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Thread: Plastic Ukes...

  1. #11
    Join Date
    Jul 2015
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    Catskill Mountains, NY
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    You're not performing for money, nor are you recording to CDs. The waterman is cheap and durable. You can pay more for an Outdoor Uke if you want possibly better quality. The Waterman is a ukulele that will resist dirt and moisture.
    Too many ukes, but I can't stop buying!
    https://www.catskillukulelegroup.com/

  2. #12
    Join Date
    Jan 2020
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    132

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jerryc41 View Post
    You're not performing for money, nor are you recording to CDs. The waterman is cheap and durable. You can pay more for an Outdoor Uke if you want possibly better quality. The Waterman is a ukulele that will resist dirt and moisture.
    agree, a waterman for hiking/camping purposes is a true "beater". you can get better quality if you want (to spend more), but the waterman can be good enough (depending on your tastes) and you won't cry if it gets trashed... but if it does, it's easily replaced at about $40-50 (sometimes less)

  3. #13
    Join Date
    May 2018
    Location
    West Philly, PA
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    I personlly think the Waterman is fairly worthless. Not because of the tone. It's a plastic uke and it sounds like a plastic uke, but the tone is fine for what it is. BUT the intonation and action are so bad (at least on mine) that it makes it pretty miserable to play. Theres not much you can do to improve the setup either. I gave mine to my toddler. If I wanted a beater uke to take places I'd be more inclined to get a Kala Dolphin or similar. No they are not completely water proof, but unless you are planning on playing it in the puring rain or in a lake/ocean it's durable enough and will be way more playable than a Waterman. Mim might even have one or two left over on here reverb store (she has phased out Kala), so you might be able to get one that really well setup. On here main site she now has these flight ukes in the same price range.

    https://mimsukes.com/collections/sop...-ukulele-w-bag

    I've never played these but I trust her judgement and her setup skills enough that I'm sure it would be plenty good enough for a beater uke.
    Last edited by CPG; 10-14-2020 at 06:52 AM.
    Pohaku "Yellow Label" Mahogany Soprano
    Weymann Model 10 Mahogany Soprano (c. 1918)

  4. #14

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    My experience with the Waterman wasn't great. Action is too high and not adjustable, intonation is awful, left it in the car for a bit (I know, my bad) and the top is now caving in. It has now become garage wall art. If you want something playable, I suggest any step up from the Waterman.
    Oceana Ancient Sitka Spruce, Ziricote Tenor Dazzo Pickup
    Cocobolo Ukulele Tenor
    Sumi Maru Carbon Fiber Tenor
    Sumi Maru Carbon Fiber Tenor w/ MiSi Trio
    Sydow Carbon Fiber w/ LR Baggs 5.0
    Klos Full Carbon Fiber
    Fanner T Style Electric Flame Maple
    Outdoor Ukulele Tenor
    Blackbird Clara
    Synergy Instruments Sopranos (1 Carbon Fiber & 1 Ekoa)
    Mele Mango Baritone

    UBass: Mayones Cali 4 Cocobolo Top / Kala California Koa Fretless

  5. #15
    Join Date
    Aug 2019
    Location
    Finland
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    657

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    Quote Originally Posted by CPG View Post
    I personlly think the Waterman is fairly worthless. Not because of the tone. It's a plastic uke and it sounds like a plastic uke, but the tone is fine for what it is. BUT the intonation is so bad (at least on mine) that it makes it pretty miserable to play. I gave mine to my toddler. If I wanted a beater uke to take places I'd be more inclined to get a Kala Dolphin or similar. No they are not completely water proof, but unless you are planning on playing it in the puring rain or in a lake/ocean it's good enough and will be way more playable than a Waterman.
    I completely agree. Every Waterman I've tried or heard has sounded awful because of poor intonation, and at least partially (maybe mostly) it's because of the high action at the nut. Chris Russell / UU member Choirguy did a really good comparison of plastic ukes not too long ago where he mentioned that Kala hadn't remedied the issues of the Waterman for however many years it was, several in any case. That's just inexcusable in my book. It's a plastic mold, get it right!

    I would just pay a bit extra and go for either an Outdoor uke or an Enya Nova if you insist on a fully synthetic uke. Otherwise, I'd go for one of those that has a wooden soundboard but a plastic body like the Flight Travel ukes or Magic Fluke.

  6. #16
    Join Date
    Apr 2018
    Location
    Redmond, WA
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    636

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dada View Post
    I think in terms of value for money, you can't beat the Flight TUS or TUSL. Been recommending this as a beginner instrument, because it can be used as a great beater/travel uke once an upgrade is in order.
    The TUS is not pure plastic - the top is wood - so not good to bring into the water, and I wouldn't trust the ABS back in a sealed summer car (though I have no evidence that'd be a problem). Otherwise I agree completely - these things are brilliant for the price, generally speaking quite tough, and cheap enough that I don't worry if it gets knocked about and I wouldn't cry too hard if it got lost in transit. Size-wise I'd probably toss this in a backback for travel rather than my tenor Outdoor.

    The Outdoor's a bit more expensive but not excessively so (I'd be unhappy if it disappeared, but not devastated) and pretty much bulletproof (probably not literally, and I'm not going to test that). I used to leave mine in the car to have something to play when I was out and about and had some time to kill. The strings didn't like the heat, but the uke itself was fine.

    I also have a Klos carbon fiber which is theoretically great as a knockabout, but cost too much for that. It travels in a hard case and gets babied far beyond what it probably needs.

  7. #17
    Join Date
    Jun 2019
    Location
    NC
    Posts
    135

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    I researched plastic "travel" ukes about 9 months ago for a planned airline trip so I'll pass on some of what I learned.

    I ended up buying an Outdoor Ukulele soprano. The trip got cancelled due to The Virus but I enjoy the OU soprano. I bought it due to favorable reviews and the made in the USA factor. The first one delivered had a significant cosmetic flaw and OU promptly replaced it. Potential downsides are there have been complaints about the intonation (I think there is a thread here somewhere about it). Both samples of mine were off. Does not bother me but apparently bothers some. Also, I don't believe there is any way to modify the bridge if one wants lower action.

    The Enya Nova and Flight TUS get mostly favorable comments, and I was able to audition them. IIRC both have replaceable bridges if one wants to modify. I like the look of the Nova with its "Les Paul" styling, and the Flight had a laminate walnut top with really pretty grain. To me both sounded better than the OU. I think that the Flight is the most bang for the buck of all the ones I tried.

    Almost all of the reviews I found on the Waterman were negative so I crossed it off of my list.

    The Magic Fluke has a lot of enthusiastic reviews and apparently is a nice instrument. It has the made in the USA factor. Multiple reviews that I read recommended upgrading to the geared tuners and upgrading to the wood fretboard, which makes it much more expensive than the other "plastic" ukes (and according to some, puts it in a price category where it is clearly outperformed by other instruments).

    Hope this helps and good luck with your choice!

  8. #18
    Join Date
    May 2020
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    12

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    I love the sound and feel of my Enya Nova. Very playable out of the box.

  9. #19
    Join Date
    Jan 2014
    Location
    West Virginia
    Posts
    1,950

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    I have the Waterman soprano (the Ukadelic USA), the Enya Nova U concert, and the Outdoor Ukulele tenor.

    Currently, the Outdoor stays in my little camper, which is my Zoom classroom during the day. I usually prefer soprano size, but the shape/build of the tenor size is wonderful and it is definitely the best sounding of the three. It seems smaller to me than my Mainland tenor.

    The Nova stays in my truck. I played it today (as a passenger) while we were out leaf peeping. Perfect size for playing in the truck cab, and I loved playing Aaron Kein's Wildwood Flower arrangement while in a field of wildflowers.

    The Waterman stays in my office. For $28 bucks, if it comes up missing then no real problem. It is nice to have something to noodle around on while I am on a break at work. I did change the strings to D'Addario Titanium and it sounds good to me.

    I probably play these three more than all my wooden ukes combined because I can keep them where I am most of the time. All three experience temperature change, yet they still hold up well.
    - Laura

    Martin, KoAloha, Brueko, Mele, Mainland, Outdoor, Kala, Enya, Harmony, Tempo, Globe, Shima, Vega, Silvertone, Kay, Luna, Vorson, Zither Heaven, First Act

  10. #20
    Join Date
    Feb 2016
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    Twin Cities Area, Minnesota
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    2,429

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    Quote Originally Posted by badhabits View Post
    only real problem with outdoor (not counting sound preferences) is no concert size. for flea/fluke and flights, their concert scale is a little long at 15.5". also if the frets are not painted they can sometimes be hard to see.
    I'm a concert player, and my complaint about my Fluke is that it has a wide nut...which would be okay by itself, but the neck mirrors that nut and doesn't taper like many other ukuleles on the market, making the grip seem much wider than other ukuleles that I own. I'm still not getting rid of it, but it isn't the first ukulele I grab.
    My ukulele blog: http://ukestuff.info

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