PDA

View Full Version : Best ukulele for heavy travelling?



unijaw
03-29-2013, 07:27 AM
Hey folks I've done some reading on this already but I decided to make a thread on this forum for direct opinions regarding this. Essentially I'm going on a backpacking trip around the UK. I'll be sleeping rough most nights with my tarp and bivy bag. It'll be a fun time but I want to take a ukulele along with me. Now I love the ukulele but I haven't really had much of a chance to practice it and I'm basically a beginner. I still fumble chords and struggle to keep a good strum. At anyrate I'll be taking my uke with my while I go backpacking. Currently I own a dirt cheap 'Vintage' soprano ukulele which I purchased from amazon:http://www.amazon.co.uk/Vintage-VUK20N-Ukulele-Outfit-Tan/dp/B002QFX9O6/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1364577566&sr=8-1
My question is what ukulele is good to take on a long backpacking trip? I've looked around and seen some travel ukuleles which are thinner than most but I've also seen people recommend a flea ukulele for camping on this forum claiming that its a very durable instrument. I intend to invest on a very good ukulele ideally solid wood as I hear that solid wood is superior to laminate would anyone have any reccomendations on ideal ukuleles for my needs? I'm concerned a flea ukulele might have too wide a base to fit into my sidepocket. Essentially I have my uke stored in my sidepocket with the top poking out. Here's the backpack if you are interested: http://store.berghaus.com/p/packs/crusader-90-plus-20-mmps-rucksack/434644 It's worth mentioning that I'm a jobless student who spent most of his leftovers from his loan on travelling gear so pennies are tight:o

unijaw
03-31-2013, 03:15 PM
I'm considering this KALA travel uke series KA-SSTU-T any thoughts? Is a travel ukulele (thin body) worth having for my first tenor? Supposedly the sound is very good on this tenor but I currently have no experience on a tenor and I Intend to go and play around with one in a music store. Problem is the only store in my town does not stock ukuleles so I'll have to go on a ukulele hunt.
http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Kala-Travel-Uke-Series-KA-SSTU-T-Spruce-Top-Slim-Tenor-Travel-Ukulele-w-Gig-Bag-/181107104800?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item2a2ad31c20

haolejohn
03-31-2013, 03:19 PM
I have owned a travel soprano...meh...kinda expensive. I do not like fleas or flukes. I ended up getting myself a beat up cracked mainland red cedar concert for my backpacking trips. Every year I do one big trip (100 miles or so) and that is the uke I carry. I keep it in a plastic bag to keep from getting wet. I place it in my pack when hiking. I just have to remember not to drop my pack to hard.
That is what I recommend. Find something that is around $50 or less. That way if it is broken...the pain isn't to bad.

DaleR
03-31-2013, 03:23 PM
Dolphin would be my choice. And they play really nice as well.

mm stan
03-31-2013, 03:37 PM
My Tenor Fluke and Flea....

unijaw
03-31-2013, 03:40 PM
I have owned a travel soprano...meh...kinda expensive. I do not like fleas or flukes. I ended up getting myself a beat up cracked mainland red cedar concert for my backpacking trips. Every year I do one big trip (100 miles or so) and that is the uke I carry. I keep it in a plastic bag to keep from getting wet. I place it in my pack when hiking. I just have to remember not to drop my pack to hard.
That is what I recommend. Find something that is around $50 or less. That way if it is broken...the pain isn't to bad.

I suppose that is the most sensible option I have a 'vintage' ukulele....http://www.amazon.co.uk/Vintage-VUK20N-Ukulele-Outfit-Tan/dp/B002QFX9O6/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1364780021&sr=8-1
but because I'm brand new to ukuleles I don't know if its any good or not. It sounds okay I guess but its dirt cheap and until I get my hands on a concert and tenor I'm not going to go buying any online. I think I would prefer a larger size however. The problem Is I can't keep practising the ukulele unless I take it with me on my travels which I really want to do.
I heard a scarestory on a Kala travel uke KA-SSTU-T review the reviewer explained that the neck was bending forward as if the strings where pulling it apart. This was just some random review on a retail site should I be worried based upon this? Every other review did not mention such a thing. I'll most likely get a dolphin If I can test it out to see how it compares to my current uke. A magic fluke is another but quite pricey option.

haolejohn
03-31-2013, 04:03 PM
I suppose that is the most sensible option I have a 'vintage' ukulele....http://www.amazon.co.uk/Vintage-VUK20N-Ukulele-Outfit-Tan/dp/B002QFX9O6/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1364780021&sr=8-1
but because I'm brand new to ukuleles I don't know if its any good or not. It sounds okay I guess but its dirt cheap and until I get my hands on a concert and tenor I'm not going to go buying any online. I think I would prefer a larger size however. The problem Is I can't keep practising the ukulele unless I take it with me on my travels which I really want to do.
I heard a scarestory on a Kala travel uke KA-SSTU-T review the reviewer explained that the neck was bending forward as if the strings where pulling it apart. This was just some random review on a retail site should I be worried based upon this? Every other review did not mention such a thing. I'll most likely get a dolphin If I can test it out to see how it compares to my current uke. A magic fluke is another but quite pricey option.

dolphin will probably be similar to what you have. They are cheap and sound like it. There is a cultish following about them. Just use what you have. I used soprano ukes before, but once I got that mainland I quit bringing them. soprano ukes are easier to tote around in a pack.

Tigeralum2001
03-31-2013, 04:03 PM
Blackbird? Maybe overkill, but it will survive almost anything.

connor013
03-31-2013, 04:08 PM
Bring that Vintage along and then play it until it's vintage.

:2cents:

Bruce Hooper
03-31-2013, 04:12 PM
I had a Kala spruce Soprano travel uke, it was fantastic. I recently sold it as I purchased a 8 string Lanakai, what a hoot. I recently came across a LENO LHT-SMF-CE-TB Splted Maple cutaway, what a beautiful ukulele, currently out of stock in Australia , but due in about 3 months. $359.00 au .

hawaii 50
03-31-2013, 04:23 PM
the Kala slimline is good and the price is right..check
www.theukulelesite.com
aka HMS
they sound good too and they do a setup for you n/c

Newportlocal
03-31-2013, 04:46 PM
I would take a flea. Worst case scenario if it didn't fit put it in a stuff sack and strap it on. 17cm at widest spot on soundboard. Depth of 6cm. Now you can measure and see if it fits.

WestyShane
03-31-2013, 05:05 PM
After 5 years of carting my laminate Maholo U-300R soprano around - carelessly thrown in the back of my van, friends' truck, pack, snow, sleet, and rain - I suggest getting whatever $50 laminate that you can find, throw on some Aquila strings (and have a few other types in the pack to try out) and have fun on your trip.

Get something cheap that won't weigh you down with worry. Ambiance and mood has a lot to do with good sound. Don't wreck your mood worr ying about babying an expensive uke.

That said, the Kala travel uke I played aroudn with at my local music shop sounded pretty darn nice. Wifey prefered its plunky sound to the Martin concert I brought home too. But at $200 bucks I sure wouldn't want to leave it out on the ground very often.

dirtiestkidever
03-31-2013, 05:19 PM
It looks like they are taking pre-orders for these next week (outdoor ukulele (http://outdoorukulele.com/)). $100. They look very interesting.

bnolsen
03-31-2013, 06:11 PM
It looks like they are taking pre-orders for these next week (outdoor ukulele (http://outdoorukulele.com/)). $100. They look very interesting.

definitely would be my next uke purchase.

unijaw
04-01-2013, 05:45 AM
It looks like they are taking pre-orders for these next week (outdoor ukulele (http://outdoorukulele.com/)). $100. They look very interesting.

That looks very interesting. i took a look at the website and currently there is no news do you know anymore about it? For the moment i'll stick with my soprano I'm too new to the ukulele to go spending too much on it. There's always a chance I will just give it up in a couple of weeks I like to think that isn't going to happen however. Are there special weatherproof ukulele bags? Or should I just use a gig bag and trash bags for waterproofing? Also I'm concerned that strapping the ukulele onto my backpack would damage the strings/ Should I have the strings pressed into the pack so the ukulele back is facing outward or should I do it the other way around? Thanks folks you've been a great help

DaleR
04-01-2013, 06:15 AM
My Ohana soft cases actually have a clip ring that you can attach a clip to. This way you just hook in onto you backpack.

PereBourik
04-01-2013, 06:30 AM
I have a Lanikai Soprano Pineapple (LU-21P) as my roughing-it ukulele. It's cheap enough that I won't worry about it. But as it accumulates travel stories I grow more and more attached to it. Should it succumb to the hazards of the road my replacement choices would be a concert neck Flea or the Outdoor Ukulele.

Pondoro
04-01-2013, 10:44 AM
You already have a cheap travel uke, use it. Why invest 2-4 times the value on a Kala Flea or Fluke? Use your cheap uke, practice, get better. If it survives that is great. If it gets damaged buy a new one just like it or else buy a more expensive replacement if you come into some cash.

unijaw
04-07-2013, 08:00 AM
I took it out travelling and although it felt a bit insecure with the gig bag handle attached to my backpack using a karabina but apart from that I got on quite fine. I took it to the woods and played it around the campfire. I only know like two songs at this point however but it was still fun. anyone know of any decent soprano gig bags that have attachment points which I can use to secure my ukulele properly?

Tootler
04-07-2013, 10:13 PM
You already have a cheap travel uke, use it. Why invest 2-4 times the value on a Kala Flea or Fluke? Use your cheap uke, practice, get better. If it survives that is great. If it gets damaged buy a new one just like it or else buy a more expensive replacement if you come into some cash.

Good suggestion.

Although I have a Flea, love it and use it as my main instrument for singarounds at local folk clubs, I keep a cheapo Lidl uke in my car for when I go away. It's sturdily made and robust.

Get hold of a copy of Mark Wallington's "The Uke of Wallington". It's about his travels with a uke and is an enjoyable read.

experimentjon
04-07-2013, 10:24 PM
It looks like they are taking pre-orders for these next week (outdoor ukulele (http://outdoorukulele.com/)). $100. They look very interesting.

Indeed, that is an interesting one. I think they should have put a soundhole at the top of the headstock too like the Blackbird to take full advantage of the hollow neck.

As for travel, I'd feel pretty comfortable with a Fluke or a Flea. Applause also makes a few sopranos that are relatively inexpensive and probably sounds better than the plastic travel uke. UAE-20, UA-10, etc. I had the UA10 before, and played a friend's UAE20 pretty extensively. They were not bad. And it would more than likely fit in that side pocket.

Lalz
04-11-2013, 07:46 AM
Perhaps a Martin OXK? They're pretty sturdy

TheCraftedCow
04-11-2013, 10:06 PM
There is a company sells Eddy Finn Minnows in the UK. It comes with a ten year written warranty. Here in the USA, I have placed over four dozen in different schools. They are better than any other entry level ukulele for sound ,price and construction. One of them would be my choice in a backpacking outing. One goes slackwater kayaking with us.

flow_2015
09-29-2017, 01:38 PM
Although this is an outdated thread, I think this guide for best travel ukulele (https://www.themusicianlab.com/ukulele/best-travel-ukulele/) can be handy for someone in the search.
Hope that helps!

igorthebarbarian
09-29-2017, 08:52 PM
Although this is an outdated thread, I think this guide for best travel ukulele (https://www.themusicianlab.com/ukulele/best-travel-ukulele/) can be handy for someone in the search.
Hope that helps!

LOL at this recommendation:
"Best Travel Ukulele
CORDOBA MINI O-CE" - errrmmmm you do realize this is a 6-string guitar!?!?

Croaky Keith
09-29-2017, 11:06 PM
.......&, obviously, have never heard of RISA - the RISA Stick/Solid must be the most travel friendly uke of all time......

(Admittedly, you'd probably want a headphone or mini amp to go with it. :) )

And what about a sopranino, surely that's an ideal size for travelling. ;)

Graham Greenbag
09-29-2017, 11:18 PM
A brief look at the guide didn’t indicate to me that it was going to be helpful.

Out of curiosity I checked out some of the later posts then looked at the Eddy Finn website. They’re out of stock of their acoustic peanut Uke (Soprano) but it looked an interesting concept if you’re tight on luggage space. http://www.eddyfinn.com/store/p66/EF-PNUT.html If you prefer a traditional shape but with a thin body (rather than less wide as per the peanut) then Bruko might have just the thing for you and at a reasonable cost too: http://www.brueko.de/screen/product/sopran-ukulele-nr-5-mahagoni-ahorn-flach . Baz Maz did a review of a very similar Bruko and seemed happy enough, but check that out for yourself please.


For travel I bought a second hand 'intermediate' soprano laminate with a cover and then sorted out the strings and action - my time in doing so is worth way more than the original cost but the learning exercise has value to me too. That Uke's light, not that fragile, compactish, plays fine and loosing it wouldn’t be a financial blow; I think that something like that is a reasonable compromise for me but YMMV.

70sSanO
09-30-2017, 07:16 PM
RafterGirl made a recommendation for a beach uke that would probably fit a heavy travel uke. She recommends a Bonanza HPL concert. HPL is waterproof and from one review there is even a corian fretboard available.

John

DownUpDave
09-30-2017, 07:29 PM
It really depends on your type of travel. We go car camping and I have taken my Pono tenor in it's hard case many times for multiple day ventures with no issues. Remember there are plenty of people that travel around with all solid wood guitars. My brother inlaw hitch hiked around the US for 10 years during the 60s with a Martin D28 (spruce and rosewood). He busked street corners for survival. He still performs on stage with that same guitar.

I am on a river cruise right now with my Ko'olau Spruce Myrtle tenor. We can get way too hung up on how fragile and precious we think instruments are, they have been traveled with and played outdoors for centuries. Well before polycarbonites, laminates, fiberglass cases and Oasis humidifiers.

DownUpDave
09-30-2017, 08:01 PM
The most limiting dimensions on a travel uke, from my experience:

Overall length - this is the major problem with fitting a uke in a case or a box or backpack or anywhere.
How it sounds when you are tired and cranky at the end of the day. - You wont touch it if you can't stand how it sounds after day three of a longer trip, you just look for a post office to send it home. When you are tired and cranky there is no patience or space for a bad sounding uke.

Not much else matters if you really want to play a uke on your trip.

No truer words have been spoken............this is from personal experience, well said Bill.

103381

Graham Greenbag
09-30-2017, 11:27 PM
It really depends on your type of travel.

We can get way too hung up on how fragile and precious we think instruments are, they have been traveled with and played outdoors for centuries. Well before polycarbonites, laminates, fiberglass cases and Oasis humidifiers.

I’m sure that's hit the target are far as the most fundimental things to consider are, maybe I’d add how good you generally are are just looking after your stuff too. Those factors are all so individual that it’s near impossible to give a definitive answer and then we add in how good we expect it to sound too. It’s impossible, IMHO, to give a definitive answer but sharing experience of what’s worked for someone and in what circumstances is, I believe, helpful.

Enjoy the cruise, that’s travel in style and I suspect some intercontinental travel too to get to the ‘Ship’.

In an earlier post I gave my own current solution and ended my text with reference to each person’s individuality : “For travel I bought ............ I think that something like that is a reasonable compromise for me but YMMV.”

DownUpDave
09-30-2017, 11:35 PM
I’m sure that's hit the target are far as the most fundimental things to consider are, maybe I’d add how good you generally are are just looking after your stuff too. Those factors are all so individual that it’s near impossible to give a definitive answer and then we add in how good we expect it to sound too. It’s impossible, IMHO, to give a definitive answer but sharing experience of what’s worked for someone and in what circumstances is, I believe, helpful.

Just like everything else on this site we all share opinions and experiences. As you say what works for one person might not work for another. Personally I don't care how i destructable a ukulele is if it sounds like crap I won't play it. I have an inexpensive Islander all laminate long neck soprano that I think sounds good and have used that for my car uke.

Rllink
10-01-2017, 04:33 AM
It really depends on your type of travel. We go car camping and I have taken my Pono tenor in it's hard case many times for multiple day ventures with no issues. Remember there are plenty of people that travel around with all solid wood guitars. My brother inlaw hitch hiked around the US for 10 years during the 60s with a Martin D28 (spruce and rosewood). He busked street corners for survival. He still performs on stage with that same guitar.

I am on a river cruise right now with my Ko'olau Spruce Myrtle tenor. We can get way too hung up on how fragile and precious we think instruments are, they have been traveled with and played outdoors for centuries. Well before polycarbonites, laminates, fiberglass cases and Oasis humidifiers.I agree with Dave. I'm a pretty active fellow and take my ukulele with me. The same ukulele that I practice on all week goes to the farmer's market to busk on Saturday morning, goes camping with me later Saturday afternoon and then goes out for a ride on the bicycle trail on Sunday. I don't have a different ukulele for every imaginable circumstance, so one of my two ukuleles has to fill the gap. And considering that most of the time the two are living thousands of miles apart, the one that is on hand is the one that I'm playing. I am always surprised how rugged a plain old wood ukulele is. But for me, I am not so attached to either of my ukes that I'm not willing to take a bit of a risk with them. I guess that I just think that there are lots of ukuleles out there for sale, and if something were to happen to one of mine I would get a new one after the fact, and not buy numerous ukuleles in anticipation of some calamity. But at the moment I am not anticipating that something is going to happen. I take reasonably good care of them. I never leave them laying on the floor or sitting on a chair. If it starts raining I put them under something before they get too wet. I never play them in the surf, I never paddle my canoe with one of them, and I never pound tent stakes into the ground with them. I just play them.

maki66
10-01-2017, 04:47 AM
Enya HPL saprano.
Best bang for the buck.
Just change out the OEM strings!

70sSanO
10-01-2017, 05:14 AM
I can hardly remember a trip in the last 10 years where I didn't take one of my ukuleles. And they are all solid wood. That said, I haven't been in such extreme temperature changes that would cause an issue. It is really about temperature and humidity.

Pretty funny to compare posts that talk about not worrying about traveling and then posts that talk about a NUD where people sit and look at an unopened case for a few hours until it has acclimated to room temperature.

John

Booli
10-01-2017, 02:03 PM
...Pretty funny to compare posts that talk about not worrying about traveling and then posts that talk about a NUD where people sit and look at an unopened case for a few hours until it has acclimated to room temperature.

John

Yes, some great irony there. Maybe sometimes we lose sight of the two sides of every coin...

chefuke
10-01-2017, 06:33 PM
It really depends on your type of travel. We go car camping and I have taken my Pono tenor in it's hard case many times for multiple day ventures with no issues. Remember there are plenty of people that travel around with all solid wood guitars. My brother inlaw hitch hiked around the US for 10 years during the 60s with a Martin D28 (spruce and rosewood). He busked street corners for survival. He still performs on stage with that same guitar.

I am on a river cruise right now with my Ko'olau Spruce Myrtle tenor. We can get way too hung up on how fragile and precious we think instruments are, they have been traveled with and played outdoors for centuries. Well before polycarbonites, laminates, fiberglass cases and Oasis humidifiers.

Agreed! I am currently traveling through Vietnam (5 weeks) with my beat up '50 Martin just fine.
The locals love it very much and are generally surprised expecting a violin in the case.

besley
10-01-2017, 06:39 PM
AND remember that it depends on why you are taking the uke in the first place. If it's to entertain a group or for accompaniment you need good projection and volume. If it's just so you can practice, not so much. So while I think a Risa Stick uke would be ideal for lots of travel, it wouldn't help that much if what you wanted to do was lead a campfire singalong.