In Praise of Cheap Ukes

Peter Frary

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Yes, I've owned a few cheap 'uku: Takamine G series tenor, Lainikai, Cordoba, etc., and I found the wonderful thing about them is the joy of giving them away to students in need of an 'uku!
 

Jan D

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I love my $50 Flight Travel Soprano (the TUS-35 model).
 

Hilomar

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Sep 30, 2017
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Alic plastic ukulele, it cost me £20 I'm amazed by it..so I bought another one!
 

Graham Greenbag

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I’ve got a couple of old Mahalo U30’s with Friction Tuners. Second hand they each cost me about the same as a couple of packets of good strings, after purchase I set them up and fitted Aquilas. Perhaps I was lucky and got a get a couple of particularly good ones, I doubt that good luck though and I’ve been rather surprised and delighted with the results. Those U30’s ended up being very playable and sounding good, IMHO such affordable music making is what Ukes are all about.

It’s amazing what a good set-up and suitable strings will do for a Uke's sound. I’ve transformed many a Uke through such simple work; I’ve found a few no hopers too but success rates are about 90% and I’m happy with that rate. Initial price is not really a guide as to what will turn out to be a good-um, pick the model with care and you’ll certainly load the dice in your favour.
 
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Voran

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The black one I am shown playing in my profile pic cost me 25 euros. Love her to death. I happily play her for several hours a day.
 

Sporky

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Any more cheap uke love?

I've had an Oscar Schmidt OU2T tenor for a while, but didn't play it much at all, the tuners were real crappy, so I almost forgot I even had it. Pulled it out the other day and restrung with new Super Nylguts, after swapping on a set of Grover 9w tuners, and it sounds pretty dang good!
OU2T is what I got last year to try ukulele and the rest is history!
 

Eggs_n_Ham

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Heck yeah cheap uke love! I'm noodling with my 65$ Aklot concert, my first uke. It's been sitting for at least two months in the closet- pulled it out and it was just barely out of tune! A real charmer of a burner uke.
 

man0a

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Sep 22, 2019
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Kiwaya makes great cheap ukuleles, if you can buy them at the regular retail price. 8000 yen is about US$70. Unfortunately, they don't have distributors in many countries, so foreign retailers have to pay to import them in small quantities and pass the (large) cost on to consumers.

kiwaya prices small.jpg
 

Kaelrie

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Oct 3, 2019
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I've tried a number of cheap ukes, but the only one that sticks around is the enya nova mini, and that's mostly because it fills a desirable niche (super-compact, good-sounding, outdoor uke) for me.
 
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Hilomar

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Alic ukuleles are ok..but when you get more proficient at ukulele playing and you play a better uke..uluru or pono etc..you don't go back...