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View Full Version : Maton concert owners.......how's your uke compare after the honeymoon



bobmeredith
01-24-2014, 02:00 PM
First post,

Hi all, great site by the way.

I'm looking to buy my 2nd and better quality uke. The intonation on my cheap Samick is starting to bug me and while I could have the bridge lowered (nut end is good) it's probably not worth spending the money on.

The Maton concert is selling for AUS$635 including B Band pup and case. Not many current independent reviews on the net and the ones here are a couple of years old.

How are you all feeling about your Matons now you've played them in, and had more time to compare them to other solid wood brands?

What was the action and intonation like right out of the box?


Could I get much better for the money without buying O/S?

Is there a noticeable improvement in tone over good quality local laminate brands?


I've found a Kamaka for around AUS $900 but with no pup. A pickup is important to me for stage and recording use. But by the time I have one installed it will be close to double the cost of the Maton.

I appreciate that the Kamaka with probably be a better sounding instrument but anything solid that has a decent tone and excellent intonation and setup will be good enough for me.

I'm not that inclined to purchase from O/S........they are fragile little instruments in the hands of gorillas and I don't have the time or inclination to deal with sending a damaged one back.

Any help and advice would be appreciated.

Many thanks

Hippie Dribble
01-24-2014, 05:26 PM
Hey Bob

first of all, welcome to the UU mate!

I've played several Maton concerts that get stocked in my local music shop. Impressed by the feel; the slim necks make them very nice players. Unplugged they are a tad on the quiet side. I've heard a few good reports about them also, but like you, not for awhile now. I like the mellow tone but honestly they are a little on the heavy-built side & feel like a guitar maker building a little guitar. I have owned nothing but Maton guitars and love em to bits but for that price ukulele I would look elsewhere mate. You can get some very classy ukes for 5-800 bucks.

Just on your other comment re shipping; I've lost count of the number of ukes I've bought from overseas in the past 6 or 7 years. Never had a single problem. Don't let your fears about such things stop you.

Anyway, all the best with your decision mate and I hope it's a good'un. Cheers.

bobmeredith
01-24-2014, 05:40 PM
A Mainland with a pickup would be my other choice. Trouble is the mainland site never seems to have hardcases in stock; which is a precondition of shipping O/S.

I guess a could always make an offer on the Kamaka. It's somewhwere in Sydney. Need to sell a violin first to afford that one however.

cdkrugjr
01-24-2014, 05:45 PM
If you're paying attention to your uke on your honeymoon, you're doing it wrong . . .
8-)

anthonyg
01-24-2014, 09:31 PM
My two bobs worth is that you don't want a pickup for recording. Microphones ALL the way for recording. Personally I use microphones for live performance as well.

A top quality Australian ukulele luthier is Scott Wise of Wise ukulele's.

Actually a Cole Clark Ukelady may be up your ally. It's a super Soprano so Soprano body with Concert scale neck. They come with a twin pickup system if you must. A Ukelady without a pickup system installed is a VERY lively instrument. The pickup system subdues them somewhat. I always found Maton ukulele's to be somewhat subdued as well.

As far as Kamaka's go I would try one out first before buying one. They can be a little subdued as well.

Anthony

bobmeredith
01-25-2014, 02:33 AM
Thanks for the replies folks.

Not performing at all yet. Only been playing a month. Main instruments, ex pro standard; Guitar, Bass, and Sax. Plus competant hobbist on the Mandolin.

Not looking for gigs as a virtuoso uke player, just looking for something that intonates well, is pleasent to play, and will sound ok on stage with a pickup.

I'll settle for being a competent hobbist on the uke as well. I'm very much an "instrument as a tool" kinda person and looks/asthetics don't concern me in the slightest. I'm not really a brand name fan or a boutique exclusive build afficianado either. That said; I have enough pro standard instruments at home to give me a benchmark as to acceptable function and quality. A good working players instrument will do.

Wise's ukes are very nice but out of my price range. Don't know anything about Barron River, I'll look them up. I guess my budget for a solid uke with a pickup is around AUS$700-800 tops. I'm patient enough to hang back until I find something 2nd hand that I can go and play. I was hoping that the Maton might fulfil my needs but they seem such an uknown quantity. There are a couple within an hours drive; I may go and play one next week.

Thanks for all the advice everyone.

bobmeredith
01-25-2014, 12:23 PM
I could see if the Kamaka is still for sale and deal with the lack of pickup at a later stage. I agree for recording a mic is the way to go, and a good condensor mic would be good for all my instruments. I have a Sen 421 and a Shure SM 57 that may get me out of trouble live anyway.

I guess there would be no contest between a Maton for AUS$650 and a Kamaka for $900

anthonyg
01-25-2014, 01:05 PM
The base model Cole Clark Ukelady without a pickup system is only a little more expensive than the Maton and is a nice lively ukulele. You should see if you can try one out.

Anthony

Hippie Dribble
01-25-2014, 02:33 PM
If you're tossing up between a Kamaka and a Maton there's really no choice to make in my view.

With Maton you have an Australian guitar maker recently dipping their toes into the uke market without any reputation for building a good uke. They look like someone building a small guitar with no weight of experience or understanding of ukulele construction. They are unbalanced, heavily made and lack projection.

With Kamaka you are buying from the oldest ukulele maker on the Islands with a long established reputation for building quality instruments and by extension, you are partnering into a tradition and history. You know exactly what you'll be getting. All this for only a couple of hundred extra bucks.

bobmeredith
01-25-2014, 02:48 PM
Agreed

I've sent an email to the Kamaka owner and I'm waiting on a reply. He may have already sold it. Who knows? The price difference is only what it will cost me to sell a couple of boutique guitar pedals that I no longer use


If you're tossing up between a Kamaka and a Maton there's really no choice to make in my view.

With Maton you have an Australian guitar maker recently dipping their toes into the uke market without any reputation for building a good uke. They look like someone building a small guitar with no weight of experience or understanding of ukulele construction. They are unbalanced, heavily made and lack projection.

With Kamaka you are buying from the oldest ukulele maker on the Islands with a long established reputation for building quality instruments and by extension, you are partnering into a tradition and history. You know exactly what you'll be getting. All this for only a couple of hundred extra bucks.

Strumdaddy
01-25-2014, 03:06 PM
Hi Bob!!
You are tossing up between a concert sized and a soprano sized uke here.... Just wondered if that makes a difference to you.
I do sympathise with you here though.... It's not possible to go into your local Australian music store and compare really good quality uses - they just aren't distributed here. Oh for the opportunity of our American cousins who have specialised ukulele stores on every street corner with touts out the front begging you to come and sample the latest Collings or Moore Bettah..... Lucky buggers!
Out of the ones we do get here there are, of course, some beauties.
I personally played what I could, found my connection with the different uke sizes, then bought through the internet. I have never had any bad experiences - and the members of UU are generally located in the States, so they practically give away great ukes as they pick another Kamaka out of their Corn Flakes boxes.
Seriously, with patience and a little research you'll find what you want, and if it happens to be overseas and from a trusted source then you can proceed with confidence (and a little faith) . Good luck.

bobmeredith
01-25-2014, 03:37 PM
Both concert instruments SD,

Soprano is a little too small for me, but the concert is a nice fit and still sounds like a uke to me. If I didn't already play guitar and was going to make Uke my main instrument I'd probably go for a tenor.

You right about the difficulty of choice over here. I have the mental image of the Yanks getting up and shoveling up expensive instruments just to clear their driveways.

Mandolins are the same it's either cheap starter mandos or ridiculously priced Eastmans and Collings stuff for 3-9k.

I am going to take my time and do my research, but it's narrowing down thanks to the good advice from all the forumites. Meantime I've still got my beater to keep me busy. I've got all my open and moveable chords under control; Now I'm working on all my jazz and blues chords. Then I'll spend some time on Uke styles and finger picking to make sure I don't just play it like a "little guitar"


Hi Bob!!
You are tossing up between a concert sized and a soprano sized uke here.... Just wondered if that makes a difference to you.
I do sympathise with you here though.... It's not possible to go into your local Australian music store and compare really good quality uses - they just aren't distributed here. Oh for the opportunity of our American cousins who have specialised ukulele stores on every street corner with touts out the front begging you to come and sample the latest Collings or Moore Bettah..... Lucky buggers!
Out of the ones we do get here there are, of course, some beauties.
I personally played what I could, found my connection with the different uke sizes, then bought through the internet. I have never had any bad experiences - and the members of UU are generally located in the States, so they practically give away great ukes as they pick another Kamaka out of their Corn Flakes boxes.
Seriously, with patience and a little research you'll find what you want, and if it happens to be overseas and from a trusted source then you can proceed with confidence (and a little faith) . Good luck.

Strumdaddy
01-25-2014, 04:11 PM
Sounds like you're on to it....
If you see an instrument you like and it doesn't have a pick-up - don't let that put you off necessarily. It's pretty easy to obtain a good under-sadle or sound-board pick-up. Put it in yourself (I have without disaster) or get someone experienced to do it for you. With a good pre-amp you'll be ready to rock!

26tiki
05-23-2014, 10:39 PM
I am the very fortunate owner of a Maton Concert Uke (bout 3 months) and I'm absolutely loving it. The tone is beautiful and warm, and yes, a wee bit quiet in my opinion but after switching the Aquila's (not that I have anything against them) to some Martin flourocarbons, I'm as happy as Larry. It allows me to accent the points I need to and also to blend, lovely.
Here in New Zealand also, we just dont have the variety of ukes to compare. Many of the brands mentioned would be very hard to come by here, so I can't comment on comparison. However, you can tell when a uke jumps off the wall as soon as you pluck a couple of strings, and it was a fair few months before I'd seen one jump at me like the Maton did.
Just thinking about it puts a smile on my face.
Good luck and happy strummin;)

26tiki
05-23-2014, 10:51 PM
Just quietly, I test drove a T1K Martin at the same time as the Maton (admittedly a tenor & concert but I made allowances). The Martin was lovely to play and sounded good... but, I couldn't justify the extra $400 of the Martin. In my humble opinion, it didn't stand out enough above the Maton for me to want to buy it.