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Thread: What do you look for. L

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2014
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    Ames, Iowa
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    4,023

    Default What do you look for. L

    Lately I've been reading threads and thinking a lot about what I am doing and how I look at ukuleles after almost six years. I was thinking today what is important to me in a ukulele. So I thought that it might be fun to talk about. It seems like a topic that is in line with what we like to discuss here.

    First off, I am purpose oriented. Let me say that to me a ukulele is accompaniment and that is always on my mind every ukulele I buy. I'm going to sing when I play it. So number one is sound. But not only does it have to sound good, it has to sound good with my voice and my style. (Some people might say that there isn't a uke made that will make me sound good, but I do my best. I need all the help I can get.) But if there is one thing I've learned, when it comes to sound, a good sounding ukulele doesn't always sound good.

    Along with sound is volume. I need volume.

    Number two, it has to be set up right. I'm concentrating on a lot of things. It can't be so low that it is touchy. But it has to be low enough to be playable. Not real picky if it falls in there somewhere.

    Number three, it has to look interesting, have some character. Like sound, it has to fit in. The look of the ukulele very much affects my mood which will be reflected in everything else. Not enough flash I feel bland and boring, too much and I feel silly.

    Going along with looks is price. It has to be expensive enough to meet all of the above, but not so expensive that I worry about it. I can't afford to worry, I do enough of that already. I can find a mid price uke that will work.

    That's what I look for in a uke.
    Last edited by Rllink; 01-18-2020 at 10:02 AM.
    I don't want to live in a world that is linear.

    I just want everyone to understand that I am not a ukulele expert, even though it may look at times like I'm pretending to be.

    https://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_n...tective+Agency

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2015
    Location
    USA
    Posts
    763

    Default

    In no particular order:

    Build quality: It has to be structurally sound...well put together.

    Price: If I spend too much on an instrument I worry over it more than I enjoy it.

    Sound: I like a variety of different sounds, so just anything that appeals to my ears.

    Setup/playability: I play more on something that plays easily for me. I can dial in all that myself, thankfully. It's nice when I get it from somewhere that has already done a good initial setup though.

    Look: I like something that appeals to me looks-wise. It doesn't have to be cosmetically perfect, but just have an overall look I like.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2015
    Location
    Upper Hale, Surrey/Hants border, UK.
    Posts
    6,234

    Default

    Playing melodies, my criteria is 'feel', it has to sound good & feel right in the hands, reasonably loud, with good sustain.
    I prefer plain looking instruments, really hate a fancy/blingy uke, it would put me off playing it.
    When I try to 'sing' & strum, (not lately), it needs to sound clear chords.
    A good setup, with fluorocarbon low G strings.
    Trying to do justice to various musical instruments.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2017
    Posts
    897

    Default

    I tend to think of myself as a soloist, even though I don't have the chops for it. So, I prefer a relatively wide range of notes. Accordingly I opt for 19 frets, cutaway, and preferably a low G string. I don't like the traditional plunky sounds of small ukuleles and I gravitate towards the bigger instruments.

    Obviously, many ukuleles would serve that purpose. After all, a ukulele is a ukulele. The big distinction for me is looks. I want no fret markers, I want some unique wood. I like a retro, rectangular headstock with the pegs in the back. And I like the smell of wood and I suppose that means I prefer unlacquered, minimally processed wood.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2020
    Location
    Durham, UK
    Posts
    114

    Default

    I find good intonation important. These are things that I would do: Check the octaves, play the Bb chord all up the neck. Do a range of CAGED runs, listen for sustain. I want a good sounding instrument. See if you like it when you play in a dark room or if you close your eyes whilst strumming (or picking if you're a pro). I find that if I enjoy playing an instrument then I'll accept its looks as well after a while. But I can't warm up to a nice looking uke if I don't enjoy playing it.

    I would take a clip-on tuner with me to try out a new instrument, even if the strings will be hopeless. When I bought my first ukulele and I didn't know anything about ukes, I was disappointed with strings I didn't like. But now I know that swapping them out can make a huge difference.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2018
    Posts
    153

    Default

    Same as Rllink really
    1. Tone
    2. Volume
    3. Playability
    4. Looks (fairly plain)
    5. Price (solid top, laminate back and sides for me except i plan to own a single all solid instrument at some stage)

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2015
    Location
    New Hampshire, USA
    Posts
    364

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    I mostly play finger style, so good clarity, note separation and balance are important. I like “bling” if it is tasteful, (I think that the Martin 5k is tasteful). I like the pegs to face rearward and there has to be a rosette and binding. I love the look of Koa, but I find Mahogany to be more forgiving.
    Current Herd:

    Sopranos:
    Recent Martins: 3 Centennial, 5K, 3 Cherry and OXK
    Vintage Martin: 1950s #1
    Laughlin 3K, (1920 Martin 3K Bow Tie and Kite copy, 1 of 2) and Mahogany 3

    Concert:
    Laughlin 3K
    Kiwaya Mahogany Taropatch

    Tenor:
    Kiwaya KMT-K
    Romero Creations Replica, Mahogany
    Anuenue Moonbird

    Tiple:
    Yasuma (Martin T28 copy, Rosewood with Spruce top)

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jul 2015
    Location
    Catskill Mountains, NY
    Posts
    5,324

    Default

    Everyone has different "needs." For me, it's the appearance that gets my attention - sometimes. I also like variety. As a result, I have some unusual-looking ukes, like the Peanut, Bonanza Oreo, and Dewdrop, to name just three. I also have sopranissimo through tenor, cigar box, resonator, and banjo uke. I also like quality ukes, of course, but price is always a consideration.

    I'm not at all concerned about nut width or the shape of the neck.
    Too many ukes, but I can't stop buying!
    https://www.catskillukulelegroup.com/

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    USA
    Posts
    3,328

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Davoravo View Post
    Same as Rllink really
    1. Tone
    2. Volume
    3. Playability
    4. Looks (fairly plain)
    5. Price (solid top, laminate back and sides for me except i plan to own a single all solid instrument at some stage)
    Pretty much the same as these, with the addition of a wide nut and/or wide string spacing at the nut.
    John

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Mar 2014
    Location
    Pickering, ON, Canada
    Posts
    5,960

    Default

    Like Rolli my performance ukes must sound good with my voice when I am singing overtop of them and be easy playing. But I also fingerpick and play chord melody and need good note separation, clarity and presence. It might not be obvious but those different qualities are not usually found in the same instrument. This is my rationalization for owning many different ukuleles

    High quality woods with beautiful grain, appearance and craftsmanship are equally important.
    Last edited by DownUpDave; 01-19-2020 at 10:33 AM.
    Currently enjoying these ukuleles : *LdfM tenor, *LfdM 19" super tenor. *LfdM baritone, *I'iwi tenor , *Koolau tenor, *Webber tenor, *Kimo tenor, *Kimo super concert, *Mya Moe baritone, *Kamaka baritone, *Gianinni baritone, *Fred Shields walnut pineapple super soprano, *Kala super soprano, *Loprinzi super soprano, *Black bear ULO concert , *Enya X1 concert, *Enya X1 pineapple soprano, *Enya Nova *Gretsch tenor, *Korala plastic concert

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