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View Full Version : Some Help for a Beginner?



Macklovin
09-08-2008, 07:20 PM
I've fallen in love with the sound of the ukulele and am itching to give the instrument a try.

The only problem I'm having is deciding on a ukulele to purchase.

My price range max is about $80 so I'm hoping that will leave room for a quality "first" uke and maybe a little extra for a case.

From just lurking the forums and seeing the advice your community has given the other beginners, I may have narrowed it down to a few choices, but am still fairly indecisive.

1. KALA KA-S
2. Lanikai LU-21
3. Malaka MK-S

If there are any options you find to be better than ones listed feel fee to suggest.

I also need to know of any accessories I'll need. Tuner? Would a guitar tuner work? Or how about a piano?

Thanks for all the help, I hope to come to a final decision soon so I can place my order and begin playing as soon as possible. :music:

Dane
09-08-2008, 07:52 PM
I have not tried any of those, hopefully some people will come in here and help you. But I will say that I would NOT reccomend you to get an oscar schmidt, they need too much work done to be easily playable for beginners.

And I would buy it from MGM

ukeninam
09-08-2008, 07:57 PM
hey there...from one beginner to another you've narrowed it down really good. All those are great (just look at the ukulele porn thread teehee) but for one thing if your local music store has them or others I would just give them all a try. I think if the uke feels right and you think it sounds good then go for it. And if your local music stores don't have any of those (mine didn't) then definitely look those ukes up on youtube and see if you like the tone and whatnot.

Go to musicguymic or ukulele4u on ebay, those guys are willing to answer your questions. I've bothered them about strings haha, and will probably purchase from them in the future. (they sell ukes with cases and other goodies)

I play guitar and I have a tuner that has guitar/bass. Its fine I just switch to bass and look for GCEA (this is standard tuning for uke). You could buy a "chords" book but you can easily download them on the web. Also once you get a feel for your uke really look into new strings like "aquilas, worth, d'addario" i have aquila's right now and I love the feel of the nylgut. I've yet to try the others i mentioned they seem to pop up a lot around the uke community so I'd say those are a safe bet. My uke teacher is going to do a complete uke setup on mine (ie, action adjusted, etc) so that may be something youwant to do. I'm sure a luthier in your city could do that for you.

Anyways welcome aboard, you'll be dying to get your hands on your OWN uke once you make your decision. A decision to get a uke is a good one!!

CHEERS!!

mentalfloss
09-09-2008, 03:29 AM
I know everyone buying a uke for the first time has a budget and that is good. I wonder how many people end up buying a cheap piece of junk and when it is hard to play and/or sounds poor you give up playing.
There is a sweet spot for every first time purchase.

Too cheap and it sets you back and you get something better later.

I would advise buying the best uke you can and skip on any extras for now( tuners ,cases ect)
You can tune with a pitch pipe or free online.
Everything I have heard about musicguymic is pure great. I would contact him and tell him your budget. I have heard that he sets up your new uke correctly.
With mandolins the set up can make all the difference in the world. I am finding that to be true with ukulele as well. I also heard that musicguymic upgrades the strings. I think that is important. I will buy from musicguymic, it would be silly not to.
Good luck and remember this is your first uke.....you will have more in the future!:music:

Jack33@
09-09-2008, 04:08 AM
I agree with mentalfloss, buy the best uke you can with the cash.

I did find that when I finally had some money a clip on tuner changed my life and on balance (whilst I enjoyed the online tuning sites, mucking about with chordfinder, trying to get a note out of a broken set of pipes, failing to tune from a working set of pipes and being smugly self satisfied that I did not need a clip on tuner for several months....) I wish I had got one earlier.

My first 'real' (more than $100) ukulele was and is an Ohana, it's great as an intermediate instrument, if you can stretch a bit farther I recommend it. If not you seem to have a good range there.

What ever you decide, good luck and have fun

HI@heart
09-09-2008, 04:26 AM
My first ukulele was a Lanikai LU21 soprano. I tried a few at a store and was surprised by the variance of sound quality of the same model. Cost was $65. I changed the strings to Aquilas and have been very happy with it ever since.

If you can, visit a store to try a few brands and models. Choose what sounds best to you. You can certainly get a decent ukulele for $80.

Good luck and have fun :D

e10rice
09-09-2008, 04:36 AM
I actually got my Kala Ka-S from musicguymic on ebay. It came in about a week and i couldn't be more happier with it. He set it up and put worth strings on it. I paid a little bit more than you want to but i got a case, pitch pipe, chord book and a another book that comes with a CD to help you start to learn the uke. Even if you dont buy the whole set up and you just get the uke i dont see why this wouldn't be a great start out uke.

russ_buss
09-09-2008, 04:38 AM
good advice from everyone so far. you've done your homework and narrowed it down to three beginner priced ukes, good on you dude!

my 2 cents are to go with any one of your 3 choices. first uke, don't break the bank. if you don't end up liking it, you won't have spent too much money. if you do like it, you can upgrade to a much nicer uke and you have #1 as a beater/car/camping/travel uke.

orrrrr, you can start with a much nicer uke and once UAS settles in, you'll have 5 within half a year. it can happen, seriously! if you decide that you aren't really into playing ukulele, you can probably resell your pricier uke on craigslist, ebay or UU, and probably get back most of your money. these things have decent resale value if you keep it in good condition.

enjoy your first!

SinisterDom
09-09-2008, 04:42 AM
I've never tried any of your choices but, I do have a good uke to recommend.

The Ohana SK-10 (http://www.limboland.net/Merchant2/merchant.mvc?Screen=PROD&Store_Code=IB&Product_Code=ohanask10&Category_Code=sopukes&Product_Count=1). I recommend it to every beginner. It may be a laminate but that thing really is an awesome $40 uke.

freedive135
09-09-2008, 06:50 AM
Welcome

I haven't played the LU-21 but I have played the others, the guy at my uke store told me the biggest difference between the Kala and Makala are the tuners and finshed look.

I like my KA-S so much I got 2 (one for the car, it's been replaced in the car with a Flea). So far I have found the Aquilla strings sound brighter on it and the D'addario Uke (green pac) sound warmer on them, I have each strung different. As soon as my Low g's come one will be that way.

You cant go wrong with any of those as a "First Uke" as Russ said you will get more, I've been playing 3 months and am ordering my 8th Uke tomarrow.

Clip on tuners are nice over the mic'ed tuners as they work off the vibration.

upskydowncloud
09-09-2008, 07:59 AM
I've fallen in love with the sound of the ukulele and am itching to give the instrument a try.

The only problem I'm having is deciding on a ukulele to purchase.

My price range max is about $80 so I'm hoping that will leave room for a quality "first" uke and maybe a little extra for a case.

From just lurking the forums and seeing the advice your community has given the other beginners, I may have narrowed it down to a few choices, but am still fairly indecisive.

1. KALA KA-S
2. Lanikai LU-21
3. Malaka MK-S

If there are any options you find to be better than ones listed feel fee to suggest.

I also need to know of any accessories I'll need. Tuner? Would a guitar tuner work? Or how about a piano?

Thanks for all the help, I hope to come to a final decision soon so I can place my order and begin playing as soon as possible. :music:

I'd go for the Lanikai LU-21! It was my first uke and I love it.

As far as tuners go I'd get Intelli IMT-500. I just bought this and it's really good! It's a clip on tuner that uses the vibrations from the strings rather then relying on sound output like a chromatic one. It's about $17 from eBay with postage.

Hope this helps.

tad
09-09-2008, 08:18 AM
I haven't played a Lakanai, but I've heard okay things about 'em. People tend to either love them or think they're just alright-- which at the price point is about as good as you can ask for.

I do have both a Kala and Makala soprano-- between the two, I'd DEFINITELY recommend the Kala over the Makala... they look and sound just a little better, but it makes a big difference, and is well worth the money.

And actually, looking at the inside of both of mine (and this is gonna sound kind of silly) but I think they use higher-quality plywood (told you it'd sound silly) to make the Kalas.

And yeah, the Intelli 500 is great. Although I'd like to try that variant that MGM was talking about a couple days ago that's supposed to not buzz.

upskydowncloud
09-09-2008, 09:09 AM
And yeah, the Intelli 500 is great. Although I'd like to try that variant that MGM was talking about a couple days ago that's supposed to not buzz.

Yeah the buttons on mine do buzz if you leave it on when you play, I always tune then take it off. I didn't realise people left it on there!

Macklovin
09-09-2008, 02:38 PM
Thanks so much for all the feedback, its helped a ton.

I've decided the Kala will be my first uke.

I still need to find somewhere to purchase it. people have suggested a music store but I live in the middle of texas and I don't think i'll be able to find what I,m looking for in the rare music stores around where I llive.

MGM was also suggested but I've never purchased something from ebay and I'm a little worried about trying the service.

Right now just buying the intstrument from an online store sounds the most convinient.

Howlin Hobbit
09-09-2008, 03:01 PM
MGM was also suggested but I've never purchased something from ebay and I'm a little worried about trying the service.

Right now just buying the intstrument from an online store sounds the most convinient.

MGM has a storefront on eBay, not just auctions. But if you're really concerned about going through eBay, just call Mike at 1-757-777-7873 (business hours, Hawaii time) and talk to him personally. You'll not regret it.

tad
09-10-2008, 12:31 AM
MGM has a storefront on eBay, not just auctions. But if you're really concerned about going through eBay, just call Mike at 1-757-777-7873 (business hours, Hawaii time) and talk to him personally. You'll not regret it.

For serious. He's pretty much the best there is-- a straightup guy who really puts time and care into what he sells.

deach
09-10-2008, 02:18 AM
For serious. He's pretty much the best there is-- a straightup guy who really puts time and care into what he sells.

If you watch MGM walk, you'll notice flowers sprout from his footsteps. The guy is that good!

e10rice
09-10-2008, 03:02 AM
Just go to MGM's ebay store you might even find a different uke to go with. he has everything you'll need to get started and its really just like buying from a regular store. My friend just saw he's store last night and bought strings for his uke and will be buying a uke from him shortly. What ever you decide enjoy the uke when you get it.

sukie
09-10-2008, 04:06 AM
MGM is the place to go. Seriously.

Jack33@
09-10-2008, 04:11 AM
Agreed, MGM is ace

thesoobz
09-10-2008, 08:49 PM
the lanikai lu-21 ! its a good starter uke you can change out the strings to worth brown or clear and it will sound even better. i remember aldrine said it was a good starter uke on iamhawaii.com haha

hope that helped =)

Kalikikopa
09-16-2008, 08:25 PM
HI, Have to agree with everyone's suggestion about Musicguymic. If you don't want to do Ebay, you can go to his webpage, get his phone number and call him. He told me he'd so a credit card transaction over the phone. Yesterday I bought 2 Kala KA-TG's from him( for my two children). Since we live close by, he met me while he was out eating dinner. Prior to buying them, we corresponded through email ,and phone calls, taking the time to answer all of my questions, giving great advice, and generally being a nice guy to talk to. If you can find the Kala at a music store, touch it, play it, and check it out, but buy it from MGM. He takes care to set up the instrument.

rayan
09-16-2008, 11:21 PM
HI, Have to agree with everyone's suggestion about Musicguymic. If you don't want to do Ebay, you can go to his webpage, get his phone number and call him. He told me he'd so a credit card transaction over the phone. Yesterday I bought 2 Kala KA-TG's from him( for my two children). Since we live close by, he met me while he was out eating dinner. Prior to buying them, we corresponded through email ,and phone calls, taking the time to answer all of my questions, giving great advice, and generally being a nice guy to talk to. If you can find the Kala at a music store, touch it, play it, and check it out, but buy it from MGM. He takes care to set up the instrument.

Did you meet him at Zippy's? That's his favorite spot! MGM is an awesome guy. Never have any hesitation recommending people pick up a uke from him. He takes care of his customers.

Kalikikopa
09-17-2008, 01:23 PM
Did you meet him at Zippy's? That's his favorite spot! MGM is an awesome guy. Never have any hesitation recommending people pick up a uke from him. He takes care of his customers.


Yeah, And kinda funny when they ask to seat you, asking, " did someone walk in with 2 ukuleles?" But again, he's a really nice guy, played a song for me, and we talked for a little bit, as my family was waiting in the car. To anyone thinking about purchasing from him, think about this. I believe he's up to 7,000 feedback in Ebay, and 100% positive. That kind of service is unheard of almost everywhere else.

tad
09-17-2008, 03:28 PM
orrrrr, you can start with a much nicer uke and once UAS settles in, you'll have 5 within half a year. it can happen, seriously! if you decide that you aren't really into playing ukulele, you can probably resell your pricier uke on craigslist, ebay or UU, and probably get back most of your money. these things have decent resale value if you keep it in good condition.

enjoy your first!

Five in a year?
I've got eight (and bought ten) since starting to play in December...

deach
09-17-2008, 03:44 PM
Five in a year?
I've got eight (and bought ten) since starting to play in December...

I bought five this week.

Nurdaben
09-17-2008, 04:26 PM
I bought five this week....

oh my

Macklovin
09-17-2008, 05:24 PM
Just ordered a Kala KA- 15S Mahogany Soprano Ukulele from MGM and it should be here around the 26th of September. I can't wait :D

Kaneohe til the end
09-17-2008, 09:00 PM
it must be because MGM was raised in Kaneohe.