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View Full Version : what is the setup that MGM does?



1014
01-25-2009, 11:24 AM
Here's the dilemma I keep putting myself into...

I've settled on an `ukulele -- the `Ohana CK35G. At one point, I was convinced I needed to swap out the friction tuners so I looked online for a place that could do the swap but I find I actually don't mind them and find them serviceable and I don't want to mess with the balance of the `ukulele (nice run-on sentence to start my day). Now I'm stuck between buying from a local shop and MGM. MGM is a better deal, but part of me REALLY wants to support the local shop, whose owner is awesome and understanding, but can not provide the "extras" that MGM can provide. price range is also a big difference as well. MGM provides a hard case, free set up -- fret dressed and polished, fingerboard oiled and wax, action adjustment -- for a price equivalent (and a little less) to the `ukulele and case at my local. I've tried a bunch of the CK35G and the majority sound nice to me, though I did find myself attached to one in particular (but I thought the action was a bit too high). the local could not do the change and i would have to go elsewhere and pay extra to have someone do it for me.

I know it's not much, but for how much I'm spending I'd really want my gear to be solid. so any suggestions?

BTW I do plan on buying a kala mango from MGM as well in the future, which led to my current dilemma -- should I buy two from MGM or support the `ukulele shop around the corner. the kala distributors in my area don't deserve my business due to the lack of ANY customer service.

MGM
01-25-2009, 11:41 AM
I can't really omake a video of what I do for competetive purposes....give away trade secrets lol however unless you have all the things in the list below you wouldnt be able to do it.

Fret leveling diamond files
Various nut files
fretboard stain
fretboard oil
renaissance wax' ebony bri-wax
320 sandpaper 600 sandpaper
fret end files
fret crowning files
0000 steel wool
fret rocker guage
string action guage
thin super glue
thick super glue
naptha
ebony dust
bone dust
extra saddles
rosewood shim materials
disc sander
mini belt sander
deco lacquer pens
colored wax blend sticks
straight edge
strobe tuner
guitar polish
3m blue ice polish
meguires polish
microfiber cloths
paper towels
glue accellerant
amplifier

PickNStrum
01-25-2009, 12:03 PM
With the Kala, Ohana, and other Chinese made ukes, buying from mike is a good idea (And that is coming from a ukulele dealer) as these instruments generally need adjustment. On the other hand, there are other ukuleles such as Ko'olau's foreign made pono line that are very well setup and have much better quality control. If you have a local dealer that you like, support them. Actually I recommend Pono as the best mid range instrument on the market.

1014
01-25-2009, 12:09 PM
MGM, you are a hard sell! and much mahalos PickNStrum.

i always buy strings, stands, tuners, etc. from my Local.

experimentjon
01-25-2009, 12:16 PM
With the Kala, Ohana, and other Chinese made ukes, buying from mike is a good idea (And that is coming from a ukulele dealer) as these instruments generally need adjustment. On the other hand, there are other ukuleles such as Ko'olau's foreign made pono line that are very well setup and have much better quality control. If you have a local dealer that you like, support them. Actually I recommend Pono as the best mid range instrument on the market.

Really? I just thought my Pono PKT1 was just an okay instrument. There were some very minor finish flaws on my Pono, but the sound just wasn't quite there for me, and I've played laminate Kalas that sounded just as good or better. I'd actually recommend a fully optioned up Fluke as the best mid range instrument.

But wow, that's a lot of stuff that MGM has. Of course, you can actually do most of what he does with far less stuff, like what I did at home with my own diamond file and sandpaper, when I modified my Leolani, but of course, it's not going to turn out as nice or as professional as what he does. Don't know which way to advise you on this one, since I love my local music stores, because you just can't beat going in and getting good service in person. But Mike also does a great job, and although I have only bought strings/accessories from him, he has always been fast and convenient.

PickNStrum
01-25-2009, 01:18 PM
I'll be honest I haven't tried all the pono's. Only the PCO, PTO, PTO-E, PTES-5 and PSMP which I just picked up for the first time at NAMM. These instruments are all beautiful sounding and certainly the best value I've found including a really sweet hard case
Now the problem I've found with flukes-
-very muddled sound on the bass c string. (My biggest complaint)
-A lot of sustain but not traditional in sound
-Frets wear down faster and you must replace the entire fretboard as it is injection molded. I still have one instrument where the fretboard came unglued!
-Markers wear off as well as they are only painted on

For me flukes are a great beat around instrument to take to the beach, leave in your car, teach my one year old etc... Made in the USA, Very durable and loud for their size however when you consider that the body and fretboard are molded , it begs the question of "value" There are a lot of ukuleles available on the market these days that are solid wood with hand inlayed frets that sound better in this price range. I think they would be a good buy if they retailed around $150

experimentjon
01-25-2009, 01:45 PM
I'll be honest I haven't tried all the pono's. Only the PCO, PTO, PTO-E, PTES-5 and PSMP which I just picked up for the first time at NAMM. These instruments are all beautiful sounding and certainly the best value I've found including a really sweet hard case
Now the problem I've found with flukes-
-very muddled sound on the bass c string. (My biggest complaint)
-A lot of sustain but not traditional in sound
-Frets wear down faster and you must replace the entire fretboard as it is injection molded. I still have one instrument where the fretboard came unglued!
-Markers wear off as well as they are only painted on

For me flukes are a great beat around instrument to take to the beach, leave in your car, teach my one year old etc... Made in the USA, Very durable and loud for their size however when you consider that the body and fretboard are molded , it begs the question of "value" There are a lot of ukuleles available on the market these days that are solid wood with hand inlayed frets that sound better in this price range. I think they would be a good buy if they retailed around $150

Agreed on the awesome hard case with the Pono, and on the price point on the Fluke. Flukes def are not a value buy. Honestly, for me, they'd be an good buy at about $120 for a base model, and 190 is really a bit steep for what it is. But I just love the sound (since I've got enough traditional sounding ones), durability, shape, and weight of the uke, even though it doesn't have a nice wood body, or nice inlays and adornments. It just has that je ne sais qua when you pick it up and strum it, that makes me love it. The fret markers are indeed a problem, and I need to reapply with a silver sharpie once every two weeks or so. But I have yet to experience the frets wearing down, although I have heard several reports of that. As for the entire fret board coming off, I hope that never happens, since I suspect shipping from Hawaii to their factory is rather expensive.

Still, if I had about $250 to spend on any uke, I'd still have to go for the Fluke, because it simply is the most fun to play, and I'd say it sounds better than the Pono ("better" being a very subjective word.) But I also agree that Pono is rather good value for the money with solid woods, and that expensive case included in the price.

Sorry to have taken this thread off course. ;)

UkeNinja
01-25-2009, 02:00 PM
The fret markers are indeed a problem, and I need to reapply with a silver sharpie once every two weeks or so. But I have yet to experience the frets wearing down, although I have heard several reports of that.
Try nail polish (it comes in pearly colors as well) and apply thinly in two or three times. Better than the original paint in my opinion.
As for the fretboard wear, I have complained a few times (or at least mentioned it) here, but it was most visible in the first few months and seems to have leveled out (literally, in fact!) now so maybe it is less of a problem than I thought.

As for Mike's secret setup, I see paper towels in that list. My uke is getting a thorough rubbing this evening! :nana:

Kekani
01-25-2009, 04:48 PM
I know it's not much, but for how much I'm spending I'd really want my gear to be solid. so any suggestions?

BTW I do plan on buying a kala mango from MGM as well in the future

I just went through a long response on another thread, which could very well be placed here.

1014, lets face, if you want your gear solid, there's two ways to do it. Spend your money once, or keep on spending.

The fact that you are planning an ohana, then a Kala, you seem to be chosing the second option. Why not just up your price to a good factory instrument?


I'd actually recommend a fully optioned up Fluke as the best mid range instrument.

No offense, but the Fluke is a low end instrument if there ever was one. I think Jim Beloff has done a fantastic marketing job of his Fluke and Flea. He is focusing on the fun part of `ukulele, and has generated a customer base that may have not picked it up in the first place. Good for the `ukulele community (and FMBB of course).

I think 1014, with a simple statement such as "I want my gear solid", may very well have fun in mind, but seems to be serious about the instrument.

Although not a Pono fan initially (not really liking most instruments from overseas), I think this would be as close to mid-range as you can get to a local factory. The newer versions are impressive, and I think John made a good call on that line.

Seems like I think alot.

Just my $.02 -Aaron

1014
01-25-2009, 06:42 PM
mahalo everyone. all good points taken. all in all i think i was getting a little ahead of myself. thinking two `ukulele (one strung gCEA the other GCEA) was better than one really solid one. when I should concentrate on High G first. then get a nice High G `ukulele. you get the picture...

re-focusing my search for something else. i'm easily influenced...

mahalo for the kokua.

experimentjon
01-25-2009, 07:02 PM
No offense, but the Fluke is a low end instrument if there ever was one. I think Jim Beloff has done a fantastic marketing job of his Fluke and Flea. He is focusing on the fun part of `ukulele, and has generated a customer base that may have not picked it up in the first place. Good for the `ukulele community (and FMBB of course).


Point taken. Yeah, it's more on the "low end." But such a fabulous instrument (of course depending on what you're looking for.) :shaka:

tad
01-25-2009, 07:42 PM
mahalo everyone. all good points taken. all in all i think i was getting a little ahead of myself. thinking two `ukulele (one strung gCEA the other GCEA) was better than one really solid one. when I should concentrate on High G first. then get a nice High G `ukulele. you get the picture...

re-focusing my search for something else. i'm easily influenced...

mahalo for the kokua.

See, I think there's something to that approach. I'd rather have more serviceable to okay instruments than just one really good one. No matter how good, your solid koa tenor will never sound like a dobro-style uke, or a banjolele, or even a soprano or a cedar-top for that matter.

When I have more money, I'll get one that costs as much as all my other ukes, but for now, I'm happier to have several ukes in the 100-250 area. But that's just me.

ukulelemotion
01-26-2009, 04:51 AM
mahalo everyone. all good points taken. all in all i think i was getting a little ahead of myself. thinking two `ukulele (one strung gCEA the other GCEA) was better than one really solid one. when I should concentrate on High G first. then get a nice High G `ukulele. you get the picture...

re-focusing my search for something else. i'm easily influenced...

mahalo for the kokua.

hey bro.. i have bought ukes from MGM and local shops.. i must say that with MGM, you are taken care of. i just got my bugsgear eleuke from MGM and i am very pleased. came with a gig bag and a paper on how to take care of the uke. you just dont get that kind of love for the uke from anyone else. haha. the local shop i go to does hook me up too, but is limited on types and knowledge but has good customer service. haha. i can take you there sometime to check it out tho.. haha i dont think i made the decision any easier. but kala mango is a great buy. has a great sound and looks beautiful. we have a soprano and tenor at the house. they both sound awesome. i'll show you at the next jam.
:shaka::music::shaka:

deach
01-26-2009, 04:55 AM
.

Who is MGM?


.

ukulelemotion
01-26-2009, 05:07 AM
.

Who is MGM?


.

bro.. really.. MGM is Metro-Goldwyn-Myers Inc. hahahaha

awesome set-up five(high five position)

deach
01-26-2009, 05:08 AM
bro.. really.. MGM is Metro-Goldwyn-Myers Inc. hahahaha


Oh, Thanks. They sell ukes now?

ukulelemotion
01-26-2009, 05:13 AM
Oh, Thanks. They sell ukes now?


nope.. but MusicGuyMic does sell quality ukes at decent prices with awesome customer service. :D

deach
01-26-2009, 05:14 AM
nope.. but MusicGuyMic does sell quality ukes at decent prices with awesome customer service. :D

Oh him. I don't call him MGM or MusicGuyMic. He's "SpeedDial1" to me.

ukulelemotion
01-26-2009, 05:17 AM
Oh him. I don't call him MGM or MusicGuyMic. He's "SpeedDial1" to me.


aww.. lucky guy mic.. haha.. so what is russ_buss' name to you?

deach
01-26-2009, 05:18 AM
aww.. lucky guy mic.. haha.. so what is russ_buss' name to you?

Who is russ_buss?

ukulelemotion
01-26-2009, 05:28 AM
Who is russ_buss?

hhhmm.. how do i describe him.. he is a long haired, ukulele playing alcoholic that loves mayo with everything especially uncooked hot dogs while watching yook minutes and making vids saying up yours... oh and he has a dog that says bug off.

deach
01-26-2009, 05:45 AM
hhhmm.. how do i describe him.. he is a long haired, ukulele playing alcoholic that loves mayo with everything especially uncooked hot dogs while watching yook minutes and making vids saying up yours... oh and he has a dog that says bug off.

Oh that guy. I didn't know Rayon had a dog.

ukulelemotion
01-26-2009, 06:21 AM
Oh that guy. I didn't know Rayon had a dog.

apparently he does. haha:rotfl:

1014
01-26-2009, 06:32 AM
See, I think there's something to that approach. I'd rather have more serviceable to okay instruments than just one really good one. No matter how good, your solid koa tenor will never sound like a dobro-style uke, or a banjolele, or even a soprano or a cedar-top for that matter.

When I have more money, I'll get one that costs as much as all my other ukes, but for now, I'm happier to have several ukes in the 100-250 area. But that's just me.

braddah Tad, please don't make me second guess myself again lol.