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View Full Version : Decent 'cheap' uke as birthday gift.



TheWannabe90
04-12-2010, 11:39 PM
aloha to you all,
one of my friends is celebrating his twentieth birthday in a few days. We have reason to believe he is quite interested in picking up a new instrument, next to the guitar. So what could possibly be better than the ukulele? Unfortunately we dont't have a lot of money to spend on it. So I hoped you could tell me what uke you would pick in the price range of 80-100$ ? Also, you think we should go for a soprano, concert or tenor?
thanks a lot.

Guting
04-13-2010, 12:14 AM
cant go wrong with a kala/lanikai bottom line tenor

luvdat
04-13-2010, 12:29 AM
Kala 15-S.

Skitzic
04-13-2010, 02:14 AM
The Kala watermelon!

I love my Lanikai tenor though. Very easy transition from the guitar (for me).

molokinirum
04-13-2010, 05:24 AM
Look into a Kala and check out MGM, he sells tons of Kalas in all prices. Plus he will setup the uke and put on aquila strings.

kenikas
04-13-2010, 05:25 AM
Makala makes a great uke for the money, and for around $100 you can probably get one with a case or bag, and a tuner. I don't know how expensive it is to bring them in to Belgium, but MusicGuyMic has starter kits that are very reasonably priced, and his set up is well worth it!

TheWannabe90
04-13-2010, 05:38 AM
Thanks for the feedback. The only thing that worries me is the shipping costs to belgium. I found a shop here that sells oscar schmidt ukes, are they any good?

Vindelanda
04-13-2010, 05:59 AM
I have an Oscar Schmidt (OU3, I believe) and it's really good in my opinion. Not that I've ever owned or even tried the top of the line ukes out there, but I think it's great for it's price, and for a beginner. They tend to look pretty spiffy, too. :)
I was actually just going to suggest an Oscar Schmidt and then I saw your post. :D

portlandjosh
04-13-2010, 06:56 AM
I'd get him a concert size. That's what I started on, and I love it. Very different from holding a guitar, but not super tiny.

Skrik
04-13-2010, 07:40 AM
Lanikai LU21.

sukie
04-13-2010, 07:43 AM
Thanks for the feedback. The only thing that worries me is the shipping costs to belgium. I found a shop here that sells oscar schmidt ukes, are they any good?

I used to take ukulele lessons from a professional musician -- mandolin and autoharp mainly. Anyway -- she bought an Oscar Schmidt and was pleased with it. I'd say its a good first uke -- especially for a starter. I second the idea of a concert. I love concerts.

wheelgunner
04-13-2010, 08:24 AM
The Oscar Schmidt is a good starter uke. I started with an OU3. One suggestion though, change the strings to Aquila nylguts if you can. They make a big difference in the sound.

Coconut Willie
04-13-2010, 09:18 AM
The concert size is perfect for starting out, not too small.

Dane
04-13-2010, 09:56 AM
I started with an Oscar Schmidt OU3, and I think it sounds horrible. Aquillas definitely helped it (I think they help all laminate ukes) but it still sounds like a pile of poop. It's hidden away in the back of my closet, and every 6months or so I take it out, just to remind myself why I keep it there. I heard some people really liked the kamoas to start with, I think Aldrine played one for a bit in one of the early uke-giveaway contest videos. They have them in the UU store I think too.

EDIT: Oh just click on the different ukes in the uke store, there's little videos of them being played. I never knew that.... you learn something new every day

Dane
04-13-2010, 10:03 AM
I don't like the idea of what people refer to as a "Starter Instrument" When most people say this it means "Oh it's kinda crappy but it's cheap so it doesn't matter all that much" My definition of a starter uke is something that will get you Started, that will get you inspired. My OU3 did not inspire me, and I owned it for a year, almost never played it. I dropped it once and one of the strings broke, I replaced the strings with aquillas, and noticed that it sounded a lot better, so I thought "well if it sounds this much better I bet there's something a LOT better." So I started researching and eventually bought a new uke, and the sound difference was just astounding, that's when the inspiration came, and that's when I fell in love with the uke.

Maybe I got a bad OU3, I don't know, I just know that it sounds horrible to my ears, and I'd rather make my own uke out of a carboard box and some rubber bands, at least it would sound artistic haha

arashi_nero
04-13-2010, 11:16 AM
dane, i think you got a bad ou3. i don't know much about the concert size, but i have an ou4 and absolutely love it. i took my time to buy it, tho. i played every uke in the price range i was looking for and found the ou4 was better sounding than the comparable lanikais and ohanas that the store had. i then played every ou4 they had and picked the best sounding one. i've also noticed that all oscar schmidts are coming with aquilas now instead of the ghs pos strings.

to each his own, but i recommend oscar schmidt.

Dane
04-13-2010, 11:22 AM
dane, i think you got a bad ou3. i don't know much about the concert size, but i have an ou4 and absolutely love it. i took my time to buy it, tho. i played every uke in the price range i was looking for and found the ou4 was better sounding than the comparable lanikais and ohanas that the store had. i then played every ou4 they had and picked the best sounding one. i've also noticed that all oscar schmidts are coming with aquilas now instead of the ghs pos strings.

to each his own, but i recommend oscar schmidt.

That's the thing, it's all about playing it. My OU3 is about 3 years old now I think, I also don't like the concert size though, too small, hurts my fingers for the type of playing I do. And it's also personal preference, I like a mellow sound, that's why I love my solid mahogany tenor, it's very mellow, it came with aquillas, and I didn't like em cuz they were too bright, so I made it even more mellow with different strings.

If the Original Poster could gather up some money, and say to their friend "Hey we all pitched in and got you $____ to use, let's go to the local store with lots of ukes and you can play em and find the one you want!" I think that would be the ideal situation, and then maybe while he's there he could find something he REALLY likes and then he could buy the other portion of it if it's too expensive.

EDIT: (I'm doing a lot of edits today aren't I?) If the person you want to get the uke for is someone that is really into music, most likely, they would prefer to find the instrument themselves by playing different ones. There has to be a good connection between the player and the instrument, otherwise the player won't want to play it as much, or even if they're good, it wont sound as good because that attachment to the instrument won't be there. BUT, there's loads of good ukes out there, and as you can see, many people have fallen in love with their instruments that they ordered over the internet and never played beforehand, I am one of them.

TheWannabe90
04-13-2010, 09:35 PM
Thanks for all the replies, now I'm off to try some of those oscar schmidts.
I agree that a concert size is a good idea, soprano might just be a bit too small,
and tenor may be a bit too close to a guitar.

Dane
04-13-2010, 10:06 PM
Thanks for all the replies, now I'm off to try some of those oscar schmidts.
I agree that a concert size is a good idea, soprano might just be a bit too small,
and tenor may be a bit too close to a guitar.

I assure you Tenor is not close to a guitar, at all haha. A baritone a little bit more-so.

Dane
04-13-2010, 10:15 PM
I originally got a concert because I thought tenor would be too big and I didn't want slightly smaller guitar, but it's not even close, I'd have to guess it's about half the size of my acoustic guitar, which is smaller type guitar (A triple-0) I ended up buying a tenor later because I didn't like how small concert was, I can't imagine how my fingers would feel with a soprano

TheWannabe90
04-15-2010, 05:23 AM
Well we ended up buying an oscar schmidt, I can't really remember what type, but it sounds awesome for a pretty low price. I did however change the strings to aquila's because I don't like the GHS strings. It is a concert size, but I think it's playable for a guitar player, I myself started on a soprano... So anyway, thanks folks!

paddy2010
04-15-2010, 05:34 AM
lanikai lu - 21! possibly too cheap though.

Maybe a kala so

CarterArdell
06-20-2010, 07:48 PM
I think Luna's 21" Tattoo Soprano pineapple ukulele,the design is primarily based on waves and sharks teeth which are also echoed as fret markers. I just love that and I think it is the best thing to give. I hope you will like it.

mm stan
06-20-2010, 09:21 PM
aloha to you all,
one of my friends is celebrating his twentieth birthday in a few days. We have reason to believe he is quite interested in picking up a new instrument, next to the guitar. So what could possibly be better than the ukulele? Unfortunately we dont't have a lot of money to spend on it. So I hoped you could tell me what uke you would pick in the price range of 80-100$ ? Also, you think we should go for a soprano, concert or tenor?
thanks a lot.
Aloha TheWannabe90,
Sorry for the late response, but i have two Oscars one solid Mohogany and a laminate Koa...Both
concerts. The Koa one sounded pretty bad until I changed them to Aquills's but then it open up
and now sounds pretty good. As for the Mahogany, I prefer the factory black strings as they work
fine, It's a concert OU-2. Got them both from Musician friend.. Magogany solid ou-2, for 69.00
plus shipping @$14.00 and the Koa laminate for $149.00, with aquilla strings@$10.00.
I enjoy the mahogany the most and it is a daily player for me. Note, it doesn't sound good
in the standard GCEA tuning, so I use an Adjusted dropped tuning and it sings...I hope
this helps you out. I know your friend will get many many good years out of this instrument.
Good Choice!! Keep Them Strings Vibrating!!!Ukuleles makes people happy.... Uke on!! MM Stan...