View Full Version : Makala Dolphin vs Makala MK-S?

05-09-2010, 03:03 AM

I was wondering which Makala was better:
1)The makala dolphin

2)or this makala with an 'agathis' body?

3)or the makala pineapple


I can't seem to get a direct link but they're the first three on the soprano section :)

Thanks :)

05-09-2010, 04:41 AM
I don't have a Dolphin or Pineapple so I can't give you a side by side comparison, but I can give you my experience with the Makala MK-S.

I purchased this uke based mostly on price, comfort, and looks. It's a lot of instrument for the sub-$40 range, feels good in my hands, and I love the agathis veneer which I find very reminiscent of mahogany (not sapele, but true mahogany).

Things I did to improve the instrument to my tastes...

Intonation was very bad off the shelf with stock strings, a fresh set of Aquila's made a great improvement although it's still not exact.
The nut slots were quite high so I lowered them and smoothed the surfaces...worked great.
The saddle sat crooked in the slot and was a bit high. I sanded it square and to a lower height which improved both playability and transference.
The body finish was a bit rough on mine...not sure if they're all like that. I lightly buffed with 0000 steel wool and applied a light oil finish. It's very smooth now and the grain is better represented.
There was a slight amount of fret overhang from the fretboard so I dressed the fret ends and polished all the frets.

That's about all I could do with the uke to improve on its stock parts.

The tone is a bit thin if you compare it to a solid uke, but it remains pleasant. I do like the sound of it. The tuners aren't that great and they're adjusted the best I could get them. The brass gear seems to be very soft as it's already showing wear from the steel gear removing material. The little plastic buttons that are used to dress the post holes are loose and slide back and forth on the shaft. The tuners are OK for now but with regular use I'm sure they'll need replaced in the not so distant future. Tuning stability is again, OK, but I'm sure quality tuners would bring it more consistency.

I've played this uke daily since I got it and the neck has been worn down to a nice high shine from my hand. I find this most attractive, and have always enjoyed the way my mahogany satin necked Martin guitars exhibited this from frequent play. It's size allows for easy portability without being overly concerned for its welfare. As such, I take it to work daily, just dropping it into my messenger bag with my lunch, etc.

I think this is a great little uke for the money. My example needed some work, but it was well worth it.

05-09-2010, 05:15 AM
We have two Makala Dolphins, one of them is the older wood version (which I understand is the same basic uke as the MK-S) and I think they are the best bang for the buck in their price range, and even hold their own with more expensive ukes. I haven't played the Makala Pineapple, but I have a Kala KA-PSS which is a very bright sounding fun uke. I don't think you would be dissapointed with any of the Makala or Kala ukes, they are well made very nice ukes for the money. I would suggest you get any of them from a dealer who knows how to set up ukes since the set up and strings especially important on these cheaper ukes. Musicguymic on ebay (also a member here) does a great job.

05-09-2010, 07:52 AM
I have a dolphin and a mk-t, got to say the mk-t hits all the right notes and is a very good uke for the money I compared it against more expensive equivalents ant it more than held it's own (I'm guessing it's pretty much the same with the mk-s). But I LOVE my dolphin, the tone, character, and charm is a real winner. recently changed to aquila strings and it is now a great sounding little beast.