Cheap Off-brand Ukuleles You Like? (Just For Fun)

idxxoutoftheblue

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Sorry if this isn't the right place for this, but just for fun I was wondering if anybody has purchased a cheap or off-brand ukulele that they actually kind of like. I don't necessary mean Mahalo or anything like that (but would love to hear about that as well!). I just had a Target ad pop up on my Facebook with some random names (Melokia, Spectrum, Omalha) and thought of it.

I'm not considering buying one or anything, just like to hear about interesting ukuleles people come across and enjoy. :)
Pictures are appreciated! :D
 

johnson430

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Cheap and off-brand are two words I try to stay away from when I am shopping for ukes.
My two cents. =)
 

UkieOkie

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I dont have any pics with me but we have a great little red Kohola soprano thats sounds decent and plays great. More importantly though, my kids have gotten it signed by a dozen or so of the best local artist around. Many of them may not be household names, but they are nevertheless world class singer/songwriters. Among other greats they have Camille Harp, John Calvin Abney, and Derek Paul. Check them out. We love the uke and they have had a ball getting all of the signatures.
 

idxxoutoftheblue

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I dont have any pics with me but we have a great little red Kohola soprano thats sounds decent and plays great. More importantly though, my kids have gotten it signed by a dozen or so of the best local artist around. Many of them may not be household names, but they are nevertheless world class singer/songwriters. Among other greats they have Camille Harp, John Calvin Abney, and Derek Paul. Check them out. We love the uke and they have had a ball getting all of the signatures.

That's so fun! I work with some world class musicians... I should get a cheap uke and have them all sign it! :D
And I'll definitely look up the ones you mentioned (and if you want some not-local-to-you musicians to look up, check out Sean Blackman's In Transit!).
 

UkieOkie

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That is some amazing collabrative music. Thabks for suggesting him/them. John Calvin just released a new album called Far Cries and Close calls. Its fantastic. Its rocky and folky goodness. His previous album is great also. Its more alt country style and every song is good. Camille has a huge bar room voice that just chills. Her songs are mostly free of metaphor. Straight forward raw emotion. Camille really shines on her latest album, "little bit of light". She is an Oklahoma treasure.

P.s. Sorry to hijack your thread " outoftheblue" ;-)
 

idxxoutoftheblue

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That is some amazing collabrative music. Thabks for suggesting him/them. John Calvin just released a new album called Far Cries and Close calls. Its fantastic. Its rocky and folky goodness. His previous album is great also. Its more alt country style and every song is good. Camille has a huge bar room voice that just chills. Her songs are mostly free of metaphor. Straight forward raw emotion. Camille really shines on her latest album, "little bit of light". She is an Oklahoma treasure.

P.s. Sorry to hijack your thread " outoftheblue" ;-)

Haha no problem! And glad you enjoyed it! He plays primarily world music and collaborates with people from all over the world as well as super amazing local musicians. If you'd like to keep chatting about music, feel free to shoot me a PM. I'm always looking for new musicians to listen to :)
 

KohanMike

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I don't know if this counts as off brand or cheap, but I bought this Bruce Wei all solid uke from eBay a few months ago for about $100 and I think it sounds pretty good.

BWA Brown burst.jpg
 
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PhilUSAFRet

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Picked up this Asmus concert last year for $69 shipped on ebay as I was just wanting a maple uke. They made a brief appearance a few years back and seemed to be KPK's with a different headstock and sounded good for the money. I do not remember seeing this model and wonder if it's a prototype. To my pleasant surprise, not only was the top solid spruce, but the body is solid maple. It was set up extremely well and is bright, loud, with great projection and sustain. Only issue is fine fret wire with slightly sharp edges. Hard to beat as a "cheap uke."
 
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kaizersoza

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I was looking for a cheaper laminate tenor uke for travelling, I already own 2 flukes one tenor neck the other a concert, but i don't want to use them for travelling anymore because they are now quite expensive, I have a Kala jazz top tenor which again was too expensive to take travelling and it is my gigging instrument too.

After trawling the internet, UU, and other resourses, i came across a review by Barry Maz of gotaukulele fame, about a Snail soprano uke, he liked it and i trust and respect Barry's reviews, so i pulled the trigger on a rosewood tenor, it is a lovely instrument, plays well sounds really nice for a laminate, I was and still am very happy with my purchase, cost £109 GBP bargain

snail tenor.jpg
 

Croaky Keith

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Sometime around about February of last year, I purchased a cheap plastic concert sized uke for just under £20 - it's a Brunswick, basically white, & with a picture of a reindeer on the top. :)

(This joined my original Makala purchases of tenor, pineapple soprano, & concert - I'm not too worried about these ukes, they're now just 'bashers' as far as I'm concerned.)
 

BearMakingNoises

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I grabbed a DCT (Dreams Come True) soprano a few years ago and it led me to my soprano love affair. It is a Korean company and the sell for $100-$200 US. Now I recommend them as good starter instruments for my students.
 

JackLuis

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Not to beat a dead horse but Check out the Caramel line on Amazon. Or the Rubin-Caramel Thread in Uke Talk. They have some interesting styles and woods. Very playable and $25 to $135 or so in any size you want. I like the Zebra wood ones, I have six!
 

idxxoutoftheblue

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Love the responses!
I was wondering if anybody had come across some really no-name stuff that they actually ended up liking but these are awesome!
:D
 

hal1001

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Interesting. I personally think ukuleles are a bit over priced (compared to guitars, for example, where you can get a solid top for $150), so I think there's potential for finding good quality, no-name ukuleles.

If multiple people own the same brand/model and comment, then we might be able to get a feel for the model's consistency. This is the main thing for me when buying non-brand name stuff. Does the manufacturer feel there is enough need to protect its brand with consistent quality?
 

BluesPreacher

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My soprano is an "Excel". Cheap POS, but for some years it's been my only soprano uke. It's tough! I let my son mess around on it when he was 3-4; it's got some dings and scars, but it still plays OK. Out-of-tune up the neck, but it's got a nice bright punchy sound.

I have a vintage Harmony soprano coming via USPS that I found on eBay.

My baritone is a vintage Harmony. Nice mellow sound. Mint condition.
 

idxxoutoftheblue

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Interesting. I personally think ukuleles are a bit over priced (compared to guitars, for example, where you can get a solid top for $150), so I think there's potential for finding good quality, no-name ukuleles.

If multiple people own the same brand/model and comment, then we might be able to get a feel for the model's consistency. This is the main thing for me when buying non-brand name stuff. Does the manufacturer feel there is enough need to protect its brand with consistent quality?

I know in general people are told to stay away from sub-$100 and even sub-$50 ukuleles (I know a lot of people buy Makalas and Mahalos and I think in general Makalas are pretty respected and consistent from what I've read). I just know some places like Target or Walmart will sell really cheap no-name ukuleles and I was just wanting to hear people's experiences with those. Maybe I should've left out the word "cheap" and just said "off-brand"? Oh well, it's still an interesting thread!

BluesPreacher- congratulations on your new ukulele! Just saw your post on it, it looks great! :D
 

actadh

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My office uke is a Zither Heaven made of black walnut. No longer in business, but they still pop up occasionally on eBay. Mine was $39 from Butler Music. It is the ten fret version. It has a nice, folky sound and packs well in a suitcase. Like the Sue Ryder ones, they were meant for kids and were a really good value.

I won a maple one on a FB giveaway by a toy company, and I bought their last two ukulele wall clocks before they closed their shop a couple of months ago. I was sad to see them go out of business.
 

TheCraftedCow

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I have a Leolani from Hawaii. It is beautiful and plays well. I have many of the EddyFinn line and find them to be good players, and esthetically pleasing as well. The three-year warranty has yet to be needed. The new plastic ukes and banjos are a surprise. The cigar box is really quite a surprise for looks and playability.