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Thread: Baton Rouge, Bonanza and Good Laminates

  1. #1
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    Default Baton Rouge, Bonanza and Good Laminates

    I'm exploring the world of good laminates right now.

    Just ordered a Kiwaya Ks5 (or technically a Famous Ks5, from Japan).

    Interested in tenors and/or baritones, which Kiwaya doesn't make.

    So far, Bonanzas and Baton Rouges sound promising. Curious if anyone has thoughts on them in comparison to each other. Particularly curious about intonation and weight, as laminates can vary in weight. Curious about general sound, too, of course!
    uke blog

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    videos (includes uke demos)

    http://youtube.com/user/theschumanity

    current ukes

    Wunderkammer "Boswell" Tenor, Keiki Kamaka Soprano, Johnson UK-200 baritone, Kiwaya Famous FLS-1G, Cordoba 24T

    former ukes

    Martin 1T, Martin Oliver Ditson Dreadnought Soprano, Martin Baritone, Ohana SK-28, Ohana SK-25S, Favilla Baritone, Kala KA-FMBG, Luna Great Wave Concert, Mainland Red Cedar Baritone, Mainland Classic Mahogany Tenor, Oscar Schmidt OU53, Oscar Schmidt OU57, Kiwaya Famous KTS-5 soprano, Ohana TK-38 tenor

  2. #2
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    Default

    I don't know your budget, but I saw another Donner uke last evening, and it was pretty darn nice for a low priced laminate uke.
    "Those who bring sunshine and laughter to the lives of others cannot keep it from themselves".

    Music washes from the soul, the dust of everyday living.

  3. #3
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    Budget's honestly not a big issue here - I did just get a Kiwaya/Famous, which is more expensive than many decent solid wood instruments!

  4. #4
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    Default why laminate

    Also want to add that, while I do like the value of laminates, my interest also has to do with the sound. I've found that I've liked the sound of some laminates a whole lot (particularly my Johnson uke) but the lower-end ones tend to have intonation and other issues. So I'm very intrigued by the idea of a good laminate for reasons that go beyond budget.
    uke blog

    https://bennyukes.blogspot.com

    songs

    https://soundcloud.com/bennypaul

    videos (includes uke demos)

    http://youtube.com/user/theschumanity

    current ukes

    Wunderkammer "Boswell" Tenor, Keiki Kamaka Soprano, Johnson UK-200 baritone, Kiwaya Famous FLS-1G, Cordoba 24T

    former ukes

    Martin 1T, Martin Oliver Ditson Dreadnought Soprano, Martin Baritone, Ohana SK-28, Ohana SK-25S, Favilla Baritone, Kala KA-FMBG, Luna Great Wave Concert, Mainland Red Cedar Baritone, Mainland Classic Mahogany Tenor, Oscar Schmidt OU53, Oscar Schmidt OU57, Kiwaya Famous KTS-5 soprano, Ohana TK-38 tenor

  5. #5
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    The Famous FS-5 is awesome. Great choice on a soprano
    "If a lot of people play the ukulele, the world would be a better place to live."

  6. #6
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    I don't have any expensive laminates, but have had a few of the cheaper ones that I bought in my first year learning to play.

    These, I still have.
    Kala KA-CEME - a bit heavy, has a good tone
    Baton Rouge Hot Rod - quite light, good tone
    Kala KA-SLNG - light, not a bad tone, (this one I really liked when starting out).

    These, I gave away.
    Makala MK-P - (pineapple soprano) had a good sound, louder than a regular soprano, & pretty good tone; I just didn't like the shape.
    Makala MK-C - (concert) good beginner, but not the best tone
    Makala MK-T - (tenor) good beginner/intermediate, quite a good tone
    Kala KA-S - (soprano) quite a good tone

    (I found out that soprano just isn't my scale.)
    Last edited by Croaky Keith; 01-18-2018 at 11:03 PM.
    Trying to do justice to various musical instruments.

  7. #7
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    What type of laminate you are talking about, do you mean wood laminate or "formica laminate. The Bonaza is made from countertop formica type laminate. I own three Enya X1 ukes, camp style round bodied soprano, pineapple soprano and a concert, all formica laminates. Although not expensive they all sound very good, sweet and musical. Martin makes the oxy series with the same material and Bazmaz was very impressed with them. I have played them and so was I.
    Currently enjoying these ukuleles : *LdfM tenor, *LfdM 19" super tenor. *LfdM baritone, *I'iwi tenor , *Koolau tenor, *Webber tenor, *Kimo tenor, *Kimo super concert, *Mya Moe baritone, *Kamaka baritone, *Gianinni baritone, *Fred Shields walnut pineapple super soprano, *Kala super soprano, *Loprinzi super soprano, *Black bear ULO concert , *Enya X1 concert, *Enya X1 pineapple soprano, *Enya Nova *Gretsch tenor, *Korala plastic concert

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by DownUpDave View Post
    What type of laminate you are talking about, do you mean wood laminate or "formica laminate.
    I actually hadn't thought of that & had been taking for granted the idea that they're all the same. Wondering if anyone has any insight into the differences in sound and feel.

    Also: does anyone know if Kiwaya/Famous laminates are laminate wood? Or are they another material with wood printed on them, like the Martins are?

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by 13down View Post
    I actually hadn't thought of that & had been taking for granted the idea that they're all the same. Wondering if anyone has any insight into the differences in sound and feel.

    Also: does anyone know if Kiwaya/Famous laminates are laminate wood? Or are they another material with wood printed on them, like the Martins are?
    I had a solid wood top/laminate back & sides Famous. I sold it because I didnít care for the neck shape. Otherwise it was a well made & lovely sounding uke. Kiwaya/Famous laminates are wood. Very high quality and very light.

    I also had an all HPL Bonanza. Fun sound but a little quiet. Southcoast strings helped with that. Definitely heavier than my solid wood or wood laminate ukes. Sold because I had two other concert sized ukes and switched to soprano for my camping uke.
    My ukulele family.....
    KoAloha Koa concert - circa 2006 (Living Waters)
    aNueNue Moon Bird concert - Spruce & Rosewood - 2018 (Blackwater)
    Blackbird Clara - 2019 (Oasis Bright)
    Cocobolo concert - 2019 (Worth Brown)

  10. #10
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    Mar 2014
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    Quote Originally Posted by 13down View Post
    I actually hadn't thought of that & had been taking for granted the idea that they're all the same. Wondering if anyone has any insight into the differences in sound and feel.

    Also: does anyone know if Kiwaya/Famous laminates are laminate wood? Or are they another material with wood printed on them, like the Martins are?
    Most all laminates are a wood sandwich composition from companies like Kala, Kiwaya, Gretsch, Cordoba, Islander etc. etc. The only formica type manufactures that I am aware of are Bonanza, Martin and Enya.

    As a generalization wood laminate ukes tend to be louder and have a better or more familiar sound. That being said everyone that have played my Enyas liked that sound, nothing weird, nice and musical. They are on the quieter side but not dull or muted. Hope that helps. Your Kiwaya is arguably the best Laminate uke made.
    Last edited by DownUpDave; 01-19-2018 at 02:25 PM.
    Currently enjoying these ukuleles : *LdfM tenor, *LfdM 19" super tenor. *LfdM baritone, *I'iwi tenor , *Koolau tenor, *Webber tenor, *Kimo tenor, *Kimo super concert, *Mya Moe baritone, *Kamaka baritone, *Gianinni baritone, *Fred Shields walnut pineapple super soprano, *Kala super soprano, *Loprinzi super soprano, *Black bear ULO concert , *Enya X1 concert, *Enya X1 pineapple soprano, *Enya Nova *Gretsch tenor, *Korala plastic concert

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