View Full Version : Kids and Ukes! Kids and Ukes?

06-19-2010, 06:37 AM
Aloha everyone! My niece will celebrate her 6th birthday next month and I am planning on getting her a Makala Dolphin (Color not decided yet. Purple used to be her favorite color and she still likes it, but I think green is her fave now.)

This will be her first instrument and her mom thinks it's a wonderful idea. Since she lives in NYC and I live in LA, I'll be able to help her via video chat and when I visit with them at the end of the summer. She goes to a school that focuses on arts and I don't know if they have any music programs for 1st graders, but she can certainly get started at home.

The one issue I'm struggling with is how to string it up. MGM does a great job setting them up with Aquilas which I think is a fine string for her to start with. I was thinking maybe even Worth brown as an option. As far as learning about music and making music, would it be easier for her to start with low G tuning? I myself prefer re-entrant tuning, but I wondered if it would be easier for her to understand the notes on the fretboard. She'll probably just be strumming for awhile, so it may not matter. I'm sure there are folks who have experience with this and may have some input.

She may not even care about it, but I'm hoping she finds it fun to play and as well as giving her a start on wanting to learn about making music.

Also, would a strap be a good idea?

Thanks for any input.

06-19-2010, 06:41 AM
I think the general consensus is that nothing sounds better on a Dolphin than Aquilas. I think re-entrant tuning is fine, especially if she starts by strumming chords. The first accessory she'll need IMO is a nice clip-on tuner.

Ahnko Honu
06-19-2010, 06:43 AM
I would leave it be, keep the Aquilas, stick with re-entrant (my dog has fleas easy for her to remember), no straps, keep it simple. She can make those decisions later if she developes the love for 'ukulele.
My 2 cents.

06-19-2010, 06:48 AM
Oh, and having seen almost all the dolphin colors in person, I prefer the purple to the green. It's a much nicer paint job. Candy Apple Red and Metallic Blue are also very slick.

06-19-2010, 06:51 AM
The purple does have a nicer look, I agree. I also like the light blue and pink. Good call on the tuner. No strap, huh? She's got so much energy and I can't see her sitting with it too much.

06-19-2010, 06:59 AM
That's a fabulous idea getting kids into ukes.
I've been guilty of this myself too :)

I don't think high-G low-G matters at this stage - she'll be learning basic chords and strums for a while at her early stages.
Personally, I prefer low-G. Gives the uke a more 'complete' sound IMO.
High G is lovely too though... Maybe its only a matter of time before she gets another uke to tune to low G.. then.. oh dear Paediatric UAS?

06-19-2010, 09:17 AM
Oh, and having seen almost all the dolphin colors in person, I prefer the purple to the green. It's a much nicer paint job. Candy Apple Red and Metallic Blue are also very slick.

My daughter has candy apple - it's nice, though the finish seems pretty thin. My son has the black sparkle - I think that's my favorite. My wife has an older wooden purple one - I'm not as much of a fan. The newer composite ones are my favorites.

06-19-2010, 09:21 AM
If you think your niece might possibly pick up the guitar later on, a low G might be helpful. I haven't tried low G on a Dolphin, so I am not sure how it sounds. A low G string could sound kind of dead if the thickness vs. length isn't correct. If a banjo might be in her future, high G would be helpful. If she is uke only person, it would be best to start with high G.
The Dolphin has plastic sides and back, so be careful if you have a strap installed. They might have to add a block inside to support the screw. You are a very nice uncle. I would have loved a ukulele at the age of 6 (or 9, 14, 20, 30 etc)!!

06-19-2010, 09:31 AM
Thanks for the replies. Lori, it's hard to tell what it may lead to, she is just turning 6. Although an 8 year old banjo picker in mid-town Manhattan would be cool! Her mom said she was interested in guitar and thought this would be a nice intro to strumming and such. Low G is probably a bit overboard, especially since she's gonna strum and learn chords for awhile. I've seen buttons installed on them. In fact George at Kayes did one for someone once while I was there. I assumed it would be alright. Not sure if MGM would do that.

06-23-2010, 06:32 AM
I'm giving an MGM makala dolphin uke to my friend's niece and I think the best accessory is a clip on tuner. Also, I would point Mom to the Alligator Boogaloo site, their list of songs includes quite a few kid friendly ones and every tune has a chord chart on the sidebar. (F.U.N. from Spongebob is a great song to learn.)
Strings and straps are for grown-ups, hell, sometimes learning other people's songs are for grown-ups! Teach her a chord or two and let her mess around and figure out what she likes on her own, that's how kids learn. Play, play, play~!