Best sounding for the buck laminate tenor uke?

Joined
Jun 8, 2020
Messages
159
Points
18
Asking since I'm thinking of adding something that sounds great (relative to solid wood ukes), is always ready to play and travel with, and yet doesn't break the bank (say under $500, ideally under $350). For this application, I care less about where it's made, and more about how durable and stable the instrument is in varying temperatures and fluctuating humidity. Thoughts?
 

kissing

Active member
Joined
Mar 30, 2009
Messages
4,026
Points
38
A Flea or a Fluke?

For around $500 you should be able to upgrade to wooden fretboard and peghead tuners.
 

mjh42

UU VIP
UU VIP
Joined
May 11, 2017
Messages
561
Points
18
Tenor Fluke sounds good. I have a concert Fluke. Been very happy. Get the wood fretboard for sure. Tuners to your liking. I do have the internal geared peg head tuners.
 

Dohle

Well-known member
Joined
Aug 23, 2019
Messages
1,132
Points
48
I immediately thought of Magic Fluke as well. Definitely a great choice if you emphasize durability. They sound excellent considering the materials used.

If you want to put more emphasis on sound quality I'd definitely suggest you look at Kiwaya. They make some of the best all laminate ukes out there. They just released a tenor in their student series, the KTU-1, and it looks and sounds excellent. RRP is around 200 GBP or approximately $250.
 
Joined
Jun 8, 2020
Messages
159
Points
18
Great, thanks! Sounds like I need to check out the Magic Fluke for sure. I didn't know (but now do know) that it comes in a tenor.

Yep, Kiwaya I also did come across. If I can find one here in the States, then that would be another viable option.

Islander, Koalana, aNueNue, Ohana (?)... those are on the radar as well. No idea how they sound (except for the Koalana at HMS at the moment - there's a sound clip with that particular model).
 

hendulele

Check your fleas
UU VIP
Joined
Jan 9, 2014
Messages
2,466
Points
48
Baz at Got A Ukulele has reviewed several of these. The Flukes, the Kiwayas, the Klos (I think), and others. Check out his website.
 

badhabits

Active member
Joined
Jan 26, 2020
Messages
496
Points
28
350 is a pretty generous price limit for an all-laminate; I would guess most over 300 will have a solid top. For example a Kumu thin travel tenor is only about 240, Kala solid spruce top travel tenor ~275, even Koalana (all-laminate) are 300 (slightly overpriced imo). fleas/flukes sound great, but fleas only come in soprano/concert, albeit with a slightly longer 15.5" scale for the concert; the tenor fluke has a 17" scale. it's been said on these boards that kiwaya laminates are thin and suggested that they may not be the best for travel, of course ymmv and depends on the conditions for traveling. In terms of Ohana, I have a CK-35 at home and its laminate doppleganger the CK-14 at the office and use it for roads trips...the CK-14 was only about 110.
 
Last edited:
Joined
Jun 8, 2020
Messages
159
Points
18
Yes, agreed that $350 is a generous price limit. I didn't want to exclude a "pricey" all laminate if it sounded great, so I arbitrarily set a limit at 350 bucks. Seems like pricier all laminates I've seen so far hover around $250. Above that, then solid tops come into play. Not sure am I how stable will be those versions (solid top, laminate back and sides) if left indefinitely on the couch/wall or for an afternoon in the car.
 

badhabits

Active member
Joined
Jan 26, 2020
Messages
496
Points
28
"an afternoon in the car" makes me assume hot car and would push me towards an outdoor. plenty of recent discussion on that... if the sound is acceptable you are still looking at well under 200 new. I got a used soprano cheap, so price wasn't an issue for comparison, but I still prefer it over less pricey alternatives (waterman, flight, enya) and the flea as a traveler/beater. there is a bit of sacrifice on sound though.
 
Last edited:

clear

Active member
Joined
May 4, 2020
Messages
994
Points
28
Yes, agreed that $350 is a generous price limit. I didn't want to exclude a "pricey" all laminate if it sounded great, so I arbitrarily set a limit at 350 bucks. Seems like pricier all laminates I've seen so far hover around $250. Above that, then solid tops come into play. Not sure am I how stable will be those versions (solid top, laminate back and sides) if left indefinitely on the couch/wall or for an afternoon in the car.

An afternoon in the car isn't good, but leaving it out on the wall shouldnt be any problems. I leave an all-solid uke on the wall w/o any issues. Just be sure to put it on an inside wall.