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View Full Version : My First New (to me) Uke Day



Drew Bear
11-30-2011, 01:41 PM
...actually the first time I've even touched a ukulele. I'm a bit overwhelmed. I'd forgotten how wonderful it is to make music like this (played some guitar decades ago). For some reason, I had expected that the strings would be easier to press than on a classical guitar. After an hour of fiddling around, my fingertips tell me otherwise. :o

I'm sure I'll have observations and questions aplenty in the coming weeks, but for now let me just post a few photos. These were taken with an iPhone under fluorescent lighting, so they don't really capture the full beauty of this ukulele.
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Trinimon
11-30-2011, 01:50 PM
WOW! Gorgeous Kanile'a! Look at those crazy curls! Congrats.

mds725
11-30-2011, 01:50 PM
Wow! That's a beautiful ukulele, and welcome back to making music. So please say more about how you picked this uke, where you bought it, what's its backstory, etc. Congratulations on landing an ukulele with such great wood grain!

bdukes
11-30-2011, 01:59 PM
Nice! Even the tuner buttons have pretty grain.

elisdad
11-30-2011, 02:01 PM
That is one pretty uke!

foxfair
11-30-2011, 02:04 PM
Nice uke, is it a tenor?

Drew Bear
11-30-2011, 02:51 PM
Trinimon: Thanks. It is difficult to capture (on photo) the depth and 3D-ness of curly koa.

mds725: Thanks for the warm welcome. I started my ukulele journey about two weeks ago. I don't remember exactly how I even set foot on the path in the first place - maybe a Youtube video? In any case, I've been researching the UU archives and watching & listening to literally hundreds of sound clips. Not exactly an ideal way to evaluate and select a musical instrument, but there you are. I went from considering "beginner" level laminates to solid mahogany ukes and finally to solid koa ukulele. To cut a long story short, over Thanksgiving weekend this particular uke came across my radar and I decided not to wait for some of the other options I was considering. I'm very happy that I can start actually playing the ukulele instead of just reading about it.

bdukes: The original owner had upgraded to Waverly Ukulele tuners with koa knobs. I probably would not have done this myself, but I'm glad he did.

elisdad: And it sounds as beautiful as it looks.

foxfair: Yes. It is a Kanile'a K-1 Tenor with "premium" curly koa and UV cured high gloss polyester finish.

hmgberg
11-30-2011, 02:55 PM
Holy Cow! That is your first ukulele! An auspicious start to your UAS. Enjoy.

Drew Bear
11-30-2011, 03:07 PM
Holy Cow! That is your first ukulele! An auspicious start to your UAS. Enjoy.

Thanks, I certainly will enjoy learning to make music with this instrument. No UAS for me. I decided to find the best uke I could reasonably afford and now will focus on playing & practicing. I'm hoping that learning to play one individual, high quality ukulele will facilitate that process.

That's my story and I'm stickin' to it! :) Really, though...I can't imagine wanting to buy another uke for a long, long time.

kaizersoza
11-30-2011, 03:15 PM
this is one jealous uke player, my first uke was a dolphin, that kanile'a is absolutely stunning

hmgberg
11-30-2011, 03:27 PM
That's my story and I'm stickin' to it! :) Really, though...I can't imagine wanting to buy another uke for a long, long time.[/QUOTE]

I predict you will become "imaginative" very soon.

AC Baltimore
11-30-2011, 03:36 PM
Heck of a starting point, shes a doll. Welcome to the crazy train bruddah :)

Drew Bear
11-30-2011, 03:47 PM
kaizersoza: I'm sure you've had many happy moments with your Dolphin uke. I heard they're great. Many paths to uke joy.

hmgberg: I fear you may be right.

AC Baltimore: Crazy is the right word. I'm still a bit stunned. BTW, I see you have experience with Worth & Fremont strings. I currently have Worth Clears. Any idea if a single Fremont Low G would fit in with the Worths?

Nickie
11-30-2011, 04:09 PM
Wow, what a beautiful instrument! You went straight for the "gold" right off the bat, didnt' you? I hope you have a wonderful relationship with it for many years!

AC Baltimore
11-30-2011, 04:21 PM
I've not used the LG from either, but they seem pretty close in diameter so I would guess yes. Worth a shot anywho. We change strings like underwear around here.... unless you are my cousin chris that means a lot lol. Its a really personal choice, so I would say get 3 or 4 combos and start testing what works for you and that beautiful uke.


AC Baltimore: Crazy is the right word. I'm still a bit stunned. BTW, I see you have experience with Worth & Fremont strings. I currently have Worth Clears. Any idea if a single Fremont Low G would fit in with the Worths?

Drew Bear
11-30-2011, 04:46 PM
Wow, what a beautiful instrument! You went straight for the "gold" right off the bat, didnt' you? I hope you have a wonderful relationship with it for many years!
Hi, Nickie. Yeah, I didn't exactly plan it this way, but I plan to make the most of it now that the deed is done. I would ask y'all to help me stick to the straight 'n narrow and be faithful to this one beauty, but I think I'm in the wrong crowd for that kind of help. ;)


I've not used the LG from either, but they seem pretty close in diameter so I would guess yes. Worth a shot anywho. We change strings like underwear around here.... unless you are my cousin chris that means a lot lol. Its a really personal choice, so I would say get 3 or 4 combos and start testing what works for you and that beautiful uke.
TMI about coz chris. :confused: Although I'm enjoying the current high G set, I tended to enjoy the low G sound samples more. These strings are pretty new, so I didn't want to waste them. The only single Worth low G I could find is very thick. I didn't want to expand the nut slot too much larger than all the other low G strings I'll be trying.

Plainsong
11-30-2011, 05:11 PM
This is a forum of UAS-Enablers. You'll find no strict parents here saying "YOU SPENT WHAT???" :D

With my first uke, I kind of went down a similar path. I wanted to hear what one was supposed to sound like, so I start with a Koaloha soprano. I have a relative of yours though now, in the K1 superconcert, but only with the dlx wood upgrade. I say "only", but it has some holy crap figuring to the wood. Not as curly as your curly though. :D

Strings I like to rotate on it so far, are the Worth CT low g, and high g Aquilas. I know, I know, no one likes Aquilas on nice ukes anymore, but they're a good match. The next set I'm stoked to try are some southcoast low g flat wound all classical metal strings. The bead ends will solve my knot-tying fail, and it should prove more balanced than the Worths.

Happy New Uke and New-to-Uke day! It'd been a long time since I played anything when I got my first uke too. It really is a big moment. Thanks for sharing it.

AC Baltimore
11-30-2011, 05:11 PM
Thats one of the many reasons we find to tell our spouses we need more ukes... but one has to be setup low G babe lol. I have used and still use the low G aquila set on my mainland, I am going to try the worth LG next order. The aquilas are not bad on there, but like most will tell you, aquilas most shine on laminate ukes. They are not so killer on solid woods.

Tip: While testing string sets, leave them long at the head so you can remove and re use as desired.

coriandre
11-30-2011, 05:33 PM
Congratulations !!!!!

Your ukulele is just stunning with marvelous wood grain.

Also, congratulations on reading and reading and reading before jumping in. That says a lot about you. Being informed is the best way to make the good decision........and you did by buying the best instrument you could afford. You will not regret this. Kanilea is top shelf and will hold its value. Buying used is also a great decision on your part.

I'm already impressed by how you did this and now waiting to be impressed by your music :o

mm stan
11-30-2011, 06:02 PM
Holy smokes...Your first ukulele..wow mine is a 24.95 uke and I still play it daily....Congratulations..
Your fingers need to break in too...soon you will get some calleouses...if you still have a hard time you
can change to a lower tension strings..to improve playability and comfort...or drop tune it a half or whole step..
Have fun with your ukelele journey...and Happy strummings...

P.S. I have a feeling you drive a rolls and live in a mansion...:);):D

Drew Bear
11-30-2011, 06:23 PM
This is a forum of UAS-Enablers. You'll find no strict parents here saying "YOU SPENT WHAT???" :D

With my first uke, I kind of went down a similar path. I wanted to hear what one was supposed to sound like, so I start with a Koaloha soprano. I have a relative of yours though now, in the K1 superconcert, but only with the dlx wood upgrade. I say "only", but it has some holy crap figuring to the wood. Not as curly as your curly though. :D

Strings I like to rotate on it so far, are the Worth CT low g, and high g Aquilas. I know, I know, no one likes Aquilas on nice ukes anymore, but they're a good match. The next set I'm stoked to try are some southcoast low g flat wound all classical metal strings. The bead ends will solve my knot-tying fail, and it should prove more balanced than the Worths.

Happy New Uke and New-to-Uke day! It'd been a long time since I played anything when I got my first uke too. It really is a big moment. Thanks for sharing it.

I've read so much over the past couple of weeks that I can't remember details. I wouldn't be surprised if your story was one of the pieces that helped me decide this route. It's scary how I went from "plain grain with satin finish is fine" to what I now have. Fortunately I'm not a fan of bling. The wood and small accents of abalone are more than enough to satisfy my eyes.

I probably want to try the Aquilas just because that's what Kanile'a stocks them with. But after these Worths come Fremonts and maybe D'Addario just because I used to like the classical guitar sound.

That thread on Kanile'a bridge pin problems had me leaning towards a KoAloha Tenor for a bit. But I figured you folks had it solved with the beads. I also found this knot description that looked promising: http://www.pohakuukulele.com/pages/t_knots.html

Drew Bear
11-30-2011, 06:42 PM
Thats one of the many reasons we find to tell our spouses we need more ukes... but one has to be setup low G babe lol. I have used and still use the low G aquila set on my mainland, I am going to try the worth LG next order. The aquilas are not bad on there, but like most will tell you, aquilas most shine on laminate ukes. They are not so killer on solid woods.

Tip: While testing string sets, leave them long at the head so you can remove and re use as desired.
Thanks for the tip, AC. The current set are trimmed tight, so aside from replacing the G string, I'll probably use them until it's time to change.

I didn't really consider the dual high-G/low-G set up. I looked for tabs for music I would enjoy ahead of time and found there were already plenty of low G tabs to keep me busy for a long time, not to mention the new ones that are being made.



Congratulations !!!!!

Your ukulele is just stunning with marvelous wood grain.

Also, congratulations on reading and reading and reading before jumping in. That says a lot about you. Being informed is the best way to make the good decision........and you did by buying the best instrument you could afford. You will not regret this. Kanilea is top shelf and will hold its value. Buying used is also a great decision on your part.

I'm already impressed by how you did this and now waiting to be impressed by your music :o
Thanks for the kind words, coriandre. Sometimes I have a tendency to overanalyze major purchases like this, but I'm content this was the right choice.

I'm not sure I'll be ready for any "public"/video displays of playing anytime soon. I've just started the basic section of Jake's iPad app, which works up to a rendition of Amazing Grace. I also started learning the chord progressions for Canon in D and White Sandy Beach, along with picking and basic strumming. That should keep my fingers busy for a while, eh?

Drew Bear
11-30-2011, 07:00 PM
Holy smokes...Your first ukulele..wow mine is a 24.95 uke and I still play it daily....Congratulations..
Your fingers need to break in too...soon you will get some calleouses...if you still have a hard time you can change to a lower tension strings..to improve playability and comfort...or drop tune it a half or whole step..Have fun with your ukelele journey...and Happy strummings...

P.S. I have a feeling you drive a rolls and live in a mansion...:);):D

hehe...try a Honda CB750 and a 400 sq. ft. cottage, Stan. I had a health scare a few years back. I've chosen to scale back on work and simplify my lifestyle. I figured music was an important enough ingredient of "de-stressification" that it deserved a significant investment. I did consider starting with a more basic uke, but I knew I would probably quickly develop UAS if I took that route. So instead of buying 6 or 7 ukes over the next year, I just splurged on "The One". It's all good. Like I said earlier, we each have our individual path.

Plainsong
11-30-2011, 09:14 PM
I think the pin bridge itself on the Kanile'a is easy to work with. Maybe eventually the plate will need replacing, but we ain't there yet! It was made well enough so that you can string it up without putting the pins back in, so no putting your eye out or anything like that. If I could tie a decent knot, it would be great, and I do have similar problems with standard slot bridges. I've seen the Pohaku knot figure, and it doesn't help me. I'm too far gone. People talk about beads, but never what size you'd actually want to get. There's no hobby stores around to test them out, so I'd have to ebay them, and I'd just be guessing.

All this could be a moot point if string makers would step up and offer strings with endings to them. They exist for the same reason in the guitar world, so why not for us too?

I hear ya on the bling. I usually prefer a satin finish, but having one really killer glossy finish is easy on the eyes. It looks thick, but you can tell it really isn't.