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WhenDogsSing
07-18-2009, 01:07 PM
I just got a Mauna Loa soprano plastic ukulele and got to wondering if any of you more knowledgeable ukers have much experience with the old plastic ukuleles made by Macaferri, Carnival, Lisa, Mauna Loa, etc, etc...???

The Mauna Loa is junk, pure and simple...:mad: I tuned it up and quickly realized that the intonation was way off going up the fretboard. I'm very surprised at that because it is a plastic uke that is molded. One would think that they would have got the frets and bridge in the right location before they went into production but evidently not.

The Mauna Loa has decent metal tuners and is relatively easy to tune but the playability up the neck is atrocious...:(

On the other hand, I have a supronimo size Carnival ukulele that has excellent intonation up the neck. It is very hard to tune with the small plastic friction tuners but it can be tuned and it can be played with a good sound.

Way back a long time ago, I had a Macaferri Islander guitar that was a nice guitar, it played and sounded very good. The intonation on it was also very good. I have never played any of the Macaferri ukuleles.

I was just wondering what you all might know about these old ukuleles and I wanted to save someone some money in the future by their not buying a Mauna Loa plastic ukulele...

seeso
07-18-2009, 03:05 PM
This is a thread for UKISOCIETY, but you might find useful information here (http://www.ukuleleunderground.com/forum/showthread.php?t=13808), too.

WhenDogsSing
07-19-2009, 05:01 AM
This is a thread for UKISOCIETY, but you might find useful information here (http://www.ukuleleunderground.com/forum/showthread.php?t=13808), too.

Thanks Seeso...:)

UKISOCIETY
07-19-2009, 05:47 AM
Some plastic ukes have the "zero fret" like the modern Fleas and Flukes, which may help keep the intonation uniform up the neck. But I've heard that some people like their Lisas and Maona Laos (I think UncleJeff likes his).
I think a lot of the problem has to do with the action. Many plastic ukes were exposed to heat in their 50+ years of existence so the necks bent in a bit causing high action in the upper frets. I've run across a few like that, including a Carnival (which I believe doesn't have the zero fret).

I believe the consensus is that the Islander is the best plastic uke, but I love my T.V. Pal, Happy Tune and Fin-der plastics.

WhenDogsSing
07-19-2009, 09:52 AM
Some plastic ukes have the "zero fret" like the modern Fleas and Flukes, which may help keep the intonation uniform up the neck. But I've heard that some people like their Lisas and Maona Laos (I think UncleJeff likes his).
I think a lot of the problem has to do with the action. Many plastic ukes were exposed to heat in their 50+ years of existence so the necks bent in a bit causing high action in the upper frets. I've run across a few like that, including a Carnival (which I believe doesn't have the zero fret).

I believe the consensus is that the Islander is the best plastic uke, but I love my T.V. Pal, Happy Tune and Fin-der plastics.

I never considered that heat may have caused the neck on this one to pull up but that makes sense...The action on the one I have is pretty high too. If the Macaferri ukuleles are as good as their plastic guitars, I would imagine that they are pretty nice. I probably won't be getting any more of these plastic ukuleles through EBay without being able to look at it first...Thanks a bunch for the information...:)

Lanark
07-19-2009, 02:34 PM
One of the folks in the Twin Cities Ukulele Orchestra uses a Macaferri and I've strummed it a bit and I wasn't unimpressed. It has pretty decent intonation and a distinctive tone. (It's miles above a crap Harmony that somebody else insists upon playing.) They're definitely a well designed working instrument within the realm of the plastic.

That said, she has commented that on really hot days it doesn't always do so well.

WhenDogsSing
07-21-2009, 09:47 AM
One of the folks in the Twin Cities Ukulele Orchestra uses a Macaferri and I've strummed it a bit and I wasn't unimpressed. It has pretty decent intonation and a distinctive tone. (It's miles above a crap Harmony that somebody else insists upon playing.) They're definitely a well designed working instrument within the realm of the plastic.

That said, she has commented that on really hot days it doesn't always do so well.

I guess heat must play havoc with the plastic...thanks...:)

Lanark
07-21-2009, 12:05 PM
They are interesting little things though. I'm certainly thinking myself that it'd be kind of cool to have one too.
I think reasonable caution is really all that they call for.

Bender
07-22-2009, 06:20 PM
I have a Carnival and a Knickerbocker and they are tough to tune. They sound nice, though, and you can pick them up for cheap. Then there's the knowledge that they have been around a while and have a history. They're a lot of fun.

I've been wondering if it is possible to clean the tuners up so I don't have to put a wrench on them to turn them. Does anyone have any experience here?

UKISOCIETY
07-23-2009, 01:14 AM
I have a Carnival and a Knickerbocker and they are tough to tune. They sound nice, though, and you can pick them up for cheap. Then there's the knowledge that they have been around a while and have a history. They're a lot of fun.

I've been wondering if it is possible to clean the tuners up so I don't have to put a wrench on them to turn them. Does anyone have any experience here?

I've cleaned up several old plastic ukes. I take off the tuners and then clean all the individual parts with soapy water and a toothbrush. I work especially hard on the screws, brushing in all the grooves. After drying them I spray the metal parts with WD40 and let them sit for a few minutes. I wipe off any excess WD40 and then reassemble the tuners on the uke. They tune so much easier after this!

I just cleaned up an Islander (finally got one!) last night. It came with a break in the neck near the body. A little super glue seemed to take care of it.

I've never heard of Knickerbocker ukes before. Could you upload a photo of it or email me a pic? I'd love to see it. Thanks!

youngs6@yahoo.com
08-30-2009, 02:04 PM
Just got a really nice Islander at at garage sale this week!!! My first plastic uke.......I love it!!

psesinkclee
08-30-2009, 07:33 PM
No problems here with my Mauna Loa. Just superglued the top back on where it was lifting, cleaned out the peg holes and pegs, and strung it up with some martin fluorocarbons. Love it to death! :)

nobby8126
01-10-2010, 02:36 AM
Just bought my first uke it's a soprano makala dolphin. Pretty impressed with its tone and tuning and for the price cant really fault it. looking to upgrade already but got to say there is a lot of charm in this little beast. makes me smile right down to my boots.

ichadwick
01-14-2010, 10:00 AM
...the old plastic ukuleles made by Macaferri
Macaferri made a lot of interesting guitars out of a plastic (Bakelite, I seem to recall, were the earliest ones). I played several of them in the 70s and 80s. Not bad, but a bit of a shriller sound than a wood guitar; fewer harmonics and not as much sustain. But not bad. Loud, I recall.

If I recall, Supra also made some plastic instruments - solid-body plastic electrics I think. But not ukes.