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blorb
01-20-2018, 06:42 AM
I have an unhealthy fascination with tiny ukuleles, so I check amazon and ebay from time to time to see if there are any cheap ones. A few years ago I found a "Tom" ukulele that is 17 inches and actually sounds decent despite only costing about $32. It's my most used Ukulele since I can take it anywhere.

So last month I was looking and found a toy Ukulele listed at ~13 inches long on amazon (I think they are also on ebay under a different company name).

The ukulele is listed at $5.99 with free shipping to the United States (not sure about anywhere else), so I had to have one. You can find it on Amazon by searching "Grocery House Ukulele" and it comes in different colors.

https://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/B0718T5BFK/ref=sxts_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1516680598&sr=2&pi=AC_SX236_SY340_FMwebp_QL65

Now, the ukulele is described as a toy that is NOT playable as a real ukulele. That's because it only has 2 strings (each string goes from one tuning peg, down around the bridge and back up to the next peg to look as though it has 4 strings). As is, you cannot tune it.

Knowing this, I bought aquila "iUke" strings to see if I could get it to play. They cost twice as much as the ukulele even before counting shipping.

It was not easy to string up because you have to make a really thick knot to hold the string at the bridge since the slots are fairly wide.

As far as tuning goes, I tuned it to the standard GCEA. It is not easy to tune, but I don't know if that's a fault with the ukulele or if that's how friction tuners are, since all of my ukuleles have geared tuners. The slightest turn of the peg causes it to go up or down a full note.

It doesn't sound great obviously, but at $5.99 it is a miracle that you can get it to make any sound at all. The first fret is about half the size of the next fret for some reason, but it is playable if you have skinny fingers. If not, I guess you could tune the strings a note lower and put a capo on the first fret?

With all that said, it is worth the price just for how funny it looks, and if you buy it as a joke or to have something tiny enough to take anywhere, you won't be disappointed. It is a cheap piece of crap that is so cute it is hard not to love.

If you have a bit of cash to spare and the patience to re-string it, it is worth a buy as a conversation piece alone!

Tootler
01-20-2018, 11:37 PM
There are friction pegs and friction pegs. The main difference is how smooth they are.

With all of them you have to get used to the very small movements needed to adjust the tuning. Can take a little time to get used to if you've only used geared tuners previously.

Graham Greenbag
01-21-2018, 01:31 AM
Friction tuners are very different from geared ones and need both a fine touch (to adjust) and a quality build (to hold in tune) to work well.

I think that this is the item: https://www.amazon.com/Grocery-House-Ukulele-Musical-Instruments/dp/B072DRTPCF/ref=sr_1_2?s=arts-crafts&ie=UTF8&qid=1516533691&sr=8-2&keywords=Grocery+House+Ukulele#customerReviews
The frets look wrong on it though, so I can’t see how it could be made to work

If you put a small bead on the end of each string then that might be easier than large knots.

Strings can be expensive, I think I’d have tried some old/used ones before shelling out money on ones worth more than the Uke.

It’s interesting that you find the (larger) 17” Uke so useful, and I’d have though that the absolute minimum usable size - a standard 21” Soprano isn’t exactly spacious.

Good luck.

blorb
01-22-2018, 02:15 AM
Friction tuners are very different from geared ones and need both a fine touch (to adjust) and a quality build (to hold in tune) to work well.

I think that this is the item: https://www.amazon.com/Grocery-House-Ukulele-Musical-Instruments/dp/B072DRTPCF/ref=sr_1_2?s=arts-crafts&ie=UTF8&qid=1516533691&sr=8-2&keywords=Grocery+House+Ukulele#customerReviews
The frets look wrong on it though, so I can’t see how it could be made to work

If you put a small bead on the end of each string then that might be easier than large knots.

Strings can be expensive, I think I’d have tried some old/used ones before shelling out money on ones worth more than the Uke.

It’s interesting that you find the (larger) 17” Uke so useful, and I’d have though that the absolute minimum usable size - a standard 21” Soprano isn’t exactly spacious.

Good luck.

Yes, the frets are not right, but you can still get it to produce a sound. It does not sound good, but as good as can be expected.

Here is a recording I just made with my phone, you might want to turn the sound down before playing. Also, I am not very good at playing the ukulele, so that also contributes to it not sounding good:

https://clyp.it/u145w2sy

Here is a photo. It is no bigger than a plate of chicken nuggets:

http://i67.tinypic.com/9h506s.jpg

MickeyD
01-22-2018, 05:33 AM
I bought a pineapple version of this for my 2 1/2 year old niece - she's still too young for a real uke, but I want to make sure she's familiar with holding the instrument, because I'll probably be buying all sorts of instruments for her and her brother as they get older. Fun times!

Obviously - without buying new strings and putting them on as you did, the two string method makes the instrument completely impossible to tune. Tuned up it sounds kind of what I thought it would sound like. Glad you had fun and enjoy the chicken nuggets for scale.

tstarky
01-22-2018, 02:44 PM
Wow, that is sooo tiny and cute! Thanks for posting the pic and the sound bite.

bird's eye view of my ukelele
01-22-2018, 05:38 PM
i presume that first "fret" is a zero fret? and what looks a bit like a regular nut is actually just a string spacer, to get the strings into place at the zero fret/nut?

i actually really enjoyed the audio clip! when you are picking, at the start, that lowest sounding string rang out pretty much spot on, in my opinion. oh. help. that amazon listing says they ship to the UK :eek: :rolleyes: the rational part of my brain says :stop: the rest of me says :rock:

bird's eye view of my ukelele
01-22-2018, 05:42 PM
ACTUALLY. with the strings as they come on the instrument, in pairs, you could probably get a really interesting double-course power chord thing going............................................. ............

:rock: +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

blorb
01-22-2018, 06:10 PM
i presume that first "fret" is a zero fret? and what looks a bit like a regular nut is actually just a string spacer, to get the strings into place at the zero fret/nut?

i actually really enjoyed the audio clip! when you are picking, at the start, that lowest sounding string rang out pretty much spot on, in my opinion. oh. help. that amazon listing says they ship to the UK :eek: :rolleyes: the rational part of my brain says :stop: the rest of me says :rock:

I purchased another one of a different style (one of the ones with the sunburst effect) and it has a different fret layout, so it may not be playable like the other kind with the wood grain effect. It also has a very high nut.

I will restring it and find out. Until then I can only recommend this one for purchase:

https://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/B0718T5BFK/ref=sxts_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1516680598&sr=2&pi=AC_SX236_SY340_FMwebp_QL65

bird's eye view of my ukelele
01-22-2018, 06:17 PM
oooooooooooh thanks! i way prefer the look of the one you showed in your photo, and i love how it sounds in the audio clip!

Iulia
01-23-2018, 01:52 AM
that amazon listing says they ship to the UK :eek: :rolleyes: the rational part of my brain says :stop: the rest of me says :rock:

There are quite a few similar things on aliexpress - I just ordered one of these for a joke for something but now I wonder if I could actually make it playable

https://www.aliexpress.com/item/38cm-Fruits-Cute-Style-4-String-Plastic-Ukulele-Guitar-Musical-Instrument-Kids-Children-Development-Educational-Toy/32804964948.html?spm=2114.search0104.3.132.8e79455 LZE97K&ws_ab_test=searchweb0_0,searchweb201602_3_10152_10 151_10065_10344_10130_10068_10324_10342_10547_1032 5_10343_10340_10548_10341_10192_10190_10084_10617_ 10616_10083_10615_10307_10301_10303_10313_10059_10 184_10534_100031_10604_10103_10142,searchweb201603 _1,ppcSwitch_5&algo_expid=28f40f00-c38c-4ef5-95c1-830f1ab57c83-15&algo_pvid=28f40f00-c38c-4ef5-95c1-830f1ab57c83&priceBeautifyAB=4

blorb
01-23-2018, 04:08 AM
There are quite a few similar things on aliexpress - I just ordered one of these for a joke for something but now I wonder if I could actually make it playable

https://www.aliexpress.com/item/38cm-Fruits-Cute-Style-4-String-Plastic-Ukulele-Guitar-Musical-Instrument-Kids-Children-Development-Educational-Toy/32804964948.html?spm=2114.search0104.3.132.8e79455 LZE97K&ws_ab_test=searchweb0_0,searchweb201602_3_10152_10 151_10065_10344_10130_10068_10324_10342_10547_1032 5_10343_10340_10548_10341_10192_10190_10084_10617_ 10616_10083_10615_10307_10301_10303_10313_10059_10 184_10534_100031_10604_10103_10142,searchweb201603 _1,ppcSwitch_5&algo_expid=28f40f00-c38c-4ef5-95c1-830f1ab57c83-15&algo_pvid=28f40f00-c38c-4ef5-95c1-830f1ab57c83&priceBeautifyAB=4

Grocery House also has fruit ukuleles, so those could be the same company.

I did not order one of those, but I was tempted to get the watermelon.

blorb
01-27-2018, 05:28 AM
I messed up a bunch, did this in one take:


https://youtu.be/SUB42hSgSJw

Joe King
01-27-2018, 11:41 AM
I messed up a bunch, did this in one take:

That sounds like the song "Bring On The Night" by The Police (I'm a huge fan).

see: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bz1mEMiNPHQ

Looking at the photos, the last 3 frets towards the sound hole appear to be equidistant apart, and if so, and as such, I do not think they will intonate well like that.

As far as the string pack costing more than the uke itself, it kinda reminds me of the sales tactic of selling the shaving razor handle for cheap, and then charging 5x more for the actual razor blades, which will be required to purchase for the lifetime of the razor handle...

or

similar to what was common about 10-12 years ago, when you could buy an inkjet printer at CompUSA or Computer City, made from any of like a dozen different manufacturers for like $25, but then the ink cartridges for them cost like $50 a pop, which you would be buying forever until the printer died.

Of course added to this pain was the 'starter cartridge' they would include with the printer that only had enough ink for like 100 pages, but then would also omit a USB cable from the box forcing you to spend another $6-$10 for a USB cable.

Iulia
01-27-2018, 03:32 PM
I messed up a bunch, did this in one take:


https://youtu.be/SUB42hSgSJw


Sounds as good as my waterman tbh ;) I see your point its super cute looking you playing it regardless of the sound. kinda fun

bird's eye view of my ukelele
02-18-2018, 07:59 PM
That sounds like the song "Bring On The Night" by The Police (I'm a huge fan).

see: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bz1mEMiNPHQ
gosh, that's taking me back!!!!!!!!!!