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View Full Version : good companies making cheap ukuleles..



the kid
08-27-2018, 06:49 AM
howdy people of UU...i am very new to UU and just started buying and playing the uku...my very first uku was a kala ka-sem...i have since bought many ukus kala pineapple , cordoba , klos ( still waiting ) and 100th anniversary kamaka soprano..i more or less stare at the kamaka because i am nowhere good enough to play it...anyway , i bought a moku soprano from ebay for 55.00 because it looks good and i rarely play it...yesterday as i was tuning it i noticed that the neck is coming apart and the slowly ungluing...i looked them up before i bought the moku and thought it was a good company ....even though i am a total newbie... i just love the ukulele...i want to know if there are other good companies making not so good ukuleles.....thank you..

Jerryc41
08-27-2018, 07:45 AM
....i more or less stare at the kamaka because i am nowhere good enough to play it...

That doesn't matter! I'm not a great player, either, but I have a bunch of ukes because I like them, and I like playing them. First you buy a uke. Then you learn how to play it, and you improve gradually.

DaveY
08-27-2018, 08:29 AM
howdy people of UU...i am very new to UU and just started buying and playing the uku...my very first uku was a kala ka-sem...i have since bought many ukus kala pineapple , cordoba , klos ( still waiting ) and 100th anniversary kamaka soprano..i more or less stare at the kamaka because i am nowhere good enough to play it...anyway , i bought a moku soprano from ebay for 55.00 because it looks good and i rarely play it...yesterday as i was tuning it i noticed that the neck is coming apart and the slowly ungluing...i looked them up before i bought the moku and thought it was a good company ....even though i am a total newbie... i just love the ukulele...i want to know if there are other good companies making not so good ukuleles.....thank you..

So by "cheap" do you mean "poor quality"? If you bought the Moku used, it (probably?) is the fault of the seller (not the maker), as not caring properly for a ukulele can make bad stuff happen to it. Also, I don't know how many people want to get in line to trash an entire company. Maybe, instead, you could ask for recommendations of reliable companies, and maybe include a price range.

Also, if you get into a staring contest with the Kamaka, the Kamaka will win. Close your eyes and pick it up; then open them and start playing. (IMHO)

EDW
08-27-2018, 12:44 PM
I would play those instruments that you already own. You will enjoy the beauty to your eyes and ears and have a pleasurable experience. Life is too short to waste on junky instruments.

Turn that cheapie into a birdhouse

Anthroterra
08-27-2018, 12:54 PM
Sorry you had a poor experience with the Moku. I looked up reviews and see that they are mostly favorable, so I guess you're just lucky like that lol. As another poster said, it could have been the previous owner's care of it. It could be a number of different things. I guess this gives you an excuse to catch UAS? (ukulele acquisition syndrome) lol

As for playing high-end instruments as a beginner, my very first uke was a $1000 G-String. I bought it within 12 hours after getting off a plane from Iraq and didn't even know the C chord or anything else! But because I had something so nice, I played the hell out and had a better time learning due to its friendly setup. If I had something that didn't feel nice, I wonder if I would still be at it 11 years later? Don't feel like you're unworthy of the instrument: it wants to be played! Rise to what it asks of you :)

ricdoug
08-27-2018, 06:41 PM
I've bought dozens of Mitchell MU40's at Guitar Center sales for $29 bucks and they have all been players out of the box. All of them were rubber banded in a thin sheet foam wrap inside their boxes. I tighten all the tuners with the corner of my P38 John Wayne. hand stretch the strings and tune them up to spec. There are many negative reports on other Mitchell products, but I personally back the Mitchell MU40 sopranos. Ric

Patrick Madsen
08-27-2018, 09:02 PM
If you want to learn to play ukulele; play the Kamaka. There's no comparison between the two; the K is a fine instrument while Moku would be a cheese cutter.
I never expect much out of a 55 dollar uke. You may be able to send it back. If it's a good company, they'll exchange it.

sculptor
08-28-2018, 03:15 PM
Sorry you had a poor experience with the Moku. I looked up reviews and see that they are mostly favorable, so I guess you're just lucky like that lol. As another poster said, it could have been the previous owner's care of it. It could be a number of different things. I guess this gives you an excuse to catch UAS? (ukulele acquisition syndrome) lol

As for playing high-end instruments as a beginner, my very first uke was a $1000 G-String. I bought it within 12 hours after getting off a plane from Iraq and didn't even know the C chord or anything else! But because I had something so nice, I played the hell out and had a better time learning due to its friendly setup. If I had something that didn't feel nice, I wonder if I would still be at it 11 years later? Don't feel like you're unworthy of the instrument: it wants to be played! Rise to what it asks of you :)

That's basically my philosophy for buying an instrument and besides why buy an instrument that you know you'll likely have to replace because of its lack of quality?

-- Gary

kohanmike
08-28-2018, 08:10 PM
To answer the question directly, Kala makes good lower cost ukes.

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. www.theukc.org
• Member The CC Strummers www.youtube.com/user/CCStrummers/videos

EDW
08-29-2018, 05:45 AM
To answer the question directly, Kala makes good lower cost ukes.


Yes, I would say Kala, Ohana both make reasonably priced instruments that are pretty good. Kiwaya's instruments sold under the name Famous in Japan are a great bang for the buck as well

mm stan
08-30-2018, 02:21 AM
My second ukulele was a mahogany Oscar Schmidt, over a decade later I still play it an like it very much.. It was 57.00 best deal I ever got I believe to this day..got my money out of it and some.
As for cheap ukes in general, sometimes you find maybe I out of 10 ukes a pretty good player.. it's the luck of the draw

robinboyd
08-30-2018, 02:35 AM
I'm really confused by this concept. You're looking for good companies that make bad ukuleles? But how can a company be good if they make bad ukuleles? It's a contradiction.

kohanmike
08-30-2018, 05:18 AM
I'm really confused by this concept. You're looking for good companies that make bad ukuleles? But how can a company be good if they make bad ukuleles? It's a contradiction.

Robin, the OP didn't say "bad" ukulele, the kid said "not so good" and "cheap" and it seems that English might not be the kid's first language.

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. www.theukc.org
• Member The CC Strummers www.youtube.com/user/CCStrummers/videos

robinboyd
08-30-2018, 01:49 PM
Robin, the OP didn't say "bad" ukulele, the kid said "not so good" and "cheap" and it seems that English might not be the kid's first language.



I understand. I was taking "cheap" and "not so good" to mean "bad" because of his descriptions of the the neck coming apart. If the neck came off one of my ukes, I would consider that to be bad...

Jerryc41
08-31-2018, 01:07 AM
Look at Got a Ukulele for reviews of cheap ukes that are terrible and also, cheap ukes that are good. He has them grouped by price. If you want to pay less for a good quality uke, look at the name brands, like Ohana and Kala.

Rllink
08-31-2018, 02:18 AM
Well, as mentioned, Kala is a company that makes a lot of very good ukuleles and some "cheap" ones as well. I mean, the Waterman, if we are defining cheap as disappointing and not very good. If when we say cheap, we are talking about price points, that is subjective. But there is a market for cheaper ukuleles, and any of the major ukulele makers are probably making ukuleles to take advantage of it. And I don't care how big the company a cheap ukulele is a cheap ukulele.

frianm
08-31-2018, 03:02 AM
Due to my finding ukuleles to take to Peru, where they are used in a shanty town church and now one of our churches, I have now received and distributed fifteen cheap instruments. In this limited experience I would say that the best have been Kala and Cordoba. Nothing has been unplayable and I have tweaked some to make them more playable. I would like to include Ohana but have only been sent their sopranisimo and that was much more expensive so I have not seen or played their laminated models. The laminated instruments have served well in a caustic and humid atmosphere. The folk have learned and are learning this wonderful instrument. I am grateful to people's generosity and for the fact that this has created for me a small test in answer to the original question.

I look at my Kamakas and a Koaloha Opio and more, and I realize that I am privileged. Maybe one day my playing will do some justice to these amazing instruments - however let us not despise the cheap instruments that have enabled the surge of interest in ukulele and with is a surge in community music.

hollisdwyer
08-31-2018, 05:35 AM
I thought that I got good value when I bought a few Lanakai Ukes as Xmas presents that were “blemished “ from Butler Music via eBay. I was hard pressed to find the finish blemish when they arrived and once set up were good players. Remember though that most products are built to a price point because the marketplace is segmented.
When I go into a music store or look online I see so many different brand names that weren’t in existence only 2-3 years ago. I guess it’s always a crap shoot when you buy an unknown brand.

DaveY
08-31-2018, 08:29 AM
"the kid" (OP) appears to have been kidnapped . . . we are talking to ourselves. Not that that there's anything wrong with that.

kohanmike
08-31-2018, 09:49 AM
Good point, and how often does that happen on forums... a lot.

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. www.theukc.org
• Member The CC Strummers www.youtube.com/user/CCStrummers/videos

jricc
09-02-2018, 02:36 AM
I've bought dozens of Mitchell MU40's at Guitar Center sales for $29 bucks and they have all been players out of the box. All of them were rubber banded in a thin sheet foam wrap inside their boxes. I tighten all the tuners with the corner of my P38 John Wayne. hand stretch the strings and tune them up to spec. There are many negative reports on other Mitchell products, but I personally back the Mitchell MU40 sopranos. Ric

Totally agree with u. Im an elementary school Music Teacher and teach ukulele to my 3rd grade. I have 25 Mitchell sopranos and 24 of them are very good starter ukes. 1 has a bad neck angle. Other than that 1, they have more than held up to my kids for 2 years so far.