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Kanaka916
10-13-2008, 08:43 AM
I was reading an article on Live Ukulele entitled "What I Look for in an ‘Ukulele" (http://liveukulele.com/ukulele-info/buying-tips/what-i-look-for-in-an-ukulele/) by Mr. Byron Yasui. It got me thinking what characteristics do UU members look for when making a purchase. I am very much aware price is a major factor but other than that what would draw you to a particular instrument. I'm certain that those who have been playing awhile will offer/provide interesting responses. I believe this will assist our members, old or new, in future purchases when buying off the shelf. TIA to all who answer.

SinisterDom
10-13-2008, 08:53 AM
When I look for an ukulele, I look for a nice body, and at least a solid top. In most cases for me, I will sacrifice a little sound quality, for an ukulele that looks nice to me. I generally like rather plain ukuleles with a nice fretboard inlay.

grappler
10-13-2008, 09:03 AM
i agree with SinisterDom

Atm, im in search of a new ukulele.

the type of wood would be the number priority. Then it comes to price/brand/size/misc

Damn theres a Kamaka HF3 for sale here in Melbourne, Australia for $1899 WDF!?!:eek:

dam expensive here, wish i was in Hawaii

deach
10-13-2008, 09:06 AM
While the pretty ones always catch my eye, I'm all about the feel and the sound. The way her neck feels in my hand as I caress it up and down, slowly, rapidly, slowly again. The way her body fits against mine like we were made for each other. The sounds she makes as I caress her.

russ_buss
10-13-2008, 09:09 AM
While the pretty ones always catch my eye, I'm all about the feel I and the sound. The way her neck feels in my hand as I caress it up and down, slowly, rapidly, slowly again. The way her body fits against mine like we were made for each other. The sounds she makes as I caress her.

i feel the same way about sandwiches.


as for ukes, i'm all about economy.

pebbleInDaPacific
10-13-2008, 09:19 AM
While the pretty ones always catch my eye, I'm all about the feel I and the sound. The way her neck feels in my hand as I caress it up and down, slowly, rapidly, slowly again. The way her body fits against mine like we were made for each other. The sounds she makes as I caress her.

you should be an author bro, like the romance kine with fabio on the cover. You'd blow up! :D

I love the sound. It's hard for me to buy without first hearing the sound, but i took a chance with my last one because I heard that KoAloha's were pretty consistent as far as sound goes, and I do love my sceptre! also, when I go to the local shop here in Washington, Dusty Strings, I stay there and chat with them for at least an hour playing everything I could get my hands on. The different woods also have different tones to them. I want to have one of each type of wood made. :D

Kekani
10-13-2008, 09:20 AM
Basically only two things: sound and playability.

Inlay would be nice, but, I'm at the stage where I would take it if it were made specifically for me. Other than that, I could take it or leave it.

Getting back on thread, if I were buying an `ukulele off the rack, instead of viewing it just as what I would look for, I'll also add in what I would expect:
Tenor (not sure why the statement "solid wood" is said, this is assumed)
Hardwood top (for softwood, I'd spend way more than $1k)
Spend $1K, give or take
Bookmatched plates, and sides, quartersawn (okay, I'll take the back off quarter if I need to)
Ebony/Rosewood FB and Bridge (straight grained, quartered)
Geared tuners
level frets
No binding (okay, FB binding if it were a KoAloha)
blemishes (if looked at with a microscope)
Intonation will be off, and will need to be set (see next line)
Strings will need to be replaced
Action will need to be set
Holes will need to be drilled for UST
Frets will need to be dressed

Basically, I would expect to put some work into any instrument I buy off the rack, unless of course, I get it from MGM, who will change strings, set action and intonation, and have a UST installed (then again, that would be me installing it anyway). I still would have to dress the frets, but then I'd be done.

haole
10-13-2008, 09:28 AM
Damn, deach. It's hard to play my ukulele now that I'm glistening with sweat. :(

I think feel matters just as much as sound. An uncomfortable neck or bad action/frets can break the deal, even if it can be fixed. I don't want to buy something and then have to get it set up; I want to be able to play it in the car on the way home! :D Not too much of a brand whore, but I prefer to buy American-made when possible (even if it's more expensive). Pretty wood is a plus, but not necessary. I don't have the prettiest Kamaka, but I felt a connection to it that I didn't get from the fancier one next to it.

Ukulele JJ
10-13-2008, 12:35 PM
In rough order:


Intonation
Playability (action, neck, etc.)
Price
Sound
Looks


Not that I buy a whole hecukva lot of ukuleles or anything. But if I did...

JJ

LoMa
10-13-2008, 12:47 PM
I guess it's the playability and tone for me, in a soprano, long neck soprano, or concert uke.

I look for great dynamics from loud to soft, and with a low string tension.
I love very resonant and responsive intruments that feel alive, even with my mediocre playing.
I prefer sustain over punch, and I like lots of overtones for a fat tone.
Good intonation.
I like 1-3/8 nuts and a thin profile neck (beefy necks don't work well for me).
14 frets to the body are a definite plus.
High quality geared tuners or Pegheds are strongly preferred.

I also have a strong preference for spruce top instruments.

That's it for me!

oh yeah, I am particularly fond of LoPrinzi ukes. Larrivee's too.

Kaneohe til the end
10-13-2008, 02:08 PM
While the pretty ones always catch my eye, I'm all about the feel and the sound. The way her neck feels in my hand as I caress it up and down, slowly, rapidly, slowly again. The way her body fits against mine like we were made for each other. The sounds she makes as I caress her.

Scuse me, I need to go to the bathroom now

deach
10-13-2008, 02:17 PM
Scuse me, I need to go to the bathroom now

Think about....why do you think guys name their guitars and ukes? It's a love affair. Can you blame them? The way the curves seduce you. You have touch every inch of her body, finally making your way to soundhole and with one touch, she vibrates and it takes your breath away.

RON<>VA
10-13-2008, 02:26 PM
All the above post for those members 18 and over! Adult material! OK, maybe 16 and over? What the hell, OK, 12 and above!

Actually deach, I get many of those same feelings when my old, fat cat jumps on my lap. Maybe 41 years of marriage explains a lot of that. Kinda sad uh?

Kekani
10-13-2008, 02:38 PM
Tmi. . . . .

KoloheBoy
10-13-2008, 02:40 PM
shes gotta have a nice smooth and shiny body, a little rounded in some areas with smooth silky strings and tiny holes ;) im talking about an ovation ukulele people. :P

experimentjon
10-13-2008, 04:07 PM
Haha.

Well, since I don't have the reasonable justification to go buy new ukes from stores anymore, the biggest thing that affects my potential purchases is price. I only look on craigslist for killer deals. The other week, I missed a good-condition KoAloha concert for $250. It was either a mis-post or someone beat me to it. But really, when you're buying a great uke for a bargain price, you can't really complain or be picky about a tiny flaw with it. And luckily, living in Hawaii, there are always a few ukes up on craigslist.

thejumpingflea
10-13-2008, 04:17 PM
All the above post for those members 18 and over! Adult material! OK, maybe 16 and over? What the hell, OK, 12 and above!

Actually deach, I get many of those same feelings when my old, fat cat jumps on my lap. Maybe 41 years of marriage explains a lot of that. Kinda sad uh?

:eek:

Uh.....

freedive135
10-13-2008, 05:20 PM
I bought my Kala Spruce/Maple Tenor unheard/unplayed cuz they are pretty, glad I did!!!

I want a Koaloha Soprano & Tenor for the sound first and then the headstock,
The Pono Koa Concert at my Uke store cuz they don't make them any more.
And all the others just because I need a hobby (collecting ukes) now just if I had the money.....
http://www.palmtreeukuleles.com/index_files/Page474.htm

uluapoundr
10-13-2008, 07:20 PM
Playability is a top priority, after all, I want to play it, not hang it on a wall. Even "cheaper" ukes can be playable if setup right. If purchasing sight unseen, I would go with a maker's reputation and make sure they have a warranty and good customer support.

Craftsmanship is important. Nobody wants an uke that is going to fall apart in time, even if at first it looks and sounds good. Of course no builder is bold enough to post how many returns he has had, but if you ask around, you may hear stories if people are brave enough to share them. I think it's important for uke owners to share their experiences, even if it's negative so that the community is fully aware of what they are spending their hard earned money on.

In addition to playability and craftsmanship, I definitely look for sound, which is subjective. Again, if you are buying sight unseen, go with reputation and reviews from those who have experience playing many different levels of instruments. Lots of friendly helpful members on the forum, some with little to no experience to those with a wealth of experience.

If you live in a particular dry area, you may wish to research the relative humidity in which the uke was assembled. There are a few builders who control humidity so that changes in the wood would be minimal if cared for properly. Nobody wants a cracked uke or one that has bowed so much that it's unplayable.

Looks are also important to me but it must include the above for me to purchase it. I love curly koa but unfortunately there is a steep price to pay for instruments built with such a highly sought after wood.

I also like gloss finishes for it's ease of cleaning. Nitrocellulose finishes, if done right is quite durable.

Email the builder, if they have time to answer your emails, that tells you something about them. If they ignore your emails, then perhaps you should take your business elsewhere. Whether it's $500 or $2000, it's your money, spend it wisely.