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View Full Version : What should be my next tenor purchase?



ayee
09-25-2017, 04:38 PM
I just bought a Kamaka HF-3 as my first serious ukulele and I've been thinking about what I should start saving up for next. If you had a budget of ~$1500 what would be your second tenor?

Choirguy
09-25-2017, 04:45 PM
Well, I would look at the other Hawaiian models...the KoAloha and the Kaniela. I think the KoAloha would give you the greatest difference in sound over the Kamaka.

Most people would be happy with just the Kamaka...

:)

robinboyd
09-25-2017, 05:05 PM
I'm a big fan of Pohaku ukuleles. If I had $1500 or so, that's where I'd start looking (not a huge fan of the models they have available right now, but it can't hurt to talk to Peter. Some of his deco stuff has been absolutely divine!)

70sSanO
09-25-2017, 05:13 PM
Start saving but give it a year or so, maybe longer, of playing your Kamaka. You need to connect with the Kamaka to understand what you really like and what you don't care for as much. In the meantime try a few different ukuleles when the opportunity arises. You may want a radius fretboard, or a cut-away, not to mention the obvious one of different tone woods.

John

Tootler
09-25-2017, 10:17 PM
If I had that money, I'd look to upgrade either my 6 or 8 string. I love the fuller sound the extra strings give.

ripock
09-26-2017, 12:17 AM
I'm in a similar situation. I have a HF-3L. I'll tell you what I'm doing. I'm aiming at a custom tenor from a smaller, independent builder. Diversity is my motivation. I have a fine representative of the Hawaiian, assembly-line koa variety. Now I want something different. Right now I am still in the money-saving stage of the process and therefore I haven't actually committed to anything, but as of right now my plan is to have this built: same scale as the HF-3L, cutaway body, body made of some quirky wood, sound board with something red like sequoia, friction tuners, a skinnier headstock similar to an old guitar like a Bacon & Day.

mountain goat
09-26-2017, 02:49 AM
Black Bear (Duane Heilman), Pohaku (Peter Hurney), Ono (David Ingalls).
no need to look further than these three wonderful builders.
OK, except maybe Maui Music (Peter Liebermann).

ayee
09-26-2017, 03:07 AM
Thanks everyone who has responded so far. It's been great having new and interesting options to start looking up. I feel like it's pretty easy to gather a lot of information about the various K brands but not so much about some of the smaller unique luthiers. Plus I feel like there are so many that I have no idea where to start.
Now I need to find somewhere to try some of these instruments and different woods/body options.

DownUpDave
09-26-2017, 03:57 AM
You have a great representation of the gold standard in Hawaiian built koa tenors. I would go for a different tone, spruce or cedar top and rosewood, myrtle, mahogany or walnut back give a very resonant sound. Your budget could allow you access to most custom builders if bought used here in the Marketplace or new from builders like Ono, Little River and others

UkerDanno
09-26-2017, 04:31 AM
If I had that money, I'd look to upgrade either my 6 or 8 string. I love the fuller sound the extra strings give.

That's a great suggestion. But, it depends on what you're looking for. More bling? Look at the HF-3D, Or Ohta-San. Different sound? Check out different tone woods. You'll probably know it when you see or hear it.

neo1022
09-26-2017, 05:53 AM
I just bought a Kamaka HF-3 as my first serious ukulele and I've been thinking about what I should start saving up for next. If you had a budget of ~$1500 what would be your second tenor?

Blackbird Farallon, no doubt. I just got one, and it is every bit and good as everyone says... Easily the most "playable" uke I've ever tried, and the sound is superb. As resonant and clear as a high-end "Big K" -- warm like koa, but with its own sound.

besley
09-26-2017, 06:35 AM
Blackbird Farallon, no doubt. I just got one, and it is every bit and good as everyone says... Easily the most "playable" uke I've ever tried, and the sound is superb. As resonant and clear as a high-end "Big K" -- warm like koa, but with its own sound.

What he said!

valde002
09-26-2017, 07:09 AM
I just bought a Kamaka HF-3 as my first serious ukulele and I've been thinking about what I should start saving up for next. If you had a budget of ~$1500 what would be your second tenor?

why do you need to buy another one? But honestly you may not really need another one, esp if you are happy with the Kamaka. Think about why. Sound? Kamaka has a certain sound, esp if using their stock strings. It is harpish to me. Also feel. The Kanilea has a different sound and feel with the stock Aquila strings which are thick like the nylon Kamaka; to me it is similar to the Kala feel and sound. The tension seems less, it is easy to play. Koaloha uses the thinner Worth I think, and the feel is different; to me the sound is bright. For myself the thin strings sometimes gets on my nerves though. All 3 are high quality just as a disclaimer.

I have all 3 and the Kamaka is my go-to, esp if I only have 15 minutes to play. I will play the others just for variety.

ayee
09-26-2017, 07:25 AM
why do you need to buy another one? But honestly you may not really need another one, esp if you are happy with the Kamaka.

Yeah, this is sort of why I asked the question. I had a bunch of fun researching the K brands before buying the Kamaka. I'm definitely really happy with it right now and I was thinking to myself, am I going to need to buy another one? I see people selling instruments on the market board, which makes me want to buy them since they're a good deal, but why do I need it? It's hard to justify it.
So it's fun to ask since many people on this forum have quite a few instruments, so just probing the minds of people to see what they would do in my position.

I think having the opportunity to experience the other tone wood builds would be nice. I just need to find a shop with a good selection. Rochester is not the best place for that.

Rakelele
09-26-2017, 07:55 AM
Instead of buying another tenor (or concert), you could invest in a baritone which will give you a totally different sound and tonal range. Or a nice soprano which will also have a voice much different from a tenor. There are many good sounding tenors even in a modest price range, but for a soprano, it is well worth spending a bit more in order to have one that truly sounds nice.

As for tenors: It sure is fun being able to compare the different K brands, but is this what you want? Nothing wrong with that, and it's what I and many others have done in the past. But you already have an ultimate Hawaiian made Koa wood instrument, so instead of a "duplicate", you might want to find out about different tone woods and makers? Perhaps something more guitar-like, like a Pono Pro Classic with a slotted headstock and possibly a cutaway? Or save up more to get a luthier made instrument to your own specs?

RafterGirl
09-26-2017, 10:41 AM
Yeah, this is sort of why I asked the question. I had a bunch of fun researching the K brands before buying the Kamaka. I'm definitely really happy with it right now and I was thinking to myself, am I going to need to buy another one? I see people selling instruments on the market board, which makes me want to buy them since they're a good deal, but why do I need it? It's hard to justify it.
So it's fun to ask since many people on this forum have quite a few instruments, so just probing the minds of people to see what they would do in my position.

I think having the opportunity to experience the other tone wood builds would be nice. I just need to find a shop with a good selection. Rochester is not the best place for that.
I am exactly where you are, except in a concert. I'm a novice player who did a lot of research before deciding on a KoAloha. I was saving up some money, but lucky me, my mom offered to buy it for my birthday. Now I have my saved up money to buy something different. I've tried a tenor, but it's not for me. I haven't tried a soprano. Part of me is itching to buy something now because I have the money, and the other part wants to wait and give it more thought.

70sSanO
09-26-2017, 12:33 PM
Yeah, this is sort of why I asked the question. I had a bunch of fun researching the K brands before buying the Kamaka. I'm definitely really happy with it right now and I was thinking to myself, am I going to need to buy another one? I see people selling instruments on the market board, which makes me want to buy them since they're a good deal, but why do I need it? It's hard to justify it.
So it's fun to ask since many people on this forum have quite a few instruments, so just probing the minds of people to see what they would do in my position.

I think having the opportunity to experience the other tone wood builds would be nice. I just need to find a shop with a good selection. Rochester is not the best place for that.

What gets me going as far as a new ukulele, is finding a non/low production one. I've played K brands, some great some okay, but they are kind of like buying a Taylor, Martin, Gibson guitar. You have a serial number in the ten thousands. I'd much prefer a one man/woman shop that makes good quality instruments that not everyone has.

John

Croaky Keith
09-26-2017, 11:51 PM
I am exactly where you are, except in a concert. I'm a novice player who did a lot of research before deciding on a KoAloha. I was saving up some money, but lucky me, my mom offered to buy it for my birthday. Now I have my saved up money to buy something different. I've tried a tenor, but it's not for me. I haven't tried a soprano. Part of me is itching to buy something now because I have the money, and the other part wants to wait and give it more thought.

Love your concert scale.... want to try a soprano.... simple.... buy a 'long neck'.... best of both rolled into one uke. :D

neo1022
09-27-2017, 12:09 PM
What gets me going as far as a new ukulele, is finding a non/low production one. I've played K brands, some great some okay, but they are kind of like buying a Taylor, Martin, Gibson guitar. You have a serial number in the ten thousands. I'd much prefer a one man/woman shop that makes good quality instruments that not everyone has.

John

Again, try Blackbird if you want something different that not a lot of people have. And with a three month wait, their decidedly working at boutique levels of production. Of course, you've got to be willing to jump into the ekoa waters (come on in, it's warm!)

70sSanO
09-27-2017, 01:31 PM
Again, try Blackbird if you want something different that not a lot of people have. And with a three month wait, their decidedly working at boutique levels of production. Of course, you've got to be willing to jump into the ekoa waters (come on in, it's warm!)

I really like the looks of the Clara, wish they had an Ekoa tenor in the same shape. The Farallon shape is too traditional a shape for the more progressive material build.

John

spookelele
09-28-2017, 05:45 AM
I just bought a Kamaka HF-3 as my first serious ukulele and I've been thinking about what I should start saving up for next. If you had a budget of ~$1500 what would be your second tenor?

I think you need to put a scope on the question.

What are you trying to get out of that money?
Just another uke? But why? What are you looking for different?

It honestly may be that you don't know yet. You've got a very nice instrument. I'd suggest spending alot of time getting to know it, and see what there is to like, and wish was different. It takes some time to get that base line down of what you have, and what you might consider better than it.

Also... you may have some flex in getting different tones from different strings on the uke you already own.

But to ask what to get without a why to get it... is just saying you have $ burning a hole in your pocket, which isn't a bad place to be. But.. to arrive at the goal that will make you happy... you need to know what you're looking for.

Which is not going to be the same as what I or someone else is looking for.

neo1022
09-28-2017, 06:54 AM
I really like the looks of the Clara, wish they had an Ekoa tenor in the same shape. The Farallon shape is too traditional a shape for the more progressive material build.

John

Agreed. Something like the Romero Creations Tiny Tenor (but in ekoa) would be amazing!

Joyful Uke
09-28-2017, 12:08 PM
I think you need to put a scope on the question.

What are you trying to get out of that money?
Just another uke? But why? What are you looking for different?

I agree. Is the OP planning on having one reentrant and one linear? Looking for different tones? Wanting to try a different neck? Will one be for fingerpicking and one for strumming?

What style or type of music do you play? That might lead to different suggestions, depending on whether you want a mellow sound, bright sound, lots of sustain, or whatever you might have in mind.

Will one be taken out and about, and the other in a more sheltered setting?

Or maybe it's just to try out some other ukulele, which a lot of people do here.

Maybe it's too soon in the OP's journey to decide what the goal is, and right now, all input is just guidance for some things to investigate. That's good, too.

I have more than one ukulele, bought with the goal of trying different sizes, different necks, different woods, and deciding what works best for me. Sometimes being indecisive is fun, (but expensive.) LOL.

ayee
09-28-2017, 04:55 PM
Maybe it's too soon in the OP's journey to decide what the goal is, and right now, all input is just guidance for some things to investigate. That's good, too.


This is exactly right!
But after all of the comments I think I want to try some other ukuleles out with different tone woods and such. I definitely want to have a ukulele with reentrant and one with linear tuning. I guess I hadn't thought too much about looking into what models could be best for the different types of tuning.

So many good things for me to start researching!