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cellele
05-05-2014, 08:07 AM
Hi. I have been thinking about buying an ukulele for a while now. However, I have a few specifications that I need to ask about.

-I want to be able to bring the uke when I go camping in the summer, so it needs to be plastic so it doesn't get ruined. The whole reason I want to play the uke is that I like playing music and ukuleles are very portable.
-I don't want to spend a ton of money on a uke. I'm willing to spend around $50 so I don't end up with an untunable heap of junk.

Also, I have a couple questions. Is it necessary to buy new strings (right now getting a cheaper body and putting aquilas on it seems like a good idea to me) for every ukulele, and is it a better idea to get a uke from a music store or the internet?

Icelander53
05-05-2014, 10:23 AM
$50 Isn't much. I guess a Dolphin might be a good choice. I don't know if it's completely plastic but I'm thinking you want something that sounds alright. I can't think of anything else in that price range that I'd like.

janeray1940
05-05-2014, 10:43 AM
$50 Isn't much. I guess a Dolphin might be a good choice. I don't know if it's completely plastic but I'm thinking you want something that sounds alright. I can't think of anything else in that price range that I'd like.

Second that - fifty bucks is about the cost of a Dolphin and they're not awful. But I would recommend buying from a music store so you can try them out. I bought a Dolphin for a friend's kid, and the shop probably had 25 or 30 in stock, and only 2 or 3 seemed playable to me. Or you can buy from an online retailer that includes a setup - there are a couple that people on UU seem to recommend all the time, so I'll leave that to those with experience.

Bill Mc
05-05-2014, 11:54 AM
I you keep your ukulele in a protective case it wont get ruined on a camping trip unless you don't take care.

stringy
05-05-2014, 12:17 PM
cellele, I have read many, many posts on this site where people love their $50 ukes and think they sound great so I am sure you will hear from them. I on the other hand have never heard one that sounded good (even with a set up). There are musical instruments and there are novelties. $50 is not a lot of money but it IS a lot of money to throw away. My advice would be to save up for a good sounding import and to play it before you buy it.

cellele
05-05-2014, 12:59 PM
cellele, I have read many, many posts on this site where people love their $50 ukes and think they sound great so I am sure you will hear from them. I on the other hand have never heard one that sounded good (even with a set up). There are musical instruments and there are novelties. $50 is not a lot of money but it IS a lot of money to throw away. My advice would be to save up for a good sounding import and to play it before you buy it.

Well, here's the thing. I'm 14 and I would be spending saved up pocket money on this uke, and the more I have to spend the more my parents are likely to say "no", because I already play an instrument. So for me, playing an ukulele would be a way to play the songs I like to listen to, and be able to take it places. I don't want to throw away money, but I think what you and I want in an uke are different things.

LloydAZ
05-05-2014, 01:13 PM
I've heard a lot of good things from people here and other Ukulele sites that the Makala Dolphin is a good starter Uke. They usually sell between $40 to $50. They are not completely plastic, but from what I've read they seem to be pretty rugged. I know there are a few all-plastic brands available, but I don't know what they are right off hand and I think they cost a bit more than that.

If you want a wood uke that's not too expensive, I have the Makai UK-55 that my dad got me for my birthday. It was $40 at a local shop in town. I've seen them online for a bit more than that, but they have gotten pretty good reviews on a few different uke sites.

If you really, really want something that you are not going to worry too much about getting beaten up so bad on a camping trip, you could go to the local Toys R' Us and look for the "First Act Mini Guitar" which is actually a Ukulele. They are solid plastic and can take quite a beating. My 2, 3, and 5 year old niece and nephews have them and they don't sound too bad (nothing you would play professionally...) and they continue to survive their rough housing. Toys R' Us sells them for $25. They have geared tuners, and the action doesn't look bad. The strings are cheap, so replace them with some good strings. But... They are all Disney themed (Cars, Planes, Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse, etc...)

Whatever you decide on, spend a little extra and get a gig bag to put the instrument in. They don't cost that much and will save a lot of wear and tear on your instrument.

stringy
05-05-2014, 01:15 PM
I think you are right cellele. I hope you find the perfect uke for you.

Another option. How about a better used uke instead of a new one? Many local stores carry used and they might be willing to negotiate price. It might also impress your parents, (wink wink).

Best of luck to you.

DownUpDave
05-05-2014, 01:17 PM
I have one for you. Google, "Mim's Ukes", go to buy uke header, hit the soprano tabs ( this is the size and is the smallest making it great for camping). You will see an Ohana SK-10CR for $56.00, bingo price point met.:-)Here is where it gets good, Mim is a real person and a member her, super highly regarded. She loves this uke, owns and plays one herself. She will set it up for you so it is very playable. You will have complete peace of mind buying anything from her.

I am not associated with her or her buisness. Seriously, you can stop looking and just read how she loves it as a travel uke, buy it, play it, don't look back

cellele
05-05-2014, 01:29 PM
I've heard a lot of good things from people here and other Ukulele sites that the Makala Dolphin is a good starter Uke. They usually sell between $40 to $50. They are not completely plastic, but from what I've read they seem to be pretty rugged. I know there are a few all-plastic brands available, but I don't know what they are right off hand and I think they cost a bit more than that.

If you want a wood uke that's not too expensive, I have the Makai UK-55 that my dad got me for my birthday. It was $40 at a local shop in town. I've seen them online for a bit more than that, but they have gotten pretty good reviews on a few different uke sites.

If you really, really want something that you are not going to worry too much about getting beaten up so bad on a camping trip, you could go to the local Toys R' Us and look for the "First Act Mini Guitar" which is actually a Ukulele. They are solid plastic and can take quite a beating. My 2, 3, and 5 year old niece and nephews have them and they don't sound too bad (nothing you would play professionally...) and they continue to survive their rough housing. Toys R' Us sells them for $25. They have geared tuners, and the action doesn't look bad. The strings are cheap, so replace them with some good strings. But... They are all Disney themed (Cars, Planes, Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse, etc...)

Whatever you decide on, spend a little extra and get a gig bag to put the instrument in. They don't cost that much and will save a lot of wear and tear on your instrument.
Thanks for the advice, but I'm going to pass on the "First Act Mini Guitar" :)

I think you are right cellele. I hope you find the perfect uke for you.

Another option. How about a better used uke instead of a new one? Many local stores carry used and they might be willing to negotiate price. It might also impress your parents, (wink wink).
Well, there's only one music store here as far as I know, but I will probably ask.

I have one for you. Google, "Mim's Ukes", go to buy uke header, hit the soprano tabs ( this is the size and is the smallest making it great for camping). You will see an Ohana SK-10CR for $56.00, bingo price point met.:-)Here is where it gets good, Mim is a real person and a member her, super highly regarded. She loves this uke, owns and plays one herself. She will set it up for you so it is very playable. You will have complete peace of mind buying anything from her.

I am not associated with her or her buisness. Seriously, you can stop looking and just read how she loves it as a travel uke, buy it, play it, don't look back
Thanks for the recommendation. I'll definitely check Mim's site out.

pixiepurls
05-05-2014, 03:09 PM
Hi. I have been thinking about buying an ukulele for a while now. However, I have a few specifications that I need to ask about.

-I want to be able to bring the uke when I go camping in the summer, so it needs to be plastic so it doesn't get ruined. The whole reason I want to play the uke is that I like playing music and ukuleles are very portable.
-I don't want to spend a ton of money on a uke. I'm willing to spend around $50 so I don't end up with an untunable heap of junk.

Also, I have a couple questions. Is it necessary to buy new strings (right now getting a cheaper body and putting aquilas on it seems like a good idea to me) for every ukulele, and is it a better idea to get a uke from a music store or the internet?

Makala Dolphin or Makala Shark (same instrument just if you prefer a shark or dolphin). Aquila strings. DONE. Next?

I got mine off amazon, it plays great. I've left in in my car loads and its been fine. I know some people are pointing you towards wooden uke's, but you know what you want and I think the Makala Dolphin will keep you very happy. I still sometimes put my $300 ukelele aside and play it and its just fine. I'll still keep my $300 ukulele though hehe :D I am no pro, but I believe you will be very happy with the dolphin/shark. REPLACE THE STRINGS!

PhilUSAFRet
05-05-2014, 03:24 PM
Hopefully you've reviewed this: http://forum.ukuleleunderground.com/showthread.php?69058-Info-Thread-Entry-Level-Ukuleles

Mivo
05-05-2014, 09:49 PM
Well, here's the thing. I'm 14 and I would be spending saved up pocket money on this uke, and the more I have to spend the more my parents are likely to say "no", because I already play an instrument. So for me, playing an ukulele would be a way to play the songs I like to listen to, and be able to take it places. I don't want to throw away money, but I think what you and I want in an uke are different things.

He wants an ukulele that sounds decent, stays in tune for longer than ten minutes, and doesn't frustrate him. Do you want something different? ;)

As with all instruments, you get what you pay for. Ukuleles are relatively inexpensive, but the difference between a $50 and a $100 one can be really very large, more so than it may seem. An important aspect is the setup. Whatever you decide on, you should either get it from a place that performs setups (adjusts the ukulele so that it neither buzzes nor requires too much pressure on the strings). That is the main thing to be mindful of. The other important thing are the strings.

Living at home and having limited resources makes it only more important not to waste the money that you do have. Personally, I'd rather wait two or three months longer and get an instrument that will last you a few years than to spend the $50 on a relative impulse buy and get a toy that will collect dust three weeks later because you didn't enjoy it. $100 won't buy you a premium instrument either, but you'll get something decent. Laminated ukuleles are pretty resilient, too, it doesn't have to be plastic.

CedarTop
05-12-2014, 12:38 PM
If you are willing to increase your budget, there is an ukelele called the Outdoor Ukelele that looks indestructible. It is made of polycarbonate. They are made in Oregon. I don't have any affiliation with company. There are lots of reviews on YouTube. It comes in Soprano $100 and Tenor $150.

river_driver
05-12-2014, 01:00 PM
Another option - post a WTB (want to buy) thread in the Marketplace section of these forums. A UU member might have an excellent, gently used uke, in your price range, that would be perfect for you.

CedarTop mentioned Outdoor Ukulele - I remember a TON of folks buying these when they first came out, just because they were intrigued by the idea of an all-plastic uke. And once they got them, the love affair lasted about 15 minutes - so they might be looking to sell at a reasonable price. There have been a couple threads from members who have basically torture-tested these things though, and they seem to withstand all kinds of abuse. It might be the perfect thing for you.

actadh
05-12-2014, 01:36 PM
I have the First Act Discovery Aloha ukulele meant for preschoolers - pictured at left in my avatar - as well as a couple of the First Act Mickey and Minnie Mouse ones meant for school age kids.

The tuners seem better on the yellow Aloha Discovery version.

I put some Aquila Nylguts on Minnie Mouse and keep it in my car. It is great for bank drive through wait times or when halted at construction.

The yellow Aloha one lives in my bathroom/laundry room and is great to strum while waiting for the rinse cycle. It still has the original strings, which were much better than the ones on the other First Act ukuleles.

Total investment in all three including a pack of strings is less than $60. When my Outdoor Ukulele package comes in, Mickey and Minne will be re-homed to grandkids.

kwall
05-12-2014, 02:20 PM
Kala makes nice entry level ukuleles. You do not want something too cheap or else you wont like it in a month, get whatever your max budget is casue then you are more likely to play it. look used too, craigslist and kijiji might have some ukuleles that are nice and above your price range usually but at your price, and you can always try to haggle the price too

ukemunga
05-12-2014, 02:32 PM
Mim, Uke Republic and The Ukulele Site (HMS) all sell Kalas. It's hard to go wrong with a Kala, especially early on when you are unsure of many things.

They all do setups. Important! Give them a budget, tell them what you think you'd like, and listen to their advice. They won't steer you wrong.

And you could also check with Mike at Mainland Ukes. No Kalas, but IMO Mainland Ukes are great too. Though starting at a little higher price point than you may like. But you can ask about blems. Most imperfections are hard to detect.

Don't be too critical in looking for your be-all, end-all uke for a good long while. Your next uke certainly will not be your last! I've passed quite a number through my hands in the last 3 years and my favorite goto uke is my Kala long neck soprano. Different models start at about $90 I think.

ukemunga
05-12-2014, 02:40 PM
I have one for you. Google, "Mim's Ukes", go to buy uke header, hit the soprano tabs ( this is the size and is the smallest making it great for camping). You will see an Ohana SK-10CR for $56.00, bingo price point met.:-)Here is where it gets good, Mim is a real person and a member her, super highly regarded. She loves this uke, owns and plays one herself. She will set it up for you so it is very playable. You will have complete peace of mind buying anything from her.

I am not associated with her or her buisness. Seriously, you can stop looking and just read how she loves it as a travel uke, buy it, play it, don't look back

Yeah, what DownUpDave said. I missed the $50ish part. Spot on.

Yukon Cornelius
05-12-2014, 03:39 PM
Hi. I have been thinking about buying an ukulele for a while now. However, I have a few specifications that I need to ask about.

-I want to be able to bring the uke when I go camping in the summer, so it needs to be plastic so it doesn't get ruined. The whole reason I want to play the uke is that I like playing music and ukuleles are very portable.
-I don't want to spend a ton of money on a uke. I'm willing to spend around $50 so I don't end up with an untunable heap of junk.

Also, I have a couple questions. Is it necessary to buy new strings (right now getting a cheaper body and putting aquilas on it seems like a good idea to me) for every ukulele, and is it a better idea to get a uke from a music store or the internet?
I have an outdoor uke I'll sell for $50. It's rugged. Sound is ok.

Yukon Cornelius
05-12-2014, 03:41 PM
Well, here's the thing. I'm 14 and I would be spending saved up pocket money on this uke, and the more I have to spend the more my parents are likely to say "no", because I already play an instrument. So for me, playing an ukulele would be a way to play the songs I like to listen to, and be able to take it places. I don't want to throw away money, but I think what you and I want in an uke are different things.
Better yet, send me your address (with parent's permission) and I'll sen you two Ukes. The ODU and another nice soprano. Do it quick because we are leaving the village in a week.

Btw no charge.

LloydAZ
05-12-2014, 04:33 PM
Better yet, send me your address (with parent's permission) and I'll sen you two Ukes. The ODU and another nice soprano. Do it quick because we are leaving the village in a week.

Btw no charge.

Wow! That's an incredibly cool thing to do!