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View Full Version : Looking for a Tenor Uke that will last



noob_uke
05-04-2013, 05:33 PM
After having a Kala 15S and not having it setup, my mistake, I am looking for a uke from HMS since they set it up.
Is it possible to have a good quality uke for no more that $200?
Looking for a Tenor and found this http://www.theukulelesite.com/kala-ka-pwt-pacific-walnut-tenor.html

Or what do you recommend.

dav_9
05-04-2013, 06:23 PM
For a little bit more you can get this for $225

http://www.theukulelesite.com/kala-ka-aslat-spruce-lacewood-all-solid.html

There are probably other options, but if you want to stick with Kala that ought to last you a while until UAS kicks in again. Note it is a solid instrument, not a laminate--so you might want to make sure you take care of humidity.

You might wanna consider an Islander MT-4 (or AT-4, both are laminates or hybrids I think?). During my research last month, I came close to pulling the trigger on one after reading all the positive reviews. The only gripes I had at the time was it wasn't glossy (subjective) and i wasn't sure how I felt with the wider nut size. I came from a Kala Tenor, and their neck sizes are pretty skinny. Should that really be the deciding factor? Nah.. I think it's easy to adapt to new shapes if you're patient enough to give it a fair chance. I've since moved up to a KoAloha which has a slightly wider neck than Kala, and it feels fine to me now.

I think for the $200 price range, you can't go wrong with Kala.

PereBourik
05-04-2013, 06:26 PM
After having a Kala 15S and not having it setup, my mistake, I am looking for a uke from HMS since they set it up.
Is it possible to have a good quality uke for no more that $200?
Looking for a Tenor and found this http://www.theukulelesite.com/kala-ka-pwt-pacific-walnut-tenor.html

Or what do you recommend.

I recommend you call HMS and ask them what's good. They'll treat you well. Mims Ukes too. Both are on this bulletin board and they care about their customers.

Patrick Madsen
05-04-2013, 07:13 PM
A Mainland from UkeRepublic is a good buy for around 250. I suggest you look at a used uke, more bang for the buck.

Tootler
05-04-2013, 10:34 PM
Possibly outside your budget, especially when you add shipping but Bruko are well worth considering. They are all solid wood as well. I've just bought a Bruko concert and finish & set up were immaculate.

Eb4i
05-04-2013, 11:29 PM
After having a Kala 15S and not having it setup, my mistake, I am looking for a uke from HMS since they set it up.
Is it possible to have a good quality uke for no more that $200?
Looking for a Tenor and found this http://www.theukulelesite.com/kala-ka-pwt-pacific-walnut-tenor.html

Or what do you recommend.

I was right where you are at last year. I wanted a Tenor Uke but i wanted a wood one (not a laminated 1) and i wanted something for around 200. I scoped around UU for weeks and finally got enough info to go with a Koa Pili Koko Tenor. With the Bone Conversion it was 225 and it was well worth it. I love this Uke and I frequent many local music stores playing around on Kala's, lanikais, and other miscellaneous brands and nothing comes close to my KPK. It even comes with worth strings which are pretty nice! You cant go wrong with a KPK in my opinion. :) Hopefully some others can back me up on that! Here is the link to the site! If I remember right, they are all wood hand made in Hawaii! Hope this helps!

http://pilikoko.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&products_id=3

Edit: Here is a link to the thread that made me go with the KPK! Some very helpful stuff!
http://www.ukuleleunderground.com/forum/showthread.php?65977-Kala-KA-ST-vs-KPK/page2

Edit 2: this uke comes set up with Worth clear strings and with a bone bridge conversion this handmade, all wood ukulele is a sweet deal. Comes with a gig bag too. I don't know if its still available but when I bought mine you could get it 10$ off for using google checkout. It's free shipping too. So if that deal is still available, it will cost you 215$ with set up, gig bag, bone conversion, and shipping. That's a pretty good deal

kevin54
05-05-2013, 12:34 AM
I can also recommend the Islander MT-4 which is a laminate. I bought it a few months ago and have been very pleased. Plus for $189.00 you also get a case from HMS. Set-up as great. Of course I've since gotten an additional tenor, solid mahogany Pono, and I have one strung for low G and one for high. I love them both!
Regards, Kevin

OldePhart
05-05-2013, 09:11 AM
You're right on the cusp of great things... :)

There are some decent ukes in your price range (if you by them from HMS or Mim, or uke Republic) who will set them up. However, you're right at the high end of what I consider the just barely tolerable range. I.e. the ukes in this range tend to be very variable - not only in setup but in how they actually sound once set up. Buying from a reputable dealer mentioned above will handle the setup issues, and to a certain extent the sound issues in that these guys will filter out any ukes that are truly terrible. However, even with that filtering you're going to see quite a bit of variance in what you might get. Put simply...if you buy from a reputable dealer you probably won't get a real dud but there is still a pretty good chance you might find yourself wanting something better within a year.

If you can stretch to about $300 - even if it means waiting for a few weeks to upgrade - you're getting into a range where consistency is a little better. Ukes in this range are still "factory" ukes and need to be set up but you are getting into solid woods, or at least solid tops, and generally there seems to be a little better consistency in tone and volume. Ukes in this range include Mainlands (set up by Mike and Tookta at Mainland in Indiana and also available from Uke Republic) and Kala, Lanikai, Ohana, and so on solid or solid-top ukes (still need to purchase from one of the folks mentioned above to ensure setup).

Another option that would be within your $200 $250 range is to look for a used Mainland or a Kala, Ohana, Lanikai, etc. solid in the marketplace forum here. If not a Mainland, ask the seller where he or she purchased it (i.e. "who set it up").

John

rowjimmytour
05-07-2013, 11:34 AM
I was right where you are at last year. I wanted a Tenor Uke but i wanted a wood one (not a laminated 1) and i wanted something for around 200. I scoped around UU for weeks and finally got enough info to go with a Koa Pili Koko Tenor. With the Bone Conversion it was 225 and it was well worth it. I love this Uke and I frequent many local music stores playing around on Kala's, lanikais, and other miscellaneous brands and nothing comes close to my KPK. It even comes with worth strings which are pretty nice! You cant go wrong with a KPK in my opinion. :) Hopefully some others can back me up on that! Here is the link to the site! If I remember right, they are all wood hand made in Hawaii! Hope this helps!

http://pilikoko.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&products_id=3

Edit: Here is a link to the thread that made me go with the KPK! Some very helpful stuff!
http://www.ukuleleunderground.com/forum/showthread.php?65977-Kala-KA-ST-vs-KPK/page2

Edit 2: this uke comes set up with Worth clear strings and with a bone bridge conversion this handmade, all wood ukulele is a sweet deal. Comes with a gig bag too. I don't know if its still available but when I bought mine you could get it 10$ off for using google checkout. It's free shipping too. So if that deal is still available, it will cost you 215$ with set up, gig bag, bone conversion, and shipping. That's a pretty good deal
+1 got a KPK tenor cutaway w/ bone conversion back in March and very pleased w/ quality, price, and sound:D The brown clears that come w/ set up are so sweet sounding.

Macmuse
05-07-2013, 12:06 PM
The KPK's are a good choice.

If you go with a kala from HMS I'd be more tempted by:

http://www.theukulelesite.com/kala-ka-st-solid-spruce-top-satin-finish.html

At $182 the shipping might push you over your $200 limit - no case, but they offer a gig bag for $14.

The lacewood tenor says out of stock. I think the only lacewoods available may be soprano. Mim may have some choices in this range too.

Another from HMS that really is a deal is:

http://www.theukulelesite.com/ka-smlt-new-lite-series-tenor-slothead-solid-okoume-wood.html

it comes with a case and is a really nice all solid, slothead too!

Good luck on your search.

SailingUke
05-07-2013, 12:15 PM
I have been playing some kids school programs, they like to reach out and strum my uke so I don't like taking a good one,
but I am vain so I want a good playing and sounding ukulele.
I just bought a Kamoa E3-T, it is red so the kids will love it. (I have a bunch of bright dolphins I pass out to them to strum on.)
The Kamoa is all wood, has a great voice and plays well. I changed the strings as I don't care for the feel of Aquillas.
I touched up a few sharp fret ends and the uke is ready for action. I am also an Ohana fan, but the Kamoa is a choice that should be considered.

PhilUSAFRet
05-07-2013, 04:02 PM
that lacewood from HMS is an awesome bargain. I played one and It's easily one of the best sounding ukes Kala has made.

Kamanaaloha
05-07-2013, 05:39 PM
get this one: http://www.theukulelesite.com/gretsch-solid-mahogany-tenor-ukulele-pack-9120-sm.html

discounted solid!

Tinstar
05-08-2013, 09:23 PM
I guess I'm the only Fender fan, but I love my Fender instruments and I just got my Fender NoHea Koa Tenor Ukulele Package for $199.00 from HMS. It is a beautiful instrument. It's laminated Koa wood in a glossy finish and abalone binding. It comes with a cool Fender gig bag. The set up by HMS is superb and it plays like a dream! I think the sound is very good, bright, with the Aguila Nylgut strings. Being a Fender fan, I love the Telecaster shaped headstock. Good luck with your decision and I believe that all of the suggestions made here are good ones.