View Full Version : Upgrade my Tenor Uke

09-25-2009, 03:09 AM
I've been playing uke for 4 months. I have an Ohana TK35G which I like. Unfortunately I didn't know about this forum and bought it from someone who just sent it stock and although it plays well, I think the action is a little high. I am looking into getting it lowered a little but got to thinking maybe I should just upgrade. What would be the price range I would have to go to where I would notice a difference in the playability (especially up the neck). I like the sound of the Mahogony in my Ohana, but then again, its the only one I've played.
Will I notice a difference if I get a pricier Ohana, maybe one with Cedar or Spruce or will it play the same as my Mahogony only with a little different sound.
I don't want to purchase something similiar to what I have. I definitly want to kick it up to the next level. From what I read him my Ohana is one of the best for under $300. What is the price range of the next level ($500, $600, $700 )?
I am very confused right now but have an adequate uke so I want to make sure I make the right decision.

Thank all of you for your support and help to us Newbies...

09-25-2009, 03:26 AM
IMO your Ohana is a good enough uke to justify getting the action set properly.

As long as it has no issues that bother you other than the action, a good Ohana is very (and I mean very) similar to a Mainland. You've already said that you like the mahogany sound (and I agree - mahogany sounds great). In ukes of otherwise identical design, the selection of wood for the top will affect the sound but shouldn't have much impact on feel or playability.

Before rushing out to spend a load of money I'd try to play a few different ukes from friends or from stores, maybe ones with the different top woods you mention, and maybe koa, and then judge if they have very much more to offer than what you have.

That urge to spend is hard to resist, but if what you have is already pretty good it may be best to take a little time checking stuff out properly first.

09-25-2009, 04:54 AM
Are there any music stores who sell ukes nearby? As buddhuu previously mentioned, try some others with different tops. A uke with a Acacia/Koa, Cedar or Spruce top will have different sounds. Also take into consideration, the strings. You may wanna try a different set on your Ohana, that too will make a big difference. Doing this will allow you to save up and possibly get one the Hawaiian K's. BTW, check the Music Stores thread (http://www.ukuleleunderground.com/forum/showthread.php?t=16519), I believe there are 4 stores listed.

09-25-2009, 04:56 AM
Getting the action lowered shouldn't set you back much at all, and you may find yourself very happy with the uke you have.

09-25-2009, 04:59 AM
BuddhUU is right

You should try a different set of strings, my mahogany oscar schmidt really perked up when I put worth brown strings and a new tusq nut/saddle. You could just try the new strings and simply sand the bottom of the saddle a little (i mean a little too! any more than 2/32 and you'll get buzz), reinsert, tune up, see how it plays and if you like it.

I think the ohana will really come alive when you do that! Good luck!

09-25-2009, 08:03 AM
How much different are the Worth Brown strings from the Aquilla. Are they easier to play and do they change the sound much.

09-25-2009, 08:59 AM
How much different are the Worth Brown strings from the Aquilla. Are they easier to play and do they change the sound much.

The Worth browns gave me a mellower tone and I like how they feel like they have a higher tension, not so roly poly under my fingertips. I can do scales and chord changes faster, let alone slides and bends. However, I use an Aquila low g wound on mine as well, which seems to do just fine.

I haven't tried a lot of brands of strings but when I found the sound and feel I was looking for with Worth, I quit looking!

09-25-2009, 09:07 AM
[...]I haven't tried a lot of brands of strings but when I found the sound and feel I was looking for with Worth, I quit looking!

Yup, same story here.

Worths are significantly different from Aquilas, and they suit me and my tenor much better. Aquilas are good strings, just not my first choice since I found Worths.

09-25-2009, 09:14 AM
They are totally different - Aquila strings are nyl-gut which is a synthetic and supposedly possesses the characteristics of a gut string minus the cost. Worth on the other hand is a fluoro-carbon carbon string mainly used for fishing line. Here is a is a blind comparison (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x5yU85FM8Fg&feature=channel_page) between the two and the results are found here (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x5yU85FM8Fg&feature=channel_page). As far as popularity goes, each manufacturer has a dedicated following and these two along with D'Addario Pro Arte strings are the most popular.

09-25-2009, 03:58 PM
I agree-- hang on for a while.
You have what looks like a great uke. Live with it for a while and you'll probably find yourself liking it more and more.
I have an even cheaper one (Lanikai Spruce Top) and I LOVE it. You can spend a lot more, but the extra $$ buy only incremental improvements.
Once you've played for a year or two, you'll have a better idea of exactly what you want in a uke and you'll make a more informed purchase. Or you may find that your Ohana is just fine.

09-26-2009, 04:52 PM
While you do have a fine uke, I get the sense that not only is it the issue of lower action, but you also WANT A NEW UKE. Is that right? I know the feeling. If you are looking to move up from $300 brand wise, you would be looking at Pono next ($400~$600) then the K's - Kanilea, Koaloha, Koolau, Kamaka, and Kiwaya. All of these will run you from $800 on up. However, you can move up price wise within the cheaper brands by getting better tone woods. Ohana, Kala, Lanikai, etc all have higher end ukes made from Mango, Spruce, Koa, etc.

I know I am not helping you narrow it down, but keep in mind, if you are like most of us, this next uke wont be the last. Find something that you like and buy it.....you will find something else you like in the near future anyway.

So, bottom line: have the saddle adjusted on the Ohana, and then buy a new uke anyway. :)