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Thread: In Praise of Inexpensive Barritones

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    Portland OR, The Rose (and Uke) City
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    2,645

    Default In Praise of Inexpensive Barritones

    Hello Friends:

    I have Martin, Favilla and Kamaka baritones. Lovely, wonderful instruments.

    But I gotta tell you,I get a heck of a lot of fun out of my cheap Barrys, especially the Kala/Makala variety. When it came time to buy a uke to ship to my family home in tampa, where I visit several weeks a year, it was a no brainer: Makala MK-B. Under $90, nice sound, pretty bomb proof. I notice no sharp edges on the frets--nice. Well set up from the factory.

    Not crazy about the strings. Aquilla, which are fine, but I may try something else. I think I'll string it in C instead of the traditional Baritone stringing. It sounds better on higher frets with these strings, and I think it might improve with a C tuning.

    Anybody else play an inexpensive Baritone, and if so, what tunings and strings do you like?
    My Soprano Empire:
    VINTAGE MARTINS: c.'48 Martin 0
    OTHER VINTAGE: c30s Blue Favilla, c50 TV Pal, 30s Redhead
    MODERN MARTINS: OXK; 2012 2M
    KAMAKA: 2010 Pineapple (RIP MGM)

    My Baritone Empire:
    '12 Kala KA-B, '69 Silvertone, c.'53-57 Favilla, c.'63 Martin, '11 Kamaka

    STRUMTESTS//ADD to The STRING DATABASE and UKE CASE DATABASE // Take the NAME THAT MARTIN test.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    Nashville, TN USA
    Posts
    1,196

    Default

    See my NUD - Kala Baritone thread that I posted about the same time as you!

    http://forum.ukuleleunderground.com/...ogany-Baritone

    I wouldn't call mine a cheap Baritone, but it was relatively inexpensive.
    If music be the food of love, play on! -Bill Shakespeare

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    trondheim, norway
    Posts
    1,584

    Default

    Got a Rogue baritone...cheapest there is (at least it used to be..), an instrument I will never part with! Then I have a Romanian 'Hora' baritone...quite inexpensive, but solid mahogany. That's a winner. Won't buy any other baritones.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2017
    Location
    L.A. California
    Posts
    645

    Default

    I'd like to have a nice all mahogany baritone, like a Favilla or Pono.
    But I've been amazed how much I LOVE my Kala laminate KA-B.
    http://forum.ukuleleunderground.com/...+baritone+ka-b

    The stock Aquila stings were very good, but the Living Water FC stirings were just fantastic.
    I can't speak to other tunings, but South Coast strings has much to say, as does this forum of course.
    Last edited by maki66; 03-21-2018 at 08:06 PM.
    Playing my Magic Fluke and grinning like a fool!

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Location
    The Big Scioto, on the Banks of the Ohio
    Posts
    763

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by drbekken View Post
    Got a Rogue baritone...cheapest there is (at least it used to be..), an instrument I will never part with! Then I have a Romanian 'Hora' baritone...quite inexpensive, but solid mahogany. That's a winner. Won't buy any other baritones.
    I bought a Rogue a little over a year ago. I think I paid about $34 US, didn't expect much, but was really quite pleasantly surprised. Apart from a dead fret (14th fret on the E string), I have no real complaints. I never play that high up the neck anyway, so I can't really complain about that either!

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Nov 2017
    Posts
    540

    Default

    I've got the same Makala baritone and find the same as you - very well made for such little money they sell for. I'm still using the factory shipped Nylgut but they are wearing out. I actually don't know what I will try next.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Nov 2015
    Location
    Upper Hale, Surrey/Hants border, UK.
    Posts
    5,062

    Default

    I love the sound of my baris, just don't get on with the scale (20.125").

    Maybe I'll find it easier, when I come back to them, (been learning chromatic harmonica this past year).
    Trying to do justice to various musical instruments.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    Portland OR, The Rose (and Uke) City
    Posts
    2,645

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Steedy View Post
    See my NUD - Kala Baritone thread that I posted about the same time as you!

    http://forum.ukuleleunderground.com/...ogany-Baritone

    I wouldn't call mine a cheap Baritone, but it was relatively inexpensive.
    I've been looking at that uke! Nice. Let us know how it grows with you!
    My Soprano Empire:
    VINTAGE MARTINS: c.'48 Martin 0
    OTHER VINTAGE: c30s Blue Favilla, c50 TV Pal, 30s Redhead
    MODERN MARTINS: OXK; 2012 2M
    KAMAKA: 2010 Pineapple (RIP MGM)

    My Baritone Empire:
    '12 Kala KA-B, '69 Silvertone, c.'53-57 Favilla, c.'63 Martin, '11 Kamaka

    STRUMTESTS//ADD to The STRING DATABASE and UKE CASE DATABASE // Take the NAME THAT MARTIN test.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Location
    Germany, near Frankfurt/M.
    Posts
    32

    Default

    I'm all with you, ubulele! The only Baritone I own, is one I bought used for about 100 Euros (seems like around 120$ theses days), and I only did so after playing it for quite some time. It's a Brueko Baritone, I think made of Okoumé wood, all solid. It sounds quite nice - for a Baritone.
    Nevertheless, I don't play quite often, as I have the same ttrouble with the scale as Croaky Keith, plus I don't like the sound too much. Too much guitar-like, and not enough ukulele-like, for my ears.

    Anyway, the point is, I also recommend watching for a better but used model. Problem is, of course, that it should be in a good shape. BUt the problem with nearly unplayable instruments or instruments with a horrible intonation is one you're quite likely to face in the cheapest price range as well.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Location
    Kirkland, WA
    Posts
    388

    Default

    A year ago I bought a Kala KA-BE so I'd have something to practice on that I wasn't worried would crack in the low humidity of my house most of the year.

    http://forum.ukuleleunderground.com/...kulele-with-EQ

    That instrument gets lot of play, and was totally worth the little extra to get the electronics built-in, especially the tuner.

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