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clueless
08-01-2013, 02:52 AM
:confused:

Hi,

I just decided last week that I want to learn how to play the Uke. I have some limited guitar experience a bizzillion years ago, but am not really counting on remembering much of anything that is going to help me.

I am not ashamed to admit that I want to go buy a ukulele that I can play right out of the box. I don't want it to sound like a toy, but it doesn't have to be pro quality, either.

I just want to have fun and learn how to play!

Is there a Uke that I can indeed play right out of the box without having to go through this thing called "setup" ? There are all sorts of neat packages available online and it's hard to beat those deals at my local stores.

Any advice you can give will be most appreciated!

♪ ♪ ♫ ♫ ♪ ♪
Truly,
Clueless

addicted2myuke
08-01-2013, 03:39 AM
Right out of the box depends on the individual. Some like a very low action, while others don't mind it being slightly high. You will get a feel for it when you play. By action, in case you don't know, is the string space between the fretboard and the nut. If it's too high, you will have trouble fretting the first fret, (bottom of the neck) too low and you may get buzzing. By the way, the top by the headstock is considered the bottom of the fretboard and vice versa. This will all make sense to you when you get into playing and learn the terminalogy. Kala is a great brand of ukulele and affordable at all different prices.Mainland too. Both range anywhere from $150.00 to several hundred. I paid $300.00 for my concert Kala and it is my favorite uke. It has Living Water Strings and sounds heavenly. Strings make a difference. Aquila strings are among the most popular and sound fine on most ukes. Many ukes come with these strings. My suggestion would be to go to a local music shop that sells ukuleles and play a few. See what feels nice in your hands and what sound appeals to you. Your journey with the ukulele has just begun. Let it unfold and everything will fall into place. This is a great forum to get any and all questions anwered. Good luck, and let us know what you ended up with.

OldePhart
08-01-2013, 04:08 AM
If you buy from a dedicated and caring uke dealer, like some of the one's you see mentioned over and over in these forums (HMS, Mim, Uke Republic, Mainland, etc.), what you buy will be playable because they will make sure the instrument is playable before it leaves the shop. Being new, you probably don't have a preference for a "tailored" setup and that's fine - the goal especially for a beginner is to have a uke that plays in tune and easily. A long-time player can play any piece of crap, a beginner needs a uke that facilitates growth (yeah, there's a joke about that but we won't go there). You will not always get that if you are buying low to mid-priced ukes from Amazon.com, Guitar Center, etc.

Mandarb
08-01-2013, 04:22 AM
Welcome to the UU. There are lots of great ukes that play well right out of the box - what is your price range?

pootsie
08-01-2013, 04:30 AM
Clueless:

I started right where you are. I went with a cheapo uke from a super-cheap online source. I later decided to pay more.

The question is not whether you can play it right out of the box--the question is whether it is at its easiest and most enjoyable to play.

It is worth it to pay a few extra bucks to have quality at the start.

That said, I had a lot of fun with my not-set-up Dolphin from Makala that I got through a drop-shipper until I decided to go a bit further. I also did some work on it myself that helped.

So, long story made short: pay a little more now for the real ukulele dealers.

vanflynn
08-01-2013, 04:32 AM
Welcome to UU, c. Glad you joined us.

Where do you live? Maybe a member here could recommend a good dealer for you. Once you get it check out the free vids on the UU main site.

Enjoy and keep us posted.

clueless
08-01-2013, 08:48 AM
Hi all, thanks for the welcomes and the info. I live in NY. Today I grabbed a friend and went to *gasp* A Big Box Guitar Store to play around with some Ukes and ended up bringing one home. It took me FOREVER to decide, and I'm still not sure it's the right one, but it's at least the second most right one. It was between a Luna Tattoo and a Cordoba something-or-other, both concert models. I don't even know if I'm going to be able to play it, but I feel like I picked a comfortable middle of the road place to start. Out of those two, is one better than the other, and why?

Mandarb
08-01-2013, 08:54 AM
Hi all, thanks for the welcomes and the info. I live in NY. Today I grabbed a friend and went to *gasp* A Big Box Guitar Store to play around with some Ukes and ended up bringing one home. It took me FOREVER to decide, and I'm still not sure it's the right one, but it's at least the second most right one. It was between a Luna Tattoo and a Cordoba something-or-other, both concert models. I don't even know if I'm going to be able to play it, but I feel like I picked a comfortable middle of the road place to start. Out of those two, is one better than the other, and why?

Better is so subjective and personal. Just enjoy your uke and have fun. If you need some lessons there are some great videos on the main page by Aldrine. Good luck.

cua94
08-01-2013, 10:03 AM
Welcome to UU, clueless!
I got my first from ebay and later got a nicer one. I know at some point I will get something even nicer but not just yet. I tried every guitar store within 45 minutes from my house and found a Cordoba too. Then I took the leap and went to the music store that is an hour away. (Victor Lutz in Gathersburg, MD) I am so glad I did! There were so many there to choose from and I tried all of the concert ones. The clerk was somewhat knowledgeable at least more than Guitar Center. Next time I plan to trek 2 hours away to Richmond. I think it will be worth it :-)

Cua94

mm stan
08-01-2013, 10:24 AM
Welcome Clueless... What is your budget?

Gerry M
08-01-2013, 10:26 AM
Welcome to the forum clueless.

I'm also a beginner and I started with a $30 plastic laminate Chinese special. I have since bought a $300 Cordoba 25SK (still made in China I might add, but beautifully finished and a lot more mellow sound than the plastic one).

I would recomment the book "Ukulele for Dummies" to get started.

I have worked my way through this book in less than two months and I'm now working my way through "ukulele Exercises for Dummies" (both bought on-line from Amazon).

Happy Strumming...

clueless
08-01-2013, 10:36 AM
Welcome Clueless... What is your budget?

Thank you for the welcome. My budget was less than 100$ US, I wanted to spend around 60, ended up spending a little more than 100.00 by the time it was all said and done.

Thanks Gerry for the recommendation, I think "Uke for Dummies " will be perfect for me. Will be self-teaching and lemme tell you, this is going to be interesting. Let's just say I'm a slow learner and leave it at that....but I think I can do this! Who said you can't teach an old dog new tricks? :old:

Gerry M
08-01-2013, 10:56 AM
I forgot to mention that a CD is included the "Ukulele for Dummies" book (containing the tracks for all the examples) and you download the files on-line for the "Ukulele Exercises for Dummies" book...

Radio Flyer
08-01-2013, 01:30 PM
welcome...don't forget to look at all the helpful info right here.

clueless
08-01-2013, 03:10 PM
Thanks RF.....slogging my way through...so much info here! Between what's on here and youtube, I learned three 1/2 chords today! :) woo hoo. Thanks everyone for helping me get settled.

Trout
08-02-2013, 08:34 PM
I want to add my 2 cents about the Ukulele for dummies. I went to my library and checked it out. I'm glad I didn't buy it because there wasn't much in it for me that was worthy of spending the money. There is a ton of info on Uke's that's free... I'd suggest the library and spending some quality time on youtube, and the internet looking. Like I said.... 2 cents and only mine.

Shastastan
08-04-2013, 07:19 AM
If you buy from a dedicated and caring uke dealer, like some of the one's you see mentioned over and over in these forums (HMS, Mim, Uke Republic, Mainland, etc.), what you buy will be playable because they will make sure the instrument is playable before it leaves the shop. Being new, you probably don't have a preference for a "tailored" setup and that's fine - the goal especially for a beginner is to have a uke that plays in tune and easily. A long-time player can play any piece of crap, a beginner needs a uke that facilitates growth (yeah, there's a joke about that but we won't go there). You will not always get that if you are buying low to mid-priced ukes from Amazon.com, Guitar Center, etc.

I agree. I've bought from both Mainland and Uke Republic and have been very happy. You have the right idea about getting one with quality to start rather than a junky cheapo. I think that's true for any instrument. Why handicap yourself before you even start?

HendrikM
08-04-2013, 09:04 AM
A long-time player can play any piece of crap, a beginner needs a uke that facilitates growth (yeah, there's a joke about that but we won't go there). You will not always get that if you are buying low to mid-priced ukes from Amazon.com, Guitar Center, etc.


I learned the truth behind this statement. I'm new at this too (3 months) I have been playing a Kohala concert. I picked up a Dolphin last week just for fun to see how different a soprano size was to play. The guy in the music store made it sound incredible. So good that as a newbie I was embarrassed to even try to play a couple of chords myself in the store for fear of looking silly. I knew I would probably need to set it up but having watched OldPharts Blue Dolphin video I was prepared to experiment and maybe learn something.

Out of the box at home for me it sounded like crud, plinky like a crank up jack in the box. Action way too high, intonation bad. I went too low in filing grooves, needle files a bit too wide, buzzing at the frets, crazy glue, baking soda. What a mess! I'm a reasonably handy guy too.

I knew it could happen going in and I'm still happy because I'm learning things by fixing my own mistakes, and I knew it going in. But the biggest lesson... If just starting out, you want it to sound decent in your hands. So mashing the strings while learning chords doesn't pull every note sharp. Out of the box if it doesn't sound right its pretty disappointing. Any future purchase I make I will have the pro's set it up. I have a better appreciation for what that means now.

I think I got lucky. My Costco kohala (first uke) did come right out of the box sounding good. If I had got the plinky dolphin as my first, I probably would have given up on the whole ukulele thing pretty quickly.

clueless
08-05-2013, 08:44 AM
Thanks, good to know...I have Ukes for dummies on request from the library :)

mm stan
08-06-2013, 06:45 AM
Aloha Clueless,,,,
another good resource is ukulele Mike on You tube and Doctor Uke...google them... Happy Strummings...MM
http://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=ukulele+mike+lesson+1&oq=ukulele+Mike&gs_l=youtube.1.2.35i39j0l9.4024.7300.0.10545.12.10 .0.0.0.0.265.1937.0j5j5.10.0...0.0...1ac.1.11.yout ube.tMY8cJm4Zp4
http://www.doctoruke.com/