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Captain America
05-08-2013, 02:37 AM
I've seen Rogues and Mahalos and Johnsons. . . any thoughts on the "best inexpensive beginner uke"?

fumanshu
05-08-2013, 02:55 AM
I would say, cheapest cheapest and that sound decent would be a Dolphin!!!! Just put on a good set of strings and you're in business for having some cool strumming time!!!!


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

Sporin
05-08-2013, 03:03 AM
I would say, cheapest cheapest and that sound decent would be a Dolphin!!!! Just put on a good set of strings and you're in business for having some cool strumming time!!!!

Agree 100%.

kvehe
05-08-2013, 04:22 AM
Dolphin, Dolphin, Dolphin, Dolphin. I have some ukes at the low end, some at the high end, and I still play my Dolphin (okay, I confess, Dolphins with an "s") all the time. I love them. You do have to be sure, though, that they have Aquila strings or something comparable - not the strings that would be on them coming right out of the box from the factory, and buy it from a company that will set it up correctly. Best bet in USA - Uke Republic (will come with Aquilas) or North Carolina Ukulele Academy (you'll have to order the Aquilas as an option/upgrade).

But there are other nice choices too, and some here are not as enamored of Dolphins as are the rest of us.

bnolsen
05-08-2013, 04:35 AM
What's people's experience with the mainland gecko? A little more than a dolphin. Ukerepublic has them for 69USD right now, I don't know of anyone else who carries them. I'm not happy because the dolphin I have the action is unplayable its so bad. Bought it supposedly "set up".

dismount
05-08-2013, 04:47 AM
Makai all the way tenor to soprano spot on intonation frets smooth great sustain and tone!!!

Paul December
05-08-2013, 04:48 AM
Luna pineapple on amazon for $69 including shipping. (http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B002SSUR3C/ref=s9_psimh_gw_p267_d1_i1?pf_rd_m=ATVPDKIKX0DER&pf_rd_s=center-2&pf_rd_r=1N08EC6K3PEZDC51J6P4&pf_rd_t=101&pf_rd_p=1389517282&pf_rd_i=507846) Already comes with decent strings...
...get a bad one? Free exchange; they even cover the shipping.
IMO the dolphin comes off as a toy compared to the Luna.

Paul December
05-08-2013, 04:55 AM
What's people's experience with the mainland gecko? A little more than a dolphin. Ukerepublic has them for 69USD right now, I don't know of anyone else who carries them. I'm not happy because the dolphin I have the action is unplayable its so bad. Bought it supposedly "set up".

Plastic sides and back...
...$69 is for a blemished one, and I don't think it includes shipping.

anthonyg
05-08-2013, 04:57 AM
The biggest issue with cheap ukulele's is QUALITY CONTROL. Two instruments from the same manufacturer could be an identical model yet one is a gem and one is a lemon.

The issue is picking the good one.

Anthony

drbekken
05-08-2013, 05:51 AM
The biggest issue with cheap ukulele's is QUALITY CONTROL. Two instruments from the same manufacturer could be an identical model yet one is a gem and one is a lemon.

The issue is picking the good one.

Anthony

Totally correct. I have a Rogue soprano that cost me $22. It was HORRIBLE when I took it out of the box, and the bridge broke once I tried to change strings. I replaced the bridge, replaced the very crappy tuners with new ones from Grover, replaced the strings, adjusted action, fixed intonation....now, it's pretty good. A cheap ukulele can be wonderful, but chances are you'll have to put in some work first to make it right. The Rogue can be seen and heard in the videos UKE STRUT and SUNSHINE BLUES on my YT channel (see signature).

Stevelele
05-08-2013, 06:09 AM
I don't know if this qualifies, but it's not super expensive: http://www.amazon.com/Ohana-Soprano-Ukulele-Figured-SK-50WG/dp/B004ELPFVK/ref=sr_1_6?ie=UTF8&qid=1368029281&sr=8-6&keywords=ohana+soprano+ukulele

I think the Ohana soprano willow back cedar top is great!

kvehe
05-08-2013, 06:10 AM
Luna pineapple on amazon for $69 including shipping. (http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B002SSUR3C/ref=s9_psimh_gw_p267_d1_i1?pf_rd_m=ATVPDKIKX0DER&pf_rd_s=center-2&pf_rd_r=1N08EC6K3PEZDC51J6P4&pf_rd_t=101&pf_rd_p=1389517282&pf_rd_i=507846) Already comes with decent strings...
...get a bad one? Free exchange; they even cover the shipping.
IMO the dolphin comes off as a toy compared to the Luna.

Oh, now you're feeding my UAS....Okay, you win.....:)

Rationale to self: How can I compare it to a Dolphin if I don't have one?

RichM
05-08-2013, 06:10 AM
Totally correct. I have a Rogue soprano that cost me $22. It was HORRIBLE when I took it out of the box, and the bridge broke once I tried to change strings. I replaced the bridge, replaced the very crappy tuners with new ones from Grover, replaced the strings, adjusted action, fixed intonation....now, it's pretty good. A cheap ukulele can be wonderful, but chances are you'll have to put in some work first to make it right. The Rogue can be seen and heard in the videos UKE STRUT and SUNSHINE BLUES on my YT channel (see signature).

Reminds me of the old joke....I stilll use my great grandfather's axe.... the handle's been replaced 4 times and the blade's been replace 3 times... but it's my great grandfather's axe. :)

RichM
05-08-2013, 06:13 AM
On topic:

I have liked the Makala's I've playedin shops. Good basic quality, good intonation, fully playable. I think they go around $70 or so, which isn't rock bottom for a uke, but it does have the basics you need for a real playable instrument.

I tried a Stagg in a music shop this past weekend-- they have a new series that appear to be made of some sort of wood and have colorful graphics on them. They played okay, stayed in tune, intonation was decent, and they were about $40 or so.

bnolsen
05-08-2013, 06:42 AM
Already comes with decent strings...
...get a bad one? Free exchange; they even cover the shipping.

Always the fun. A "beginner" who's never played guitar or other strings may not know if they have a "bad one" until they've played for a while.


The biggest issue with cheap ukulele's is QUALITY CONTROL. Two instruments from the same manufacturer could be an identical model yet one is a gem and one is a lemon.

Pretty much spot on. Has anyone ever gotten a fluke or flea that wasn't good out of an (undamaged) box?

Phluffy the Destroyer
05-13-2013, 08:48 AM
Personally, I like Diamond Head soprano ukes. They run about $40, they're made of mystery wood (I never bothered to ask because they are painted in bright colors), have good tuners, etc. If you put a set of Aquilla strings on one it's a very nice uke.

I have 2 Diamond Heads, a Mahalo soprano, and a Lanikai concert. I would much rather play my Diamond Heads than the other two.

If you buy one, I suggest you buy from a dealer, not online. I've heard a lot of bad reviews from people who have bought Diamond Heads online. I always buy from a local dealer though, and have never experienced any of the issues I hear about in reviews. I suspect that they sell their seconds online, but I have no way of proving it.

ukulelee
05-13-2013, 07:20 PM
Ohana laminates, A Nue Nue laminates are great cheap beginners ukes.

Personal favorite: Leolani zebrawood laminates. Cheap, lovely sound, low action, easy to play. A slightly heavy headstock but it's ok for me.

:D

molokinirum
05-14-2013, 06:36 AM
Makala set up with aquila strings is very good!!!

Captain_Lovehandles
05-14-2013, 07:25 AM
Thing is, if you buy from Uke Republic or Mim's Ukes, you'll not get a uke that's not playable. They will set them up and make sure you're happy.

OldePhart
05-14-2013, 01:17 PM
The biggest issue with cheap ukulele's is QUALITY CONTROL. Two instruments from the same manufacturer could be an identical model yet one is a gem and one is a lemon.

The issue is picking the good one.

Anthony

:agree: This, exactly. The "best inexpensive ukulele" is the one you can actually play before buying and decide if it is something you want to play. There is no "best brand" of inexpensive ukulele. In any of the inexpensive lines there will be a few good ones, some terrible ones, and a lot of okay but bland ones.

The "second best inexpensive ukulele" is the one you buy from a reputable dealer who has set it up and most likely filtered out the really terrible ones. There will still be a lot of the bland ones - you just can't expect a retailer to cull out the "just okay" ukes and sell only the really nice ones - they do have to turn a profit sometimes. If you want to be assured of getting a really good uke and you don't have large retailers that you can actually visit to try them out in person then you pretty much have to step up a couple of price ranges.

John

mm stan
05-14-2013, 05:10 PM
I have bought at least easy over a dozen rogues sopranos....they were like 24.99 they all sound and played different...two were nice sounding and had te right action height
the rest needed set up and after done....only 1-2 were lemons...what I did was buy a bunch and give them to kids for christmas gifts and selected the best ones for me.
I even have bought two rogue baritones and done the same......if you can fix them or sometimes you may get lucky..get them...only once I got one I knew that was from the
factory...it was in a plastic bag.... the rest, who knows... if you are a beginner, and cannot tune by ear this is not for you....but there are certianly my favorite daily playing ukes...
Happy Strummings

igorthebarbarian
05-14-2013, 08:24 PM
Thing is, if you buy from Uke Republic or Mim's Ukes, you'll not get a uke that's not playable. They will set them up and make sure you're happy.

What Capt Lovehandles said... just email Mike at Uke Republic or MIM and they'll hook you up. A good setup can make all the difference in the world to a brand new player

Kamanaaloha
05-15-2013, 03:54 PM
Big difference between new players...

Never played anything musical and am very young and will likely not care for my stuff (4+) <Makala/Cordoba> ---> $60-$100

vs.

played something else, but am new to the ukulele...and am more mature (10+) ---> Kala/Gretsch Laminates/Lunas/Islander Laminates ---> $100 - $200

vs.

rabid...I am going to beat myself until i learn the uke...working super hard...and loving every minute of it... 10+ <translated: I want to learn really bad...and I achieve what I set out to accomplish/extremely motivated/I take care of nice things> ---> Pono/Gretsch solids/Islander solids/Mexican Martin/Kala solids ---> $200 - $600

TheOnlyUkeThatMatters
05-15-2013, 04:00 PM
I think Makala's laminate ukes (MK-S, MK-C, MK-T, and MK-B) sound great. You need to find one that's set up okay to get the most from its sweet, mellow sound.

uke552
05-15-2013, 05:04 PM
Lanikai LU21. Bought mine several years ago at Guitar Center with a coupon for something like 59.00. I still play her almost daily. She seems to sound better with age, stays in tune and no problems whatsoever! Several other ukes have come and gone in my collection but that one remains.