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Surfing4ACure
02-21-2011, 01:39 PM
Hey everyone, I'm wondering what are the most reputable brands of Ukulele's out there? Specifically, in the $150-$300ish range. Seems like there are A LOT of different makers out there. I try to keep my eyes out for good deals but I need to get an idea of which makers to pay attention to more. Thanks!

Uncle Leroy
02-21-2011, 01:45 PM
In that price range, the Kala and Lanakai brands are hard to beat.

joaniev
02-21-2011, 02:05 PM
I have a Tenor Fluke. LOVE the surprising sound out of that baby!!!! I also own a beautiful Koa Kala, which is a bit more expensive, but also sounds beautiful!! Good luck!! The trick is, find your local folk music store, and try some out!! :D

cletus
02-21-2011, 02:39 PM
In that price range, the Kala and Lanakai brands are hard to beat.

Agreed, and add Mainlands brand to the list.

pdxuke
02-21-2011, 03:19 PM
Ohana are great ukuleles.

zac987
02-21-2011, 03:24 PM
My Ohana Bell Soprano was around $160, and you couldn't beat it for that price. Mainland is also great.

pdxuke
02-21-2011, 04:08 PM
If you like mahogany sopranos, I'm of the mind that the Ohana SK35 is a modern classic. Under $200.

bazmaz
02-21-2011, 10:25 PM
Fleas and Flukes are highly reputable because of the way they are made - zero issues with setup or intonation and a great sound.

If you prefer a more traditional instrument, the Mainlands really are hard to beat in that price range due to the final set up by Mike in the USA.

Reviews of both below

http://gotaukulele.blogspot.com/2010/05/mainland-mahogany-concert-slotted.html
http://gotaukulele.blogspot.com/2010/10/fluke-ukulele-review.html

dip.mojica
02-22-2011, 03:21 AM
I have a fender Nohea which i bought for $200. some people say that it costs a little to much for what it is, but i think its a beautiful ukulele! looks great, and sounds better!

SweetWaterBlue
02-22-2011, 03:36 AM
If you like mahogany sopranos, I'm of the mind that the Ohana SK35 is a modern classic. Under $200.

+1 to that!

I round my SK-35 out with a less than $150 Lanikai spruce top tenor, and its truthfully about all I really need for any playing situation I have encountered to date. Hey I even made that philosophy my new sig last week. Now, that's not saying I don't lust after those fancier more expensive ukes, but need em - nah.

I also agree with Paul that the Flea is a great beginner instrument, because it is so well made, reliable, and intonation is perfect. With a Flea all you have to worry about is playing. I do own one, but they have gotten kind of expensive. Its hard to go wrong if you stick with Kala, Lanikai, Ohana, Mainland, and Flea&Fluke brands in the under $300 space. I would recommend at a minimum a solid top on any of them except the Fleas and Flukes, unless you don't want the hassle of humidifiers and taking proper care of it.

Another option is to look at the used market. Used ukuleles generally sell for between 50% and 75% of their new price, so if you don't mind being patient, and make sure you buy carefully, you can get more ukulele for your money that way. There are of course more risks in the used marketplace, so buyer beware.

mm stan
02-22-2011, 03:41 AM
The Ohana SK35 sounds like a nice deal.....I like my Koa Pili Koko.....$140.00

Jnobianchi
02-22-2011, 05:25 AM
I'll throw in with Mainland, Ohana, Fluke/Flea and Lanikai - I've enjoyed playing all of them and they're in the right price range.

PhilUSAFRet
02-22-2011, 12:02 PM
Some great sales out there. Don't miss the new mainland superconcert. UkeRepublic is having some great sales and has great customer service. My son just got a great deal on an Ohana.

Tack
02-22-2011, 09:02 PM
Philusafret:-
you mentioned a mainland "Super concert" .... DO you have any links? I can't find it on their site....
Thanks!

OldePhart
02-23-2011, 12:32 PM
Philusafret:-
you mentioned a mainland "Super concert" .... DO you have any links? I can't find it on their site....
Thanks!

I think the Mainland super concert was a special order by Uke Republic so they have the only specimens. Now, if Mainland would just do a super soprano I'd be in uke heaven!

John

Nuprin
02-23-2011, 02:38 PM
Not very reputable.......yet, but UkeRepublic has introduced the new Sailor Brand ukuleles. Sopranos are $289. Build in the USA but a reputable, yet anonymous, luthier. All Mike has told me about the luthier is the following:


I really can't give out the name but they are located in the eastern USA and have made pro instruments over the years for some major name talent.They sell instruments that cost in the thousands. I'm honored to be able to work with them on this special ukulele.
This has been in the works since 2009 and really sped up at the latter part of 2010. We wanted a quality made instrument at a great value without sacrificing anything. We did it! Only problem is its a small production so I won't have 100 ready a month but I'm okay with that.

You can see it here. (http://cargo.ukerepublic.com/product/sailor-brand-soprano-spc-s)

I have a custom tenor on order...changed the cherry veneer to kawazinga and asked for peghead tuners instead of friction. Looking real forward to this one!

pepeananas
02-24-2011, 11:12 AM
I think this mainland tenor in the marketplace is a great deal.
http://www.ukuleleunderground.com/forum/showthread.php?42671-Mainland-Red-Cedar-Tenor-225!
$200 for a red cedar top/ rosewood side and back tenor from mainland is a pretty nice deal. I'd jump on it if I had the $$. BTW- I have no connection at all to the seller.

joeybug
02-24-2011, 11:18 AM
I have an Ohana which I love playing, I also have a Luna which are good Ukes for the price (Mine was 62, but it's a soprano Pineapple) and a KPK (Koa Pili Koko), mine is second hand, but plays beautifully...Hope that helps :music:

casarole45
02-24-2011, 11:22 AM
In that price range, the Kala and Lanakai brands are hard to beat.

I'd say Ohana are better from my experiences.

PhilUSAFRet
02-24-2011, 02:54 PM
Philusafret:-
you mentioned a mainland "Super concert" .... DO you have any links? I can't find it on their site....
Thanks!

Not sure why picture dropped off site. It's the first one on the list (the one without the picture) I'm not too crazy about rope binding, but on this uke it looks great! Mainland bringing out some new ukes without the rope too, standard type.

http://shop.mainlandukuleles.com/product.sc?productId=75&categoryId=3

See and hear it from UkeRepublic on YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YdnNZU3OIvE

pdxuke
02-24-2011, 03:00 PM
:
I'd say Ohana are better from my experiences.

+1:agree:

http://elderly.com/new_instruments/names/ohana-sk-25-soprano-ukulele--SK25.htm

Also a good choice

SweetWaterBlue
02-24-2011, 04:14 PM
I have to agree with that SK-25. In sound tests I have heard, it sounds as good as an SK-35, because it is basically the same uke without bindings and extra bling. I also believe the 35 has upgraded tuners, but I could be wrong about that. If they had just put 12 frets on it, and left off the rosewood faceplate on the headstock, it would be a fine little Style 0 clone.

albee
02-24-2011, 04:32 PM
I just purchased a Mainland Concert Mahogany ... it is everything everyone said it would be ... a great instrument ..... and ...... the Mainland folks are wonderful to deal with ...

Surfing4ACure
02-24-2011, 05:58 PM
Right on, thank you all for the responses! Gives me such a better idea about what I should be looking for in the future. I'm pretty good with what I have now but I like to keep an eye on CL or Ebay for some good deals on used uke's. Much appreciated everyone!

Nickie
02-25-2011, 06:12 AM
Surfing4ACure,
I bet you never thought you'd get this many responses, hee hee.

Kanaka916
02-25-2011, 07:06 AM
Here's a listing of ukulele manufacturers . . . Tiki King's Ukulele Database (http://www.tikiking.com/uke_database.html)

LENNONO
02-25-2011, 11:27 AM
Hi there! Within certain time I purchased three ukes from Mike: 1) tenor red cedar, 2) concert mango and 3) soprano mahogany. When ukes arrived they were perfect! I keep all mu ukes in hardfoam cases. Today I noticed that two ukes 1) tenor and 2) concert have problems - the uke bodies started unstucking - I mean the top deck started unstucking from the side. I don't know what to do? Shall I claim to Mike?
One can say that this problem could cause by climate, however all my Lanikai ukes are perfect during long time....
Thanks for your advises!

SweetWaterBlue
02-25-2011, 11:39 AM
Lennono - Are these all the same brand? The fact that all three are coming unglued at the same time, suggests that they were subjected to some pretty rough environment during shipping.

By the way, I spent a week in Almaty about 20 years ago. Interesting city.

JoshFromTallGrassUkes
02-25-2011, 01:32 PM
Shameless plug: We make ukes in your price range! From sustainable bamboo no less: www.TallGrassUkuleles.com

pdxuke
02-25-2011, 02:52 PM
Shameless plug: We make ukes in your price range! From sustainable bamboo no less: www.TallGrassUkuleles.com

Still waiting for the version with friction tuners :-)

LENNONO
02-26-2011, 09:46 AM
SweetWaterBlue,

Yes, all three ukes are Mainland; Mike shipped them to me in hardfoam cases by Express mail; when I got them, they were perfect, couple of months passed and their bodies started to unglue. I have other ukes Lanikai and they are OK, so I can't say the climate conditions affected mainland ukes. I think now that the matter is in workmanship; big brands like Lanikai or Ohana etc have big factories and produce better quality. Maybe I am wrong. I really liked my tenor mainlan red cedar, but now it is broken and I don't know what to do....

PS: now Almaty is totally different from that what u had seen 20 years ago :-) much better ...

SweetWaterBlue
02-26-2011, 10:28 AM
WOW LENNONO - This sounds like something Mainland will probably have to address then. I'm really sorry to hear you are having problems with them.

When I was in Almaty, the Russians had only recently pulled out full support and the guys I was working with told me they were having trouble getting spare parts for the all the infrastructure machinery left behind. I was totally in awe of all the huge statues and scale of some of the buildings there. We were teaching an industry short course and at the end the students threw us a big party on a mountain overlooking the city. I wish I could remember the name of it. I never saw so much food and alchohol on one table in my life. There was just one toast after another after another, as we went around the table. We all got drunk on vodka and went back to the hotel and passed out.

I also remember the massive breakfasts they used to lay out in the hotel. You didn't really need to eat the rest of the day.

The people treated us with such wonderful hospitality. I'd love to go back some day.

ksiegel
02-26-2011, 10:40 AM
SweetWaterBlue,

Yes, all three ukes are Mainland; Mike shipped them to me in hardfoam cases by Express mail; when I got them, they were perfect, couple of months passed and their bodies started to unglue. I have other ukes Lanikai and they are OK, so I can't say the climate conditions affected mainland ukes. I think now that the matter is in workmanship; big brands like Lanikai or Ohana etc have big factories and produce better quality. Maybe I am wrong. I really liked my tenor mainlan red cedar, but now it is broken and I don't know what to do....

I'd suggest you start by emailing or PMing Mike and send photos of what is happening to the ukuleles. Just because Lanikai and Ohana may be produced in big factories doesn't automatically indicate better quality - sometimes big factories have poorer quality control.

In any event, contacting Mike at Mainland directly is probably the best first step to take.

-Kurt

Plainsong
02-26-2011, 05:34 PM
Yeah, there's nothing to loose by contacting Hoosier.

My concert Mainland is rather intentionally being abused because I wanted one solid body uke that I could have out of a case and ready to play. I have a humidifier going full tilt in here, but everyday this week the living room has not topped 20% RH. The Mainland is closer to the humidifier though. I mean not on top of it, but closer. Should it not survive this, I'll let him know what the bottom tolerance is, but I'm taking a chance in the name of convenience. I'd like to have one sweet sounding uke not hiding in its case the entire winter. That's most of the year here.

OldePhart
02-27-2011, 08:52 AM
I'd say definitely contact mike (HoosierHiver here). I suppose it's remotely possible they might have had a bad run of glue or a new guy on the assembly line but you mention it's three different types of uke so I'd imagine that they would have been built in different production runs.

BTW, do you use humidifiers on the Mainlands? I don't think they could have dried out - if it's only been a couple of months glue is simply not going to dry out that quickly. Some glues can be damaged by water, though (not sure what glue they're using in the Mainland builds). I've had humidifers leak in guitars before - in one case enough to water stain the inside of the back - in fact, the stain temporarily fogged the outside finish on the back but fortunately that had just started and when it dried the finish returned to normal and the outside looked okay. I suppose if the leak had been on glue it might have softened it, depending on what kind of glue it is. I stopped using the rubber-tube type humidifiers after that!

Pictures would probably help diagnose the situation, both for those of us here who are curious and for Mike at Mainland.

John

hoosierhiver
02-27-2011, 10:10 AM
SweetWaterBlue,

Yes, all three ukes are Mainland; Mike shipped them to me in hardfoam cases by Express mail; when I got them, they were perfect, couple of months passed and their bodies started to unglue. I have other ukes Lanikai and they are OK, so I can't say the climate conditions affected mainland ukes. I think now that the matter is in workmanship; big brands like Lanikai or Ohana etc have big factories and produce better quality. Maybe I am wrong. I really liked my tenor mainlan red cedar, but now it is broken and I don't know what to do....

PS: now Almaty is totally different from that what u had seen 20 years ago :-) much better ...

I don't know what the geography and climate are like in Kazakistan, but from what you describe, it sounds like the ukuleles have had an abrupt change in environment, such as quickly going from hot to cold and/or humid to dry reapeatedly. This happens when the solid wood expands/contracts at a different rate than the binding. The Lanakai probably wasn't affected because it is a laminate (I presume). They can be fixed pretty easily with some wood glue/ducco cement and masking tape. Sorry to hear about the problem, but you've really got to keep temperature and humidity (and the fluxuations) in mind with solid wood ukes.

dip.mojica
02-27-2011, 08:15 PM
Shameless plug: We make ukes in your price range! From sustainable bamboo no less: www.TallGrassUkuleles.com

I really want one of those! i really with i new about them before i bought my fender nohea. i would have totally jumped on this. this may be my next ukulele!

LENNONO
02-28-2011, 07:46 AM
Thanks a lot! I will make photoes!

Mike,
Almaty, the city where I live, has not dry climate; yes winter is cold sometimes, but I didn't take mainland ukes out of home. At home it is warm and not dry! As for Lanikai, my solid monkey pod uke (all solid if we believe the manufacture) is ok and feels good!

hoosierhiver
02-28-2011, 09:17 AM
Mike,
Almaty, the city where I live, has not dry climate; yes winter is cold sometimes, but I didn't take mainland ukes out of home. At home it is warm and not dry! As for Lanikai, my solid monkey pod uke (all solid if we believe the manufacture) is ok and feels good!

Well, I am perplexed. Perhaps they were allowed to freeze during the shipping to Kazakistan. When the binding seperates from the wood it can often be traced to a particular incident like leaving the uke in a cold car overnight. I remember that you bought them mid-winter, maybe the post office stored them in an unheated warehouse.

ichadwick
03-01-2011, 04:02 AM
There are a lot of good brands in that price range - I review many of them. Mainland is one of my favourites.