View Full Version : Wrong Ukulele shipped to me...Should I keep it?

08-16-2011, 06:22 PM
I ordered a Kala solid mahogany soprano with geared keys but when it came in today it has friction keys. Me being a beginner I'm a little worried that I'll have trouble keeping it in tune. I do really like the traditional look with the friction keys. The store offered to knock $30 off the $196 price or I can return it for a full refund. I really don't know what I'm doing at this stage anyway. Do ya'll think I should just keep it with the discount? In case I decide to sell it later will it be less desirable? If I do have trouble with it are good replacement friction keys expensive? Thanks for any help with my decision.

08-16-2011, 06:26 PM
I would keep it. I started out with friction tuners and I guess since I learned with them I do not see what the big deal is about folks that don't like them. If you decide to sell later personally the fiction tuners would make it more desirable to people who prefer friction.

08-16-2011, 06:32 PM
As a beginner I would've wanted geared tuners. But now I would choose the balance of friction tuners on a soprano. And yes you can upgrade friction tuners if you desire. Mainland has deluxe tuners for $25, so there's the money you'd save in keeping a better balanced instrument.

08-16-2011, 06:34 PM
A lot of people actually do prefer friction tuners. They're supposed to be lighter weight, so the headstock isn't weighed down by geared tuners.

Friction tuners are a little trickier to tune, though.

If it were me, I think I'd take the $30 off and deal with it, as long as you like the uke otherwise. :)

Dan Uke
08-16-2011, 06:36 PM
Is there a price difference between geared and friction tuners? I would ask for a discount in the equivalent of the price difference plus shipping for sending this uke back and sending you another one. Use that money and buy a clipon tuner

Go for the discount as as you enjoy the instrument...this won't be your last!!!!

08-16-2011, 06:49 PM
Aloha ukupapa!
Welcome to the 'Ukulele Underground and to the 'ukulele. I agree with those who've posted above^^^ and keep the Kala Solid Mahogany soprano. I started with a soprano with friction tuners very similar to yours and learned to tune them correctly. Perhaps a right of passage. Maybe further down the road, you may want to upgrade to Peg-Head (http://pohakuukulele.com/shop/products-page/tuning-machines/peg-head-planetary-geared-tuning-machines/) planetary geared tuners. Hope this helps.


08-17-2011, 01:55 AM
There are friction tuners on my Kala, and they are very nice quality, very smooth, I would keep it.

A thought from a learning standpoint-most ukes have friction tuners it seems, and if you are in a situation to try another uke at some point such as play a friends, or in a music store, point being you are bound to run across them , it would be good for you to know how to use them IMO

08-17-2011, 02:54 AM
Take the $30

08-17-2011, 03:22 AM
I have frictions on my soprano and find that once the strings settle in there's not much tweeking needed. It's also a lot easier to change strings.

08-17-2011, 04:52 AM
Thanks for the help guys......I like the Kala and wanted to keep it but just wanted to make sure I wasn't making a mistake...so I'm keeping it.

08-17-2011, 05:22 AM
good decision. as others have said, the balance is much better with friction vs geared. especially on a soprano.

08-17-2011, 05:33 AM
FWIW, I swapped out the stock geared tuners on my soprano and replaced with frictions. The balance thing is true: it definitely makes a difference.

08-17-2011, 05:35 AM
Thanks for the help guys......I like the Kala and wanted to keep it but just wanted to make sure I wasn't making a mistake...so I'm keeping it.And now you've got $30 in your "ukulele supplies" savings account ;)

Jason Paul
08-17-2011, 05:44 AM
I agree that you made the right decision. I have two sopranos and they both have geared tuners, and I would MUCH prefer friction tuners. The balance issue really is noticeable, plus I think they just look better anyway.

I do have friction tuners on my Mainland Concert though.


08-17-2011, 12:13 PM
Send it back. Friction tunes are made by the same people who made Windows ME. You want something modern, easy and efficient, not a mere affectation...

(flame suit on...)

08-17-2011, 12:38 PM
Nothing wrong with good friction tuners - and the ones on my Kala pocket uke were good - better than the ones originally on my Kiwaya longneck, in fact.

Once you get used to friction tuners there is really no significant advantage to geared ones unless you have poor motor skills or don't know how to adjust them properly. Properly adjusted, a friction tuner will turn easily enough to let you fine-tune the string but hold tight enough that the tuning doesn't slip. Once my fluorocarbon strings stop stretching my friction-equipped ukes will hold their tune for weeks. I like them better, especially when changing strings. The last time I changed strings on one of my tenors with geared tuners I was cussing them even though I have a string winder. Seems like you have to crank forever on those dumb things!


08-17-2011, 12:43 PM
i got the same solid mahogany uke and i don't have any probs with the friction tuners they are great and they also make the headstock look sleeker, you made a good decision keeping it

08-17-2011, 02:19 PM
Take the $30

08-18-2011, 01:10 AM
Send it back. Friction tunes are made by the same people who made Windows ME. You want something modern, easy and efficient, not a mere affectation...

(flame suit on...)

LOL. Don't think you should need the flame suit. Everyone has his preference.

I used to be a firm geared tuners believer. In fact, for tenor and bari I still am. On soprano and usually on concert I now prefer frictions. If they're halfway decent then they hold as well as geared tuners, and using them is a breeze once you get the knack - which doesn't take long at all. The weight thing is really noticeable on a small, light soprano. That's my main reason for liking them. On a tenor the slight difference in weight and balance makes comparatively little difference, so I prefer geared. Functionally, assuming equivalent quality, I really think there's little daylight between the two types.

Pukulele Pete
08-18-2011, 01:23 AM
There should be a law banning geared tuners on sopranos. Friction tuners work fine. I really hate to see geared tuners on a soprano .

08-18-2011, 02:56 AM
it's really not a matter of "keeping it in tune."

any uke that sits a while after tuning (a day or more on the wall or in the case) will slowly go out of tune to some degree. this is not a function of friction vs. geared tuners. it's an inherent function of how tight (which is not necessarily a good thing) those tuners--friction or geared--are.

where the real diff comes in is in how easy it is to actually tune the tuners. with geared tuners, making fine adjustments is easier to do usually because of the 1:14 gear ratio. with friction tuner (other than something fancy & expensive like pegheads) the ratio is 1:1. so with mine once you overcome the static friction (turning it for the first time after it's been sitting still for a while), tuning it after that is no huge hassle but just a bit more fiddly about finding the right one due to the gear ratio.

that's all.