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Thread: k brand or custom

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2019
    Posts
    6

    Default k brand or custom

    was wanting to get a good ukulele. right now playing on a kala.

    i have around $1000 to spend. looking at kbrands or should i look for a nice used custom either in concert or tenor size.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    Southern California, USA
    Posts
    335

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by nobleark View Post
    was wanting to get a good ukulele. right now playing on a kala.

    i have around $1000 to spend. looking at kbrands or should i look for a nice used custom either in concert or tenor size.
    what size do you currently play? You'll get no shortage of opinions on how to spend your money on these boards.

    Having played K brands, but not customs, I do like them very much. Some are very pricey. If you like the concert scale, I might also encourage you to look at a Blackbird Clara. I have one and she is awesome.

    Good luck!

  3. #3

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    At or around that price, some K brand ukuleles are better than some used customs. And some used customs are better than some K brands. Tough to say without something more specific. I don't think customs are necessarily better than K brands, which means if you're open to buying a second hand custom to stretch your dollar, you might want to consider a second hand K brand as well. Add to that, some pretty good luthiers have new, non-custom builds for under a thousand. If it were me, I would pick a K brand (or another high end factory made) or a non-custom luthier made at that budget.

    I think it's better to figure out what kind of sound you like and start from there. But it seems like you're assuming a custom is better (since you're willing to buy it used for the same money), and for me, for a first "good" ukulele, I wouldn't look at customs.

  4. #4

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    Ideally it would be great if you could try out the ukes you're considering. It maybe worthwhile to listen to Vimeo or YouTube to determine which make/model you'd like. If you decide on either you could post to the Marketplace as a WTB and see if anyone in the community has something within your budget.

    Personally I'm fortunate to have both. My K brand is Koaloha tenor which has a beautiful bell like tone. And I was fortunate to get a used Graziano Selmer style concert.

    Good luck in your quest.
    K
    Sopranos, Concerts, and Tenors including Baritone body at a Tenor Scale - 4 String, 5 String and 8 String :-)
    For Sale: Seagull Nylon String
    For Sale: National Mahogany Resonator
    For Sale: Gold Tone Resonator

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Posts
    5,655

    Default

    I've had Kamakas, Koalohas, and a custom. All that remains are the Kamakas - can't imagine ever wanting or needing anything else.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2017
    Posts
    790

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by nobleark View Post
    was wanting to get a good ukulele. right now playing on a kala.

    i have around $1000 to spend. looking at kbrands or should i look for a nice used custom either in concert or tenor size.
    I have a few thoughts on the subject.

    First of all, a used custom uke makes no sense. The whole point is to create a uke to your own specifications.

    I think you need more money. $1000 for a custom is inordinately cheap.

    The love of my life is my custom ukulele, so I don't want to be discouraging. Go for it.

    A custom uke, it goes without saying, will play perfectly; if it doesn't, you better return it. But let's be honest, most of the money spent is all about bling, beauty, and fetish-value. So, realize that and make sure you get the look you want. When I ordered my custom, I told the luthier that I wanted something warm, unique, and with 19 frets. Then i stepped back and let the artist do his thing. In six months or so, I was elated to see my instructions made flesh and I was elated by the poetic license with which the luthier improvised certain aspects. So a custom is worth it.

    I also have a special edition Kamaka. It is great as well (although out of your price range). In certain respects (i.e., its sustain) it is superior to my custom. So it is kick-ass and I cannot deny it. But the two of us lack a certain emotional connection since I wasn't there at its birth like I was with my custom uke.

    So, it is impossible to go wrong with either of your choices. But I would go with the custom uke because, in my experience, it has been more rewarding.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Sep 2013
    Location
    Los Angeles, near the Beverly Center.
    Posts
    4,519

    Default

    Even though I have a few customs, which took months to make, I will suggest you go for a K brand.


    This is Michael Kohan in Los Angeles, Beverly West near the Beverly Center
    9 tenor cutaway ukes, 5 acoustic bass ukes, 10 solid body bass ukes, 13 mini electric bass guitars (Total: 37)

    • 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

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 2013
    Location
    Honolulu/Hawaii
    Posts
    805

    Default

    just go HMS. Ukulele SITE.com the setup is very important

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Nov 2015
    Location
    Upper Hale, Surrey/Hants border, UK.
    Posts
    6,095

    Default

    I bought loads of ukes trying to find 'the one' - I eventually found a KoAloha Opio long neck concert in acacia - I'm no longer looking.
    Trying to do justice to various musical instruments.

  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by tangimango View Post
    just go HMS. Ukulele SITE.com the setup is very important
    I second the comment on setup. I’ve bought from HMS https://www.theukulelesite.com/ is great and their setup makes playing easier. Mims, and Uke Republic are also known for their setup.
    K
    Sopranos, Concerts, and Tenors including Baritone body at a Tenor Scale - 4 String, 5 String and 8 String :-)
    For Sale: Seagull Nylon String
    For Sale: National Mahogany Resonator
    For Sale: Gold Tone Resonator

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