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Thread: Buying my first... help!

  1. #31
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    Dec 2019
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    Quote Originally Posted by Oldtoolie View Post
    Perhaps a LoPrinzi might suit you. http://www.augustinoloprinzi.com/

    And have you been to https://musicfolk.com/ ?

    Music Folk
    8015 Big Bend
    St. Louis, MO 63119
    Telephone 800-892-2970
    Good call on Music Folk! Although the selection looks limited it appears they have had Kamaka's in stock in the past and a decent selection of Martin's. At least something to try, thank you!

    I did look into LoPrinzi. Need to look again, couldn't find a great selection of them available online and their website isn't great..

  2. #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kenn2018 View Post
    If you are patient, used Kanile'a tenors come up for sale this time of year and ones in excellent to mint condition go for less than $800 plus shipping. Look at Reverb and other sites and certainly check the UU Marketplace here as well as Fleamarketmusic marketplace. Elderly has them from time to time as well as others.

    Are you looking for one with a pickup? That will add $150-ish.

    I like Kanile'a tenors a lot. Good luck with your search.
    I haven't been looking for one with a pickup.. should I be? And if so, is it fairly safe to have one installed by HMS or Uke Republic, etc.?

  3. #33
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    colinondrums,

    Donna LoPrinzi's builds are impeccable. Only thing is, her necks are pretty thin, not much to hold onto. I can't play them very well, but my bestie can. She's a former guitarist.
    "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.

  4. #34
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    Jul 2019
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    I believe this is my first time posting on this forum, but I had to chime in. You sound exactly like I did up until about a month and a half ago. I'm a beginner. I started getting more serious and more consistant with learning the uke during this past year. I had a kala concert laminate. Then I got a kala tenor all koa laminate. Then I got a kala pacific walnut soprano laminate..which is the one I liked the most. It has a nice tone..I just hate how heavy the neck and head are compared to the body. Soooo I starting researching to death what I would like to eventually upgrade to..asking myself all the same questions you are. I spent months and months pining over them...drooling over them...but sadly nobody near me carried nicer ukes to try out.

    FINALLY, my wonderful hubby took me on a little road trip to a real uke shop! (shout out to Kent at the NC Ukulele Academy!!) He tells me to try them all and pick out whatever I want! I played Kanileas, koalohas, ponos, islanders, kalas. But I instantly fell in love with one and that was the koaloha. Side by side was concert sizes in both the opio line and the koa version. I played the opio first, and it was amazing! They seem to be a bit thinner than other brands...the neck felt so thin and nice to me..the rounded edges all around the body..and it sounded like an absolute dream! I was in heaven! So I said okay, time to try the koa version. It sounded basically Identical to us. I decided to go with the opio because it sounded the same (though from what I understand, in time as they open up more they may sound a little more different?) and I liked the wood tone better on it (the koa was a little more on the orange side). But nothing else in that store, whether it cost more or less, felt or sounded as perfect to me as that koaloha. So it came home with me and I absolutely love and adore it. It sounds so amazing to me!

    All this to say, while you may not find it as aesthetically pleasing...the koaloha opio line is amazing! I no longer spend any time shopping around or looking at ukes. I'm so in love with it, I'm good to go. Well, almost...I think I want a soprano sized one too!

  5. #35
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    Dec 2019
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    Quote Originally Posted by pip View Post
    I believe this is my first time posting on this forum, but I had to chime in. You sound exactly like I did up until about a month and a half ago. I'm a beginner. I started getting more serious and more consistant with learning the uke during this past year. I had a kala concert laminate. Then I got a kala tenor all koa laminate. Then I got a kala pacific walnut soprano laminate..which is the one I liked the most. It has a nice tone..I just hate how heavy the neck and head are compared to the body. Soooo I starting researching to death what I would like to eventually upgrade to..asking myself all the same questions you are. I spent months and months pining over them...drooling over them...but sadly nobody near me carried nicer ukes to try out.

    FINALLY, my wonderful hubby took me on a little road trip to a real uke shop! (shout out to Kent at the NC Ukulele Academy!!) He tells me to try them all and pick out whatever I want! I played Kanileas, koalohas, ponos, islanders, kalas. But I instantly fell in love with one and that was the koaloha. Side by side was concert sizes in both the opio line and the koa version. I played the opio first, and it was amazing! They seem to be a bit thinner than other brands...the neck felt so thin and nice to me..the rounded edges all around the body..and it sounded like an absolute dream! I was in heaven! So I said okay, time to try the koa version. It sounded basically Identical to us. I decided to go with the opio because it sounded the same (though from what I understand, in time as they open up more they may sound a little more different?) and I liked the wood tone better on it (the koa was a little more on the orange side). But nothing else in that store, whether it cost more or less, felt or sounded as perfect to me as that koaloha. So it came home with me and I absolutely love and adore it. It sounds so amazing to me!

    All this to say, while you may not find it as aesthetically pleasing...the koaloha opio line is amazing! I no longer spend any time shopping around or looking at ukes. I'm so in love with it, I'm good to go. Well, almost...I think I want a soprano sized one too!
    Lol, thanks for the insight. Just you wait, you'll get the urge for something else!

    I totally think (based on audio samples and not actually playing one) that the KoAloha's sound the most appealing to me... but aesthetics matter to me and I'm a bit more of a traditionalist. Honestly, I like everything I know about KoAloha and I've seen the rave reviews by people who own them on here... and truth be told, I'll probably end up with one some day... but for my first I want something fairly traditional. Traditional looking and traditional sounding. I can't justify the price jump on the Kamaka, so I think it's Kanile'a for me.

    P.s. everyone who's been following this thread. My wife finally said, "just get what you want," tonight.

    I'm still trying to figure that out.

  6. #36
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    Great news, Colin (about your wife allowing you to go with whatever pleases you most)! I was just going to say that if you like the Musubi soundhole and everything else about KoAloha, then maybe the five-point crown headstock will grow on you over time; it has on me. And just as Pip mentioned, those Opios come extremely close to the Hawaiian made ones, so you could snag one up for about half the cost of a Hawaiian K brand. I remember that even one of the KoAloha family members mentioned in an interview that he would most likely get an Opio as they provide such a good value.

    Just as Dave mentioned, there is a chance that your preferences may shift as you go along: For many here, a Hawaiian K brand is the ultimate dream instrument at first because of their authenticity, origin, fame or"mystique", but over time we get interested in different tone woods etc.

    You have asked if Kanilea is known for intonation issues and I'd guess the answer would have to be "No". Out of three Kanilea ukes I own and five I played, I had an issue with one, but that had to do with the set of strings rather than with the instrument itself. Kanilea builds their instruments for the Aquila strings they put on stock, so depending on gauges, other sets from different makers might not work all that well. But even then, you could adjust the saddle to compensate for each string individually. All of this are problems that you might run into with ukes from any maker.

    Edited to add another thought: Out of the K brands, Kanilea uses the most figured wood, even on their base models. It might be worth to check The Ukulele Site daily for updates until you see one that speaks to you (and then act quickly, because they often sell within a couple of days).
    Last edited by Rakelele; 12-05-2019 at 09:59 PM.

  7. #37
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rakelele View Post
    Great news, Colin (about your wife allowing you to go with whatever pleases you most)! I was just going to say that if you like the Musubi soundhole and everything else about KoAloha, then maybe the five-point crown headstock will grow on you over time; it has on me. And just as Pip mentioned, those Opios come extremely close to the Hawaiian made ones, so you could snag one up for about half the cost of a Hawaiian K brand. I remember that even one of the KoAloha family members mentioned in an interview that he would most likely get an Opio as they provide such a good value.

    Just as Dave mentioned, there is a chance that your preferences may shift as you go along: For many here, a Hawaiian K brand is the ultimate dream instrument at first because of their authenticity, origin, fame or"mystique", but over time we get interested in different tone woods etc.

    You have asked if Kanilea is known for intonation issues and I'd guess the answer would have to be "No". Out of three Kanilea ukes I own and five I played, I had an issue with one, but that had to do with the set of strings rather than with the instrument itself. Kanilea builds their instruments for the Aquila strings they put on stock, so depending on gauges, other sets from different makers might not work all that well. But even then, you could adjust the saddle to compensate for each string individually. All of this are problems that you might run into with ukes from any maker.

    Edited to add another thought: Out of the K brands, Kanilea uses the most figured wood, even on their base models. It might be worth to check The Ukulele Site daily for updates until you see one that speaks to you (and then act quickly, because they often sell within a couple of days).
    I really appreciate it Rakelele! I figured that intonation issue in that video to be coincidental, but wanted to make sure... and yes great news on getting my wife's permission to get what I really want.

    But... now I'm stuck researching the $1000-1500 ukes and I cannot stop looking at/listening to the aNueNue's. They definitely don't represent "traditonal" like I said I was after in the previous post regarding my lack of interest in the KoAloha's, but they sound awesome. And apparently there's a Cedar top version out there, and I've read good things about cedar.

    Here are the videos I keep going back to:
    aNueNue: https://youtu.be/PdarEuIaLpc
    Rebel Mango: https://vimeo.com/375376796
    aNueNue Cedar Bird: https://vimeo.com/372134790
    aNueNue Koa: https://vimeo.com/369594701
    Kanile'a K-1 T DLX: https://vimeo.com/363912931

    To be honest, I really like the looks of the Gotoh UPT tuners... actually kind of had my heart set on them before anything else. I also feel like all of those sound better (to my ears) than the entry level K brand ukes I've listened to. Those aNueNue almost don't sound like ukuleles, they sound more like very clear Spanish classical guitars or something. They sound amazing. And that Rebel is super buttery and smooth. Ugh. But the Kanile'a obviously has the traditional sound that you can't deny.

    Would it be blasphemy to get to this point and get a brand that didn't start with a K, lol!?

    I'm starting to see how UAS develops. I'm doomed. Don't tell my wife.

    C
    Last edited by colinondrums; 12-05-2019 at 10:43 PM.

  8. #38
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    Yes, you're doomed - unless you get your wife involved to like them little suckers just as much as yourself. Much easier to justify owning two or more. That's what I did. My wife had no musical background whatsoever, but she learned to play the uke very quickly. They are indeed a great and easy way to learn playing music.

    As for your broad lineup of choices: I think it would be much easier to pick one out if you were able to play them back to back in person. Alas, this is seldom possible, even if you could visit Hawaii, they probably wouldn't have all of them in stock. Your best shot at trying several different models might indeed be joining a local uke group.

    Once again, I like the way you think: If I were to have only two ukes, it would be one traditional all Koa from a K brand and one that is more guitar like in sound and looks, with a Spruce or Cedar top and something like a Rosewood or Ebony back. The latter would be a Pono Pro Classic or nowadays perhaps one of them Anuenue Birds (or a custom build), whereas the K brand might as well be an Opio in order to save some cost. This would cover the broadest possible spectrum and might cure your curiosity, at least for a while.

    By the way: Are you aware of the fact that those Rebel ukes are built in the same factory in Thailand as the Opio line from KoAloha? So with a Rebel, you would basically get something like an Opio, but without that headstock you don't like (and possibly a nicer finish).
    Enjoying instruments by - Beau Hannam - Jay Lichty - Jerry Hoffmann - Luis Feu de Mesquita - Kala - Kamaka - Kanile'a - KoAloha - Ko'olau - Moore Bettah - Pono - Romero Creations - and others

  9. #39
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rakelele View Post
    Yes, you're doomed - unless you get your wife involved to like them little suckers just as much as yourself. Much easier to justify owning two or more. That's what I did. My wife had no musical background whatsoever, but she learned to play the uke very quickly. They are indeed a great and easy way to learn playing music.

    As for your broad lineup of choices: I think it would be much easier to pick one out if you were able to play them back to back in person. Alas, this is seldom possible, even if you could visit Hawaii, they probably wouldn't have all of them in stock. Your best shot at trying several different models might indeed be joining a local uke group.

    Once again, I like the way you think: If I were to have only two ukes, it would be one traditional all Koa from a K brand and one that is more guitar like in sound and looks, with a Spruce or Cedar top and something like a Rosewood or Ebony back. The latter would be a Pono Pro Classic or nowadays perhaps one of them Anuenue Birds (or a custom build), whereas the K brand might as well be an Opio in order to save some cost. This would cover the broadest possible spectrum and might cure your curiosity, at least for a while.

    By the way: Are you aware of the fact that those Rebel ukes are built in the same factory in Thailand as the Opio line from KoAloha? So with a Rebel, you would basically get something like an Opio, but without that headstock you don't like (and possibly a nicer finish).
    I forgot about the Rebels being made in the Opio factory. Good point!

  10. #40
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    Quote Originally Posted by colinondrums View Post
    To be honest, I really like the looks of the Gotoh UPT tuners... actually kind of had my heart set on them before anything else. I also feel like all of those sound better (to my ears) than the entry level K brand ukes I've listened to. Those aNueNue almost don't sound like ukuleles, they sound more like very clear Spanish classical guitars or something. They sound amazing. And that Rebel is super buttery and smooth. Ugh. But the Kanile'a obviously has the traditional sound that you can't deny.

    Would it be blasphemy to get to this point and get a brand that didn't start with a K, lol!?

    I'm starting to see how UAS develops. I'm doomed. Don't tell my wife.

    C
    The type of tuner should not a big criterion for uke purchase, as they can be replaced easily. Kanile'a also has a lot of customization options, and the UPTs may be optional anyway if you order directly from them. What really impressed me are their new slotheads with the stealth tuners, they seem to kick up the sound by another notch. I am a bit confused that earlier you stated that you like a traditional look, to the extent that you exclude KoAlohas, yet you are drawn to the Anuenue that to me have a very distinct Chinese design and almost don't look like ukes.

    It is possible that Anuenue also makes the Kanile'a Islanders and uses their bracing design, but it's a few weeks that I checked that out and not 100% sure.

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