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View Full Version : HELP! First ukulele, alulu?



takayakiba
11-18-2011, 10:24 PM
hello! I'm a guitarist, and i recently i've been interested in buying my first ukulele. I don't want to spend too much on it, but i want a good quality uke at the same time. I saw a person on ebay named taisamlu and he claims it is a handmade, solid koa ukulele. But it seems "too good to be true".:confused: Anyone know about these ukes?

http://www.ebay.com/itm/Alulu-Solid-Acacia-KOA-Tenor-Ukulele-inlaid-Hummingbirds-U-2080-/160682538101?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item25696cf475

Bao
11-18-2011, 10:36 PM
Looks nice and it's cheap too, wow. You should ask for a sound sample first just to check it out.

sugengshi
11-18-2011, 11:01 PM
It looks so beautiful. I am drooling now. :drool:

takayakiba
11-19-2011, 12:15 AM
Looks nice and it's cheap too, wow. You should ask for a sound sample first just to check it out.

yeah but the thing is, he has some sound samples for the guitars he had made, though the microphone he used wasn't very clear.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3YBjJyb5_l0

Bao
11-19-2011, 01:14 AM
Wow that is really horrible audio. Ask them to make one with the specific ukulele you're hoping to buy. If they really want to sell their instrument, I'm sure they will have the time to record a short clip.

boodrow
11-19-2011, 04:02 AM
Looks good to me , but the shipping is out of line in my opion. I to came from guitar to uke , I bought the Oscar schmidt ou5 concert for 117 with free shipping and I love it.
Boodrow

roxhum
11-19-2011, 04:14 AM
Those are beautiful looking ukes, but seems I remember reading, probably on this forum, that they were not very good. I think a uke in that price range with all that bling is probably too good to be true.

Lori
11-19-2011, 06:50 AM
I would be wary of such a uke. There have been other decorative imports sold on eBay, and those who bought them said they needed a lot of set up to get them to play nicely. The intonation might be off, bad fret positions would be hard to fix, and the nut and saddle might need a lot of work as well. If the soundboard is too thick, or heavily braced, it would sound dull and quiet. If you are a good do-it-yourself craftsman, I bet it would be a good project. Note they said Acacia Koa, which is not the same as the Hawaiian Koa.

I would recommend for a first uke something from Kala, Ohana, Mainland, or Fluke/ Flea.

Welcome to UU!

–Lori

GKK
11-19-2011, 06:54 AM
Not All Koa wood are the same quality.

The Hawaiian Ukulele Manufacturers use Koa wood that has been naturally dried for several years in a warehouse or has been dried in a climate controlled oven to an exact humidity level.

Also, the thickness and grain direction of the Koa wood during manufacturing affect the sound and look of each ukulele.

Many Ukulele's made in High Humidity countries such as southeast asia, may eventually develope cracks and warpage in a dryer climate.

Good Luck if you decide to purchase.

Tor
11-19-2011, 07:01 AM
Isn't that 'taisamlu' guy the same as this 'Antoniotsai' guy? There have been a couple of threads.. and you can find more via the Famous Web Search Engine.
The big problem seems to be that the instruments look nice, but the wood isn't cured and the instruments are useless wall hangers. They crack.

-Tor

KimosTherapy
11-19-2011, 07:24 AM
hello! I'm a guitarist, and i recently i've been interested in buying my first ukulele. I don't want to spend too much on it, but i want a good quality uke at the same time. I saw a person on ebay named taisamlu and he claims it is a handmade, solid koa ukulele. But it seems "too good to be true".:confused: Anyone know about these ukes?

http://www.ebay.com/itm/Alulu-Solid-Acacia-KOA-Tenor-Ukulele-inlaid-Hummingbirds-U-2080-/160682538101?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item25696cf475

Aloha,

Taisamlu actually makes some really decent instruments that are all solid wood with bone nut and saddle. I wouldn't buy an instrument that has all of the fancy mop & abalone inlay on the backside and sound board of the uke. Too much of the inlay compromises the overall sound and projection. The workmanship of his instruments are actually pretty good, too. Really clean. There may be some slight finish blemishes here and there, but supposedly, his instruments are hand made using hand tools - so you will find imperfections. Stick with the ukes that don't have all of the fancy mop & abalone inlays - just for the rosette, fretboard, and headstock which would be ok. Buy an uke that's on auction from him and if you're patient, you can get a nice solid wood uke for $150 - $200 including shipping. Most of his ukes are "ACACIA" which Hawaiian Koa is from the same species of wood, but different. Hawaiian Koa is more sought after and expensive. Taisamlu does sell Ayers Guitar Company ukes from time to time. Ayers ukes are made of solid Hawaiian Koa and for those of you that don't know this - the Ayers Guitar Company makes Big Island Ukes for the Big Island Ukulele Company.

The eBay Seller that has a bad reputation is "Inlaidartist" His instruments have way too much mop & abalone inlays all over the soundboard and backside. I've heard that the wood he uses hasn't been dried properly either, so in about 2 months after receiving an instrument from him, the wood starts turning green. His instruments don't sound good either.

Another eBay Seller is Brucewei. He has a couple of accounts on eBay under Bruceweiart and Bruceweiguitars. He makes nice solid wood instruments, too.

Just because instruments are made in Asia doesn't mean they're junk. There are some very good builders in Asia. Hope this helps.

takayakiba
11-19-2011, 11:47 AM
Not All Koa wood are the same quality.

The Hawaiian Ukulele Manufacturers use Koa wood that has been naturally dried for several years in a warehouse or has been dried in a climate controlled oven to an exact humidity level.

Also, the thickness and grain direction of the Koa wood during manufacturing affect the sound and look of each ukulele.

Many Ukulele's made in High Humidity countries such as southeast asia, may eventually develope cracks and warpage in a dryer climate.

Good Luck if you decide to purchase.


Thank you for so much information! How would i prevent the cracks from occurring? Do I need to buy a humidifier? I've heard of them, but was never really sure of how to use them, and what it does. I live in australia so do you think the instrument will crack?

GKK
11-19-2011, 12:10 PM
Thank you for so much information! How would i prevent the cracks from occurring? Do I need to buy a humidifier? I've heard of them, but was never really sure of how to use them, and what it does. I live in australia so do you think the instrument will crack?

A good Humidity level for a Ukulele is around 60-70%.

Less than 60% you should use a humidifier. I live in Northern California and the humidity level in my home is 68%.

I bought an inexpensive analog Hygrometer and calibrated it using the salt method. Just get a Ziploc bag and put a small amount of salt in a small bottle cap or dish then, seal up the ziploc bag containing the hygrometer and capful of salt. This will create a known 70% humidity level in about 4-6 hours. you can then calibrate the hygrometer by bending the spring so, it reads 70% or reset the readout on a digital hygrometer.

After calibrating your Hygrometer, you can tell how dry or humid your home is and if you need to use a humidifier.

Tor
11-20-2011, 06:46 AM
60%-70% is impossible in any climate that isn't permanently warm. Even in my very well insulated house that would create condensation at this time of the year if I tried to humidify the room to that level.
I would also dispute that 60%-70% is a good humidity level for the ukulele, unless it was built specifically for such a humid environment.
Stringed instruments like ukulele, guitar, violin etc. are normally at their best at a humidity level where humans are at their best as well: Somewhere around 50% RH.
In practice this means that if winters are cold you should try to keep it above 40% most of the time. If you live in a temperate region that won't be a problem of course, if it's colder then you'll need a humidifier during winter.

-Tor

byjimini
11-20-2011, 06:52 AM
I've bought a solid koa uke from him before, very nice. I didn't have any problems with it, played nice out of the box.

Drew Bear
11-20-2011, 09:49 AM
Thank you for so much information! How would i prevent the cracks from occurring? Do I need to buy a humidifier? I've heard of them, but was never really sure of how to use them, and what it does. I live in australia so do you think the instrument will crack?

I imagine it will depend where in Australia you live. It's a big country, right? :)

Have you tried contacting ukulele dealers in Australia? This Kala KA-TEM (http://www.melbournemusiccentre.com.au/product/kala-ka-tem/) (solid mahogany) is not in stock right now, but they seem to stock a fairly large selection in the AUD $200-250 range. Shipping is reasonable at $20.

Most importantly, you would have some reasonable chance of recourse if something went wrong with the shipment or the product was of unacceptable quality. That's much more of a pain with a seller in Taiwan.

GKK
11-20-2011, 04:17 PM
60%-70% is impossible in any climate that isn't permanently warm. Even in my very well insulated house that would create condensation at this time of the year if I tried to humidify the room to that level.
I would also dispute that 60%-70% is a good humidity level for the ukulele, unless it was built specifically for such a humid environment.
-Tor

The Humidity level is measured in the Ukulele Case where the humidifier is placed.

In a Dry climate, the ukulele should be stored in the humidified case when not in use.

GKK
11-20-2011, 04:20 PM
This Kala KA-TEM (http://www.melbournemusiccentre.com.au/product/kala-ka-tem/) (solid mahogany) is not in stock right now, but they seem to stock a fairly large selection in the AUD $200-250 range.

The Kala KA-TEM is a Laminate, not solid wood. :)

Drew Bear
11-20-2011, 04:57 PM
The Kala KA-TEM is a Laminate, not solid wood. :)

Sorry about that. Thanks for catching my mistake. :o Maybe that Australian dealer wasn't a good random pick. They advertise this one as "ALL-SOLID MAHOGANY" and it certainly isn't either: http://www.melbournemusiccentre.com.au/product/kala-ka-c/

Ah well. Always caveat emptor. Has anyone verified the ones from Taiwan are really solid and not laminate wood?

I found this listing earlier today on an "ebay" site:

Big Island TR-KRGT Solid KOA Tenor Ukulele US $400 (http://www.ebay.in/itm/Big-Island-TR-KRGT-Solid-KOA-Tenor-Ukulele-/150441999263#ht_2400wt_769)

Turns out it's a site based in India claiming the product is in California. I didn't bother to check further to see if this was a legitimate site or not.

allanr
11-20-2011, 05:03 PM
Kala, Ohana, Mainland, Pono, Mele

The last three don't make laminates at all. The first two make solid mahogany ukes with excellent quality control, at very reasonable prices.

The Asian ukes with tons of inlay are wall-hangers.

takayakiba
11-20-2011, 09:52 PM
Cool! how long have you had that for?

takayakiba
11-20-2011, 09:53 PM
The Humidity level is measured in the Ukulele Case where the humidifier is placed.

In a Dry climate, the ukulele should be stored in the humidified case when not in use.

So how would i keep the case humidified?

Tor
11-20-2011, 10:14 PM
The Humidity level is measured in the Ukulele Case where the humidifier is placed.

In a Dry climate, the ukulele should be stored in the humidified case when not in use.
I still maintain that claiming that the correct relative humidity level is 60%-70% for an acoustic stringed instrument like the ukulele isn't correct. It's way too high. The instrument would have had to be specially designed for that. Instruments, particularly mass-produced (i.e. not custom built for you), aren't designed to have to stay in a humidified case all the time. Even if you have a case for your instrument the cases don't normally come with built-in humidifiers. Case humidifiers are really just an emergency option - if it's really dry (well below 40%) and you have no other way to keep the humidity up. Or if an instrument has suffered too dry air over a prolonged time and there are dry-out symptoms.

-Tor

Bao
11-21-2011, 02:11 AM
Oh the topic of solid wood ukuleles in australia. My solid wood monkey pod ukulele is doing a fine job with out any of those care instruments and i've hard it for almost a year now. But then again, better to be safe than sorry.

allanr
11-21-2011, 03:22 AM
A forum thread about case and instrument humidity would be fascinating reading. But i thought that this thread was about helping some buy their first ukulele...

GKK
11-21-2011, 05:31 AM
So how would i keep the case humidified?

You can buy a ukulele Humidifier from your local music store or, you can make your own from Aldrine's video here: http://ukuleleunderground.com/2008/02/uke-minutes-4-diy-ukulele-case-humidifier/