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Thread: Question re beginner ukulele price point??

  1. #41
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    Quote Originally Posted by mikelz777 View Post
    I was attracted to the Flea/Fluke at one point in time. I had a chance to try a Flea in a music store and the sound was pretty nice. There were several things I couldn't get past. I didn't like the plastic frets/fretboard. The frets seemed very low. I was able to play it and get a good sound but I had to wonder how plastic frets would hold up over time. Another thing, I don't think I'd buy a uke with friction tuners. I'm not sure in the long run that I'd like that plastic back with the rounded edges either. It might be a bit slippery. Last time I looked, the base price was $250. If you want to upgrade to geared tuners and a wood fretboard with metal frets you're adding $150 or so to the price. When you start looking at what other ukes you could buy for $250 or $400, the Magic Flukes don't look so attractive.
    Yes, when they caught my interest I browsed around here to see what others thought of them. Most seemed to say that the upgrade to the wood fretboard and the geared tuners were "must haves." As you said, that pushes the price to over $400 and I can't justify spending that at this time.

  2. #42
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    I have mixed feelings about the setup. My first ukulele was a Makala from Austin Bazaar. Not setup, plays just fine, and I still play it a lot. I've played lots of ukuleles straight from the factory that have not been set up. I'm not against getting one that is set up. Just the extra attention is worth buying one from someone who does them. But I'm not one to say that you are doomed to failure of you dont.
    I don't want to live in a world that is linear.

    I just want everyone to understand that I am not a ukulele expert, even though it may look at times like I'm pretending to be.

    https://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_n...tective+Agency

  3. #43
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    FWIW my Fluke with plastic fretboard (the only option available when I bought it) has been my main player for 18 years. Inside, outside, lent to children, banged against tables, dropped on the floor, left in the car (I try not to but sometimes...). The soundboard has lost some color where my strumming arm rubs against it. But the plastic fretboard shows no sign of wear. Not the slightest bit. Unwound strings only, mind you. Wound strings are not recommended.

    Some people like Flukes, some don't, but durability is the last thing to worry about.

  4. #44
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    The jump from a Makala to a Kala (same company) is worth it purely to avoid the Makala tuners with plastic components.

    Remember also that if you score a deal on a reputable uke you can always get it set up by a qualified luthier.
    But buying from dealers that include a set up in their sale is often worth it because a set up can cost upwards of $50.
    Tracie

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  5. #45
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    Quote Originally Posted by ukeinfused View Post
    The jump from a Makala to a Kala (same company) is worth it purely to avoid the Makala tuners with plastic components.

    Remember also that if you score a deal on a reputable uke you can always get it set up by a qualified luthier.
    But buying from dealers that include a set up in their sale is often worth it because a set up can cost upwards of $50.
    I agree.
    I never had a Kala.
    My first uke was a Makala, and I was very happy with it as a beginner uke.

    But I would recommend getting the Kala, assuming that it is just slightly better. The Makala is fine as a beginner uke, but the plastic components and the cheap looking logo imo limits it to a beginner ukulele that needs to be upgraded if the Ukulele bug stays. Just a little higher quality, and I would feel more comfortable showcasing it, feeling that it shows that I take the instrument a bit more serious.

    You would probably want a more luxurious ukulele at some point, also with the Kala. But the thing is that it is often the "beater" uke you would bring to a bonfire. And it is nice to have a presentable uke there too, as more people will see you play it there than when you practice at home.
    Last edited by UkingViking; 06-15-2019 at 03:52 AM.
    Ohana SK30M mahogany super-soprano, Cort UKEBWCOP Blackwood concert, Anuenue African Mahogany Tenor, Fluke Koa Tenor, Hora M1176 spruce Tenor

  6. #46
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    Apr 2017
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    Quote Originally Posted by ukeinfused View Post
    The jump from a Makala to a Kala (same company) is worth it purely to avoid the Makala tuners with plastic components.

    Remember also that if you score a deal on a reputable uke you can always get it set up by a qualified luthier.
    But buying from dealers that include a set up in their sale is often worth it because a set up can cost upwards of $50.
    In general I tend to agree with you and add my own experiences below.

    I have had several Makala Dolphins, their standard Soprano and their Concert models, all of them have worked fine and the tuners worked fine. To get a good player fit Martin 600’s on them, fit a bone saddle and then sort out the nut. Basically they’re great value for money and Kala seem to have made that possible by slightly down-grading some of the parts BUT whilst still retaining functionality. The MK-C is a fine starter instrument which could last someone for years, mine never held me back and it was sold more in error and to make space than anything else.

    I have a Kala KA-P and a KA-SEM, both of which I love and both of which are (IMHO) a small but worthwhile sound and quality move up from the Makala’s. Of the two I slightly prefer the KA-P. The SEM was a little more expensive (than the KA-P) but it is both prettier and more finely built; with Kala you do seem to get both value and what you pay for. It’s worthwhile doing the same upgrade/set-up work on the Kala’s as done above on the Makala’s.

    After having been let down by either dishonest or incapable dealers I learnt how to set-up Ukes for myself.
    Last edited by Graham Greenbag; 06-15-2019 at 04:46 AM.

  7. #47
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    I found the Kala KA-S & KA-T had better tone than my Makala concert & my tenor had, so I would agree it would be better to get a Kala, rather than Makala, if you can afford it.

    (Each is perfectly usable, just that you do get a better tone, in my opinion, with the Kala.)
    Trying to do justice to various musical instruments.

  8. #48
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    Jun 2019
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    Quote Originally Posted by acmespaceship View Post
    FWIW my Fluke with plastic fretboard (the only option available when I bought it) has been my main player for 18 years. Inside, outside, lent to children, banged against tables, dropped on the floor, left in the car (I try not to but sometimes...). The soundboard has lost some color where my strumming arm rubs against it. But the plastic fretboard shows no sign of wear. Not the slightest bit. Unwound strings only, mind you. Wound strings are not recommended.

    Some people like Flukes, some don't, but durability is the last thing to worry about.
    Good to know -- thanks! It sounds like I'd be OK with the plastic fretboard and friction tuners. But, they are still pricey.

    Quote Originally Posted by ukeinfused View Post
    The jump from a Makala to a Kala (same company) is worth it purely to avoid the Makala tuners with plastic components.

    Remember also that if you score a deal on a reputable uke you can always get it set up by a qualified luthier.
    But buying from dealers that include a set up in their sale is often worth it because a set up can cost upwards of $50.
    Good info about the plastic components. And yes, probably anything I buy will come from a dealer that does a setup especially if it is one of the "cheaper" options.


    Quote Originally Posted by UkingViking View Post
    I agree.
    I never had a Kala.
    My first uke was a Makala, and I was very happy with it as a beginner uke.

    But I would recommend getting the Kala, assuming that it is just slightly better. The Makala is fine as a beginner uke, but the plastic components and the cheap looking logo imo limits it to a beginner ukulele that needs to be upgraded if the Ukulele bug stays. Just a little higher quality, and I would feel more comfortable showcasing it, feeling that it shows that I take the instrument a bit more serious.

    You would probably want a more luxurious ukulele at some point, also with the Kala. But the thing is that it is often the "beater" uke you would bring to a bonfire. And it is nice to have a presentable uke there too, as more people will see you play it there than when you practice at home.
    I initially was thinking, hey, I have had some experience (though limited) with the Makala, it seemed OK, the price is right, I'll just go that route. But with all the feedback I've gotten it seems like the small difference to move up to a Kala (or Ohana) is worth it.

    Quote Originally Posted by Graham Greenbag View Post
    In general I tend to agree with you and add my own experiences below.

    I have had several Makala Dolphins, their standard Soprano and their Concert models, all of them have worked fine and the tuners worked fine. To get a good player fit Martin 600’s on them, fit a bone saddle and then sort out the nut. Basically they’re great value for money and Kala seem to have made that possible by slightly down-grading some of the parts BUT whilst still retaining functionality. The MK-C is a fine starter instrument which could last someone for years, mine never held me back and it was sold more in error and to make space more than anything else.
    I still have the Makala Shark in mind as an option, due to the low cost, durability, and utility as a 2nd instrument if I eventually move on to something nicer. But the wood ukes sure are prettier!

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