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View Full Version : best banjo uke and best uke on the market?



DustyElmer
05-10-2011, 11:48 AM
i'm looking to upgrade from my Eddy Finn banjo uke, and maybe pick up a nice regular (maybe pineapple?) uke as well. what are the best ones on the market? i know it's subjective, so i'd like to hear what you all think! thanks a ton!

Tudorp
05-10-2011, 11:57 AM
Ya might get some decent answers if ya post what price range you are considering. I mean, if it's $200, there are several that won't even meet that budget, but if you pockets are deep, ya don't want the best one for 2 bills either..

Jnobianchi
05-10-2011, 12:20 PM
I'm VERY biased, and this is a question likely to get you a million subjective answers, so here's my .02:

For banjo uke, the Eddy Finn is OK. I've played Gold Tones, Morgan Monroes (same manufacturer as Eddy Finn) and Lanikai - They are all more expensive than the Eddy Finn, but I don't think they're that much better. I think upgrading to those more expensive banjo ukes doesn't get you value for your dollar.

For new, I really DO like the Firefly, and I'm very excited with what I've seen of the Mainland. The only other new uke I've played that I'd want is the Beansprout, and that's $1,000+ depending on the model - they're GREAT.

If you're not afraid of going with a classic vintage uke, I recommend the Gibson UB1 - they're plentiful, relatively cheap ($300-$550) and sound miles better than the Gold Tones, MMs and Lanikais. The Gibson UB2, though rarer, is even better, and is very good value in a top of the line vintage instrument, ranging in price from $400-$550 these days in a depressed market. The UB3/UB2 Deluxe will run you in the $700-$1,500 range. The UB3-4-5 resonator ukes in good condition run about $2.5K and up and are too steep for me. :)

The other vintage model I'd recommend for the upgrade on banjo uke is the Ludwig Wendell Hall Professional. If you can put aside between $800 and $1,500, you'll find that they come up for sale several times each month and just sound fantastic; nothing's better in my opinion, except the Ludwig Banjo Ukulele and MAYBE the Gibson UB3-5 resonator models.

TheOnlyUkeThatMatters
05-10-2011, 01:24 PM
The nicest pineapple ukulele I've played was a KoAloha. My literary ability hasn't developed to the point where I can describe its sound. Here are few adjectives that spring to mind, though: sweet, clear, deep, complex, mellow, gorgeous. The ukulele sounded almost exactly how I imagine a soprano should sound. It also felt terrific---its slender neck almost makes the chords for you; it was set up perfectly; and its volume was perfect---loud but not boomy. The price ($500) was right for a very nice new instrument as well. Wow, writing this reminds me I need to visit that pineapple again if it hasn't been sold yet. (I played it at a Portland, Oregon music store.)

I've never played a banjo uke, so no clues for you there. I look forward to learning more about them in this thread.

Best of luck finding the best ukulele for you!

OldePhart
05-10-2011, 02:43 PM
Yeah, I think for production sopranos you'd have a hard time beating a KoAloha (though I know there are a lot of fans of Kamaka, too). On the other hand, if you've got an unlimited budget, commissioning a custom is probably the way to go.

John

DustyElmer
05-10-2011, 06:20 PM
thanks guys! i looked at the KoAlohas...i'm in love with that pineapple. i play a lot of instruments (clawhammer banjo, fiddle, guitar, autoharp...) but the uke is by far the most fun thing to play. i'm hooked!

DustyElmer
05-10-2011, 06:28 PM
oh, also, i'd probably be looking in the $400-$500 range.

ukeeku
05-10-2011, 06:39 PM
I just did banjo uke week and here is a link to those, with reviews for a bunch of banjo ukes.
http://ukeeku.com/category/size/banjo-size/
Now on the BEST pineapple in the world...For me it is my David Gill Concert Pineapple. If you go to UWC you can meet david and aslo pick up one of these in many different woods
http://ukeeku.com/category/size/banjo-size/
that is my input

ichadwick
05-11-2011, 02:10 AM
Everyone here will have his/her own opinion, but best is strictly subjective. Depends on what you like to hear and hold. Try a million and you'll probably find one or two that speak to you with the sweetest voice. I'm not of the general opinion that pouring more money into an instrument results in a better sound, but it does usually result in better quality control.

hoosierhiver
05-11-2011, 05:32 AM
I just did banjo uke week and here is a link to those, with reviews for a bunch of banjo ukes.
http://ukeeku.com/category/size/banjo-size/
Now on the BEST pineapple in the world...For me it is my David Gill Concert Pineapple. If you go to UWC you can meet david and aslo pick up one of these in many different woods
http://ukeeku.com/category/size/banjo-size/
that is my input

Does David know about the UWC this year?

ukeeku
05-11-2011, 05:58 AM
Does David know about the UWC this year?

Yes he does. I have to call him soon to see if he wants me to come and get him and bring him over for the day on friday. he might bring some fun ukes with him. as you know, he is character