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View Full Version : so i'm another noob who's been researching his first uke and...



jarop
09-07-2009, 12:44 AM
I still have no idea what i want!

my only 2 purchasing options are either:
http://www.guitarfactory.net/Folk/Ukuleles.htm - Only choice i have locally. Not the greatest selection, but they carry a number of different uke types and some brand names i've seen floating around the forum so it shouldn't be too bad. Big advantage is i can actually try them out.

MGM - obviously a larger selection, but will probably be more expensive and won't have a chance to try them out.

A bit about me:
Grown up with music, play stacks of instruments including:
piano
double bass
electric bass
drums
a bit of guitar
My main instruments are double and electric bass but as anybody who plays either could tell you, they are anything but easy to carry around. My main reason for taking up the Ukulele is to have something to jam with when i'm in places my basses can't be.

I play in a poppy/pianoy/rock band and it's something i'd like to incorporate into gigs and recordings, probably via the use of a mic over the hollow thingy in the middle (great terminology i know) so i dunno how that would affect how sound quality / how it's produced?

What i want out of my uke:

Durability - Probably not going to be a big issue, i treat my instruments with respect but... i'm going to be using them for the typical teenage things - party sing-a-longs, beaches... it's going everywhere with me.

Experimentalabamy - I do weird stuff with my instruments. That ain't changing with my Uke. I arranged Tchaikovsky's Octobre for bass, played segovia arrangements on double and have done jazz arrangements of super mario bros themes at actual gigs. Slap Ukulele anyone? :D

Tonal Color variety - I'm going to be attempting everything on this thing - Classical, Rock, traditional Ukulele playing and even jazz. So im after a great variety of different sounds and textures an instrument can produce.

Reliability - It's probably going to take me a while to get use to the small frets and strings and this probably comes down to personal preference i know.

So i'm aware that these are probably the general questions that are asked in every thread and I apologize for that but i'm hoping this will help shed some light as to what type of ukulele i should be looking towards? I'm most likely going to go local so unless there are any super, reasonably priced MGM makes, any feedback on the guitarfactory models would be great!

I've done the google searches on the differences between soprano, concert, tenor and other types of ukulele's but my situation seems kinda out there

If you need to know anymore info in regards to my play style / what i want i'll be more then happy to say,
otherwise i'm looking forward to getting trolled

ukerazy
09-07-2009, 01:22 AM
Have you done a forum search for beginners stuff? What is your budget, what size ukulele are you looking at getting, any idea at all?

From the choices in the link I have a Brueko and i love it, its a great built, solid wood ukulele and there pretty tough too. From what i've read here on the forum though the fluke and fleas are a great choice if you want portability and want to travel with your ukulele, camping, beach and such. They have a moulded plastic back which makes them very tough, specially for teens lol. I plan on getting one to take around with me everywhere i go but currently the Brueko serves well for that purpose.

I hope this helps you in some way, there are some very experienced players here that im sure will chime in and give you some advice throughout the day. You should definately search the beginners section of the forum if you havn't already!

jarop
09-07-2009, 02:22 AM
thanks for the quck reply!
Yes ive been searching the forum for quite a bit and i have some sort of an understanding of what im after... Im pushing towards a concert uke as ive got pretty big hands but ill have to compare once i get a chance to trial them this weekend.

My budget is around $150 usd but ill go higher should a great chance open up, i just wanna get playing on a decent uke :)

Matt Clara
09-07-2009, 02:40 AM
If you want something to take to the beach, etc., the Fluke and the Flea are two candidates you won't want to overlook. They have quite a cult following, and there are many people here who can tell you more about them than I can. Suffice it to say, they're LOUD, with good sustain and have plastic molded backs that won't mind a little water and beach sand.

Also, I don't know what it is about mahogany ukes, but I've never played one where I thought, that just doesn't sound right. I don't know if they're easier to make, or what, but it seems like just about anyone can knock a decent one out. Mahogany is a medium hardwood, and can take it's share of abuse, but it's no plastic fluke or flea. For inexpensive, but well-built laminate and wood ukes look to Ohana, Kala, and a couple others I've had no experience with, but have heard good things about (Bushman and Mainland). Oh, if you're looking at wood uke ads, if they don't say Solid Wood, they're not, they're laminates. Some will say Solid Wood Top, so then you know the top's solid wood and the back and sides are laminate. Laminate doesn't automatically equal crappy ukuleles, but you'd want to hear them before buying. The laminate back and sides with a solid wood top is a nice compromise, and you'll see the flukes and fleas offer solid wood tops on some of their more expensive models.

Doctroid
09-07-2009, 05:44 AM
I followed your Guitar Factory link. Can you get them to open a store in Syracuse, New York?

Seriously, if there were a good store near me with that kind of selection, that is absolutely where I'd spend my money, after some good long hands-on time.

austin1
09-07-2009, 03:23 PM
I can't tell you much about which to buy, seeing as I'm supernoob too, but I was looking at the prices on that page, and if you decide to go with a fluke or a flea, they're way cheaper on the website (http://www.fleamarketmusic.com/store/Scripts/prodList.asp). With the exchange rate, they're less than 200 AUD. I only know because I've been stalking the fleamarketmusic website lately trying to decide which one I want as soon as I start working :)

--Tina

itsme
09-07-2009, 04:15 PM
Im pushing towards a concert uke as ive got pretty big hands but ill have to compare once i get a chance to trial them this weekend.
With big hands and having played guitar/bass, any uke is going to feel tiny to you. I'd suggest you perhaps aim for a tenor. But definitely try the different sizes live. :)

jarop
09-07-2009, 06:26 PM
i know its the last thing you should look at but im really not a fan of the look of the flea and fluke design... But other then that they seem to be the go. If they're loud, durable and have a good range then they probably are the way to go.

Based on the styles of music ill be looking to use my uke for (classical uke styles and modern styles), any advice on narrowing between soprano, tenor or concert?


Thanks so much for the feedback as well

RevWill
09-08-2009, 05:00 AM
Of all the Flukes and Fleas I've played, the tenor Fluke with rosewood fingerboard is the best sounding to my ear. The only real difference with the rosewood is metal frets - which I hear you want if you're going to use fluorocarbon strings long-term, or a wound C string.

The tenor has more frets and is therefore well-suited to both classic and modern style uke playing. If you plan on learning some Jake or James Hill you'll pretty much need a tenor or at least a concert.

What a Fluke may lack in visual aesthetics, it more than makes up for in practicality. You never need a stand, the tuning and intonation are dead perfect, and it resists being babied. The focused tone mics and records very well.

sukie
09-08-2009, 08:45 AM
Personally, I'd give MGM a call. You know what you are looking for and he has an amazing ability to know just what ukulele would work for YOU! It's amazing, I kid you not. That's what I did and he stuck to my price and got me THE perfect ukulele. His prices are great! I, too, thought he'd be expensive, but when I hear about others buying the same thing I got (minus a pick-up) I got a wonderful deal. He will absolutely not steer you wrong. But, that's just my opinion (well, others say almost the same thing). Call him. :D

bigseth2468
09-08-2009, 12:46 PM
I can vouch for a Fluke or Flea. I have a Fluke and it is wonderful! It's a very rugged instrument, but also sounds great! I can say that you will be lucky to find a Fluke or Flea for $150, even used, but they sure fit the criteria you have listed.

jarop
09-09-2009, 01:06 AM
Well, it seems Tenor uke is the go.
I'm going to drop MGM a line over the next couple of days and see if I can get one off him, that works with the same benefits as the fluke/flea without the odd designs... horrible thing to base my purchase on but i'm just really not a fan of the way they look.

If not, A Fluke is probably the way to go.

Thanks so much for the feedback guys! Actually have a decent idea of what i'm after

Matt Clara
09-09-2009, 02:51 AM
Well, it seems Tenor uke is the go.
I'm going to drop MGM a line over the next couple of days and see if I can get one off him, that works with the same benefits as the fluke/flea without the odd designs... horrible thing to base my purchase on but i'm just really not a fan of the way they look.

If not, A Fluke is probably the way to go.

Thanks so much for the feedback guys! Actually have a decent idea of what i'm after

The Applause Ovation comes to mind, though I don't know if they offer it in tenor size.

RonS
09-09-2009, 02:58 AM
The Applause Ovation comes to mind, though I don't know if they offer it in tenor size.


Yes they do make a tenor.

specialmike
09-09-2009, 03:03 AM
buy a concert size ukulele from ukerepublic. He's a member here, just contact him. They're about $150, depending on the brand and model. If you're bent on getting used one, he might be able to sniff one up for you.

Doctroid
09-09-2009, 03:06 AM
horrible thing to base my purchase on but i'm just really not a fan of the way they look.

I felt that way too, except I didn't think it was a horrible thing to base a purchase on. While it does seem to me as though some people go overboard shopping for beautiful exotic woods with sound, playability, and build quality seemingly a distant second, still, looks do matter. If you don't like the look, you don't like the look, and you probably won't want to play it as much as one you do like the looks of. And no instrument will sound great if it's not being played.

jarop
09-09-2009, 07:23 PM
The ovation looks amazing... which probably means it's expensive. But that looks like one sweet Uke. The review posted up on the main UkuleleUnderground site says it's pretty soft without an amp, can anybody confirm?

Just found a vid of it in action:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LhJSxri53A8

Made me want it more. Then i saw the price tag. It made me sad face :(

edit: I've decided that I'll go for the ovation. Until then, $30 crappy plastic uke for the win!
edit2: So i've been mucking around with my $19 Maholo soprano Uke... and i love it! I've already learnt the eric clapton "Wonderful Tonight" from the Uke minutes series. Ohh no doubt about it now, i'm buying that Ovation first chance i get!

Thanks so, so much guys you've been amazing help