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View Full Version : If you have $300 and just found that you love Uke so much... what would you do?



triplesixz
03-14-2011, 08:45 AM
Oh boy! It's so difficult for me to choose ... thanks for all the input in earlier thread
After few research on prices, This is what i came up with.

a) Lanikai CK-C $179.99 free shipping (Laminated Koa)
http://www.bestmusicco.com/home/components/com_virtuemart/shop_image/product/Lanikai_CK_C_Con_4a998abb52b37.jpg
b) Kala KA-KC $221 free shipping (Laminated Koa)
http://www.faziosmusic.com/pdshop/images/KA-KC-1.JPG
c) Lanikai $279 NK-C free shipping (Solid Koa)
http://www.musiciansbuy.com/mmMBCOM/images/Lanikai_NK-C.jpg
d) AnueNue Lani 2 $289.99 free shipping (Laminated Koa)
http://www.drumza.com/images/aNueNueLaniIIConcertElectricUkulele.jpg

First I wanna spend only $200 (choice a and b) but If adding about 79 more i can get a solid Koa from lanikai and then at the same range I can also buy anuenue! So would it better to go with the solid or with the brand ...

if you were me which one would you pick and why?

zac987
03-14-2011, 09:30 AM
I wouldn't get a laminated instrument if I had that kind of money to spend. :)

Gmoney
03-14-2011, 09:32 AM
IMO - from that list... none of the above. The NC-C has a solid Koa TOP, but still laminate back & sides. All the rest are laminates. Chek out Mainland ukulele's directly from MainlandUkuleles.com or from UkeRepublic.com (as well as a whole bunch of other concert sized ALL SOLID wood ukes) & you'll end up pretty well below that magic $300.

Disclaimer - I own several Mainland ukes & have bought directly from Mike at Mainland AND Mike at Uke Republic. I have also purchased a Lanikai LU-21, but don't own an AnueNue

Also check out Mim's Ukes (http://mimsukes.com), and MusicGuyMike on eBay.

Hope this helps!

PhilUSAFRet
03-14-2011, 09:56 AM
Hmmm, I think I screwed up, I just passed on two Ponos, one concert and one tenor, acoustic electric with hard case one for $300, the other just under. I would have prevously said that's would I would do with that amount of money. Why didn't I??? Beats the hell out of me.

downtoearthed
03-14-2011, 09:58 AM
I second the suggestion to check out Mainland ukes.

HoldinCoffee
03-14-2011, 10:05 AM
There's nothing wrong with a laminate instrument, and from your list, I'd choose "C".

That being said, if it were me, I'd so a search with the price-point extended to $299 and perhaps consider some alternate exotic woods. Lanikai for example has a nice solid zebrawood or solid monkeypod tenor. And as stated above, contacting Mim, or a few of the Mikes is a great idea.

tikibar
03-14-2011, 10:22 AM
I second the suggestion to check out Mainland ukes.

i know what i would get :)
ps dont let the pictures scare u, the rope bindings are not that "flashy"

i dont know if i said that right. ><

OldePhart
03-14-2011, 11:48 AM
At $300 Mainland would be my first, second, and third choices (there are three different Mainlands right now I wouldn't mind adding to my stable - wait, no make that two, I just bought one of them used out of the Marketplace here LOL).

I've heard lots of good things about the higher-end Ohanas, but never played one myself.

I've had three different Lanikai laminated ukes and probably won't buy another. They can be good ukes but the playability and tone seem very variable. My LU-21C has okay volume but had very high action at the nut (fortunately I have the tools to fix that). The LU-11 Soprano I bought for my granddaughter is actually louder than the concert - I don't know how good the factory setup was because I bought that one from MGM and he sets them up perfectly. My 8-string came with the best "out-of-the-box" setup I've seen on a uke, better than I've seen on most guitars, but it was a dud acoustically (rocked plugged in, though). I was going to sell it, but after I had it for a while I decided that it was bad enough that I couldn't bring myself to sell it in the Marketplace and I gave it to a friend who really likes ukes but is strapped for cash right now.

I have a solid Acacia Kala and, while it's not a bad little uke, for about the same money I'd definitely go Mainland instead.

(Oh, and I'm another of those that had to overcome great reservations about the rope binding to buy his first Mainland. Now I just don't think about it. Partly because I better understand the "tradition" behind rope bindings (look at the nicer ukes from the 20's) and partly because, when I'm playing it, I don't have to look at the binding!)

Uncle Leroy
03-14-2011, 12:04 PM
I agree with what everyone has said,,,,,go with a solid wood uke if you can.

rasputinsghost
03-14-2011, 01:11 PM
I'd camp out on the Marketplace or Fleamarket Music and see what comes up. You can get ridiculous deals, there's a Black Bear solid mahogany soprano on sale right now for $300, made by an individual luthier, and all solid wood!

http://www.fleamarketmusic.com/marketplace/default.asp

Hippie Dribble
03-14-2011, 01:30 PM
I'd camp out on the Marketplace or Fleamarket Music and see what comes up. You can get ridiculous deals, there's a Black Bear solid mahogany soprano on sale right now for $300, made by an individual luthier, and all solid wood!

http://www.fleamarketmusic.com/marketplace/default.asp

Bingo. rasputin beat me to the punch!!! Get yourself onto FMM quick and grab that last Black Bear soprano. Duane Heilman is a fabulous builder and his ukuleles are of the highest quality. He normally sells these for 450....it's 1/3 off. Get one now!!!!!...before it's too late!!!! AAAAAARRRRGGGGGGHHHHHH.....

HoldinCoffee
03-14-2011, 01:34 PM
I've had three different Lanikai laminated ukes and probably won't buy another. They can be good ukes but the playability and tone seem very variable.
This is the problem with internet purchasing. So far, I've been very pleased with each Lanikai uke I've owned or tried. I have a spruce top tenor that had no adjustment required to the action, frets were perfect, tone was very good and LOUD! I got a LSM-C from that Ebay store that seems to specialize in blemished instruments and other than a nasty glue spot and some minor finish issues , its one of the finest sounding ukes I own. I've tried an all laminate Lanikai tenor (one of the black ones) at a guitar shop that was peachy keen in every way. I also tried one of their laminate koa sopranos, I would have bought it on the spot if it wasn't so ridiculously expensive for a laminate!

My point here is that its difficult to know what you're getting when you buy off the internet, it so helpful to have a seller who stands by their product. When it comes to a $300 uke, the seller should be given as much consideration as the specific model of uke.

Susie A
03-14-2011, 01:59 PM
I'd camp out on the Marketplace or Fleamarket Music and see what comes up. You can get ridiculous deals, there's a Black Bear solid mahogany soprano on sale right now for $300, made by an individual luthier, and all solid wood!

http://www.fleamarketmusic.com/marketplace/default.asp

This would be my $300 choice.

mm stan
03-14-2011, 02:30 PM
Aloha Triplesixz,
Another option is save a little more and get a second hand Kamaka concert...You will not regret it..in the long run....he he just flaming you UAS to another level...Good Luck Let us Know what you decide to get.....MM Stan

experimentjon
03-14-2011, 02:45 PM
Personally, I wouldn't go with any of those and think that you can get more bang for your buck from Mainland Ukes or on one of the secondary exchanges. All of those ukes look very nice, but the reason I think you should stay away from them in this price range is that you'll be better served in the long run by an all-solid instrument as others have alluded to. Good luck with the search!

veejayblox
03-14-2011, 02:53 PM
oh this is easy-peasy! a fluke, a mahalo pineapple and another makala dolphin. boy wouldn't that be nice. :drool:

Chris Tarman
03-14-2011, 03:15 PM
Mainland, Mainland, Mainland.

pdxuke
03-14-2011, 05:08 PM
Mainland would certainly be a good choice.

But anyone who likes all wood sopranos should consider

1. A vintage uke
2. An Ohana, either SK 35 or 38. Modern classics.

You can find really good, good vintage ukes for $300. My Gretsch and the Favilla I owned were both under $300, and superb instruments. Watch Flea Market for ukes, and this marketplace.

Huna
03-15-2011, 03:41 AM
I saw a soprano solid mango makai with rope binding and open geared tuners for 115 on Elderly's site. am curious about that one lol. sounds tasty I bet

Lori
03-15-2011, 06:51 AM
I have been very happy with my laminated ukes as well as the solid wood ones, so don't let that factor influence you too much. A couple of years ago MusicGuyMic did a side by side blind sound test of a dozen ukuleles, and people were supposed to identify which were solid, and which were laminated, and which were a combination. It took ages before anybody could identify them all.

My choices would be between an Ohana, Kala, Mainland, or Flea/ Fluke.

Happy shopping!
–Lori

OldePhart
03-15-2011, 01:13 PM
I have been very happy with my laminated ukes as well as the solid wood ones, so don't let that factor influence you too much. A couple of years ago MusicGuyMic did a side by side blind sound test of a dozen ukuleles, and people were supposed to identify which were solid, and which were laminated, and which were a combination. It took ages before anybody could identify them all.

My choices would be between an Ohana, Kala, Mainland, or Flea/ Fluke.

Happy shopping!
–Lori

There is nothing wrong with laminated materials, themselves. As I've mentioned, theoretically one should be able to create a louder uke with better tone using laminated materials and, especially, various composite materials. Laminated materials are stronger and more stable, even without composite material so a careful builder should logically be able to maintain very precise control over the performance.

Unfortunately, with the exception of a couple of exceptions that's not been done. Instead, laminated materials are associated with loose build tolerances and mediocre quality control. That's the real issue with "laminated vs. composite." There are a few possible exceptions - the carbon fiber ukes don't suit my ear but some people love them and they are very, very uniform from what I'm told (also more expensive than most solid wood ukes). My Kiwaya KSL-2 is another example - it's as expensive as some solids and uses a very thin laminated material that sounds really very nice. It's a longneck soprano and is only a tiny step down from my KoAloha concert in volume. The tone is very good and more "ukey" than the concert. I'll probably end up with a high-end solid longneck soprano some day just because I'm a perfectionist - but I wouldn't hesitate to play the Kiwaya anywhere and in fact I've used it in all of the contest videos I've done so far!

Of course, the Kiwaya is not your "typical" laminated uke. I'd take even a low-end solid over most of those "typical" laminated ukes, unless I had an opportunity to play the ukes first and pick the one that sounded best. Again, to reiterate, and because I can't seem to stop typing (help, I've fallen and I can't get up) it's not that laminated materials are inferior, it's just that most often ukes constructed of laminated materials are constructed to pretty loose tolerances. That means that you might get a super one or you might get a rather dull one. If you can play before you buy, you know in advance if you're getting a super one. If you have to order "ear-unheard" then go for a solid if possible.

(Holy carp I'm wordy!)

John