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View Full Version : Best ukulele for $250



coryfor
01-30-2013, 08:01 AM
I am in the market to buy a new ukulele. I have not decided if I want a concert or tenor but I have $250 to spend on it. I would prefer a solid wood uke if possible. Let me know some ideas.

RichM
01-30-2013, 08:20 AM
Mainland: http://www.mainlandukuleles.com/

FairyGodmartyr
01-30-2013, 08:26 AM
I just got a classic mahogany Mainland tenor this week. They are $250. I am in love with mine (and may, possibly, walk around the house calling it "my precious" in my best Gollum voice...;) ).

Mandarb
01-30-2013, 08:27 AM
Mainland: http://www.mainlandukuleles.com/

....agreed....


I just got a classic mahogany Mainland tenor this week. They are $250. I am in love with mine (and may, possibly, walk around the house calling it "my precious" in my best Gollum voice...;) ).

Glad to hear you are enjoying your Mainland and welcome to the UU.

PedalFreak
01-30-2013, 08:28 AM
I'd save up a little more and get one of these Pono's

http://www.theukulelesite.com/pono-ac-acacia-concert.html

http://www.theukulelesite.com/pono-mc-mahogany-concert-ukulele.html

http://www.theukulelesite.com/pono-mt-mahogany-tenor.html

Just a little more money, but a lot more ukulele :)

Macmuse
01-30-2013, 09:50 AM
And, just to make it harder to choose, I'd suggest one of these after playing the concert that arrived yesterday - for the price, yes, it impressed me that much: http://pilikoko.com/index.php?main_page=index&cPath=1

I can definitely recommend the concert - I opted for bone nut and saddle (+$10) and took advantage of their insane $15 discount for paying with PayPal, which covered the upgrade and still saved me $5. Can't beat it for solid acacia and the price.

Here's their discount offer: http://pilikoko.com/index.php?main_page=paypal_promo good through Feb 29, 2013.

Maybe others can chime in about the tenor since I don't have firsthand experience with that one.

The other solid I really like is the Kala okoume tenor I have. HMS shows as out of stock and it's right at your price point before shipping. Looks like ukerepublic may still have it for a few dollars more, but I don't know what their shipping is. I want to do proper review of this one but have to read the guidelines and play it a little longer. :)

Edit: what it really is going to come down to is getting clips you can listen to so you can hear the sound to compare, deciding what look you like and even better, somehow getting your hands on the actual ones (easier said than done, for most of us, sadly). After quite a bit of research and listening to lots and lots of audio (thanks youtube and HMS especially - though nothing I play sounds anything like Aaron or anyone else at HMS!) it's still hard to decide.

Best of luck and hope you find the one that appeals to your eye and ear. :)

coryfor
01-30-2013, 10:01 AM
I have been looking at the pilikoko ukes but I have not heard much about them

Macmuse
01-30-2013, 10:03 AM
I have been looking at the pilikoko ukes but I have not heard much about them

I just posted my New Uke Day for mine and there are some folks who have played them longer and seem to love them. Maybe they will chime in too to give you more to go on.

edit: here's a discussion of the pili koko vs. a pono concert, if it's any help: http://www.ukuleleunderground.com/forum/showthread.php?70419-Koa-Pili-Koko-Concert-or-Pono-Concert&highlight=pili+koko

ShawnMilo
01-30-2013, 11:13 AM
How much of a rush are you in? I'd say monitor the blemish page on HMS for a nice one at a huge discount. That's how I bought nearly all of my ukes:

http://www.theukulelesite.com/ukuele-market/vintage-used-blem-specials.html

You can even be automatically e-mailed when they make a change: http://www.changedetection.com/

I got a Pono concert for $239...

gbeckwith
12-05-2013, 08:18 PM
I'm gonna chime in a little late on this and say that over the past several months I've had some fantastic deals with Alulu (Taiwan) and Bruce Wei Art tenors and concerts. They are available on eBay only. (Inlaidartist instruments are crap! They're the third SE Asia seller on eBay.)

Before the scoffers start, Alulu's are solid and well appointed and are very reasonably priced. I put a piezo in mine and and use it on stage. The Bruce Wei's are less expensive but are still solid and also well appointed. They may require some setup but the wood and craftsmanship is very good. When I can get solid ukes for the same price or less than the big name laminates I'll go with those. I'm not much for branding.

You will probably also find that the instruments you find in your $250 price range are laminates and not American made. I have a couple of Lanikais from China and Eddy Finns. I live in Japan and have access to some very high end instruments and have had the chance to play many, many. I'll stay with the solids from SE Asia.

kohanmike
12-05-2013, 09:57 PM
I recently bought a Gretsch G9121 A.C.E. tenor, solid top, excellent sound and feel. It sells for $219 most places.

http://www.kohanmike.com/images/u3Gretsch.jpg

Bao
12-06-2013, 03:23 AM
Taisamlu actually has solid spruce top ukuleles (laminate side and back) for only 50 dollars! I was thinking of getting some myself. I have their guitarlele and it's very well built and hasn't had any problems except for initially high action.

Asmus ukuleles are also cool. They're from the same factory as pili koko, I think.

Wagster
12-06-2013, 09:40 PM
I recently bought a Gretsch G9121 A.C.E. tenor, solid top, excellent sound and feel. It sells for $219 most places.

http://www.kohanmike.com/images/u3Gretsch.jpg


I really wish you hadn't posted that.... (sigh)

blue_knight_usa
12-08-2013, 01:00 PM
I really wish you hadn't posted that.... (sigh)
I have the Gretsch 9121 as well. It's my travel uke. For the price, solid top, built in Fishman, it's really a great value and great player.

OldePhart
12-09-2013, 03:49 AM
I'll second the notion that it is hard to go wrong with a Mainland, though some of the tenors might be just a bit over your $250 budget.

Frankly, I'd wait a little longer if necessary to be able to get a Mainland or a nicely set up Ohana solid wood model or something similar. The key is that in that price range there is no "best" uke and there is going to be some variation in playability, etc. That's why you want to go with a reputable seller that will weed out any unfit specimens and then set the uke up properly. This is what the folks at HMS, Uke Republic, Mims, etc. do (and is what Mike and Tookta at Mainland do on their own line).

It is the setup and loving attention by uke-loving sellers, more than the names on the headstocks, that potentially make any uke in this price range a "best" uke.

Don't forget that if you are purchasing a solid-wood uke you should also budget for a case (the canvas and foam "semi-hard" cases are fine unless you plan on flying with it) and humidifier so you can maintain the uke properly.

John

Spud1$
12-09-2013, 06:47 AM
I have a kala solid okoume tenor which I got blemished from HMS for $249 all set up. I think it sounds beautiful and the blemish makes it unique to me. It's just s teensy knot in the wood like a beauty mark!

tonet
12-10-2013, 06:56 AM
Mahi Mahi and Bruko ukuleles have some solid mahogany tenors for around 250 bucks. Their sound is very nice.

jimmysworking
12-10-2013, 08:32 AM
I received a blemish tenor from Mainland for less than your limit and couldn't be happier. Still trying to find what would be considered the blemish on this thing.