Car uke: Outdoor, Enya, or (shudder) Waterman?

hendulele

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Greetings,

Seeking as close to a quality all-weather uke as you can find for a reasonable price. (Sorry, Blackbird.)

It must be soprano or concert scale. I can’t play tenor (or Klos would be an option.)

I’ve played the Waterman soprano and hated it. The action, intonation, sound. The concert scale may be better. I guess I could try to track one down at a big box store.

I’ve also played an Outdoor v 2.0. But not the carbon. It was fine, but didn’t grab me, although I do like the looks. I could live with it, I suppose. I was hoping for something really fun, like my Flea.

I’ve read favorable reviews of the Enya Nova. But I guess I’d have to borrow one to test it. Plus, I guess I need to be prepared for the paint to chip off or give way if we have extreme temps.

So, help!

For those who’ve experienced these options, which do you prefer and why?

Thanks!
 

bry

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I have an outdoor carbon tenor. I have owned a concert waterman. I gave away the waterman and it was a good ukulele but yes, the intonation is bad. I’ve never played a soprano outdoor ukulele. For travel I absolutely love my Flight TUS35. Maybe check those out. Good luck!
 

AQUATOPAZ

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Greetings,

Seeking as close to a quality all-weather uke as you can find for a reasonable price. (Sorry, Blackbird.)

It must be soprano or concert scale. I can’t play tenor (or Klos would be an option.)

I’ve played the Waterman soprano and hated it. The action, intonation, sound. The concert scale may be better. I guess I could try to track one down at a big box store.

I’ve also played an Outdoor v 2.0. But not the carbon. It was fine, but didn’t grab me, although I do like the looks. I could live with it, I suppose. I was hoping for something really fun, like my Flea.

I’ve read favorable reviews of the Enya Nova. But I guess I’d have to borrow one to test it. Plus, I guess I need to be prepared for the paint to chip off or give way if we have extreme temps.

So, help!

For those who’ve experienced these options, which do you prefer and why?

Thanks!

Are you sure you can't use the Flea? I have read some posts where people leave them in cars.Blackbirds can't be left in the car as the neck can warp, so those wouldn't have met your needs if they were cheaper.
 

ripock

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I know that I am in the minority here, but I see absolutely no sense in an outdoor/car uke. To me, the uke you take with you to the car is the car uke. It is also the driveway uke when you're on the driveway and the house uke when you enter the house. With that being said, my recommendation for your car uke would be a nice mahogany Martin concert. It would sound so good and think of the acoustics in your enclosed vehicle.
 

EDW

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I would also consider adding the Flight travel uke into that list. They are good players and quite durable
 

snowdenn

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The Waterman concert is better than the soprano, though still not great. But if you go with a Waterman, your best bet is to try it out beforehand. I've played one with intonation issues and another without intonation issues but with fret buzz. I think if you can find one that doesn't have any issues, it's a good choice for a durable ukulele.

That said, I've resorted to keeping a cheap wood laminate in my car, which doesn't usually get parked in extreme temperatures during the day or night.
 

hendulele

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Thanks for the advice so far.

My idea is to leave it in the car all the time. Otherwise I'd pick up another Flea (not one with the Koa top and wooden fretboard) or a Flight Travel. Or use my Famous. Wood, even laminate, can't handle the temp and humidity fluctuations here. But I do like something I can play while at work, or if I'm stuck waiting during errands, etc.
 

Croaky Keith

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When you say you've tried a laminate, Rick, was it living in a gig bag, or just lying around the car, I ask because a gig bag can insulate the uke from the temperatures, most of the time.

Having said that, if it were me, I'd likely use my Kala KA-SLNG long neck soprano. :)
 

hendulele

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When you say you've tried a laminate, Rick, was it living in a gig bag, or just lying around the car, I ask because a gig bag can insulate the uke from the temperatures, most of the time.

Having said that, if it were me, I'd likely use my Kala KA-SLNG long neck soprano. :)

Keith, a gig bag wouldn't protect it from summer heat. Our summer in-car temps may even test the Outdoor's alleged 240-degree limits.
 

glennerd

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It's too bad they painted the black Enya. At least if the paint chipped it would be less noticeable with black plastic under black paint. It's too bad the Waterman isn't better, it has nice wide string spacing (29mm on the one I tried). String spacing on the Outdoor is tight, but I'd be inclined to go for that one for your purposes. No idea if the Bugsgear is any good, but you might want to check reviews on that one too.
 

jplain

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Acoustic Enya Nova is my “car uke” of choice.

I’ve never played a Waterman, but my partial or completely plastic ukes have included a Bugs Gear, an Outdoor soprano, a Fluke, a Flea, a soprano Shark, a concert Shark, and most recently the Enya Nova. I gave the Bugs Gear away; it didn’t impress me. And when I get around to it I’ll probably sell the Outdoor.
 

Swiftsailor98

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Another opinion to throw into the mix….

I have both a soprano Waterman, and now, a soprano Outdoor. Hand's down the Outdoor is the better uke for playability, sound durability.

When it's not 'outdoors' with me (in the car or otherwise), the Outdoor uke hangs on my music stand as the easy-access uke for playing when I’m working around the kitchen. Other than it being a soprano—I prefer the concert scale—it’s a great for practice. I don’t feel some of the same annoyances that I had with the Waterman: cramped fingers, high action and the accompanying intonation concerns.

For me, it was worth adding the strap buttons and an inexpensive nylon strap on the Outdoor uke. Having to use a Hug Strap on my Waterman was another annoyance I had with that uke.

To the question of a “car uke”, I’d say it makes a difference here in Florida. I like having a uke that I can take with me and leave in the car without worry of overheating—I wouldn’t dare do that with any of my wood instruments.

Good luck finding what works for you.
 

actadh

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My Outdoor Ukulele tenor and the Enya Nova U (black) have both been in vehicles (car or travel trailer) since they were first available. It was 11 degrees outside last night and they were both played this afternoon while I was at my son's house after work. No issues with either one. Have only had a few hot days with the Enya, and have had 4-ish years with the OU in both types of weather.

As far as why I have a uke that stays in the car -

I work 40 minutes from home. I like that I have a uke that I can take to a friends/family house or to my weekly ukulele group that can stay in my car without toting it back and forth to my office or going back to my house to get a uke. Both enable me to be much more spontaneous in playing. I also like that they are durable and can be handed off to someone who might not be as careful with them as I would like if it was a wooden uke.
 

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Choirguy

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I just finished a long review of the Enya, which included a second model I was sent to destroy (and destroy it I did). I put one of the pieces in my oven at 170ºF for 25 minutes, and there was no warping of the instrument or even impact on the paint.

I did rest the neck on a space heater in our basement, which discolored the paint on the neck a little bit.

I have a video coming soon which is a sound comparison between the Enya, the Maccaferri, the Baoli, Outdoor Ukuleles, and the Kala Waterman Concert. I personally prefer the sound of the Enya above the others. I think I still prefer the actual playing experience (neck) of the Outdoor, but the radius on the Enya isn't far behind.

The only caveat with the Enya would be the need to keep it in its case when not playing it--as mentioned the paint/coating can scratch. And don't drop it on the end pin. But I don't think you'll find a better sounding non-wood ukulele with the features for $90.
 

Choirguy

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Bill1's post is a great post. I'd add that leaving the Enya in the case (or the Outdoor in a gig bag) should insulate the instrument enough that the strings would only stretch and not pop off.

But he's right...we took a trip to Memphis in the summer of 2018, and it was 105ºF during the day, and my ukulele was in the car. The strings were very, very loose on a hot ukulele (incidentally, it was 18ºF in Memphis yesterday...much colder than it normally is there). But once the ukulele cooled down (it doesn't take hours and hours to do so), things tune right back up and are ready to go.
 

Jerryc41

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You've more or less ruled out two of them, so the Enya might just be your next uke. It has gotten good reviews. I've had all the ukes you've mentioned, and I can't disagree with your assessment. The Nova should be just right.
 

hendulele

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Bill1's post is a great post. I'd add that leaving the Enya in the case (or the Outdoor in a gig bag) should insulate the instrument enough that the strings would only stretch and not pop off.

But he's right...we took a trip to Memphis in the summer of 2018, and it was 105ºF during the day, and my ukulele was in the car. The strings were very, very loose on a hot ukulele (incidentally, it was 18ºF in Memphis yesterday...much colder than it normally is there). But once the ukulele cooled down (it doesn't take hours and hours to do so), things tune right back up and are ready to go.

Fantastic review. I think the Enya has me!
 

glennerd

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Well, if you want to talk about insulating your uke, why not put a cooler in the trunk, maybe with an ice pack? I"m only half joking here. Also, the trunk probably won't get as hot as the rest of the car since there are no windows to let in the sun.