View Full Version : Mahalo U30 - not bad at all...

10-15-2010, 02:09 PM
When I first checked out the Forum, I was surprised to see how many negative opinions there were regarding the Mahalo U30. As an experienced musician buying my first ukulele, I had checked many on-line reviews of the U30 and its competitors, and eventually bought a green one for 12 from a reputable UK supplier. When it arrived I was very impressed with its tone, playability and finish. It features a Nubone nut and (compensated) saddle, and plays consistently in tune. Mine is the model with proper machine heads, which may not be to everybody's taste, but hold their tuning well. Nearly a year on, I am still very pleased with my purchase, although a few spots on the "ebonised" fingerboard have worn through to the pale wood - I just went over them with a black marker pen.

The little instrument is totally addictive, and I've used it for recordings, working out chord progressions and arrangements, and just strumming away before gigs (I play keyboards in a 10-piece ska band). My wife and I bought an identical U30 as a thank-you present for my younger son's primary-school teacher (like me, he's crazy about musical instruments). He was thrilled with it, and apparently spent the whole summer playing it!

I suppose I might have just happened to get a good one, but in my opinion you can't beat the U30 for the (very reasonable) price.

I know that there have been several versions of this instrument, but this one is the same as mine:


mm stan
10-15-2010, 02:37 PM
Aloha BFB,
Thanks for the heads up on this one, I have a rogue soprano that I bought over 3 years ago, and it sound awesome and hardly needs tuning...it's my daily
player too..got it from Musician's friend for $24.99 plus Shipping...best bang for the buck and out plays ukuleles 20 times it value....at least MM Stan

10-15-2010, 02:45 PM
SOmetimes expensive is not always good I s'pose.
What band if you don't mind?

10-15-2010, 05:56 PM
Congrats on getting a real good mahalo uke!!!

Mr Bill
10-15-2010, 06:01 PM
Most excellent color.


10-15-2010, 07:03 PM
However, it is your first uke. I think you'll see why people have their complaints once you try better ukuleles out there.

The Mahalo U30's (I've owned more than 3) are not unplayable instruments. They are 'well made' in the sense that yes, it holds together, it's durable, the frets and tuners work, etc etc. They even sound good if you change the crappy stock strings with Aquilas. However, their intonation is not very good, and the action is very high. It's high even if you sand it down as low as it can go, because of the design of the bridge itself.

In the end, yes, it's a playable instrument.
However, compared to the many ukes out there, there are only very few ukes that are actually worse than the U30.
It's a good, cheap beater uke.... but even as a cheap beater uke, I've seen better ones (eg: Makala Dolphins and Legacy sopranos have better sound projection and can be adjusted to have lower actions).

Hence, the Mahalos get quite a bit of criticism. For what it is, it aint bad. But start comparing to the others (even ones that are priced the same), it feels a bit redundant.

That said, I quite like my Mahalo Les Paul acoustic electric. However I don't consider it a splendid instrument - the intonation is always a bit dotty. But I guess if it was any better quality, I'd be reluctant to use it as my beater uke. It's imperfections may as well be their advantage lol. Any better, and it would be too dear for me to treat it rough.

Hippie Dribble
10-15-2010, 08:23 PM
hi butterfingers

point taken re the mahalo U30's.

For years these were the only ukes our local music shop stocked...so I bought half a dozen of them - all different colours. My first was a sky blue one and I played that over a year before I even realised there was such thing as a uke "industry"!!! I still love it. It holds it's tune fine and it is very sentimental to me, having learnt all my first ukulele tunes on it...I've since decorated it with lots of colored love heart stickers and I've still got a hanging space for it in my studio.

cheers mate!

10-16-2010, 06:05 AM
What band if you don't mind?

I play keyboards (organ, Wurlitzer electric piano and Stylophone) in The Skanx, a 10-piece ska band based in Penge, south London. You can check us out at www.theskanxband.co.uk (http://www.theskanxband.co.uk) or on Facebook. In the 1990s I played piano with Mississippi John L Watson's Odyssey Blues Band, and back in the 1980s I played bass and/or keyboards with various London bands ranging in style from traditional jazz to electro-pop.

My latest solo project is what I call "Uneasy Listening"; it features my ukulele quite prominently and is described here (http://www.ukuleleunderground.com/forum/showthread.php?36844-Simon-quot-Butterfingers-quot-Beck-multi-instrumentalist-from-London-England).

Meanwhile, here is a pic of most of my instruments...