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doodinthemood
07-08-2008, 07:32 AM
Looking at fairly cheap ukes and have taken advice from the threads on here from members buying in the US.
Firstly, Lanikai seem to be fairly well-liked on here. I found this at a British retailer: http://www.newcastlemusic.co.uk/common/moreinfo.asp?ID=2245
which is within my price range (it's about $50)
Would this be a good option? I'm fairly sure a soprano's what I want, and it looks the way I'd want it to look (no gimmicky patterns or shapes or anything)
Secondly, are Mahalo any good? I've a feeling they may be a UK or Europe-specific brand, and they seem to have a good range of choice, but because they're really rather cheap, I'm worried that they may be toys and not instruments.

Thank you in advance for any help. :)

redsedge
07-08-2008, 07:50 AM
Mahalos aren't bad for a cheap starter uke but for a couple of quid extra, you could get a Makala, which has geared tuners, so stays in tune longer and is easier to tune in the first place. Makala are Kala's cheapie make. I started with one (look in the reviews section). Put aquila strings on it and you will improve the sound immensely.

I reckon the makalas are a great starter uke. If you lose interest after a couple of months then you haven't made a huge investment. If the bug bites you, then you're going to upgrade and the makala will be a smashing little uke to keep in the car, round your mates' or whatever. I got mine on eBay.

agroupuk
07-08-2008, 11:55 AM
I have to second redsedge's advice. I bought a Makala and I still pickit up (when its not in the car lol) I then bought a nice Kala from MGM on ebay (a concert) and am in the process of deciding on a Tenor in the $1000 range as we speak - gotta love birthday money and overtime wages !

Go for the Makala first :)

Witters
07-08-2008, 12:00 PM
I really think you will need to up the anti a bit if you want a good one. What you are thinking of buying is not very good and I am commenting from experience.
The Really Useful Music Company do a great range but I think their lowest Uke is about 40. The Concert which is 70 and their maple Soprano which is excellent is 100.
Seriously, I just bought the 100 one because I'm trying my hand with an Amplifier and didn't want to splash out too much to start with. This though turned out pure class even though obviously it was made in China. When I took it to the Music store to buy an Amp, I was surprised that the owner played a Ukulele and he tried it out saying it was a very well made and sounded great.

Liam
07-08-2008, 02:43 PM
I've purchased 3 Uke's.

One from Musicguymic on Ebay which was a left handed Kala; awesome! But had to pay customs.

I bought a Brueko from theukuleleshop.co.uk which is a nice place I would definately recommend.

I've also purchased a Lazy Ukulele locally, which is basically like a Mahalo.

On the other hand whilst browsing for one for a friend I came across:
http://guitarguitar.co.uk/search.asp?search2=ukulele&submit22.x=0&submit22.y=0

Might be of use to you!

Witters
07-08-2008, 11:17 PM
I can concur with Liam that The Ukulele Shop is first class. They are now based in Germany but use the same phone number.

Buying from America is not a big problem either on ebay or from an internet shop. You will have to pay customs though and the dreaded Parcel Force fee which is a bigtime con as you have already paid postage. But you do have much much more Uke's to choose from.

Jack33@
07-09-2008, 03:29 AM
I've been looking at this too over the last month or so.

Prices from the States (and MGM in particular) are competative with British shops but the Ukulele shop has a gret reputation.

I started with a Mahalo but it came to a sticky end when I swapped it for another No-name-cheapulele which just played 'better'. There are threads on this site that will tell you how to get the best from any cheap uke but if you want to read a mammoth tome on the subject you should look on the Ukulele Cosmos site where the Mahalo get discected in great detail.

The deal is that any cheap uke is a bit of russian roulette, being factory assembled they have varying degrees of finish and one in ten will be a beaut and one in ten will be a turkey.

I was lucky, I went into a shop and played 5 different types of under-thirty-quid ukuleles and settled on one that costs less than a Mahalo (can this be possible?) and with the addition of the Aquilas reccomended by redsedge I got a uke that is fine to annoy the cats with.

I am now saving for an Ohana, which with hind sight I really should have bought when I had the cash...

Any how good luck, the makalas are on the whole better than the mahalos, try to play before you buy (can be embarassing in front of trained staff, fortunatly the ones I met were great about it all) whatever you get should be fun.

Take care

doodinthemood
07-11-2008, 08:29 AM
Thanks for all the help guys. One last short bit about the aquila strings. One guide randomly said that you should buy "Aquila CONCERT strings" but surely I should buy Aquila soprano strings? Or does the concert not refer to the type of ukulele? or maybe it's a slip? Or maybe concert strings do for some reason work better on a soprano ukulele (I'm especially concerned by the fact 'concert' was capitalised.) Just one person to reply and answer this short question and I'll be fine. Thank you all again :)

scooch
07-11-2008, 10:53 AM
Hi Doodinthemood,

I'm a beginner too, and bought a Richwood UK185 from Dangleberry on Ebay. It cost 30 quid (buy it now option), and for a starter its got a nice tone. Sure I might want something better in the future, but I'll just demote the Richwood to a 'travel' uke that I'll take anywhere and not care if it gets bashed about. Check out a user called 'Coveywood' on youtube. He plays a Richwood Uk185 to play 'the best strum in the world' and other videos. Its cool as you can get an idea of what the uke is capable of - even if you can't produce the sound yourself just yet!!
:D
Hope that helps sum.

upskydowncloud
07-11-2008, 01:09 PM
Hi Doodinthemood I don't know that specific model of Lanikai but my first ukulele was a Lanikai LU21-C (concert) which I bought in Hawaii when I first got interested. Newcastle Music sell it for around £40-£50. I was impressed with its quality in both sound and construction for a relatively cheap ukulele, it holds its tune really well too. I'm sure the same could be said for their soprano model so I wouldn't worry about it being toy-like.

I live near Newcastle and was actually in Newcastle Music's shop this afternoon to pick up my newest Lanikai ukulele the CK-C (concert). The shop was really good and the people who worked there friendly, I ordered it yesterday morning and it arrived in the store today. I couldn't fault the service. My new uke cost £143 but is worth every pound, the construction is excellent and the sound pretty impressive, it even makes my useless playing sound quite tuneful.

Is there any reason you're choosing a soprano over a concert size? Or is it just preference?

Hope this helps,

John

Witters
07-11-2008, 09:17 PM
Thanks for all the help guys. One last short bit about the aquila strings. One guide randomly said that you should buy "Aquila CONCERT strings" but surely I should buy Aquila soprano strings? Or does the concert not refer to the type of ukulele? or maybe it's a slip? Or maybe concert strings do for some reason work better on a soprano ukulele (I'm especially concerned by the fact 'concert' was capitalised.) Just one person to reply and answer this short question and I'll be fine. Thank you all again :)

Some players prefer Concert size strings on their Soprano's because it has greater tension. One player told me that because he is a bit heavy handed, he seems to bend the strings with his fretting hand, but since changing to Concert strings, that has eliminated it.