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View Full Version : Best Ukulele For Beginners under $60



ukuleleforbeginners
12-04-2011, 06:26 PM
A lot of people want to know the best when they are starting out. I created a post to get the top recommendations and now wanted to put a poll to the community to find out what everyone thinks is the best.

makala dolphin
Makala mk-s
kala ks-15
lanikai lu-21

kenikas
12-04-2011, 06:54 PM
At the low end I don't think Makala can be beat! I was split between voting for the Dolphin and the MK-S guess it depends on weither you like the painted or wood look, but the Makalas have better sound than the low end Kala or Lanikai.

ukuleleforbeginners
12-04-2011, 07:34 PM
Considering that Makala is part of Kala, you wouldn't think Kala would let that happen.

ukulele4kids
12-04-2011, 11:30 PM
Go for the dolphin, a good ukulele to start with, and if you find you don't like playing you haven't spent a lot of money. Read a review here. (http://ukulele4kids.com/2011/08/22/best-ukulele-to-buy-for-kids/)

ukuleleforbeginners
12-05-2011, 04:02 PM
It looks like the Dolphin is definitely taking the lead.

Drew Bear
12-05-2011, 04:24 PM
I didn't enter a vote since I have no experience with any of the listed ukes. I will just say that after researching this site extensively for the past few weeks, I placed an order for 3 Dolphins for my young niece & nephews a few days before this thread began. I did take into account that MGM sold a bunch of Dolphins to members here a while back, so the sampling of people who had actual experiences to share was large compared to the other ukes.

sugengshi
12-05-2011, 09:12 PM
I have clicked on Makala MK-S although I would have preferred Kala KA-S. :D

molokinirum
12-06-2011, 05:51 AM
Either Makala will do. Great ukes for the money!!!

ukuleleforbeginners
12-06-2011, 05:54 AM
Looked like the Dolphin was gonna run away, but the MK-S is making a come back.

vickersdc
12-06-2011, 06:06 AM
I had my Dolphin for 2 years before I upgraded (well, I still have it as my carry everywhere uke). I stuck some D'Addario strings on it (A, D, F#, B) and I still love it. Well recommended.

bazmaz
12-07-2011, 10:06 AM
I've played dozens of entry level ukes. Well setup with Aquilas the dolphin blows them away. It's got a great tone. I play handmade hawaiian instruments but still gig my dolphin from time to time. Review here

http://www.gotaukulele.com/2010/04/red-special-arrives-makala-dolphin.html

kaizersoza
12-07-2011, 11:00 AM
dolphin everytime for me even with my mainland and fluke i am still hankering after a black sparkly dolphin great ukes, i still carry my blue sparkly with me everywhere i go and i often use it for noodling in the car

river_driver
12-07-2011, 11:40 AM
C'mon, show some love for the Kala KA-15S! The paint-n-plastic of the Dolphin just doesn't work for me, and the tuners on the MK-S are not as good as those on the KA-15S. And even though I think they come off the same assembly line as Kala, I've never felt the quality control on the Lanikais was as good (at least for the entry level ukes - mid-to upper-level Lanikais are better).

Drew Bear
12-07-2011, 11:54 AM
At this price point and level of quality, I think appearances carry at least equal weight in the considerations. The Dolphins just look much more fun with the bridge and bright colors. They catch your eye, make you smile and invite you to pick them up and strum a while.

ItsMrPitchy
12-07-2011, 01:12 PM
I gotta go for the dolphin myself. Great uke for they money you cant go wrong. Sturdy little instrument and lotta fun to play.

Huna
12-07-2011, 01:27 PM
not all dolphins are great but one of them I got out of three was fantastik! the other two were good enough. the fantastic one I would say is as good as a 200 dollar uke in tone. or better

mm stan
12-07-2011, 01:42 PM
My hello kitty was 24.95 but it needed a set up and strings..but now it sounds great... straight out of the box... nah...no good...but it shows that it can become a polished gem that sounds nice.
has very much the potential...if you know how to do it...

ukuleleforbeginners
12-07-2011, 02:38 PM
Looks like the 2 Makalas are starting to pull ahead. Though the MK-S is much closer than I thought it would be.

ukemunga
12-07-2011, 03:44 PM
So... I wonder, do the results simply mean that more participants on this forum own the 2 Makala models then the Kala model?

Being the newbie that I am, I've only known/played the ukes in my sig. I know the Dolphin, and Makala brand in general, are considered to be excellent entry level instruments. But so is Kala, the parent brand.

Why would the lesser Kala line be considered better instruments than the main brand? I'm not cheerleading for the Kala over anything else because I don't have the knowledge to do so.

I'm just curious as to the "why."

sugengshi
12-07-2011, 07:21 PM
C'mon, show some love for the Kala KA-15S! The paint-n-plastic of the Dolphin just doesn't work for me, and the tuners on the MK-S are not as good as those on the KA-15S. And even though I think they come off the same assembly line as Kala, I've never felt the quality control on the Lanikais was as good (at least for the entry level ukes - mid-to upper-level Lanikais are better).

I love Kala KA-S. :D

Huna
12-08-2011, 05:42 AM
Well the Makala is diff than the Kala in that it is a thinner laminate and is Agathis right?

stanpeter
12-08-2011, 10:24 AM
I thought the Kala had the thinner laminate with mahogany top-veneer, the Makala has a thicker laminate with a Agathis (or Nato?) top-veneer.

ukemunga
12-08-2011, 01:02 PM
Hmmm... maybe it has to do with the molded plastic back and sides on the Dolphin?

I don't know about thickness, but the Makala top IS agathis, whatever that is.

ukuleleforbeginners
12-08-2011, 02:28 PM
Other than the MK-S, which has gone up, the stats haven't changed much. I wonder how much the Makalas outsell the the Kalas.

river_driver
12-08-2011, 03:19 PM
Hmmm... maybe it has to do with the molded plastic back and sides on the Dolphin?

I don't know about thickness, but the Makala top IS agathis, whatever that is.

Agathis, nato, and sapele are all abundant, inexpensive woods that have similar properties to mahogany - thus their widespread use in the entry-level uke market. In fact, most entry-level acoustic instruments that are labeled as mahogany are in fact sapele.

See the striped pattern on this "mahogany" Kala KA-15S?
http://www.kalaukulele.com/Detail_KA-15s.asp
That's sapele.

Compare it to the solid mahogany (real mahogany) KA-SMH:
http://www.kalaukulele.com/Detail_KA-SMH-S_Soprano.asp
and you can see the difference.

sugengshi
12-08-2011, 04:08 PM
Agathis, nato, and sapele are all abundant, inexpensive woods that have similar properties to mahogany - thus their widespread use in the entry-level uke market. In fact, most entry-level acoustic instruments that are labeled as mahogany are in fact sapele.

I learn something today. Thanks for sharing.

ukemunga
12-08-2011, 05:21 PM
In fact, most entry-level acoustic instruments that are labeled as mahogany are in fact sapele.

Interesting. I didn't mean the "whatever that is" in a disparaging way, I just honestly have never heard of it.

I can see the difference in the pics you provided. So, are Kala, and other uke makers misrepresenting their less expensive mahogany laminate models.

Or is it just considered artistic license?

ukuleleforbeginners
12-08-2011, 05:42 PM
They definitely look different. As mentioned above it seems a little dishonest if those woods aren't actually a mahogany.

MGM
12-08-2011, 06:26 PM
You should be able to get a makala mk C concert. That would. Be my choose under 60.00. Make sure you change the strings to aquila. Not in your poll but less tha 60.00 from right vendor

ukuleleforbeginners
12-09-2011, 03:54 PM
You should be able to get a makala mk C concert. That would. Be my choose under 60.00. Make sure you change the strings to aquila. Not in your poll but less tha 60.00 from right vendor

In the last post I made most people said that a concert couldn't be had at that price, but it is good to know that it can. Look forward to hearing how the MK-S with Aquilas that I got from you sounds!!!

FlyedPiper
12-10-2011, 05:27 PM
I just picked up a Dolphin for a Christmas gift... I have been breaking her in, hehe.

I got mine for $60 delivered and set-up with Aquilas. I have not owned the MK-S, but I did have an MK-T and I will say the thin laminate wood really projects and has a nice tone. The tone on the Dolphin is kind of "meh" and sounds a little off at times. It is definetly more muted and has less sustain than the thin laminate wood without the the half inch of paint shlepped on there.

The workmanship seems sloppier on the Dolphin too (inside)... I almost wonder if they don't take the better looking ones and make Makala MK-S's out of them, then shlepp a bunch of paint on the rougher looking ones and sell them as Dolphins. I do like the "heft" of the Dolphin... it feels sturdier and well balanced in my arms.

I don't feel like I overpaid with the Dolphin, but I gotta vote standard Makala. Obviously setup is the key in this pricerange and it comes down to personal preference.

Huna
12-11-2011, 04:28 AM
Makala MK S are not plastic but Dolphins are so they are different.

ukuleleforbeginners
12-11-2011, 07:28 AM
Makala MK S are not plastic but Dolphins are so they are different.

How much of the Dolphin is plastic?

ukuhippo
12-11-2011, 07:43 AM
How much of the Dolphin is plastic?

The body except for de top (which is laminated agathis).

rasta
12-11-2011, 11:00 AM
My first uke was a Makala concert. I loved it well still do but now i use my tenor all the time. But the concert sounds great and i never had the problem staying in tune i hear so much about

ukuleleforbeginners
12-11-2011, 06:09 PM
For those looking for a slightly more expensive ukulele (less than $100). Here is a new poll:

http://www.ukuleleunderground.com/forum/showthread.php?57209-Best-Ukulele-For-Beginners-under-100

FlyedPiper
12-11-2011, 08:37 PM
I have to admit, now that these Aquila's have settled in, the Dolphin is playing very nice. I think I'm going to have to get one of my own eventually... I mean, for $60 delivered for a decent set up soprano... if you're a uke player it doesn't make sense NOT to have one, even if you give it away eventually.

gibel
12-12-2011, 12:22 PM
I was originally very put off by molded body ukuleles, but seeing how great a Flea ukulele plays and reading all the great reviews about the Makala Dolphin, I’ve had a change of heart. On this list, I’ve only tried the Lanikai and the one I played had poor intonation and worthless trying to play below the 5th fret, so I can’t recommend that.

ukuleleforbeginners
12-12-2011, 04:02 PM
With Nearly half the votes, I would say the Dolphin has it at this point.