View Full Version : guitarist buying first uke. help?

08-14-2009, 05:19 PM
i borrowed my friend's ukulele for a few days and picked it up really quickly, mostly playing Beruit songs, i want to buy a new one. i'm looking to spend in the area of 50 bucks, and i've found a few that look promising:
Kala KA-15S
Lanikai LU-11
Lanikai LU-21

or i was thinking about a Pineapple body:
Lanikai LU-21P
Kala Makala Pineapple

i'm buying off the web so i can't play before purchase. i played what i'm pretty sure was the KA-15S and liked the feel and sound of the mahogany versus another uke i played made of a lighter wood.

am i going in the right direction? i'd be willing to spend a little more if there is a model that is much better quality. i can't spend too much, but i'm a musician and i don't want a toy.
also, is there a tonal difference between standard and pineapple?

thanks for any help. i'm really excited to master a new instrument.

08-14-2009, 06:19 PM
Out of those, I'd go with the Kala, just because in my experience they play well. I have never played a Lanikai, but have heard good things, although maybe not as good as the Kalas. I'd probably take the KA-S, because the pineapple's paint supposedly affects the sound, although I know it still sounds very nice from what I've heard. But I don't think you could really go wrong with any of those. Do you have any way to try them out before buying? I've only played a few pineapples, I haven't heard much of a difference in sound, although I like the shape. There was a thread on pinapples a few weeks back, you may want to search for it.

08-14-2009, 08:57 PM
u should get a lanikai lu21t. its a tenor uke. id reccomend this to u because its closer in size to a guitar. but its 50 dollers more than what your looking for, but its worth the 50 extra dollers.

08-15-2009, 06:04 AM
The pineapple body might give you more volume than the traditional figure 8 shape. My Kala Kiwi is a pineapple shape, and I am very happy with it. I made a video review of it here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O6RfRzMW1t0

I have several Kalas, and have been very happy with them. Makala is made by Kala too, and they are a very good choice too.

If you really want to save money, get the Makala Dolphin Bridge. Great uke for the money.

With all new inexpensive ukes, put some good strings on it like Worths or Aquillas.

I don't have much experience with the Lanikai's.


08-15-2009, 09:15 AM
I'm surprised no one has mentioned MGM. He's an authorized Kala dealer as well as several other name brands. He does have the KA-15S (http://cgi.ebay.com/SETUP-Kala-KA-15S-Mahogany-Soprano-Ukulele-w-Aquilas_W0QQitemZ370243443011QQcmdZViewItemQQptZLH _DefaultDomain_0?hash=item56343a9943&_trksid=p4634.c0.m14.l1262). If you have any questions, give him a call. Here are several other online stores I would recommend: The Ukulele Shop (http://www.ukuleleshop.net/), Uke Republic (http://www.ukerepublic.com/index.html) and Mainland Ukes (http://www.mainlandukes.com/).

I Ukulista
08-15-2009, 09:30 AM
Don't do it friend they are all contaminated and you will end up with UAS.
Take up drumming.

08-15-2009, 11:36 AM
I'm a guitar player (electric, acoustic, classical) for about 15 years and recently switched to ukes. I would say the switch is worth it. I still play guitars but playing ukes is a different experience. Size is a big difference so now I feel like a big load is taken off my hands. I was initially put off by the size difference when I switched that I almost backed off going to ukes -- but I'm glad I went back to it. It's really easy to use (even easier to handle than guitars maybe due to easier reach, at least for me) once you get to practice a little more.

As for standard vs. pineapple, they both sound great and can give you a bright, loud sound (especially I noticed it in woods that are thinner). Like acoustic guitars, there is also a break-in time so I usually get a used one -- especially it it's koa. One thing that didn't need breaking-in was a Tiki flea with rosewood fingerboard and sounded good right away.

Pineapple sounds deeper to me and preferred the shape better as I found it easier to hold. Still, everything is just a matter of preference so try to play as much as you can (different size, shapes, woods). Price wise, it looks like the choices you have there are not that bad. I suggest that you try different strings (such as Worth strings, Savarez Alliance, Aquilla) as they will give significantly different personalities to your sound and playing. I love Worth strings the most on my pineapple and standard.

For a new uke, I bought mostly from MGM (from ebay) and he's got great selections and sets-up ukes perfectly well. I don't have a uke store nearby me so getting a great set-up with great sound is a risk for me when I buy online. So far, I'm confident with MGM -- and I just found out about him by reading threads here in UU.

As for UAS, it's not really different from GAS. So if you had it with guitars, don't be surprised if you will get it with ukes. :eek:

08-15-2009, 11:39 AM
I own a Kala Pineapple, it was my first real uke after a 14€ "toy" harley benton.
It's a really good and cheap (70€) intrument to start with.

If you should buy it put some Aquila strings on it - they are sounding great in combination with the sweet sound of the kala pineapple.

I tried also the Makala (Kala) Pineapple and it sounds the same, it just does not look as good as the kala

I Ukulista
08-17-2009, 03:21 AM
As for UAS, it's not really different from GAS. So if you had it with guitars, don't be surprised if you will get it with ukes. :eek:[/QUOTE]

All good advice except that UAS is much worse than GAS because you can fit more Ukuleles under the bed than you can guitars

08-18-2009, 11:43 AM
Haha! thanks everyone. especially Kanaka916 for the MGM referral. i think i'm going to go with the KA-15S from MGM.