What’s your ukulele “hot take”?

Wiggy

UU VIP
UU VIP
Joined
Dec 12, 2011
Messages
996
Points
93
My hot take is that you can be just a ukulele owner or admirer. All you need is at least one uke you own, or you would like to own.

You do not have to conform to expectations of being a musician. You do not have to conform to expectations of being a collector. You do not have to conform to expectations of being a wood expert or woody. You can be them all or none of them whenever you feel like. You can do the work to make a huge audience happy, or just please yourself at home.

You can be in tune or out of tune, and you don't need to know the difference. Same with being in time. Or you can know the difference.

Owning a ukulele is what you want it to be, and you can have several different things you want it to be. You can own a ukulele for 50 years and make it 100 things that you choose over the 50 years.
What Bill just said. I maintain a stable of 12. "Maintain" is the key word. I make every attempt (specifically; action at the 1st fret, string-to-string balance, and strap length) to have them feel (string pressure and hanging position) so they play the same no matter which one I pick up. If one can't be made to fit (or I just don't like the sound) it will be "disappeared".

(BTW, they are all out and easily within reach.)

This is similar to my motorcycles, where I adjust the handgrip distance and height to the center of the seat to be the same on both. When I sit on either of them, my hands fall right into place.

My "hot take" for ukuleles? They absolutely must be in tune.
 
Last edited:

Voran

Well-known member
Joined
Oct 3, 2021
Messages
1,398
Points
113
that's where the fun begins for me. The ukulele repertoire has more cheese than Wales and Wisconsin combined. The challenge is squeezing something with a little more gravitas from an instrument that is so inexorably connected with chirpiness.
*laughs, takes uke out of case, sits on a nearby wall and plays Loss, Rage, Adrenalectomy and The Blood Red I Know Well*
 
Joined
Jul 24, 2022
Messages
44
Points
18
I have only one ukulele, a Kanile'a K1-T, but have been feeling interested in a soprano lately - and looking at Martin's. Which do you have?

(Sorry to hi-jack the thread).
I have one of the New S1 ukuleles, a very honest instrument I most say. I originally bought it as an instrument for composing while traveling - but was quite stunned by its powerfull resonance and clear timbre - that somehow reminds me of a Spanish vihuela.

My Kanile’a K3 is more mysterious, richer - but I really love this little soprano, and have even used it in concerts, playing mandolin and lute music on it.
And to be honest - I have no other instrument that you can get for that price that I could take to church just like that.

I know that some people say it is overpriced, but for my use its actually the other way around. And I realise now that this is my «shocking» opinion on this tread - that the S1 is really a good instrument. But then again - I play and compose classical music.
 

bbkobabe

Well-known member
Joined
Jul 24, 2020
Messages
703
Points
93
In brief: My bicycle front tire went into an unexpected rut and my bike became a Buckeroo Bronco throwing me over the handlebars. I landed on cement and broke both elbows, and broke both sides of my jaw. My chin and right knee got minor damage. Couldn’t move on the ground and was taken by ambulance to the hospital where I had 5 hour surgery and have been staying there the last two weeks. My jaw is wired shut and I drink only liquids thru a syringe tube. There is a severe risk of me choking so I’m in my hospital bed for another week until they take the wires out and I can go home. My cast will come off later.

Yeah, no uke, piano, or pool parties for the rest of the summer. No nice rosé wine or whisky. I should be better after physio by Halloween. Rough break but I’m having fun about the crazy stuff that happens in hospitals! hehe. Petey
My favorite hospital game is called "Hide the Jello"... take that little jello cup and put it in an odd place in your room. Then, see if the cleaning staff can find it, and watch their reaction when they do. Good clean fun!

After a dark night of the soul fighting an intense abdominal infection 5 years ago, I watched the sun rise through my hospital window and started humming the song Wondering where the lions are by Bruce Cockburn: "Sun's up, umm hum, looks OK, the world survives to see another day...".

It was the first new song I learned after being released, and still a part of my 'first line' song list... and I can still play it by heart.

"Got me thinking about eternity... some kind of ecstasy has got a hold of me".

Indeed!
 

Joyful Uke

Well-known member
Joined
Jul 17, 2014
Messages
2,578
Points
113
In brief: My bicycle front tire went into an unexpected rut and my bike became a Buckeroo Bronco throwing me over the handlebars. I landed on cement and broke both elbows, and broke both sides of my jaw. My chin and right knee got minor damage. Couldn’t move on the ground and was taken by ambulance to the hospital where I had 5 hour surgery and have been staying there the last two weeks. My jaw is wired shut and I drink only liquids thru a syringe tube. There is a severe risk of me choking so I’m in my hospital bed for another week until they take the wires out and I can go home. My cast will come off later.

Yeah, no uke, piano, or pool parties for the rest of the summer. No nice rosé wine or whisky. I should be better after physio by Halloween. Rough break but I’m having fun about the crazy stuff that happens in hospitals! hehe. Petey
Ouch!
Wishing you a speedy recovery, and hopefully you'll soon be back to doing all the fun things that you're currently missing.
 

CPG

Well-known member
Joined
May 3, 2018
Messages
845
Points
63
Excluding folks who have medical conditions, injuries, and/or disabilities ( I do realize that is some folks here)

Your hands/fingers are probably not too large/small/fat/short/oddly shaped to play X scale ukulele.

Okay, so before ya'll jump on me. No, I'm not saying anyones preferences are invalid or that everyone should play all sizes of ukulele. Play what you prefer to play and do what brings you joy! And yes, I get that everyones bodies are different and maybe you really are the exception (which is why I say probably). Or maybe you can't do certain things on "x" scale uke or do things exactly the same way someone with bigger or smaller hands would. Trust me I get this very personally. One thing I know about my body (due to no injury, medical condition, or disability) is that my wrists don't rotate counter-clockwise as far as most other peoples. Because of this I was never as good at playing traditional grip drum and bugle core style snare drum in marching band. After 4 years of hard practice and struggle I had people who had been playing half as long surpass me. No matter what I did, it was unlikely I would have ever gotten good enough to play in a high level drum and bugle core. I simply couldn't rotate my left wrist far enough couter-clockwise to get the stick high enough to generate enough power to do some of the techniques. I could still be a really good drummer and percussionist, but it is unlikely I would have ever been a great drum and bugle core style snare drummer. Also, for the same reason I really struggle to play guitar in the "folk" position with the guitar across my leg. It just puts way to much tension on my wrist to have the neck be almost horizontal like that, so instead I play in a classical position with the guitar between my legs and the neck up. So all that is to say I get that our bodies all have different limitiations.

But one of the best soprano uke players I know started out as an upright bass player and has very thick fingers. One of the best upright bass players I knew when I was a music major during my first two years of college was a fairly average (maybe below average) height female. Plenty of young children play guitar and plenty of large people play soprano uke.

I guess all I'm saying is I often see uke players say things like "I wish I could play X size uke but my fingers are too small/large/short/fat etc". And well, if you really wish that, I hope you know that that is probably not the case, and that you probably could.
 
Last edited:

merlin666

Well-known member
Joined
Jul 7, 2015
Messages
2,645
Points
113
Hmm... shame to see Uma do this. Lots of other Asian brands do the same. I always wonder if it's some kind of translation issue but it's a tad upsetting nonetheless. The uke is definitely acacia, not koa. Still a cracking uke.

And yes, a lot of the Taiwanese ukes are manufactured in China, if not all, but the production quality is still so much better than the average you see from China. And Millar do make their custom models at least in their Taiwanese workshop. Not sure about the production models.
Could be that the Asians just call any Acacia that looks like it "Koa", it is not likely that they employ Botanists or other biologists that can determine the difference. I would actually like it if they used locally sourced wood and indicated where it is from rather than stuff that has to be shipped around the globe several times before it reaches the customer. For me the origin of wood is more important than some marketing label.

It is interesting that Taiwanese firms manufacture in mainland China, as I thought that these countries are not on friendly terms and don't even recognize each other.
 

ploverwing

UU VIP
UU VIP
Joined
Apr 24, 2022
Messages
886
Points
93
I would actually like it if they used locally sourced wood and indicated where it is from rather than stuff that has to be shipped around the globe several times before it reaches the customer. For me the origin of wood is more important than some marketing label.
YES! I would be much more interested in locally sourced, sustainably harvested tone woods. There are so many timbers out there that could produce excellent tone woods, the job of the company would be to educate the purchasers about these qualities, and give people like Baz a free sample to review so that the word could get out there. We've all been conditioned to look for koa or spruce or whatever (I mean, fair enough - a high quality instrument built of high quality koa is an amazing thing, but just having it made of "koa" doesn't necessarily make it a great instrument), but there are some incredible other options out there.
 

Patty

UU VIP
UU VIP
Joined
Feb 2, 2022
Messages
813
Points
93
YES! I would be much more interested in locally sourced, sustainably harvested tone woods. There are so many timbers out there that could produce excellent tone woods, the job of the company would be to educate the purchasers about these qualities, and give people like Baz a free sample to review so that the word could get out there. We've all been conditioned to look for koa or spruce or whatever (I mean, fair enough - a high quality instrument built of high quality koa is an amazing thing, but just having it made of "koa" doesn't necessarily make it a great instrument), but there are some incredible other options out there.
An example in this respect could be Bruko, which makes all-maple and all-cherry ukuleles (and we've recently seen some beauts in the Marketplace), among other woods. So Bruko at least believes a top made of maple or of cherry will resonate. Also, we've seen some all-mango ukes. So Koa is not the holy grail, at least not to everyone.

I have to keep reminding myself that at least as far as SOUND goes (never mind all the curls and figures in the woods), the only part of the ukulele that really matters is the soundboard--the top.
 
Joined
Jul 24, 2022
Messages
44
Points
18
An example in this respect could be Bruko, which makes all-maple and all-cherry ukuleles (and we've recently seen some beauts in the Marketplace), among other woods. So Bruko at least believes a top made of maple or of cherry will resonate. Also, we've seen some all-mango ukes. So Koa is not the holy grail, at least not to everyone.

I have to keep reminding myself that at least as far as SOUND goes (never mind all the curls and figures in the woods), the only part of the ukulele that really matters is the soundboard--the top.
The German lute maker Thorsten Sven Lietz has used yew as tonewood for his tenor ukuleles - the result is fantastic.
 

Kaelrie

Active member
Joined
Oct 3, 2019
Messages
125
Points
28
Could be that the Asians just call any Acacia that looks like it "Koa", it is not likely that they employ Botanists or other biologists that can determine the difference. I would actually like it if they used locally sourced wood and indicated where it is from rather than stuff that has to be shipped around the globe several times before it reaches the customer. For me the origin of wood is more important than some marketing label.

It is interesting that Taiwanese firms manufacture in mainland China, as I thought that these countries are not on friendly terms and don't even recognize each other.
They know the difference between Acacia and Koa.
 

Larry U

UU VIP
UU VIP
Joined
Jan 4, 2016
Messages
1,006
Points
83
YES! I would be much more interested in locally sourced, sustainably harvested tone woods. There are so many timbers out there that could produce excellent tone woods, the job of the company would be to educate the purchasers about these qualities, and give people like Baz a free sample to review so that the word could get out there. We've all been conditioned to look for koa or spruce or whatever (I mean, fair enough - a high quality instrument built of high quality koa is an amazing thing, but just having it made of "koa" doesn't necessarily make it a great instrument), but there are some incredible other options out there.
A few years back, I picked up an all-Koa, Hawaiian-built tenor ukulele (Tangi...no longer made) off the local Craigslist site. Got it for a great price and was really stoked about it until I got it home, cleaned it up, put on a new set of strings and tried to play it! Horrible, dull, dead sound. It was so heavily built, you could have stood on the soundboard and it wouldn't have flexed. The top was very thick and lifeless. Needless to say, that uke didn't stay long in my collection.
 

Voran

Well-known member
Joined
Oct 3, 2021
Messages
1,398
Points
113
Also, for the same reason I really struggle to play guitar in the "folk" position with the guitar across my leg. It just puts way to much tension on my wrist to have the neck be almost horizontal like that, so instead I play in a classical position with the guitar between my legs and the neck up. So all that is to say I get that our bodies all have different limitiations.
Oh my, same here. I play my Flying V nearly vertical. Seems so much more natural than hunching over it.
 

DJ Mango

Well-known member
Joined
Sep 14, 2021
Messages
788
Points
93
A few years back, I picked up an all-Koa, Hawaiian-built tenor ukulele (Tangi...no longer made) off the local Craigslist site. Got it for a great price and was really stoked about it until I got it home, cleaned it up, put on a new set of strings and tried to play it! Horrible, dull, dead sound. It was so heavily built, you could have stood on the soundboard and it wouldn't have flexed. The top was very thick and lifeless. Needless to say, that uke didn't stay long in my collection.
Two of my favorite Hawaiian Music musicians , Izzy and Peter Moon both played Martin's .
 

SurferJay

Well-known member
Joined
Oct 24, 2021
Messages
165
Points
63
My hot take is that you can be just a ukulele owner or admirer. All you need is at least one uke you own, or you would like to own.

You do not have to conform to expectations of being a musician. You do not have to conform to expectations of being a collector. You do not have to conform to expectations of being a wood expert or woody. You can be them all or none of them whenever you feel like. You can do the work to make a huge audience happy, or just please yourself at home.

You can be in tune or out of tune, and you don't need to know the difference. Same with being in time. Or you can know the difference.

Owning a ukulele is what you want it to be, and you can have several different things you want it to be. You can own a ukulele for 50 years and make it 100 things that you choose over the 50 years.

Very true and completely valid point. BUT for myself it wasn’t until I learned to improvise that I had that moment where I just close my eyes and be one with the music. Don’t worry I’m not going to start chanting.

I guess it’s like anything. Yesterday I was surfing and I thought to myself how long surfing had been part of my life (nearly 30 years). I still remember my first wave (like the first song on the Uke) and there is no doubt as you get better the experience in both becomes more immersive.

If I was going to choose a surfboard it wouldn’t be the latest performance model. It would be more of a vintage style which defies all of the latest trends. Only because that’s the experience in after. I’m guessing it’s the same for a Uke.

Long post I’m in bed with Corona 😷
 

DJ Mango

Well-known member
Joined
Sep 14, 2021
Messages
788
Points
93
Very true and completely valid point. BUT for myself it wasn’t until I learned to improvise that I had that moment where I just close my eyes and be one with the music. Don’t worry I’m not going to start chanting.

I guess it’s like anything. Yesterday I was surfing and I thought to myself how long surfing had been part of my life (nearly 30 years). I still remember my first wave (like the first song on the Uke) and there is no doubt as you get better the experience in both becomes more immersive.

If I was going to choose a surfboard it wouldn’t be the latest performance model. It would be more of a vintage style which defies all of the latest trends. Only because that’s the experience in after. I’m guessing it’s the same for a Uke.

Long post I’m in bed with Corona 😷
Get well soon . :)
So for a ukulele you would choose a Kamaka or Martin ?