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View Full Version : Good $500 - $600 (USD) Ukulele



beginnerukeman143
11-07-2011, 05:45 PM
just wondering what you guys would reccomend for that price range.

and please don't give me the "save more!" lecture :P

thanks everyone

Markr1
11-07-2011, 05:50 PM
Just sold a nice mint Nalu Hokua tenor that would have been a great choice for you for $525 shipped. It was a nice player. But it's sold.

Lexxy
11-07-2011, 05:51 PM
Gotta state a size buddy :P

TheOnlyUkeThatMatters
11-07-2011, 05:57 PM
The first ukes that spring to mind:

KoAloha soprano (or soprano pineapple). Great ukes, right in your price range.

Black Bear soprano (luthier-built on the mainland, for sale over in the Flea Market Music marketplace (http://www.fleamarketmusic.com/marketplace/default.asp)).

Used Kamaka. Patience required for one of these.

Loprinzi is another mainland luthier that builds ukes. Check them out at uke republic (http://cargo.ukerepublic.com/category/lo-prinzi).

beginnerukeman143
11-07-2011, 05:59 PM
by the way guys, Sopranos or Concerts are my preference.

mr moonlight
11-07-2011, 06:22 PM
You can get a pretty good uke for that price but the size you want will affect the cost quite a bit.
KoAloha Soprano's start at $550 so you're in the range of a K-brand uke. If you play a Tenor you're looking at $1k so size will really make a difference.

If you play a concert sized uke, you're just on the verge of a Ko'olau concert that goes for around $695. So it's something to consider. Brad Donaldson if you are able to get him to build you a uke it's something to consider. I've never played one of his instruments but he's in you're pricerange and for a custom uke, you really can't go wrong.

For less than $600 or really less than $500, there are quite a few good uke's out there there to choose from. Pono, Mainland, Kala...
I have a Kala tenor with a solid Cedar top that goes for around $400 that's a very nice sounding uke. Either way you are sort of in a limbo area where you're just over the price of most factory ukes and just under the cost of a higher end uke.

gyosh
11-07-2011, 06:26 PM
Kamoa makes some solid wood ukes in that price range and they sound great. You could also get a Nalu.

mr moonlight
11-07-2011, 06:28 PM
by the way guys, Sopranos or Concerts are my preference.For that price range I'd go with a KoAloha Soprano. If you want a concert, I'd save up $95 more and get a Ko'olau KC concert.

beginnerukeman143
11-07-2011, 06:33 PM
For that price range I'd go with a KoAloha Soprano. If you want a concert, I'd save up $95 more and get a Ko'olau KC concert.

yeah only thing i just thought about is that the Shipping here could cost alot, so if i do go for something ill probably just get that soprano but those are still handmade right?

ShakaSign
11-07-2011, 07:12 PM
If you were on the mainland or in Hawaii, I would say that with some work, you could probably find a used KoAloha Concert in your price range.

mr moonlight
11-07-2011, 08:20 PM
yeah only thing i just thought about is that the Shipping here could cost alot, so if i do go for something ill probably just get that soprano but those are still handmade right?Yup, for $550, you get yourself a professional quality handmade uke.

roxhum
11-08-2011, 03:12 AM
Second hand Kamaka gets my vote

guitarsnrotts
11-08-2011, 03:28 AM
Just posted in marketplace. I've only heard good things about his ukes.

http://www.blackbearukuleles.net/listing.html?categoryid=3

strumsilly
11-08-2011, 03:31 AM
be patient and get yourself a used one. you need to decide what you want though. if I only had one size it would be a concert. then have to decide on the wood. if Koa, you can't go wrong with a K brand. I really like my KoAloha, but they are all nice and you should be able to find one in your price range. If you want mahogany, maybe a Kiwaya. I got mine used and it's really nice. probably my favorite. You can also get a vintage Martin in your range, a good one of those are hard to beat.

haolejohn
11-08-2011, 03:44 AM
by the way guys, Sopranos or Concerts are my preference.

www.meleukulele.com

Stevelele
11-08-2011, 04:03 AM
I'm also in favor of your getting the black bear soprano on fleamarketmusic.com. Although I haven't played one, I know people who have and people rave about duane heilman's handiwork.

PhilUSAFRet
11-08-2011, 04:26 AM
by the way guys, Sopranos or Concerts are my preference.

That Boat Paddle Soprano for $425 sounds amazing! And it looks cool too!

http://www.ukuleleunderground.com/forum/showthread.php?55289-FS-Boat-Paddle-Soprano-Custom-Ukulele

PoiDog
11-08-2011, 04:42 AM
Loads of good suggestions here. I'd definitely focus on one of the hand-made models (KoAloha, Kanile'a, Ko'olau, Kamaka, Mele) if possible. If you're in a hurry or just can't seem to get one of these, keep the upper-eschelon Asian made models in mind as well, such as Kiwaya, Big Island, or aNueNue.

At your price point you can pretty much get anything aside from a new custom build.

Best of luck!

mm stan
11-08-2011, 06:24 AM
Get a New Style Kamaka soprano...keep checking the marketplace here and FMM...or buy a new one.. you won't regret it..happy strummings..

poppy
11-08-2011, 06:49 AM
Honu or Big Island concert about 500 with a hard case for the plain jane models. They are great IMHO.
Mele makes several concerts in this range.
Soprano''s take your pick of standard models.

janeray1940
11-08-2011, 06:52 AM
Second hand Kamaka gets my vote

Yes, this. I bought three of my four Kamakas second-hand, and all three were under $600.

mascompro
11-08-2011, 07:38 AM
KoAloha Soprano, they just can't be beat for the price, and you don't have to wait for a used one to pop up in your price range.

Nickie
11-08-2011, 08:23 AM
I have met the LoPrinzis, and for the money, I can highly recommend their ukuleles. They know what they are doing, and they back up their work, which is nothing but first class. Uke Republic is a good place to get it from, I think. I met Mike, the owner, and was impressed.

Nickie
11-08-2011, 08:42 AM
BTW, the difference between "spruce" and "cedar": a "red cedar" is actually a spruce tree. So, hill of beans for the diff.

Pukulele Pete
11-08-2011, 09:14 AM
There was a Kiwaya KTS-4 for sale somewhere on this site, not sure if it is still for sale. Great uke. If not the Kiwaya I would look for a vintage Martin style O .

mr moonlight
11-08-2011, 10:13 AM
Used is great if you're local/semi-local, but given Beginnerukeman is from Guam, I'd highly recommend against going with a used Uke. Shipping won't be cheap and when buying used there are some risks. With a new Uke you have a warranty and it can be replaced with a new one if it's damaged in shipping due to mishandling. Especially when a KoAloha soprano is well within budget there's no reason to take any risks. You can go used, but you're still not going to get a better uke. A different uke with different characteristics, but not necessarily better. If you want an upgrade from a KoAloha uke, you gotta go custom and that will cost you quite a bit more even used.

OldePhart
11-08-2011, 10:54 AM
Assuming you're talking about a soprano and not including a really fancy hard case, almost any of them in that price range should be pretty decent and probably make you happy - especially if you forego bling in favor of quality.

John

mketom
11-08-2011, 11:07 AM
BTW, the difference between "spruce" and "cedar": a "red cedar" is actually a spruce tree. So, hill of beans for the diff.
Actually it isn't...
Western red cedar - Thuja plicata
Eastern red cedar - Juniperus virginiana
Adirondack (Red) Spruce - Picea rubens
Sitka spruce - Picea sitchensi

beginnerukeman143
11-08-2011, 05:36 PM
Used is great if you're local/semi-local, but given Beginnerukeman is from Guam, I'd highly recommend against going with a used Uke. Shipping won't be cheap and when buying used there are some risks. With a new Uke you have a warranty and it can be replaced with a new one if it's damaged in shipping due to mishandling. Especially when a KoAloha soprano is well within budget there's no reason to take any risks. You can go used, but you're still not going to get a better uke. A different uke with different characteristics, but not necessarily better. If you want an upgrade from a KoAloha uke, you gotta go custom and that will cost you quite a bit more even used.

thats exactly what i was thinking about as well.... hmm that thins it down to the Ko'Aloha even more haha

garyg
11-09-2011, 02:00 AM
If you search you may be able to find a KoAloha Pikake soprano for substantially less than your stated figure. I bought one at McCabes in LA for under $400, That was lower than the sticker price but I politely asked them if they gave a "musicians discount" and they said yes. I own somewhere around 10 ukes, a combination of vintage mahogany (1 vintage koa) and new koa, all solid bodies and the Pikake is right up there with ukes costing almost twice as much. It also has a wide finger board which if you have thicker fingers, makes chords like D and D7 a lot easier to play. I noticed on my vintage white label Kamaka that the A string is closer to the edge of the fingerboard than on my other ukes and I'm always hitting it and causing a buzz when I play chords like D (my fingers are short). Unfortunately there are many things to consider when buying a uke (somebody probably has said this already in this post) and they do involve how the uke fits with your hands and body, which make buying blind more difficult. The advantage of buying a quality vintage uke is that if you watch the market for a month or so and learn what a "good price" is then you can frequently resell the uke for the same price or with a slight loss, whereas if you buy a new uke and it doesn't "fit" then you'll take a loss on the resale. Just some things to consider.

mr moonlight
11-09-2011, 02:30 AM
If you search you may be able to find a KoAloha Pikake soprano for substantially less than your stated figure. I bought one at McCabes in LA for under $400, That was lower than the sticker price but I politely asked them if they gave a "musicians discount" and they said yes. I own somewhere around 10 ukes, a combination of vintage mahogany (1 vintage koa) and new koa, all solid bodies and the Pikake is right up there with ukes costing almost twice as much. It also has a wide finger board which if you have thicker fingers, makes chords like D and D7 a lot easier to play. I noticed on my vintage white label Kamaka that the A string is closer to the edge of the fingerboard than on my other ukes and I'm always hitting it and causing a buzz when I play chords like D (my fingers are short). Unfortunately there are many things to consider when buying a uke (somebody probably has said this already in this post) and they do involve how the uke fits with your hands and body, which make buying blind more difficult. The advantage of buying a quality vintage uke is that if you watch the market for a month or so and learn what a "good price" is then you can frequently resell the uke for the same price or with a slight loss, whereas if you buy a new uke and it doesn't "fit" then you'll take a loss on the resale. Just some things to consider.This is something to take into consideration. One thing you can do to help, is to take accurate measurements of you're current favorite uke and also get dimensions on whatever uke you buy.

brUKEman
11-09-2011, 03:21 AM
Go to your local Guitar Center or other music store and play a variety of ukes to determine which size is best for you (soprano, concert or tenor). Once you determine which you want, then just follow the Markeplace for Ukulele Underground and spend the $500-$600 on a used (little used) ukulele. Maybe get one of the K brands or something. Lots of good deals here.

Good Luck