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View Full Version : What to buy as a beginner (and traveler)



surfin_bird
05-21-2011, 05:21 AM
Hi fellow ukulele players,

As a newbie in the ukulele world and on this forum, I was wondering what options I have in buying a ukulele.
I am looking for a Ukulele that I can take with me on my trip to asia and is small enough to carry around.
I recently played at a greg bennet .. 50 (was the name) which looked quite nice. I believed it was this one http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZrpdoPy4kxE.
But I read some reviews and it hasn't got the best reviews.
So I was wondering whats you guys advice for a (I think a soprano or concert) and is there difference in sturdyness ?

what size is the best to learn to play the uke ?

And what's a good learnbook to buy ?

Thanks Steve

p.s. sorry for so many questions, but there is so much to learn !
(I tried the search function but didn't find really good answers to my questions, but maybe that's my fault)

Susie A
05-21-2011, 05:25 AM
Hi fellow ukulele players,

As a newbie in the ukulele world and on this forum, I was wondering what options I have in buying a ukulele.
I am looking for a Ukulele that I can take with me on my trip to asia and is small enough to carry around.
I recently played at a greg bennet .. 50 (was the name) which looked quite nice. I believed it was this one http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZrpdoPy4kxE.
But I read some reviews and it hasn't got the best reviews.
So I was wondering whats you guys advice for a (I think a soprano or concert) and is there difference in sturdyness ?

what size is the best to learn to play the uke ?

And what's a good learnbook to buy ?

Thanks Steve

p.s. sorry for so many questions, but there is so much to learn !
(I tried the search function but didn't find really good answers to my questions, but maybe that's my fault)

If I was looking for a first uke and wanted one that would travel well I would get a Flea or a Fluke. Indestructible uke that has lots of volume and stays in tune. It isn't your traditional uke, but for your needs I think it would be perfect!

kenikas
05-21-2011, 05:34 AM
The plastic body Makala Dolphins are a great beginner uke and are pretty tough too, although not as tough as a Flea or Fluke. But you can buy 3 or 4 of them for the price of the Flea or Fluke!

surfin_bird
05-21-2011, 05:37 AM
I really like the design, I always loved the pineapple design. They are a bit pricey compared to what I saw hanging in the music stores around here, I bet it's a better quality but I am a bit scared to buy a somewhat price uke to take around backpacking.. with a change of not surviving it. Are there cheaper options ? Or is this the best a man can get, indestructible tiny music monsters ?

Lori
05-21-2011, 06:26 AM
Kala makes a Travel Thinline uke, which is very portable. You get a choice of sizes there, soprano, concert (if you can find one in stock) and tenor. Makala Dolphin bridge ukes are inexpensive and durable, but only come in soprano size, and will need a string upgrade. The Flea is more expensive but very rugged, and is available with either a standard soprano neck length, or a concert or tenor neck option. It's not as thin as the Kala, but is durable. Some people like to have more finger space on the fretboard (concert and tenor), and others prefer the greater reach and reduced string tension of a soprano.
The soprano necks usually has only 12 frets, and some songs need more than that.
There is also the Bruco Slimline traveler http://www.gotaukulele.com/2010/08/bruko-black-slimbody-soprano-review.html

If you can, see if you can try out a few sizes of ukulele in person to see what size is most comfortable in the beginning. Everybody is different, and so it is hard to tell you what size is best for you.

What kind of music are you interested in playing? There are a lot of good options for books and free internet instruction.
–Lori

Ingrate
05-21-2011, 07:07 AM
Consider a concert Eleuke. ~$200, and quite portable/tough. With earbuds you can play most anywhere. Get an RCA-plug to stereo 1/8" plug cable, and you can jack in to most stereos for audible playing. Use an electric-guitar cable for play with a real amp. You can't beat the sustain on these things, if you like their sound. You can also plug an MP3 player into the 'uke and play along. You can leave it in a hot car w/o concern (I admit that I don't do that w/my beloved Eleuke..).

mm stan
05-21-2011, 08:53 AM
Aloha Steve,
I would recommend the flukes and fleas too...I know you're a surfer and budget friendly..If you can afford them, get um....I like my beater Rogue soprano from Musicians Freind for 24.99...
and if you have deeper pockets...a Captains Backpacker...here are the links...http://folk-instruments.musiciansfriend.com/product/Rogue-Hawaiian-Soprano-Ukulele?sku=519269
or http://www.captainukuleles.co.nz/backpacker.html it's a concert scale...Good Luck, MM Stan

PhilUSAFRet
05-21-2011, 09:50 AM
If I was looking for a first uke and wanted one that would travel well I would get a Flea or a Fluke. Indestructible uke that has lots of volume and stays in tune. It isn't your traditional uke, but for your needs I think it would be perfect!

I just recommended these to another guy going to Asia for an extended trip. won't have to worry about sturdiness, they are about as tough and weatherproof as anything, they are compact, and they sound great. What more do you need in a travel uke?

TheOnlyUkeThatMatters
05-22-2011, 10:02 AM
Here's another UUer's vote for a Flea or a Fluke. These ukes sound great and are sure to travel well. If I were in your position, I'd head to my local ukulele shop and buy a soprano Flea today.

As for books, Jim Beloff has written a songbook for almost every musical taste and varied ability levels. I've had fun with "Ukulele Tips N Tunes" and "Ukulele Gems". I've heard the three volume "Hawaiian Style Ukulele" series is good, too, but I've yet to check it out. Plus there are LOTS of online resources to explore, maybe start here:

http://www.ukulele.org/?Downloads

SweetWaterBlue
05-22-2011, 10:10 AM
I'll third the Flea (I'm not as much of a fan of Flukes for travel). I love the portability and sturdiness of mine. I personally don't think it sounds quite as good as my Ohana solid soprano, but its much sturdier and you don't have to worry about it. If you get the Lava top like mine, you can even have people sign it with a silver indelible marker as you travel. I got mine with the concert neck which makes it easier to play, unless you are used to a soprano.

This one is Scott Bailey's from the Flea museum at http://fleamuseum.blogspot.com/

http://lh3.ggpht.com/_XiHwUG4Vrrw/SnCx-5u_kqI/AAAAAAAAB04/RvTtskR76Jo/GrafittiFlea.jpg

Maiyah888
05-22-2011, 10:58 AM
Is it really hiking if you're wearing flip flops?

J/K

Maiyah888
05-22-2011, 11:25 AM
Last night my friend hopkid and his lovely wife (she has a pineapple!) came down from Richmond for a mutual friend's party.

I had the challenge and delight of attempting to play his lefty-tuned Woody Round Up Ukulele.

He'd upgraded the strings to Aquilas.

It sounded surprisingly nice!

And I was able to stumble through My Girl on it (and got some folks to sing along!).

So at $29.95 plus $8.00 for strings then a little more for tax, it's a durable and easy to pack option.

I'm holding myself back from running out and getting one right now! I'm kind of obsessed with that left-handed playing challenge.

Maybe I'll order the Disney Princess one.

allanr
05-22-2011, 11:42 AM
http://www.elderly.com/new_instruments/items/OXKUKE.htm (a tad under 300)

http://www.elderly.com/new_instruments/items/KASSTU-S-SM.htm (a bit under 200)

http://www.elderly.com/new_instruments/names/kala-screen-printed-watermelon-soprano-ukulele--KAWTML.htm (less than 100)