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View Full Version : Which Concert Ukulele is better?



jazperanza
02-10-2012, 04:47 AM
I'm stuck between the Makala Concert MK C, Brunswick Mahogany Concert Uke or the Samick Greg Bennett UK-50 Concert Ukulele.

This is partly because there isn't much information about the last two. Is the Samick solid wood? Which is overall the best make?

I'm a beginner, but want something that I can use for ages, without having to buy a more expensive, higher-end uke. My budget is up to 60.

Thank you :) x

Also, just heard of the Oscar Shmidt OU2... is that a contender also?

Kayak Jim
02-10-2012, 05:01 AM
Well I'm no expert but of the three (make that four), I'd go with the Makala. Never heard of Brunswick or Samick and Makala has a very good reputation as a starter.

Jim B

bbycrts
02-10-2012, 05:18 AM
Doubt you're going to find solid wood at that price point. Makala is a solid beginners' instrument. I wouldn't be too surprised if the Samick and Greg Bennett come from the same place and just have different labels. Those two, along with the Oscar Schmidt, are probably equivalent. I think Oscar Schmidt ukes look great - people often comment on how heavily built they are - which means sturdy but perhaps not as good a sound as if they were lighter.

DaveVisi
02-10-2012, 05:19 AM
Samick is one of the generic Indonesian factory builders, which also make a wide range of instruments including pianos under many names including the above mentioned Greg Bennett. At that price they're most certainly plywood construction. I'd stick with Makala.

stevepetergal
02-10-2012, 05:46 AM
I agree with bbycrts. You will be hard-pressed to find a solid in this price range. I have played all four of these models, and think of the Oscar Schmidt as the only musical instrument in the group.

jazperanza
02-10-2012, 07:04 AM
Thanks everyone for replying...

I know for a fact that the Brunswick is solid mahogany. But I know nothing else about the make.

Samick I'm dubious about.

Just to clarify, are Makala and Oscar Schmidt solid wood??

Cheers, everyone :)

fernandogardinali
02-10-2012, 07:06 AM
Makala isn't solid wood. Oscar Schmidt does have some solid wood ukes, but they are out of that price range.

jazperanza
02-10-2012, 07:41 AM
Makala isn't solid wood. Oscar Schmidt does have some solid wood ukes, but they are out of that price range.


Ok, thank you. :)

jazperanza
02-10-2012, 07:42 AM
In which case, does anyone know the cheapest solid wood concert uke?

fernandogardinali
02-10-2012, 07:44 AM
In which case, does anyone know the cheapest solid wood concert uke?

I think cheap solid wood ukes tend to be crappy, with thick tops and stuff. Maybe you should look at the Kala KA-SC. I think there is a store in Spain called Uke Cosas.

OldePhart
02-10-2012, 07:57 AM
Samick is one of the generic Indonesian factory builders, which also make a wide range of instruments including pianos under many names including the above mentioned Greg Bennett. At that price they're most certainly plywood construction. I'd stick with Makala.

Actually Samick is a South Korean company, though they may be doing some production in Indonesia now. I hope not as the stuff that came out of their Korean factory was an outstanding value.

Samick has a very long history of making decent midrange instruments for other companies. Up until a decade or so ago the Samick factory in Korea made many of the Epiphone and Squier instruments as well as many others. The finishes on the Samick Korean made guitars were often better than those on their American made counterparts! Samick didn't produce instruments under their own name until maybe the mid nineties. I have a Samick Greg Bennett SG style guitar that is both gorgeous and a great player. It came with Duncan licensed pickups and is one of the few production guitars I've bought that I didn't eventually change pickups on.

When most companies started moving production to China and Indonesia quality suffered considerably. Currently there seem to be three "tiers" of production guitars across most all brands; top tier being US and Japan production, second tier being Mexico and Korea production, and third tier being China and Indonesia. In some cases the fit and finish is better on the Korean guitars than on the USA made ones, though usually the USA and Japanese builds have better hardware and electronics (in the case of electric guitars).

So, if Samick has moved much of their production to Indonesia that's definitely a disappointment.

John

OldePhart
02-10-2012, 07:59 AM
In which case, does anyone know the cheapest solid wood concert uke?

As a general rule, never look for the cheapest anything. There are some "solid wood" instruments sold on eBay that are basically wall hangers.

John

mm stan
02-10-2012, 08:12 AM
I love my Oscar Schmidt OU2 laminate mohagany concert....Over here in the USA it costs about 55- 60 dollars....Let me say this..I got it over 2 years ago and I still
play it daily and is my favorite..even more than my premumun and custom ukes...what does that say...get one... one thing... All ukes no matter what will sound
different due to the building variances and materials..each will have their own individual voice...they can be the same brand, model and built even the same time in
the same place...less costing ukes have a tendency to be more inconsistant, but there are certainly gems within the group...you need to find them..if you can
play them first it would make it a better chance of you get a better one...and get a set up and clip on tuner...good luck and happy strummings..

Joshypogi
02-10-2012, 09:57 AM
Just save a little bit more and get Koa Pili Koko concert, all solid acacia wood. The best uke for the buck.

mr moonlight
02-10-2012, 10:14 AM
I wouldn't even consider a solid wood uke in that price range. The materials to make a solid wood instrument cost more than a laminate one so production and hardware quality suffers in order to keep the price down. At this price the most important thing is to get a uke that has a decent build quality and works properly. Makala makes a fairly decent uke and I've heard about the same of OscarScmidt. If you want something that will last you years to come, save around twice as much and you'll be able to get something that will have decent sound quality and build.

mm stan
02-10-2012, 10:20 AM
A concert KPK solid arcacia base modelwill run you about 165 plus shipping..I have had a couple too..it has a good warm tone uke I had in the deluxe model and the regular had a nice bright tone..well worth the price..if you have
to ship it to england ..you can add a third more for Vat, custom and other charges..good luck

bbycrts
02-10-2012, 01:12 PM
My Koloa soprano is solid mahogany and cost me less than $100 new, though most places they're sold for more. I really love it; I intended to sell it when I got my custom, but somehow it just never gets listed for sale...

It is very well built and with Aquila strings has an absolutely beautiful voice - several people at UWC last year who are NOT ukulele hacks like me all played it and really liked it a lot. I did try it with fluorocarbon strings (Martins) and hated the sound - the Aquilas are a much better match. Go figure.

jazperanza
02-10-2012, 01:41 PM
That sounds great, thank you. :)

jazperanza
02-10-2012, 01:42 PM
Thanks for your reply. I've heard reasonable things about Samick (especially now they've teamed up with Greg Bennett) although most people here seem to know nothing about them.

You've been a great help. :)

jazperanza
02-10-2012, 01:44 PM
This is what one website said about Brunswick: http://www.omegamusic.co.uk/news/our-recommended-ukulele-reviews/7

What does everyone think?

mm stan
02-10-2012, 01:54 PM
They seem to have ukes from the economical beginners range and slighty up... I see no mid to premimum ukes there..
Sorry I am not familiar with ukes sold in europe.. and no experience with Brunswick nor Samick..

Steedy
02-10-2012, 02:50 PM
You might like one of these: Oscar Schmidt OU5 (http://www.amazon.com/Oscar-Schmidt-OU5-Concert-Ukulele/dp/B000A39GUC/ref=sr_1_1?s=musical-instruments&ie=UTF8&qid=1328921181&sr=1-1)

It's a koa laminate uke close to your price range. Don't know if they're available in Spain, but I have one that looks and sounds great!

Plainsong
02-10-2012, 03:17 PM
Trustworthy uke stores in Europe selling a some good stuff:

In Italy, we have Mercantino (http://www.mercatinodellukulele.it/), which is the online uke store of Aquila Strings (Just go to Aquila's website and check the address, it's the same, and they were here in Helsinki last summer giving out string sets.). Absolutely good people to deal with.

In Germany there's the home of Risa ukulele at ukulele.de (http://www.ukulele.de/menu/), selling more than just Risa, these are the only Europeans selling Kamaka.

On Ebay from the UK, there's Southern Ukulele Store (http://stores.ebay.co.uk/southernukulelestore). Don't be put off by the whole Ebay thing, this is a great uke shop.

And in France we have Musique83 (http://www.musique83.com/). The cool thing about Musique83 is that the photo of the uke that's on the website is the photo of the uke you buy. Again, another excellent excellent uke store.

I've purchased ukes from all three stores and the only regret is that I don't have more money/need more ukes just so that I can do business with them again. The uke drought is over in Europe!

LihnChee
02-10-2012, 07:23 PM
Get an Islander!

TheCraftedCow
02-10-2012, 08:35 PM
MusicGuyMic showed ten ukuleles and put up ten sound tracks. The object was to match the sound to the uke. That was done on www.FleaMarketMusic.com . There is an archive section. It should be in there. People were not very good at matching sound to ukulele. Some of the ones which were rated as sounding better and best were actually laminated. Don't get sucked into the mindset solid =good laminate = not good.. If you are in Australia, check out what is in Singapore and Thailand. There are names not well known in the USA, but are outstanding both in form and function.. I have sold PEGHEDS to people in both places. I can't imagine them putting them on beginner grade instruments.

jazperanza
02-11-2012, 06:43 AM
MusicGuyMic showed ten ukuleles and put up ten sound tracks. The object was to match the sound to the uke. That was done on www.FleaMarketMusic.com . There is an archive section. It should be in there. People were not very good at matching sound to ukulele. Some of the ones which were rated as sounding better and best were actually laminated. Don't get sucked into the mindset solid =good laminate = not good.. If you are in Australia, check out what is in Singapore and Thailand. There are names not well known in the USA, but are outstanding both in form and function.. I have sold PEGHEDS to people in both places. I can't imagine them putting them on beginner grade instruments.


Yeah, I'm starting to sense this. Maybe a good laminate wouldn't be so bad after all! :)

Gadzukes!
02-11-2012, 08:41 AM
I own three ukes: A Kamaka, a Big Island, and a Kala laminate. I would be lying if I said there was no difference, but my Kala sounds great, and gets as much play time as the others. If you buy a decent laminate, you'll be more than happy with the sound, and you'll have lots of money left to spend on uke books and other things.

stevepetergal
02-11-2012, 01:01 PM
Get the makala already!!!

YooperUker
02-11-2012, 09:43 PM
I have a Samick/Greg Bennett UK-70 Concert (which, I believe, is completely identical to Mitchell MU-70 and Silvertone SU-70, except for the top of the peghead). Plays plenty well enough for me. Intonation's alright. The stock strings were junk, though.

It's quite handsome. . .for a budget uke. But that's all costume. Body is actually a laminate (single-layer mahogany with spruce veneer on top and rosewood veneer on back and sides). Rosewood bridge, fingerboard, and peghead overlay. Ivoroid binding on body and fingerboard. Abalone purfling and soundhole rosette. Makers don't usually bother with such decorative touches on ukes in that price range.

Construction seems pretty decent. I found no blemishes, wood filler, or gaps at the joins. Factory action is, of course, a little high. But even after lowering it there's no fret buzz. Frets are level, but the ends could still use some more dressing.

As some have noted in other threads, it doesn't have a whole lot of volume or sustain. The wood is pretty thick, and there is, like, four pounds of finish on top of it.

Maybe I just lucked out with mine, but really, it sounds no worse than any other concert I've tried at that price point, and looks way prettier.

I sure would have been happier, though, if, for maybe another half a bill, they would have applied that nifty cosmetic treatment to actual instrument-grade tonewoods, instead.

TheCraftedCow
02-13-2012, 12:39 AM
Do you want a longer fretboard than a soprano? Have you considered a long neck soprano? There is usually a considerable price difference between the two. A LNS actually gives two more frets on the neck since the body is the body is that much shorter. Lehua makes a solid wood concert and LNS. www.lehuaukuleles.com . If you like what you see, let me know. You are UK? Check the list to see where is the nearest dealer.

YooperUker
02-13-2012, 06:48 AM
Do you want a longer fretboard than a soprano? Have you considered a long neck soprano? There is usually a considerable price difference between the two.

True, but the long-neck soprano is enough of a specialty item that I kinda doubt the OP would find one in his current price range. The manufacturers offering long-neck sopranos probably can't sell at Oscar Schmidt, Makala, and Samick prices.


Lehua makes a solid wood concert and LNS. www.lehuaukuleles.com .

That link didn't work for me. Try http://www.lehuaukulele.com/

Oh my. List price for LNS is US$199. That's a lot nearer the MSRP range of the Brunswick, Samick, and OS concerts than I expected. I'll have to poke around the 'net later to see if I can find a street price.

I wonder how the nut width on a Lehua LNS compares with a concert. The fingers on my uncoordinated left hand (as opposed to those on my equally uncoordinated right) prefer lots of space for sloppy fingering.

Coconut Willie
02-13-2012, 07:15 AM
Makala is a very good choice!! I have the concert and love it!!

jazperanza
02-14-2012, 12:28 AM
True, but the long-neck soprano is enough of a specialty item that I kinda doubt the OP would find one in his current price range. The manufacturers offering long-neck sopranos probably can't sell at Oscar Schmidt, Makala, and Samick prices.



That link didn't work for me. Try http://www.lehuaukulele.com/

Oh my. List price for LNS is US$199. That's a lot nearer the MSRP range of the Brunswick, Samick, and OS concerts than I expected. I'll have to poke around the 'net later to see if I can find a street price.

I wonder how the nut width on a Lehua LNS compares with a concert. The fingers on my uncoordinated left hand (as opposed to those on my equally uncoordinated right) prefer lots of space for sloppy fingering.

Yeah, thank you v. much. I tried the website, and the soprano long neck did look very nice. How much is US$199 in English pounds?

Thanks guys.

jazperanza
02-14-2012, 12:29 AM
Makala is a very good choice!! I have the concert and love it!!

Great! Thank you, that's reassuring :-)

musiccityuker
02-14-2012, 03:21 AM
I live in Nashville... the home of Greg Bennet and Samick. He has a very good reputation locally... especially for his electric guitars. I own a Makala Dolphin (love it) and two Samick ukes. I must say... for the money...my Samick ukes are great. Good sound... they stay in tune... and they're very durable. BUT... they are mass manufactured in Indonesia and definitely are not solid wood. But... whatta yuh expect for $75? I give 'em a thumbs up in the price range!

Sporin
02-14-2012, 03:43 AM
Sounds like the Makala Concert MK C is a very good uke at a great price.

http://www.theukulelesite.com/makala-mk-c-beginner-concert-ukulele-package.html


http://vimeo.com/16920214

1931jim
02-14-2012, 03:59 AM
Yeah, thank you v. much. I tried the website, and the soprano long neck did look very nice. How much is US$199 in English pounds?

Thanks guys.
It changes every day, try Currency Conversion on google.

YooperUker
02-14-2012, 06:00 AM
How much is US$199 in English pounds?

Ah, this should be easy enough. Music's all about maths, afterall.

Letsee. . .A pound in England is, what, about 455 grams?
Okay. . . square root. . . .carry the one. . .
Ah! Got it!
US$199 = 56.3456 millipascal*hectare

Hmm. . .that doesn't look quite right.
Oh, I forgot to convert to English units. . .
x 0.247104 sq.furlongs/hectare = 13.9233 millipascal*furlong^2
x 0.909770 (pounds/acre)/millipascal = 12.6669 pounds*furlong^2/acre
and reduce. . .
x 10.0000 acre/sq.furlong = 126.669 pounds(UK)

So, there you have it, US$199.00 = GBP126.67


Dan

C'mon, Bolly! Let's fire up the cuatro!

jazperanza
02-17-2012, 09:24 AM
I live in Nashville... the home of Greg Bennet and Samick. He has a very good reputation locally... especially for his electric guitars. I own a Makala Dolphin (love it) and two Samick ukes. I must say... for the money...my Samick ukes are great. Good sound... they stay in tune... and they're very durable. BUT... they are mass manufactured in Indonesia and definitely are not solid wood. But... whatta yuh expect for $75? I give 'em a thumbs up in the price range!

Thank you, that sounds good too! :)

jazperanza
02-17-2012, 09:25 AM
Ah, this should be easy enough. Music's all about maths, afterall.

Letsee. . .A pound in England is, what, about 455 grams?
Okay. . . square root. . . .carry the one. . .
Ah! Got it!
US$199 = 56.3456 millipascal*hectare

Hmm. . .that doesn't look quite right.
Oh, I forgot to convert to English units. . .
x 0.247104 sq.furlongs/hectare = 13.9233 millipascal*furlong^2
x 0.909770 (pounds/acre)/millipascal = 12.6669 pounds*furlong^2/acre
and reduce. . .
x 10.0000 acre/sq.furlong = 126.669 pounds(UK)

So, there you have it, US$199.00 = GBP126.67


Dan

C'mon, Bolly! Let's fire up the cuatro!


Haha, legend, thank you :D

jazperanza
02-17-2012, 09:26 AM
[QUOTE=Sporin;868942]Sounds like the Makala Concert MK C is a very good uke at a great price.

http://www.theukulelesite.com/makala-mk-c-beginner-concert-ukulele-package.html


Awesome, thank you!