View Full Version : My first ukulele???

07-06-2011, 09:00 PM
Hi there, I'm an intermediate guitar player, and I'm planning to purchase my first ukulele and I need help... I don't want to spend a packet, but at the same time I want a great instrument, not some cheap thing that's always going out of tune...eeek!! I think I'd prefer a fuller sound so not a soprano, I write my own songs but also love to cover great songs can someone give me some advice please??


mm stan
07-06-2011, 10:04 PM
Aloha Ailbhe,
Welcome to the UU and our forums...what is your budget....check our marketplace...Good Luck..MM Stan....

07-07-2011, 03:13 AM
As MM Stan said, what's your budget? There are lots of nice sounding concerts and tenors are reasonable prices, good sounding for a little more, and great sounding for a lot more. Also, beyond "full" what other sound characteristics are you looking for?
This group can get you very near "spot on" with recommendations for a "first uke" that will make you happy.

07-07-2011, 03:38 AM
Mainland and Ohana are great mid level ukuleles for around $200 for a concert. I have first hand experience with these brands. Seems folks like the Kala and Lanikai too. I agree, great deals on the uu marketplace. I have bought most of my ukes second hand and have never had anything but positive experiences and purchased good ukes at bargain prices. I would say wherever you buy to purchase from someone that does a professional set up. Check out UkeRepublic for a variety of ukes, good prices, professional set up, good customer service. For Mainland ukes go directly to the Mainland website. Have fun. One of my favorite things is uke shopping. Oh, and welcome to UU.

07-07-2011, 07:32 PM
As a guitar player I really thing you will really appreciate a tenor.

07-07-2011, 09:09 PM
Go to the nearest music shop. Play ALL the ukuleles WITHOUT looking at any price tags. Check and see if you can afford the best-sounding one. If so, buy it. If not, see if you can afford the second-best-sounding one. If so, buy it. If not, repeat the process until you've found a ukulele you like that you can afford.

And don't worry if the best-sounding ukulele at your local shop costs under $100--that means you're lucky!

Coconut Willie
07-08-2011, 01:54 AM
Yep...go to a shop that has ukes and play them. Coming from a guitar, I think a tenor uke will fit you very well!

07-08-2011, 03:14 AM
Hiya :)

Well to throw my say into the bag...As I am only a couple of years in I remember my first uke very well. I played chord guitar for years but was unsure about the uke so bought a Makala Soprano. I still feel that a soprano uke is going to be part of my collection but going too cheap was a bad move for me. I was getting no pleasant tone or feedback which I needed in order to be encouraged. Well the Makala ended up being given away as a novelty present and I settled on a Ohana tenor.

Ohana or Mainland Tenor solid wood I would Suggest. It may be a little more than you wish to spend on a first uke but maybe you could get a good deal on a second hand one!

Good luck and have fun whatever your choice,


07-08-2011, 03:43 AM
Hi freackykit,
I would give Mainland a look. I really like my Sprucetop concert. Good luck with your search.

07-08-2011, 05:00 AM
Hi :D

Welcome to UU, I second the recommendations for Ohana and Mainland, I've got an Ohana, she was my first "proper" Ukulele as my first was a cheap one that doesn't play anywhere as near as good. People on these forums are well informed and will help you make a good decision if you can't get to a store where you can physically play one! I've only been able to buy my online (except the first one and I didn't think to play it first!) and haven't had any problems, but if you can get to an Ukulele store and lay your hands on one, or several, do so, it'll help you make the decision with what kind of sound you're looking for!

Good Luck :D


07-08-2011, 09:02 AM
I agree with freakykit. I'm already looking to get rid of my Makala MK-T after playing an Oscar Schmidt soprano. I've only tried those two but I'm getting an OS in tenor ASAP. Wide fretboard, good tone, and easy to get around on and fret. Im sold. And for only about $30 more I think, for the comparable entry level model.

I think when you get a really cheap uke setup is a must for good playablity. If you can't get one that's set up well go ahead and spend the extra $50 and get something better. It will cost you the same in the long run, and you'll get a better uke out of it.

07-08-2011, 09:32 AM
If you want a good sound uke within budget, try getting a Koa Pili Koko, my preference is the Tenor. Solid uke and well made under $200.00. I just purchased one on eBay at $195.00 with a tuner. The Acacia wood on these, same family of Koa sounds similiar to my Kamaka at a cheaper price. Very solid well made and has an easy comfy feel to it, and what I really enjoy is the curved shape in the back of the uke. I tried two different types of strings one is the Aquila's which brings a acoustic sound to it, then later I tried the Alohi's, now you're talking a crisp sweet sound. So you may want to give it try. Also try the Riptides (Boulder Creek) ukes too!

07-08-2011, 10:49 AM
Get a tenor if you want a fuller sound
For a good player, get the Lanikai LU-21T, Kala KA-T, Ohana TK-10 or TK-20 (?), or Makai TK-55 (?). These are all good ukuleles you can get around $100 and will play well but are laminate, so don't expect as much tone wise.
For better tone at a decent price, look for solid mahogany (mellow) or solid acacia (crisper, like koa). You can get it from the aformentioned brands or also Koko Pili Koa or Mainland (Mainlands are highly regarded by those who own them).

Good luck, there are lots of good choices out there

Also, set up is significantly important with ukuleles. I think because of their small size, they react more to changes in nut/saddle adjustment than guitars do. I do my own, but if you aren't familiar or daring, you may want to get it done by a pro.

07-17-2011, 10:49 PM
Hey I think you might find my post in the marketplace perfect for you. I'm letting go of my 2 week old baby the Lanikai SM-T solid spalted mango. ASk around and look at photos, it does the talking for itself!

07-18-2011, 08:43 AM
Ailbhe - welcome from another very new uke player :) My uke (my first and only one so far...) is an Ohana, and it was very cheap (around £50) but I really like it, and although I can appreciate that there are probably much better sounding ukes out there, it's very easy to play, which is very important to me as a beginner.

TheOnlyUkeThatMatters - I love your buying advice, that should be a sticky somewhere!

Joey - forgive me for an off-topic question, but in your signature line, how come you have an English yew solid body soprano on your wish list? I'm just curious as I have an English yew parlour guitar, but have never heard of a uke made from it. It certainly is a gorgeous wood and I can imagine it would really sing as a uke!