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snunez
03-02-2012, 10:40 AM
Despite all of the favorable reviews for Mainland ukes, for the life of me I cannot get past the rope bindings. To me, they're not very aesthetically pleasing.. I feel like they kinda look like a toy. Am I crazy?! I'm sure they sound great and for the price it's a solid deal, but I don't know if I'd ever get one based on looks alone.. someone please try to convince me otherwise!!!

buddhuu
03-02-2012, 10:46 AM
Why? You say "I'm sure they sound great", which suggests that you haven't played one. Why would you want people to talk you into wanting an 'ukulele whose sound you've not experienced and whose cosmetics you don't like?

Mainlands are highly regarded, but there are plenty of other great sounding ukes that have good reviews and that you might like the appearance of without being coerced. Why not just go for Ohana or Kala or Pono or Kiwaya etc etc etc?

Gwynedd
03-02-2012, 10:46 AM
They are not as bright as you think (the blond wood is not white, it's kind of a yellow pine color.) But if you hate them, don't they make a non rope version in some models? I like them but chacun a son gout as they say in French.

Kayak Jim
03-02-2012, 11:14 AM
I sat on the fence a bit until I saw the photos folks posted in response to my request in this thread. Islander is also gets great reviews in the same price range.
http://www.ukuleleunderground.com/forum/showthread.php?61030-Mainland-Mahogany-close-up-photos

Then I was convinced. I pick up my Mainland on Monday! But if you don't like the look, don't get one. Not really that much of a dilemma.

kenikas
03-02-2012, 11:29 AM
The bindings look way better in person. I hesitated for the same reason for a while, but got my mango concert a week or so ago and love it! I even love the looks, but for some reason they look rather garish in photos. They give a very vintage look in my opinion, many of the old Hawaiian makers used rope binding on their higher end models.

RyanMFT
03-02-2012, 11:34 AM
I agree that the photos of these are quite different from how they look in person. I was considering a Mainland but didn't like the rope binding.....but I had only seen them in pictures. When I actually held several, the rope binding looks much more subtle and very classy. My wife had the exact same reaction.....

I have turned several new ukulele players onto Mainland and each one of them LOVES their ukulele.

ukemunga
03-02-2012, 11:39 AM
I just got a Mainland Mahogany Slotted Head Concert. No roping (or other bling) at all. Love it.

Have you looked at all of their offerings?

OldePhart
03-02-2012, 12:09 PM
I can sympathize. I very nearly let the rope binding keep me from ordering my first Mainland - and that would have been a shame because my first Mainland is now my second favorite uke and gets almost as much play time as my KoAloha. I've also picked up a couple more along the way. :)

As others have mentioned the rope binding does not look as gaudy in person as it does in most of the pictures. Another thing I realized - I don't have to look at the binding - people watching me play, do! LOL

However, if you're a very visually-oriented person and the rope binding is something that might gnaw at you no matter how much you might otherwise like the uke then by all means buy something else. There are a lot of good ukes out there, just make sure you buy from a reputable seller like some of the folks that hang out here because most of the ukes in the same price range as the Mainland don't get set up very carefully at the factory so you have to rely on the retailer to do it. One of the reasons that I recommend Mainlands so highly is simply because you know it will be set up nicely regardless of whether you buy it directly from Mike or from Uke Republic (wait, that's another Mike) or what have you.

Finally, as for the rope binding making the uke look like a toy - that's only true if you don't know the history of ukes too well. Some of the very best 19th and early 20th century ukes had rope bindings! (Yeah, I still think they're kinda ugly - but not toylike.)

John

Paul December
03-02-2012, 12:50 PM
:mad: IMO it is not a Mainland if it doesn't have rope binding!
If you don't like the looks, just get the Ohana version. Someone correct me if I'm wrong, but I'm pretty sure Ohana has some very similar ukes (from the same factory?) that do not have the rope binding.
As for the binding, I love it. Reminds me more of a Baroque guitar than a "toy".
I'll be honest with you, many people will consider all ukes a "toy" with-or-without the rope binding... screw them! :p

34574

Kayak Jim
03-02-2012, 01:33 PM
I'll be honest with you, many people will consider all ukes a "toy" with-or-without the rope binding... screw them! :p


Right on brother.

That Baroque guitar is gorgeous!

Drew Bear
03-02-2012, 02:38 PM
http://cache1.bigcartel.com/product_images/45136789/Uke_Republic__Ukulele__Uke_009__534x1024_.jpg

http://cargo.ukerepublic.com/product/mainland-mahogany-slothead-concert

Toucan Mango
03-02-2012, 03:17 PM
I dig the rope binding, but not around the head stock.

itsme
03-02-2012, 03:30 PM
I'll have to admit the rope binding didn't appeal to me, but like others, I'll say it looks better in person. Glossy finish isn't really my thing, either.

I won a Mainland red cedar tenor in a drawing and it's become one of my favorite ukes. I wouldn't have bought it in the first place because of the rope binding/glossy finish, but I sure am enjoying it. :)

patico
03-03-2012, 07:58 AM
i own a rope-binding mainland tenor, sounds nice.
you can hear some demos and see how it looks when beeing played at paticochile @t youtub


iorana

zac987
03-03-2012, 09:36 AM
The rope binding looks classy to me. I prefer tortoise binding like on my parlor guitar, but rope is my second favorite.

cantsing
03-03-2012, 10:22 AM
I had reservations about the gloss finish when I bought the Mainland mahogany concert with the slotted headstock shown in Drew Bear's post above. Turns out, I love the way this understated uke looks--pictures don't do it justice. I've got it strung with Worth Browns, which mellow out the look (and the sound) even more. I've had it for 6 months, and I still smile every time I take it out of the case!

Sporin
03-03-2012, 11:05 AM
I'll admit that I'm not a big fan of the rope pattern in pictures either.

But this can go both ways, my Islander Tenor (laminate) is sort of "plain" looking since it's devoid of decoration and mahogany isn't as naturally beautiful as koa. I love it none the less because at this price point visual enhancements are a low priority for me.

All subjective of course.

ichadwick
03-04-2012, 02:06 AM
34636

Despite all of the favorable reviews for Mainland ukes, for the life of me I cannot get past the rope bindings.
My wife hates them too (but she's not a player). Me, I'm fine with them - they're an old style and not everyone likes it.

As for sounding great, yes and no - it depends on you. My red cedar Mainland tenor just rang, with great sustain and volume. The mango was much softer and more restrained. The red cedar sounded more like a guitar for its fullness; the mango tenor sounded like a soprano. Different builds, different woods.

Whether you like either depends on what sound you expect from a ukulele. I tried a new Martin last year, and thought it sounded thin. I tried a 50-year old Martin that hung in the shop beside the new one and it was sweet and rich. I have a Kala cedar top I love, and had a Kala spruce top in the same model/shape that was merely okay and a little harsh at the top end. I have an old Lyra mahogany baritone that's loud and clear and a mahogany Beansprout baritone that's muted and reserved.

Which is better? It's all subjective. Just like the rope binding.

austin1
03-04-2012, 02:14 AM
they way I see it, if you're going to spend money on something you want, you might as well spend it on something you love every inch of. If rope-binding isn't your thing, then pass on the mainlands and get something you'll love right from the get-go.

nscafe
03-04-2012, 03:15 AM
Yep, I don't like the rope binding either, and I don't see myself ever getting a Mainland uke. Thankfully there are many good uke brands out there to choose from so I don't worry about it. I've personally got my sights set on a K-brand and/or a Mya-Moe.

OldePhart
03-04-2012, 08:23 AM
Yep, I don't like the rope binding either, and I don't see myself ever getting a Mainland uke. Thankfully there are many good uke brands out there to choose from so I don't worry about it. I've personally got my sights set on a K-brand and/or a Mya-Moe.

See, there ya go with that subjective thing. I love the sound and quality of the Mya Moe ukes but that headstock overlay is like fingernails on a blackboard to me. I thought if I ever ordered one I'd have to special order a plain headstock - but then, if I was ever forced to sell it I'd be facing trying to unload a Mya Moe that a lot of people are going to question the authenticity of. LOL

John

larrypresson
03-04-2012, 08:59 AM
Worse thing in the world is to buy something you don't like in hopes that you will begin to like it. I too don't care for the rope or the mya moe headstock and will never buy one. But like others have said, there are alot of ukes out there that sound great and are beautiful in your eyes so get one of those. You want one that sounds good TO YOU, and looks good, TO YOU!

shega
03-04-2012, 05:56 PM
I have some Mainland ukes. I wanted a solid mahogany uke but didn't have the cash to buy a Kiwaya or something similar. I really did not like the rope binding, but listened patiently to the multitudes of "it looks much better than in photos" comments on UU. I ordered one. It really does look far more elegant than pictures show, but the most appealing aspect is the richness of the mahogany itself. I really appreciate Mainland ukes for the value they bring, the good tone, the accurate intonation, the quality setup, and the incredible pairing I have noticed with Worth browns. I now have a second one. I am still not satisfied to only have Mainlands, as the rope binding is in your face, and I like the simplicity of a mellower binding. That said, I love Martin 3k binding, which is even more blingy, but to my eyes, extremely elegant. I wish Mainland had gone that route too. Still, as I add more expensive instruments to my collection, I feel that my Mainland mahogany soprano will be a top-notch travel instrument. They really are satisfying ukuleles, and any beginner should feel proud to start on such an instrument. More advanced players will simply appreciate the value and the quirky but well-done rope aesthetic, which I agree, is very old-fashioned looking in an appealing and faithful way. I love ukuleles, you guys. I wish I could hug every ukulele.

shega

Ghibli
03-04-2012, 07:03 PM
I love rope binding - wish all my ukes had it!

Gwynedd
03-04-2012, 11:46 PM
I wasn't sure about the rope binding--torn. Pretty, but too gaudy? However, the mahogany looks like tiger eye stone and the rope binding is not bright white. I can't imagine being without it but if you hate it, the slothead is a great uke and St. Jake of Shimabukuro, patron of Uke Players and Happyness, likes a slothead, so you'd be more orthodox when worshiping at the Uke Shrine.

nscafe
03-05-2012, 01:34 AM
See, there ya go with that subjective thing. I love the sound and quality of the Mya Moe ukes but that headstock overlay is like fingernails on a blackboard to me. I thought if I ever ordered one I'd have to special order a plain headstock - but then, if I was ever forced to sell it I'd be facing trying to unload a Mya Moe that a lot of people are going to question the authenticity of. LOL

John

I know what you mean John. Much like others have said about not liking the rope binding on Mainlands but warming up to it, the same has happened with the Mya Moe headstock for me. I thought it was ugly at first, but now I like it.

paeataa
03-05-2012, 07:29 AM
I just wish I had a Mainland :D