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View Full Version : Spending $400 on a UKE is like spending $___ on an acoustic Guitar?



Jo3x
07-30-2018, 08:06 PM
Hey,

These days, I feel that something in my subconscious is trying to persuade me to either buy another Tenor uke or a guitar. I'm afraid I won't be able to hold that feeling for long. So I'd like to know your opinions on this question as in the title beforehand.

I feel a $400 UKE is already quite good enough for me. I may need years of improvement to qualify for a top brand uke. So I'd like to try a guitar at the same level in guitar world, as a $400 uke's level in uke world.

If I would buy a guitar, I'd mainly use it for fingerstyle playing. Classic guitar is not an option for me yet (too hard...). I had less than 2 years experiences on acoustic guitar more than 10 years ago, but almost forgot everything about it.

70sSanO
07-30-2018, 08:56 PM
You can probably find a decent import guitar for around $400-$500, especially a used one. There are so many guitars out there that finding one should be easy. Even if you just go to Guitar Center. Laminate guitars seem to project better than laminate ukes.

My neighbor bought an Epiphone EJ200 online from Sweetwater. I think he paid $500. It is one great playing and sounding guitar. I was amazed. Even had built in electronics.

John

Patrick Madsen
07-30-2018, 10:32 PM
Are you prepared to play a longer,wider instrument? I just had a parlor guitar built with a 24.75"scale and 1 3/4" wide nut. There's a big difference with reach and playing hi tension steel strings. It's bigger all around. Do you remember why you quit last time?

IMO, if you want to play a six string buy a guilele. They'll be much easier to play with less stress on the hands and wrists. I think they come in nylon strung too. Have you thought about buyng a baritone uke?

I've played a few 4-500 dollar guitars. They were okay but lacked either quality in the build or thin sound. I don't know a whole lot on import guitars in that price range. The ones I did try didn't come near in quality of a uke in that price range. I have a friend who prefers his low priced Eastman over a hi priced custom he has. You may want to checkout Craigslist or Reverb.com and buy used.

I've been hearing quite a bit about the guilele and may pick one up. Like a ukulele, get it setup. It makes a big difference. Don't have it setup at Guitar Center.

ripock
07-30-2018, 11:11 PM
Instead of tenor ukulele or a guitar, you could combine the two ideas and get a tenor guitar. It is a nice 4 stringed instrument and for $400 you could get a nice Blueridge or Ibanez.

DownUpDave
07-31-2018, 12:14 AM
A $400 uke is usually all solid wood. If we use that as the criteria you can get an all solid wood guitar from Yamaha, Seagull, Epiphone for about $600-$700. Martin has a model line called Road series that start at around $800 and they are all solid wood. If you want to scratch your guitar itch try the Yamaha FS800. It is a solid top, laminate back and sides and is HIGHLY respected in guitar circles for an instrument costing around $300.

sunshiNee
07-31-2018, 01:22 AM
Hello

I had or have the same feelings. I did buy a guitar and a Tenor ukulele.
What I did was buy used because you can buy higher quality instrument with less money it just requires more leg work.

Guitar -- i bought retailed 700 bux but i bought it for 100 dollars cash from Kijiji (Canadian equivalent of Craigslist). The owner put a big chip on the headstock that's why it was so cheap. Other than that the thing was in great shape, and sounds beautiful.

Tenor Uke -- Ohana TK-15WG for 225 bux in immaculatent condition, came with a case, peg winder,humidifier, 5 (aquila reds, worth and living waters lowg ) sets of strings worth $50 dollars... I drove about 3 hours to get this though!

But I'll be honest... I don't really play these two instruments I just play my concert :) haha... But I don't have buyers remorse because they were such good deals. I usually practice for about 1.5hrs a day. After that I don't even have time to learn low g or guitar arrangements. I have a ton of travis picking arrangements for guitar but those two extra strings really throw me for a loop... so I kind of get frustrated and give up ;)





Hey,

These days, I feel that something in my subconscious is trying to persuade me to either buy another Tenor uke or a guitar. I'm afraid I won't be able to hold that feeling for long. So I'd like to know your opinions on this question as in the title beforehand.

I feel a $400 UKE is already quite good enough for me. I may need years of improvement to qualify for a top brand uke. So I'd like to try a guitar at the same level in guitar world, as a $400 uke's level in uke world.

If I would buy a guitar, I'd mainly use it for fingerstyle playing. Classic guitar is not an option for me yet (too hard...). I had less than 2 years experiences on acoustic guitar more than 10 years ago, but almost forgot everything about it.

Swamp Yankee
07-31-2018, 01:26 AM
I'd say $400 in the uke world is like $800 in the guitar world... but there are plenty of great guitars available for less than $800.

I only play fingerstyle guitar and I've got a decent pile of steel string acoustic guitars and have owned and sold off even more of them over the years.

Though I own guitars that run as much as $2500 new, my go-to axe is a Taylor GS-Mini. They make a solid genuine mahogany top, laminated sapele back and sides, ebony fretboard & bridge model that has no electronics, sounds great, plays great and costs around $500.
I had one and liked it better than the koa GS-Mini and the Spruce top Rosewood B&S model that I also own.... but I lusted for a more expensive guitar, a Collings Waterloo WL-S so I sold it and the koa model off because the Rosewood was dinged up from use and would not fetch as much as the mahogany and koa guitars which were much newer. :/

This was a mistake... I played another "hog top" GS-Mini in a Guitar Center last week and I really felt the urge to get it... they're great little guitars IMO.

If you're interested more in nylon string guitars, then I'd urge you to look at Cordoba's crossover guitars. Lot of bang for the buck in the Cordoba line... something I've found also to be true in their ukes.

uke51
07-31-2018, 03:26 AM
I agree with "Swamp Yankee", the Taylor GS Mini is a great guitar, comes with a sturdy gig bag for around $500. The scale length is only 23.5", ...long enough for standard tuning, but a little easier on the hands.

I have the mahogany top version, and prefer it over the spruce top...

Ukecaster
07-31-2018, 04:31 AM
I've owned a couple of Taylor Big Baby guitars, which are 7/8 dreadnaught size, with solid top. Great sound/playability and loud, and you could easily grab one for about $250.00 used.

ripock
07-31-2018, 05:05 AM
All this bargain-hunting talk is interesting, but I am also interested in the original question.

We on this forum understand what we're getting with a $400 ukulele. It is essentially the low-end of the high-end ukuleles. It is something beyond the basic strummer. It is a level of quality that most players don't feel they need, being happy with their less expensive instruments.

Now, I have never played a guitar and don't know anything about them. However, as a consumer I have some gut feelings. And I feel that if I were some young girl's sugar-daddy and she said "daddy, I want a nice guitar" the least I would be spending would be $2000. Of course, that's retail; I'm not taking into account the estate sales and Craigslistings, etc.

Uke Don
07-31-2018, 05:35 AM
All this bargain-hunting talk is interesting, but I am also interested in the original question.

We on this forum understand what we're getting with a $400 ukulele. It is essentially the low-end of the high-end ukuleles. It is something beyond the basic strummer. It is a level of quality that most players don't feel they need, being happy with their less expensive instruments.

Now, I have never played a guitar and don't know anything about them. However, as a consumer I have some gut feelings. And I feel that if I were some young girl's sugar-daddy and she said "daddy, I want a nice guitar" the least I would be spending would be $2000. Of course, that's retail; I'm not taking into account the estate sales and Craigslistings, etc.

The cheapest Taylor guitar that is all solid wood is the 314, spruce over sapele. With the new V bracing, no electronics or cutaway, it runs $1,699 new. That's the cheapest guitar I would even consider. But, it's made in the US so it would be more comparable to a base level K brand. I would guess that an all solid import could be had in the $800 range.

Cornfield
07-31-2018, 05:42 AM
Think about the amount of craftsmanship that goes into making a $400 ukulele vs one that sells for $1500. The work that it takes to build a ukulele is about te same as the work involved in building a guitar. It's smaller but takes essentially the same amount of time. Materials for a uke should be a bit less as the wood will be smaller and you have 2 less tuners etc.
Taking this into consideration, I would think that a $500 guitar would be the equivalent of a $400 ukulele.

resophonic
07-31-2018, 06:44 AM
Hard to make a comparison. The most important thing to consider is buying an instrument with all solid woods (the top is most important). That makes a huge difference. When it comes to lower priced (under $1,000) acoustic guitars I think Recording King and Eastman give you the most bang for the buck. Surprisingly good quality with those brands in the $500 / $600 range which is pretty good nowadays. I am a bit of a guitar snob and prefer (and own) higher end Martin and vintage Gibson guitars but these "budget" guitars and ukuleles keep getting better. My advice is to try and buy these in person rather than online as even the same model can vary from piece to piece. Also, buy the one you like not because you read a review or your friend likes it. You might also think about supporting a local business rather than that huge big box mega chain that puts all the local stores out of business.

strumsilly
07-31-2018, 06:45 AM
Think about the amount of craftsmanship that goes into making a $400 ukulele vs one that sells for $1500. The work that it takes to build a ukulele is about te same as the work involved in building a guitar. It's smaller but takes essentially the same amount of time. Materials for a uke should be a bit less as the wood will be smaller and you have 2 less tuners etc.
Taking this into consideration, I would think that a $500 guitar would be the equivalent of a $400 ukulele.
I bought a Breedlove parlor guitar their import line for 399 on sale from musicians friend had a nice gig bag and electronics to with the solid top who is a great little guitar

hollisdwyer
07-31-2018, 07:13 AM
Think about the amount of craftsmanship that goes into making a $400 ukulele vs one that sells for $1500. The work that it takes to build a ukulele is about te same as the work involved in building a guitar. It's smaller but takes essentially the same amount of time. Materials for a uke should be a bit less as the wood will be smaller and you have 2 less tuners etc.
Taking this into consideration, I would think that a $500 guitar would be the equivalent of a $400 ukulele.


I think that this answers the original question well. But I think your premise is wrong. Why do you think you’re only good enough for a $400 Uke or $500 guitar? I recommend that you buy the best instrument you can afford. You will never regret it. In 1960 I learned that lesson when I bought my first guitar ( a Martin 0-16 parlour guitar) and relearnt it when I started playing the Uke. A fine instrument is a joy to play and worth every dollar you spend on it.

Mezcalero
07-31-2018, 07:39 AM
I think the Taylor GS mini, is a great starting point. I bought one used for $350.00 thinking I wanted to get back into playing guitar and I could not be happier with it regarding what I got for that price. Unfortunately it doesn't get played much, as I am so into the ukulele. But I am pretty confident I could sell it for what I have invested in it.

You may look at Pono as well. When I think good quality $400 ukulele, I think of Pono for sure. I think they were making guitars before they started making ukuleles and the quality is very nice. As I generally try to do with ukes, I'd buy used if possible, and if you can play it first all the better. My guess, is that $400 ukulele = $600 - $800

Mezcalero
07-31-2018, 07:58 AM
By the way, I re-read your first post, and I think you could consider a crossover style of nylon guitar. They have nylon strings which will feel more like what you are used to with ukulele, but they have a nut width that is 1 7/8" which is in between standard steel string 1 3/4" and classical 2". Steel strings require much more callous formation than nylon strings do, and so you could practice more and build strength, and later you could go either way, based on your personal tastes.

merlin666
07-31-2018, 12:47 PM
As others have mentioned, the equivalent of a $400 would be around $700 to 800 solid wood made in China guitar. In terms of quality or tone the numerous brands are pretty similar in that price range, but neck shapes could be a matter of comfort. Also, while ukes come in three (or 4) basic sizes, there are a lot more options of guitar shapes and sizes to consider, and the choice should depend on style of music to be played as well as comfort preferences. With a used guitar you can also step it up a notch or two.

70sSanO
07-31-2018, 05:13 PM
Another possibility is a Guild GAD Series, especially used. They have a very good reputation for an import. But I am partial to Guild guitars, especially older ones.

My first guitar was a Guild single pickup jazz guitar. Thanks to my Mom, I still have it. I also have a Barry Gibb S4 Songbird.

John

Jo3x
07-31-2018, 08:12 PM
Wow! I didn't expect to get this many replies.

Thank you all for your good suggestions. I try to summarize some key points I've learnt from all of you:

1) seems more people are saying the answer to my question is: $800
2) consider used ones from top brand
3) consider guilele, tenor guitar, baritone etc.
4) consider crossover style of nylon guitar
5) more than 1 people think Taylor GS-Mini is a really good entry level guitar. Other mentioned models: Little Martin Guitar LX1, Baby Taylor, Epiphone EJ200, Yamaha FS800, Guild GAD, etc.
6) Don't have guitar setup at Guitar Center

I am only sure about 6): last time I asked them how much it would cost to restrung my Tenor uke, I was told it'd be about $20.

Rakelele
07-31-2018, 10:33 PM
Great summary, Jo3x!

One more thought: the guitar market is quite different from the ukulele market. The number of guitar builders is nearly limitless, but there is only a limited number of ukulele manufacturers. In my experience, 400 Dollars is your entry into the realm of fine, all solid wood instruments from well-respected makers. Like someone else has mentioned above, those specs spell out Pono for me, but I suppose the all solid models from Kala in this price range are fine instruments, too. Or you can get a KoAloha Opio with a little stretch.

Pono makes very fine guitars as well that are all solid wood at an affordable price. Have a look at their hybrids and small body instruments, they combine some very comfortable features. Their website is really bad, but you can get in touch with them to see what's in stock. Sometimes, they advertise their stock on "Acoustic Guitar forum", and they usually have a sale in late fall.