PDA

View Full Version : What's the difference?



SpeedoJosh
09-15-2011, 08:53 AM
So I'm looking at getting a ukulele. Never played a musical instrument, and think it will be fun. After researching which would be a good first uke for around $100 or so.
Came down to the Kala Mahogany KA-S, similar priced Lanikai, or kohala. But looking at the backs of them, where you adjust the strings. They are designed rather different. Does that make any difference in them staying in tune?
Also, strings keep popping up. Are these "AQUILA" strings a must, or are the ones that come on the uke fine?

Thanks for the help.

RawrGazzawrs
09-15-2011, 09:23 AM
The things on the back of the headstock (top) are called tuners. There are 2 kinds of tuners. Friction and geared. Friction are super sensitive when you turn them and geared tuners take more turning. I recommend geared tuners for a beginner. Check out luna brand ukuleles too. Theyre really great.
Lunaguitars.com
theyre in the acoustics section of the website.

And as for the aquila strings theyre probably what most good beginneer ukes should have. If theyre white theyre usually aquilas.

23skidoo
09-15-2011, 09:30 AM
I've got the tenor version of the Kala KA-S (the KA-T) and it's a pretty good starter instrument for the price - although I haven't played a Luna, I've played similarly priced Lanikai instruments that I didn't like as well. This was in a music store, so they might not have been set up well or had decent strings on them.

Whatever instrument you choose, I would go through a known and respected uke-specific dealer, like Uke Republic or Mim here on the Underground. You'll be sure to get the instrument set up as well as possible and they can recommend the best strings for you. Set up really makes a difference on the lower-end instruments....

Good luck!

bornagainjeeper
09-15-2011, 04:24 PM
To make things as confusing as possible, i might add...I don't very much like the lunas i've played, lots of intonation problems, Kala is a very solid brand, but my favorite for the 100 dollar range is hands down the lanikai spruce tops... Spruce is a delightful wood for ukes, and tends to be loud and proud. BUT all this said...it comes down to personal preferences. The biggest thing to keep in mind, is that ukes in the $100 price range tend to very WILDLY from instrument to instrument, same make and model. They just don't take their time and you get what you pay for. So sometimes it works out perfectly, and you've got a uke worth lots more than $100, but often times it just didn't go together properly. I think 100 is a perfect price to start at, but playing the uke first OR buying from someone who "sets up" the uke, like Mim @ mimsukes.com can really make a difference. A good seller will check for things like tuning, and action (how high strings are above the frets) and any major screw ups. If you want to check well for yourself at a music store or the like. As to borrow a tuner, or have them help you. When you pluck one string at a time and put your fingers on the frets moving up the neck, you really shouldn't see too much variance...maybe 5 cents or so ( you'll see that on the tuner readout). I find this is one of the best indications you've got a well put together uke. If the strings are two high, or the bridge put in the wrong spot, you'll see variation in the tuning, which means even when the uke is completely in tune with the strings open, you'll be out of tune when you play a chord...something that can't really ever be fixed (easily). this intonation problem is pretty common in ukes less than $300 (and even some for more) and can be avoided by shopping around, or buying from a trusted seller. As far as the aquila strings....i personally feel you can't go wrong! i have 15 ukes and just about 15 sets of aquilas...they are loud, warm, and full...and have a reputation of making a inexpensive uke sound like a million bucks. Have fun with your new uke!
Alex

poppy
09-15-2011, 07:45 PM
my opinion the kala I have a KA- s bought it for my grandsons use, if you have average adult sized hands In my opinion start with a concert (KA-c) version to learn on. The stretches arent to long and the fingers won't be to cramped and it will be more comfortable therefore more fun starting out, you have lots a time to decide on size after you can play a ditty or two. They come with aquillas

RawrGazzawrs
09-15-2011, 07:50 PM
To make things as confusing as possible, i might add...I don't very much like the lunas i've played, lots of intonation problems

really? thats the first ive heard of intonation problems on lunas. and mine sounds pretty good, nothing too noticeably off at least.

SpeedoJosh
09-16-2011, 11:18 AM
I checked out Mim's selection on ebay. Doesn't appear she has the KA-S. Is that because it's a lower level uke? Anywhere else you guys recommend buying from?

Kanaka916
09-16-2011, 11:24 AM
I checked out Mim's selection on ebay. Doesn't appear she has the KA-S. Is that because it's a lower level uke? Anywhere else you guys recommend buying from?
Give Mim (http://www.mimsukes.com/contactmim/index.html) a call to see what's available. You can also try Uke Republic (http://ukerepublic.com/).

23skidoo
09-16-2011, 12:05 PM
Uke Republic has the KA-S, looks like.... comes with a gig bag and tuner for just under $100...

I bought two Dolphins for my kids from Mike/Uke Repbulic - great set up with Aquila strings included, fast shipping, well-packed....

http://cargo.ukerepublic.com/product/kala-ka-s-player-pack

SpeedoJosh
09-16-2011, 12:26 PM
Ok, might have to raise my price and uke size now. Just called the store who's uke I was checking out the other day. Turns out it was a baritone size. I didn't play it, as I don't know jack about playing the music. But, I liked the feel of it a lot.
I know the baritone isn't the traditional uke sound, and I'd like to keep to that. So would a concert be better? I don't have giant hands or anything, which kind of worries me about buying one that might be to big to play.
Any thoughts on the size I should go with now, b/c I think the soprano might be too small for my liking.

OldePhart
09-16-2011, 01:06 PM
Ok, might have to raise my price and uke size now. Just called the store who's uke I was checking out the other day. Turns out it was a baritone size. I didn't play it, as I don't know jack about playing the music. But, I liked the feel of it a lot.
I know the baritone isn't the traditional uke sound, and I'd like to keep to that. So would a concert be better? I don't have giant hands or anything, which kind of worries me about buying one that might be to big to play.
Any thoughts on the size I should go with now, b/c I think the soprano might be too small for my liking.
I have smallish to average size hands for an adult male. I find a soprano scale a bit cramped though I can play first-position chords okay. I can deal with a tenor scale fine, but prefer the sound of a smaller body. I play concert-scale instruments (concert and longneck soprano) ukes almost exclusively, now.

John

23skidoo
09-16-2011, 01:20 PM
I prefer the tenor size, too.... but I'm used to a guitar. Soprano definitely has the traditional 'uke' sound. It is a little tighter, but I can get around okay on my kids' Dolphins, but I think the concert is a good compromise. I wouldn't worry too much about the size, though. Go for the sound you like - as a beginner, you'll learn whatever you get. Also hit a music store with all the sizes in stock, if you can - nothing beats putting your hands on the instrument to know what you'd prefer.

ukemunga
09-16-2011, 01:54 PM
I'm a relative beginner having been messing up now for about 5 months.

I first bought a Kala which is the same uke you're talking about without the binding. I found it extremely well made and very sweet sounding. But I thought the frets were too tight even though I have relatively short fingers.

So I bought the Oscar Schmidt OU2 to try out a concert size neck. I found it quite easier to play initially, and then found that when I went back to the soprano it felt like I could play it much easier than before.

Probably just because I had begun to gain some muscle memory and more strength in my hands and wrists.

I still like the sound of the Kala better and want to get a concert neck Kala soprano when they are available again (Kala KA-SLNG).

Have no personal experience with the other brands you mention but I think Kala makes a great uke. I got an email from a retailer explaining that the Kala owner had recently rejected an entire ocean container of ukes because he was not happy with the quality.

Just some thoughts.

JOE R
09-16-2011, 03:29 PM
You can also check out the Hawaii music supply website. They set up all their ukes before shipping and even have a nine minute video of their set up guy explaining the process. They also sell ukes in all price ranges and carry many different models.

poppy
09-16-2011, 08:10 PM
try Hawaii music they have a great package ,call them works best they are kinda slow on e mail, call mim also I sure thought she started carrying kala , for sure i would start with a concert . x guitar and bass players i liked starting with a tenor but fingers knew how to stretch already. I like my concert a lot and its pretty much my easy chair uke.

gtrk
09-18-2011, 07:30 PM
Go for a concert or tenor size. Great Uke sound, not cramped like a soprano. You have to spend more for a good sounding soprano than a good sounding concert anyways. I love my Oscar Schmidt OU2T. Under $100, comes with a gig bag, and mine has good intonation (checked with a good digital tuner). I like the cheap Ukes better, because they are usually laminate, not solid wood, and I don't have to worry as much about them cracking. I just bought a Luna concert Tattoo, with the electric pre-amp, but it hasn't shipped yet. With all the resources on line, it won't take you long to be playing some tunes.

olgoat52
09-19-2011, 06:01 AM
really? thats the first ive heard of intonation problems on lunas. and mine sounds pretty good, nothing too noticeably off at least.

I'm sure Jeepers knows of what he speaks. While the fret spacings are a no-brainer, the bridge placement and saddle can vary resulting in intonation problems. For $100, it probably gets shipped off the line as is. I would expect some variation.

SpeedoJosh
09-21-2011, 06:46 AM
Went ahead and picked up a Lanikai from Mim's. Should be here later in the week. Can't wait to start learning.

Mim
09-23-2011, 06:09 PM
Ok, might have to raise my price and uke size now. Just called the store who's uke I was checking out the other day. Turns out it was a baritone size. I didn't play it, as I don't know jack about playing the music. But, I liked the feel of it a lot.
I know the baritone isn't the traditional uke sound, and I'd like to keep to that. So would a concert be better? I don't have giant hands or anything, which kind of worries me about buying one that might be to big to play.
Any thoughts on the size I should go with now, b/c I think the soprano might be too small for my liking.

If in doubt go with a concert! You cant go wrong. Also a tenor. But the nice thing about going with those and not Baritone is you can go back and forth between Soprano, Concert, Tenor. Trust me, if you get into the instrument you will want more than one... haha!

Haha... I responded to this and realized... I KNOW YOU! It is in the mail! Tomorrow or Monday.