View Full Version : What's your favorite brand for a soprano

07-27-2014, 02:25 PM
Hello everyone, I'm wondering what YOUR favorite brand for soprano ukuleles are. I know every ukulele is different and everyone has their personal favorites that's why I'm asking what your favorite brand is. I'm looking to buy one and wanna spend maybe $800-$1200


07-27-2014, 02:29 PM
The only soprano I've kept is a Kamaka HP-1 pineapple, so that's my clear favorite. But I've encountered some very nice Koaloha and Kiwaya sopranos as well. If you want a koa uke, I'd say Kamaka or Koaloha; if you want mahogany, Kiwaya or vintage Martin. All of those should be within your price range.

07-27-2014, 02:38 PM
If you're looking for koa, my favorite has been this Maui Music retro style soprano. Old headstock, wonderful setup, slightly radiused fretboard and the sweetest sound I've come across. http://forum.ukuleleunderground.com/showthread.php?98271-Maui-Music-SKR-Retro-Soprano&highlight=maui+music

If you like mahogany and bark and bite, my favorites have been vintage Martin (like Janeray), David Newton, and Ken Timms….all way under your budget.

07-27-2014, 02:39 PM
I loved my little Kiwaya, so +1 on that. I only upgraded from the KTS4 to a tenor because I'm 6'5" and I was struggling with the fretboard.

07-27-2014, 03:15 PM
You own it already, Big: Martin

07-27-2014, 04:59 PM
For that price go for a custom. Get the wood choice you want with added bling or pick ups etc.

07-27-2014, 08:38 PM
I have a Favilla that I love for it's big sweet sound and easy playability (and simple, un-fancy humble-ness)
But the best soprano I've ever played was a Scott Wise... I picked it up in a shop and looked at everything in there while strumming this little thing, I couldn't put it down - as light as a bees wing; loud, sweet, balanced... How could something so small give me such joy?
Without thinking I nearly walked out - still strumming!

07-27-2014, 09:03 PM
For that price go for a custom. Get the wood choice you want with added bling or pick ups etc.

Hi Tangi, just curious who you'd suggest getting a soprano custom from....other than MM, since I've done that.

07-27-2014, 09:23 PM
KoAloha in a big way. However, the sound sample I heard on a Kinnard was wonderful.

mm stan
07-27-2014, 09:29 PM
I saw a kamaka long neck soprano at island guitars...it sounds amazing....and looks just as good.....2000 buckaroo though :)

07-27-2014, 09:41 PM
Personally I would say 1) Martin 2) KoAloha 3) Kiwaya

07-28-2014, 12:38 AM
Mahogany = Vintage Martin (quite a few nice ones have been on ebay lately)

Other: Koa KoAloha long neck soprano

07-28-2014, 02:12 AM
Kamaka and vintage Martin are the classic sopranos. Kamaka is still making great sopranos, especially the pineapple. I'm a huge fan of Ken Timms if you're looking for a modern soprano in the Martin style. He often sells his sopranos on ebay. I got one by having ebay notify me when he posts new items for sale.

Black Bear sopranos look fantastic and sound great, but I haven't gotten a chance to play one in person yet. I have a feeling I'll be buying one eventually. Duane often posts in the marketplace section.

07-28-2014, 02:41 AM
Vintage Martin's are the gold standard...

Jim Hanks
07-28-2014, 03:16 AM
You guys do realize there is a Ken Timms for sale right now don't you?

Pukulele Pete
07-28-2014, 04:51 AM
Martin or Kiwaya . I like vintage Martins best but the one I play the most is an SO , great ukulele .

07-28-2014, 04:55 AM
martin personally.

07-28-2014, 04:57 AM
Vintage Martins sopranos are abundant at that price point, and they are great. For new instruments, Kiwaya sopranos are wonderful if you like a crisp, clear sound. If you want a fuller, richer sound, consider a koa Hawaiian made instrument. I like Kamaka sopranos. There are so many excellent options though. That Timms looks tempting...

07-29-2014, 03:27 PM
I agree with everyone that vintage martins sound great but they really don't play good in my opinion. My vintage Martin has bar frets and just isn't the nicest thing to play however it does sound very unique and cool. Do the "newer" vintage martins play better? Im pretty sure mine is real old so that might be why. Thanks everyone for the suggestions

07-29-2014, 04:09 PM
My son has a simple rosewood and cedar J S Kinnard soprano and it is astounding. I think if i was looking for a traditional mahogany soprano i may look at a Kiwaya but if you want some other tone, for example my son wanted a more 'baby guitar' kind of sound, design and order your own custom uke for an excellent builder.

07-29-2014, 04:19 PM
What, nobody likes a vintage Martin? That's what I like. Best sopranos ever made. I also like new Kamakas and Koalohas for that Hawaiian sound.

07-30-2014, 10:22 PM
I love my KoaloHa Pikkake, if is so loud and in your face, it likes to be heard

07-31-2014, 03:00 AM
I agree with everyone that vintage martins sound great. Do the "newer" vintage martins play better? Yes, they do. :D

07-31-2014, 03:07 AM
I love my KoaloHa Pikkake, if is so loud and in your face, it likes to be heard

Hi, brother K. I went through a phase when it was KoAloha, KoAloha, KoAloha. I considered selling my entire quiver and lining my wall with every KoAloha made...that's how much I loved them.

Then I grew up.

No, I'm kidding! I still like them, but they all, Particularly the littler models, started to sound sort of brash to my ear. Loud but not necessarily note-to-note distinctive, if that's possible. I sold them all. Now whenever I see one, I play it and still react like I just bit into a lemon. You and I got into this uke thing at the same time, my UU friend K, so if you say it's your fav sop uke, it only makes me want to try it again. Maybe the pikake. Or different strings. Interesting, all opinions are good. Yes, perhaps I will try it again. Or the Opio hog version. Wish we lived closer to share jokes and ideas. Thanks, K.