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Schroeder
07-04-2018, 09:08 PM
Hello. I'm looking for a good acoustic busking ukulele in the 250-500 euro price range-- acoustic only as no amplification is allowed where I busk, so it has to be loud (as well as sweet)-- and as it is a busking instrument, something robust. I'm looking at a Soundsmith tenor resonator, but I don't know if that's the right sound for the mostly non-bluesy music I do. Also looking at a Fluke tenor. Any suggestions?

anthonyg
07-04-2018, 09:44 PM
First choice would be a banjo ukulele (banjolele). They are EASILY loud enough un-amplified. The loud ones are maybe even too loud un-amplified.

A tenor resonator may well be a good choice. Ideally you could play one to see first as well as trying a Banjolele. I'm not aware of the Fluke being a particularly loud instrument.

Jerryc41
07-05-2018, 12:07 AM
The Fluke tenor is loud and robust.

Rllink
07-05-2018, 04:02 AM
I'm no going to recommend any specific ukulele, but I bought a Ohana with a solid spruce top and it has noticeable more reach than my mahogany uke. I had heard the spruce was louder. Where I busk quite often is out in the open along a boardwalk with some background noises to compete with. I used to play my mahogany uke out there and when my wife would come out to check on me she couldn't hear it across the street. She commented one day after I got the spruce top ukuele that she can hear it across the street and down a block a ways.

ralphk
07-05-2018, 04:40 AM
you might consider a baritone, with spruce or cedar top, with linear gcea tuning. This is likely to be very loud, as compared to most smaller bodied ukes.

mikelz777
07-05-2018, 05:03 AM
I'm no going to recommend any specific ukulele, but I bought a Ohana with a solid spruce top and it has noticeable more reach than my mahogany uke. I had heard the spruce was louder. Where I busk quite often is out in the open along a boardwalk with some background noises to compete with. I used to play my mahogany uke out there and when my wife would come out to check on me she couldn't hear it across the street. She commented one day after I got the spruce top ukuele that she can hear it across the street and down a block a ways.

This has been my experience as well with a spruce top. My Kala has a solid spruce top and it is louder than both my sinker redwood and my acacia ukes. I'm sure part of it has to do with the spruce having a brighter sound whereas the sinker redwood and the acacia have a warmer/mellower sound. My acacia is the quietest/least loud of the three. I currently have a warm set of strings on it and I'm hoping it gets a little louder with a brighter set of strings.

Swamp Yankee
07-05-2018, 05:33 AM
loud and sweet? I think my Cordoba 24T fits that description well. Back and sides of laminated spalted maple with vermillion padauk binding and a solid cedar top. Extra perks... it's light as a feather, mine weighs a scant 16.9 ounces... which is only 3 ounces more than my Mainland soprano.... I love the nice slim neck... fast and very easy to play especially because it has a 1.5" nut. ....it's gorgeous.... and it is much louder and sounds better to my ears than either my solid mahogany Kanilea Islander tenor, or my Pono Acacia tenor Deluxe.
.... and it has a street price just shy of $200.

Graham Greenbag
07-05-2018, 06:31 AM
Hello. I'm looking for a good acoustic busking ukulele in the 250-500 euro price range-- acoustic only as no amplification is allowed where I busk, so it has to be loud (as well as sweet)-- and as it is a busking instrument, something robust. I'm looking at a Soundsmith tenor resonator, but I don't know if that's the right sound for the mostly non-bluesy music I do. Also looking at a Fluke tenor. Any suggestions?

More observations than answers but perhaps they might help.

250 - 500 Euros seems like a lot of money to me to be spending on an instrument for use in a potentially challenging environment.

In general bigger instruments sound louder, what size fretboard are you happy to play?

Solid Spruce tops have a reputation for being loud and I believe they couple well to laminate hardwood back and sides. Might be worth trawling through what's available in that configuration from the bigger suppliers.

I guess that you need to be asking what are the louder strings too.

Do you busk at the moment and if so what do you use and what are its shortcomings? If you donít busk yet then Iíd do some with what you have first, trial and error is a wonderful way to learn whatís fact and whatís imagination.

Croaky Keith
07-05-2018, 08:21 AM
I think a baritone would be a good choice, it is the largest of the ukes, usually linear tuned, (DGBE like a guitar), but much smaller & lighter.

Spruce, (or maybe cedar), topped laminate should be OK - I have both in my 'collection', & they can be pretty loud. :)

(String choice will also affect the volume to some degree.)

Schroeder
07-05-2018, 10:03 AM
I do busk in and around Aachen and Cologne, Germany. No amplification is allowed, and when you do find the perfect quiet place with a captive audience, you've only got 30 minutes playing time there before you have to move on, so most of the playing is done in noisier, faster paced areas. I use a Kala exotic mahogany tenor and a Baton Rouge Sun 6-string tenor. They're both laminates, and they're adequate, but a bit weak in volume when it comes to paying on the streets. At times I really have to do some heavy strumming to be heard. I get more volume out of them by using a finger pick but the sound quality drops the louder I play them. Maybe that's just my bad technique with a finger pick and hard strumming but I'd like something I don't have to bang on so heavily to be heard. Anyway, a spruce top with laminate sides and back might be a good idea.

acmespaceship
07-05-2018, 12:41 PM
Banjo uke. Even if you don't like the sound indoors, it's a different sound environment outside and nothing cuts through like a banjo. I don't know about audiences in Germany, but in the States people equate a banjo sound with cheerful good-old-days music. I get more compliments from strangers when I'm playing a banjo uke than when I play anything else.

I have a Blackbird Clara and I love it and it is loud. But I busk with a Firefly.

Patrick Madsen
07-05-2018, 04:42 PM
Perhaps like they did in the vaudeville days; they used a megaphone. Find a megaphone put it on a stand and play into it. Would be an interesting focal point to bring in people.

kohanmike
07-05-2018, 05:02 PM
When I bought my Kala KAATP-CTG-CE, I was more than surprised at how much projection it had, it comes without electronics or cutaway, model Kala KAATP-CTT.

The same when I recently bought my Lanikai FBCET-T-3 Bocote Thinline, lots of projection from a thin uke that rivals all my other ukes. I don't know if it's available without electronics or cutaway.

http://www.kohanmike.com/uploads/Kala cedar mine.jpg

http://www.kohanmike.com/uploads/Lanikai Thinline Bocote.jpg

8 tenor cutaway ukes, 3 acoustic bass ukes, 8 solid body bass ukes, 7 mini electric bass guitars

• Donate to The Ukulele Kids Club, they provide ukuleles to children's hospital music therapy programs. http://www.theukc.org
• Member The CC Strummers: https://www.youtube.com/user/CCStrummers/videos (https://www.youtube.com/user/CCStrummers/videos)

Mr. Sweetie
07-05-2018, 05:37 PM
I have run into 2 folks recently who are playing resonator ukuleles and there is no bluesy or metallic element to the instruments whatsoever. They were both just very loud and very sweet sounding ukuleles. They certainly sounded a lot more like a traditional ukulele than any of the banjolele's I have heard.

UkingViking
07-05-2018, 07:46 PM
My loudest ukulele is my fluke tenor.
It sounds sweet too.
Only drawback is that it is a bit difficult to hold.
Both due to the slippery round back and the chunky almost rectangular neck profile. But if you get used to that, then it would do the job.
I got the upgraded one with wooden fretboard, peg head tuners and koa top.

If you should decide to go for one:
Most vendors have a limited selection of Flukes, and buying directly from the factory gives you a hazzle with customs and expensive shipping. So the best option is to ask a closer Fluke distributor to import what you want with their next delivery. When I bought mine, I wrote to three vendors to hear if they were about to order more Flukes, and I got lucky with JusteCordes.

Tootler
07-06-2018, 02:01 AM
If you don't like the sound of a banjo uke, consider a resonator. They are louder than the regular ukuleles. For a more conventional instrument how about a 6 or 8 string. They add volume without being overpowering.

sculptor
07-06-2018, 06:50 PM
A Romero Grand Tenor is supposed to have a big sound... and if that's not good enough get a Roland AC33 amp which is designed for acoustic instruments (it's cheaper than the Romero.)

-- Gary

Booli
07-06-2018, 09:43 PM
My loudest ukulele is my fluke tenor.
It sounds sweet too.
Only drawback is that it is a bit difficult to hold.
Both due to the slippery round back and the chunky almost rectangular neck profile. But if you get used to that, then it would do the job.
I got the upgraded one with wooden fretboard, peg head tuners and koa top.

If you should decide to go for one:
Most vendors have a limited selection of Flukes, and buying directly from the factory gives you a hazzle with customs and expensive shipping. So the best option is to ask a closer Fluke distributor to import what you want with their next delivery. When I bought mine, I wrote to three vendors to hear if they were about to order more Flukes, and I got lucky with JusteCordes.

RISA sells Fluke and Flea ukes on their web shop:

https://www.ukulele.de/shop4/en/search?page=search&page_action=query&desc=on&sdesc=on&keywords=fluke

They are in Germany it seems:

RISA Musical Instruments GmbH
Pferdsbachstr. 31-33
64823 GroŖ-Umstadt
Fon: +49(0)6078-911183
Fax: +49(0)6078-911176
E-Mail: info@ukulele.de
(info@ukulele.de?subject=Uke%20Surfer%20Shop%20Con tact&body=Your%20message) Internet: www.ukulele.de (http://www.ukulele.de)

And AFAIK, they ship worldwide, and if you are local as in 'in-country', shipping is likely to be reasonable.

Booli
07-06-2018, 09:46 PM
... Also looking at a Fluke tenor. Any suggestions?

Be sure to check out the Magic Fluke Company Appreciation Thread, wherein you can find out lots of info about these instruments, and how other folks and enjoying them.

You can find the thread by clicking on the FAQ link in my forum signature below...

I have several Flukes and Fleas, and even after having many other ukes, the Fluke and Flea ukes are the ones that get the most play time.

frolicks
07-06-2018, 10:38 PM
My recommendation is a Tiny Tenor by Pepe Romero Jr. ("Romero Creations"), the budget model with a solid spruce top and a mahgony laminate body. It's about the size of a COncert Uke (portable), has a tenor scale (nice to play) and it is LOUD! And By "loud" I don't mean "loud for a ukulele" but REALLY LOUD! I recently played it with a guitar player and it was easily just as loud as guitar (which was a vintage DiMauro gipsy jazz guitar, so no cheap Asia model with a weak voice). It's my favourite Ukulele meeting instrument.
And the low cost model is easily in your price range, even here in Germany.

UkingViking
07-06-2018, 11:39 PM
RISA sells Fluke and Flea ukes on their web shop:

https://www.ukulele.de/shop4/en/search?page=search&page_action=query&desc=on&sdesc=on&keywords=fluke

They are in Germany it seems:

RISA Musical Instruments GmbH
Pferdsbachstr. 31-33
64823 GroŖ-Umstadt
Fon: +49(0)6078-911183
Fax: +49(0)6078-911176
E-Mail: info@ukulele.de
(info@ukulele.de?subject=Uke%20Surfer%20Shop%20Con tact&body=Your%20message) Internet: www.ukulele.de (http://www.ukulele.de)

And AFAIK, they ship worldwide, and if you are local as in 'in-country', shipping is likely to be reasonable.

I am aware, but if you want any upgrades, like pegheads, koa top or wooden fretboard, it is not likely to be in stock at a distributor.
Usually you would have to order directly from Magic Fluke to get that. That means paying for overseas shipping of a single instrument, which is more than for a bulk, and customs on the retail price and the shipping. If a distributor imports it to EU for you, they only pay costums on the factory price and the overseas shipping is cheaper when they order a large shipment.

Shipping within the EU is pretty cheap. I ended up paying almost the same for the instrument in EU as it would have cost from the factory to a consumer is the US.
I believe I paid like $550 total. Direct import would have been at least $800.

Schroeder
07-07-2018, 08:32 PM
Thanks for all the input-- now aside from a resonator or a Fluke I'm also considering spruce or cedar tops and banjoleles. Must meditate on this.

weizenkeim
07-09-2018, 03:14 AM
I do play a Kala-TEM (which should be your "Kala exotic mahogany tenor") an a Baton-Rouge Sun 5-String Tenor, like you do.
These are the loudest Ukes I own.
Also bought a Ohana TK-70 (Solid Spruce Top, Koa-Laminate Back and Sides) a couple of weeks ago. This one isn't as loud as the upper two (but sounds very nice).

Very good projection comes from my Magic-Fluke (concert size), which is, talking about loudness, similar to the Kala or the Baton-Rouge but more crisp. This one should be the perfect busking-uke in my opinion.
It might add, that the Fluke ist something of the toughest uke one could play.

Greetings from the wild-south (of Germany)
Holger

Rllink
07-09-2018, 04:12 AM
I looked at resonator ukuleles when I was looking for something that would be loud enough to reach out without amplification, but they are kind of heavy. Same with banjoleles. For me, I sometimes have to carry all of my gear a ways to get to my pitch and I wanted to keep it light. That's why I don't always drag my battery powered amp along. Something to think about.

ricdoug
07-09-2018, 06:29 PM
https://www.theukulelesite.com/shop-by/kala-ka-sstu-soprano-travel-uke.html

bellgamin
01-21-2019, 08:00 PM
SoundSmith's resonator ukes are good & loud. Plus the unusual appearance of a resonator could draw the curious as well as those who like your playing.