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Thread: Non-banjo loud ukes for busking (resonator, 8-string?)

  1. #1

    Default Non-banjo loud ukes for busking (resonator, 8-string?)

    I do some busking and would like a uke that packs a bit more punch than a standard one. Iíve busked with all 4 body sizes, all OK but too quiet to be heard when it gets busier. I actually normally busk with a 5 string banjo, but the ukes are much more portable for travel and such.

    Hereís where people usually say ďbanjo uke.Ē I donít know what it is, though; I love the banjo, I love the ukulele, I really do not like the banjo uke.

    So Iíve been looking at resonator and 8 string ukes as another option. The Oscar Schmidt OU28T caught my eye as an inexpensive option, as did the Sound Smith tenor resonator.

    My main question is, whatís the volume like on 8 stringers vs resonators? Will the 8 string pack enough of a punch, or is the resonator the top non-banjo dog?

    And does anyone have any great suggestions or experience with the models I named above? Not looking for anything too expensive, itíll be getting knocked around!

    Thanks!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2013
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    Rotonda West, FL
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    I’ll be watching to see what more knowledgeable folks suggest. I lead a mixed acoustic jam and dont always want to lug a guitar but my ukes are not loud enough w/o amplification. My mandolin cuts thru but I dont like it for every song. A louder uke would be nice. I’m thinking that the Pono baritone nui (small tenor guitar), the version with steel strings might be the ticket. Unfortunately, they have been out of stock everywhere. I’d ideally like to pick up one used. So anyway, I’d be interested too, in hearing some louder alternatives.
    Last edited by bunnyf; 11-12-2018 at 12:45 PM.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2015
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    Wiltshire, UK
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    A BrŁko tuned up to D can be quite loud. Personally I'd use a small amp as well though.

  4. #4

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    I've got a soprano which actually has decent projection tuned up to D. But I was hoping for something a bit louder, honestly.

    I really don't like using amplification, in part because I don't like relying on batteries/electronics but mostly because I'm against amplification while busking. It's too frequently abused, rarely sounds all that great, and ends up giving buskers a bad name. But that's a deep rabbit-hole I don't want to go down right now...

  5. #5
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    Nov 2015
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    Upper Hale, Surrey/Hants border, UK.
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    Good reso ukes cost a lot, so probably best with an 8 string.
    Use a pick.
    Position might help; hard wall behind you should focus sound outward, or maybe in a corner(?).
    Trying to do justice to various musical instruments.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
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    Queanbeyan, NSW Australia.
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    8 string tenor ukes are reasonably loud when you strum them. If your picking then they're a little louder but maybe not loud enough without amplification.

    Resonator ukes are hit and miss. A good one will be louder but honestly the cheaper ones that I have played weren't really that loud at all.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
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    If you play outside in a busy area, I reckon you need amplification. A reso is loud, almost as loud as a banjolele but will not cut through the ambient noise of cars and people.

  8. #8

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    Thanks for the replies, I'll have to try out a few 8 string ukes if I can find a place that stocks them. A pick can definitely help, maybe that + an 8 string would be the right idea. If anyone has an OU28T or OU28TE I'd love to know how well they project, they're at a great price point.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
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    Maybe one of those metal body Chinese resonator ukes. It’s a little heavier but it’s loud. Possibly too brash though. It
    "If a lot of people play the ukulele, the world would be a better place to live."

  10. #10

    Default

    How about any ukulele of your choice, with a pickup installed, and a portable amp?

    Resonators, banjo ukes, etc are all louder than a typical uke, but you also get a different sound and playing characteristic. They are also limited in how loud they can be.

    With an acoustic-electric, you can control the volume to be as loud or quiet as you want.

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