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View Full Version : Lanikai Kohala - The right Ukulele?



Music123
07-21-2013, 01:21 AM
Hi,

im new here and I bought a Ukulele a few days ago. Its the Lanikai Kohala (KU 212, I paid 60 euros). Now I found the Ibanez UKS-10 with bag for 60 euros on amazon and I am not sure if it is a better instrument. Im a beginner and I never played Ukulele before, but I wanted to buy an inexpensive instrument around 60 euros and not a toy.
Was it the right decision to buy the Kohala?

greetings,
Music123 (I hope my english is ok ;) )

Kyle23
07-21-2013, 01:32 AM
I've never play either one, but they are respectable brands. I'm sure you'll be happy with it. See if you can find some sound samples of both on youtube.

Bao
07-21-2013, 05:21 AM
If Lanikai's kohala brand is anything like kala's makala brand, you're in good hands. What you should ask yourself is if you enjoy your current kohala uke. If you do and everything is great (doesn't need a set up etc.) then it's fine :)

Also, welcome to the forums!

P.S. A string change can go a long way aswell.

mm stan
07-21-2013, 05:25 AM
kohala ukes are regaurded as beginner ukes and in hawaii , had a place selling them for 69.00 US

Music123
07-21-2013, 09:10 AM
kohala ukes are regaurded as beginner ukes

yeah I know, but where is the difference between a beginner and a "normal" uke?
And the uke is made in china :D Is that bad ?

OldePhart
07-21-2013, 10:40 AM
yeah I know, but where is the difference between a beginner and a "normal" uke?
And the uke is made in china :D Is that bad ?

Actually, "beginner" uke is a bit of a misnomer and a phrase that makes me see red more often than not. A beginner instrument should mean one that is really well set up so it is easy to play and intonates well so the beginner's ear will develop and things like that. Instead, "beginner uke," "beginner guitar," etc. really translates to "cheap crap that won't set me back too much and I don't care that it will play poorly enough to discourage most beginners."

Now, that's not to say you have to spend a fortune to get a decent instrument - but for heaven's sake do yourself a favor and buy from a dedicated uke dealer who cares about you and will set the ukulele up so it is playable. In fact, the less expensive the uke the more important it is to buy from someone who will take care of you. Having a first instrument with a decent action and intonation probably increases your chances of success by 200% to 400% and that is not an exaggeration - it might even be an underestimate.

I've had a lot of friends ask me what guitar they should get for their kid. My answer is always, "What do you want out of the purchase? Do you want to encourage your kid to love music and making music, or are you hoping to discourage them as quickly as possible out of fear they might become a rock star instead of something sensible like a doctor or lawyer?" They always laugh...then gradually realize that I'm serious when I just stare at them... LOL

The answer, of course, is if you want your kid (or yourself) to succeed then get the very best first instrument you can reasonably afford and buy it from someone who is both knowledgeable and a "fan" of the instrument. On the other hand, if you want them to give up that music nonsense and do something practical, then buy the cheapest eBay or Amazon "perfect for beginners" instrument you can find...

John

malweth
07-21-2013, 03:03 PM
Actually, "beginner" uke is a bit of a misnomer and a phrase that makes me see red more often than not. A beginner instrument should mean one that is really well set up so it is easy to play and intonates well so the beginner's ear will develop and things like that. Instead, "beginner uke," "beginner guitar," etc. really translates to "cheap crap that won't set me back too much and I don't care that it will play poorly enough to discourage most beginners."

...

John

I translate "beginner uke" as "bought this without knowing what I was doing," mainly because that's exactly my situation. #2 - the Makala (my son's) I got from a recommended site w/ setups and Aquilas stock. I definitely thought more about quality buying from Amazon, but I could have picked one up for around the same price in Hawai'i at the exchange... I think I got lucky, but my instrument really could use a pro setup - it's not bad, but maybe I don't know any better.

That brings up the question -- is it better to get my Lanikai set up well (vs. God knows what the Amazon partner did before sending it to me - again, I think it's OK but no better) or wait until I can afford (and justify) that Pono from HMS I really want?

Nickie
07-21-2013, 04:32 PM
Valid question....wise thing for a newbie to ask....it all boils down to what you beleive you deserve...the better your uke feels and sounds to you, the better you will learn to play, just like John said.
I'm kinda picky....my uke is almost 3 years old, and sounds better than most ukes around here, even in my hands...the action isn't perfect, and Ive never been fond of the shape of the neck, but I love it...
but now it acts like it needs a setup again....since restringing it....so it shows me that no setup is going to be permanent...I am a nut about buzzing frets, and now it's doing it....and I have no idea why....maybe I got a floppy C string....ha

malweth
07-22-2013, 01:14 AM
Valid question....wise thing for a newbie to ask....it all boils down to what you beleive you deserve...the better your uke feels and sounds to you, the better you will learn to play, just like John said.
I'm kinda picky....my uke is almost 3 years old, and sounds better than most ukes around here, even in my hands...the action isn't perfect, and Ive never been fond of the shape of the neck, but I love it...
but now it acts like it needs a setup again....since restringing it....so it shows me that no setup is going to be permanent...I am a nut about buzzing frets, and now it's doing it....and I have no idea why....maybe I got a floppy C string....ha

...better than a floppy g!

Thanks. Part of me thinks it would be crazy to pay about what the ukulele cost to get a setup done (no idea what it costs, but around $50 sounds likely). I think I'm going to wait, given that I'm playing often enough and learning enough that a setup probably wouldn't buy me a whole lot. It's in decent shape and it's a pretty quiet uke (good for practice ;)). Maybe I'll bring it into the LMS and ask next time I go.

OldePhart
07-22-2013, 07:57 AM
That brings up the question -- is it better to get my Lanikai set up well (vs. God knows what the Amazon partner did before sending it to me - again, I think it's OK but no better) or wait until I can afford (and justify) that Pono from HMS I really want?

That depends on some factors we can't really judge... 1) It depends on your financial situation. 2) You might have gotten lucky and got a decent one, in which case the setup wouldn't be as big a benefit. 3) It depends on whether the current uke is holding you back at all.

A well set up uke will make chords like the Bb much easier to play.

A well set up uke will intonate correctly which helps your ear begin to develop. As long as someone is playing a poorly intonated instrument their ear really never improves. Once chords start sounding "correct" your ear begins to develop and you can actually recognize intervals and so on.

Finally, a uke that intonates correctly will teach you to fret with just enough pressure. Just about any uke can be pulled sharp at the first couple of frets if you death grip it - so once you have a uke that intonates well and your ear begins to develop you come to realize when you are pressing too hard because the notes don't sound right.

Here is a simple test. Tune each string, then check the tuning when you are fretting "correctly" at the first fret ("correctly" means just behind the fret and just enough pressure for the note to ring clearly). If the tuning is noticeably sharp at the first fret (i.e. the C# is reading a little sharper than a C# and so on) then a set up would probably benefit you.

John

RobinMS
07-28-2013, 09:57 PM
John, thanks for that simple intonation check idea - it hadn't occurred to me, and it confirmed my suspicions about my bottom-of-the-line Kohala soprano. Of course, now UAS is starting to get to me....

bazmaz
07-29-2013, 12:32 AM
Set up is pretty critical regardless of the price of the uke. A badly setup cheap uke or a badly setup expensive uke will play badly.

Put it this way - if you bought a very cheap car, would you go out in it with a flat tyre, wonky steering and windscreen wipers that dont work? A car still has some pretty important basic things that have to be right.

I'm with other comments on this thread, its such a shame that 'beginner instruments' tend to mean 'poorly made and badly setup instruments' when for beginners, the last thing they need is to be fighting against poor intonation and high action and wondering why it sounds bad.

HendrikM
07-29-2013, 01:21 AM
I must be lucky. I have a Kohala, it's a different model though (K2-C), that I picked up a few months ago. Intonation is good, it looks reasonably well put together and plays well enough for my ear :-)
Better since I swapped out the GHS strings for Aquilas.
I haven't found much in the way of reviews one way or the other, but I can say even though it's considered a low end uke I am having a lot of fun with it.
It might not win in any beauty pageant but it's doing a fine job teaching me and keeping me entertained.

One day though when the timing is right and I improve, I will move up, bur for right now, and my ability I'm getting good value.

mm stan
07-29-2013, 02:29 AM
Let me say this....I believe starter or beginner ukes, whatever you want to call them.....after you pass 125 -150 range, you get a better quality uke...
If you can get to a music store and try before you buy to see and hear how it plays it would help...even the same model uke by the same maker will
sound different in tone....it's just like every human has their own individual voice, so play as much as you can of the same model once you selected the brand
and pick the best sounding and most comfortable one....Good Luck.. you know I still have my starter 24.95 rogue and play ir daily...I keep it by my computer
it's what you enjoy playing and what is comfortable and sounds good most to you... even on starter or beginner ukes, the cheap factory ones, even the thickness of the neck can
vary so much too....
PS you know you can put a WTB post in the marketplace, you get a way better deal buying second hand and probally more for your buck doing so...good luck
there is always someone upgrading and willing to pass on a deal...be patient and the right uke will always come to you... :)