View Full Version : future uke beginner, ha!

j cal
07-11-2009, 11:26 PM
Hello all!

I've been lurking around for quite awhile now and finally decided to throw up a post!

I've been playing the guitar for a couple years now and want to pick up my first uke! I've been watching videos and just fell in love with the sound and fun that the uke brings.

Well, of course this post will come with a question so here goes...

I'm one to buy quality the first time. I'm definitely in no means in the position to say that money is no object, but I've saved a couple hundred to spend on a uke, let's say $400.

Now my questionS:

Since I've been playing the guitar, what size uke should I start off on? I was thinking the concert, but the tenor is "sounding" more like a size that would fit me better (coming from playing the guitar).

Also, my sister is traveling to Hawaii next week and I was wondering if it would be cheaper if she was to purchase a uke for me there and bring it back. Is there no substantial difference purchasing a uke at a third party music store in the US compared to purchasing a uke in a Hawaii that is made there?

Is my price range out of the question if I want to purchase solid wood instead of laminate?

Sorry for the long post, and I want to say thank you in advance!

-Joel from Chicago Illinois!

07-12-2009, 01:10 AM

Welcome. I hesitate to say I came over from guitar as I really just banged around on one. But the baritone is a completely natural transition. It's tuned like the upper 4 guitar strings. You can even use all your guitar chords. But it doesn't sound very uke like.

The tenor is what a lot of guitarists opt for. The wider frets won't take too much getting used too. It's tuned like a soprano and concert so you'll have to learn new chords. Tenors are good for picking. If you see videos of Jake and Jason Amimoto (http://www.myspace.com/jasonarimoto) you'll see what I mean.

The concert still has a workable fretboard. Sounds very uke like. I think this is a good compromise.

The soprano is what the world thinks a uke is. The fingerboard is tight. I have stubby little fingers that can't play the long guitar neck at all, but even I find it hard to get some of the tight chord fingerings. That being said, I love the soprano for the way the strings feel. It takes no effort to get sound out of it and little pressure for fretting. Sopranos are my preference.

Some other things to consider: I really like non-traditional uke bodies. The pineapple shapes give a richer tone. But most people like the massive treble of the figure 8 body.

In your price range, you'll find some decent ukes. As for Hawaiian ukes. You need to make sure it's made in Hawaii and that you're not paying for a Hawaiian name on an Indonesian uke. Your sister may find that she can go to one of the uke factories in Hawaii and pick up a factory second (usually just blemishes) of a really nice model for $400. Ko'Aloha and Kamaka come to mind as places to investigate before she goes. A phone call to the factory doesn't hurt.

Definitely solid wood in your price range. If you decide to get one in the continental states, Mainland is a very good uke for the money. For the price you can get Mike to install a MiSi pickup and preamp as well. These are made in China and finished here. Nice solid woods and they have a very cool look. You will find very few dissatisfied Mainland owners here.