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Thread: Makala Waterman - Review

  1. #1
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    Default Makala Waterman - Review

    Only just landed in the UK, hence my review being a bit later than some others.

    I'm pleasantly surprised though.

    http://www.gotaukulele.com/2015/06/m...le-review.html
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  2. #2

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    Thanks for the nice review. I've been thinking about a plastic uke for the beach. I read your reviews on both the Waterman and the Explore. Between the to which would you recommend? I enjoy both concerts and sopranos so size doesn't matter to me in this decision. It mostly comes down to the sound and the action for me. I prefer a lower action and it looks as if it may be possible to adjust it on the explore.

  3. #3
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    Between the two - the Waterman - I think it sounds better and the neck isn't as bendy. Both are comparable on action and inability to adjust them. (Whilst the Explore looks like it has a removable saddle, it doesnt)

    This review has already caused friction on another ukulele site - people seem to be missing the important thing. It's just a plastic ukulele and sounds like one. but it does look cool and its bombproof and cheap.

    The Waterman sounds brighter and more typically ukulele. The Explore is warmer but a touch quieter.
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  4. #4

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    Thanks for the heads up about the explore not being adjustable. Because they are basically the same price and I like a bit punchier sound I think I'll probably go for the Waterman. Looks like a great beach uke.

  5. #5
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    I personally think my review gives enough clues that this will NOT sound like a good or half decent wooden uke - but it doesnt claim to. I just like what Kala have done with these.
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  6. #6
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    It does sound better than the Explore in the video. The Waterman is definitely brighter and "happier" sounding, a little less "bucket with strings"-like. Yeah, it does sound plastic-y, but as you said, you'd not take a quality wood uke to camping or the beach (well, some people would, I guess!). And hey, you can probably play this one in the tub or the shower, too!

    Good review, as always.

  7. #7
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    Thank you. yes - not the perfect uke but close to what I want for a plastic!
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  8. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by bazmaz View Post
    I personally think my review gives enough clues that this will NOT sound like a good or half decent wooden uke - but it doesnt claim to. I just like what Kala have done with these.
    I agree that you did a good job giving buyers realistic expectations. I have taken one of my wooden ukes to the beach before and spent so much time worrying over the effects of ocean spray, sand, and intense heat that I didn't enjoy having it with me much. I figure a lower quality sound but no worry will be more fun.

  9. #9
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    I just bought one of these myself - delivered today - and initial impressions are exactly the same as Baz's. I'm a left-hander so I'm really glad the slotted saddle makes it easy swapping the strings over, and that Kala left enough string to allow me to keep the same strings without making it difficult to refit them. I agree about the zero fret - it's just a bit too high. I wonder if, being plastic, it will eventually wear down to the right height ... time will tell. I'm certainly not going to do anything to accelerate that process though as it's playable as it is.

    The fretboard bends very slightly upward as if the tension of the strings is bending it. I don't think it's enough to be a problem, but if you were thinking of lowering the action at the bridge (if that's possible) it's worth bearing in mind. I'll try tuning up to ADF#B some time and see if that makes the bend noticably worse.

    I have a Korala Explore too, and yes I reckon the Kala Waterman ticks so many more boxes. It doesn't flex so much, it has fret markers on both sides (albeit yes they won't last long!) and most of all being a soprano it's just more portable - which to me is really the point! Speaking of which, the bag that comes with it is really handy. I cycled home from work with it today and wore the bag like a ruc-sac on my back. Even the straps are adjustable so you can make sure it stays put.

    The things I have to say surprised me most about the Waterman are 1. it came with a neat little card with chord diagrams and a couple of songs to try and 2. the songs both included the E chord! Why??!! Granted the version of the E chord they showed was one of the easier ones, but so far up the fretboard it sounded a bit ridiculously high in the context of the rest of the song. If anyone gets one of these for Christmas and those are the first songs they try, I fear they will be rather non-plussed (but if they survive the ordeal at least they will have no fear of the E chord).

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