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Thread: Musing about first instrument and tenor opinions

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2019
    Location
    California
    Posts
    11

    Default Musing about first instrument and tenor opinions

    Hello everyone!

    What a great forum you have here! So much information!

    I would like your opinions about tenors.

    So I bought my first ukulele on Amazon, a concert from Lohanu. I've had it for two weeks and already I'm not too happy with it. It seems like a decent instrument but there are a few things going on.

    1. When I play a note say - C and then strum I have to be very conscious of striking the last string off the C note. It's as if the string is much too low on the board.
    2. There is a buzz sound when I strum individual strings.

    From reading the forum, my guess is the instrument needs to be set up to resolve these issues. The instrument is still returnable.

    3. My sister has been a life long guitar player. I'm used to picking up her guitar and making a hot mess of things. I don't have any guitar background but the size feels natural to me from being around them for so many years. My point is that when I'm trying to play a chord on the concert my hand feels cramped. In addition, my fat fingers (well, not too fat) seem to touch the other strings even if I'm using the very tips of my fingers. I'm wondering if a tenor may have been a better choice? I'm not a big woman. 5'3 with weight to loose. I do like the "chocolatey" sound of the tenor. Closer to a guitar but still very much a uke.

    I should go into a shop and look things over. Morey's Music Shop is right around the corner. But I don't want to take up their time and then feel indebted that I have to buy there. From reading, Mim's is the route I would like to go. Also, I'll be looking at the Kala's up to $175.00. Maybe an Ohana. Wondering if I should continue with a decent set up concert or go with a set up tenor?

    What are your thoughts?

    Thanks!
    Last edited by Stacey; 06-30-2019 at 11:13 AM.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    Tampa Bay, FL
    Posts
    8,331

    Default

    Hi Stacey,
    Welcome too UU!
    In most things, we believe that size matters.
    However, in ukulele world, size does not matter as much as how the instrument feels and sounds.
    I'd recommend going to Morey's and trying out every size until you're sure which one suits your hands and ears. IF they act like they don't like it, you don't wanna buy there anyhow. You don't have to buy from them.
    Watch a lot of Mim's videos. They can be very helpful. I've bought from her 5 times.
    I'm 5'8" and I play a concert, because I don't have a great big reach with my fingers.
    I've noted that some Ohana tenors are missing the low range, so listen closely.
    I'm not so sure I'd be willing to spend money to have a uke set up that should have come that way....especially if it's still returnable.
    Of course, I could be wrong...
    Happy hunting, let us know what you come up with.
    Usually, it's pretty hard to do better than a Kala or Ohana in that price range.
    "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.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2019
    Posts
    306

    Default

    Stacey

    Go to your local shop and play their ukes, play a mixture of sizes, they should not mind at all.

    They are in business to sell everything from a single 10c pick up to an instrument costing thousands of bucks.

    The store will want your business as you will return to buy more from them if they treat you right and you will return for uke 2, uke 3 etc.

    Kala is a good choice of a uke for the budget you have.

    Personal service locally is far better than mail order plus it helps to keep local business going
    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

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2014
    Location
    West Virginia
    Posts
    1,853

    Default

    Nothing wrong with tenor for a first uke. I am 5' and can easily play one. I would also throw out the suggestion of getting a baritone. Your sister knows the chords - the top 4 strings are the same - and can help you.
    - Laura

    Martin, KoAloha, Brueko, Mele, Mainland, Outdoor, Kala, Enya, Harmony, Tempo, Globe, Vega, Silvertone, Kay, Luna, Zither Heaven, First Act

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Sep 2018
    Location
    NorCal
    Posts
    432

    Default

    First, return the uke you have since it is giving you problems.

    Go to the local shop and try the different sizes. They may actually have something you really like and this gives them a chance to make a sale. If you do not buy, you may purchase accessories in the future.

    Then make the purchase from where you desire. If the local shop does not have what you want that is set up already, then do not feel guilty for ordering from Mim's who does setup as part of the purchase price.

  6. #6

    Default

    Hi Stacy,
    If you are experiencing buzzing strings you may need any combination of nut & saddle adjustment, perhaps fret leveling, or maybe even a warped neck. I’d agree on putting thought into your options before putting money into a setup on the instrument. A return may be worth considering if you still have the option. If you feel confined in the concert scale certainly try out tenor and baritone instruments. Educate yourself on what feels the most natural for you before starting to look at what to purchase. You may also want to consider a used instrument from another forum member if your comfortable with the idea. Enjoy yourself on your journey.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2019
    Location
    Honolulu
    Posts
    631

    Default

    If the concert feels cramped, try something larger like a baritone or tenor ukulele. I'm a classical guitarist and had a heck of a time adjusting my hand down to ukulele. It took me 6 months or so to squeeze down to a baritone size (20") without cramping and another 6 months to adjust down to tenor (17") size. I found it easier to play a long scale bass than ukulele! Also, the nut width makes a big difference. Find a tenor ukulele with a 1.5" nut and chords are a lot easier to finger than the smaller nuts common on budget instruments.

    I think all of the Romero Creations and many of the Cordoba tenors have the 1.5" nut, but there are many others.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jun 2019
    Location
    California
    Posts
    11

    Default

    Thank you all for taking the time to give very thoughtful responses. Such great advice! Yes this is a journey that I plan on enjoying! I'll be doing more research and asking more questions! I'm going to take your advice and go to the music store and get a feel for the tenor and then go from there.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jun 2019
    Location
    California
    Posts
    11

    Default

    All of this is very new to me. I'll do some research to find out what a 1.5 nut is.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jan 2014
    Location
    Raleigh, NC
    Posts
    2,082

    Default

    The 1.5 means the width of the nut (or, the spacing between the strings). There are tenors with narrower nuts than sopranos. This may be why you feel cramped. I would recommend trying a uke at the local shop to make sure you get comfortable. Many Chinese-made ukes have narrower nuts than ones made elsewhere. If you can’t find a comfy instrument in your price range locally, you might consider a Magic Fluke. They have perfect action and comfortably wide nuts. And the folks at Magic Fluke Co. offer outstanding customer service.
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    LOOKERS: • Vintage 'Mauna Loa' c. 1925 soprano • Kahuna "Felix the Cat" soprano • Woodrow "Steelers" soprano <eyeroll>


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