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TakeBack
01-16-2009, 08:53 PM
I'm an experienced guitarist looking into ukes. Tone is important to me and I don't want to waste time/$$$ on an inferior instrument...there are several ukes I have seen in the ~$300 range, both laminate and solid.

Any recs on an instrument for this price range, or do I need to step up in price to get a richer sounding instrument?

Thanks!

UkeNinja
01-16-2009, 09:15 PM
If you search around a bit with the string "beginner uke", you will find lots of recommendations for starter ukes and models in the next price category, your ~$300. A slightly upscale Kala or a Koa Pili Koko perhaps, solid models can be had for that money. Flukes/fleas are in your price zone as well. Pull out a few more bills and you can have a Pono, your question is very general. What size do you want to play? Please elaborate a bit more, that way those who reply can better imagine what direction you want to go.

Kanaka916
01-16-2009, 10:34 PM
Since you didn't mention locale, I'm assuming there aren't too many places you can look for or try an instrument. Take a gander at Mainland Ukes (http://shop.mainlandukuleles.com/category.sc?categoryId=3) located in Indiana. Give them a call and talk to Mike (aka hoosierhiver). Here's a thread (http://www.ukuleleunderground.com/forum/showthread.php?t=8309) about Mainland Ukes.Falls into your price range and as UkeNinja mentioned, Kala or Koa Pili Koko. You can view these at MGM (http://stores.ebay.com/Musicguymics-Room_W0QQcolZ2QQdirZQ2d1QQfsubZQ2d999QQftidZ2QQtZk m).

Kekani
01-17-2009, 07:24 AM
Sorry, after re-reading the questions, then matching it up with the thread title, I edited my response out.

Lanark
01-17-2009, 07:46 AM
Scale is also important.
Your $300 is going to get you different things if you're talking soprano rather than tenor.

PineAppleExpress
01-17-2009, 09:32 AM
Just recently joined and extremely new to the world of ukulele. I was just at Alley Kat Music in Cypress and was extremely overwhelmed with information. I also checked out SamAsh and GuitarCenter. As far as size/scale, it looks like I may go with concert or tenor. The odd thing is the sopranos have great volume! The size does determine price as well.

Appears that solid wood is the way to go. Sounds much fuller and tone is much cleaner. As far as which company... Lanikai wins for affordable and accetable tone. Cordoba sucks and sounds dead! Martin S-O was unimprssive. Pono would be the best for the quality and price, but likely you have to spend $400-500. Ohana comes very close to Pono. *** Tiki Surf King at SamAsh was surprisingly loud and bright***

Wood was also a factor! I prefer the warmer tone of mahogany vs. brighter tone of Koa. Koa is higher in price. I wasn't impressed with koa and seem like a hit or miss. Most of the mahogany ukulele's were consistant in the warm tone.

I'm still searching all of SoCal and trying to figure out which is the best ukulele for me. My price range started at $200 and now I feel like I should look at $600 as my range. I still have to look into Ohana, Bushman, Kamaka. Martin.... I'm having so much fun with this search.

upskydowncloud
01-17-2009, 10:26 AM
Just recently joined and extremely new to the world of ukulele. I was just at Alley Kat Music in Cypress and was extremely overwhelmed with information. I also checked out SamAsh and GuitarCenter. As far as size/scale, it looks like I may go with concert or tenor. The odd thing is the sopranos have great volume! The size does determine price as well.

Appears that solid wood is the way to go. Sounds much fuller and tone is much cleaner. As far as which company... Lanikai wins for affordable and accetable tone. Cordoba sucks and sounds dead! Martin S-O was unimprssive. Pono would be the best for the quality and price, but likely you have to spend $400-500. Ohana comes very close to Pono. *** Tiki Surf King at SamAsh was surprisingly loud and bright***

Wood was also a factor! I prefer the warmer tone of mahogany vs. brighter tone of Koa. Koa is higher in price. I wasn't impressed with koa and seem like a hit or miss. Most of the mahogany ukulele's were consistant in the warm tone.

I'm still searching all of SoCal and trying to figure out which is the best ukulele for me. My price range started at $200 and now I feel like I should look at $600 as my range. I still have to look into Ohana, Bushman, Kamaka. Martin.... I'm having so much fun with this search.

It sounds like you're having fun looking, it is good shopping around isn't it? Welcome to the forum!

I'm not sure what your budget is but if you're in the Kamaka ball park you might also want to check out Kanilea, Ko'olau and Koaloha.

wickedwahine11
01-17-2009, 10:30 AM
Just recently joined and extremely new to the world of ukulele. I was just at Alley Kat Music in Cypress and was extremely overwhelmed with information. I also checked out SamAsh and GuitarCenter. As far as size/scale, it looks like I may go with concert or tenor. The odd thing is the sopranos have great volume! The size does determine price as well.

Appears that solid wood is the way to go. Sounds much fuller and tone is much cleaner. As far as which company... Lanikai wins for affordable and accetable tone. Cordoba sucks and sounds dead! Martin S-O was unimprssive. Pono would be the best for the quality and price, but likely you have to spend $400-500. Ohana comes very close to Pono. *** Tiki Surf King at SamAsh was surprisingly loud and bright***

Wood was also a factor! I prefer the warmer tone of mahogany vs. brighter tone of Koa. Koa is higher in price. I wasn't impressed with koa and seem like a hit or miss. Most of the mahogany ukulele's were consistant in the warm tone.

I'm still searching all of SoCal and trying to figure out which is the best ukulele for me. My price range started at $200 and now I feel like I should look at $600 as my range. I still have to look into Ohana, Bushman, Kamaka. Martin.... I'm having so much fun with this search.

PineApple - Since you are in SoCal, before you buy anything, be sure to try to check out Island Bazaar in Huntington Beach, Island Legends in Torrance and McCabe's in Santa Monica. They all (especially Island Bazaar and Island Legends) have a good supply in stock, and staff are very helpful, especially if you are starting out. There is nothing wrong with big chains, but they usually don't specialize in ukuleles, and these stores do. You will find a more knowledgable staff and much wider selection if you don't mind driving a little to the OC, South Bay or Westside. I've been to all of these stores and recommend them highly. I bought my Kanile'a at Island Bazaar, but I've bought strings and DVDs at Island Legends, and I'm taking classes at McCabe's. You can't go wrong with any of them...but I would check out all three before you buy anything.

PineAppleExpress
01-17-2009, 11:39 AM
I feel like a kid again. It's fun searching and figuring out what best fits my needs. As far what my needs are... my wants seems to win other it:D. I will check out all the stores as suggested! Looks like I'll cruise in 'ol jelopy to HB~ I'm often cruis'n there and I'll check out the stores.

Thanks guys! Wish me luck.

TakeBack
01-17-2009, 03:53 PM
From what I know so far I want to go with a tenor.
I'm in Seattle but obviously would order online if need be...there are plenty of string shops and a few really good acoustic shops around here I have to get back to and see what ukes they have.

Thanks for the responses so far.

ichadwick
01-19-2009, 01:21 AM
Solid all the way. Laminates are okay under some conditions (Flukes and Fleas, for example) but on a wooden instrument, they don't have the sound a soild top has. Backs and sides can be laminate, but the top should be solid. Has to do with the way a solid versus laminate top vibrates.

I have several ukes in your price range reviewed on my site, if you're interested.

gp-ak
01-19-2009, 05:34 AM
Laminates are okay under some conditions (Flukes and Fleas, for example)

i'm pretty sure they have solid tops.
EDIT: nevermind that might just be the Koa one.

Nuke-ulele
02-18-2009, 10:11 AM
i'm pretty sure they have solid tops.
EDIT: nevermind that might just be the Koa one.

Actually, Flukes and Fleas are not laminate, its just that the top is made of pine on most models. Solid pine, that is....it is just not a traditionally known ukulele material. The body is of course plastic.

allinfun
02-19-2009, 05:34 AM
First of all, a tenor mahogany from pono is 347 delivered in koolau case from Hawaii music supply (the owner is also a Kitakis which means you have unlimited access to whatever is at the Koolau/Pono factory located 3 blocks from HMS). Second, if you want you are welcome to try out any of our ponos with their various string combos as we live near the seattle area.

haolejohn
02-19-2009, 05:59 AM
Definately go with a solid if possible. However after hearing the kalas I bought two laminate ukes for the sheer enjoyment of convinence.

Check out Mele ukulele as well it is as good or better than a pono and a little less expensive.

spazus_maximus
02-19-2009, 07:17 AM
I dont think anyone can argue the tonal qualities of a laminate vs. a solid instrument......but i have to admit I fell in love with the Uke when I purchased a $30 Hilo....pretty much a toy...wooden frets painted gold...lol....I loved it so much because it had so much character & i could drag it anywhere with no worries of bangs & scratches....All the little imperfections of it appealed to me & brought me happiness that I had somehow lost in the guitar world....

So in short everything does not have to be perfect to attain happiness it's the joy you are able to find with your instrument that matters.

sorry for my rant...but I love all instruments...not just the high end ones...each has it's own quality

Sarkrates
02-19-2009, 07:33 AM
I would also suggest checking out dusty strings, they have a nice selection of ukes, and are in freemont. Cool Store.

Sark

freedive135
02-19-2009, 08:21 AM
Laminates have there place..
Here in Denver is one of them the other day the humidity went from 97% to 9% in 24 hours right now it's 16% and where the sun is so strong it will change your tuning for you as you play!!!!!

Ukuleleblues
02-19-2009, 11:13 AM
Laminates have there place..
Here in Denver is one of them the other day the humidity went from 97% to 9% in 24 hours right now it's 16% and where the sun is so strong it will change your tuning for you as you play!!!!!

Thats a crazy Humidity drop, that't got to be hard on everything wooden.
I don't bring solid wood to the beach/outside when it is 95 in the shade or lord knows what in the sun. I've seen the sun down here lighten wood in an hour. Found out becaue I had something in the middle that made a darker spot of the same outline on the wood.

Howlin Hobbit
02-19-2009, 02:51 PM
I would also suggest checking out dusty strings...

Cool store but tends toward spendy. Try Trading Musician (http://tradingmusician.com/). They have a wall of ukes, often including fabulous vintage ones at reasonable prices. They carry the Lanikai line which is a laminate line that consistently surprises me with their quality and sound. And I'm usually a solid wood snob.