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View Full Version : Uke as a gift for 10 & 12 yr old daughters?



pantomime_cat
12-14-2013, 08:47 PM
I was thinking about getting a couple of dolphin bridge ukes for my 10 and 12 yr old daughters. I don't know if they would appreciate it though.

The 12 yr old has a full size acoustic guitar which she plays a little (I got her a full size because all of the action on the smaller affordable ones sucked). She does struggle with fingering some of the chords because the instrument is too big for her. Niether lives with me, and the 12 yr old left her guitar with me (too hard to transport on the plane), and only plays it when she visits. But she plays it a lot and we work on songs when she is here. So far, she can play a cheater version of 1976 by the Smashing Pumpkins and Wish You Were Here.

The 10 yr old plays the piano here and has a crappy keyboard at home. I think she would really like chord charts, because in order to learn a song on the piano, she makes me tape up the keyboard with number sequences (it gets crazy).

I was thinking a couple of brightly colored ukes for xmas. Of course, I would have to pick up one myself in order to properly teach them. Anyone else have experience with ukes and kids, or tweens in general?

ScooterD35
12-15-2013, 03:16 AM
Price range?


Scooter

trowacat
12-15-2013, 03:48 AM
I've never seen somebody not like a uke! You can learn the basics really easily and for smaller hands its perfect. There's little chance of failure here! :)

bnolsen
12-15-2013, 04:19 AM
you'll want good intonation and action on your ukuleles, they need to be playable first.

BlueSockMonkey
12-15-2013, 04:29 AM
The Makala Dolphin is good choice for a first ukulele: They have good sound, come in lots of colors, and won't get irreparably damaged when left on the floor or used as a coaster. Be sure to buy from a reputable dealer who will set them up with low action and quality strings like Aquilas.

The little songbooks by Jim Beloff include uke chord diagrams above each chord throughout each song, which is very helpful for beginners. The larger books by Beloff (Daily Ukulele etc) print the chord diagrams only once at the beginning of each song, which is still helpful.

You and the kids can have a wonderful time together making music with the uke--best of luck!

Doug W
12-15-2013, 05:14 AM
The Makala Dolphins that I have played off the racks in music stores in this area have had very poor intonation. I personally would not recommend one that you did not test yourself.

Are you in an area that has music stores with ukes?

Will they appreciate ukuleles?

My kids range in age from 14 to 35. I have given all 4 of them ukuleles as gifts. 3 of the 4 play guitar on a regular basis and they play uke now and then. I have a new tradition, starting last year, of attending Ukulele World Congress with one of my daughters.
Some kids latch on to an instrument right away, some later and for some kids, their grandchildren will have the fun of finding an almost unused ukulele in a box in the attic 80 years from now.

johnnyn2o
12-15-2013, 06:04 AM
I was thinking a couple of brightly colored ukes for xmas. Of course, I would have to pick up one myself in order to properly teach them. Anyone else have experience with ukes and kids, or tweens in general?

I recently purchased a Makala Dolphin for my granddaugher. Sorry to say it was junk. Made from some type of fiberboard like the kind you hang tools from. One the the tuners was defective, so tuning was impossible. Everybody who buys a cheap dolphin suggest changig the strings. Spending $20 more is better then buying junk.



Luna has a nice maple soprano with Aquila strings for $70 http://www.amazon.com/Luna-Mahogany-Soprano-Pineapple-Ukulele/dp/B002SSUR3C/ref=sr_1_1?s=musical-instruments&ie=UTF8&qid=1387126190&sr=1-1&keywords=luna+pineapple+ukulele

Asumus Ukulele has a solid sapele uke for $80. I prefer the laminate for kids since they are a little tougher.

HTH.

seneystretch
12-15-2013, 06:24 AM
I was thinking about getting a couple of dolphin bridge ukes
Anyone else have experience with ukes and kids, or tweens in general?

Yeah, I think a few mail order dealers excel at this and a reliable dealer is everything when it comes to screening out bad manufacturing samples. Which you'll see a lot of at your price point.

I picked up a Kala maple-y concert uke that was originally sold by Mim's Ukes. I only bought it because the action was already reasonable at a 100 thousandths at the 12th fret. I made a good guess that the frets were level enough to bring it down more, I sanded the bridge down to 70 thousandths ( a US quarter). This uke had been sold with level frets, and with the action that low I guessed the intonation was at least acceptable (it was).

So call up dealers like UkeRepublic and HMS and Mim and Mainland and tell them what you're trying to do and what you want. Keep in mind that action and intonation are quickly a lot more important than designs and color.

Plus a soprano or concert uke can generally be taken on the plane.

PS
I just saw your parallel post that you live in Chicago. Boogie on over to https://www.oldtownschool.org/ . They sell ukes and do uke lessons, you won't go wrong there. They're one of the best music dealers going.

iDavid
12-15-2013, 03:29 PM
Here is a great option http://www.theukulelesite.com/kala-ka-s-soprano.html

They also do a fantastic set-up.

Bumgardner
12-15-2013, 03:42 PM
I purchased a Makala Dolphin for my daughter last Christmas, she was 1.5 years old at the time. She loves the Dolphin uke.

I purchased the Dolphin for my daughter at a good local music shop in Nashville, TN. The music shop performed a set up on the uke that made it pretty playable. This instrument is what actually got me interested in the ukulele.

I think as long as you go though a good dealer you have a reasonable chance of getting a decent Dolphin ukulele. As long as you go into it knowing exactly what the Dolphin is you will not be disappointed.

itsme
12-15-2013, 04:16 PM
I was thinking about getting a couple of dolphin bridge ukes for my 10 and 12 yr old daughters. I don't know if they would appreciate it though.
Look at the part I bolded.

If you aren't sure it's something they'd want, I'd be cautious. A gift that imposes your hobby/interest on a kid can be resented.

Just sayin.

TheCraftedCow
12-15-2013, 07:54 PM
What can we do together when we are apart is something which can build and strengthen a bond.It can say that you want them to be a part of your life and you to be a part of theirs. If you have an answering machine, ask them to make up something short and sweet that you can use as your message for incoming calls. Help them create it. Do you all SKYPE? What's the uke scene where they are? There is one school in our district where students are playing between classes as they change. What are their favorite colours? What colour strap would they like to have to go with them? I make 'em in 19 different colours. I will send you a scan of them, and if you decide you want to do something to draw closer to them, I will give you two straps and send them to you for them. All of their lives they will presented with new experiences and opportunities. You can and should be a part of that. Having something to do with others or even alone is an expression of thoughtfulness. Tell them it will be good for building friendships with people of all ages. Tell 'em from one who was a trumpet player, there are some things one can play that allow for conversations and music at the same time, but anything with a mouthpiece isn't one of them. Go for it. It's your desire to share your self and your interests, and to add to their lives. Don't just give it and leave them on their own. It is an opportunity for you all to draw closer. Music is good therapy.

iamesperambient
12-15-2013, 07:55 PM
I was thinking about getting a couple of dolphin bridge ukes for my 10 and 12 yr old daughters. I don't know if they would appreciate it though.

The 12 yr old has a full size acoustic guitar which she plays a little (I got her a full size because all of the action on the smaller affordable ones sucked). She does struggle with fingering some of the chords because the instrument is too big for her. Niether lives with me, and the 12 yr old left her guitar with me (too hard to transport on the plane), and only plays it when she visits. But she plays it a lot and we work on songs when she is here. So far, she can play a cheater version of 1976 by the Smashing Pumpkins and Wish You Were Here.

The 10 yr old plays the piano here and has a crappy keyboard at home. I think she would really like chord charts, because in order to learn a song on the piano, she makes me tape up the keyboard with number sequences (it gets crazy).

I was thinking a couple of brightly colored ukes for xmas. Of course, I would have to pick up one myself in order to properly teach them. Anyone else have experience with ukes and kids, or tweens in general?

A makala dolphin or shark would be a nice gift pretty cheap /cute and colorful and if the end up
not liking to play it didn't cost to much money :)

mm stan
12-15-2013, 10:37 PM
I'd take them in a shop and let them play with some ukes and see if they show any intrest first....and go from there......

Captain America
12-16-2013, 03:50 AM
Spend the extra $25.


This said, I only have found very good Dolphins. I've seen many, many other cheap-uke makes, and the Dolphin seems sturdier and better built.

RedRamen
12-16-2013, 04:46 AM
I recently bought my 17 month old daughter a dolphin uke too. She hasn't played with it yet (its a Christmas present). And I hope she will like it. She seems to want to strum my uke whenever I am playing.

I got the dolphin mostly because it has plastic and she has a tendancy to pete townshend her toys.

http://25.media.tumblr.com/tumblr_me2sihZUfC1qm3f8zo1_500.gif

I am hoping the plastic will last longer. If she does get into it, I am thinking of getting her a better one with at least a solid top like the hog kalas.

katysax
12-16-2013, 04:48 AM
Here is a great option http://www.theukulelesite.com/kala-ka-s-soprano.html

They also do a fantastic set-up.

This is good advice. The Makala Dolphins are pretty cool, and they can be made to play better than a toy. But I think they are more usable as "beater" ukes than something to recommend to a beginner.

You said you got your daughter a full sized guitar because the action on the smaller, affordable ones, was bad. The same issues exist with ukes. If you don't have experience getting a decent entry level uke from a reliable dealer is a really good idea. Kala and Ohana are both brands that make some really decent inexpensive ukes. If you pay $20 per uke more than the Dolphin you'll get something more ukelike and less toy-like.