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View Full Version : Is this a good quality Ukulele?



jsuarez
12-16-2012, 06:09 PM
I want to get my first uke & learn how to play it. I want to get a concert size, because I feel that the soprano would be too small for me. I am really interested in this ukulele:

http://www.guitarcenter.com/Luna-Guitars-Tattoo-Concert-Mahogany-Ukulele-106095201-i1531922.gc#customer-reviews

I've read several reviews and I'm a little concerned with the tuning. I read like two reviews that said that the uke goes out of tune very easily and very often. Does anyone own this uke or a Luna uke? & is it a good brand? I'm new to the ukulele word so i could use a little help. Also any other tips about anything or any other options of ukuleles i can buy.
Thanks a lot!

coolkayaker1
12-16-2012, 07:00 PM
I have heard the same, and after owning a Luna soprano, I agree with what you have heard. The intonation is poor, and although it';s inexpensive, it's a waste of $90, IMHO.

In the under $100 price range, if I was to buy from Guitar Center, I'd buy this one (as long as I could play it in the store):
http://www.guitarcenter.com/Cordoba-15CM-Concert-Ukulele-H63578-i1559526.gc

It is a good brand, and my Cordoba concert is very good for the price.

If you buy it from Hawaiian Music Supply, even though it's an inexpensive instrument, they will assure that you don;t get a "clinker"--they even have a play sample video--check it out here!
http://www.theukulelesite.com/cordoba-15cm-mahogany-concert.html

Same price, only a little for shipping (but no sales tax like GC), and they will treat you right. They sell only ukuleles, make extra effort to have a customer for life in you. Andrew and his staff will be good to you...note that I have never met them, not even been to the store, but I have bought five ukuleles from them. They're top notch.

Cheers! I think you did right to ask. Mahalo, jsuarez.

saltytri
12-16-2012, 07:20 PM
Welcome to UU, jsuarez!

Cool has given you very good advice. It is awfully frustrating to play a uke that's poorly set up. And this is especially true if you are just starting out. You don't have to spend a lot of money to get an instrument that you will enjoy but you do have to get it from a dealer who takes good care of you. HMS will do you right. Give them a call.

coolkayaker1
12-17-2012, 01:22 AM
I agree with what you suggest, Salt.

What say others for new UUer jsuarez?

kvehe
12-17-2012, 01:34 AM
Welcome, jsuarez! :agree:

If you're planning on buying the Luna from an actual GC store, rather than ordering it online, you may find the wait involved in having it sent from HMS to be a bit annoying, but trust us, it will be worth it. GC is hit-or-miss (miss, in my experience, as in "they don't do it at all") in set-up, and set-up is very important for a uke (especially one in the lower price range). It would be too bad to lose your enthusiasm due to a poorly set-up instrument, when that is so easy to avoid.

Pukulele Pete
12-17-2012, 01:41 AM
Sopranos are not too small. Check out a FLEA , The intonation is just about perfect, The fretboard is a little wider than alot of sopranos which is good. The are relatively inexpensive and almost indestuctible. I have big hands with fat fingers and I only play sopranos.

Louis0815
12-17-2012, 04:52 AM
the uke goes out of tune very easily and very often.This is common for all ukes across all price ranges as the new strings need a couple of days to strecth out and settle. But as a rule of thumb I'd say that shouldn't last longer than ~10 days max. Provided you haven't changed the climate conditions significantly (e.g. taking the uke outside in winter) it should stay tuned enough to play (minor corrections are always necessary)


Sopranos are not too small. Check out a FLEA , The intonation is just about perfect, The fretboard is a little wider than alot of sopranos which is good. The are relatively inexpensive and almost indestuctible. I have big hands with fat fingers and I only play sopranos.But for beginners with big hands, a concert could be slightly easier, esp. for the "squeeze" chords like D. Actually I didn't like the Soprano at first, started with the Concert only to recognize that playing the Soprano became a lot easier after sorting out my fingers on the concert fretboard.

And +1 on the Flea - you 'll never need any setup on that one, just unpack, tune and play.

jglover
12-17-2012, 09:10 AM
Welcome, jsuarez! :agree:

If you're planning on buying the Luna from an actual GC store, rather than ordering it online, you may find the wait involved in having it sent from HMS to be a bit annoying, but trust us, it will be worth it. GC is hit-or-miss (miss, in my experience, as in "they don't do it at all") in set-up, and set-up is very important for a uke (especially one in the lower price range). It would be too bad to lose your enthusiasm due to a poorly set-up instrument, when that is so easy to avoid.

As Kathyrn said, Gc is definitely hit or miss. I was killing some time in GC a few weeks ago and picked up a Lanikai LU-22 to plink around on. I did notice the set up was actually quite good and the intonation was almost spot on, which is very surprising for an off the floor uke at GC. I asked about the price and they wanted on $59 for the uke, so it did go home with me. The sales guy on the floor kept trying to get me buy a brand new, in the box instrument though. :) So if you do find one you like, make sure to get that one, do not let them go in the back and get you a new one in the box. It takes some work to find an acceptable instrument at GC and you do need to know what you a relooking for, that is why HMS, Mim, Ukerepublic, Mainland, etc., are much better for the beginner with no knowledge.

Out of all the other ukes I messed around with in GC this one was the only one that I would have considered. The Lunas on the floor, while nicely finished, were just really lacking in intonation and definitely needed some set up work. The Cordobas were a little better but none had (at least to my ears) acceptable intonation up the neck. I did not try out any of the tenors though.

Newportlocal
12-17-2012, 09:18 AM
As Kathyrn said, Gc is definitely hit or miss. I was killing some time in GC a few weeks ago and picked up a Lanikai LU-22 to plink around on. I did notice the set up was actually quite good and the intonation was almost spot on, which is very surprising for an off the floor uke at GC. I asked about the price and they wanted on $59 for the uke, so it did go home with me. The sales guy on the floor kept trying to get me buy a brand new, in the box instrument though. :) So if you do find one you like, make sure to get that one, do not let them go in the back and get you a new one in the box. It takes some work to find an acceptable instrument at GC and you do need to know what you a relooking for, that is why HMS, Mim, Ukerepublic, Mainland, etc., are much better for the beginner with no knowledge.

Out of all the other ukes I messed around with in GC this one was the only one that I would have considered. The Lunas on the floor, while nicely finished, were just really lacking in intonation and definitely needed some set up work. The Cordobas were a little better but none had (at least to my ears) acceptable intonation up the neck. I did not try out any of the tenors though.

I had the same experience. I was getting guitar strings for my wife. The Lanikai I played there was very nice. Hope the original poster can play the one being purchased before buying.
Also, I have a tenor flea. I used to have a soprano flea. I really like them. You can take them anywhere and not worry about it. Mine gets played a lot.

jsuarez
12-17-2012, 06:43 PM
Wow! Thanks a lot for the advice guys! after thinking a little bit I'm trying to decide between these two.

http://www.theukulelesite.com/kala-ka-c-concert.html

OR

http://www.theukulelesite.com/cordoba-15cm-mahogany-concert.html

I guess I'd buy it from Hawaii Music Supply because of what you guys have told me. Any last minutes tips? or help deciding which one should I get? I'm even open for more buying options.

Thanks a lot for all the advice & help guys :)

kvehe
12-17-2012, 07:09 PM
Hmmmmm...I think either would be fine. Aaron certainly endorses the Cordoba! Tough choice! More people will have had actual experience with the Kala line than with Cordoba, but that's just because there are more of them! Knowing me, if I had chosen between the two last Februarary when I started, I'd have picked the Cordoba, but that's just me.

coolkayaker1
12-17-2012, 07:12 PM
Either of the two you list should be fine, j. The most important part of your post is that you're getting it from a reputable dealer who will not sell you rubbish. HMS is top notch.

(that said, I'd buy the Cordoba...lol. They make $3000 classical guitars. Kala is just good quality low to middle end ukes, nothing more).

Unless you know what to listen for, like experienced ukers Newportlocal or Jglover, you are much better off not trying to judge a uke in a store...it's hard! (esp with a 16 year old playing "Monkey Wrench" by the Foo Fighters through a Marshall stack right next to you).

P's idea of a flea is a good one, too. I still think that a concert is the best starter size, though. Good middle size, not too tight, and not too much stretch for 4-5 fret spanning knucklebusters. The best resale, though, if you ever plan to sell it would be the Flea or a Fluke.

pdxuke
12-17-2012, 08:39 PM
Also depends on the sound you want.

But I concur with a flea as a wider fretboard big hands uke. Very comfortable to play.

I like mahogany mainland style ukes, so I always tell beginners to go with Ohana, particularly the sk35 or ck35, or ck38 or sk38. If they have some in the shop, play one of those as well.

Welcome and good luck!

NoahOathKeeper
12-18-2012, 03:13 AM
I want to get my first uke & learn how to play it. I want to get a concert size, because I feel that the soprano would be too small for me. I am really interested in this ukulele:

http://www.guitarcenter.com/Luna-Guitars-Tattoo-Concert-Mahogany-Ukulele-106095201-i1531922.gc#customer-reviews

I've read several reviews and I'm a little concerned with the tuning. I read like two reviews that said that the uke goes out of tune very easily and very often. Does anyone own this uke or a Luna uke? & is it a good brand? I'm new to the ukulele word so i could use a little help. Also any other tips about anything or any other options of ukuleles i can buy.
Thanks a lot!

well let me tell you what i think :D I played one of these after the "FREE" set up by guitar center and i thought it was a really good sounding interment for its price . i bet for your money you will really be happy with that ukulele for a long time . Please keep in mind , that we here at ukulele underground are great people that love to help and talk ukuleles we all can tend to be ukulele snobs a bit . but in the end the best sounding ukulele is the one in your hands at the moment , that helps you get started , anyhow IMO its a very good starter uke and if set up i bet you will enjoy it ...
PS im 6 ft 5 220 lbs with hands like meat slabs and i play a soprano still . though i wish id started on a tenor

PTOEguy
12-18-2012, 04:34 AM
Put me down as another vote in favor of the flea. However, in my research it appears that a flea is in general about twice what you were looking to pay. The lowest cost I've been able to find on a flea is to get a factory second direct from the manufacturer - its not well advertised on their site, but it will save you 20%. http://magicfluke.com/

23skidoo
12-18-2012, 05:10 AM
Cordoba, Ohana, and Kala ukes are all good options at this price point. I've played all three and they're fairly consistent if - as others have said - they're set up properly. My first ukulele was the tenor model of the Kala KA-C you linked to upthread. It's a great starter instrument - good intonation, plays well, and a really nice tone for the price - you can hear it in some of the earlier videos on my YouTube channel linked in my signature.

Buying from HMS, Mike at Uke Republic, or Mim is the way to go with a budget priced instrument - as mentioned, they'll make sure you don't get a lemon.

That being said - if you can spend a little more, go ahead and do it now. I wish I had. With ukuleles, you tend to get what you pay for.... the $200-300 price point is a big step up in money but you get the corresponding improvement in playability and tone. Mainland and Kamoa E3 ukuleles in that price range are worth the extra scratch, if you can swing it.....

Welcome - and enjoy.....

Ethan
12-18-2012, 05:27 AM
As a newbie, I can only second 23skidoo's comments. I have bought a number of ukes, each one better than the last but I think I would have been best served by buying a good one to start. This is definitely a bit more but I own one and love it...
http://www.theukulelesite.com/pono-mc-micro-blem-s-all-solid-mahogany-concert-w-case.html

In the end, you should get what sounds good to you and you feel comfortable paying. But definitely get if from one of the three listed by 23skidoo.

cantsing
12-18-2012, 07:30 AM
My first ukulele was the tenor model of the Kala KA-C you linked to upthread. It's a great starter instrument ...

Buying from HMS, Mike at Uke Republic, or Mim is the way to go with a budget priced instrument - as mentioned, they'll make sure you don't get a lemon.

My first ukulele was also the Kala KA-T, the tenor version of the Kala mentioned above, and it was a great starter uke. And I agree, at this price point, you should strongly consider buying from a reputable dealer who specializes in ukuleles.

DaveVisi
12-18-2012, 08:02 AM
In my opinion, Kala is almost always a safe choice, especially if you're buying sight unseen from an online dealer.

pdxuke
12-18-2012, 09:55 AM
Let me jump in with a thought...

I own a vintage Martin, and a Kamaka. I do NOT consider my Ohana instruments as "starters." :-) The instruments I have (one--sk35-- from MGM, the other-sk38-- from Uke Republic, the third--sopranino-- from Elderly) are fine, fine instruments, with easy playability and quality. They are keepers, and fit well with my upper end ukes for my purposes. They are the sound I want, the look I want and the quality I demand.

I can't say that about other "factory" ukes I've owned. But I can say it about Ohana. I mention this because some are of the opinion (and entitled to it!) that Ohana's are a "beginners" instrument and that you will eventually move on from it. Well, I've moved on from Kiwaya, Bushman, Mele, Gretsch, and Gibson-- but not Ohana.

My two cents. Your mileage may vary...

Newportlocal
12-18-2012, 10:08 AM
Wow! Thanks a lot for the advice guys! after thinking a little bit I'm trying to decide between these two.

http://www.theukulelesite.com/kala-ka-c-concert.html

OR

http://www.theukulelesite.com/cordoba-15cm-mahogany-concert.html

I guess I'd buy it from Hawaii Music Supply because of what you guys have told me. Any last minutes tips? or help deciding which one should I get? I'm even open for more buying options.

Thanks a lot for all the advice & help guys :)

Don't know if you already bought, but my advice would be call them. Tell them your budget and let them help you.

coolkayaker1
12-18-2012, 12:37 PM
I agree with pdxuke regarding Ohana. If you wanted to increase your budget and get a fantastic ukulele, Ohana is well known and good.

Don't feel badly about buying a ninety nine doll hair Kala or Cordoba, though. As long as you buy it from HMS, it'll serve you well as you grow in the sport. I mean hobby. I mean ...I don't know what I mean.

kvehe
12-18-2012, 12:47 PM
I agree with pdxuke regarding Ohana. If you wanted to increase your budget and get a fantastic ukulele, Ohana is well known and good.

Don't feel badly about buying a ninety nine doll hair Kala or Cordoba, though. As long as you buy it from HMS, it'll serve you well as you grow in the sport. I mean hobby. I mean ...I don't know what I mean.

LOL! Is a "doll hair" Kala/Cordoba better or worse than one strung with fishing line? That is too funny!!! LOL!!

Thanks, coolkayaker1, for a good laugh at the end of a long day. I'm leaving the office with a smile.