View Full Version : Changing my tune -- Tenor advice

04-09-2012, 05:56 PM
So I thought I was strictly a soprano guy. Concerts were OK but nothing special. An Islander MST-4 lasted about two weeks before I sold it. My UAS was under control...

But today I snagged an old Hohner HU-9 baritone off Craigslist. It's solid mahogany and sounds stunningly good -- pics to come.

So here's my dilemma: I want to give tenors another shot.

I think what put me off the Islander was the chunky neck. That means Kanilea is out, and I think Pono and Kelii as well. So who makes a thin, fast neck? Mele? Big Island?

I'm looking to go one step up from the Kala, Mainland, Ohana price range, and ideally I'd love to support a small luthier.

I'm thinking Covered Bridge, but I haven't got my hands on one. Any other thoughts?

It's much appreciated UU, and for anyone interested in sopranos, a couple of mine will have to go to fund this next purchase.


04-09-2012, 06:12 PM
My Kamoa has a pretty nice neck, not too wide and not too narrow. A custom is always an option but it really depends on what you want and if you decide you aren't comfortable then that idea would go down the toilet. But then again, playing safe isn't fun. Sometimes not liking a size is just in the head though. I'm 6 feet tall and rings won't fit on my fingers but the soprano size is still pretty comfortable. I look ridiculous when I play mine though xD.

04-09-2012, 06:52 PM
Brad Donaldson makes a thin, low action fast neck. You know, the fellow making your soprano. lol cheers!

mm stan
04-09-2012, 07:02 PM
Vintage martins, Oscar Schmidt, My vintage kamaka, Mele, etc/

04-09-2012, 07:46 PM
My Loprinzi baritone has a thin quick neck. I imagine the tenor would too.

04-09-2012, 07:52 PM
Vintage martins, Oscar Schmidt, My vintage kamaka, Mele, etc/


My white label Kamaka is thin and nice, and also my Mele and Yasuma tenors are slender and based on Martin blueprints, so Martin fills the bill. I used to have access to my mom's Martin bari, but that is a long story. I remember a very nice comfortable neck on it.

Brad made a lovely neck on my custom pineapple based on measurements of my Kamaka's neck.

04-09-2012, 08:05 PM
Of the tenor ukuleles I own (including Kamaka, Mya-Moe, Kala solid acacia, and KoAloha), the one with the thinnest neck is a Big Island Honu Traditional tenor.

04-09-2012, 08:42 PM
Aloha Conner013,
The Islander ukes have an 1 1/2" neck, I have a Mele Koa 6-string tenor with a 1 1/2" wide neck that I can't get used to. On the other hand, my double hole Koa Mele Tenor has a 1 3/8" fast neck which is a dream to play, picking and strumming. The neck thickness is kinda slim but I love it. I'm not comfortable with thick necks also. You know what brands I'm talking about.
Good luck in your pursuit.......................................BO.. ..............................

04-10-2012, 01:19 AM
Thanks, all.

It is tempting to change my Donaldson order from a soprano to a tenor, but right now that still feels reckless.

A Kamaka would, of course, be a dream uke in any scale, but some luck will have to be involved in my snagging one of those with my budget.

I'm leaning towards Mele. Next step will be trying to get my hands on one. Where' HaoleJohn? Isn't he liquidating?

Cheers, everyone. I appreciate the advice.

04-10-2012, 02:01 AM
connor013 wrote,,,,,,,""So I thought I was strictly a soprano guy."" If Brad Donaldson is making you a soprano: Then I think you have to think again. You want a thin neck, so get the neck of your dreams on your newly constructed ukulele. 'Tis just my two cents worth.

04-10-2012, 02:12 AM
Relative to the price tag, Ohana and Lanikai have some nice tenors. My first uke was an Ohana (check my sig).

04-10-2012, 03:07 AM
I just got a ukulele from the guys at covered bridge and it has a nice thin neck. I also have a pono and there is a big difference between the necks.

04-10-2012, 07:11 AM
I just got a ukulele from the guys at covered bridge and it has a nice thin neck. I also have a pono and there is a big difference between the necks.

Thanks, hey_day. Good to know.

04-10-2012, 09:43 AM
Try Loprinzi.

Dan Uke
04-10-2012, 12:10 PM
There's lots of thin neck ukes. For the tenors I own in order of least to thickest, Donaldson, Koaloha, Kanilea, I'iwi

04-10-2012, 12:11 PM
Dave at Iriguchi Ukulele does some cool experimental necks. I tried 3 of them at the Reno Ukulele Festival. One is shaped in a V to give you an optimal resting place for your thumb. One is a sort of wedge at an angle. The third one I tried was super thin and made it much easier to bar chords.


04-10-2012, 12:57 PM
For thin neck...you can't go wrong with mele.