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Thread: Recommendations for Cheap, plastic uke for adventures

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2019
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    8

    Default Recommendations for Cheap, plastic uke for adventures

    When I'm heading out to the beach, the park, or another adventure I typically bring a little bag of juggling props.
    IMG_20200419_141941.jpg

    (see image for bag and contents)

    What I'm considering is getting a low-cost plastic soprano uke to drag along with this stuff. It'll accompany me to the beach, parks, or a quick visit to family. I also drag the whole thing outside everyday and hang off the playset so it's ready for a quick morning juggle after a nice walk.

    I've seen mixed reviews of the Kala Waterman (that dipping bridge scares me!), the Bugsgear Aqualele (I love the funky looks of this one - it's an early leader), and the Woodi. I've also seen a line of plastic ones from Beaver Creek but can't find anything from anyone who'se played them.

    Anyone have tried one or more of these (or something else!) and want to recommend it? I don't want to part with the coin for an Outdoor Uke; I'd rather have a cheaper one and keep the extra eighty bucks or so.

  2. #2
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    May 2020
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    UK
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    I don't know of their availability in the US (presuming you are in the US?) but the flight travel series of ukuleles are really great. I have the regular soprano and it's loud, completely ABS except for the soundboard and sounds pretty good! https://flightmusic.com/product-cate...series/travel/ and they are really cheap.

    Relevant review: https://www.gotaukulele.com/2018/04/...no-review.html

    I find mine a little harder to play as I'm used to a Tenor but it's the perfect throw-in-a-bag uke for out and about and I have no concerns about it getting damaged at all.

  3. #3
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    Nov 2019
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    That looks nice, but I was looking for all plastic, so if I left it out in the rain or took it to the pool I'd not have to worry about it getting wet.

    My nephew already dropped on Nintendo Switch into the swimming pool; if he did the same with my travel uke I'd like to be able to fish it out, wipe the tuners dry, and play on

  4. #4
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    Finland
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    The Kala Waterman ukes are all plastic and also cheap. Judging by comments, the quality can be a bit dodgy though. Personally, I would go for the Enya Nova U if I was after a fully synthetic ukulele. It's much better quality than the Waterman and not that much more expensive.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2019
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    384

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    I have a Waterman that I got for similar reasons. I went through three of them before I found one that sounded halfway decent. If you can find a decent sounding one, they're okay, but barely worth the price in my opinion. I got a concert; I thought the sopranos sounded worse.

    One thing to keep in mind is, none of these ukuleles is really waterproof, despite being plastic, because of the tuners. If you leave one in the rain or it goes in the pool or ocean, I think you're going to have problems. I don't know if there anyone makes a waterproof uke.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2013
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    NH
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    Default

    Uke Republic carries the Flight Travel ukuleles; https://www.ukerepublic.com/store/c141/Flight_Ukuleles
    Kamaka HF3, Tenor
    Martin S1, Soprano
    Ko'olau C1, Concert
    Flight TUS-35

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
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    Derbyshire, UK
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    All plastic ukes have metal tuners.

    My favourite is the concert made by clearwater, korala, brunswick and probably several others. They're OK.



    If any of these ukes get really hot (like left inside a car in sunshine), the necks will bend.

    A cheap plywood thing is probably as good in your case. If it breaks, get another.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 2019
    Location
    Florida, USA
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    128

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    I think it depends on your definition of "cheap". Based on your description of intended use and want for some thing that sounds good as well, I'd recommend an Outdoor ukulele. Like the Enya Nova U (concert-sized) the Outdoor is made completely of polycarbonate and they come in soprano or tenor sizes. The only metal is the tuning pegs and gears.

    [As an aside, if there's a chance your tuners may get wet I'd recommend putting a drop of bicycle chain lube on the gears and detuning them so you can get a full turn of the gears. Then anytime it gets wet, dry it off and re-apply]

    I have a Blue Outdoor Soprano for my take-anywhere ukulele, and I'm not afraid of leaving it in my car (in Florida). I also have a Kala Waterman and the upgrade in sound with the Outdoor is worth the slight upgrade in price. It's worth a look.
    Last edited by Swiftsailor98; 07-02-2020 at 01:02 AM.
    Adam

    Kamaka HF-1L Long-neck Soprano | Martin C1K | Martin S1 | Kremona Coco Concert | Taconic Cigar Box Ukulele "Bolivar"
    Kala Solid Spruce / Pau Ferro / Mango Tenor (Low G) | Outdoor Blue Nickel Soprano | Kala Waterman

  9. #9
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    Mar 2014
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    Pickering, ON, Canada
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    I completely agree with Swiftsailor98 above.

    You know what is really expensive is spending any amount of money on something you don’t like the sound, feel and playability of because you won’t use it or enjoy.

    In the grand scheme of things paying $100 for an Outdoor Uke is peanuts if you plan to be playing ukulele outside for the next 5 years or more. I refuse to play an instrument that I don’t like the sound of, life is way too short.
    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

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Apr 2017
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    U.K.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bill1 View Post
    If you want a cheap uke, that is fair enough. However, if you are not going to get the uke wet, there is no reason to limit yourself to plastic ukes for the purpose described.

    Plastic ukes may not get damaged by extremes like the hot sun, but if they get hot they go out of tune and are hard to tune.

    A low cost laminate uke will do the job described and you will be able to do a set-up and stuff like change the saddle and nut material. They can take a beating and can handle heat better than plastic in terms of holding tune. You could even paint it to fit in with your juggling activities. There is a chance that you will be able to get a better sound out of it as well.
    I’m afraid I have to agree with the sentiment in three posts above. There’s a point below which an item just isn’t worth buying and a lot of folk here are of the view that the Waterman wouldn’t be worth having no matter how little it cost.

    I really wonder how water tolerant you actually need a Uke to be. Dolphins stand up to a lot of general abuse and they’re cheap second hand. I’ve have some success with painted Ukes, with a good set up of nut and saddle plus some decent strings they can be a good beater - they’re never going to sound great but they’re good enough for the casual use intended. If I were in the Sates then a second hand painted Ohana would be on my list of potential beaters. On these cheap laminate Ukes strings and set-up make a vast difference ... but the UO should okay OK straight out of the box.

    If you really do need totally water resistant then the OU is the only thing that’s going to get near to meeting your needs but at $125 for a basic Soprano they aren’t cheap - I think that they used to be a lot more reasonably priced. The OU’s sound OK, though nothing special IMHO, and just survive pretty much whatever the environment around them hands out. My own choice would be to try a cheap used Dolphin first, moderate how I treated it and then if it doesn’t survive replace it with a OU.
    Last edited by Graham Greenbag; 07-02-2020 at 03:57 AM.

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