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View Full Version : The Loudest Boomiest Kerrangiest Soprano Ukulele?



pulelehua
01-27-2010, 09:13 AM
I run a ukulele club at a secondary school in England. I now have about 25 members. Many of them have some really rubbish ukes, though Christmas was good in the form of a couple Lanikais and a Brunswick or two.

I have a new Kala Acacia Concert, which is a lovely uke, but I'm wondering if there's something that can really boom out over the crowd. I'd prefer a soprano as they mostly play sopranos, and it makes them feel like we're playing the same instrument (which of course we are!).

My main requirement is volume. Cut through, bright, chunky tone. Yes, intonation and all that are good, too. Yes, 15 frets would be wonderful.

Is there such a monster?


Thanks for the wisdom.

haole
01-27-2010, 09:28 AM
KoAloha's ukes have a reputation for being loud. Their standard soprano only has 12 frets, so you might want to consider their long-neck soprano. You might also get a little more volume out of a pineapple-shaped uke than a figure-8, and the Mainland and Ohana pineapples project quite well.

russ_buss
01-27-2010, 10:15 AM
i have the mainland red cedar soprano and it's pretty damn loud. i've played it in group situations (including guitar) and it holds its own more than enough.

oh yeah, has 15 frets too.

Pukulele Pete
01-27-2010, 10:16 AM
Banjo Ukes are really loud.

RevWill
01-27-2010, 11:10 AM
i have the mainland red cedar soprano and it's pretty damn loud. i've played it in group situations (including guitar) and it holds its own more than enough.

oh yeah, has 15 frets too.

I was about to recommend the same uke. Very loud, very kerranggy!

pulelehua
01-27-2010, 11:15 AM
I wish Mainlands had different binding. It just doesn't do it for me. And I have a banjo uke thing. At my local uke club, AnnaUK brought one last time, and it was great, but I dunno. I'm such a fuddy-dud. Does HoosierHiver do plain binding???

Kite
01-27-2010, 11:35 AM
Go for maybe a soprano flea the plastic backing I believe gives it a surprising boost. If synthetic material isn't your thing then I'd suggest a pineapple shaped uke, or choose a bright wood like the red cedar mainland soprano the others are suggesting.
Oh the honeybee soprano from mainland also has an under saddle pick up that doubles as a shoulder strap although these are sold as factory seconds but most owners really don't mind them apparently.

casarole45
01-27-2010, 11:55 AM
I wish Mainlands had different binding. It just doesn't do it for me. And I have a banjo uke thing. At my local uke club, AnnaUK brought one last time, and it was great, but I dunno. I'm such a fuddy-dud. Does HoosierHiver do plain binding???

I emailed him a while ago, they are planning to do a slotted headstock concert mahogany called a 'plain jane' with none of the fancy bindings, email him for some info. sounds perfect for you.

Uncle-Taco
01-27-2010, 02:01 PM
KoAloha's ukes have a reputation for being loud. Their standard soprano only has 12 frets, so you might want to consider their long-neck soprano. You might also get a little more volume out of a pineapple-shaped uke than a figure-8, and the Mainland and Ohana pineapples project quite well.

I have the longneck KoAloha soprano. It's honkin' loud.

Paul December
01-27-2010, 02:30 PM
Ohana Vita - Hands Down

pulelehua
01-29-2010, 09:21 AM
I suppose my problem is that I want something as traditional as possible (with 15 frets - and eat my cake, too). No electronics. No crazy materials or shapes. Though, strangely, a Flea seems fine. There's something about Fleas that grab me. Maybe that's the thing. Lots cheaper than a Koaloha.

I'm beginning to understand why UAS...

I need a uke for home on which I can do serious things (I'm writing a series of ukulele etudes).
I need a uke for school which is loud.
I want a real Hawaiian, proper pineapple or soprano.

The Koaloha would be good for school, but schools aren't too safe.

Maybe my Kala concert, a Flea for school, then save up for a Koolau, Koaloha or Kamaka.

3. That's what I need. My complete disinterest in tenors and baritones, which I don't really understand, just a gut feeling, at least keeps me from needing 5.

For now..................

Gaby
01-29-2010, 12:48 PM
The Vita wins hands down but a cheap punchy little uke is the Kala travel uke or have a look at Ohanas sk-50wg or sk-70mg - they cut through quite well too.

paraclete
01-29-2010, 01:48 PM
My new Kelii koa/mahog is really loud. Of course I don't have a whole lineup to compare it to, but it's louder than my Kala, waaaaay louder than the KPK. Prolly can keep up with Jimi's Halekoa tenor. And it didn't totally break the bank, at $279... about as unadorned and traditional as can be.

DeG
01-29-2010, 04:19 PM
I second, third, whatever(I lost count) the red cedar Mainland...it has punch! Vitas are also surprising loud,but I'm not crazy about the looks. I think if I were going Ohana I would go with a SK50MG.


edit: regarding the Mainland binding, when I first saw a picture of it, I gagged; when I saw it in person, I drooled. I don't know why but pictures don't do it justice.

Ahnko Honu
01-29-2010, 04:25 PM
How loud are the resonator 'ukuleles?

Chris Tarman
01-29-2010, 05:08 PM
I played a couple of Ohanas and couldn't believe how loud they were. The one that stands out in my mind was (I think) the 50MG. Mahogany back and sides with cedar top. Very pretty, with nice tone. And REALLY LOUD.

fromthee2me
01-29-2010, 05:25 PM
Have a look at the Brueko site. They do longneck and conventional sopranos in a variety of woods at reasonable costs. My maple longneck has the makings of a banjo uke and has a lovely plunky and distinctive sound that will not go unnoticed!


http://www.brueko.de/shop/index.php?cat=c7_Special-models.html&XTCsid=42fda30d2b181fe3bb7921e8a340273e

luvdat
01-29-2010, 10:49 PM
Have a look at the Brueko site. They do longneck and conventional sopranos in a variety of woods at reasonable costs. My maple longneck has the makings of a banjo uke and has a lovely plunky and distinctive sound that will not go unnoticed!


http://www.brueko.de/shop/index.php?cat=c7_Special-models.html&XTCsid=42fda30d2b181fe3bb7921e8a340273e

I think your point about the Brueko is an imporatant one. Cutting through and louder are 2 separate things. In general, higher frequencies cut through better and yes distinctive tones. Anyone listening to a choir with soparnos, a good number of bass-baritones, maybe 1 or 2 tenors and 1 alto singing off key...knows what I mean. Is that lady louder than the entire choir? No. But she does "cut through" LOL.

Sambient
01-30-2010, 02:23 AM
Don't forget what strings can add too. Experiment with the Worth Fat strings, very punchy.

Lanark
01-30-2010, 05:02 AM
I'm really amazed sometimes at how freakin' loud the Ohana sopranino is. It would fit your bill but for the size. (and having to rethink all your chords a step down since it's best tuned to ADF#B)

It's a groovy little instrument and worth every penny and then some.

pdxuke
01-30-2010, 08:46 AM
I'm really amazed sometimes at how freakin' loud the Ohana sopranino is. It would fit your bill but for the size. (and having to rethink all your chords a step down since it's best tuned to ADF#B)

It's a groovy little instrument and worth every penny and then some.

+1. Mine is loud, and seemed to get louder when I tuned to D (probably my imagination.) I absolutely love it.

BTW, Lanark, what strings do you have on yours?

Lanark
01-30-2010, 09:01 AM
+1. Mine is loud, and seemed to get louder when I tuned to D (probably my imagination.) I absolutely love it.

BTW, Lanark, what strings do you have on yours?

It had Aquilas on it when I got it. They were adequate, but I think they kind of emphasized the the high end of the uke a bit too much. It wasn't quite shrill to my ears, but getting pretty close. I recently put on a set of Fremonts that warmed up the middle tones, but still don't quite do it. I like the warmer tone, but still want a little bit more brightness.

I'll probably try some Worths next. (It always seems to come down to Worth in the end.)

pdxuke
01-30-2010, 09:11 AM
It had Aquilas on it when I got it. They were adequate, but I think they kind of emphasized the the high end of the uke a bit too much. It wasn't quite shrill to my ears, but getting pretty close. I recently put on a set of Fremonts that warmed up the middle tones, but still don't quite do it. I like the warmer tone, but still want a little bit more brightness.

I'll probably try some Worths next. (It always seems to come down to Worth in the end.)

Yes, I'm with you there. I think, from what I've read, Worths would even it out. We'll compare notes. Are we talking Worth browns? I've never bought Worths before.

dentuke
01-30-2010, 09:28 AM
I think the Kiwaya laminate is an all around great uke with punch as well as balance........ If you don't care for the looks of the Mainland see if you could get your hands on a Bushman Jenny soprano or their Engleman spruce top Pineapple........ The other dark horse is the Hamano soprano if you can find one....its a copy of a 1920'0 regal and it is punchy, loud tin pan uky......

pulelehua
01-30-2010, 11:14 AM
Don't forget what strings can add too. Experiment with the Worth Fat strings, very punchy.

I had been wondering about strings as well. Aquilas are the only ones I've used.

hosenfeferdave
01-30-2010, 11:34 AM
I have the longneck KoAloha soprano. It's honkin' loud.

Ditto. Very loud and bright.