PDA

View Full Version : Soprano Ukulele Suggestions?



gwok
06-17-2012, 04:24 PM
I've been playing ukulele for about 1 and a half years, and currently I own 2 ukuleles; my first was a really cheap (bought it at around $40) soprano and my second was a better concert ($100).
I want to buy a pretty decent quality soprano but I don't know which one to get. Any suggestions?

Keep in mind I am going in to college so the price range is around $80-$200

ScooterD35
06-17-2012, 05:01 PM
Here's a Flea for $159.

http://www.amazon.com/Fluke-Ukes-Magic-Ukulele-Natural/dp/B005Z3U502/ref=sr_1_2?s=musical-instruments&ie=UTF8&qid=1339988339&sr=1-2&keywords=fluke+ukulele


Scooter

guitarsnrotts
06-17-2012, 05:10 PM
I'd recommend a solid wood soprano, many of these would fit your budget:

http://pilikoko.com/index.php?main_page=advanced_search_result&search_in_description=1&keyword=soprano&x=34&y=5

http://cargo.ukerepublic.com/category/soprano-size-ukes

jmw
06-17-2012, 05:20 PM
This is pretty self-serving, but I've got a great solid wood Ohana soprano for sale in the Marketplace. $150 + shipping fits your budget!

roxhum
06-17-2012, 05:26 PM
And Ohana is a good choice. Similar to mainland. Most of my ukes have been purchased from the marketplace.

pdxuke
06-17-2012, 05:54 PM
This:

http://cargo.ukerepublic.com/product/ohana-sk-38a-mahogany-soprano

Hands down.

Also This:
http://cargo.ukerepublic.com/product/ohana-sk-35g

..but only if it has friction tuners. Not a fan of geared tuners on sopranos.

But THIS is the greatest modern uke in it's price out there, IMHO:

http://cargo.ukerepublic.com/product/ohana-sk-35

MIM"S got one now on Ebay:

http://www.ebay.com/itm/MIM-Ohana-Soprano-SK-35-All-Solid-Mahogany-w-Binding-Setup-Ukulele-Uke-434-/170857102665?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item27c7e07d49

Tudorp
06-18-2012, 01:34 AM
Ohana SK-35 is an awesome choice in that price range. Solid Mahog, good quality and sound for any factory made uke.

MisterRios
06-18-2012, 02:05 AM
Ditto on the SK-35, it's a beautiful uke. Though it made me realize that, at heart, I am a pineapple man.

Also take a look at the Ohana SK-25. It's slightly lesser quality wood/tuners, etc, but I actually prefer it to the SK-35.

Tudorp
06-18-2012, 03:06 AM
Yes, the SK-25 is actually the very same uke as the SK-35, but less money. The difference is soley cosmetics. The 35 is a little fancier with rosewood binding, headstock vineer, and the 25 just a visually toned down version of the 35. So the same uke, and quality for a bit less money. Either is a fine choice in that price range.

nohoval_turrets
06-18-2012, 03:11 AM
+1 for Ohana - good sound and very consistent manufacture. I think they're the outstanding choice in this range.

Maybe also consider Bruko: http://brueko.de/en/index.html

Check out some reviews on YouTube - the sound can be a little brash and some don't like them, but if they suit your style the quality is good - solid wood and very accurate and consistent manufacture.

ukuraleigh
06-18-2012, 03:43 AM
There's a very sweet sounding Makai soprano for sale in the Marketplace and the seller is pretty cool. :rolleyes:

ChrisRCovington
06-18-2012, 05:17 AM
I'll 2nd the Bruko. Great little ukulele for the price.

OldePhart
06-18-2012, 07:14 AM
I own two soprano Mainlands now and have to throw my vote to them. The mango is honestly replacing my KoAloha as my favorite uke (granted, this may be a case of the pick of the litter but I own six Mainlands plus another I gave to a son-in-law and none have been disappointing). The mahogany soprano I picked up during UWC is not quite as "crazy good" as the mango but is still a very good uke in it's own right.

I've never owned an Ohana but I've heard mostly good things and the ones I've had the opportunity to play were good. One of the loudest "barkiest" ukes I've ever played is Jeff's Ohana vita uke that he got from Mim. Granted, it's got a larger body than your typical soprano but it's still very impressive.

Kala solid ukes can be okay if you get them from a reputable dealer who will set them up. My experience with them straight from the factory is that some of them need some work with the nut files to get the intonation proper at the first couple of frets. Also, I think they're a bit more overbuilt than either the Mainland or Ohana ukes. I don't think I've ever actually played them back-to-back with either but my impression when I pick one up is usually that it seems kind of heavy for its size. I had a solid acacia pocket uke that weighed only two ounces (if I recall correctly) less than the concert size KoAloha that I had at the time!

John

monahan
06-18-2012, 07:26 AM
I posted a similar question in December - $250options (http://www.ukuleleunderground.com/forum/showthread.php?57624-250-options). When all was said and done I wound up with a Mainland Mahogany Pineapple for $180 and absolutely love it. Both Mikes (at Mainland and Uke Repulic) were great help.

csibona
06-18-2012, 08:26 AM
I would suggest trying the Flea.

joekulele
06-18-2012, 08:56 AM
I do not own one, but I was very impressed when I played the Kamoa E3. Solid wood, $199 for the soprano.

pdxuke
06-18-2012, 09:56 AM
Yes, the SK-25 is actually the very same uke as the SK-35, but less money. The difference is soley cosmetics. The 35 is a little fancier with rosewood binding, headstock vineer, and the 25 just a visually toned down version of the 35. So the same uke, and quality for a bit less money. Either is a fine choice in that price range.

+1 on this. If you are really saving pennies, the SK25 is a great value. But then again, so is the SK35.

My local shop is a top end acoustic place and will only stock Ohana as their go-to uke. Everything else is vintage. There's a reason for that; Ohanas are quality, affordable instruments.

http://www.brindleysmusic.com/p-1828-ohana-sk-25-soprano-solid-mahogany-ukulele.aspx
has the 25 for $139 shipped.

veejayblox
06-18-2012, 12:33 PM
1) flea or fluke. cannot go wrong.
2) makala dolphin. cannot go wrong.
3) mahalo. cannot go wrong.

Plainsong
06-18-2012, 02:53 PM
Flea, or especially an Ohana. My sk38 replaced many more expensive ukes.

Pondoro
06-18-2012, 04:38 PM
I agree - Ohana SK25 or SK35 are both solid wood and less than $200. Mainland are also very nice. My opinion is that Mainlands are finished and set up better and are a bit fancier (more decorations) but you pay a bit more. You will not go wrong with either. If you can get to the Mainland showroom in Indiana you can buy a second and bring the price down to the Ohana range.

TheCraftedCow
06-18-2012, 08:59 PM
If you want a nice soprano, check out www.Lehuaukuleles.com. I have a soprano with two small spots where itgot dinged on the edge of the lower side. They are not bad, but it renders it less than new. It comes with Aquila strings both a high and a low G string. It is solid Acacia with a striking grain pattern on the rear. MSRP is $180.
My cost (as a dealer) is $100. I will provide pictures of the actual instrument. With shipping paid to you, $115.00. If you want to play with a strap for support, tell me if you want silver or black, and choose one of the 16 colours of the straps I make. That's included in the $115 rather than adding an additional $11.00 My choice? I would get a long neck soprano. You have the concert neck and the soprano body, and NOT the concert price. Instead of the MSRP of $200, it would be $135 shipped and a strap and button included. No, it's not dinged.

lancemanion
06-18-2012, 11:34 PM
I am surprised that no one has suggested an Islander Ukulele from Kanile'a. You get an Ukulele set up by the experts at Kanile'a and you also get a full size 1.5" nut and fret board, bridge pin style bridge and dimensions identical to a made in Hawaii Kanile'a. For $135 I can't see anything that come close to that value.

http://www.islanderukulele.com/page10.aspx

OldePhart
06-19-2012, 07:08 AM
I am surprised that no one has suggested an Islander Ukulele from Kanile'a. You get an Ukulele set up by the experts at Kanile'a and you also get a full size 1.5" nut and fret board, bridge pin style bridge and dimensions identical to a made in Hawaii Kanile'a. For $135 I can't see anything that come close to that value.

http://www.islanderukulele.com/page10.aspx

But that's the laminated one...the solid soprano (next one down the page) is $289 - significantly more than the solid Ohana and Mainland ukes...

John

pdxuke
06-19-2012, 07:52 AM
Flea, or especially an Ohana. My sk38 replaced many more expensive ukes.

The Sk38 is one of the GREAT modern ukes. People will be looking back at the 21, 35 and 38 as classics. If the pineapple was a matte finish I'd buy it in a heartbeat.

Ohanas are a really good instrument. And I don't even work for them. I just love them. With a Kamaka pineapple, a vintage Martin and my Ohanas, I find they all compliment one another.

lancemanion
06-19-2012, 07:54 AM
But that's the laminated one...the solid soprano (next one down the page) is $289 - significantly more than the solid Ohana and Mainland ukes...

John

Good point John, but he didn't specify he wanted solid. If he is going to upgrade to a high end Hawaiian uke someday, I really believe there is a benefit of playing on a uke with the same dimensions (especially the 1.5" nut) vs. the skinnier Kala type necks. I have nothing against Ohana, Mainlands or Kalas, they are all good ukes if you have them set up properly, I just think if you pay a little more for a Islander (already set up) you get what you pay for a would be happier in the end. Just my two cents, but if you were blindfolded and played an Islander you couldn't tell the difference from it and a Kanile'a. Can't say the same for the other Chinese ukes.

pdxuke
06-19-2012, 07:56 AM
Re the Islander:

It does however, have my dreaded geared tuners. :-) If one wants a classic soprano, one may want to learn how to deal with friction tuners. Just another opinion.

lancemanion
06-19-2012, 08:05 AM
Re the Islander:

It does however, have my dreaded geared tuners. :-) If one wants a classic soprano, one may want to learn how to deal with friction tuners. Just another opinion.

I take function over looks any day. Having owned several ukes with friction tuners I'll take high quality geared tuners any day of the week. (I even converted my 1912 model Lyon & Healy to geared tuners, sacrilege to some) It was painful watching my son struggle with the friction tuners on his first uke. He has an Islander now and loves it. Of course you have to buy what makes you happy. Not here to bash anyone's preferences, just like to spread the word when I find something I like.

scothut
06-19-2012, 09:44 AM
I like the Ohana, Eddy Finn and Moku brands and would fit into your price range.

Plainsong
06-19-2012, 11:32 AM
Nor are good geared tuners that tough to live with at all. The great ones track smoothly and even the good ones hold the string firm. You just have to turn them less.

OldePhart
06-19-2012, 12:14 PM
I take function over looks any day.


Me too, that's why I'll take good friction tuners any day! Nothing annoys me more than changing strings and having to wind, and wind, and wind. Even with a string winder it's very annoying. On a steel-string instrument you're pretty much stuck with gears because of the high tension - but on a uke, especially a soprano or concert, give me friction tuners every time!

As far as "holding" a tune - I use fluorocarbon strings on most of my ukes and once they settle in they hold their tune as well as my steel-string guitars and geared ukes.

John

addicted2myuke
06-19-2012, 12:47 PM
I just bought a Mainland around a month ago and it's the one I reach for when I play ( I have an Ibanez concert and a Kala tenor too) It has a really bright sound and it was $189.00. Totally worth the money. Got it from mainlandukes.com.

Tootler
06-20-2012, 02:04 AM
I take function over looks any day. Having owned several ukes with friction tuners I'll take high quality geared tuners any day of the week. (I even converted my 1912 model Lyon & Healy to geared tuners, sacrilege to some) It was painful watching my son struggle with the friction tuners on his first uke. He has an Islander now and loves it. Of course you have to buy what makes you happy. Not here to bash anyone's preferences, just like to spread the word when I find something I like.


Me too, that's why I'll take good friction tuners any day! Nothing annoys me more than changing strings and having to wind, and wind, and wind. Even with a string winder it's very annoying. On a steel-string instrument you're pretty much stuck with gears because of the high tension - but on a uke, especially a soprano or concert, give me friction tuners every time!

As far as "holding" a tune - I use fluorocarbon strings on most of my ukes and once they settle in they hold their tune as well as my steel-string guitars and geared ukes.

John

There's not a lot in it as far as I'm concerned but, on the whole, I prefer friction tuners, though most of my ukes have geared tuners. Geared tuners do make it easier to make fine adjustments to the tuning though.