PDA

View Full Version : Help! Upgrading - what to buy. Ideas please.



Mattyukaholic
01-29-2013, 10:54 PM
Hi guys,

I've been thinking a lot about upgrading to the next level of ukulele from where I am at the moment. You can see in my signature - but I mostly play Mainlands and my Islander MSS4. I was thinking of going up to the 300 or $400-500 range.

Are there any recommendations? The sound I really like the most is a soft/warm mahogany sound. My Islander has that nice warm sound to it and is the ukulele I've ended up playing non-stop.

The kind of thing I've been considering is a Pono, or the lower end of Big Island or Martin.

Any ideas really would be gratefully received. Thanks so much.
Matt

PS. I'm new to posting on the forum, but I've been enjoying it for ages. I've especially loved the 'What your uke means to you' thread. Really heartwarming. I live in London and play ukulele in a band called A Fine Day for Sailing.

haolejohn
01-29-2013, 11:23 PM
Hi guys,

I've been thinking a lot about upgrading to the next level of ukulele from where I am at the moment. You can see in my signature - but I mostly play Mainlands and my Islander MSS4. I was thinking of going up to the 300 or $400-500 range.

Are there any recommendations? The sound I really like the most is a soft/warm mahogany sound. My Islander has that nice warm sound to it and is the ukulele I've ended up playing non-stop.

The kind of thing I've been considering is a Pono, or the lower end of Big Island or Martin.

Any ideas really would be gratefully received. Thanks so much.
Matt

PS. I'm new to posting on the forum, but I've been enjoying it for ages. I've especially loved the 'What your uke means to you' thread. Really heartwarming. I live in London and play ukulele in a band called A Fine Day for Sailing.
Matt,
This is just my opinion (i haven't played a new martin so I can't say) but I really don't think you will see that much of an improvement over your mainland or islander (I haven't played one of those either).
With your price range you are looking at an import. What you have already are two imports. I look at the ukulele upgrade as:
1. cheap laminate lower quality uke
2. nicer laminate/soild top
3. Nicer solid wood imports (mainland, ohana, even kala)
4. Handmade imports (Mele, Pono, Big Island, etc)
5. Hawaiian Ks and other non custom makers
6. custom

The thing is your mainland will be just as nice sounding as the Pono or the Big ISland (generally speaking IMO). I've owned my fair share of Meles, a few ponos and one big island ukulele and I currently own a few mainlands as well. Mainland ukes are hard to get better than in that price range. I am a huge Mele fan but even I find it hard to chose a Mele over a mainland. Of course I have a red cedar mainland which might be why.

bbqribs
01-30-2013, 03:38 AM
I look at the ukulele upgrade as:
1. cheap laminate lower quality uke
2. nicer laminate/soild top
3. Nicer solid wood imports (mainland, ohana, even kala)
4. Handmade imports (Mele, Pono, Big Island, etc)
5. Hawaiian Ks and other non custom makers
6. custom


The 6 steps of UAS descent.

vanflynn
01-30-2013, 04:17 AM
If possible the old adage "play before you pay" is always wise. Maybe some of our UK members can suggest shops that carry ukes in your area.

PhilUSAFRet
01-30-2013, 06:34 AM
Your budget is getting near the cost of a custom uke from one of your fine English luthiers if you add a little to it.

Mattyukaholic
01-30-2013, 10:43 AM
Thanks guys. Anyone know any good Uke luthiers over here? Been to a couple of shops but it's all Kalas (not that there's anything wrong with Kalas - I have 2.)

haolejohn
01-30-2013, 11:00 AM
Thanks guys. Anyone know any good Uke luthiers over here? Been to a couple of shops but it's all Kalas (not that there's anything wrong with Kalas - I have 2.)

Head over to the Luthier's lounge. I know of Pete Howlett and there are some more.

Kamanaaloha
01-30-2013, 08:20 PM
Pono MTD or ATD from HMS and set up by HMS. You will not be disappointed IMHO. Good luck!

Maybe seek out a braginha luthier from Portugal. After all, that is where the ukulele came from. I would be interested to see what u get if not a Pono.

Mattyukaholic
01-30-2013, 09:09 PM
Looks like I'm buying a Pono concert from somebody on this board. I'll post about it when I get it.

Tigeralum2001
01-30-2013, 09:13 PM
Although I don't own one, I think Pono is probably the best import and competitive with many more renown brands, especially on the high end of Pono's line. Not sure ~$500 gets you into the high end.

My advice is to save a little longer. Yes, it is hard to appreciate delayed gratification, but it will totally be worth it. Maybe check the marketplace for used gear or HMS for scratch & dent.

lennymac
01-31-2013, 08:05 AM
Have a look on ukulele.de - a german site -they'll have load of options in your range.

ukeeku
01-31-2013, 08:56 AM
Stop being a panzy! Just save up more and get a Kanile'a!
I am so happy I did not buy a pono or some other mid-grade 8-string. I sold everything I am not using (Including my soul) and got a K-1 Prem 8-string.
Think about this way. you can keep spending money and then losing money when you sell the uke to buy THE uke you actually wanted, just spend it now and not waste time and money.

I have been told I am the worst uke pusher in the world.

mm stan
01-31-2013, 09:47 AM
Aloha Matt,
Keep Saving and watch the UU marketplace for used premimum ukes....a few hundred and you'd be there....Good Luck.....and Happy Strummings....

PedalFreak
01-31-2013, 10:45 AM
Aloha Matt,
Keep Saving and watch the UU marketplace for used premimum ukes....a few hundred and you'd be there....Good Luck.....and Happy Strummings....

I second this. You are in a price range where just a little more can get you a much better uke :)

bnolsen
01-31-2013, 11:47 AM
Spend the money on uke lessons. If you buy too expensive a ukulele without the proper skill to play it involves potentially high risk. You might be a danger to yourself and others.

Plainsong
01-31-2013, 11:59 AM
Spend the money on uke lessons. If you buy too expensive a ukulele without the proper skill to play it involves potentially high risk. You might be a danger to yourself and others.

I don't buy that. The first instrument I ever played was a plastic Bundy clarinet. I played that for 5 years before jumping to a pro level Buffet R13, which I picked from about 5 or so I got to take home for a couple weeks. It was a nice change in feel (not to mention tone, though the player has more control over that).

And starting with the Buffet? Wouldn't have hurt me one little single bit (Mouthpieces, ligature, and reed choices excepted.). It's no different with the uke. Even if you're not Jake or James, you can get enjoyment for just yourself, in the feel of the neck, and th tone it's capable of giving you. I argue that it makes you try harder, and be better.

But I also advocate lessons if you're able. Never a bad thing.

Pete Howlett
02-02-2013, 10:46 AM
I'm surprised you haven't been to the Southern Ukulele Store in Bournemouth - the best resource in the UK for trying and buying...

Mattyukaholic
02-02-2013, 10:54 AM
I'm surprised you haven't been to the Southern Ukulele Store in Bournemouth - the best resource in the UK for trying and buying...

Actually that's where I got my Islander MSS4 from :) I don't get to travel out of London much though. There's s good shop called the Duke of Uke but apart from that it all seems to be guitars.

Pete Howlett
02-02-2013, 11:03 AM
I was unaware that Duke of Uke was a shop anyone recommended. C'mon mate, Bournemouth is a short train ride away from London, practically within spitting distance of your front door. If you are serious about acquiring a good uke, the train fare would be worth it just for the opportunity to get to play a range of instruments and talk to people in the know. They have sold out of mine and wont see any 'til the spring so I am not canvassing here...

Mattyukaholic
02-02-2013, 11:45 AM
I was unaware that Duke of Uke was a shop anyone recommended. C'mon mate, Bournemouth is a short train ride away from London, practically within spitting distance of your front door. If you are serious about acquiring a good uke, the train fare would be worth it just for the opportunity to get to play a range of instruments and talk to people in the know. They have sold out of mine and wont see any 'til the spring so I am not canvassing here...

Alright! :) I'll get meself down there when I get a chance. I might make a trip in the spring and make a day of it.