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1014
01-20-2009, 08:13 AM
Aloha kakou!

I know this is a tired subject here, but I am back in the market for an `ukulele and would appreciate any kokua and suggestions. I sent a similar email earlier to MGM.

I'm still a relative beginner and am looking for a moderately low price concert `ukulele in the $200-300 range. I have a cheap Hawaiian `Ukulele Company Student Soprano and a `Ohana Vita right now. The Soprano which I basically learned my chords on has spent most of it's life (about 10 years) in and out of the garage. It's serviceable, but loses it's tune in roughly an hour of solid strumming. It was also extremely soft, but I swapped out the ten year old strings with Aquilas and the difference was night and day. at least when they were in tune.

Recently, I bought the Vita on a whim. My wife and I simply loved its sound when strumming -- sweet and loud, but while I'm learning to pick, I find that I wanted more sound. I figure it's a great `ukulele to have lay down the melody work, but I want something that I can solo on as well.

I'm primarily looking to play more Hawaiian music, so though I want loud I also want warm. I've travelled a bit recently, so I've played around with some different `ukulele and brands. I went to Gryphon Strings and played with the Kamakas and Kiwaya. I went to Ukulele Source and played the Ohana, Kanile`a, KoAloha. I went to Island Bizaar and met Shirley who sold me the Vita! (Great place!). and also hit up Larry Larson(?) in Glendale and played with an Kala Koa and Mango Tenor. Each has it's pluses and negatives. some is as simple as price (I'm getting a Kanile`a December time no doubt!) but others are as nerve racking as aesthetics (a mango was real nice looking but i certainly hated the wound c-string).

I'm pretty settled on the Concert size. I'm pretty used to the smaller soprano scale, but at this point I'd like to give my fingers some room, but not too wide as the tenor. I've tried all three over and over at the places here and there and each time I'm starting to find myself falling back comfortably at the concert size.

I'd like solid wood preferably something with a loud but warm sound. I do like the Kalas (the mango just looks so beautiful) tho. is there really that big of a difference?

I'd also like geared tuners,though I really liked the `Ohana ck 35 and 50. my soprano is so cheap and out of tuned so oftened that i've become scared of friction tuners, so maybe the upper scale friction tuners on the `Ohana will do a much much better job.


My thoughts on the few I've tried:
Ohana CK35 and 50. I really liked, but truthfully like I said the friction tuners really scared me.
Kala Koa Concert, I liked the sound. alot! but something about it doesn't grab me. I honestly think, because selfishly I think it's a plain looking.
unlike the Kala Mango Tenor, which I thought was very beautiful, but the wound C-String was a turn off in sound. maybe the nylgut aquilas would be better?
Lanikai was nice, but the staff at the place i tried it at in SJ didn't talk to me so i was pretty salty and intent not to like anything.

My goal is to kanikapila with my sister and my dad and his friends who are actually musicians. I'm basically strumming with them now, which is a big step, but I'd like something loud to sing/solo with when they say it's my turn.

again, this is nerve racking, but it's one step at a time.

ukudele
01-20-2009, 11:37 AM
Ha, That is good your thinking about it. I have had so many instances of buyers remorse, but then again I always seem to open up to the ukulele. Like you said,"one step at a time". shopping around and looking at reviews is very smart and being in UU, well you have a jump on the curve. in the end, your playing the instrument. strings can always be changed and employees that do not have any idea about what they are talking about shouldn't deter you from your choice. 200-300 is a good price range but if you just go a lil bit higher on the budget your choices are way better in the long run.


larry larson in glendale??? where in glendale?

1014
01-20-2009, 07:42 PM
its on glenoaks a couple blocks north of bobs big boy. near western ave. it's small and crowded, but i thought is was fun just handling `ukus.

leo76dragon
01-20-2009, 09:42 PM
Aloha kakou!

I know this is a tired subject here, but I am back in the market for an `ukulele and would appreciate any kokua and suggestions. I sent a similar email earlier to MGM.

I'm still a relative beginner and am looking for a moderately low price concert `ukulele in the $200-300 range. I have a cheap Hawaiian `Ukulele Company Student Soprano and a `Ohana Vita right now. The Soprano which I basically learned my chords on has spent most of it's life (about 10 years) in and out of the garage. It's serviceable, but loses it's tune in roughly an hour of solid strumming. It was also extremely soft, but I swapped out the ten year old strings with Aquilas and the difference was night and day. at least when they were in tune.

Recently, I bought the Vita on a whim. My wife and I simply loved its sound when strumming -- sweet and loud, but while I'm learning to pick, I find that I wanted more sound. I figure it's a great `ukulele to have lay down the melody work, but I want something that I can solo on as well.

I'm primarily looking to play more Hawaiian music, so though I want loud I also want warm. I've travelled a bit recently, so I've played around with some different `ukulele and brands. I went to Gryphon Strings and played with the Kamakas and Kiwaya. I went to Ukulele Source and played the Ohana, Kanile`a, KoAloha. I went to Island Bizaar and met Shirley who sold me the Vita! (Great place!). and also hit up Larry Larson(?) in Glendale and played with an Kala Koa and Mango Tenor. Each has it's pluses and negatives. some is as simple as price (I'm getting a Kanile`a December time no doubt!) but others are as nerve racking as aesthetics (a mango was real nice looking but i certainly hated the wound c-string).

I'm pretty settled on the Concert size. I'm pretty used to the smaller soprano scale, but at this point I'd like to give my fingers some room, but not too wide as the tenor. I've tried all three over and over at the places here and there and each time I'm starting to find myself falling back comfortably at the concert size.

I'd like solid wood preferably something with a loud but warm sound. I do like the Kalas (the mango just looks so beautiful) tho. is there really that big of a difference?

I'd also like geared tuners,though I really liked the `Ohana ck 35 and 50. my soprano is so cheap and out of tuned so oftened that i've become scared of friction tuners, so maybe the upper scale friction tuners on the `Ohana will do a much much better job.


My thoughts on the few I've tried:
Ohana CK35 and 50. I really liked, but truthfully like I said the friction tuners really scared me.
Kala Koa Concert, I liked the sound. alot! but something about it doesn't grab me. I honestly think, because selfishly I think it's a plain looking.
unlike the Kala Mango Tenor, which I thought was very beautiful, but the wound C-String was a turn off in sound. maybe the nylgut aquilas would be better?
Lanikai was nice, but the staff at the place i tried it at in SJ didn't talk to me so i was pretty salty and intent not to like anything.

My goal is to kanikapila with my sister and my dad and his friends who are actually musicians. I'm basically strumming with them now, which is a big step, but I'd like something loud to sing/solo with when they say it's my turn.

again, this is nerve racking, but it's one step at a time.


eh Neil,
Just save your money and go all out on one of the triple K's (Kamaka, Koaloha, Kanilea)... trust me, they are worth it!!... or if you like go nuts, get a custom... shop MGM on ebay... ask em for one sound sample and he'll put it on youtube for u...

alohas!

leo76dragon

rayan
01-20-2009, 10:28 PM
Not just saying this because they're a UU sponsor, but the ukes that Mainland ukes are putting out offer a real bang for your buck.

- Solid wood construction
- Real bone nut and saddle
- Nice high quality covered geared tuners
- comes with Aquila strings standard

Not to mention they sound great. They don't have electronics but at that price point it's going to hard to find a uke with a good pickup system and all those features.

I think their concert goes for around $220 plus shipping and handling.

They're a very new company but you should at least take a look at what they have to offer. If you tune in tomorrow for the live stream we can do a sample of what their concert sounds like.

ukudele
01-21-2009, 11:50 PM
Thanks man, That is pretty sweet, I live like 10 mins from there. Do you around here? Or San Jose... Reason I ask is that, I have a Old Lanikai Ck-Teq just lying around. It retails for like 280 and I'm willing to part with it for half of that. IDK, maybe that would help you out.

CDon
01-22-2009, 02:49 AM
Just save your money and go all out on one of the triple K's (Kamaka, Koaloha, Kanilea)... trust me, they are worth it!!...
Several months ago I read a comparison of the triple K's... I don't know now where I read it, and I can't find it again. Ring a bell with anyone? It was not a 'which was best' post, but a 'how they are different' post, in terms of tonal characteristics and such.

jppino
01-22-2009, 07:33 AM
I second Mainland Ukes. Right in your price range. Hit up Mike(hoosierhiver)...he was so helpful when I picked my Mainland Uke.

1014
01-22-2009, 08:00 AM
eo leo,
the triple k's gotta wait. if i get a top one now, i don't think i could justify getting another `ukulele ever! gotta work the wahine slow haha. i've already got my eyes on a sweet kanile`a at Ukulele Source.

mahalos for the recommendations for Mainland. I have already committed to an Ohana via MGM tho, but without confessing to UAS, I always going need a second/third `ukulele if my sister like jam with my dad and me.

Ukeboy385
01-22-2009, 05:47 PM
nah not mainland ukes, if want a uke, get it from where it originated from,HAWAII!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!dey have millions of uke options and can be bought for cheap prices.oh and dey sound beautifullllllllllllllllll!

UkeNinja
01-22-2009, 07:47 PM
nah not mainland ukes, if want a uke, get it from where it originated from,HAWAII!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!dey have millions of uke options and can be bought for cheap prices.oh and dey sound beautifullllllllllllllllll!
Dude, I think the better budget ukuleles are all produced outside Hawaii. And the topic starter is looking for a budget uke... plenty of choice. But I appreciate your effort to support island economy.

1014
01-23-2009, 04:13 AM
as much as I want to support Na Pae`aina, I just can't find something from Hawai`i equivalent in my price range. If you know one, let me know!

Harold O.
01-24-2009, 06:55 PM
It seems to me ( a seasoned beginner if ever there was one) that most of the off-island (non-Hawaiian) ukes are coming from China. I have both a tenor and soprano Vineyard uke that are commissioned out of China. The $20 tenor sounds boxy while the $60 soprano wows the world. Go figure.

My recently acquired Ohana Tenor (supposedly from Hawaii, but made in China) 35GT sounds and looks pretty good.

We all will eventually pine for a specialty-built piece, but until then must make due with what fits our budget. One day our ear and playing will develop to a point where it WILL make a difference. THEN and only THEN will we we recognize the value of a custom piece. (PH is my hero)

The primary reason I picked a ukulele was to allow me to express myself and sing love songs to my wife, sing silly songs for my girls, and sing silly love songs for the family. I am still alive, yet rest in peace.

Harold O.

bbycrts
01-24-2009, 08:01 PM
Pono. I have two Ponos - an 8-string tenor (now discontinued, I guess) and a soprano, both solid mahogany. They are beautiful and sound so mellow and sweet.... Paid under $200 from MGM for the soprano.