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View Full Version : How can I pick a ukulele?



lanybug76
06-29-2011, 03:55 PM
I'm new as new can be to this and I don't know whats a good uke. I don't really want to spend a lot on it. Amazon has shown me a lot that are under $80. It'd be great if someone gave me some direction. I was looking at Mahalo and Kala. Any thoughts?

mandrew
06-29-2011, 04:08 PM
The vast majority of folks here recommend Kala, Lanikai, Mainland, or Ohana ukes in that price range. Visit their sites and see what appeals to you! Thanks for dropping by!

haolejohn
06-29-2011, 04:11 PM
I'm new as new can be to this and I don't know whats a good uke. I don't really want to spend a lot on it. Amazon has shown me a lot that are under $80. It'd be great if someone gave me some direction. I was looking at Mahalo and Kala. Any thoughts?

what size asre you looking for? Are you wanting to stay under $80? Are you opposed to buying used?

MiaRosie
06-29-2011, 04:15 PM
I'd avoid mahalo - I bought both brands, Makala was far better than Mahalo, I got the dolphin. They're fine if you want a beat about uke or really really only have a little money to spend, but I soon realised that I wanted a better uke for a better sound. ( still love my dolphin though ).

lanybug76
06-29-2011, 04:20 PM
Used is fine. I want a soprano I think. I'd like to stay below eighty, I don't have all that much cash.

haolejohn
06-29-2011, 04:25 PM
Used is fine. I want a soprano I think. I'd like to stay below eighty, I don't have all that much cash.

OK. Are you wanting to spend the whole $80? Are you ok with a cutsey ukulele?

Contact Mike at either mainland ukes or ukerepublic (both are mikes) and inquire about the geckos or chilis.
you can also get a dolphin or a kala soprano laminate or makala. I would stay away from the mahalos. I'm not a fan of lanikais either but some folks swear by them.

Where are you located at?
I recommend www.ukerepublic.com
and www.mimsukes.com


good luck and don;'t be afraid to ask questions.

lanybug76
06-29-2011, 04:29 PM
You know I'd like to avoid spending all eighty. But if thats what it takes. And what do you mean cutesy?

haolejohn
06-29-2011, 04:46 PM
You know I'd like to avoid spending all eighty. But if thats what it takes. And what do you mean cutesy?

to me the dolphins and geckos are cutsey (not the most manly looking but I own 4 dolphins and one gecko).
I am sure you have seen dolphins that are made by makala (or kala)
and here are the geckos: http://shop.mainlandukuleles.com/category.sc?categoryId=11

If you like the geckos, call Mike at mainland and see if he has any 2nds. You will save a few extra dollars that way.

lanybug76
06-29-2011, 05:05 PM
You know, cutesy isn't really my thing. LOL. I was thinking more a wooden one perhaps? Kala seems to be pretty popular so I'm thinking one off of this couple of pages. Any idea which one is a good buy? http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=Kala+Ukulele

Toucan Mango
06-29-2011, 05:30 PM
Don't forget a tuner if you don't have one already.

lanybug76
06-29-2011, 05:58 PM
I've got one thats also a metronome. My sis played guitar for awhile and I play piano so we've had one for awhile.

TheOnlyUkeThatMatters
06-29-2011, 06:01 PM
Kala KA-S and Lanikai LU-21 are both good ukuleles and are well within your price range. You can also check your local craigslist before you buy online. There might be a great deal waiting for you there.

lanybug76
06-29-2011, 06:14 PM
I'm thinking I might get the Kala. We'll see :)

haolejohn
06-29-2011, 06:34 PM
You know, cutesy isn't really my thing. LOL. I was thinking more a wooden one perhaps? Kala seems to be pretty popular so I'm thinking one off of this couple of pages. Any idea which one is a good buy? http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=Kala+Ukulele

ok. I am not into the cutsey thing either. that is why I asked. I know many people tnat love their dolphins but mine only gets played in my classroom.

I recommend staying away from amazon. The ukes you buy there will probably not be set up. If you go with one of those online dealers (ukerepublic or mimsukes) you will get the same uke but set up by a uke player. Price should be about the same as well. I owned a ks-15 once. I enjoyed it but gave it to a student of mine.

Canoe Lady
06-29-2011, 07:48 PM
A friend of mine just got a Luna Tattoo Pineapple. She got it from Amazon. I played it the other evening and it sounds sweet, no buzzing anywhere, and it looks awesome. In your price range.

marymac
06-29-2011, 08:34 PM
A friend of mine just got a Luna Tattoo Pineapple. She got it from Amazon. I played it the other evening and it sounds sweet, no buzzing anywhere, and it looks awesome. In your price range.

+1 on the Luna Tattoo Pineapple. I got one for my niece at Christmas and it has a nice sound and look to it. I got it from Amazon but you will get a good setup for sure from UkeRepublic or Mim.

mm stan
06-29-2011, 09:22 PM
Aloha Lanybug76.
Not sure where you live...and if there is any music shops around that carry ukuleles...it would be your best bet...try alot and play them side to side for comparrisons and pick the best one in sound
and the best playability and comfort...if you cannot tell ask the salesman to play it for you and listen which one you like best....check the sizes for which you like best..soprano, concert, tenor, baritone
If you have no music stores around you, choose a reputable dealer as ones mentioned before...because they will do setups too..and will sound and play better...if you bought from amazon or the other
big retailers you would not have this set up service and may be an additional cost later..if it doesn't sound or play good...get an upgrade in strings and the factory ones usually are cheap ones and a
good digital chromatic clip on tuner...you will not reget this and it will make tuning faster and more accurate with less fustration....Good Luck...MM Stan

cb56
06-30-2011, 12:49 AM
If you think you might want a bit larger uke an oscar schmidt ou2 is pretty good for the money and you'd have enough left over for a tuner. It's a concert size uke next size up from soprano. We got one for my 16 year old step daughter and I was pretty impressed with it for the money.
Might want to find one in a music store for a set up but we bought one right off the shelf and it was fine.
http://www.amazon.com/Oscar-Schmidt-Concert-Ukulele-Gigbag/dp/B004LUHE9U/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1309431054&sr=8-2

PhilUSAFRet
06-30-2011, 01:52 AM
OK. Are you wanting to spend the whole $80? Are you ok with a cutsey ukulele?

Contact Mike at either mainland ukes or ukerepublic (both are mikes) and inquire about the geckos or chilis.
you can also get a dolphin or a kala soprano laminate or makala. I would stay away from the mahalos. I'm not a fan of lanikais either but some folks swear by them.

Where are you located at?
I recommend www.ukerepublic.com
and www.mimsukes.com


good luck and don;'t be afraid to ask questions.

You can get a "properly set up" uke at these two places, I also like Hawaiian Music Supply. Doesn't sound like you will be ready to do set ups any time soon. The cheaper the uke, the more you will benefit from a professional set up resulting in a very playable and decent sounding entry level uke.

lanybug76
06-30-2011, 06:16 AM
By set up.. .you meannn?

haolejohn
06-30-2011, 06:31 AM
By set up.. .you meannn?

they basically make sure it is playable. more to it than that but my baby is making one handed typing hard.

lanybug76
06-30-2011, 06:40 AM
Aw ^_^ But wouldn't the maker have done that before it got to Amazon anyway?

strumsilly
06-30-2011, 06:45 AM
By set up.. .you meannn?

Many [especially cheaper] ukes come with the action pretty high. this makes playing higher up the neck difficult . when too high at the nut, it makes the fretted notes go sharp, especially at the first few frets, and generally makes the uke sound bad, sometimes a uke will be fine straight from the factory, but being a beginner you will be better off buying from a dealer who will check the uke out.

mm stan
06-30-2011, 08:18 AM
Aw ^_^ But wouldn't the maker have done that before it got to Amazon anyway?
Aloha Lanybug76,
Mostly all ukes from the factory don't get a final set up...well mostly, some higher end ones would be good or come close.. and with big retailers you take an even bigger risk..a hit or miss senerio.
Smaller and reputable dealers offer a set up( Like fine tuning to sound and play their best) before they go out...big guys don't have the time to do that..they sell by quanity and not quality..Getting a
set up can mean a uke sounding good and give you motivation to play, rather than one that sounds bad and you put it on the side and don't play.. pay the extra and buy from a reputable dealer who will do it for you....ask on the phone when purchasing..do you do free setups..we have a few member/dealers that are very reputable....if you consider that way, just ask us here for some names..
Good Luck and Happy Strummings.. Kanaka916 offered you some good advice...the Oscar Schmidt OU2 Mahogany Laminate concert it great...Had it for over 3 years and it is a daily player for me..for $59.00 it's a deal!

lanybug76
06-30-2011, 08:34 AM
I'll check out my local store. Thanks ^_^

lanybug76
06-30-2011, 12:29 PM
Okay guys, I'm either getting a Lanikai LU-21, a Dolphin, or this one http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/41IP6MicvjL._SL500_.jpg

cb56
06-30-2011, 01:04 PM
By set up.. .you meannn?
Set the action, string height etc..the way you want it.

lanybug76
06-30-2011, 01:34 PM
I'm for sure getting the Lanikai. Thanks for all the help guys^_^

PhilUSAFRet
06-30-2011, 01:35 PM
I'm for sure getting the Lanikai. Thanks for all the help guys^_^

Mims is a big Lanikai dealer!

haolejohn
06-30-2011, 02:35 PM
Aw ^_^ But wouldn't the maker have done that before it got to Amazon anyway?

nope. It is all about money. They get those buggars and just throw them together in China and half are unplayable (exxageration I know). Good thing others explained it b/c I don't know all the details. I just know I will never buy from a nondealer again unless it is a player selling used.

haolejohn
06-30-2011, 02:36 PM
I'm for sure getting the Lanikai. Thanks for all the help guys^_^

then contact MIm. I will only buy lanikai from her.

Huna
06-30-2011, 03:09 PM
get the ukedelic if its a Kala because ... well I love Kalas and it looks wicked cool too. I would definitely get that psychedelic if its a Kala

FlyedPiper
06-30-2011, 04:59 PM
For what it's worth I just picked up a Makala tenor starter kit with bag and tuner for under $100. I think for just the ukes you can pick one up for around $60 or less. The sopranos are cheaper than the tenors.

Makala is made by Kala and are their "budget ukes". The way I figure it I can learn to play on this one for a few months and if I don't stick with it I'm not out too much money. If I do stick with it I can slap some better strings on it and make it my "travel uke" and purchase a better one. From what I've read in the price range Makala's are hard to beat.

lanybug76
07-01-2011, 04:34 AM
I'm getting it from a store down the road.

Shastastan
07-03-2011, 06:03 PM
I'm a beginner to uke, but I'm a trumpet player. You are smart to get one from a store if you don't know anything about the instrument. Maybe you can try a few and see which you like the best. Asking questions on a forum is good as well as reading customer reviews. I bought a tenor spruce top Lanikai from Amazon, but I realize that I was taking a chance. I did get it tuned up at a local shop. Even though I've bought instruments on line, I won't buy any unless there's a return policy, period. You've now heard many opinions about which preferences folks have. In the end you have to be satisfied. Regardless of the type of instrument, if you try for the cheapest, it won't play well unless you happen to luck out with a good quality used one. Just my 4 cents worth....

mm stan
07-04-2011, 10:06 AM
I'm getting it from a store down the road.
ask them to check the intonation and set up..also get a digital clip on chromatic tuner..it will be the best
investment you make...it will be easier, more accurate, less fustration and faster....good luck and happy strummings..MM Stan

marymac
07-04-2011, 12:06 PM
also get a digital clip on chromatic tuner..it will be the best investment you make

Get a Snark. Blue or red - doesn't matter which, but they're only $12-14 and work 1000 times better than the cheap Kala tuners.

haolejohn
07-04-2011, 12:23 PM
Get a Snark. Blue or red - doesn't matter which, but they're only $12-14 and work 1000 times better than the cheap Kala tuners.

i didn't think so. My snark stopped workingafter a month. batteries were still good too. Of course i also owned a kala(older one) that stopped working as well.

marymac
07-04-2011, 12:59 PM
i didn't think so. My snark stopped workingafter a month. batteries were still good too. Of course i also owned a kala(older one) that stopped working as well.

Even a snark can go bad, I guess. But they pick up the note super quickly so it makes tuning a breeze.

haolejohn
07-04-2011, 01:06 PM
Even a snark can go bad, I guess. But they pick up the note super quickly so it makes tuning a breeze.

heard nothing but good about them, but my one experience was bad. I'll get some more once school starts back b/c they are cheaper than the kala ones but I have had nothing but good experiences with the Kala ones in my 3 years of using them.

FlyedPiper
07-04-2011, 05:56 PM
My Kala tuner works fine. I like the chromatic scale setting. I would say if comes in a package deal don't hesitate to get one. Haven't experimented a lot with it with tuning to chords, but it makes basic tuning a breeze.