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View Full Version : Do tone holes have a better sound quality than epaulette holes?



ashleighsheila
07-21-2012, 08:29 AM
I'm looking to invest in this ukulele http://www.moudrymusic.com/image_manager/attributes/image/image_24/1097916141_4240761031.jpg
And instead of the standard one tone hole, it has three epaulette holes up top. It seems to me, that the sound quality would differ. I've never played an instrument with epaulette holes, but is the sound quality the same or worse? Thank you.

Gmoney
07-21-2012, 09:02 AM
I can't imagine any use of the word "invest" to describe a Hilo ukulele. No matter the unusual "epaulette" sound holes, there are MANY better choices in a Ukulele rather than a Hilo. If you are looking for cheap mass-produced & poorly constructed - Hilo ukes have you covered,

Sorry if that doesn't answer your direct question, but sometimes the truth is like that. Mahalo & hope you actually do invest in a ukulele that will both sound good & give you enjoyment.

ashleighsheila
07-21-2012, 09:14 AM
I can't imagine any use of the word "invest" to describe a Hilo ukulele. No matter the unusual "epaulette" sound holes, there are MANY better choices in a Ukulele rather than a Hilo. If you are looking for cheap mass-produced & poorly constructed - Hilo ukes have you covered,

Sorry if that doesn't answer your direct question, but sometimes the truth is like that. Mahalo & hope you actually do invest in a ukulele that will both sound good & give you enjoyment.

Well, seeing as I'm a beginner It's much more sensible to start out with a cheaper uke to get the feel of it and decide if I want to pursue it, isn't it. And if I decide it's something I want to do, of course I'll buy a better ukulele. I've been down that road before with guitars. But for right now, I'm starting with a more beginner-friendly instrument. I just want to know if the tone hole/epaulette hole thing matters...

DaveVisi
07-21-2012, 09:48 AM
I think what he was trying to say is that at quality level, it'll sound equally poor regardless of sound hole type. The low end Makala Dolphin seems to be the favorite choice at that price range.

Too, you'll also find a cheap uke will hold you back and you'll lose interest quickly due to difficult playability and poor sound. If you don't go for the Dolphin, save a little longer. There are a LOT of ukes in the $100-200 range that will make you feel good about playing and encourage you to want to play more.

1931jim
07-21-2012, 09:50 AM
Welcome ashleighsheila to UU. You are on the right track. The inexpensive path with the Hilo is a good one regardless of the Gmoney opinion.
There are many fine sounding ukuleles out there. As many others have said before...a Hilo when played by a good player will sound just fine.
Take the journey slowly.
Regards
Jim

spookefoote
07-21-2012, 09:51 AM
I think the word invest wouldn't necessarily apply to this model. However, I have an Applause Ovation with a similar set up and it sounds great. If the Hilo is what you fancy buying then get it and learn on it. Most of the members of our Ukulele Orchestra started with cheap Mahalo sopranos. Needles to say, once they became more competent they upgraded. We all had to learn on something.

When you do upgrade you could always customise the Hilo. Now where did I leave that spare Golden Syrup tin?

Good luck and enjoy.

Teek
07-21-2012, 10:00 AM
Welcome to UU and please look around a bit more before buying a Hilo, it may really put you off ukulele or make you think it's not worth the effort to learn. No offense whatsoever intended and just my own opinion. You didn't list your location but if you are in the US check out one of our UU dealers here (Mim (http://www.ukuleleunderground.com/forum/member.php?19278-Mim)) or Amazon.

I would feel comfortable recommending any Kala brand uke (http://www.amazon.com/Kala-KA-15S-Mahogany-Soprano-Ukulele/dp/B001LU1SFO/ref=sr_1_5?ie=UTF8&qid=1342900093&sr=8-5&keywords=ukulele), or any Ohana brand ukulele (http://www.amazon.com/Ohana-SK-10S-Soprano-Mahogany-Ukulele/dp/B005CF2Z4M/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1342900320&sr=8-2&keywords=ohana+ukulele) as a starter instrument. I have two Kalas and loved my Ohana Vita. Even a Lanikai is better than a Hilo. Be aware that on any new instrument the action may be higher than you would find comfortable. Mim does a setup on every new uke that will be well worth a higher price. I am not a customer or affiliated, but she has many happy customers here. :)

1931jim
07-21-2012, 10:05 AM
Needles to say, once they became more competent they upgraded. We all had to learn on something.

When you do upgrade you could always customise the Hilo. Now where did I leave that spare Golden Syrup tin?

Good luck and enjoy.
Very well said spookefoote.

ashleighsheila
07-21-2012, 10:06 AM
I think the word invest wouldn't necessarily apply to this model. However, I have an Applause Ovation with a similar set up and it sounds great. If the Hilo is what you fancy buying then get it and learn on it. Most of the members of our Ukulele Orchestra started with cheap Mahalo sopranos. Needles to say, once they became more competent they upgraded. We all had to learn on something.

When you do upgrade you could always customise the Hilo. Now where did I leave that spare Golden Syrup tin?

Good luck and enjoy.

The Applause Ovation has multiple epaulette holes, though. And I've seen those sound great. This Hilo just has me curious because it's one large, medium, and small hole. That's it. And I just want to make sure there's not a huge sound difference between that and a ukulele with center tone hole.

Bob Bledsoe
07-21-2012, 10:21 AM
The sound hole placement is really not going to matter on a Hilo. Those could almost qualify as a toy instrument. It's like asking if the temperature control is accurate on an Easy-Bake oven.
At that level, the sound hole is not going to make much of a difference. It's just not going to sound good regardless. For a low end starter uke, look at a Makala Dolphin. They're cheep and sound good as soon as you put a set of decent strings on them.

spookefoote
07-21-2012, 10:46 AM
The Golden Syrup Tin was not intended as an insult. Most people round here know that I use them to turn ukes into resonators.

If you want a decent starter then I would recommend you get a Makala. You can put a set of Aquilas on it, sort out the nut a bit and get the action as low as, if not better than, some more expensive brands.

Buy what you can afford to. It depends on how you want to "invest" in your own playing future.

PhilUSAFRet
07-21-2012, 11:37 AM
The answer to your queston is YES! Regardless of the sound hole design, one or multiple, there needs to be sufficient opening for the sound to "get out." They look a little small on this uke....it's not the multiples, but the total opening....not sure they both add up to a regular sound hole.

Don't include setup, but lots of Makala Dolphins on ebay for less than $5 more than you'd pay for that one. Huge tone bang for buck. The place you listed doesnt set them up either.

hibiscus
07-21-2012, 02:35 PM
Welcome the Forum. As you can see, members are very honest with their opinions. I would imagine one hole would be better, but I'm not familiar with this uke. I started with a Kala from Amazon and moved on from there after I was sure I like the ukulele. Did I ever!! Good luck

Gmoney
07-21-2012, 03:41 PM
Well, seeing as I'm a beginner It's much more sensible to start out with a cheaper uke to get the feel of it and decide if I want to pursue it, isn't it. And if I decide it's something I want to do, of course I'll buy a better ukulele. I've been down that road before with guitars. But for right now, I'm starting with a more beginner-friendly instrument. I just want to know if the tone hole/epaulette hole thing matters...

Very sorry if my response was "off-putting" - truly wasn't meant to be. Others have answered in a similar way - the chief problem with buying the cheapest uke you can find is that its likely to be more frustrating than buying one slightly more expensive. Perhaps think of your price range & start there & you are likely to get a better uke & a better overall experience w/the instrument. My daughter started me into ukes w/a cheap Savannah uke (another mass produced toy uke), but we both got slightly better ukes & have both enjoyed it immensely.

Others have also answered the question about the sound holes - another thing to keep in mind with the "Applause" ukes is like the Ovation guitars they are modeled after, the polycarbonate rounded back does more for the projection of the sound than the multi-holes.

Again, very sorry if I was brusque or in anyway offended you with my answer. Welcome to UU & I hope that you find a great uke to enjoy for a long time to come!

Mahalo

ashleighsheila
07-21-2012, 04:56 PM
Thank you.

ashleighsheila
07-21-2012, 05:05 PM
I now understand I shouldn't go with a Hilo, even as a starter. I guess I was put off because there are good reviews of it. And thank you to the people who gave me better options for starter ukes, I'm looking into it now. And especially thanks to PhilUSAFRet for actually answering my direct question. Mahalo to you all and I hope to learn a lot more from this community.

Blue Skies
07-21-2012, 07:26 PM
I now understand I shouldn't go with a Hilo, even as a starter. I guess I was put off because there are good reviews of it. And thank you to the people who gave me better options for starter ukes, I'm looking into it now. And especially thanks to PhilUSAFRet for actually answering my direct question. Mahalo to you all and I hope to learn a lot more from this community.

It's up to you to determine what instrument you wish to start with, whatever price range that may be.

But, just an FYI, the reason I got into baritone was that my Dad joined his senior action baritone uke group and I wanted to learn an instrument and he talked me into joining with him...so I got a baritone. BUT, I did quite a lot of research before I purchased mine.

I listened to him trying to play his 30$ Rogue...blech...I thought, this thing sounds like crap,,,is this what I'm getting into? So I went out into the world of the www and listened to many sound clips of lots of instruments. Of the few I found of baritones, the Cordoba sounded WAY better than Dads 30$ POS...and I also found out that set-up was extremely important, even on lower priced models. I found a place that sold a set-up Cordoba for under 2 c-notes and ordered one. I do understand that this one is good enough 'for me' for the next couple years I'm sure, as I learn how to play. It sounds sssooooo much better than the Rogue too. I am very happy with my decision.

Also, take what all of us tell you with a grain of salt, as it ultimately has to be your decision. Not many recommended the Cordoba to me, but I went with what 'I' thought was best for 'me' and am happy with that decision.

Blue Skies
07-21-2012, 08:16 PM
I'm looking to invest in this ukulele http://www.moudrymusic.com/image_manager/attributes/image/image_24/1097916141_4240761031.jpg
And instead of the standard one tone hole, it has three epaulette holes up top. It seems to me, that the sound quality would differ. I've never played an instrument with epaulette holes, but is the sound quality the same or worse? Thank you.

Wow, I just looked at the picture of the Hi-Lo. How does the sound get out? I'm not being funny, I just thought the holes had to be much larger...? (can you tell I don't know anything about these?)

mm stan
07-21-2012, 08:24 PM
People have been making instruments out of household items for ages or modify them. I am not sure if this first instrument will be your learning instrument or maybe research and development..I always believe that an experienced musician can make anything sound better than a beginner.. I think it is always neat to try new things with a base model intstrument or anything for that matter...I was looking at the hilo, I believe the holes are too
small, of course you could add more holes on the other side of the A string side to make it symetricial..
or even a side sound port...put better strings on and try it out... you never know..who knows you may
stumble on something...then put some bone nut and saddle and do a set up on it...it might be intresting and
fun...on the other side, here is an analolgy....if I bought a corvair and put in a better suspension, brakes,
tires, and improve the steering..it has been done, and some swear they are improved...I guess it all depends
on you and what you are trying to acheive and you have a good plan..at the end you will be spending more
to acheive this, and spend many many many hours to do this without an idea if it will work..but who am I to
say, maybe you like the challenge and enjoy this sorta thing..and you are good with your hands..on the other
hand all the money you spent and time, you can get a better instrument for the amount you invested..hee hee
Welcome to the UU...I am sure you knew well enough, you would get our honest opinions here..Good Luck on
whatever you plan to do...

kalmario
07-21-2012, 11:10 PM
from my time as a cigar box guitar maker (my wife banned me, far too addictive), any sound hole bigger than a quarter, and the sound suffered. keep in mind cigar boxes have not a lot of internal volume though. the holes will make not a lot of difference at all. A bit like vinyl and cd's, not many can tell the difference.

to back up the earlier comments, buy a some what decent uke at least, if buying a makala dolphin, it will need aquilas on it, or it too will sound like rubbish.

the best advice is to just have a go. i only started playing guitar and ukulele 5 years ago. my biggest regret was not starting sooner.

best of luck

Cliff

kalmario
07-21-2012, 11:12 PM
@stan

did you every see the upgraded Lada vs the stock Porsche video on youtube? (only mentioning as you mentioned upgrading.) I'd still by the porsche even though the Lada had the wheels early on.

Cliff

mm stan
07-22-2012, 01:46 PM
Aloha Cliff,
You mean the vintage Lada's...? I had a old datsun B210 with a souped up motor and racing clutch..wasn't for city driving..hey but
I'd shock alot of people wearing out the tires...ha ha had to put the front tires always in the back as I wore them out so quiclky.ha ha
http://images.search.yahoo.com/images/view?back=http%3A%2F%2Fsearch.yahoo.com%2Fsearch%3 Fei%3DUTF-8%26p%3DLada&w=160&h=106&imgurl=www.bing.com%2Fimages%2Fsearch%3Fq%3DLada%2 3focal%3D7c67d16e3d607eb4e03d294778a35a9c%26furl%3 Dhttp%253a%252f%252fupload.wikimedia.org%252fwikip edia%252fcommons%252fc%252fcb%252fLada_1200.jpg&size=&name=search&rcurl=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.bing.com%2Fimages%2Fsearch% 3Fq%3DLada%23focal%3D7c67d16e3d607eb4e03d294778a35 a9c%26furl%3Dhttp%253a%252f%252fupload.wikimedia.o rg%252fwikipedia%252fcommons%252fc%252fcb%252fLada _1200.jpg&rurl=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.bing.com%2Fimages%2Fsearch%3 Fq%3DLada%23focal%3D7c67d16e3d607eb4e03d294778a35a 9c%26furl%3Dhttp%253a%252f%252fupload.wikimedia.or g%252fwikipedia%252fcommons%252fc%252fcb%252fLada_ 1200.jpg&p=Lada&type=&no=3&tt=115&oid=http%3A%2F%2Fts3.mm.bing.net%2Fimages%2Fthumbn ail.aspx%3Fq%3D4882291835077574%26id%3D8767390c5f4 23acf145f1543cf1abc83&tit=File%3ALada+1200.jpg+-+Wikimedia+Commons&sigr=1551dcug6&sigi=14uaikf03&sigb=11e2ubj13&fr=slv8-hpd10

1931jim
07-22-2012, 03:04 PM
ashleighsheila thank you for starting this thread about Holy Ukuleles. That was yesterday afternoon and now we are talking about cars. I hope you are feeling right at home and one of the gang because this is called hijacking your thread and I am going to add to the car reminising (sp) .Naughty naughty Jimmy. But anyhoo mm stan I had a Datsun 510 with four cylinders and with air conditioning. Whenever the air conditiioner would cut in the car would go from 45 mph to 25 mph. Boy the good old days. Thanks for the memories Stan.
Regards
Jim
PS: And now back to our scheduled Ukulele programming. HaHa!!

ChrisRCovington
07-22-2012, 04:10 PM
My first ukulele was a Hilo. Mine was one with just one soundhole. It was frustrating instrument. I tried to learn on it and I picked up a few songs but just couldn't get into it. My father got me a Fluke as a birthday gift and my ability to learn increased greatly. It had better intonation, better sound, more volume, and a richer more complex sound over all. I almost gave up on it if it weren' for that better instrument. I'd say spend a few more dollars and get something a little better and you'll get a more accurate gauge on whether you like the ukulele or not. If you don't like it you can pass it on to someone else and not burden them with frustration ;)

As for the sound holes, I don't think they make a huge difference in sound. I've had a UAE-20 and a UA-10 and I don't think there is much of a sound difference. YMMV. Good luck on your ukulele journey I'm sure you'll stick with it.

vanflynn
07-22-2012, 04:38 PM
Hi ash, welcome to UU. I bought a hilo for my grand niece that needed some work to be playable ( she wanted pink and right now!). Where do you live? Being able to try before you buy is nice. The other option is to find a good seller with a good return policy if you don't like it. There are some great ones as UU members.

Keep us posted

bdukes
07-22-2012, 06:40 PM
My first ukulele was a Hilo.

Had essentially the same experience as Chris. Bought a Hilo at a gas station about 10 years ago in Kauai to pass the time in the hotel. Rained the whole 8 days i was there... but thats another story. Anyway, played ok at the first fret for open chords and such, but was a real pain, literally, up the fret board. Sharp frets, high action, lousy intonation, etc. did the job, I guess, but 2 weeks later bought a Fluke. What a difference! Ukulele playing went from something I wanted to try, to something I had to do.

As others have said, there are better choices for a starter. I would recommend a Dolphin setup w Aquilas. For under $50, I got mine at Uke Republic. Nice sound and fun to play. Actually bought two for my daughters.

And although the Hilo wasn't the best uke in the world, the memories are priceless. Enjoy the journey.

kalmario
07-30-2012, 11:40 AM
@stan try this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2SlO9w6OLqU

re thread hijacking: A) sorry, B) it was in relation to upgrading ukes. :)

Cheers

Cliff