I think I might go with what you said in the beginning the CC100:http://www.caramelukulele.com/caramel-cc100-zebra-wood-concert-acoustic-electric-ukulele-993.html
The Caramel website does international shipping, so it works out really well for me! plus already having the tuner is great.