View Full Version : Is this a good begginer Ukelele?

01-07-2013, 06:42 AM
So I got a really crappy ukelele (http://www.amazon.com/First-Act-Discovery-Ukulele/dp/B002HQKXHK/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1357580247&sr=8-1&keywords=first+act+discovery+ukelele) from my cousin when she was moving away and I've been playing around with it and learning the basic chords, and I really like it. I would like to get a nicer one

I was thinking about this one because it got decent reviews:


But I saw a lot of people on youtube that sounded good had this one:


So is the first one good enough, or should I pay a little extra to get the nicer one? Or any other suggestions? I'm really not looking to spend over $80


01-07-2013, 06:53 AM
I'd recommend the Kala or a Lanikai LU-21 over the Mahalo.

Furthermore, I'd recommend you get it from a known dealer like Hawaii Music Supply: http://www.theukulelesite.com/kala-ka-s-soprano.html
They'll make sure the uke is in good playable condition, that the frets are even and the strings aren't set too high off the fretboard.

If you can stand the cutesy-ness of them, Makala Dolphins make great starter ukes when set up properly by a dealer as well: http://cargo.ukerepublic.com/product/makala-dolphin-soprano-mk-s

01-07-2013, 06:53 AM
Have you looked at these same ukuleles on a site like Hawaii Music Supply? (http://www.theukulelesite.com/shop-by/price.html) I bought my first ukulele from Amazon, but I'm now sold on the concept of buying from a site that specializes and sets them up. I just ordered a concert-sized Kala from HMS. It is taking longer to get to me than it would from Amazon, but I think it will be worth it. I will let the experts weigh in on which of these you should buy.

01-07-2013, 07:43 AM
I am actually in the same boat right now. I have a ukulele, but want a reasonably priced one for my daughter to start. I will probably buy from Mim's ukuleles, but HMS is the other good source. Can't go wrong with either in my opinion.

01-07-2013, 09:22 AM
i have and love this one

01-07-2013, 09:25 AM
Can't go wrong with either in my opinion.That's right from what you read on UU. Drop them a line or give them a call before ordering, they might have some good advice for you.

01-07-2013, 09:29 AM
That's right from what you read on UU. Drop them a line or give them a call before ordering, they might have some good advice for you.
Was planning on talking to Mim in a week when she gets back from vacation.

01-07-2013, 09:43 AM
If I had to rank these ukes I would go
1. Kala KA-S (mahogany laminate)
2. Makala MK-S (agathis laminate)
3. Lanikai LU21 (nato laminate)

... Mahalo U30 (???)

Buy from someone who knows ukes and add some Aquila strings - and you should be ready (even without testing before buying).

01-07-2013, 10:48 PM
Personally would never suggest anyone buy a Mahalo.

I've been flamed for saying that before, but I have played a LOT of them at clubs etc. The proportion I've played with bad setup, bad finish and in one or two cases, a build that meant the uke was impossible to set up without complete reconstruction means that their quality control sucks.

People have said to me "oh but they are getting better" and "there are some good ones, it is possible"

Sure - perhaps. And any brand has turkeys that slip through. I'm just saying that in my experience more turkeys slip through the Maholo line than pretty much any other brand I have come across.

If it was my money - I would go with the Kala or the Makala. Oh, and I would urge caution buying from Amazon - it will arrive with zero setup.

EDIT - thanks for this being pointed out to me - the turkeys I referred to were Mahalos, NOT Makalas!

01-08-2013, 03:32 AM
I would highly consider this Ohana http://cargo.ukerepublic.com/product/ohana-sk-10s-mahogany-soprano-player-pack

When you take into consideration that it comes with a tuner, gig bag and Aquilla strings, that's in your budget range and is a very nice playing uke.

Good luck

01-08-2013, 01:06 PM
I was also going to get a Mahalo U-30, though recently decided against it. There are some people who love theirs but if you do get one try to get it somewhere that will do a setup for you and get decent strings (aquila nylgut strings are often recommended.) I also recommend a Makala, from what I've read they are generally better quality (the dolphins aren't much more money from the Mahalo's either!) and I've seen more people recommend them - especially as a good starter uke. Just get it from a place that'll do a setup and get some aquila strings. I know that uke republic has dolphins with setup and aquilas all ready. Plus shipping they're around 60 bucks, at least for me.


I don't have any experience though, this is just from what I've researched while searching my own uke. So take my words with a grain of salt or two lol.

mm stan
01-08-2013, 03:49 PM
I would never buy from Amazon as they are not set up..sure they are cheaper, but after you have to take it to luthier for a setup, it will be more than if
you buy it from a respectable dealer that does set ups for free... we have a few here, just ask ....