Kmise 17" mini travel pocket uke

badhabits

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Kmise Ukulele Soprano Ukelele 17 Inch Mini Travel Pocket Ukalalee for Kids Beginners Adults
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B09SFWX56F

TLDR: looks good, plays fine, sound is a bit disappointing (but that should not be a surprise).

Saw this on Amazon for $39.99 with free returns...so I got it. Can also be found on ebay, but not yet on the Kmise website. The description says 17", but it measures just under 18" with a scale of not quite 11.25"... so it's somewhere in between sopranino and sopranissimo, leaning towards sopranissimo.

No accessories are included, no bag, nothing... except the cardboard “case”. The box contained a small strip of sandpaper... maybe to smooth out the tiny chip on the back edge? It looks really good IMO, very traditional. Open geared tuners with black buttons, no side markers (easily added if needed), no rosette, a slotted bridge (not the smallest but also not a tie bridge... makes sense for this size), 2 strap buttons. According to the hang tag the strings are Aquila supernylgut.

Straight out of the box the fret ends are mostly smooth, 1 or 2 need a bit of filing. Action could be lower (about 2.75 mm at 12 and >1 mm at 1). Nut width is about 34 mm, a touch wider than the typical sub-soprano (e.g., 33.5 mm on my TPK-25G). String spacing at the nut is a generous 28.9 mm (G to A outside-outside, measured with digital calipers) and 41.4 mm at the saddle, pretty normal for bigger ukes (and both measurements are more than on my KA-15s). The neck is smooth satin, but it feels very head heavy in hand (it's only 285 gm total weight). Body depth/thickness is about 40 mm at the neck, and oddly, slightly less on the lower bout. The interior has unnotched kerfing and a cross brace.

For a tiny uke the playability is decent. Strings don't feel that floppy, but I find myself coming real close to pulling the A string off, esp towards the high end of the fretboard; the wider spacing at play obviously. Volume is good, sustain not so much, esp on the A string when fretted. Tuned gCEA the sound is as expected for a tiny uke, very lo-fi. Like other short scale ukes it's a little better tuned up, with less tendency to pull off (more tension) but seems some sustain goes away. My Ohana TPK-25G sounds much better (bigger pineapple body, no surprise there), but IIRC my O'nino was slightly worse or the same.

If you can dial in the set up yourself and want to try something tiny, but are turned off by Ohana prices and Kiwaya (lack of) availability, this could be your alternative, esp if you prefer a more traditional look (i.e., have ruled out the smiley face Mahalo or turtle rosette Ortega keiki). Just don't expect it to sound like a decent soprano.
 

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TheresaSC

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I have a Kmise concert that was my first ukulele. I found the original strings just terrible but the rest of the instrument is just fine, not great, but a good learner, especially at that price point.