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pdxuke
01-07-2010, 02:04 PM
We already know that Deach loves his $99 uke.

And I've said ad nauseum how much I ADORE MY DOLPHIN(S).

I also play the bejesus out of my Kala watermelon.

Both of these, under 100 clams.

So. Who has got a favorite cheap uke? Ground rules: under 100 smackers, not including shipping.

At the end, I'll put together the whole list.

kenikas
01-07-2010, 03:43 PM
I love my Makala tenor, and I play my grandkids Makala Dolphins quite a bit too. Now I'm not quite as excited about my Hilo baritone, but as soon as I get around to putting the Aquila's I bought for it on that may change.

Doug W
01-07-2010, 03:58 PM
I have a Harmony that my wife found at a rummage sale 10 years ago and picked up for $3.00. It is one of those plastic fingerboard Harmony ukes from the 50s. Currently it is out of commission until I fix the bridge but I used to pick it up and play it fairly often. Not incredible in the tone department but it does play in tune.

http://webpages.charter.net/drw46/examples/harmony-sm.jpg

Toucan Mango
01-07-2010, 04:42 PM
Kala $79.00 Pineapple owner here, I said it before, it gets played the most.

gp-ak
01-07-2010, 04:51 PM
Old Gretsch soprano, 60 bucks!

carpekd
01-07-2010, 04:55 PM
Well, I don't have it anymore, but I learned on a $12 souvenir uke!

kalmario
01-07-2010, 05:24 PM
picked up a makala dolphin as a christmas present. threw on some kala reds and thats some cheap uking. my question is why is there no makala dolphin club to join, this is a grave injustice!!

Sambient
01-07-2010, 05:31 PM
I love cheapies, period! But right now I'm especially madly in love with my Mahalo ULP-30 in the vintage sunburst finish. Just wrote a review for it this morning on Amazon (http://www.amazon.com/Mahalo-ULP-30VS-Vintage-Sunburst-Ukulele/product-reviews/B001SN7R0E/ref=dp_db_cm_cr_acr_txt?ie=UTF8&showViewpoints=1).
That's my favoritestestest at this time, but there's much good cheap company for this ukulele here at Casa Sambient.

Sic_Rob
01-07-2010, 05:37 PM
I bought my Lanikai LU-21 Soprano Ukulele off Amazon in October for $59, on sale. It came with Aquila's and once they strectched I was able to spend more time playing then tuning. It sounds pretty darn good too for that price.

Ahnko Honu
01-07-2010, 06:00 PM
My first pineapple from over 12 years ago a Mahalo U-320P Mahogany laminate here pictured between her sister my R&L Koa, and Waverly Street #51.
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v504/Ahnkochee/My%20Ukuleles/P1010168-1.jpg

pdxuke
01-07-2010, 06:44 PM
picked up a makala dolphin as a christmas present. threw on some kala reds and thats some cheap uking. my question is why is there no makala dolphin club to join, this is a grave injustice!!

I hereby start a Makala Dolphin Club. You and I are the first members!
http://thomasbray.com/uke/pink.jpg

phanzo
01-07-2010, 07:02 PM
Lanikai Pineapple LU-21. Although it doesnt get played much anymore, it's what got me into this whole thing. And it looks perdy, hangin up on my wall.

I'll be gettin 3 Dolphins at some point this year. I have 2 baby nieces that will need to start playing and I (of course) have to have one for myself. I need something to do while driving and I just dont like taking my Mainlands out around the town.

With that being said, if my Lanikai had been set-up by MGM, I might actually play it nowadays. Instead, my brother got it for me as a bday present a few years back, from some shop in Hawaii. The action is pretty terrible, so I assume it just came out of the box and on to the shelf. :( I wish it sounded better, I like that little thing. (It doesn't even sound good enough to be my "car uke")

Ronnie Aloha
01-07-2010, 07:42 PM
http://i14.photobucket.com/albums/a340/RonnieTrojan/100_6789.jpg

Leolani tenor, all Mahogany laminate, Rosewood fretboard, plastic(?) binding on body and fretboard with some darker woodlike purfling around body. Same plastic and pufling material around sound hole I picked it up last week at Sam's Club in Hawaii. $100 bucks with a Lanikai style case, cheap clip on tuner and an extra set up Aquila strings.

micromue
01-07-2010, 09:34 PM
8 Years ago I bought a Brueko No. 6 for about 100$. I still love its pluncky sound and play it a lot.

SamWise
01-07-2010, 10:50 PM
I have a Kala Watermelon that I won in Deach's MmmBop contest. Aside from being a proud trophy, it's my go-anywhere uke. I mean, I have good cases for my better ukes, so I don't mind taking them on the road, but if I'm going camping, or to the beach, it's the Watermelon. It's also the uke that lives on the sofa/floor, which my 2 year old son will strum, which my wife has learned a few chord on, visitors plunk on, and I pick up and play when I'm passing, so it gets a lot of use. I've made videos with it too. It's not my favourite uke, but I like it a lot, and I'm glad to have it.

kissing
01-08-2010, 01:05 AM
Im quite fond of my Mahalo Les paul Soprano with electric pickup.
Well under $100 :D

deach
01-08-2010, 01:10 AM
We already know that Deach loves his $99 uke.
...
That uke is hand painted and I bought it for $99. The uke itself probably cost $40.

I also had a pineapple Kala uke that I loved.

Nothing wrong with cheapies.

Pukulele Pete
01-08-2010, 01:12 AM
I love my vintage Martin style 1 that I bought from Ebay for 66 bucks. It had a bunch of cracks, a hole, was missing the nut ,and someone painted desiigns all over.
It's all fixed and sounds nice.

UKISOCIETY
01-08-2010, 01:36 AM
http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3300/3593133788_d7a7a1aee2_b.jpg

I love my Makala Dolphin - I take it everywhere. But my faves for under 100, and usually under $50, are my T.V. Pal pals! :)

heyjude
01-08-2010, 02:15 AM
Mine would be an Ohana SK35G that I bought on ebay for $51.00 with a small 3" long stable crack in the top.

Jude

buddhuu
01-08-2010, 02:32 AM
Makala dolphins for me. unbeatable value, IMHO.

I love 'em.

mailman
01-08-2010, 07:09 AM
My Kala KA-SC from MGM cost me $139, but that included the case, the pitchpipe, the chord book and the shipping. It also included the famous MGM set-up and the upgrade to Aquila strings. I'm guessing the uke by itself is under $100.

Great deal for the price, IMHO.

KenjiBeast
01-08-2010, 07:21 AM
I've got a Lanikai pineapple for sixty bucks. It sounds a dream, the action's good, and the intonation's alright. Mostly, though, it's just adorable. It's like.. Classy in a very subtle, understated sort of way. I've always preferred a matte finish. :P

WS64
01-08-2010, 07:21 AM
Schaepe by Platinum (doesn't exist anymore).
http://ws64.com/Pictures/Instruments/Pix/schaepe.jpg

I paid new €12, but Dudelhans did some adjustments and replaced the tuners by real ones (the ones you see on the pictures), so it was a tittle more all in all.


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5O2jqT5yV4M

pdxuke
01-08-2010, 02:23 PM
picked up a makala dolphin as a christmas present. threw on some kala reds and thats some cheap uking. my question is why is there no makala dolphin club to join, this is a grave injustice!!

It's official: The Makala Dolphin Club has been started under Uke Talk.

buddhuu
01-08-2010, 02:38 PM
Click for the Makala Dolphin UU Group (http://www.ukuleleunderground.com/forum/group.php?groupid=100).

Go join. :)

pdxuke
01-08-2010, 02:48 PM
Click for the Makala Dolphin UU Group (http://www.ukuleleunderground.com/forum/group.php?groupid=100).

Go join. :)

Oh, awesome! I'll post a link under the thread I started in Uke Talk! Thanks, Rick!

buddhuu
01-08-2010, 02:49 PM
Enjoy! ;)

Richie23
01-09-2010, 04:19 AM
Ha ha - thats most of my ukes.

In order of cheapness

my Makala MK/SN, which cost £20 (IMHO - the best cheap uke out there)

I love my Lanikai LU21 soprano, which cost £40, and travels everywhere with me.
I adore my Ashbury AU60 Oakwood concert, which cost £60

They all sound great, all different. At the moment my favorite is the Ashbury, but next week it will be another no doubt

CountryMouse
01-09-2010, 07:00 AM
I love cheapies, period! But right now I'm especially madly in love with my Mahalo ULP-30 in the vintage sunburst finish. Just wrote a review for it this morning on Amazon (http://www.amazon.com/Mahalo-ULP-30VS-Vintage-Sunburst-Ukulele/product-reviews/B001SN7R0E/ref=dp_db_cm_cr_acr_txt?ie=UTF8&showViewpoints=1).
That's my favoritestestest at this time, but there's much good cheap company for this ukulele here at Casa Sambient.

OMG, I was looking at getting an all-black one of these! Going back to read your full review later when I have time!

CountryMouse, who LOVES her white Makala Dolphin! :)

BarreFly
01-09-2010, 07:02 AM
I only have the one uke right now, and it was an absolute bargain - £20 Mahalo:

http://i24.photobucket.com/albums/c39/towerjunkie19/Me/uke.jpg
(This was a photo I sent to a friend when i first bought it... I was a bit excited :p )

bt93
01-09-2010, 07:04 AM
i play my mitchell that i got fixed more than my mainland (personally thinks it sounds better too!!) it was 99.99

pdxuke
01-09-2010, 07:10 AM
http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3300/3593133788_d7a7a1aee2_b.jpg

I love my Makala Dolphin - I take it everywhere. But my faves for under 100, and usually under $50, are my T.V. Pal pals! :)

I want a $50 TV pal!

d-mace
01-09-2010, 08:24 AM
Kamao Pineapple...$99....bought from the UU store.

gioconbrio
01-09-2010, 11:55 AM
$40 Triumph (I haven't tried a Makala, but these are the best bang for your buck in my mind)
$80 Dixie banjolele

And those prices INCLUDE shipping! Of course I then spent another 20 bucks on a mylar head for the Dixie and another 60 bucks on pickups and a paint job for the Triumph. But I still love cheap instruments. In fact that's practically all I play. I've got a $100 bass, a $30 violin, a free banjo, and a crap guitar I bought in Scotland for 30 pounds.

UKISOCIETY
01-09-2010, 12:30 PM
I want a $50 TV pal!

I saw a great TV Pal on Ebay that recently went for under $5. Serious.

molokinirum
01-09-2010, 12:54 PM
Makala Concert with aquila strings. Got it for Christmas 2009 and love it!! $65 from MGM

luvdat
01-13-2010, 12:35 AM
In the soprano size especially cheap ukes rock.

The Kala 15-S (the uke that SOLD the Kala line to the staff at Ritchie's in NJ). I own 2 of them now, his and hers for me and my wife. Frankly, I've come to the conclusion that in the Kala line, the best offerings/values are still around $100 (ex. travel soprano)...with good solid woods there (with still some "issues"). Probably in the next level solid wood "soprano" with the most vibe is the sopranino by Ohana? With Mainland winning in the 'hog soprano category in terms of sustain, construction, a sense of clearly making a soprano at a lower mid-price.

On order: a travel/thinline soprano (tone monster, lol)...and 2 Dolphins...

IMO, most cheap uke sopranos (ex. TV Pal) have more mojo than even the imagined upgrade sopranos in the $200-300 range (the exception of Mele...with the "handmade" vibe)...which most other offerings "competent" at best. Hey, the more recent Made In Mexico S-O Martin's aren't leaving most Martin fans that happy, so what can I say? For myself, I would rather "save up" for a Kamaka, seriously, I've played them...or be a satisified Mainland or Mele soprano owner. I can not recommend with "high honors" most of the solid wood Kala sopranos...or even the Ohanas which seem to lack a degree of tonal balance but still "good"...this is for me the context of why cheap ukes rock especially in the soprano size...

Cheap ukes clearly put the emphasis on playing and enjoyment.

Sic_Rob
01-13-2010, 04:32 AM
I love my vintage Martin style 1 that I bought from Ebay for 66 bucks. It had a bunch of cracks, a hole, was missing the nut ,and someone painted desiigns all over.
It's all fixed and sounds nice.

Post a Pic if you can. Would love to see a before and after image if possible.

BTW, someone gave me a Makala Km-Srecently and I'm loving playing that also. I'm so happy that I found the ukulele I coudl prbably play a stick connceted to a box with 4 strings and if I can tune it I would love that too.

ilovelaika
05-21-2010, 02:43 PM
I love my Makala tenor, and I play my grandkids Makala Dolphins quite a bit too. Now I'm not quite as excited about my Hilo baritone, but as soon as I get around to putting the Aquila's I bought for it on that may change.

i LOVE my hilo baritone. and replacing the crap strings with aquilas and tightening the tuners made a world of difference. for $45, it's great deal.

i like my savannah soprano ($30), too. just not as much.

the52blues
05-21-2010, 02:56 PM
My Kala pineapple plays really well. I love it. I just ordered a nice hand made tenor of ebay from Taiwan for $71. It looks good. Can't wait for it to arrive!

http://i975.photobucket.com/albums/ae232/the52blues/Instruments/Santenoruke1a.jpg

http://i975.photobucket.com/albums/ae232/the52blues/pineapple4.jpg

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OiK3oZucTnA

KevinV
05-21-2010, 03:27 PM
Although not my favorite, I'm quite content playing my Makala MK-S. It's my "stay at work" uke for breaks and lunch. They sell new at my local music store for $39.

Pondoro
05-22-2010, 01:18 AM
My $59 Lanikai LU-21 was my only soprano for several years. I did spends several hours messing with the action over that time, but it was enjoyable time and I got the uke sounding pretty good. I just upgraded to a more expensive Ohana but the Lanikai will remain my travel uke. I also had a Mitchell that was under $100 but I recently sold it. The Mitchell sounded fine but was a little too quiet and I thought it looked more like a small guitar than a uke. I sold it to fund the new Ohana.

luvdat
05-22-2010, 02:34 AM
A strong vote for the Makala baritone...

The Makala baritone with D'Addario J68's...a very balanced sound indeed...it sounds great...and the intonation is fine. It also records very micely and is great with vocals.

dans003
05-22-2010, 02:53 AM
i got a really cheap one for my 1st. it was around £20 (sorry, dont know it in american money). its an ashton UKE100MH. it sounds rubbish, has bad tone and the frets are way out, but i cant seem to stop paying it. i've got a better uke, but still playthis one.13005

kenikas
05-23-2010, 09:20 AM
i LOVE my hilo baritone. and replacing the crap strings with aquilas and tightening the tuners made a world of difference. for $45, it's great deal.

i like my savannah soprano ($30), too. just not as much.
I'm glad to hear the Aquila's help the Hilo, I haven't been able to try mine yet. I got as a kind of luthiery practice project, it had been dropped and has a big dent in the lower bout and the tuners are worn out, although they still work, even after tightening they lean at an odd angle. But they still stay in tune once you can get them there! There was a thread a while back about someone refinishing their Hilo, and it was very nice looking. So I'm hopefull for mine, and if I ever get it done I'll have to post some pic's!

kenikas
05-23-2010, 09:26 AM
My Kala pineapple plays really well. I love it.
I bought one of these a month or so ago too, mostly for the looks, it's just so darn cute! But it's a fun, nice sounding player as well. I'm really enjoying mine.

Skitzic
05-24-2010, 04:34 AM
I have a Kala Watermelon that just amuses me to no end. Behind that is my Dolphin.

SweetWaterBlue
05-24-2010, 03:05 PM
I'm blaming luvdatuke for this lol. I went to Sam Ash tonight and after tuning it up, I played the pants off a Makala Baritone. Very impressive sound for $69. Good intonation all the way up, very loud, good fretwork. Nothing fancy here, just sound. Got in some good practice on my Johnny Cash songs and even drove a couple of guitarists out of the acoustic room (now there's a switch). I just don't see how you could beat this uke for the price, unless you want something tiny and like a Dolphin. Of course its more like a guitar than a uke.

luvdat
05-25-2010, 12:36 AM
I'm blaming luvdatuke for this lol. I went to Sam Ash tonight and after tuning it up, I played the pants off a Makala Baritone. Very impressive sound for $69. Good intonation all the way up, very loud, good fretwork. Nothing fancy here, just sound. Got in some good practice on my Johnny Cash songs and even drove a couple of guitarists out of the acoustic room (now there's a switch). I just don't see how you could beat this uke for the price, unless you want something tiny and like a Dolphin. Of course its more like a guitar than a uke.

SWB, that thing is light, loud and lovely. Yeah, like a guitar and like a uke but the string spacing lets you get a lot in...and a lot out.

I played a Favilla mahog baritone yesterday in a vintage shop...the Makala baritone holds it own and ain't bad at all!!!

SweetWaterBlue
05-26-2010, 05:59 AM
While we are on this subject, has anyone ever played one of the cheap azz Johnson or Excel ($38 at my local Dirt Cheep Music store) baritones? They are as cheap or cheaper than the Makalas, and I am trying to fight off the siren-call of that Makala as long as I can. I have even tuned my Kala tenor down to baritone tuning in the attempt. It sounds ok, but it just aint the same.

I also notice that Kala says the U-Bass is a baritone body with those giant bass rubber-band strings. I wonder if one of those Makala baritones could be converted to a U-Bass with the strings and a pickup, or if the string tension would fold it like a pretzel?

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/8/8d/John_William_Waterhouse_-_Ulysses_and_the_Sirens_%281891%29.jpg/800px-John_William_Waterhouse_-_Ulysses_and_the_Sirens_%281891%29.jpg

Teek
05-26-2010, 08:41 AM
My best cheap uke is probably the Favilla soprano with the sloppily reset (but true) previously busted neck, missing a fret but $20. plus say about a gallon of gas and an hour's travel time. Als0 got a koa Ukulele Mfg Co. of Honolulu uke with it for another 20. plus gas, new tuners and strings. Feather light rounded back, Hawaiian style one piece top and back and frets set into the neck. Very vintage, solid mahogany. Both looked like crap and both are projects but both sound lovely. Next best cheap uke is a Giannini bari off eBay for $50, just needed a set of tuners for $14, what a nice sound on that uke. Mostly use it to stretch my fingers. ;)

luvdat
05-26-2010, 10:00 AM
While we are on this subject, has anyone ever played one of the cheap azz Johnson or Excel ($38 at my local Dirt Cheep Music store) baritones? They are as cheap or cheaper than the Makalas, and I am trying to fight off the siren-call of that Makala as long as I can. I have even tuned my Kala tenor down to baritone tuning in the attempt. It sounds ok, but it just aint the same.

I also notice that Kala says the U-Bass is a baritone body with those giant bass rubber-band strings. I wonder if one of those Makala baritones could be converted to a U-Bass with the strings and a pickup, or if the string tension would fold it like a pretzel?

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/8/8d/John_William_Waterhouse_-_Ulysses_and_the_Sirens_%281891%29.jpg/800px-John_William_Waterhouse_-_Ulysses_and_the_Sirens_%281891%29.jpg

Hidden in the sails of that vessel is a subliminal image of a Makala baritone of agathis...agathis...agathis...

DoctorFinlay
05-26-2010, 10:32 AM
I love my $78 Lepore solid zebra wood tenor that I got from taisamlu in Taiwan off ebay. Cost a fair bit to ship to the UK but it was worth every penny! Think I might get my wife a dolphin in the near future as she has shown a bit of an interest and it would be nice to play together!

arashi_nero
05-26-2010, 12:23 PM
by the price set by the op, i have one uke there. 1960's beltone plastic-fretboard, laminant soprano. not quite sure how much my dad (or my grandpa--my dad was 8, so i doubt my dad actually bought it) paid for it, but i would doubt it was more than $20 back in '68. after puting the right gauge strings, fixing the bridge, and puting on better tuners, it's an awesome uke. has a great sound and is what got me into ukes. for me, tho, it was actually free.99 :rofl:. i think in the somewhat near future, i may try different strings--although i do like the martin flourocarbons.

my oscar schmidt ou4 tenor wasn't much more than $100. i paid about $125 for it and with the d'addario pro arte strings, it totally sings!!

bnicholas26
05-27-2010, 04:38 PM
you be crazy NOT to buy a cheap uke! great for the car..... or lending to someone eager to start an addiction!

pdxuke
01-03-2011, 05:22 PM
19092

A new addition to the fun cheap uke section: My $29 Toys R Us Woody uke. Wood laminate of some kind, switched out strings and while not a Dolphin--fun!

WS64
01-04-2011, 09:01 AM
While we are on this subject, has anyone ever played one of the cheap azz Johnson or Excel ($38 at my local Dirt Cheep Music store) baritones? They are as cheap or cheaper than the Makalas, and I am trying to fight off the siren-call of that Makala as long as I can.

No idea if this is the same one, but my second uke ever (I bought it 2002 and immediately tuned it to mandolin tuning since I had no use for a guitar with two missing bass strings, until I finally learned to play ukulele in 2006 and restringed it to reentrant G) was a Johnson. VERY cheap, 30€ new or something like that.


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mYG8rgrTn3w

I Ukulista
01-04-2011, 11:49 AM
Cheapest Ukulele in UK. Sue Ryder Charity Shops carry a 'no name' ukulele for £12.99
I put some quality strings on one and it really is a nice little instrument in fact I compared to an Ohana SK10 s and although the finish and build is better with the Ohana at £45 plus the no name has the edge on projection and depth on sound. However the intonation is no so great (still it will give an harmonic at the 12 fret).
Cheapest beater in UK at Sue Ryder charity shop worth a try.

andywergedal
01-04-2011, 01:03 PM
Cheap ukes are usually quieter than the really expensive ones. Just get one that has good intonation. They are great for just working out songs and bashing out rhythms.

My first uke a hilo was experimented on until I could no longer make any usable sound out of it. I then took the neck off the body and tried (unsuccessfully) to attach it to a cigar box. Which taught me tons about nuts, saddles, strings, setup, scale, etc.

I usually play the cheap ones the hardest and the best. Then without a thought give them away... (Hey Mr. Bruce, can you find it in your heart to send me back that green mahalo with all the stickers? it was the best ukulele ever).

BTW, I've never been able to find another mahalo that played as nice or sounded as good as that one.

andywergedal
01-04-2011, 01:07 PM
While we are on this subject, has anyone ever played one of the cheap azz Johnson or Excel ($38 at my local Dirt Cheep Music store) baritones? They are as cheap or cheaper than the Makalas, and I am trying to fight off the siren-call of that Makala as long as I can.

You might try the rogue bari from musicians friend. $29.99 shipped. I'm tempted to get one myself, especially since trying to play my classical guitar over Christmas break. (I could only use 4 strings).

HornedOne
01-25-2011, 04:41 AM
I love my vintage Brüko best sounding instrument I have and it only cost me 30 euros for the uke itself and 7,50 for the strings (martin fluoro)

but the neck has shrunk a bit in so I need to find a way to gently file the frets

rem50
01-25-2011, 05:50 AM
mine is a Kala soprano. sounds good and was about $75 total on ebay

DAPuke
01-25-2011, 07:02 AM
My first uke purchase after learning on a borrowed cheap Mahalo, was a Makala MK-T. I put Aquila's on it and it sounded great. This weekend my wife and I were in at The Thin Man in Alameda and she bought a Kala KA-C for me for $79.00. The Aquila's it comes with new are still stretching. The Kala is now my fav and I've passed the Makala Tenor to my wife:)
I would love to have a nicely set up Makala Dolphin and a Pineapple uke.
DAP

Hippie Dribble
01-25-2011, 07:08 AM
by far my fave cheap uke is a Mahalo Les Paul copy. Cost me $65. Perfect (yep, believe it foilks) intonation.

The aquilas give it a real sweet and rich tone, great volume and one of the best sounding ukes I have. Very happy with it and it gets played all the time. :)

pepamahina
01-25-2011, 09:18 AM
I have a Kala Watermelon that I won in Deach's MmmBop contest. Aside from being a proud trophy, it's my go-anywhere uke. I mean, I have good cases for my better ukes, so I don't mind taking them on the road, but if I'm going camping, or to the beach, it's the Watermelon. It's also the uke that lives on the sofa/floor, which my 2 year old son will strum, which my wife has learned a few chord on, visitors plunk on, and I pick up and play when I'm passing, so it gets a lot of use. I've made videos with it too. It's not my favourite uke, but I like it a lot, and I'm glad to have it.

I have a Kala watermelon too and it is a giant hit with kids. I took it to my daughter's second grade music class and everyone kind of squealed in delight when they saw it. My daughter proudly proclaims, "My Mom can play a watermelon!" It sounds pretty good too, although I must admit, I use it only for the novelty factor, not when I want the best sound.

tjomball
01-26-2011, 07:37 PM
This is my cheapo uke...
http://www.ukuleleunderground.com/forum/showthread.php?41464-Reno-RU-150-BLK-Soprano

wigblender
01-26-2011, 11:29 PM
Here's another one for the Lanikai LU-21p. Nothin' wrong with a beater.

70sSanO
02-28-2017, 08:05 AM
I decided to resurrect this old thread rather than start a new one.

So my son calls me and wants to know what cheap uke to buy. It seems that when our grandson starts to cry, our son will let him strum (of sorts because he is only 7 months old) his guitar he stops crying. But it is a steel string guitar so he wants a smaller nylon string ukulele. Now I have no delusions of grandeur that a 7 month old has any possibility of actually playing a ukulele. So a I told our son that I would get him one.

Took a drive to Island Bazaar in Huntington Beach (great shop) to pick one up. Ended up with a Makala Dolphin. My wife picked out the color and I did the quick sound, fretboard, string height, intonation once over.

Once home, I took out the nut files and got everything pretty close at the lower frets. The string height at the 12th was 2.5mm so did nothing to the saddle height. Obviously not perfect intonation but pretty good.

I am pretty amazed at what $50 of ukulele can sound like, even with stock strings. It is really fun to play. Over the years I have tried a few cheap ukes that sounded horrible and were almost unplayable. Not this one. And to be honest they all sounded basically the same. My once over was to eliminate any that had buzzing (high fret) or overly high strings, which is why it is best to actually play the one you are going to buy.

As for spending all this time setting up a uke for a 7 month old. It is really for our son. My hope, hopefully not delusions if grandeur, is that our son will start to fiddle around on it and get hooked. So I want it to be as playable as possible. It may mean more trips to Island Bazaar, but that is fine with me.

John

Rob Uker
02-28-2017, 09:48 AM
I love my Lanikai LU11

Griffis
02-28-2017, 11:55 AM
Early on in my uke days I was very fond of Oscar Schmidt instruments. I had multiple OU2 and OU3 concert models, all under $100.

I still think these are fine ukes, but they are very sturdily built and tend not to project terribly well.

In the intervening years I've had some nice vintage ukes, some other higher-end expensive brands and a custom-made Beltona.

Currently I own 4 ukes...in no particular order:

1. Woods brand baritone. A gift from a friend. These are no longer made but I think they could be had for about $70 on Amazon when available. Cheap, mass-produced Asian uke, but really not bad at all. Very easy to play. Nice, mellow tone. Very lightweight.

2. Mitchell MU70 concert uke. Aside from the bridge, headstock shape and logo, identical to the Oscar Schmidt OU3. This one, though, has significantly more volume and sustain than the OU3s I've owned. I got it used with a nice case from Guitar Center for $70. I think they list for $99 new, without case.

3. Gretsch G9100 soprano. $99 new from a local shop. Very impressive uke IMO, even not taking the cost into consideration.

4. No-name El Cheapo Japanese soprano I bought in 2000 on eBay. I know that all-in it cost me no more than $15. It's been through a flood. Still going strong with a bit of elbow grease, glue, new tuners and new set of Martin strings. It is ugly as sin (may refinish it someday, or strip it at least) but it's the one I play most, would never part with. My entire family and many friends have played on it. It's traveled with me through parts of Europe and to every corner of the USA.

I love cheapies. The past decade or two, improvements in mass production have brought about a golden era of inexpensive, very decent and highly consistent instruments. When I first began playing guitar in the 70s, and through the early 90s, many (most?) Asian budget instruments verged on being unplayable junk.

Not true anymore. It's amazing what you can get for +/- $150 these days...in ukes, guitars, basses...

None of my ukes will ever be mistaken for a vintage Martin or a high-end brand, or a luthier-built, heirloom quality instrument. But I really am content to let others own and enjoy those.

My cheap ukes may not be as intrinsically "good" or "valuable" as many pricier ukes, but I derive every bit as much pleasure from my cheapies as I ever did from ukes that cost me many times more. And spending $800 on an instrument never made me a better player.

TheCraftedCow
03-01-2017, 07:12 AM
Just plain good playing fun are the Eddy Finn sopranos in 5 different colors--1of which is mahogany back and sides and a spruce color top .The minimum advertised price is $35 but as long as one does not advertise it, the company doesn't care if one gives them away, so some sell them below MAP.

The concert thin bodyTraveler is probably the best bang for the buck at 112.00 MAP, but some do not advertise and just reply by Private Messages to find prices on things.

groan
03-01-2017, 08:37 AM
I havn't received it yet but here's the total for my new Dolphin that's hopefully shipping soon. I couldn't believe the price! (USD)
Here in Canada we pay $70 Canadian with the tax. $100 if you try to buy it off Amazon.ca. Plus I was told it already has Aquila Nylgut installed!
98212


Order Summary
Item(s) Subtotal: $30.00
Shipping & Handling: $7.07
Total before tax: $37.07
Estimated tax to be collected: $0.00
Grand Total: $37.07

Can't wait to try it.

drbekken
03-01-2017, 08:54 AM
https://youtu.be/CcszMngjezY

Here's a video of the Rogue baritone from a couple of years back...cheapest there is, and I absolutely love it. Got a Rogue soprano too. Stone funky.

Griffis
03-01-2017, 10:01 AM
https://youtu.be/CcszMngjezY

Here's a video of the Rogue baritone from a couple of years back...cheapest there is, and I absolutely love it. Got a Rogue soprano too. Stone funky.

Whoa! Such tasty playing. Just beautiful. You make it seem effortless. That style is right up my alley too (though I sure can't pull off anything approaching what you did there.)

Just goes to show, to large degree, it's the magician; not the wand.

Post more clips! I'm eager to hear the Rogue soprano!

townsley
03-01-2017, 11:44 AM
Outdoor Ukulele soprano-$95.

Zeboma
03-01-2017, 02:24 PM
I'm new to this uke thing (guitarist)....thrilled and pleasantly surprised that my $91 Kala KA SLNG sounds so darn sweet. Love it!

drbekken
03-01-2017, 06:12 PM
Whoa! Such tasty playing. Just beautiful. You make it seem effortless. That style is right up my alley too (though I sure can't pull off anything approaching what you did there.)

Just goes to show, to large degree, it's the magician; not the wand.

Post more clips! I'm eager to hear the Rogue soprano!

https://youtu.be/cUv8CRyGIvo

Debussychopin
03-01-2017, 07:42 PM
I actually love my islander. 80 bux ms4 perfect intonation precise playability and fast neck. Smooth tone.

PTOEguy
03-02-2017, 04:52 AM
The best sound to dollar ratio I've ever achieved was probably the 2 Lanaiki LU-21 concerts that I bought as gambler's specials from Butler Music. After some setup work they sounded amazing. I gave one to my brother-in-law and sold the other.

Griffis
03-02-2017, 07:17 AM
https://youtu.be/cUv8CRyGIvo

:drool:

Dang, brother...yer killing me.

JackLuis
03-02-2017, 08:08 PM
I have overindulged on Caramel Zebrawood Ukes. I have them in all sizes from Soporanino to Baritone. All were less than $85 with electronics! Most needed a setup but they play well and are intoned well. I also have two Ohana's that sound a lot better and are easier to play, but cost 3-5 times what the Caramels cost.
I haven't found many $200 ukes that can compare to my Caramels, after they were set up.

Ikon
03-02-2017, 08:33 PM
http://i323.photobucket.com/albums/nn465/robertlp/IMG_1593_zpsch9ogv9h.jpg (http://s323.photobucket.com/user/robertlp/media/IMG_1593_zpsch9ogv9h.jpg.html)

Locally made, Acacia All Solid Top, Sides and Back selling for around $60 in my country.

Chopped Liver
08-16-2017, 09:32 AM
So, here's the thread we were talking about in another thread! Yay!

I just bought an Enya Sapele Tenor Uke for $67. I love it!

I also have a teal Makala Shark that I love!

Croaky Keith
08-16-2017, 10:30 AM
The first long neck soprano I bought, Kala KA-SLNG (my fourth uke), is still a favourite of mine, yet it is one of the cheaper ukes that I have. :D

(The first 3 that I bought were all Makala, (tenor, concert, & soprano), nothing wrong with them at all, & I am just about to pass them on, along with a perfectly good plastic concert uke.)

Iza
08-16-2017, 01:19 PM
Mine is an Ortega RU5MM (concert) and it cost me 73 euros, without the shipping. So, about 100$, I think. I love it :)

maki66
08-17-2017, 02:00 AM
I've got a Donner soprano that and an Enya round body X1 both well under $50 delivered.
Both of these seem pretty nice, but they were improved by a string up grade to Martin 600s.
The Donner gets a ton of use since its my car/work/take along instrument.

DownUpDave
08-18-2017, 02:24 AM
The first long neck soprano I bought, Kala KA-SLNG (my fourth uke), is still a favourite of mine, yet it is one of the cheaper ukes that I have. :D

(The first 3 that I bought were all Makala, (tenor, concert, & soprano), nothing wrong with them at all, & I am just about to pass them on, along with a perfectly good plastic concert uke.)

About a week ago I received a used Kala KA-SSLNG, solid spruce top super soprano and it is a great sounding and playing uke.

Here is a group shot of my current in house "cheap uke" line up. I have lent out a Gretsch laminate tenor and a Islander AS-4 long neck soprano.
Cheap is a relative term and these were all under $150.00 . The Gianinni baritone I bought used here and it was really beat up but the neck was straight, it was solid with no cracks and it plays and sounds great. It is fun to have casual ukes sitting around the house to pick up and play when the mood strikes.

102436

Pueo
08-18-2017, 09:38 AM
I have an Epiphone Les Paul concert that was $99 from Guitar Center - I also had a 15% off coupon so it was $85.
I bought it just for the way it looks, but it turns out it is actually quite well built, over-built actually, I am sure I could take out a couple of zombies with a crack to the skull without much damage :D
The sound, especially unplugged, leaves a LOT to be desired, but it plays very well, the wood is pretty, and the finish is high quality. Plugged in it is a real hoot to play. I have used it in a few Seasons videos.


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H0MdptE5vlk
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P6RLmyp56t0

The Pashmeister
06-13-2018, 02:52 AM
I have a Rubin RS101 Zebrawood soprano that I bought brand new off ebay for £18 including delivery from China.
It resides in the back of my Land Rover and I play it almost every day when I'm early at work. It's not the best uke, but I still love it.

Iulia
06-13-2018, 07:12 AM
I'm amazed how nicely the colourful Mahilele with ABS back plays!!! Might be cheaper in the US (most ukes seem to be) but between £40 - 45 here is a brilliant bargain IMO.

Creb
06-13-2018, 09:16 AM
Love my cheap uke, it is my favorite. It's a soprano Mahalo Rainbow series in a sickly colored neon-orange/pink I bought for $25. I leave it laying under chairs, in my car for weeks in 100 degree weather, and I beat on the back and sides of it like it is a bongoele. Has just as good intonation as my more expensive ukes and a pleasant (although slightly quieter) music box sound. It's great having a beater laying around and it gets played a lot more than anything else I carefully handle.

Ziret
06-13-2018, 09:46 AM
I'm amazed how nicely the colourful Mahilele with ABS back plays!!! Might be cheaper in the US (most ukes seem to be) but between £40 - 45 here is a brilliant bargain IMO.
I agree. They are hard to get here--I've only seen them at Amazon where they are, I think, about $50-60. The Flight travel uke at Thomann seem to be identical, for a little less, and mine arrived in 3 days from England.

Iulia
06-13-2018, 11:40 PM
I agree. They are hard to get here--I've only seen them at Amazon where they are, I think, about $50-60. The Flight travel uke at Thomann seem to be identical, for a little less, and mine arrived in 3 days from England.

There are some on eBay.co.uk https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/223015570780

and fortysevenwolves.co.uk

I think they are only UK shipping though. The only other places I've seen them are buying from Italy.

Jerryc41
06-14-2018, 02:57 AM
We already know that Deach loves his $99 uke.

And I've said ad nauseum how much I ADORE MY DOLPHIN(S).

I also play the bejesus out of my Kala watermelon.

Both of these, under 100 clams.

So. Who has got a favorite cheap uke? Ground rules: under 100 smackers, not including shipping.

At the end, I'll put together the whole list.

Yes, cheap ukes can be great. I got an Enya concert on Amazon for $18.21 delivered. it was one of those sales that last just a few hours. I also got an Enya tenor for about $50, and I converted it to a resonator. I also like the Waterman. It's a decent uke that resists damage. My first uke cost about $20 from an ABC store in Hawaii, and I used it for several years.

Croaky Keith
06-14-2018, 03:14 AM
My vote goes to...........

..........my Kala KA-SLNG long neck soprano. :D

frianm
06-14-2018, 04:03 AM
I was sent 13 ukuleles for my Peru music project - so - I got to evaluate a number of cheapies. The best were Makala and Cordoba. They had a nice resonance and were easy to play. Their finish was nice. I have a huge appreciation of cheap ukuleles - as well as the generosity of some UU members - as they make music possible in this poverty stricken part off the world. I like also the fact that they are inherently stable and can live with some rough treatment.

Ziret
06-14-2018, 05:10 AM
There are some on eBay.co.uk https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/223015570780

and fortysevenwolves.co.uk

I think they are only UK shipping though. The only other places I've seen them are buying from Italy.

Thanks. According to the Italian site (which is owned by Aquila) they don't ship to the US. Thomann worked great for me. I bought one from Amazon too, but sold it last year and missed it so much I had to get another.

Iulia
06-15-2018, 06:37 AM
Thanks. According to the Italian site (which is owned by Aquila) they don't ship to the US. Thomann worked great for me. I bought one from Amazon too, but sold it last year and missed it so much I had to get another.

I love them actually - its probably not as good as my Ohana which was well over twice the price, but for a starter instrument I'd recommend to anyone.

Gmontema
05-30-2019, 08:25 PM
I found this thread when researching cheap but enjoyable ukes for a gift. I ended with a Makai solid spruce concert pineapple. While it was more expensive than the $40 ukes in this thread ($130 with shipping), I was surprised at the value, tone and playability found in this relatively “cheaper” solid spruce instrument.

Lacole
05-31-2019, 04:29 AM
Inspiring! Thanks.

Gmontema
06-01-2019, 04:55 AM
Inspiring! Thanks.

It is nice to know that good looks, great tone, playability and fun don’t have to cost an arm and a leg!

gochugogi
06-01-2019, 08:16 AM
Yes, I've owned a few cheap 'uku: Takamine G series tenor, Lainikai, Cordoba, etc., and I found the wonderful thing about them is the joy of giving them away to students in need of an 'uku!