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View Full Version : Advice please - last chance for really good UKE



scooch
07-10-2009, 12:19 AM
Hello All in Ukuleleunderground.

Aside from a very cheap soprano I have a concert fluke with a rosewood fretboard, and I really love it. It plays nicely and the concert size is perfect for me - but it doesn't really 'sing'. I can only explain it thus - once I got to strum a few chords on a really expensive Taylor guitar and it was like the notes had left the strings and were flying around the room, just one chord and the sound seemed to surround you. I didn't think a D-chord could sound that good. Well, that's what I want in a uke. Good sustain and a strum that just sings. Budget is $400-800. I might pay more though for the perfect (for me) instrument. After reading this thread "http://www.ukuleleunderground.com/forum/showthread.php?t=15714" Seeso's comments made me think I should go for one of the four K's.

The only 'K' I found I can test on these shores will be the Kanile'a K2 concert. Everything else will be strictly an internet purchase. I found a place in France that sells the KoAloha pikake concert which might be a good option, but then when I checked on KoAloha's own website this model is discontinued. Why? Surely if it was a good uke and a good seller, it would not be discontinued so that makes me a bit suspicious.

Kamaka's and Koolau's would be a US purchase so I'd be looking at import tax etc.

Then I'm wondering maybe I should think smaller (budget wise) and get a Kala solid acacia ($350 ) or a concert Flea with the solid Koa top ($360?)
What kind of tone quality could I expect from the Kala or Koa Flea?

I've seen a Pono concert mango ($700), which looks nice (and it says its made in the USA). But when a Pono and koolau are the same price (ie high spec Pono, low spec Koolau) is there much to choose from?

I've only been playing a couple of years or so, but I'm in it for the long haul and I play most every single day. I know the four K's are really professional instruments, but I want a lifetime instrument that will let me grow and grow.

The lack of being able to try before I buy is against me, so your advice and experience would be great. Sorry for the long post, I hope some of you get to the end of it and can help. :o

All the best:)

upskydowncloud
07-10-2009, 01:34 AM
Hello All in Ukuleleunderground.

Well with the worldwide recession I've found that in a few months I will be out of a job. While I am trying to focus on the positive side, it does mean that I will not have the luxury of disposable income for the foreseeable future and I've decided this might be my last chance for a long long time to get a really decent Uke (bearing in mind I am in the UK! this might be a tall order).

This is where your help comes in!! Aside from a very cheap soprano I have a concert fluke with a rosewood fretboard, and I really love it. It plays nicely and the concert size is perfect for me - but it doesn't really 'sing'. I can only explain it thus - once I got to strum a few chords on a really expensive Taylor guitar and it was like the notes had left the strings and were flying around the room, just one chord and the sound seemed to surround you. I didn't think a D-chord could sound that good. Well, that's what I want in a uke. Good sustain and a strum that just sings. Budget is $400-800. I might pay more though for the perfect (for me) instrument. After reading this thread "http://www.ukuleleunderground.com/forum/showthread.php?t=15714" Seeso's comments made me think I should go for one of the four K's.

The only 'K' I found I can test on these shores will be the Kanile'a K2 concert. Everything else will be strictly an internet purchase. I found a place in France that sells the KoAloha pikake concert which might be a good option, but then when I checked on KoAloha's own website this model is discontinued. Why? Surely if it was a good uke and a good seller, it would not be discontinued so that makes me a bit suspicious.

Kamaka's and Koolau's would be a US purchase so I'd be looking at import tax etc.

Then I'm wondering maybe I should think smaller (budget wise) and get a Kala solid acacia ($350 ) or a concert Flea with the solid Koa top ($360?)
What kind of tone quality could I expect from the Kala or Koa Flea?

I've seen a Pono concert mango ($700), which looks nice (and it says its made in the USA). But when a Pono and koolau are the same price (ie high spec Pono, low spec Koolau) is there much to choose from?

I've only been playing a couple of years or so, but I'm in it for the long haul and I play most every single day. I know the four K's are really professional instruments, but I want a lifetime instrument that will let me grow and grow.

The lack of being able to try before I buy is against me, so your advice and experience would be great. Sorry for the long post, I hope some of you get to the end of it can can help. :o

All the best:)

Hi there, I'm in the UK too, hello whereever you are!

I only have experience with one of the K-brands, Kamaka. I got a tenor uke from them for Christmas. Luckily I was able to send it to the USA and collect it so I didn't have to pay import duties.

If you are charged import duty and VAT I remember it adds around 250-300to the total of the uke (including shipping) so it's definitely something to bear in mind.

What I will say is that the Kamaka is an incredible instrument and sounds amazing. It will only get better and because it's such an historical ukulele manufacturer and is well known the price will likely remain solid in case you ever want to sell it .You'll also be one of the few people in the UK who actually owns one (if you're into that sort of thing).

It's worth saying I had no idea how my uke would sound before I bought it but I don't regret a single thing. In my opinion it's better to save up for a really nice K brand than get a medium range instrument, I'm sure others will disagree though!

P.S. I feel your pain about the job situation, I just finished post graduate study and am looking for a job to start to pay off some of this massive debt, it's not a nice place to be.

hoosierhiver
07-10-2009, 02:58 AM
As far as I know, Pono's are made in Indonesia.

Myala509
07-10-2009, 12:39 PM
Buy a mainland!

Thumper
07-10-2009, 01:14 PM
Don't expect a uke to sound like a guitar. There are definitely some ukes that sing (check out Ken Middleton demoing some Ohanas), but they lack the fullness and cut of a fine acoustic guitar. Which is fine with me, I hasten to add - I love the natural sound of a good uke!

Also, what kind of strings are on your Fluke? String choice has a big effect on your sound. For example, if you've got black GHS strings on your Fluke, you haven't yet heard what that thing is really capable of.

ritzer012
07-10-2009, 04:21 PM
I found a place in France that sells the KoAloha pikake concert which might be a good option, but then when I checked on KoAloha's own website this model is discontinued. Why? Surely if it was a good uke and a good seller, it would not be discontinued so that makes me a bit suspicious.



i have a koaloha pikake soprano and i am completely and totally in love with it so i can attest that it is a good uke

pithaya9
07-10-2009, 04:25 PM
KoAloha, you won't be disappointed.

redsedge
07-11-2009, 04:54 AM
Right now in the UK there's a lot of great things being said about Ken Timm's ukuleles (Timbuck). I've got one and it's brilliant. They're currently going for around 250 on eBay.

But you really need to play a few - is there a ukulele club nearish to you? You'll find a wealth of different ukes to try out, especially if you ring up first and say that's what you want to do. I heard a Kamaka at Taunton Uke club and have wanted one ever since. The third uke I got was an old La Foley and to be honest, the others have been hardly worth bothering with by comparison until I got the Timbuck. Totally different from the La Foley, which is rather gentle and mellow.

Where abouts in the UK are you? There must be some uke players nearby if not a club. It's only a small island, really.

But if you can't wait - hey, get a Kamaka.

sukie
07-11-2009, 05:15 AM
As stated by others -- KoAloha. You will not be disappointed! I love mine.

Dibblet
07-13-2009, 05:07 AM
After reading this thread "http://www.ukuleleunderground.com/forum/showthread.php?t=15714" Seeso's comments made me think I should go for one of the four K's.


Seeso is right! I'd add G-String to his list. I have both a Kamaka and a KoAloha tenor and a G-String concert.

If you possibly can though, try before you buy. Duke of Uke in London stock G-String. I got my concert there.

In the price range you are looking at a custom from Pete Howlett is a possibility. You can't possibly go wrong there. I got a stunning soprano from him.

Don't bother with the mid priced stuff if you want something really special. You'll never look at the mid price stuff again once you've experienced the high end.

wickedwahine11
07-13-2009, 06:01 AM
I have both a Kanile'a and a Kamaka, and I can say I don't think you will be disappointed with either. The Kanile'a is louder, and I'm a big fan of their UV finish. The Kamaka is, I think, the granddaddy of the ukulele. It is the last of the original Hawaiian manufacturers, it has that name cache, they are solidly built, and they sound beautiful. I don't think you can go wrong with either one...

cocohonk
07-26-2009, 08:03 AM
Related to the thread title, I need advice on a uke that I might be able to purchase.

It's a used Koaloha soprano uke from 2002/3 or so (koa neck), it's in pretty good condition, and it's going for total about 410 (includes shipping, hard case, humidifier) Good or at least reasonable bargain, or would I be better off waiting to get a new one?

new2ukes
07-26-2009, 10:01 AM
Hi I hope this isn't off message but do you know of any uke clubs in Herefordshire?
Best wishes,
new2ukes

Denno
07-26-2009, 01:09 PM
Buy a mainland!

+1 ON THAT ONE! :shaka:

KC8AFW
07-26-2009, 01:31 PM
Buy a mainland!

+2 ON THAT ONE! :shaka: