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Thread: First Ukulele, Which one to choose?

  1. #11
    Join Date
    Mar 2019


    Quote Originally Posted by polarboar View Post
    I've decided I wanted to learn ukulele. I'm very knowledgeable about guitars but clueless on ukuleles.
    I value the appearance of my instrument a lot and am looking for that vibrant koa top.

    Here are the ones I'm considering

    I was prepared to buy one of the first two by Alulu but would like some feedback on if there are better choices. The guitars are in order of most appealing to me. The Lanikai Smp-tca seems like a very good uke from what I've heard, but lacks the appearance I'm looking for.
    I've bought Kalas directly from Kala. They had very good quality control and the action was good. What's said about the Hawaii Music Site is true. I've ukes from them and the action/setup was great. I've heard good things about Lanakai but don't have one.

    For a first Ukulele I wouldn't buy a lesser known brand like the Alulu. Although buying from Guitar Center would not include setup they are easy to return items to. And some Ukuleles don't really need setup.

    I own sopranos, concert and tenors. They are each different to play. Ideally try out different sizes.

    Be careful about going on recommendations from reviews as each person likes different things. And the reviewer may have different criteria than you would.
    Good luck
    Sopranos: Kala Travel , Style 2 Martin, Seagull Electric, Antica Libero
    Concert: Takumi TM, Graziano Selmer, Ohana 5 String, National Reso
    Tenors: Koaloha KTM, Luna Tribal
    4 Sale: Pineapple - MP Cali, Tenor: Washburn, Pono MTD-CR Radius

  2. #12
    Join Date
    Jul 2017
    L.A. California


    Great advice so far, Mims, The Ukulele Site, or Uke Republic are good dealers to buy your ukulele from.

    Some lesser brands market Asian acacia as Koa. Koa by definition is Hawaiian acacia. It won't be cheap.

    Also most quality solid wood ukes start around $350, though you can find decent solid TOPs for less.

    Stick with a reputable dealer and a reputable brand to start.

    That said, I'm a huge fan of decent cheap plywood imports. I think you should have at least one beater.
    I've had very good luck with Enya and Kmise brands from Amazon right out of the box, but I also know a little about set up if they aren't perfect.

    A budget Ohana from Mims would also fit the bill and be perfectly set up.
    Playing my Magic Fluke and grinning like a fool!

  3. #13
    Join Date
    Jan 2013
    Buffalo, NY


    Great advice in here. To be honest, I'd rather have a $150 uke that is perfectly set up than a $250 uke that has not been set up. Obviously that doesn't make full sense, because you can always set up the $250 uke... BUT if you couldn't, I'd rather have the set up uke. It is THAT important. I have bought 3 ukes on amazon/ebay (in my first year of playing basically) and all have not been set up. Only one of them has comfortable to play while the other 2 were complete messes. Just be careful.
    Just Feel The Groooooove

  4. #14
    Join Date
    Jan 2010


    Depending on your location geographically, koa might not be a wise choice. There are other woods that are every bit as pretty as koa--or more so, that are easier to keep and have just as good of a sound. Kimo Hussey came from Hawai to buy a ukulele from Les Stansell made of Oregon Myrtle wood. Oregon maple also has good tonal properties, wood stability, and grain figure that beats koa for all three...unless you live in a very humid area like New Orleans (yuk!) Check out what Les makes at Les Stansell Ukuleles and guitars. His ukes have the very lightest geared tuners made...called PEGHEDS. He is centrally isolated in Pistol River, Oregon. He cuts, mills,ages Myrtle for makers all over the world.

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