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View Full Version : Bring back Wood only Dolphins!



Ted4
10-04-2012, 08:29 AM
Hello dear chums,
I've tried, I've really tried to like these here tupperware plastic backed Dolphins. I currently own one yellow plastic Dolphin, I've bought four altogether but given three away.
The current one I restrung with Rotosound (BIG mistake!) but have got back to incomparable Aquila Nylgut. But here's the rub...to my rather large and tired ears.. the tone is NOWHERE near that of my dear old Green wooden Dolphin. The only advantage I can see in this plastic fancy is that it floats in the bath!

What say you fellow Dolphin owners?

Louis0815
10-04-2012, 08:53 AM
Well, I can't compare the plastic backed one to a wooden one - but the rugged back was exactly my reason to buy a Dolphin instead of an all wood soprano. My Dolphin lives close to the sea where I was afraid of wood being affected badly by humidity and temperature...

If I want a wooden soprano, I buy one - and if that one isn't available in as many colors it doesn't really matter to me. A decent uke should look somewhat decent anyway.
:2cents:

Uke Republic
10-04-2012, 08:59 AM
I've sold many of both plastic fantastic and wood. They both have an appeal but that arch in the plastic dolphin's back is very nice.
As a side note- Aurora strings use a formula from Aquila and come in a load of colors to brighten your day :)

Skitzic
10-04-2012, 09:02 AM
I own two plastic backed dolphins, and I've played a few all wood.

I didn't hear a ton of difference. I thought the wood ones (that I played) were quieter, but in the end it's still a $40 uke. Personally, I like the plastic back. In my head, plastic can take more abuse, and I bought the dolphin to take the abuse I don't want my other ukes seeing.

There are other all wood budget ukuleles. Mahalo makes a lot of fancy colored ukes that are all wood.

JMO

buddhuu
10-04-2012, 11:18 PM
"Tupperware"... LOLz! :D

I like both, plastic backed and laminate. Of the multi-coloured, extreme budget ukes they are my favourites.

Just don't try to tell people they are as good as Kamaka, Collings... or even Ohana, Mainland or Kala. They are what they are, and no more than that, but dolphins are fun. I always have at least one. The one I have at the moment is an old laminate one, but I've had plastic too. I always end up giving them away to people who show an interest. :)

webby
10-04-2012, 11:55 PM
I love the plastic ones as they are tough as old boots and handle being fought over in a class full 6 year olds and I think the tone is great once you stuck aquilas on them.

Joe90
10-05-2012, 12:02 AM
Another option is the makala mk-sn, identical to the dolphin but without the dolphin bridge. Only comes in brown but i dont think they do a plastic one, so all, wood all good. ;)

Ted4
10-05-2012, 12:24 AM
All jolly good stuff there chaps. I like the idea of secretly buying up old wooden Dolphins, and I will certainly buy a Makala MK SN and see how it compares.
TTFN.

webby
10-05-2012, 03:46 AM
I'd like to see them made of compressed hemp.

mangorockfish
10-05-2012, 05:06 AM
I have Freemont Blacklines on mine and it really sounds good. Would love to find an all-wood Dolphin. Oh, mine is a red one and everyone knows the red ones are louder and sound better.

wolfchs
10-05-2012, 05:35 AM
I've sold many of both plastic fantastic and wood. They both have an appeal but that arch in the plastic dolphin's back is very nice.
As a side note- Aurora strings use a formula from Aquila and come in a load of colors to brighten your day :)

This is what that sounds like even on the hands of a nuubie uke player playing a song that she's too embarrassed to be known playing :o (heehee)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=77CzBKBOVaY&feature=youtube_gdata_player
Mina

bnolsen
10-05-2012, 06:15 AM
I have a mahalo with martin fluorocabons and the dolphin with aquilas. The dolphin is defintely more subdued than the mahalo, similar to what I've heard on some other comparison videos. I should probably swap the strings and see how that turns out.

As an aside I'm a bit disappointed with the dolphin, i supposedly bought it alreay "set up" and the nut is way too high, the first fret is agonizingly sharp. It's only slightly better set up than the stock mahalo. I just need to sit down and do my own setup work on both of them (mahalo first of course).

Sporin
10-05-2012, 06:21 AM
In my head, plastic can take more abuse, and I bought the dolphin to take the abuse I don't want my other ukes seeing.

You took the words right out of my mouth. My Plastic backed Dolphin is my go-to camping/beach/travel uke.

dhoenisch
10-05-2012, 09:52 AM
I've owned a Dolphin, and I hated it. The sound was dull and sounded more like it was being played under a blanket. I gave it to me neice, and she's happy with it. I'm happier with my cheap Mahalo. Much, MUCH better sound, and way louder. Thinking my dolphin was maybe a dud, I played more at a music store, and they all sounded basically the same. I think it's maybe because of the amount of bulk there is to the bridge. To each his/her own I guess though.

Dan

Paul December
10-05-2012, 11:19 AM
Which ones, wood or plastic, have the paint chipping problems?

Gillian
10-05-2012, 01:02 PM
Which ones, wood or plastic, have the paint chipping problems?

From my experience, the plastic ones chip very easily. I don't know about the wood ones.

OldePhart
10-05-2012, 03:07 PM
I'd like to see them made of compressed hemp.

Nah...compressed hemp his difficult to light...

OldePhart
10-05-2012, 03:15 PM
I've owned a Dolphin, and I hated it. The sound was dull and sounded more like it was being played under a blanket. I gave it to me neice, and she's happy with it. I'm happier with my cheap Mahalo. Much, MUCH better sound, and way louder. Thinking my dolphin was maybe a dud, I played more at a music store, and they all sounded basically the same. I think it's maybe because of the amount of bulk there is to the bridge. To each his/her own I guess though.

Dan

I only have experience with one Dolphin, a recent plastic one, and it was pretty dismal even after leveling the frets and adjusting the action at the nut for decent intonation and changing to Aquila strings, until I tuned it up to D (A D F# B). It was actually fairly cheerful sounding and intonated better up the neck in D. It still wasn't a great uke, but it was tolerable and I actually spent an entire evening out on the porch happily playing it as I watched a thunderstorm move in until I packed it up to ship to a contest winner.

I owe a lot to that silly little Dolphin, though. I'd abandoned soprano scale as too short and cramped for me until I ordered that uke for a contest prize. Having it around I discovered that a year or so of playing concert scale "longneck" sopranos had increased my digital dexterity so I could play a soprano without it feeling cramped. I ordered a couple of decent sopranos and have barely touched anything else since!

John

Ted4
10-05-2012, 09:19 PM
Yo Wolfchs, nice film there, and that Dolphin sounds better than mine. Must investigate Aurora and Blackline strings.

itsme
10-05-2012, 09:37 PM
Mahalo makes a lot of fancy colored ukes that are all wood.

Or plywood?

Surprised no one's mentioned the Flea/Fluke yet. They have molded plastic back/sides and (usually) laminate tops, making them pretty impervious to the weather.

Louis0815
10-06-2012, 03:41 AM
Or plywood?

Surprised no one's mentioned the Flea/Fluke yet. They have molded plastic back/sides and (usually) laminate tops, making them pretty impervious to the weather.Well, plywood is all wood as well, just not solid....

And Fleas/Flukes were never available as "all-wood" instruments, not even in the old days. Besides that they are of course great instruments without intonation problems (due to the molded fretboard) and pretty much indestroyable - and they are in a completely different price range.

-SRS-45-
10-06-2012, 03:52 AM
Have to admit I love my Plastic Dolphin, the tone is as good as a 200 solid wood uke, I did have to put concert Aquila's on it though to beef up the sound. Only things I don't like is the soprano scale length and the fact I don't take it out as it doesn't look like a serious instrument (not that thats always a bad thing :) )

Ted4
10-06-2012, 05:02 AM
Hola SRS 45. Let me get this right, have you put CONCERT strings on a SOPRANO uke? What a wizard idea!

-SRS-45-
10-06-2012, 05:07 AM
Hola SRS 45. Let me get this right, have you put CONCERT strings on a SOPRANO uke? What a wizard idea!

Yeah, it made mine sound amazing! :)

Ted4
10-06-2012, 05:19 AM
Thanks for the tip. You have maybe saved a yellow Dolphin from being hurled into the North Sea.