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View Full Version : Good soprano uke for $100?



morgothaod
06-19-2014, 01:42 PM
I'm a beginner and I'm not sure what brand to buy. If I can get the uke and a case for $100 or slightly over, that would be nice. Any recommendations? Thanks.

CeeJay
06-19-2014, 01:52 PM
I'm a beginner and I'm not sure what brand to buy. If I can get the uke and a case for $100 or slightly over, that would be nice. Any recommendations? Thanks.

What do you want to play ...style ,genre etc?...strum or finger..or both ...and together ?

I had a very nice little Mahalo semi electric "Les Paul" (I stood on it ...long sad story)...not the best in the world but it has a longer neck than standard,oh and a cutaway...

you can shove it through amps ..computers ..effects etc and still play it acoustic with a fair tone for it's price....I may even have a you Tube link to a couple of songs if you were interested in it ...

Mahalo Les Paul...came with a slightly ropey but serviceable carry case ...My recommendation is based on ownership and actual use of the instrument.

Some will poopoo Mahalo ...get a good un' and I can't see it.....

Bao
06-19-2014, 01:54 PM
You should try some out at a store to see if the size fits you first. The kala starter soprano is always a good choice. If your fingers are long, they have the long neck soprano which is soprano body and concert sized neck. That should do the trick while also sounding nice.

ukegirl
06-19-2014, 02:37 PM
The good news is that you can get a nice uke these days for that kind of money. Can't go wrong with kala. But there are many others too. Check out the gretsch ukes. Great for the money and then some!

iamesperambient
06-19-2014, 03:36 PM
I'm a beginner and I'm not sure what brand to buy. If I can get the uke and a case for $100 or slightly over, that would be nice. Any recommendations? Thanks.

http://www.amazon.com/Kala-KA-S-Soprano-Mahogany-Ukulele/dp/B00172UV6S
kaka ka-s is very good around 70 bucks.

itsme
06-19-2014, 04:10 PM
http://www.amazon.com/Kala-KA-S-Soprano-Mahogany-Ukulele/dp/B00172UV6S
kaka ka-s is very good around 70 bucks.
That looks decent.

But I'd perhaps suggest a Dolphin to start, then put the rest aside and start saving immediately for something better down the line. Never owned one, but everyone seems to say Dolphins are great starter ukes. :)

Once you've had a chance to learn a bit, you'll be in a better position to know what you want.

When you get a better uke, you'll probably want to keep your starter as a beater... the uke you're not afraid to take anywhere or let anyone else play with.

cantsing
06-19-2014, 04:53 PM
In addition to considering the brand and the price, I would also suggest that you plan to buy from a seller who specializes in ukuleles who will make sure you get a good one and will set up your ukulele. Some uke sellers in the U.S. with good reputations who frequent this board are Mim's Ukes, Uke Republic, and Hawaiian Music Supply.

igorthebarbarian
06-19-2014, 06:49 PM
This... If you get a nicely set-up uke as a beginner, it will be much easier to play/ much more comfortable.
Check out any of those highly recommended sellers, or check out the marketplace here on the UU boards - some great deals to be had there.


In addition to considering the brand and the price, I would also suggest that you plan to buy from a seller who specializes in ukuleles who will make sure you get a good one and will set up your ukulele. Some uke sellers in the U.S. with good reputations who frequent this board are Mim's Ukes, Uke Republic, and Hawaiian Music Supply.

UkerDanno
06-20-2014, 02:50 AM
Get a Dolphin or Shark from Uke Republic, they will make sure it's setup and put some good strings on it for about $65 shipped. They are sturdy and sound decent, you will always have something to take to the festival or on a trip.

RAB11
06-20-2014, 02:56 AM
Can't fault a Dolphin with Aquilas on it, they're the most fun you can have with your clothes on. I guarantee you'll be itching for something a bit meatier after a while though. :D

RichM
06-20-2014, 03:00 AM
I helped a friend select a starter uke, and was very favorably impressed with the Kala KA-SLNG long-neck soprano. With a case and shipping, it will come in a bit over $100, but it is a solid, good-sounding, good-playing instrument at a very reasonable price. Here's a link to HMS's page"

http://www.theukulelesite.com/kala-ka-slng-gloss-soprano-longneck.html

actadh
06-20-2014, 05:27 AM
I just got a nice vintage all mahogany Silvertone off eBay for $80 and a Luna soprano case from Musicians Friend for $25. http://www.musiciansfriend.com/accessories/luna-guitars-lightweight-case-for-soprano-ukuleles

The ukulele is older than me and in much better shape. (I did change out the strings to Aquila Reds, but that was me wanting to try them.)

There are several good deals here in the marketplace as well.

pixiepurls
06-20-2014, 05:46 AM
I agree get a Makala Dolphin, some Aquila Strings and a cheap soft case and a NICE tuner. That will come close to $100 anyway.

Then if you decide you love it save up for something nicer and this becomes your travel uke, this can be in a hot car or go camping... wooden uke's are more of a risk in those environments. Never leave an uke in a hot car. The dolphins are not wood so its fine for them. I still take my makala on trips to play in the car!

Doug W
06-20-2014, 02:36 PM
Personally I would combine RichM's and actadh's suggestions above for the uke and case. I don't love the Dolphins as much as everyone else. I have played a lot of them in shops with poopy intonation. If you have $100.00 ready to go on a uke, you will be happier with the Kala. The Kala at $89 right now. and $25 for the case + taxes puts you a little over your budget but you might be happier.

srfarley
06-21-2014, 03:56 AM
I would go with a Kala, like the KA-S someone else on this thread recommended. But I suggest that you order it from a vendor that will set it up for you, such as Hawaii Music Supply. In fact, they have a nice model on sale right now for $94.99, and that includes set up:

http://www.theukulelesite.com/kala-ka-sem-exotic-mahogany-ukulele.html

Unfortunately, that prices does not include shipping or the case. They will sell you a gig bad for $12 or a hard case for $35, which I think are reasonable prices.

++Steve

Ukejenny
06-21-2014, 06:23 AM
I just got a nice vintage all mahogany Silvertone off eBay for $80 and a Luna soprano case from Musicians Friend for $25. http://www.musiciansfriend.com/accessories/luna-guitars-lightweight-case-for-soprano-ukuleles

The ukulele is older than me and in much better shape. (I did change out the strings to Aquila Reds, but that was me wanting to try them.)

There are several good deals here in the marketplace as well.

I agree that there are tons of great deals out there and here at the marketplace.

You could call Uke Republic, Mims Ukes, or Hawaii Music Supply and let them help you. You will likely come in at budget and have an instrument that plays, sounds and is setup very nicely.

iamesperambient
06-21-2014, 06:27 AM
I would go with a Kala, like the KA-S someone else on this thread recommended. But I suggest that you order it from a vendor that will set it up for you, such as Hawaii Music Supply. In fact, they have a nice model on sale right now for $94.99, and that includes set up:

http://www.theukulelesite.com/kala-ka-sem-exotic-mahogany-ukulele.html

Unfortunately, that prices does not include shipping or the case. They will sell you a gig bad for $12 or a hard case for $35, which I think are reasonable prices.

++Steve


I personally woudln't waste your money getting a cheap uke 'set up' paying 100 bucks 94 is basically 100 bucks
I think hes looking for something in the affordable beginner range. I would say the kala KA-S
out of the box is perfectly fine for a beginner. Get that learn and once you feel comfortable upgrade and buy than a set up
uke for a higher price from HWS or a like vendor but for now amazon.com (69 dollars) > kala ka-s > practice thats all you need.

TheOnlyUkeThatMatters
06-21-2014, 06:56 AM
Both Gretsch and Islander make great-sounding, basic soprano ukuleles. (These are the ukes I'd buy as gifts for friends if I was to spend about $100. I already bought a friend an Islander soprano and he loves it.)

greyghost
06-21-2014, 08:35 AM
I'd like to join RichM and Doug W in extolling the virtues of the Kala longneck soprano (KA-SLNG), set up properly--even though I have several tenors, including a nice all-solid one, the longneck has become my go-to uke. The HMS setup made it the smoothest-playing instrument I've owned, and I now prefer its ease of play to everything else I own except for the Eleuke tenor (set up by MimsUkes), and that instrument has other issues...

post4rational
06-22-2014, 02:25 PM
There are a couple islanders sopranos on eBay right now for less than $100. That is what I would do.

iamesperambient
06-22-2014, 02:29 PM
There are a couple islanders sopranos on eBay right now for less than $100. That is what I would do.

islander does look pretty nice.
Do they make an affordable tenor?

haertig
06-22-2014, 02:45 PM
I recently bought a tenor uke from HMS. A Kala KA-T. I am very pleased with it. I cannot comment on how it compares to other ukes as I am a rank beginner and this is my first uke. So all's I can say is "I like it" for what that's worth. I would not hesitate to buy a similar Kala soprano. These inexpensive Kalas seem perfect for learning on IMHO. I would buy from a uke shop that does setup on it though, not straight-from-the-manufacturer as you'd get ordering from Amazon. I found a very nice gig bad for my tenor on Amazon, it is VERY well padded with stiff foam, unlike most other gig bags I researched (many appeared to be nothing more than a nylon bag, with no padding).

http://www.amazon.com/Cordoba-Tenor-Ukulele-Gig-Bag/dp/B00AZNR6W2/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1403483495&sr=8-2&keywords=cordoba+bag

They make the bag in soprano size as well, but for some reason the smaller soprano case costs MORE than the tenor case. The oddities of Amazon pricing!

http://www.amazon.com/Cordoba-Soprano-Ukulele-Gig-Bag/dp/B00BMIHB2Y/ref=sr_1_8?ie=UTF8&qid=1403483495&sr=8-8&keywords=cordoba+bag

Maybe you can look somewhere besides Amazon to find the soprano size for less.

iamesperambient
06-22-2014, 02:48 PM
I recently bought a tenor uke from HMS. A Kala KA-T. I am very pleased with it. I cannot comment on how it compares to other ukes as I am a rank beginner and this is my first uke. So all's I can say is "I like it" for what that's worth. I would not hesitate to buy a similar Kala soprano. These inexpensive Kalas seem perfect for learning on IMHO. I would buy from a uke shop that does setup on it though, not straight-from-the-manufacturer as you'd get ordering from Amazon. I found a very nice gig bad for my tenor on Amazon, it is VERY well padded with stiff foam, unlike most other gig bags I researched (many appeared to be nothing more than a nylon bag, with no padding).

http://www.amazon.com/Cordoba-Tenor-Ukulele-Gig-Bag/dp/B00AZNR6W2/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1403483495&sr=8-2&keywords=cordoba+bag

They make the bag in soprano size as well, but for some reason the smaller soprano case costs MORE than the tenor case. The oddities of Amazon pricing!

http://www.amazon.com/Cordoba-Soprano-Ukulele-Gig-Bag/dp/B00BMIHB2Y/ref=sr_1_8?ie=UTF8&qid=1403483495&sr=8-8&keywords=cordoba+bag

Maybe you can look somewhere besides Amazon to find the soprano size for less.

I have a kala pacific walnut concert and i totally love it! i think kala is a good brand and a step up from lanikai
(even though their made in the same factory i believe, i think their quality is much higher).

ukemunga
06-22-2014, 02:50 PM
Kala KA-SLNG. You won't regret it. Not the SSLNG, more expensive.

iamesperambient
06-22-2014, 02:53 PM
Kala KA-SLNG. You won't regret it. Not the SSLNG, more expensive.

i wonder if a uke company will make a 'wide neck' soprano
for those who want the small size but a wider neck for easier
chord placement? is that a thing?

post4rational
06-22-2014, 04:17 PM
Islanders have a wide nut width, making it easier to chord. I really like my concert mc and would highly recommend the brand as a great starter.