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Thread: Buying a Ukulele for my girlfriends birthday, I am so lost.!

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2019
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    Red face Buying a Ukulele for my girlfriends birthday, I am so lost.!

    Hi!

    I've been googling ukulele's for my girlfriends birthday, but, I am so lost. I have no idea what I am looking for, what is good and what she might like. I am not musically talented or knowledgeable except for enjoying it.

    She currently has a Tribute Guitars Ukulele, TRI-UK5EQ, and has talked about wanting to upgrade from this. The TRI-UK6EQ is around $160, I am thinking budget of around AUS$300 to $400? But I don't really know what I am looking for!

    Do different kinds sound different? Are they used for different kinds fo music or just a different sound?
    Do different woods affect the sound? Is it just aesthetic?
    (Side note, she has a cheap one she doesn't really play, if I painted that would it ruin the sound? She has given it to me so not ruining anything of hers..)

    Also, are there any accessories you find invaluable that a non-music person mightn't know about? (These would be in addition to above budget)

    Thank you so much in advance! She has had a really, really tough year and deserves something great.

  2. #2
    Join Date
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    Hello,

    First of all, what a lovely thought, your girlfriend will love getting a new ukulele! I would STRONGLY recommend that she choose it though, as pretty much everything you have asked is a "yes" and it's very easy to buy something not quite right...

    1. Different ukes sounds different.
    You have several different sizes with different length bodies and necks, both of which affect sound and ease of playing.
    Does she currently play soprano, concert, tenor? Does she want to stick with her current size or try another? Then there's long neck varieties, cut away etc...

    2. Different woods have different tonal qualities that also affect the sound of the ukulele. If possible, buying an all solid wood ukulele is generally best, budget willing. Within your budget, all solid is not out of reach. Does she have an idea of the tone she wants? Bright or mellow? Wood combinations? Wood combinations are almost endless!

    3. It's not just aesthetic but aesthetics do often play a part! We firstly fall in love with the sound, and then the look.

    4. Painting the current ukulele would DEFINITELY affect the sound! It's a big NO NO unless you want it as wall art only.

    5. There are several useful accessories. A must is a tuner, all others are useful but not essential - a strap, capo and then accessories to plug in and amplify (if the uke is an electro).

    All that said, part of the real joy of buying a ukulele is buying the right one for yourself, doing your research, listening to samples and getting the one that sounds and plays just right for you. Picking that for somone else is really really hard! I'd say almost impossible.

    Can you give her a voucher (home made, IOU a new uke type thing) or let her know that a new uke is her gift and she can choose what her heart and ears desire?

    Good luck with what you choose, hope the above has helped a little and not just overwhelmed you!

    If you're still set on buying for her, if you can get us a bit more info (size definitely that she wants and whether she likes a mellower, relaxed loungey sound or brighter, chimey bell like sound) then I'm sure others will be able to chip in too and suggest some possibilities.

    Sorry to hear she's had a tough year, I hope 2020 is easier and brighter for her <3
    Last edited by pix.fairydust; 10-19-2019 at 06:33 AM.
    ~ "Music washes away the dust of everyday life" ~



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  3. #3
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    Agree with the above about ukes being somewhat personal items.

    Looking at what she already has, & how much you are willing to pay, a solid top, or solid wood uke should be within reach, likely a Kala or Ohana.

    But as said, it really would be best to let her choose - make her a uke shaped card, & put a note inside, about how you'd like to buy her a better uke, but don't know what she'd like, so am offering <how much> towards it, with all your love.
    Trying to do justice to various musical instruments.

  4. #4
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    Yes , let her pick the ukulele she wants .
    " Anything larger than a soprano is cheating "
    " I'm no luthier but ,........"

  5. #5
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    Los Angeles, near the Beverly Center.
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    I agree as well, it's best to let the person who will play it make the choice.


    This is Michael Kohan in Los Angeles, Beverly West near the Beverly Center
    9 tenor cutaway ukes, 5 acoustic bass ukes, 11 solid body bass ukes, 11 mini electric bass guitars (Total: 35)

    • Donate to The Ukulele Kids Club, they provide ukuleles to children in hospital music therapy programs. www.theukc.org
    • Member The CC Strummers: YouTube: www.youtube.com/user/CCStrummers/video, Facebook: www.facebook.com/TheCCStrummers

  6. #6
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    I agree that you should let the person who's going to play the uke choose the uke. I know that if I were the recipient, the majority (if not all) of the ukes at that kind of price point are going to sound nice. For me, looks AND sound are important so I'd be picky about the looks and once I found a look I liked, more likely than not I'd be happy with the sound.
    Money can't buy happiness but it can buy a uke which is basically the same thing.

    Ukes are a lot like potato chips. It's hard to stop with just one!

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by lillly View Post
    Hi!

    I've been googling ukulele's for my girlfriends birthday, but, I am so lost. I have no idea what I am looking for, what is good and what she might like. I am not musically talented or knowledgeable except for enjoying it.

    She currently has a Tribute Guitars Ukulele, TRI-UK5EQ, and has talked about wanting to upgrade from this. The TRI-UK6EQ is around $160, I am thinking budget of around AUS$300 to $400? But I don't really know what I am looking for!

    Do different kinds sound different? Are they used for different kinds fo music or just a different sound?
    Do different woods affect the sound? Is it just aesthetic?
    (Side note, she has a cheap one she doesn't really play, if I painted that would it ruin the sound? She has given it to me so not ruining anything of hers..)

    Also, are there any accessories you find invaluable that a non-music person mightn't know about? (These would be in addition to above budget)

    Thank you so much in advance! She has had a really, really tough year and deserves something great.
    First, I applaud you! How sweet and generous. Second, are there any stores around you with a lot of ukulele choices? If there is such a store near you, I might ask the store if you could pick one out, gift it, and if she wanted a different one, she could come in and exchange it. She may love the one you pick out. If you tell us what city you live in, maybe someone from that area on this forum can recommend a shop or two.

    Absent that how long has your girlfriend been playing? What kind of music does she play? Is she a beginner? Intermediate? Advanced? Does she mostly play chords and sing along or does she play instrumental music, etc. does she play by herself or with others?

    Good luck! The uke is a joyful instrument. No doubt you are spreading joy when you gift one

  8. #8
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    Go on line and look up a company called GLARRY . type in ukuleles and see what they have. I am really surprised at the sound ,looks and price...and THEY pay to ship it to you. I suggest she has a strap that attaches at the bottom of the neck by the body, NOT up by the tuners. Placing the strap at the body, the uke can be pushed away from the body of the player so the sound can come out the back as well as the front, and when playing up the neck, the neck can be pushed away from the body so it can more easily reached.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Oct 2019
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    Thank you so much everyone for your quick and thoughtful responses!

    I really appreciate the feedback and I think you are all right, letting her choose what she wants will give her the best of what she is looking for, I have no idea what her current one is, She has just mentioned she would like to upgrade, She definitely plays a lot more mellow sorts of music, she has memorised some songs which she sings along to, and plays a lot from online music?

    Quote Originally Posted by pix.fairydust View Post
    Hello,

    There are several useful accessories. A must is a tuner, all others are useful but not essential - a strap, capo and then accessories to plug in and amplify (if the uke is an electro).

    Sorry to hear she's had a tough year, I hope 2020 is easier and brighter for her <3
    Thank you so much, 2020 is our year! I think I'll make or find a uke card, and look for a tuner and maybe a strap I can custmomise for her.

    Quote Originally Posted by ghostrdr View Post
    First, I applaud you! How sweet and generous. Second, are there any stores around you with a lot of ukulele choices? If there is such a store near you, I might ask the store if you could pick one out, gift it, and if she wanted a different one, she could come in and exchange it. She may love the one you pick out. If you tell us what city you live in, maybe someone from that area on this forum can recommend a shop or two.

    Absent that how long has your girlfriend been playing? What kind of music does she play? Is she a beginner? Intermediate? Advanced? Does she mostly play chords and sing along or does she play instrumental music, etc. does she play by herself or with others?

    Good luck! The uke is a joyful instrument. No doubt you are spreading joy when you gift one
    I have googled, we have a few stores that sell them, but none that specialise or have a large range. We're in South Australia, so, it's pretty unlikely haha But, I am open if anyone has any suggestions! We may have to look online.

    I suppose she plays chords and sings along, and plays by herself, though she has been trying to find a group to go along to, I'd say intermediate? I am unsure though haha! It's a lot of fun, and she plays and sings a lot of songs to me which I like, very cute.


    Thank you again

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Sep 2019
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    USA
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    I agree about giving a gift certificate. Especially with a nicer ukulele, how it feels in the players hands and how it sounds when the person is playing it make a huge difference and vary a lot from person to person (depending on their playing style, the size of their hands, etc). Here is one "how to buy" article that relies heavily on playing different instruments to see what works best for you. https://www.ukulelemag.com/gear-revi...for-your-needs

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