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View Full Version : Bang for Buck



Freak
06-12-2012, 03:22 PM
What's the absolute cheapest uke that also manages to not suck? Right now I'm looking at the Kala KA-15S, but I want to look around before shelling out 50 bucks.

rocko
06-12-2012, 04:54 PM
Like anything else at the low-end, there will be compromises. Which qualities you care most about are going to determine the answer to your question.

Size, construction, playability, and tone - pick one or two attributes and you'll get some suggestions. But you would be better to get to a couple stores and play some ukes to see what you prefer.

lancemanion
06-12-2012, 05:15 PM
If you want a good low end uke, Kalas are great, except they need to be set up. They come from the factory with the action all over the place. I have four Kalas between my sons and myself. If you are serious about playing I would recommend a step up to an Islander. Although they are an import they are prepped and set up by Kanile'a on Oahu. They never buzz, the action is set and the frets are polished. Plus they have better tuners, bridge pins and most importantly 1.5" wide nuts just like a real Kanile'a (Kalas are narrower) so if you ever upgrade to a high end Hawaiian ukulele it will feel and play the same. Hope this helps.

stevepetergal
06-12-2012, 06:14 PM
Yeah, for fifty bucks a Kala will do just fine.

Hippie Dribble
06-12-2012, 06:30 PM
with 50 bucks I'd go out and buy a loaf of bread, a bottle of milk, some peanut butter and oranges, then nick over and grab a Cliff Edwards CD. On the way home I'd call into the local music shop and pick up a coloured mahalo for $25 and a $4 tuner. That'd keep me going for days... :)

joekulele
06-12-2012, 07:04 PM
I would recommend a Dolphin with setup and Aquila strings. Fifty bucks worth of fun!

-joe

wolfchs
06-13-2012, 05:15 AM
Spent $65 (price includes shipping + upgrade to Aurora strings instead of Aquilas) on a Makala Pearl White Dolphin from Uke republic. Mike from Uke republic sets it up real well and this uke sounds really good for the price. Here's my original post when I got it:
http://www.ukuleleunderground.com/forum/showthread.php?65179-And-another-one-New-Uke-Day!-Makala-Pearl-White-Dolphin-w-Aurora-Multicolors
Get one, you'll definitely enjoy it for years to come!

Sporin
06-13-2012, 06:12 AM
Dolphin with a good set of strings!
(http://ukemafia.com/the-brightness-of-day/)
http://ukemafia.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/03/photo-630x630.jpg

RichM
06-13-2012, 07:06 AM
I'm pretty ambivalent about cheap ukes-- most every Dolphin I've played has sounded awful, but obviously many people get good ones, as testified to by UU posters. That being said, when I travelled to Australia a few months ago, I didn't want to drag a uke through all the plane changes, etc. So upon arriving, I marched into Allan's Music in Brisbane, bought an unbranded uke (probably the same as a Mahalo, based on its appearance) for the princely sum of A$27.95, and played it happily for the two weeks I was there. Intonation was great, action was fine, tone was a bit thin, but for the price, I was pretty darn happy. So no question, it can be done!

vanflynn
06-13-2012, 07:21 AM
What ever you get either get it from a reputable Uke dealer or somewhere that has a good return policy. In that price range the factory QA is loose. You may get one out of the box that is good or one that is way off. The action will probably be high but that is something you could fix if you wanted to. Intonation is another story. Most reputable uke dealer screen the ukes and send back the stinkers (which probably then end up on eBay)

Good luck and keep us posted

Dan Uke
06-13-2012, 07:30 AM
How good are you and what type of songs do you play?

I personally look for ukes with at least 14 frets so that eliminates a lot of ukes. Intonation might not be spot on as you go higher up the fretboard but I do like having the option of play bad sounding notes!! LOL

Tootler
06-14-2012, 08:49 AM
I got an Ohana SK 10 from Southern Ukulele Store (UK) for 50. It was advertised as with setup and Aquila strings and that's just what it was when it arrived. I checked the intonation. It was a little sharp at the 5th fret but tolerable but was fine at Frets 7, 10 & 12. I had tried to get a Dolphin but they seem somewhat in short supply here just now.

I am doing a "Try a Uke" session at an open day for our regional U3A in July and have been getting some cheaper ukes for folk to try but I don't want ones with lousy intonation because that will put them right off, so I have looked at ukes a step up from the bright pink, green, red.... cheapos so they get a decent experience. Overall spending 40 - 50 instead of 20 - 30 makes a big difference but you do make sure they are properly set up.

Freak
06-14-2012, 09:43 AM
Thanks for all the replies, but I couldn't seem to find a dolphin on Uke Republic. I'll probably just go for the Kala; and since I'm unable to pay much extra (due to a bizarre series of deals that I have very little understanding of) so I might just get it from Amazon and make sure they guy has a good return policy.

Sporin
06-14-2012, 10:16 AM
Thanks for all the replies, but I couldn't seem to find a dolphin on Uke Republic. I'll probably just go for the Kala; and since I'm unable to pay much extra (due to a bizarre series of deals that I have very little understanding of) so I might just get it from Amazon and make sure they guy has a good return policy.

I got my Dolphin from Amazon. I honestly don't feel that "set up" is as big a deal on these little plastic bodied ukes (just my opinion.) A good set of strings makes a big difference, then just play and enjoy.

vanflynn
06-14-2012, 10:34 AM
Call Mike at Uke Republic. He has stuff in his inventory that may not show up on the internet.

wolfchs
06-14-2012, 10:55 AM
This will take you directly to the Makala Dolphin page to order:
http://cargo.ukerepublic.com/product/makala-dolphin-soprano-mk-s