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View Full Version : Travel ukes are they worth it?



haolejohn
05-05-2013, 11:06 AM
First I will say that I have owned two different travel uke and still own one tenor travel uke. I DO NOT notice a difference in the ease of travel in using one of the travel ukes. The amount of space that the travel takes up is not that big of a difference. The tenor still won't fit under the seats, either will the concerts.

Anyone else notice this? I now travel with a concert or soprano uke b/c they are easier to stow under the seats.

kvehe
05-05-2013, 11:11 AM
Yes, I have wondered what the point of a travel uke is, especially a tenor, ever since I bought a Kala tenor travel uke while on vacation in the Tampa area last year. I then ended up having it shipped to me in St. Louis because I was afraid to take it on the plane and have there be an issue. I haven't taken a uke on a plane (Ukes on a Plane! There's a parody in there somewhere...), but if I did, I would probably just take a Dolphin, or maybe a sopranino.

janeray1940
05-05-2013, 11:14 AM
In terms of actual travelling - I don't think so, as when I travel I usually just bring one of my regular sopranos since I can't stand to be away from them for any length of time! But I do own a Kiwaya travel uke/thinline that is my "beater" uke - I don't stress out if I have to leave it in the trunk, I bring it to the beach, and I take it with me in either a gig bag or no bag at all rather than a bulky case.

connor013
05-05-2013, 11:16 AM
I don't do much serious travel, ie planes, but my thin Bruko spends most of the summer in either my backpack or dry bag.

I use a cheapo fabric "case" (from an old dolphin) and try not to throw it around/bang into stuff.

It sounds silly, but I notice and appreciate the difference in the depth of the uke, since it means I have room in my backpack for the rest of my gear. I haven't yet figured out how to travel light with a regular sized soprano, (I have to leave something else home).

It's also worth noting that the thin Bruko doesn't lose anything in terms of tone or volume, at least compared to my other Bruko.

So, yes, I dig my travel-sized soprano.

Edited to add: I agree with those above re: "travel" tenors. That just seems weird to me. Travel sopranino, on the other hand, sounds sweet.

coolkayaker1
05-05-2013, 11:17 AM
The RISA stick, in soprano, concert or tenor, is an ideal travel uke.

hjohn: "I DO NOT notice a difference in the ease of travel in using one of the travel ukes. The amount of space that the travel takes up is not that big of a difference. The tenor still won't fit under the seats, either will the concerts."

All of your wishes would come true with a RISA stick. You would notice a difference. Not only the carry, but you need not plug it in: you can play in airport waiting areas and not drive everyone up a wall. Want power to be heard across the terminal:: Fender Mini Amp, amazing.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jZXI9o-ZJMs
Or the one I have, Mini Twin:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2R0jvoSK0CI


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l6-9WId4Tbw

ShakaSign
05-05-2013, 11:30 AM
I agree in the end, it really doesn't save you much in terms of space. This is subjective, but some claim the thin body is easier to play because the top soundboard is closer to your body.

The Kala travel mahogany ukes are fairly durable, partly due to their laminated backs. Not that I recommend this, but I once left mine in the car in Hawaii for hours without issues.

greenie44
05-05-2013, 12:01 PM
I have to disagree here, for some types of travel. I recently hiked to the bottom of the Grand Canyon, and a Kala soprano travel uke fit nicely in my backpack, where any of my tenors (or my concert) would have required an additional case.

Tomorrow I leave on another trip and I think I can get the Kala into my carry-on hardsided bag, so chalk up another one. That way I don't have to check bags, since I always carry a computer bag for work.

And I like the sound of the Kala quite a bit - thanks, Susie!

HBolte
05-05-2013, 12:24 PM
I travel a lot. I am 100% satisfied with my Risa Soprano. It fits in my luggage, plays very well. I play it unplugged, it's very quiet in hotels and allows me to play anytime, day or night!

haolejohn
05-05-2013, 12:47 PM
Sounds like the risa is the way to go. I carried a mainland red cedar on all my hiking trips. I wrapped a t-shirt around it and stuffed it in my pack. No problems. I'm talking 50 mile trips over the course of three-four days. I just don't see the space saving ability of these travel ukes. Maybe...like someone mentioned placing inside of a bag, but I keep mine available or playing so they stay in a gig bag.

UkeKiddinMe
05-05-2013, 02:48 PM
I guess we really have to define Travel.
For going on a plane, I would think just about any uke in a padded gig bag would fit on the plane.
On the other hand, if you are walking and backpacking, I could see how a thinline travel model would help shave some space.

fumanshu
05-05-2013, 02:59 PM
The uke that I always bring with me for traveling is the eleuke concert size......this with a pair of headphones and my Macbook and I'm even ready to record myself and compose new songs during my vacation or trip!!!!


https://soundcloud.com/baouke/star-filante-by-caro-bao

mds725
05-05-2013, 06:58 PM
I think there's a value to travel ukes, especially if one doesn't want to have to play a soprano ukulele while traveling. I fly with a carry-on suitcase and a backpack, and I often take a Kala thinline travel uke with me. I can put the travel uke (with its gig bag) in my backpack, meaning that I show up at the airport with two pieces of luggage (suitcase and backpack), which i can carry on, rather than three pieces of luggage (suitcase, backpack and ukulele), one of which I'd have to check as luggage. Once I'm in the plane, I can put the travel uke in the overhead compartment with my suitcase, and place the backpack under the seat in front of me. I don't like to play smaller ukes (hence, a tenor thinline) and being able to put a tenor ukulele in my backpack so I can avoid having to check luggage saves me the time and aggravation of having to deal with checked bags.

equina
05-05-2013, 07:07 PM
The RISA stick, in soprano, concert or tenor, is an ideal travel uke.

All of your wishes would come true with a RISA stick. You would notice a difference. Not only the carry, but you need not plug it in: you can play in airport waiting areas and not drive everyone up a wall. Want power to be heard across the terminal:: Fender Mini Amp, amazing.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jZXI9o-ZJMs
Or the one I have, Mini Twin:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2R0jvoSK0CI


The RISA is a great idea. Thanks!

consitter
05-05-2013, 07:31 PM
What I would consider a 'travel uke' is more like the Blackbird ukulele. Not because of its size, but because of it toughness. It's made out of carbon fiber, and should be able to take just about anything you can dish out, whether it be sitting on it, taking it out digging in the snow, or leaving it in a hot car.

experimentjon
05-05-2013, 07:37 PM
What I would consider a 'travel uke' is more like the Blackbird ukulele. Not because of its size, but because of it toughness. It's made out of carbon fiber, and should be able to take just about anything you can dish out, whether it be sitting on it, taking it out digging in the snow, or leaving it in a hot car.

Aren't these still held together by glue? I have a Rainsong guitar, and I recall reading somewhere that it could still suffer if exposed to extreme heat as the glue could melt.

haolejohn
05-05-2013, 08:02 PM
I think there's a value to travel ukes, especially if one doesn't want to have to play a soprano ukulele while traveling. I fly with a carry-on suitcase and a backpack, and I often take a Kala thinline travel uke with me. I can put the travel uke (with its gig bag) in my backpack, meaning that I show up at the airport with two pieces of luggage (suitcase and backpack), which i can carry on, rather than three pieces of luggage (suitcase, backpack and ukulele), one of which I'd have to check as luggage. Once I'm in the plane, I can put the travel uke in the overhead compartment with my suitcase, and place the backpack under the seat in front of me. I don't like to play smaller ukes (hence, a tenor thinline) and being able to put a tenor ukulele in my backpack so I can avoid having to check luggage saves me the time and aggravation of having to deal with checked bags.

This is a good idea. I don't mind traveling with the soprano b/c I normally travel for a short time and in cases like my summer traveling I have tenors at both homes. I usually place my laptop into my backpack and the uke gets carried on the side.

consitter
05-05-2013, 08:15 PM
Aren't these still held together by glue? I have a Rainsong guitar, and I recall reading somewhere that it could still suffer if exposed to extreme heat as the glue could melt.

Hmm...you're right. And although they advertise with a pic of someone playing in the rain, their lifetime warranty excludes humidity. Can't get much more humid than when it raining, can it? Below is the warranty that includes that part. They don't seem all that confident in their product.


3 - This warranty shall not apply to products which shall have been subjected to misuse, negligence, alteration or accident, including exposure to extreme heat, cold, or high or low humidity. The manufacturer shall not be liable for any property damage or for any consequential damages (including loss of use or profits) nor shall the manufacturer’s liability on any claim for damages arising out of or connected with the manufacture, sale, delivery or use of any goods delivered under this order exceed the purchase price paid there for. In the event of unexpected loss by fire, theft, or damage of the Buyer’s product while in the manufacturer’s possession such loss shall not be a liability of the manufacturer in excess of the replacement with a new product of the same or most similar available style. Excess value (collector’s value) insurance must be carried by the Buyer at Buyer’s expense. The same is true with shipping insurance since many carriers place limits on their liability. The manufacturer assumes no liability in the event of loss or damage to the owner’s product while it is in transit to or from the manufacturer’s place of business and the owner shall be responsible for all risk of loss. Any action for breach of this warranty or any other action under this Agreement must be commenced within one (1) year after such cause of action arises;

The Big Kahuna
05-05-2013, 09:28 PM
I'll let you know sometime over the next couple of weeks, when UK customs have finished arseing around.

Watch this space...

Tootler
05-05-2013, 10:26 PM
I bought a Risa as a travel uke. I'm unlikely to travel by plane any more, but I am off on holiday across Europe by train this summer and trains, while better than planes still don't have much storage space. I bought a Marsall MS2 should I wish to plug it in. That fits nicely in a video camera bag to protect it. I also have a set of fold flat headphones - I prefer regular headphones to earbuds.

TheCraftedCow
05-06-2013, 10:44 AM
I took a Leolani thin line concert made of Okume wood to a music teacher. When she began to play it, she began, " I want one, I want one! It fits me far better than any ukulele I have ever played.!!" The Leolani comes with a very nicely made padded bag--hand hold, and shoulder strap which is removeable. She is not a thin woman in the chest area, so the travel ukuleles might really be a better fit for her, even if she just travels around the room day after day assisting elementary students. (yes, she bought it.)

greenie44
05-06-2013, 02:14 PM
Currently in Mexico City, strumming on my Kala travel soprano, which made it here perfectly inside my carry-on bag. It saved me some potential issues, which I will post about later.

itsme
05-06-2013, 03:17 PM
I have a Kala thinline travel tenor. It has a bold, bright sound that belies its thinness. But other than being thinner, it's really no smaller than any other tenor. I certainly wouldn't buy one based solely on its "travelability." The padded case is nice with its fancy embroidered logo, but I'd rather they'd skipped that and included a shoulder strap/outside pouch instead.

lancemanion
05-06-2013, 08:27 PM
Yes, yes yes, there is a huge advantage to the thin body of a Kala travel uke. First if you are a serious backpacker, the difference in size make all the difference in the world. Mine has been to the top of Mt. Whitney and Half dome and on 7 day wilderness hikes in the High Sierras (and has seen numerous countries, Japan tomorrow and Australia next week). Second, I travel constantly, and I can slip my travel uke in the back pocket of my roll aboard suitcase. I guarantee no other ukulele can do that. I put it in a eleuke soft case, much, much better then kala case. Case has backpack straps, handle and small pocket for tuner, capo etc.
If you "don't get it" then you don't travel in a way that benefits from a slim body. Nothing wrong with that, but don't knock a design that benefits those of us who use them for there intended use, traveling the world.
My dream uke would be a slim body super saprano from Kanile'a or Kamaka.

The Big Kahuna
05-06-2013, 11:26 PM
I'll let you know sometime over the next couple of weeks, when UK customs have finished arseing around.

Watch this space...

UK Customs have finished arseing around and delivery is down for tomorrow!!!

strumsilly
05-07-2013, 02:08 AM
I just throw a Kala dolphin or other disposable soprano between my clothes in my carryon. I had a Kala thinline but it didn't seem to save much space and I found it harder to hold when playing. if I was backpacking/canoeing etc I'd take the plastic Islander.

The Big Kahuna
05-08-2013, 03:06 AM
http://www.ukuleleunderground.com/forum/showthread.php?80546-NUD!!!-Kala-Travel-Tenor

TheCraftedCow
05-08-2013, 09:18 PM
If you really want a shoulder strap--either single or double--- send me a Private Message and we can discuss what you will get for just paying for First Class shipping both ways. One inch wide straps are adequate. It/they will be removeable and adjustable. There are 19 different colours available. In black, there are three different widths.

4thmonth
05-08-2013, 09:37 PM
My Kala travel tenor uke, Kourtney, was my first uke and she has been with me everywhere hiking, beach, camping, airplane travel too. I sewed backpack straps on the soft case that came with the ukulele. I can carry her any where and also she fits perfectly in the overhead storage on the airplane. I can put the travel case on its side and it fits just right. I didn't know really what to look for in sound when I first bought the uke, I do think Kourtney sounds pretty good though.

mds725
05-08-2013, 10:36 PM
If you really want a shoulder strap--either single or double--- send me a Private Message and we can discuss what you will get for just paying for First Class shipping both ways. One inch wide straps are adequate. It/they will be removeable and adjustable. There are 19 different colours available. In black, there are three different widths.

Interesting. How does one attach the strap(s) to the gig bag?

dnewton2
05-09-2013, 02:05 AM
I have never understood the travel uke, I just dont get it. Saving an inch of depth in the body??? That is not ussually the dimension I am concerned about. I used to travel a lot for work and I typically brought a concert or soprano with no issues.

The Big Kahuna
05-09-2013, 03:29 AM
I have never understood the travel uke, I just dont get it. Saving an inch of depth in the body??? That is not ussually the dimension I am concerned about. I used to travel a lot for work and I typically brought a concert or soprano with no issues.

I agree that the reduction in depth (actually a lot more than an inch btw) doesn't necessarily make it a "travel Uke". It sure makes it comfortable though.

Kala should market them to women players who are generous in the upper body area.

kvehe
05-09-2013, 04:12 AM
I actually hadn't had mine (a Kala travel tenor) out for quite a while, but I played it last night, and yes, it felt weird at first but was quite comfortable.

fernandogardinali
05-09-2013, 04:33 AM
THIS (http://www.ukuleleunderground.com/forum/showthread.php?64089-Sopranino-Pocket-uke-from-China-on-ebay-Anyone-familiar-with-this-seller-luthier&highlight=pocket) is a great travel uke. It is short AND thin, it fits easily in any backpack and it's cheap. Could be cheaper, obviously, but still cheap.

The Ohana Sopranino, for example, isn't that cheap, and though it's a great sounding uke, when I had one I didn't carry it all around in my backpack because I was afraid of breaking it.

byjimini
05-09-2013, 09:24 AM
I bought a Mahalo LP-style which sits in a gig back in the back of the car. It stays there in all weathers, probably freezes and fries, gets crushed by the shopping.

I turned up to a friend's gig one night and their support was stuck in snow. I grabbed the uke out of the car for the first time in a couple of years, was still in tune and sounded fantastic.

Since then I've been ribbed constantly about spending thousands on my current crop of ukes. You can't win sometimes...! :D

haolejohn
05-09-2013, 09:40 AM
I have never understood the travel uke, I just dont get it. Saving an inch of depth in the body??? That is not ussually the dimension I am concerned about. I used to travel a lot for work and I typically brought a concert or soprano with no issues.

I am with you. I have owned two different travel ukes a tenor and soprano. Still own the tenor. But I have been on multiple backpacking trips with a regular soprano with no issues. I do not see how much more beneficial the slim body is.

Do you see the uke here ? Nope. In my pack. This was a 5 day backpacking trip. I was able to get a regular sized soprano inside my pack with all my gear.
https://fbcdn-sphotos-e-a.akamaihd.net/hphotos-ak-prn1/557163_10150644611600208_1443814685_n.jpg

haolejohn
05-09-2013, 09:50 AM
I agree that the reduction in depth (actually a lot more than an inch btw) doesn't necessarily make it a "travel Uke". It sure makes it comfortable though.

Kala should market them to women players who are generous in the upper body area.

My wife hates the travel uke. Says that it is edgy.

Bob-in-Alberta
05-09-2013, 09:57 AM
I've been following this thread with a lot of interest. My wife and I have done a Hawaii trip once a year for the last few years and since I got into ukes I've ended up buying one each time I'm there so that I have something to play around with and take to any free lessons that I can find. Needless to say, that could eventually get expensive and there is always some concern with bringing one back on the plane. The ideal thing would be to have something that is easier to travel with that I can just take along with me both ways. I have an Outdoor Ukulele on order that might do the trick but I'm also thinking that a Kala travel soprano would be kind of nice as well.

haolejohn
05-09-2013, 10:54 AM
I've been following this thread with a lot of interest. My wife and I have done a Hawaii trip once a year for the last few years and since I got into ukes I've ended up buying one each time I'm there so that I have something to play around with and take to any free lessons that I can find. Needless to say, that could eventually get expensive and there is always some concern with bringing one back on the plane. The ideal thing would be to have something that is easier to travel with that I can just take along with me both ways. I have an Outdoor Ukulele on order that might do the trick but I'm also thinking that a Kala travel soprano would be kind of nice as well.

I got the soprano travel with the idea that it would be more efficient with traveling. Maybe if I put the uke in my check baggage, but I never check an instrument. So I guess for my purposes a travel uke is not worth it.

The Big Kahuna
05-09-2013, 11:04 AM
If we REALLY put our minds to it, I'm sure we could design a folding Uke, or one that could be disassembled easily.

The Big Kahuna
05-09-2013, 11:16 AM
Ok, I'm going to give it a shot.

Hacksaw... Check
Hinge... Check
Screwdriver... Check
Kanile'a... Che...oh

haolejohn
05-09-2013, 11:20 AM
Ok, I'm going to give it a shot.

Hacksaw... Check
Hinge... Check
Screwdriver... Check
Kanile'a... Che...oh


LOL!!

I will say that the reason I bought one of those outdoor ukes is for ease of mind while traveling.

And for the record, I am not against the slim line ukes, just not sure if the space saved justifies the cost.

Paul December
05-09-2013, 11:27 AM
Trick question...
...because all sopranos are already "travel ukes"! ;)

The Big Kahuna
05-09-2013, 11:34 AM
Trick question...
...because all sopranos are already "travel ukes"! ;)

More importantly, if you take a uke with you, you've blown your excuse for buying a new one.

haolejohn
05-09-2013, 03:48 PM
Trick question...
...because all sopranos are already "travel ukes"! ;)

LOL!! I am with you Paul. I am with you.

singh44s
05-25-2013, 09:58 AM
If we REALLY put our minds to it, I'm sure we could design a folding Uke, or one that could be disassembled easily.

Did we already forget about the laser-cut folding uke (http://www.ponoko.com/showroom/chosetec/products)? Here's a forum member's assembly photo's (http://www.ukuleleunderground.com/forum/showthread.php?64337-Folding-Ukulele-Build).

connor013
05-25-2013, 03:04 PM
?..or you need a ukulele tech to help look after the uke on the trip...

This is great advice, Bill.

For the travelers out there, let me be the first to offer my services: I will gladly accompany you and cater to your custom ukes' each and every need.

Please PM me for rates and availability.

Prius23
05-25-2013, 03:06 PM
My peanut eleuke is my traveling uke.

wconley
05-25-2013, 06:17 PM
Just came to Maui with my "traveling" Pono MBD baritone. We flew Alaska with no problems whatsoever. I keep eying the travel Ukes but then every time I travel I miss the Ukes I like to play - the Koaloha concert and my baritone. So those are my traveling ukuleles. Our condo here has a Kohala concert for our guests to use as well as myself when we return so I do compromise and don't often bring the Koaloha to the islands. BTW, after 1-1/2 years, our guests haven't destroyed or taken so much as the ukulele, the music books or tuner that's always on the ukulele. Kind of restores my faith in our renters... Or they haven't once taken it off the wall or taken it to a local ukulele class. Either way, ukuleles make great traveling companions.

kaizersoza
05-26-2013, 12:08 AM
I bought one for hiking and camping to save on space, there is not much of a space saving with the Kala, when you carry it in its padded case, the volume is not any better than a Dolphin with Aquilas, I use it far more as a grab and get uke because it is always handy, the cost of one of these ukes is on the expensive side for it to be a beater uke, would I buy another one probably not, in its defence though I have dropped it twice and apart from a slight ding on the bottom bout there are no cracks, so it is a robust enough little uke, when I take it camping and I pull it out of the gig bag it always becomes a talking point because of its size (soprano) and thickness, some other plus points that I may add it will fit into my daysack, my rucksack and my suitcase along with the diving gear I take with me on most holidays, but so will a dolphin or Mahalo