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Thread: Question re beginner ukulele price point??

  1. #11
    Join Date
    Aug 2018
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    Owen Sound, Ontario, Canada
    Posts
    276

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    There are several different methods of attaching strings to a ukulele. Slot bridge (try knot on string, slip into slot), tie bar (look for instructions online, more complicated), pin bridge (put string into hole fasten with pin). Most likely to find slot bridge or tie bar.

    When looking for ukulele 55-75 think also of case 25-30, strap 10-15, chromatic tuner 15-20, and method book 25-30 can be bought in a package, but also separately. If you can find a package with all, it would probably be cheaper.

    Luck.
    LACole
    Laurie Ann Cole

    Northern UK20 Concert Mahogany GCEA Aquila Lava
    2018
    Beaver Creek BCUKEFM-T Tenor Maple Flame gCEA D’addario Pro Arte
    Eddy Finn EF-Moon Concert Mahogany gCEA Aquila SuperNylgut
    Beaver Creek BCUKE-S Soprano Mahogany gCEA D’addario Black Nylon
    2019
    Ohana PKC-25G Concert Mahogany Pineapple gCEA Aquila
    Donner DUC-3 Concert Spruce/Mahogany gCEA Donner

    CPM CT-Q2 chromatic clip on tuner
    Snark SN-4 tuner
    Donner tuner

  2. #12
    Join Date
    Apr 2017
    Location
    U.K.
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    856

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    Quote Originally Posted by tm3 View Post
    Let me toss out one more question ......

    I read the article on the Wirecutter site about choosing a ukulele, and also read the thread here discussing it. Putting aside the Wirecutter's specific choices, they said that some ukuleles are designed such that the strings are easy to change while on some string changes are much harder.

    What exactly are they referring to as it sounds like that would be a good feature? Are they talking about the ukes that the strings look "looped" upon themselves, or the ones that are fastened down with pins like a guitar?
    I wouldn’t go much on what is said on other sites. IMHO nothing much compares to UU.

    Strings can be anchored to the body of a Uke in a few different ways, some are notionally easier than others to implement. String changes are infrequently needed, forget about that issue, when you get there it won’t matter much.

    Buying via Mims Ukes and Uke Republic will get you a well set up instrument. You won’t go wrong with a Concert scale to start with. I used to have a Makala MK-C, it worked well and I didn’t out grow it - its a good way to go. Currently I prefer the Soprano scale, but I usually have to space out /spread the strings across the fretboard as otherwise my fingers struggle to fit - go for a Concert, the ‘Goldilocks’ size.

  3. #13
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
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    1,472

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    If I had to do it all again this is what I'd advise. Unless you have really small hands I'd recommend a concert sized ukulele. It still has that characteristic ukulele sound but it gives you a little more room on the fret board which for me was nice when I first started learning. Buy from a reputable seller that does a set up on the uke before shipping it out. The usual recommendations are Hawaii Music Supply (HMS), Mim's Ukes and Uke Republic. A lot of people like Elderly Instruments as well. I've had the best luck and experience with Mim's Ukes and I'd recommend her without reservations. When I first started I was pretty certain I was going to enjoy the ukulele and stick with it so I wanted something that wasn't a plinky sounding toy and not something that I'd quickly get bored with when I started developing more skills. I'd recommend a solid top laminate as a starter. At Mim's ukes you could get a solid top spruce or mahogany concert uke that is set up for around the $150 mark. You also mentioned ease of string changes. I personally would avoid ukes that had pins like a guitar has. I'd also avoid the type where you tie a knot in the end of the string and fit it into a slot. I personally like the tie bridges. I would also avoid friction tuners. I'm a geared tuner only guy.
    Last edited by mikelz777; 06-09-2019 at 10:53 AM.
    Ohana CK-42R - all-solid concert, sinker redwood top, rosewood body, maple binding, Ltd. Edition
    Kala KA-FMCG- solid/lam concert, spruce top, spalted flame maple body, mahogany binding
    Ohana CK-120G - all-solid concert, 5A acacia top sides and back, mahogany binding, Limited Edition
    Ohana SK-30M - all-solid mahogany long neck soprano (concert scale)
    Romero ST - solid/lam concert, spruce top, mahogany body

  4. #14
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    Chicago
    Posts
    288

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    The most important factors for getting a uke you will enjoy playing:

    #1 Setup
    #2: Setup!
    #3: SETUP!

    The cheaper the uke, the more important it is to buy from someone who will set it up properly.

  5. #15
    Join Date
    Jan 2016
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    1,441

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    I'm probably echoing a lot of what other people have said.

    1. Take option 1)
    2. Spend as much or as little as you are comfortable spending. Spending more probably won't be a waste of money, but spending less because you don't have the funds is perfectly alright.
    3. A radiused fretboard means that there is a a slight curve across the fretboard. This can make it easier to fret barre chords. Some people love them, some people don't, and to be honest, I've always been happy with flat fretboards so I haven't let it worry me. Yes, they tend to cost more, but a ukulele with a poor setup and a radiused fretboard is going to be far inferior to a ukulele with a good setup and a flat fretboard.
    4. Re string changes, there are a bunch of different ways to attach the strings to the bridge of the ukulele. Some are considered easier than others but I'm honestly not too fussed. Some may be slightly easier, but not that much. I own ukuleles with 3 different methods of attachment. It really just comes down to personal preference, and because you don't have experience, you don't know what you will prefer. Personally, I don't like slot bridges but don't mind the other options, but that's just me.

  6. #16
    Join Date
    Jul 2017
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    L.A. California
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    Great advice so far, and not much to add.

    I can say that we have bought multiple Enyas and been very pleased with the set up for the price off of Amazon.
    Playing my Magic Fluke and grinning like a fool!

  7. #17
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    Tampa Bay, FL
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    I started out with a $100 concert sized uke, then had to spend $40 for a setup. It was fine until I realized I wanted to play plugged in.
    IF I had known Mim at the time, I probably would have gotten something else, but I was newbie naive!
    "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.

  8. #18
    Join Date
    Feb 2017
    Posts
    679

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    Here's what I did when I started.

    1. I decided how much I wanted to spend. For me that was $200. So I bought a $200 ukulele.
    2. Then I eventually got a $400 uke. The difference was astounding.
    3. Then instead of getting a $600 one, then a $800 one, etc etc., I just went and bought a top-level ukulele that I would spend the rest of my life with. It was expensive, but it is cheaper than buying several other ukuleles that I would just move on from.

    So, I suppose my recommendation is to get something really nice--once you know in your heart that this is definitely something you are going to pursue.

  9. #19
    Join Date
    Aug 2017
    Location
    Finland
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    I'm still with my starter Kala-CEM. It looks somewhat "exotic" compared to the basic C model. I've seen videos of guys playing much more costly ukes, but i'm not sure if you just want sing and strum, they are not THAT much better.
    Sorry ripock

    What is important is to have a fine nut action. Mine was not, so I had to grind some with those welding torch cleaners.
    Best is to get a good uke from a local shop instead internet.

  10. #20
    Join Date
    Feb 2019
    Posts
    224

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    Welcome.

    For strumming along in a group then a starter Uke is a great one to buy, up to $200 is what I would suggest.

    Buy from a specialist Uke shop who will set it up correctly for you.

    I am in the UK and hence have no dealings with them but MIMs ukes in the USA does have a good reputation and they will ensure that your uke is set up before dispatch.

    I suggest you consider:-

    Kala KA C ukulele (a great starter uke)

    A Hard Case (offers much better protection and humidity control)

    Spare set of strings

    A clip on tuner

    Additionally:-

    I would have the supplier fit strap studs and to supply a strap, you then have the option, I find it much more comfortable to use a strap to support my Ukes.

    Now the Kala KA C does have more expensive cousins with different wood construction and there are versions with electric pickups, preamps and jack socket already fitted.

    The Kala model name gives the clues, mine is a tenor so it is a Kala KATEME, the KA model, Tenor sized Exotic Mahogony, Electric.

    So if you choose a basic Kala Concert but with electrics it would be KA CE and it would be the mahogony version or a KA C without electrics.

    Finally I cannot stress enough having the Ukulele correctly set up prior to buying, do look at the online videos of what they do to set up a uke and you will see that Amazon does not provide this service.
    Last edited by Col50; 06-10-2019 at 12:53 AM.
    Col.
    From the UK with a bad case of MIAS.
    Korg PA700, Korg Kross 2, Gibson LP, Fender Jazz Bass,
    + Amps, PA, Boss GT100, mixer.
    Ukes - Kala KA-TEME and Risa ST electric solid body.
    Uke wish list, a Bass, make and model yet to be determined

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