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View Full Version : Lovers of smaller sopranos aka sopraninos, bambinos, pocket ukes!



Uke Republic
10-24-2011, 03:12 AM
Well Kala's pocket uke is now only available in one model. Ohana comes with solid mahogany and LoPrinzi's bambino comes in Hawaiian mango , koa, Honduran mahogany, cherry, spruce and cherry and soon cedar/Hawaiian mango.
Is there a tone wood or combo of woods you would like on the smaller ukes you haven't seen?

Hippie Dribble
10-24-2011, 09:48 AM
I can't imagine an small uke sounding as good as the lil Mango Bambino that you and Donna LoPrinzi cooked up for me Mike. Still got it...still play it lots. It's a sweetheart and has nice memories of dealings with you to go with it. she's a keeper! I find when tuned up to Eb it really sings...that tuning to me is kind of like it's sweet spot...and we all know how sweet a good mango is bro!!!! The cedar topped one does sound nice though...

hibiscus
10-24-2011, 10:11 AM
I'm very happy with my Mahogany Sopranino! No advice here.

Gadzukes!
11-05-2011, 08:02 AM
Well Kala's pocket uke is now only available in one model.

Which model? What happened to the other two? I've been thinking of trying to pick up a Flame Maple someday—is my time running out?

So many questions, so little time! :iwant:

1937Scott
05-13-2012, 05:29 PM
Well,

I have a Kala Solid Acacia Pocket Uke, and I LOVE the sound! (C tuned, GCEA and it sounds GREAT!) I get my solid mahogany pocket uke delivered tomorrow....I'll post a review eventually of both I suppose. Kala makes some pretty laminates, but I'll only buy their solid wood ukes. I don't like spruce in a uke, it's too 'guitarish' for me. And for Kala to make it a laminate with that (UGLY) spalted wood was IMHO a mistake.

I'd like to see the Loprinzi Bambino in solid mahogany (as I've seen posted 'COMING SOON') but I'm not sure it's out....yet. Mahogany sounds wonderful yet it's affordable. I'd probably like to see Acacia wood offered in the Bambino as an alternative to Koa, I'm sure it would cost less (?), but the sound is every bit as bright as Koa.

My free two bits since you asked,

Scott

weerpool
05-13-2012, 06:23 PM
hawaiian mango and redwood sinker top. what im working on at the moment :0)

1937Scott
05-13-2012, 07:09 PM
I know someone that is going to list his Kala Solid Mahogany Pocket Uke on ebaY, probably tomorrow. I promised to bid the minimum, but I think I'm going to post a link in the Marketplace. I get my 'other' solid mahogany Kala Pocket tomorrow as well. I'm eager to compare sound with my solid Acacia...

Please post up pics/sound, etc of your build when complete!

I promise to do so when Willie Wixom is finished with my koa sopranino.

Scott

lancemanion
05-14-2012, 03:05 AM
Well,

I have a Kala Solid Acacia Pocket Uke, and I LOVE the sound! (C tuned, GCEA and it sounds GREAT!) I get my solid mahogany pocket uke delivered tomorrow....I'll post a review eventually of both I suppose. Kala makes some pretty laminates, but I'll only buy their solid wood ukes. I don't like spruce in a uke, it's too 'guitarish' for me. And for Kala to make it a laminate with that (UGLY) spalted wood was IMHO a mistake.

I'd like to see the Loprinzi Bambino in solid mahogany (as I've seen posted 'COMING SOON') but I'm not sure it's out....yet. Mahogany sounds wonderful yet it's affordable. I'd probably like to see Acacia wood offered in the Bambino as an alternative to Koa, I'm sure it would cost less (?), but the sound is every bit as bright as Koa.

My free two bits since you asked,

Scott

What strings do you use, I have been told the pocket uke won't stay in tune when tuned in C?

1937Scott
05-14-2012, 04:36 AM
Hey Lance,

I use Worth Light Clears (for soprano). I've had them on for almost three months now. They required a little break-in, much less than Aquila do. And they stay in tune every bit as much as any other uke I have... I gotta make a video soon and post it on youtube. The dang thing sounds so good it's all I play! I have a half-dozen ukes sitting in my office and I don't even touch them any more. --I qualify this with the fact that the action was hideous when I bought it. The nut was terribly high, and I don't care what brand string you have, the bending required to play put the strings out of tune. And it required a ridiculous amount of pressure...and all of that made the thing sound like it had poor intonation. I bucked up and carefully did the action job myself, first the nut, then later the saddle. It could probably go a little lower, but I'm not good enough to do that. I did shape the saddle more 'pointed' like the saddle on my KoAloha, I think that helps too. That's when I put the Worths on it. I figured they sounded good on my KoAloha, so I tried them on my Kala. What a difference!

I tuned it 'C' at first just to see how it sounded. It's pretty close to a soprano sound.

Then, I read all about how I'm supposed to tune it 'up,' and thought I must have made a mistake. I watched some videos of pocket and sopraninos tuned up and I don't care for the sound. To me it sounds somewhere between the Chipmunks and a record being played too fast.

If I had to chose one uke to play, hands down it'd be my Kala Pocket. (solid acacia)

Good luck, let me know how it works out for you. By-the-way, I'm kind of old and techno-challenged. If I knew how I would post pics of it. I hand-rubbed it to a shiny gloss...it looks like a tiny little Kanilea!

1937Scott
05-14-2012, 04:52 AM
37825

There's my baby!

umberto
05-14-2012, 05:31 AM
I,ve an acacia and an mahogany pocket uke and think that the mahogany does actually sound better a bit more mellow and clearer, if thats any help
umberto

kirbo
05-14-2012, 06:22 AM
I saw a Kala pocket uke for the first time at the local uke store. Really cute. Was considering getting it Until I saw the price. NT$22,000 ~ US$730!!!!! You don't even want to know what they charge for K brands.

1937Scott
05-14-2012, 06:30 AM
Wow! That's a lot!

Kirbo, I know someone that is going to list a Kala Pocket in solid mahogany soon on U.S. ebay. Do you want me to send you a link when he does? His reserve/minimum is going to be $150, but I'm not sure how much shipping from the U.S. to Taiwan would be...

Let me know,

Scott

kirbo
05-14-2012, 07:40 AM
Wow! That's a lot!

Kirbo, I know someone that is going to list a Kala Pocket in solid mahogany soon on U.S. ebay. Do you want me to send you a link when he does? His reserve/minimum is going to be $150, but I'm not sure how much shipping from the U.S. to Taiwan would be...

Let me know,

Scott

Yes, please let me know. Thanks!

1937Scott
05-14-2012, 09:40 AM
You bet, Kirbo.

Tudorp
05-14-2012, 09:53 AM
I believe if you go with a small bodied uke, ya need to stay with the warmer tonewoods (mahog, etc). With the small sound chamber and not much sound board surface, it will inheirently be shallow and tinny sounding. The warmer softer tone of mohogany would in a way compensate for that. If you go with a tighter, brighter tonewood, it would make it even more tinny sounding.

That said, I am in the process of building one of my Aphids (mini ukes) in maple (all solid maple top/back/sides, neck, but with ebony fretboard, saddle). Completely disregarding what I said above, lol. But, I am building a solid maple mini, just because it hasn't been done yet. Odds are, it won't sound so good, but, it will be cool none the less, hehheh..

Again, that said, I absolutly love my Ohana SK21 (sopranino). I play it almost daily because I just love that little uker. And to think I almost sold it a year or so ago. I am so glad the bride talked me out of it, I reckon because she knows I would be whinning about it, and regretting it now if I did. ;)

Skitzic
05-14-2012, 11:49 AM
I would really like to see a cedar rosewood. That wood combo makes me weak in the knees.

1937Scott
05-14-2012, 01:06 PM
Hey Tudorp!

That sounds like a pretty uke! Curly Maple is one of the most beautiful woods in the world....to me. (Reminds me of an old Kentucky rifle.) Anyway, if you could please PM me if/when you post pics, just in case I miss it. I'd love to see it. By-the-way, I got my mahogany pocket uke today. The nut is just right height, the saddle is too low so the strings buzz. I still like my acacia the most, at this point. Maybe when I've worked out the bugs and changed strings I might change my mind. But I doubt it. My acacia is sooooo pretty!

Thanks,

Scott

weerpool
05-14-2012, 02:02 PM
37848this is off topic but i think youre the dude i met playing the same KALA pocket uke at the recent Reno Uke festival. you said that tuning it GCEA is alright?
37825

There's my baby!

1937Scott
05-14-2012, 02:47 PM
Busted!!

Yup. Me. Larger than life, and twice as ugly. Whadayathink of the polish job on my Kala? Nothing has changed, I can't put the dang thing down. Makes me smile.

1937Scott
05-14-2012, 02:50 PM
On topic:

I'm a little saddened that Kala only makes the Pocket Uke in laminate now. :(

I fervently believe in solid wood producing a better sound. My pocket ukes are cleaner, clearer, and better than my laminate concert uke.

BlackBearUkes
05-14-2012, 02:56 PM
Having made several sopraninos in the past, I can tell you that using woods like spruce, cedar, rosewood, maple, etc, isn't going to make a very good sounding uke. These woods don't work as well for the small body chamber and make a thin sounding uke without much character, more toy like. Woods like koa and mahogany are much better like Tudorp says. With those woods it is possible to get that nice chunk sound like a mellow old Martin soprano.

1937Scott
05-14-2012, 03:19 PM
Oh, I agree with you....to disagree would show what an idiot I was...har.

I suppose that I like the 'brightness' of my solid acacia pocket uke, but the 'mellow' soft sound of my solid mahogany is pretty cool too. My KoAloha Noah barks like a dang dog!! But again, they are all solid tone woods. I just don't like laminates....but I suppose they have their place. I just lament that Kala is all but through and through laminates these days with just a few exceptions.

weerpool
05-14-2012, 03:26 PM
cool beans! anyways i wasnt sure if it was an all Koa you had but i sure liked how it looked and sounded. I couldnt stop thinkin about it driving home that day so i tried to build one my for myself.still havent finishbuiding the darn thing though 37849but now i think im going to.
Busted!!

Yup. Me. Larger than life, and twice as ugly. Whadayathink of the polish job on my Kala? Nothing has changed, I can't put the dang thing down. Makes me smile.

BIGDB
05-14-2012, 03:32 PM
I would want spruce top with fiddle back maple

1937Scott
05-14-2012, 06:29 PM
Weerpool! What gorgeous wood!

Naw, I just have a Kala solid Acacia Pocket Uke, but as you see, I polished it until it shines......a LOT.

Keep me posted on the build, it looks like a great start. My scale is 11", if that's any reference.


Scott

weerpool
05-14-2012, 06:50 PM
no problen, if you want it you can have it.i have a ton of ukes lying around.need more room
Weerpool! What gorgeous wood!

Naw, I just have a Kala solid Acacia Pocket Uke, but as you see, I polished it until it shines......a LOT.

Keep me posted on the build, it looks like a great start. My scale is 11", if that's any reference.


Scott

kirbo
05-14-2012, 06:55 PM
What key can these be tuned in? According to the Kala site, they say tune it to C-F-A-D or D-G-B-E. But some of you guys say G-C-E-A is ok too. I've been reading conflicting reports. One person says the strings will snap or won't stay in tune in G-C-E-A.

BlackBearUkes
05-14-2012, 07:30 PM
What key can these be tuned in? According to the Kala site, they say tune it to C-F-A-D or D-G-B-E. But some of you guys say G-C-E-A is ok too. I've been reading conflicting reports. One person says the strings will snap or won't stay in tune in G-C-E-A.

A 11" scale on a sopranino can easily be tuned up the standard GCEA. In fact you can probably go up to the next whole step to a high B without any difficulty.

1937Scott
05-14-2012, 07:34 PM
Kirbo,

I suppose that is a hotly debated subject here on UU. I have two pocket ukes, one sopranino, and another sopranino being built/finished later this year. They are ALL tuned G-C-E-A, and they sound FINE. I've never had a string break, and after normal string break-in, they stay in tune as well as any other size ukulele. The simple debate is whether a very-small body ukulele produces a better or bigger sound tuned 'up' from G-C-E-A. I eternally reserve the right to disagree. It's just a matter of preference. I believe that tuning differently, or the manufacturers saying that smaller ukes should be tuned differently has harmed the market. As in, it has scared potential beginners, or at least less experienced with small uke customers away.

No one wants to learn songs in different chords or keys to be able to play with a group. Nobody. (I hope someone from LoPrinzi, and Kala read this!!!)

Me either.

But it doesn't matter to me, my small ukes produce big enough sound for me. There a some videos on youtube of the higher tuning, some have been posted here on UU. They don't sound bad, but they sound really, really high pitched for me.

Scott

kirbo
05-15-2012, 05:06 AM
Thanks for the reply. The info about tuning in another key did put me off bit. I guess I'll see if I can pick one up the next time I visit the states.