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Little Plink
10-21-2011, 03:45 PM
Hey people.

So, I've been contemplating a new uke. I have a very cheap soprano, but I'm one of those people who plays one instrument so much, and gets so well acquainted with it, I can coax a fairly decent sound out of any instrument, given enough time, and I've gotten very good with this one in the short year I've been playing, even though it's a piece of junk. Now, I want a custom tenor. :( I was going to buy a $500-ish production, all-koa tenor a few months ago, but instead went with a guitar that I'd been lusting for for a long while. Now, I'm getting really interested in tonewoods, and feel like I want to experiment with what a ukulele would sound like with woods other than trad. koa and Mahog. For a builder, I'm thinking Mike Pereira. I've heard fantastic things about him as a luthier and as a salesman, and it seems that for the work he does he has VERY reasonable prices.

Specs aren't the important thing, so I'll just have a brief overview of what I'm thinking about right now;

-Spruce Top
-Flamed Maple B/S
-K&K Onboard Pickup/Preamp
-Maple neck
-Cocobolo fingerboard (y?/n?)
-slotted headstock with cocobolo veneer.
-Koa binding (You know I had to have SOME on there.)
-Zebrawood rosette
-Cutaway (This is actually important to me, because I play in upper frets so much, so does anyone know if Mike will do this?)
-Cocobolo or zebrawood "Pick guard" (I hate the way spruce looks, and this is just a great way to spruce spruce up. Will Mike do this?)

My real purpose in making this post is to let all of you convince me not to buy this atrocity instead;

http://lanikaiukes.com/laniblog/ukuleles/exotic-series/szw-tca-tenor-size-ae-ukulele/

It's cheap and pretty and has a pickup and a cutaway and a slotted headstock and solid wood and I WANT IT. But I know it would never in a billion years match the quality of sound a custom has...

Still... If I get a custom, it'll be quite a while until I have the cash to order... This, I have the money for now?

Soooo... What do I do?

coriandre
10-21-2011, 06:13 PM
Soooo... What do I do?

Contact Mike.....he's very nice and will tell you what he can and cannot do. You will also get an idea of the price.

Hippie Dribble
10-21-2011, 10:10 PM
yeah, get in touch with Mike number one. From your specs, and at tenor scale, you're probably looking at a very expensive instrument. Does sound lovely. But on the other hand, if you're really hanging out for an upgrade, the uke you have in mind is a sweetie too. With little patience or willpower, I would probably jump in now and buy the Lanikai, and save a custom for next time around.

philpot
10-22-2011, 03:42 AM
Have you played a few different instruments to see what kind of sound you like? I would think it would be best to become acquainted with a few different ukes, especially if you're making the jump from soprano to tenor. Shop around, play a bunch of different brands and woods and see what strikes you as your favorite. If you don't find one that you fall in love with at a store, then maybe consider going custom if you're willing to spend that much. It would sure be worth it to have a ukulele built especially for you if you play quite often. But if I were you, I would make sure there isn't another uke somewhere for a little less that would fit the bill first.

Little Plink
10-22-2011, 03:44 AM
Thanks for the input, everyone.

It seems I may have forgotten to state my new budget; I actually had in mind a price range of about $1300-$1400. That's why the Lanikai is so very tempting. I could get it for my budget moins a THOUSAND DOLLARS, and if I want to do what I have planned in the near future, I need a tenor with a pickup. I guess it will end up depending on how soon I can bite the bullet on a custom rather than how long I can stand not to go for the lesser of the 2.

Kekani
10-22-2011, 08:07 AM
You seem to have done some research. I'd get a ust instead of stick on but that's just me & my experience w/ lrbaggs.

Cocobolo makes a good fretboard wood. Maple Spruce w/ Koa bindings are a standard for me. I would make sure that your builder is comfortable doing what you want - MP shouldn't have any issues w/ yours.

Btw, get a custom instead of spending $500 on something that you're going to replace.
Shame on you for even comparing a Lanikai to a custom. That's like comparing a computer to a limited edition car.

Little Plink
10-22-2011, 09:07 AM
You seem to have done some research. I'd get a ust instead of stick on but that's just me & my experience w/ lrbaggs.

Cocobolo makes a good fretboard wood. Maple Spruce w/ Koa bindings are a standard for me. I would make sure that your builder is comfortable doing what you want - MP shouldn't have any issues w/ yours.

Btw, get a custom instead of spending $500 on something that you're going to replace.
Shame on you for even comparing a Lanikai to a custom. That's like comparing a computer to a limited edition car.

Hey. Thanks for the reply. I know a comparing an MP or pretty much any half-decent custom to a Lanikai is a disgusting, sinful act. They're just so much cheaper, and zebrawood is beautiful! I've never played an instrument with zebrawood, but I hear it's very dead sounding as a top wood, despite its beauty.

I've seen Mike do all kinds of things. Padauk and mango and all kinds of wood, so I think he'd be okay with the fairly common combo of sitka and maple. I love cocobolo for its beauty. The only reason I know about it is because one of my relatives had a guitar with a fretboard made of the wood. It played fine for me, but supposedly it's a bit oily, correct? Would this affect playing since you come in contact with the fingerboard so much? As for a pickup, all Mike really offers for preamps is the one I listed, so I don't have much choice in that.

Kekani
10-22-2011, 10:26 AM
I've never played an instrument with zebrawood, but I hear it's very dead sounding as a top wood, despite its beauty.

It played fine for me, but supposedly it's a bit oily, correct? Would this affect playing since you come in contact with the fingerboard so much? As for a pickup, all Mike really offers for preamps is the one I listed, so I don't have much choice in that.

For Lanikai, its cheap and dead all over (except maybe the Koa ones that Joe was building for them). Of course, they probably have better values in the build that Kala. Unless you get one cheap (like from MGM right now), I wouldn't invest in those at all.

The kicker on getting a custom, its just that, a custom, for you. Unless you've played an instrument made for you (there are more than a few player here who have), you really don't know what you're getting into, or missing. Personally, there's nothing like seeing a client pick up and cuddle his new custom the first time he plays it. You know you've done a good job, and that the client will be happy. Yeah, some player say that when they buy midrange priced factory instruments like Kamaka & KoAloha, and that's fine. But in the back of the mind of someone who owns a Custom, you know nobody else has that instrument.

-Aaron

Cocobolo being oily is a concern for builders, not necessarily players.

For pickups, I've never wanted to install UST for fear that it would detract from sound. Suffice to say, I install UST's, and have had much success with them. Maybe one day I'll try the LR Baggs I-Beam, just for fun.

Shazzbot
10-22-2011, 11:34 AM
It seems to me that what you're asking is like trying to decide whether to go to Tahiti or
Topeka on your next vacation. No offense Topekans, but geez what a stretch!

Little Plink
10-22-2011, 11:49 AM
It seems to me that what you're asking is like trying to decide whether to go to Tahiti or
Topeka on your next vacation. No offense Topekans, but geez what a stretch!

Haha, I could get in my car and drive to Topeka. In just 4 or 5 hours.

I'd have to but a $1400 plane ticket to get to Tahiti!

(Wow, I just realized what a perfect analogy that was.)

Little Plink
10-22-2011, 12:21 PM
Okay, now a luthier question, I don't want to contact Mike quite yet, because it may be a few months before I go for it, but the cutaway aspect is important to me. Do any luthiers here know anything about cutaways? Is it as simple as slapping the wood in the fox bender? Florentine or Venetian? Can you even do venetian cutaways on a tiny instrument like ukulele? Do you think Mike could do it? Do you think Mike would do it? Would Mike charge a considerable amount more money for it? Could I possibly think of any more questions???

Okay, I guess that was more than ONE luthier question.

Hippie Dribble
10-23-2011, 01:42 PM
one simple answer to all these questions: CALL MIKE!!! :)

You can certainly discuss all these things and more with him without having to commit to anything.