PDA

View Full Version : Cheap Ukes?



UkeCanDoIt!
08-08-2008, 08:29 AM
What's the cheapest ukelele worth having? I'm unemployed at the moment and dying to find something cheap or free. I'm sure I'll probably have to wait until a job comes along before I can get anything, but I was too curious not to ask.

tuscadero
08-08-2008, 08:59 AM
I bought my first uke after getting laid off this winter, it's a good way to pass the time between sending out CVs. I bought a Hilo, not the cheapest one, which is around $25, but the next one up which is closer to $40. I restrung it with Aquilas and I have to say, it keeps it's tone pretty well. I would not recommend Mahalos. I bought one of the ones that have the fruit decals on it, less to play, more for decoration and even with better strings it never stays in tune, always sounds like a toy.
I've since picked up a Stagg, a Fluke and a Pono, so I guess it's good I got a job, eh?

hotnanas
08-08-2008, 10:28 AM
+1. my hilo i think was around the $30-$40 mark. I restrung it with some martin strings and it is so much better than before!

ah.clem
08-08-2008, 11:00 AM
I have found the KALA KA-S mahogany soprano restrung with Aquilas (it came with GHS, OK but not great) to be a great sounding first uke. I have tried low G on it, sounds nice, but I'm putting high G back on it and buying a KALA KA-ST spruce top tenor with low G to play until I get back to Kaneohe in the spring to try out the Pono instruments.

I got it for $40 at Harry's in Kaimuki.

ah.clem

freedive135
08-08-2008, 07:09 PM
My first was a Johnson uk-120 39$ and with the new strings is sounds pretty good.
I have a couple of the Kala KA-S I paid 59$each for them and with stock strings they had a much better sound better than my Johnson I replaced the strings on both those and it made them sound even better.
I'll still play the Johnson every so often just because.

I'd tell anyone looking for a inexpencive starter uke to go with the Kala KA-S.

upskydowncloud
08-09-2008, 03:34 AM
Lanikai LU-21!

UkuLeLesReggAe
08-09-2008, 03:43 AM
Lanikai LU-21!

WHOOOOOO
so many people have these haha :D wait ... i think we have same anyways :d

Makala's are cheap these days, and great sound!

upskydowncloud
08-09-2008, 05:11 AM
WHOOOOOO
so many people have these haha :D wait ... i think we have same anyways :d

Makala's are cheap these days, and great sound!

I'm all for the Lanikai', my curly koa model is really nice too!

polynesianpop
08-09-2008, 05:26 AM
I started on an Ohana SK-10. $39 bucks and stayed in tune!

uke142464
08-09-2008, 07:34 AM
WHOOOOOO
so many people have these haha :D wait ... i think we have same anyways :d

Makala's are cheap these days, and great sound!

i second the makalas by a lot, throw some aquilas on there and theyre awesome, I like it just as much if not better than my kala ka-st which cost 3 times as much:D

UkeCanDoIt!
08-09-2008, 12:23 PM
Thanks for all the suggestions everyone. I did some checking and this is what I've found:

Johnson UK-120 - $39.95+s/h = $51.90
Lanikai LU-21 - $49.00+s/h = $54.95
Ohana SK-10 - $39.95+s/h = $44.95
Makala MK-S - $34.95+s/h = $49.95

These are in the price range I might be able to spend. Yeah, I'm so desperate to learn and fill my spare time between job searching that I'm going to cash in my spare change and see what I got. Which of these would be the best option as far as overall quality and sound and friendlier to fat fingers? I guess at this price range I can't ask for much, but something is better than nothing. Assuming all of them would sound better with new strings, which strings do you recommend? Thanks!

freedive135
08-09-2008, 12:38 PM
I've played both the Makala and the Johnson the Makala sounds better with the stock strings. I went Kala over Makala just for the look (Makala is the intro Kala)
I havent played the other 2.

If money is tight just leave the stock strings till you get better with the chords and strumming.

UkeCanDoIt!
08-10-2008, 06:47 PM
Well, based on the responses and some external research, it sounds like my best bet would be to find a good deal on a Makala or Kala soprano. I'd like to get a Flea or Fluke, but those are out of my price range at the moment.

haolejohn
08-10-2008, 06:56 PM
My first uke was a oscar schmidt aloha? I paid $40 and it fairly well until I left in the car once. Never do that again.

UkeCanDoIt!
08-11-2008, 01:12 PM
I took my change bottle to the bank and cashed it in. I was happy to see that I had enough to FINALLY buy myself a ukulele. Today I purchased a Makala MK-S ukulele for $49.95. Not sure how long it'll take to get here from Hawaii. :)

hotnanas
08-11-2008, 01:26 PM
congrats! i think you will like it...it's a uke! how can one not like it?

let anyone know if you have any questions!

raindog
08-11-2008, 01:54 PM
Sweet! Congratulations. You're gonna love it.

It shouldn't take that long to get there from Hawaii. Of course, that's easy for me to say, since I'm not the one waiting for it. :p

Boozelele
08-11-2008, 10:41 PM
I took my change bottle to the bank and cashed it in. I was happy to see that I had enough to FINALLY buy myself a ukulele. Today I purchased a Makala MK-S ukulele for $49.95. Not sure how long it'll take to get here from Hawaii. :)

Good for you man. and good luck on the job search... just think, once that is all taken care of you can upgrade that uke...maybe get a concert, or a tenor...or both......:)

UkeCanDoIt!
08-14-2008, 06:57 PM
Wow, talk about a bummer. I ordered my Makala MK-S ukulele last week and I was hoping to get it today or tomorrow. I received an e-mail today stating that they were out of stock and that they were going to try and get the manufacturer to direct ship one to me. I wonder how long that'll take. I was hoping to have my first ukulele by the weekend! :(

redsedge
08-17-2008, 01:48 AM
Oh that's bad luck. Ask them to give you some Aquila strings as a goodwill/compensation gesture. You never know your luck!

I started with a Makala and it's since helped a couple of people get started. Currently, the landlady of my local pub is playing it. You made a good choice!

UkeCanDoIt!
08-17-2008, 10:55 AM
LOL!! Luck? I'm not even going to tempt it. If it wasn't for bad luck, I'd have no luck at all. :) I'll just be patient.

I really have no idea what the Makala sounds like. I only got it based on many recommendations and my budget. I've never played a ukulele before. (Other than a plastic toy one and even then I wasn't play it with intent to master it.)

My hopes are to learn how to play it to, at least, the point where I'm worthy to have it. I'd like to think I'll become skilled enough to where I can upgrade to a better ukulele and then pass the Makala on to someone in need. We'll see how it goes! :)

SinisterDom
08-17-2008, 04:46 PM
Ohana SK-10.

I love Ohana in general and for a forty dollar uke, you can't beat it. Just do a google search. They sound great.

Jack
08-17-2008, 05:31 PM
Congrats on getting the uke. Be sure that once u get good, upgrade to a tenor for some real intense uke playing =D

Dilphat
08-17-2008, 06:39 PM
LOL!! Luck? I'm not even going to tempt it. If it wasn't for bad luck, I'd have no luck at all. :) I'll just be patient.

I really have no idea what the Makala sounds like. I only got it based on many recommendations and my budget. I've never played a ukulele before. (Other than a plastic toy one and even then I wasn't play it with intent to master it.)

My hopes are to learn how to play it to, at least, the point where I'm worthy to have it. I'd like to think I'll become skilled enough to where I can upgrade to a better ukulele and then pass the Makala on to someone in need. We'll see how it goes! :)

grats on the first uke. i started with the johnson uk-120. and no worries, you'll soon realize how addicting it will become. and before you know it, you'll be playing good. hahaha

Bassukuguy
08-17-2008, 08:10 PM
My Starter and current uke is a Kala KA-C. i think it was like 140 all together. i always go under the assumption that when you buy an instrument, you could buy something really cheap and learn but then you have to upgrade fairly quick. so what i do is i spend a bit more than i should on my first and then you get a quality instrument that will last longer. not that im dissing cheaper ukes (i was looking at the makala concert very hard). alright now im rambling... sorry about that

UkeCanDoIt!
08-17-2008, 09:59 PM
Sweet! I just got an e-mail stating that my Makala ukulele is due for delivery on Tuesday! Yay! I can't wait!

tad
08-17-2008, 10:04 PM
My Starter and current uke is a Kala KA-C. i think it was like 140 all together. i always go under the assumption that when you buy an instrument, you could buy something really cheap and learn but then you have to upgrade fairly quick. so what i do is i spend a bit more than i should on my first and then you get a quality instrument that will last longer. not that im dissing cheaper ukes (i was looking at the makala concert very hard). alright now im rambling... sorry about that

Having a KA-S and a Makala Soprano, I've got to say, the Kala is definitely better, but the Makala is really great for the price. It definitely sounds better than my Mitchell, and that cost me almost fifty bucks more.

Jack33@
08-19-2008, 03:03 AM
I have not played the uke you are getting but so far all my starter ukes benifitted from a set of Aquilas.

Should arrive today? C G7 F by lunch and you will rock by 2.

Good luck

jebus89
08-25-2008, 06:30 AM
the first uke i got was a $15 'Mahalo' from ebay, i can't say that it was great, but there was nothing wrong with it

bananasandwichh
08-30-2008, 10:40 AM
my current (and first) ukulele is the makala mk-c. i don't know much, since i bought it less than a month ago, but it plays pretty well and has stayed in tune, too.

i'm thinking that if i keep up my playing for a year, i'm going to upgrade. right now i'm kind of testing the waters and seeing if i like uke enough to be serious about it in the long run.

congrats on your first uke! i'm sure you'll like the makala.

UkeCanDoIt!
08-30-2008, 10:49 AM
I like the uke, but I an greatly frustrated with my inability to play anything that remotely sounds like music from it. :) I wish I could take lessons, as I'm not confident enough to know what I'm doing on my own.

jsigone
08-30-2008, 12:58 PM
I'm in the same boat as you, had mine LU21 for a week now, I need to work on the speed part of the finger tetris.

ah.clem
08-30-2008, 01:18 PM
Ukecan and Js.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1d2-KCXnQUA&feature=related

Look on youtube for more easy lessons. I figure you've tried the lessons and uke minutes here - just pick one progression and keep practicing it. Play it over and over while watching the tube, drive your wife crazy - you'll get it in a few days then try another progression. In this one, you could even use a simpler C chord and simple progression - C - F - G7 - C.

Stay with it, it happens.

ah.clem

jsigone
08-30-2008, 09:17 PM
I like his videos, I try to do a couple a day, I just need to repeat it better. That stumming in that link, my uke doesn't sound anthing like his when I feather 4 fingers downwards on C(which I don't eve see in my chord chart). Don't know if its my uke, sings or technique. I have a stock LU21C.

ah.clem
08-30-2008, 09:39 PM
Hey, js.

It's really just practice. Well, practice, calluses and good strings/good uke. But a beginner uke can have a nice/big sound with the right strings. But you will be surprised as your fingers toughen up how much better you sound. But it's mostly practice - keep trying to get the sound you want on just one chord, then do the same for the next chord. Pretty soon you put them together, beautiful. Play slowly, make sure each chord sounds the best you can make it, don't go to the next chord until you are satisfied with the sound. Practice isn't performance - no one listens but you, no worries. Someone on these boards said it well - easy to learn, very hard to master. It is an instrument, don't forget. It takes time to get good, just like piano, guitar, violin, sax. Nice thing is it's pretty easy to learn and play songs as you are learning. Makes the practice easier. I've played a lot of instruments for a lot of years, and I love practice much more than performance. You have all that time to refine your sound, explore new sounds maybe you don't end up liking. So much more freedom than performance (well, except for playing jazz, but I still like to practice/rehearse jazz more than perform).

Good luck with it - it will be some of the best time you've ever spent with yourself.

ah.clem

nikolo727
08-31-2008, 11:03 AM
makala ukes are great for beginners and they are even greater cuz they are really cheap. if you put some high end strings on them they sound very very acceptable. check mgm's store in ebay. he has a couple makalas and you wont get better customer service or better shipping. peace.

leaveit2jane
08-31-2008, 03:28 PM
Hi! I have felt your frustration or one similiar to it....
Check your private messages.

jsigone
09-01-2008, 10:07 AM
I think I'll be ordering a set of Worth clears and tuner from MGM soon, to try and bring out a lil better sound from the LU21C.