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MananAtma
03-20-2017, 08:14 PM
This morning I reached a milestone, I looked at the chords and lyrics of "This Land is Your Land" and was able to play and sing at the same time. May sound simple to most of you, but for a no talent like me its huge.

I promised myself if I ever got this far I would get myself a decent uke. I would like a concert, preferably pineapple. Money is a bit tight so I'm trying to keep it under $200. Been looking at the Flea and the Oscar Schmidt OU2P, but I'm very open to suggestions, infact, begging for advice.

I like low G tuning so I would like to get the best sound I can for the dollar. Another possible factor is I like camping and hiking, so would that make the concert flea a no brainer?

One Man And His Uke
03-20-2017, 11:06 PM
I have a concert Flea. Love it. Not taken it camping or hiking but it's pretty robust so should survive a period spent in the wilderness. I can't vouch for any others as I haven't played em :)

Croaky Keith
03-20-2017, 11:36 PM
Congrats at reaching your first milestone. :)

Regarding new uke, likely the Flea would suit, but depending on how you treat it, there are other options, any half decent laminate would work well enough.

Choirguy
03-21-2017, 12:32 AM
It would help to know what instrument you are coming from so that recommendations are a upgrade.

DownUpDave
03-21-2017, 12:37 AM
In you price range the flea is the only pineapple shaped concert I am aware of. This is not a bad thing because they are a great instrument and robust for camping and hiking. If you are going low G it needs to be a florocarbon low G. A wound low G is not recommended because it can wear down the plastic frets.

Rllink
03-21-2017, 01:11 AM
When I reached my goal and upgraded I went with Mainland. The prices are right around what you want to pay. I think that if you are looking for a nice upgrade, the Mainland is a good choice.

WCBarnes
03-21-2017, 02:25 AM
If you want the pineapple shape, the Flea is the way to go. As Dave mentioned, you would need either a fluorocarbon low G, or upgrade to the wooden fretboard, as the wound ones will gouge the plastic frets. Another option would be keeping your eye out for a used Ohana pineapple. They retail for ~$300, so a used one would be about your price. If you are open to the traditional shape you can find many Kalas, Ohanas or Mainlands in your price range. They will all be good ukes (just be sure to buy them from a placed that does a set up -- Uke Republic, Mim, HMS, Elderly, etc.).

sukie
03-21-2017, 02:59 AM
The I second a Mainland! I just got a Mainland super-concert pineapple. It's wonderful. And it's got a lovely tone. My regular player is a Moore Bettah, so I'm kinda picky about tone. I think you'd be happy with a Mainland.

bikemech
03-21-2017, 04:08 AM
First of all, congratulations on meeting your milestone. It took me many years of playing, first the guitar then the ukulele, until I could actually sing and play at the same time. As a point of reference, I started playing guitar about 15 years ago. I could not strum competently until I met the ukulele about two years ago and even then it wasn't until about 6 months ago that I could sing and play together. So, I bet you have me beat in meeting that goal a little more quickly. ;)

As far as the ukulele upgrade, yes, the concert Flea is a no-brainer especially when considering you will be take it camping with you. The other possibility I see would be to use your current not-so-decent uke as a camping uke and get a solid wood pineapple uke for home use, though I don't think a solid wood instrument is must-have. Honestly, my wife's concert Flea with wood fretboard sounds every bit as good as my solid koa Martin C1K.

MananAtma
03-21-2017, 11:15 AM
Right now I have a Makala pineapple soprano and a Donner concert. I like the volume of my pineapple, as well as how it looks. As far as how I treat my ukes, I carried 2 to Iraq and both made it home in great shape, I watched a video where a guy tossed a flea and I cringed, so you might say I'm a little protective. Did I miss any questions? Thanks for the responces.

PTOEguy
03-23-2017, 08:14 AM
I'm a huge fan of concert pineapples (or is it pineapple concerts - both sound a little weird, like singing fruit....)

I've got a concert flea that I take camping about once a year. The only thing about it that isn't well adapted to camping is that I've sometimes had the friction tuners get loose in cold weather. The simple solution is to make sure you have a screwdriver and tighten as needed.

And congratulations on taking the next step towards full-blown UAS. If you like concert Pineapples and camping, keep practicing and start saving now - the end of that road is a Blackbird Clara (amazing instrument).

MananAtma
03-23-2017, 10:11 AM
AACK!!! $1300 for an instrument? I would have to get a lot better than I am now to even consider spending that much. Maybe in a few years.

Mivo
03-23-2017, 10:16 AM
AACK!!! $1300 for an instrument? I would have to get a lot better than I am now to even consider spending that much. Maybe in a few years.

A newer player benefits from a great instrument as much, if not more, than an expert player. :)

acmespaceship
03-23-2017, 10:32 AM
Congratulations on hitting a big milestone! A Flea is an excellent choice in your situation since it is sturdy and lightweight and cheerful. Later when you get still more ukuleles (it happens...) the Flea will remain useful as a travel and knockabout companion.

If you're serious about low-G, you might consider a Fluke instead. The Fluke is a little pricier but maybe you can find one used. I think the larger Fluke body resonates better with low-G but YMMV.

PTOEguy
03-24-2017, 05:04 AM
AACK!!! $1300 for an instrument? I would have to get a lot better than I am now to even consider spending that much. Maybe in a few years.

Keep practicing and keep your eyes open - they come up for sale used every so often - I got mine for just over $900 (and sold three ukes to do it). Up until I played it, I didn't think you got much additional beyond about the $400-500 range. The shop I bought from let me bring in my flea (great uke) and play it back to back with the Clara. The flea is a great uke, but the Clara is a whole different animal, particularly strung low G.

My Clara took my playing places it would never have gone on the flea. Probably the biggest thing that makes a difference with the Clara is that it has a huge dynamic range, massive sustain and the sustain is there as you go up the neck. It opened up a lot of possibilities for me. Some of the things I learned I can do on my flea now, but it was the ease of playing on the Clara that got me there.

Another way to look at it - it is way cheaper than a piano (and more portable). $900 doesn't get you much for a violin (a lot of serious players pay at least that for a bow). $900 barely covers what you'll spend in gas to transport a harp. A guitar in ekoa (what the Clara is made of) will run $3000+, and to get a decent brass instrument you'd spend way more. It is only expensive compared to ukuleles.

And finally - I wouldn't spend that much on a wood ukulele - too much chance for an expensive drop, humidity problems, etc. The Clara is pretty bombproof, which is why I was pretty comfortable buying used.

In the meantime, buy a flea (or a mainland) and have fun.

Choirguy
03-24-2017, 09:47 AM
I missed a dollar range for this question. What are you looking to do with the ukulele? How would it primarily be used?

MananAtma
03-24-2017, 03:33 PM
Trying to keep it under $200, trying to find a good mid-range uke because I promised myself an upgrade when I reached a certain milestone. I would like a concert or tenor, I'm partial to pineapples, and I love camping. Money is tight so I am trying to get the most bang for the buck.

The milestone btw way is that I was able to look at the chords and lyrics of "This Land is Your Land" and was able to strum and sing at the same time. May not seem like a big deal but for a no talent like me its huge.

Choirguy
03-24-2017, 05:08 PM
First, congratulations on the accomplishment of strumming and singing. I'll be honest...as a music teacher and a heavily trained musician--that aspect is pretty natural for me and I don't have to think twice about it. I forget that not everyone is a music major! The Ukulele Teacher (YouTube) made a video this week about playing and singing--you might want to watch that for some tips and further encouragement.

Now...the next stuff is all opinion, and opinions are like a certain body part--everyone has one.

As for an instrument, $200 barely puts you in what I'd call mid-range. For example, a Kala Zircote tenor is $239 from most vendors. It is a stunning, beautiful instrument, but pretty pedestrian as a player (common laminate).

If you want a ukulele that is set-up perfectly and literally can go anywhere--get an Outdoor Ukulele Tenor. They are polycarbonate and nearly indestructible. They aren't going to sound like a wood ukulele--but they don't sound bad at all, and will be in the $160 range after shipping (you can add other features).

While there are some solid wood Kala models in the sub $200 range, I would suggest contacting Mainland Mike at Mainland Ukuleles and see what he can do for $200 for one of his seconds--seconds whose flaws we would have issues seeing. Some will suggest Fleas and Flukes--I don't have one and wouldn't argue with that. Others will recommend Ohanas--and again, not a brand that I own, but I won't stand against that recommendation, either.

And if you can save for a while, I'm convinced that if you can find a used KoAloha Opio Concert ukulele, you will find a lifelong companion at a relatively low cost.

With all of these ukuleles, I am suggesting ukuleles that will make your playing time more enjoyable because of the experience with the instrument--instruments that play so well that you want to keep playing.

MananAtma
03-25-2017, 09:52 AM
Thanks for the input. Checked out the outdoor tenor, very impressive, I wish these existed when I went to Iraq! While I tend to be very protective of my ukes (carried 2 to Iraq and they both survived the trip) it will be nice to have a uke that I can take camping and not worry about it getting rained on or someone hitting it. One reviewer said that his survived being stepped on by a horse!!!

One Man And His Uke
03-25-2017, 11:17 AM
Never heard of those Outdoor ukes before, having been on their website, I want one! Tenor, in green :drool:

MananAtma
03-26-2017, 08:00 AM
Still doing research, might as well since I won't have the money until Friday, but right now the outdoor tenor in green is looking good. Next question is do I want to shell out the money for the pickup, can't really see me using it much, especially camping. Could just save my pennys and get a good uke in the future, ya know, when I get good enough to have others want me to plug in and play with them.

Nickie
03-26-2017, 08:10 AM
The I second a Mainland! I just got a Mainland super-concert pineapple. It's wonderful. And it's got a lovely tone. My regular player is a Moore Bettah, so I'm kinda picky about tone. I think you'd be happy with a Mainland.

Congrats Sukie. I wonder how this feels compared to the holy grail, your MB....
To the OP, I have no idea which uke to recommend, but congrats on learning your 1st song! Mine was way simpler than that, it only had 2 chords, and took me almost a year to learn! (Jambalaya, I'm a very slow but thorough learner)

acmespaceship
03-26-2017, 10:15 AM
Still doing research, might as well since I won't have the money until Friday, but right now the outdoor tenor in green is looking good. Next question is do I want to shell out the money for the pickup, can't really see me using it much, especially camping. Could just save my pennys and get a good uke in the future, ya know, when I get good enough to have others want me to plug in and play with them.

I've played Outdoor ukes and they're fun and very useful things to have, but soundwise they're no big whoop (IMHO). Don't waste money amplifying it. Enjoy it for what it is.

If you ever need volume, you can always get a stick-on mic.

Martinlover
03-26-2017, 12:05 PM
Here is the link to a very informative thread on Outdoor Ukuleles: http://forum.ukuleleunderground.com/showthread.php?108932-Tenor-Outdoor-Ukulele

ukeinfused
03-27-2017, 07:38 AM
If you backpack and want to keep it small, I'd recommend a Flea. (Mine spent a week on a sailboat this past winter.)
If you want the deeper sound of a bigger body,
I have a like-new concert Fluke (Natural light wood color) with passive pick-up AND upgraded wooden fretboard (feels so much better than plastic and you can change strings to wound low G without wear on frets) that I'd sell for $250 including shipping. PM me if interested.

Choirguy
03-27-2017, 08:14 AM
Someone just posted a Tenor Outdoor for $100. That's a bargain. If it is still available...snap it up.

jer
03-27-2017, 04:29 PM
The Outdoor Ukes are great. I'm about to take on another soprano myself. Keep in mind the new tenor parts haven't arrived yet, so it may be a bit before they ship those... That said, they have new tooling now that allows them to glue and clamp up 12 per hour. Before they could only do 12 per day. Still all made in the USA.
I think both the soprano and tenor play great, feel great, and sound great. It's not like wood, but I just really like them...I never thought I'd find such happiness in what is a really inexpensive instrument, all things considered. Not having to worry over them is great too.

Charley
03-28-2017, 06:30 AM
The Fluke has been good to me - strung with a low G fluorocarbon. It's been to Africa and back with no problems.

MananAtma
03-29-2017, 05:00 AM
The more research I do the more I realize there are some nice solid wood ukes just above my price cap (someone did point that out) so I may wait another month so I can get something better. I'm also looking at traditional ukes, not just the pineapple. Still will be getting an outdoor for hiking and camping, may go with the soprano because its smaller and easier to just toss in a back pack for a day of hiking. Still listening to advice and appreciate all the replies so far, lots to consider. If I wait another month my price cap will be $400.

Mivo
03-29-2017, 05:06 AM
If you have a size preference, and you are open to different brands and tone woods, you could post a WTB (want to buy) thread in the Marketplace section with your budget and see what people offer. $400 might get you a used uke that would otherwise cost $600 or more. If you later sell it, you will likely recover most of what you paid.

I bought three of my ukes from other regular forum users and it always went extremely well. I also sold a few ukes that I feel were great deals for the buyers (I wanted to sell quickly, so I had asked a moderate price).

cml
03-29-2017, 06:19 AM
An expensive solid wood uke is a no go for camping. I just bring my cheap plastic korala. Suprisingly good for what it is, which is a dirt cheap plastic uke. I think they're called Vorson in the states.

MananAtma
03-29-2017, 11:50 PM
Situation update, money situation loosened up a bit, have decided on the Outdoor soprano for hiking and camping. Tenor may sound better but would not fit in my day bag as nicely. Now for a nice sounding concert, I can swing about $250, maybe $300. I would like to get a solid top but am not sure what the different qualities of the woods are. Spruce vs maple vs koa vs ect.......? If I can keep money low enough I can swing for a hard/polyfoam case. Ilive in Milwaukee WI, do I need a humidor being so close to the lake?

Choirguy
03-30-2017, 12:35 AM
Since you live in the north (incidentally, I grew up around the Milwaukee area and now live in the Twin Cities), it is the heat in your home that will sap the humidity from the air. As the weather changes--you won't need a humidifier for the summer: but you will need a case and a case humidifier in the fall.

There are so many choices when it comes to solid wood ukuleles, even in the $300 range. Since you are in the Milwaukee area, consider visiting the Milwaukee Ukulele Club and getting to know some people and hearing what their ukuleles are like. Also keep your eye out on Craigslist and here on the forums. And realistically, if you can hold off a little while and add another $200 to $250 to your purchase, you can exponentially expand the value of what you get for your money.

For example, Mim (Mim's ukes) has Opio Concerts on eBay right now for $425 (I would upgrade to a case, and e-mail her if you are interested as she can sell off eBay, too); you can buy a wonderful "second" or even a "first" Mainland for well under $500, Kala and Ohana and other popular manufacturers have solid wood offerings under $400, and for a totally different ukulele you might even want to check out one of the Bonanza wood models.

The "hassle" of humidification isn't bad...you simply fill a humidifier ($20) with distilled water just about once a week (at least in my house). And also buy a hygrometer to track humidity (next winter I will buy the new Bluetooth D'Addario hygrometer).

Croaky Keith
03-30-2017, 01:26 AM
You might like to consider a solid top rather than an all solid - maybe cedar. :)

MananAtma
03-30-2017, 01:36 AM
As far as brands go, how do you feel about Cordobas? There are a couple of 35TS's that are seconds because of blemish's in the finish. I will email Mainland today asking about seconds. I think I will get what I can now and save my money and upgrade when I hit another milestone, like say I perform for the first time? Got to have these little incentives to keep practicing.

Sorry uke1950, I should have been more clear, yes, I'm looking for a solid top, not an all solid. Was looking at a cedar but was a bit pricing.

Croaky Keith
03-30-2017, 01:46 AM
Sorry uke1950, I should have been more clear, yes, I'm looking for a solid top, not an all solid. Was looking at a cedar but was a bit pricing.

They do have a lovely tone though..... :)

Mivo
03-30-2017, 02:17 AM
Cordoba make fine ukes, actually. But like with any lower cost ukes (and maybe all ukes in general), it's important to buy them from a place that includes setups.

MananAtma
03-31-2017, 01:07 AM
Ukes purchased and out for delivery. I went with the Outdoor soprano with low G D'Addario strings in green for my camping/hiking uke. I found an amazing deal on a Cordoba 35TS tenor ($215) that I could not pass up. I will set it up myself, if I run into the slightest snag I will take it to a local music store with a good rep.

My big question is what strings should I put on the Cordoba? I usually go with Aquila, but I've seen Worths spoken of highly, any recommendations? Also need to be educated on humidifiers.

Did I do good? I probably should have asked for opinions about the Cordoba, but if its the deal I hope it is I did not want it to slip away.

Mivo
03-31-2017, 01:20 AM
Strings are a personal choice, and some work better on some instruments than others. Unless you dislike the ones it comes with, I'd stick to those for a while. I use different strings on most of my ukes (after a lot of experimentation). I have mixed opinions about fluorocarbon strings as far as their somewhat clinical and sterile sound goes, but I like the thinness that they often have (also causes the least intonation issues if a ukulele wasn't setup for thicker strings or doesn't have a compensated saddle). I like Aquila Red Series strings on a lot of ukes.

Croaky Keith
03-31-2017, 01:39 AM
My personal choice would be Living Water low G flourocarbons. :)

MananAtma
03-31-2017, 01:40 AM
I put low G on all my ukes so I will be replacing them anyways. If the Cordoba 35TS lives up to the hype I think it deserves the best strings I can find.

I like the sound of low G and the fact that I can hit the G below middle C when playing melodies. Got the 3, 4 and 5 chord song books by Hal Leonard, they are supposed to be ukulele song books but half the songs go below middle C which means a standard tuned uke could not play the melodys.

Mivo
03-31-2017, 01:43 AM
For low-g, I like a Fremont Soloist low-g string combined with Worth Clears. I think I might like it even better with the new aNueNue Clear Water strings as they have lower tension, but I haven't tested it yet. Sound-wise, the Soloist fits really well with the Worth CT set. (I dislike the thuddiness of plain low-g strings, but some folks do like them.)

MananAtma
03-31-2017, 11:07 AM
Okay, I have Aquila nyglut, Aquila reds, Worth clears, and Fremont strings on order, all low G tuning for the Cordoba 35ts. Will see which sounds best. If I can find someone with decent recording equipment and I can figure out how to do it I will try to post sound bites if anyone is interested.

A huge thank you to everyone that responded, you made me aware of options that I would not have even thought of.

Mivo
03-31-2017, 11:17 AM
I like the wound low-G string that comes with the Red Series (if you did get the set with the wound string). I would use that one with the other reds, it fits very well. It's a red string inside too, which is probably why it goes so well with the reds. For other strings, I prefer the Fremont Soloist.

MananAtma
03-31-2017, 11:35 AM
I like the wound low-G string that comes with the Red Series (if you did get the set with the wound string). I would use that one with the other reds, it fits very well. It's a red string inside too, which is probably why it goes so well with the reds. For other strings, I prefer the Fremont Soloist.

Drats, I got the blacks! Looked at fremonts because you mentioned them but didn't pay attention to the type. Breaking in 4 sets will keep me busy enough for the next month I think. Is there a string testing thread I should move to?

Rrgramps
04-02-2017, 06:45 AM
Both Outdoor and Córdoba ukuleles will do just fine. An Outdoor ukulele is slated for my fleet someday. My main uke is a concert flea, and I also enjoy my Tenor Cedar Mainland too. I live in the next town over from Mike, and have visited his shop several times; playing every ukulele hanging on the wall. I purchased the Tenor as a second for a really good deal, and couldn't even see the blem until it was pointed to. It plays better than my plastic fretted Flea, but they each sound unique, and do not disappoint. Surprisingly, my Flea has more low-end sound, and is fairly loud too, but has higher action >0.125". My ML tenor has more treble, and speaks a little softer; but plays easier, with lower action.

I'm having the Flea checked, because I think the action may be out of specs. (They are reputed to have good actions).

PTOEguy
04-03-2017, 04:48 AM
Okay, I have Aquila nyglut, Aquila reds, Worth clears, and Fremont strings on order, all low G tuning for the Cordoba 35ts. Will see which sounds best. If I can find someone with decent recording equipment and I can figure out how to do it I will try to post sound bites if anyone is interested.

A huge thank you to everyone that responded, you made me aware of options that I would not have even thought of.

when you get through all of that - I'm a big fan of the Oasis strings - in particular the Oasis Warms.

KanePono
04-03-2017, 12:56 PM
[QUOTE=I found an amazing deal on a Cordoba 35TS tenor ($215).

My big question is what strings should I put on the Cordoba? I usually go with Aquila, but I've seen Worths spoken of highly, any recommendations? Also need to be educated on humidifiers.

Did I do good? I probably should have asked for opinions about the Cordoba, but if its the deal I hope it is I did not want it to slip away.[/QUOTE]

I think you you found a smoking deal on the Cordoba, provided it is in good shape! I have the 32T (Spruce/Rosewood) and suspect that the tone may be similar to the 35TS. I liked the sound but not the feel of the original Aquilla Nylgut strings and switched out to Reds. The Reds were clear and bright with a nice finger feel for picking. But alas, the A string snapped while the uke was in the storage cabinet. I switched out the set with Worth Brown. I thing they sound a bit more "Reedy" but are still clear and bright. The Cordoba remains loud regardless of the strings I've tried. Unfortunately, my Cordoba just doesn't get much play time. I prefer the thicker neck and fuller sound of my other tenor, a Pono Mango. When I return home, the Cordoba is going to be fitted with a low G. Good luck, I hope you enjoy your new Ukulele(s). Don