View Full Version : Just started playing an old Uke, what do i have? any good?

12-20-2009, 08:50 PM
I bought this off my friend years ago as a present for my wife. It was to be a decoration. I thought it was cool looking but NOT a real instrument.
I learned how to tune it and looked up a few songs and really started to have fun. Next thing, I'm singing my heart out and having the time of my life. I also learned how to kitesurf a few years ago. Maui is the mecca for kitesurfing. I have this vison now of kitesurfing all day and playing Uke, singing with friends by night. Life's simpls pleasures.
Now I am consumed and thirst for more info about ukes.
Can somebody tell me a little about what I have been playing?
1- Is it a toy or the real deal? ("JAPAN" stamped on top of the headstock)
2- If i were to get another uke, what's a good place to start. I'm looking for the Honda Accord of Ukelele's as opposed to the Mercedes Benz at this point. (I think you know what I'm saying here.)
3- Does anybody else have (or is living) the kite surf/uke vision I'm talking about?

Thanks in advance:pics:


12-20-2009, 09:11 PM
It's made in japan and made of wood, so it's a "real" ukulele. Not sure how good it is, but it doesn't look like one of those tourist trap ukes that you buy in Wakiki for $15.

If you're looking for the Honda Accord of ukes, Kala, Mainland, and KoaPiliKoko/Melodica are good places to start. If you want a loaded Accord, you might want to try Mele. If you want a more wacky accord, Fluke also makes great instruments.

As for kite surfing, I've never done it...sounds dangerous!

12-21-2009, 03:15 AM
A Honda Accord uke?

Mainland, Mainland, Mainland.

Also Ohana or KoAlana, but Mainland is my favorite.

12-21-2009, 05:13 AM
The name HILO has been used by different companies throughout the years so its kinda difficult to make a general statement about your uku.

As for newer models, guess if noone else is gonna mention it, Mainland is a quality instrument for a reasonable price.

12-21-2009, 06:14 AM
Thanks for your quick replies.
Any feedback on the Mainland mahogany Pineapple vs classic mahogany and also friction vs gear tuners. I like the friction for the pineapple but the gear for the classic. But don't know if one outweighs the other as far as ease of tuneability. Thanks again in advance! Aloha!

12-21-2009, 06:26 AM
Welcome to the world of Ukulele...

Livin in Colorado I'm not in on that Kitesurfing/Uke dream the winds are to flukey in the mountains...but I do the Kayak surf/Stand Up Paddleboard thing when not strummin!!!!

How much are you thinking about spending on that "Accord" uke?

12-21-2009, 06:57 AM
My Mainland drives more like a Mercedes than an Accord.

But yeah, definitely Mainland.

12-21-2009, 07:20 AM
My Mainland drives more like a Mercedes than an Accord.

But yeah, definitely Mainland.

:agree::agree::agree: Can't go wrong with a Mainland. I have a Honeybee Mahogany Soprano which I absolutley love. It was my one true love until I met my mistress, the slotted head Mahogany concert. I'm not a monogamous man. I need 2 Mainlands to keep me happy :D I currently have the Concert strung with Aquila Low G and the Sop with Worth Clear High G. Couldn't be happier!!

12-21-2009, 07:29 AM
THe price difference between a new accord and a mercedes isn't that much. Do you want a hand made instrument or a machine made instrument? How much are you willing to spend? You want a laminate or solid wood?

It was mentioned earlier that Mele is a loaded accord. If you are looking at mainland (Great instrument) then you owe it to yourself to look at

12-21-2009, 11:32 AM
Don't be so quick to discount what you've got. Hilos have a bad rep because, well frankly, a lot of them are dogs, but some years were fine. I have a '50s or '60s Hilo made in Germany. Solid mahogany top, sides and back. The neck is one piece (no fretboard, per se) but it's proven as durable as the rosewood fretboards on a couple of my other ukes. From your pics, yours seems to even have a rosewood fretboard. I can't tell from the pics if yours is solid.

Before you rush out and buy a new uke, see if you can get your hands on a few others to compare to what you've got. You may save some money. Meanwhile, put some nice new strings on it. Even a beater deserves that.

12-21-2009, 08:43 PM
Boy, strings could be an entire NEW thread!!! The local shop has some Aquilas. I'll start my journey there, meanwhile, I ended up buying the Tiki-flea. After checking out so many uke's all day, I just wanted something different. I will be travelling quite a bit and this one seemed mighty durable as well. When I'm ready for a concert or tenor size, Mainland and Mele will be top of my list. Thanks for everyone's valuable input. I feel like I've learned a lot in a day. yes...I've caught the Uke-addiction. :drool:

12-21-2009, 10:31 PM
Hey that's a great looking retro uke. I have a surf shop in Western Australia and I have heaps of old mals hanging as well as a few ukes. Display that one and start collecting new ones! I think even the most expensive uke is still cheap and the hand made mid priced ones are a steal.
Done a bit of kitesurfing, we have one of the windiest coastlines going, but prefer just to surf nowdays. Less stress on my body, been doing a bit of downwind SUPing to take advantage of the afternoon breezes.