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Thread: Question re beginner ukulele price point??

  1. #31
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    Aug 2017
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    Finland
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    With more pay you usually get better set up ukes too. With cheaper ukes, their fret placing is normally fine. What is not is nut action and/or saddle height.

    Then when you want use somethings like welding torch tip cleaners, for nut action, It is important to know that they are flexible. You must use a proper angle all time, same as with all nut filings. Or you need get a new nut.
    Sandpaper is one to grind the bottom of your saddle, but with this you must know that usually on summer the action is highest, and what is now good, maybe too low on winter times.
    Just wanted to tell.

  2. #32
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    Feb 2019
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    Quote Originally Posted by tm3 View Post
    Wow! Lots of good additional info! Thanks to all!

    It seems that the answer to my original question re "price point" is between $100-200, and that pushing more towards $200 may be worth it in the long run. Factored into this are accessories such as strap button, tuner, and case. I would think that a hard case would be better than a bag but I guess it depends on the price difference.

    I've continued to browse YouTube and am now leaning towards a tenor model instead of a concert. I'm also thinking that having a pickup might be fun as I have access to an old guitar amplifier. As the price point approaches $200 there sure are some pretty instruments available like walnut and ebony (but I realize that looks should not be a factor).

    I'll probably buy from Mim's or the Ukulele Site. Interestingly, my wife thinks that she can hear tone differences on the sound samples at the Ukulele Site but I'm not hearing much difference, if any.

    rainbow21, could you comment on how/why you picked the Cynthia Lin laminate model over the competition? At that price point it looks like some solid top instruments are available, although I like what I've read about the relative durability of laminate.
    Your Wife noticing the tonal differences is really excellent, it means she has a very good ear.

    That in turn may very well mean that as your abilities increase you will so want to move up in terms of quality.

    Over on Fb someone is asking about a good quality Uke that looks good and in amongst the replies is one for a certain small manufacturer where they have a short video of their ukes where they play each in turn and the difference even on Youtube in quality of tone is very large with sold spruce sounding the best. So what I am getting at is if you are going to compare via online reviews do so where there are multiple instrument reviews in the same video for then you will have a more even like for like comparison. If you scroll down on the page of this link and watch the short video you should hear quite a difference.

    https://www.magicfluke.com/Fluke-s/1477.htm

    As I suggested in my previous post do get whatever you choose set up properly by a Luthier.

    Sort of still think that for you and your Wife initially a Kala KATEME Tenor is a good starter then save up some cash and buy her a good quality solid uke.

    Meanwhile do a local search for Ukulele groups/societies etc as within such there will be a wealth of information and instruments for you to see and try.
    Last edited by Col50; 06-11-2019 at 03:04 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

  3. #33
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    The first question is whether uke-playing is just a passing fancy which will result in whatever uke the OP buys ending up in the bottom of the closet.. If the OP plans on taking lessons (then the instructor has a lot of influence here) or self-learn, the odds of the first uke lasting forever are thin. In that sense, the least spent, the better.

    Second question is hand size and dexterity. An earlier post suggested concert size as a starter, and it's a darned good suggestion. If the spouse has smaller hand size, then soprano may be better for the spouse. Having two different duzed ukes can give both perdons an early opportunity to swap, learn and sppreciate the instrument size difference.

    Last, whatever low-cost uke is purchased, get better strings immediately. Many inexpensive ukes are really not that bad-sounding once the strings are changed.
    ...SteveZ

    Ukuleles: Martin T1K (T)*, Oscar Schmidt OU28T (T8), Lanikai LU-6 (T6), RISA Solid (C), Effin UkeStart (C), Flea (S)**
    Banjo-Ukes: Duke 10 (T)*, Lanikai LB6-S (S)*
    Tenor Guitars: Martin TEN515, Blueridge BR-40T
    Tenor Banjo: Deering Goodtime 17-Fret
    Mandolin: Burgess (#7)***

    Tuning: *Reentrant C CGDA. **DAEB. ***GDAE. The rest are CGDA

    The inventory is always in some flux, but that's part of the fun.

  4. #34
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    Jun 2019
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bill1 View Post
    Mim has some for sale at $80. She does set ups.
    OK thanks. I'm having trouble with her www page on my old iPad and I didn't see Makala. I'll look on a desktop computer.

    Thanks for all the additional advice! Those magicflute clips are great! To me, they sound really, really good (which may be because that dude is a heckuva player).

  5. #35
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    Apr 2016
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    As was mentioned, Makala and Kala are the same brand. Since you know you liked the Makalas, going with something like a Kala KA-C will get you a bit nicer finish and details and still feel familiar, maybe consider too if you can't find the Makala MK-C. Somewhat of a price premium, but I could have been happy with my Kala forever if I didn't go down the upgrade route (I'm not sure how that happens, I typically don't do that with other items). If you do want to go with something with a pickup, then it's a higher price category - I don't have any with pickups so I don't have an opinion there.
    Glenn

  6. #36
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    Jun 2019
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    Just a follow up in case anyone is interested ......

    I still have some info coming in but am getting close to pulling the trigger and will post about what I end up buying.

    I really, really like those magic fluke instruments for multiple reasons but don't think I can justify spending that much at this point.

    I happened across a great online deal on a Kala KATEME but, while tempted, I'm going to pass as it is not from one of the recommended vendors that does setup.

    I've gotten a strong recommendation for a Makala Shark to tide me over as tastes develop. I may go that route but think that playing a wood instrument would be more enjoyable on a day to day basis. I do however see the utility of a largely plastic "go anywhere" instrument.

    Anyway, the research and learning is fun and hopefully playing will be even more fun!

  7. #37
    Join Date
    Jul 2017
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    The Magic Fluke is a good sounding, easy to play ukulele, with the added bonus of being a "go anywhere, no worries" instrument. It's worth the extra money. Should you ever feel the need to move to an all wood uke, the Fluke will still be your "no worries, fun to play" ukulele. And the fact that it stands up on it's own, is like having a permanent party trick. :-) It always makes people smile.
    Jan D
    KoAloha KCM-00 (koa concert)
    KoAloha KCO-10 (acacia concert Opio)
    Ohana TK-35CG (mahogany tenor w/cutaway)
    Kala KA-SLNG (long neck soprano)
    Snail SUC (solid top mahogany concert)
    Flight TUS35 (blue soprano)

  8. #38
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    Feb 2019
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    If you are going to get a low cost uke then Amazon or another retailer that accepts returns without hassle is all that is needed.

    Just make sure that the neck is straight, its not twisted, there is no buzz on any frets and the frets are finished off neatly and you will be fine.
    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

  9. #39
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
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    Quote Originally Posted by Col50 View Post
    If you are going to get a low cost uke then Amazon or another retailer that accepts returns without hassle is all that is needed.

    Just make sure that the neck is straight, its not twisted, there is no buzz on any frets and the frets are finished off neatly and you will be fine.
    Setup with proper action is critical. I bought my first ukulele from a big box type music store. The action was so high that any kind of barre chord required kung fu grip. Playing the uke that way would have ended up with carpal tunnel syndrome and the pain and difficulty in getting a clean sound would have been very discouraging. I couldn't believe the difference in feel and ease of playing once the action was lowered.
    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

  10. #40
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    Feb 2012
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    Quote Originally Posted by tm3 View Post
    Just a follow up in case anyone is interested ......

    I really, really like those magic fluke instruments for multiple reasons but don't think I can justify spending that much at this point.
    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.
    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

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