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View Full Version : Time to upgrade! Need advice.



Tantal
12-06-2011, 09:56 AM
Recently came into some money to get a nice xmas gift for myself. Naturally I decided to get a Ukulele upgrade. Now I have browsed the internet to no end to try to figure out which one to get and I am torn.

I currently have a laminate Oscar Schmidt OU4. What I love about the OU4 is the nice glossy finish and details. What bugs me is it sounds a bit muffled.

Here is what I am looking for:
Size: Tenor
Wood: All solid wood a must
Sound: Loud enough that I can get a good sound even though I cannot grow my nails long enough to use them. I play a mix of strumming and picking songs (with a strong preference on picking melodies)
Budget: ~300$
Delivery: Need to deliver to Toronto, Canada
Setup: I also would like the setup to be included.

Please also keep in mind I have about a year of Ukulele experience (playing daily), so still very green :)

So far, in my online shopping and perusal of UU forums, I am leaning towards getting either a Mahogany or Cedar Mainland Tenor. I also hear that Ohana is a good brand.

Any other suggestions? Is Mainland Ukes still good? Any other brand suggestions?

Thanks in advance for any advice.

haolejohn
12-06-2011, 10:07 AM
Recently came into some money to get a nice xmas gift for myself. Naturally I decided to get a Ukulele upgrade. Now I have browsed the internet to no end to try to figure out which one to get and I am torn.

I currently have a laminate Oscar Schmidt OU4. What I love about the OU4 is the nice glossy finish and details. What bugs me is it sounds a bit muffled.

Here is what I am looking for:
Size: Tenor
Wood: All solid wood a must
Sound: Loud enough that I can get a good sound even though I cannot grow my nails long enough to use them. I play a mix of strumming and picking songs (with a strong preference on picking melodies)
Budget: ~300$
Delivery: Need to deliver to Toronto, Canada
Setup: I also would like the setup to be included.

Please also keep in mind I have about a year of Ukulele experience (playing daily), so still very green :)

So far, in my online shopping and perusal of UU forums, I am leaning towards getting either a Mahogany or Cedar Mainland Tenor. I also hear that Ohana is a good brand.

Any other suggestions? Is Mainland Ukes still good? Any other brand suggestions?

Thanks in advance for any advice.

Sounds to me like you have it figured out. The mainland Redcedar is a boomer and I love my concert version. May not have any in stock so if HH doesn't check out UkeRepublic.

Steedy
12-06-2011, 10:14 AM
I have an O.S. OU245SWK tenor that has a nice bright sound (not muffled). It's a solid mahogany body with that sweet O.S. build quality and Grover tuners. It plays real nice and the intonation is spot-on.

O.S. link: http://www.oscarschmidt.com/products/ukes/ou220-240.asp

Nice price with case included at Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Oscar-Schmidt-OU245SWK-Ukulele-Mahogany/dp/B002AKKOBI/ref=sr_1_1?s=musical-instruments&ie=UTF8&qid=1323205550&sr=1-1


Please excuse the messy links, I didn't take time to clean 'em up. :)

Drew Bear
12-06-2011, 10:21 AM
I was seriously considering a solid mahogany tenor a few weeks ago. My 3 finalists included the Mainland Slot-head (no rope binding or purfling) and these two:
Islander (Kanile'a) MST-4 (http://www.acousticvibesmusic.com/catalog/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=170_173&products_id=1629)
Pono MT (http://www.theukulelesite.com/ukulelemarket/pono-mt-mahogany-tenor-ukulele-satin)

Shipping charges pushes the Pono over your budget. Here were the sound samples/video that I found helpful:
Mainland (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5LadAzITlG0)
Islander (MT-4 is the laminate version) (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L9mCBBi-K7I&feature=mfu_in_order&list=UL)
Pono (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WWZdSvRThuA&feature=related)

Happy hunting and congrats on whichever upgrade you choose.

Dan Uke
12-06-2011, 11:06 AM
If you want volume, I believe cedar or spruce would be louder than mahogany if everything else is equal.

jackwhale
12-06-2011, 12:04 PM
I bought a Pono mahogany tenor uke and really like the sound and playablility. $270. at Gryphon Strings in Palo Alto.

gokidd
12-06-2011, 12:58 PM
I bought the Islander MST-4 (solid mahogony tenor) about three weeks ago and am very pleased so far. I'm still trying out different string sets to find my favorite. This is my first solid wood ukulele.
Prior to the Islander, I played a Kala KA-ST tenor (solid spruce top with laminated mahogany sides/back).

Comparing the two, the Islander has a LOT more resonance in the body that I can hear and feel when playing it. Comparing the two using the same strings, the Islander produces much greater volume and with lots more complex overtones. The Kala exhibits some overtones, but emphasizes the fundamental notes more.

The Islander came with Aquila strings and they were okay, not great. I tried Low-G Worth Heavy clears on the Islander and they were just too much volume for me. Right now I have Daddario J71 nylon strings (High-G) on the Islander and like them. (I moved the Low-G Worths to the Kala and feel these two tenors now sound different from one another when played together but complement each other.)

The MST-4 has a satin finish with nice binding, rosette and nice ebony button tuners.
I hope you enjoy the upgrade to solid wood as much as I have!!
Best wishes,
Bob

Trinimon
12-06-2011, 02:02 PM
Kala Acacia tenor is pretty popular in the ~$300 range. The Kala KA-ST as gokidd pointed out is LOUD and sounds great though mahogany laminated back and sides.

String Along Ukulele (http://www.stringalongukulele.ca) based in Hamilton are local Ohana dealers with some of the best prices around the GTA. They also carry Kala, Fluke and Gold Tone. They're amazing folks to deal with. If you're looking at Pono ukes, Guitar Junky (http://www.guitarjunky.ca) based in Montreal is an authorized dealer and stand up person to deal with and has the cheapest prices on the Kala Acacia ukes than anyone in Canada.

Both are cheaper than Long & McQuade or Steve's Music. Guitar Junky is on UU but not very active but responds quickly via email. Good luck with your choice and be sure to post pics when you get her! :)

mm stan
12-06-2011, 02:23 PM
Keep savin' and keep an eye out in the marketplace....get a second hand , it will save you money and you will get a premimum for your budget...you are half there...be patient and get
ready to spring for it..good ones you need to jump for it...early bird gets the uke you know...ha ha Good Luck... by the time, change your strings to aquilla on the OU4 and it will get you by until then.....

Trinimon
12-06-2011, 02:33 PM
Keep savin' and keep an eye out in the marketplace....get a second hand , it will save you money and you will get a premimum for your budget...you are half there...be patient and get
ready to spring for it..good ones you need to jump for it...early bird gets the uke you know...ha ha Good Luck... by the time, change your strings to aquilla on the OU4 and it will get you by until then.....

Aloha Stan. Great words of wisdom. It is ridiculously difficult to control that UAS urge but truer words couldn't have been said. I've been saving up for my dream uke since July but wavered off the long and narrow when I got my Kala acacia tenor from Guitar Junky... had to get a slotted headstock uke and couldn't find a Pono. I'm so weak!! :(

ukulelepuapua
12-06-2011, 02:49 PM
You also should check out the hawaiian made Kelii brand...the tenor should be around 350-400 but its koa wood and they have great sound.

Kem
12-06-2011, 04:22 PM
Just a note to those recommending Amazon: Amazon.com doesn't deliver instruments to Canada, and Amazon.ca doesn't sell instruments at all.

I would second the people recommending you keep your eye out for a nice used instrument, especially if you can find one already in Canada.

Tantal
12-07-2011, 10:31 AM
After much thought and exploration, I decided to go with a Mainland Mahogany Tenor with a slotted headstock.

Thanks everyone for the help! When I get it (in about a month from now as they are out of stock right now), I will post some pics.

costaricadave
12-07-2011, 11:57 AM
I have the Mainland Slotted Tenor....It is really nice I love mine.

modern day ukuleleist
12-07-2011, 02:04 PM
In the exact same boat here, I've decided to go with a mainland mahogany.

Anyone hear when they'll be in stock again? I thought someone who represented mainland posts here, but I can't remember who.

Drew Bear
12-07-2011, 02:10 PM
Mike aka hoosierhiver is Mainland Ukes. A couple of weeks ago the ETA for new stock was "a month". He had some 2nds a while back, but none of the slot-headed tenors.

modern day ukuleleist
12-07-2011, 02:12 PM
Mike aka hoosierhiver is Mainland Ukes. A couple of weeks ago the ETA for new stock was "a month". He had some 2nds a while back, but none of the slot-headed tenors.

Thanks for the information, I appreciate it.

Tantal
12-08-2011, 02:15 AM
Yep, he told me the same in an email yesterday. I put a reserve on mine ;)

Fulhamjim
12-08-2011, 02:31 AM
I upgraded after about a year,got a mainland (albeit concert, afetr deciding my makal tenor was too big), and can't fault it. The Makala still get played occasionally, but the mainland really is a beautiful looking and sounding thing - you won't be disapponited!