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Thread: Help me choose a uke for my kids!

  1. #1
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    Default Help me choose a uke for my kids!

    My kids, ages 4 and 6 have developed an interest in my ukes, so with Christmas around the corner I want to get them their own. Would love to hear some pros/cons/tips about the following:

    Makala Dolphin/Shark/Ukadellic - are these are all basically the same uke, but with different colors and bridges? (If you can find them in stock anywhere RN)

    Makala Waterman - My kids would FLIP over the clear ones and my daughter needs everything in her life to be hot pink! Are they too cheap? I guess if they lose interest we aren't out a ton of money.

    Outdoor ukulele - I love the idea of having a uke that can stand up to camping trips or the beach. Would it be a good starter for a 6yr old, or would the flourocarbon strings be too tough on his fingers?

    Any other's I've missed? I think an appealing color will help hold their interest over slightly better quality wood ukes.

    ETA: My daughter is a lefty... do I need to re-string her's upside down?
    Last edited by haharobots; 10-30-2020 at 03:24 AM.
    My IAS So Far...
    - authentic Aboriginal didgeridoo
    - two Tibetan singing bowls
    - Hugh Tracey Alto Kalimba
    - Oscar Schmidt Soprano in Spalted Mango
    - Oscar Schmidt Concert in Solid Koa

  2. #2
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    Yes, a lefty needs the strings reversed. The seller of those ukes would probably not do the switch, but it's not a big deal. I know several lefties who play right-handed, so...

    The Makalas would be good for them, and the Waterman is, obviously, waterproof. The Outdoor costs over $100, and I doubt they would appreciate any difference in sound. For $40, I think the Waterman is a good choice.
    Too many ukes, but I can't stop buying!
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  3. #3
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    Don't forget the Flight "travel" series (https://flightmusic.com/product-cate...series/travel/). Got one of those for a kid, and I have to admit I almost kept it. Sounds great, action great right out of the box, durable, comes in lots of colors and different woods (laminate, of course).
    ,;"''";,;"''";,;"''";,;"''";,;"''";,;"''";,;"''";, ;"''";,;"''";,;"''";,;"''";,;"''";,;"''";,;"''" ;,

    Tiki King Flea Soprano
    J&D Solid Concert (a.k.a., CNZ EUK-200)
    Tangi Mango Concert
    World of Ukes Eden Origin Tenor
    Koa Kalane Cutaway Concert Acacia

    ,;"''";,;"''";,;"''";,;"''";,;"''";,;"''";,;"''";, ;"''";,;"''";,;"''";,;"''";,;"''";,;"''";,;"''" ;,

  4. #4
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    at 4 and 6 I'd think they might still see their own ukes as toys... and would err on the cheap side IIWM. the waterman gets a bad rap here, but I can see the appeal (I had a couple of concerts and thought they were ok, but not great). as far as lefty-right thing goes, that's controversial (and a whole other topic by itself), but as a lefty that plays righty it does make things easier IMO. I'd think a young child could learn either way

  5. #5
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    My younger daughter is a lefty. From the get-go, we celebrated her special gift from God -- being a lefty. She was made for first base (played it in HS) and for pitching (did that too, windmill style for softball). Left-handers have a natural advantage in all sports -- Google it & you'll see for yourself. She is also left-footed (yes, there is such a thing) and excelled at soccer, as well.

    I gave her 2 ukes when *that* day came -- one strung righty & one strung lefty. She ended up playing righty -- HER choice. About 10% of the world's population are leftys. Being different affects a person, especially a kid. A difference can make you special or it can make you weird. My daughter was raised to feel special, and she is.

    As for which uke -- I like concert size for kids, even really young ones. Amazon has the Enya concert, made of carbon fiber -- a tough ukulele for $80 that plays & sounds good. It was reviewed favorably HERE by UU's own bazmaz of the UK.
    Last edited by bellgamin; 10-30-2020 at 12:19 PM. Reason: clarity
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  6. #6
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    Good call, that’s what Mim recommended, too!
    My IAS So Far...
    - authentic Aboriginal didgeridoo
    - two Tibetan singing bowls
    - Hugh Tracey Alto Kalimba
    - Oscar Schmidt Soprano in Spalted Mango
    - Oscar Schmidt Concert in Solid Koa

  7. #7
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    I’m hoping my daughter will keep her interest in sports as she ages! I love the idea of teaching her that this difference is an advantage! I’ve showed her how to hold my uke both ways and she seems to prefer strumming right handed. Grandpa is a lefty too! But he plays guitar right handed.
    My IAS So Far...
    - authentic Aboriginal didgeridoo
    - two Tibetan singing bowls
    - Hugh Tracey Alto Kalimba
    - Oscar Schmidt Soprano in Spalted Mango
    - Oscar Schmidt Concert in Solid Koa

  8. #8
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    Mim is a great resource plus buying from her ensures that the uke is set up right and playable (and she’s in your area)

    She stocks Ohana ukes which have some great lower end instruments

    Happy hunting! Hope it works out

  9. #9
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    Most, not all, lefties learn to adapt to doing things with their right hand out of necessity. Right handed scissors. Right handed desks in school. Right handed shifter in American cars. Using a computer mouse with the right hand. Etc.

    I throw a baseball overhand left handed. Underhand, for softball, I throw with my right! Go figure. I can bat either side. I usually played right field or first base. I wasn't a good player, but I didn't disgrace myself ether.

    I tried to learn to play guitar on my sister's Gibson. She's right handed. So, it felt natural to play ukulele the same way.

    My great-niece pitches for her high school's baseball team. She played little league and in middle school. The high school is a small school, and she was the best person that tried out. Sadly, baseball was cancelled this year.
    There is a subtle yet profound difference between the learning of something and the knowing of that thing.
    You can learn by reading, but you don’t begin to know until you begin to try to do.

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  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by haharobots View Post
    My kids, ages 4 and 6 have developed an interest in my ukes, so with Christmas around the corner I want to get them their own. Would love to hear some pros/cons/tips about the following:

    Makala Dolphin/Shark/Ukadellic - are these are all basically the same uke, but with different colors and bridges? (If you can find them in stock anywhere RN)

    Makala Waterman - My kids would FLIP over the clear ones and my daughter needs everything in her life to be hot pink! Are they too cheap? I guess if they lose interest we aren't out a ton of money.

    Outdoor ukulele - I love the idea of having a uke that can stand up to camping trips or the beach. Would it be a good starter for a 6yr old, or would the flourocarbon strings be too tough on his fingers?

    Any other's I've missed? I think an appealing color will help hold their interest over slightly better quality wood ukes.

    ETA: My daughter is a lefty... do I need to re-string her's upside down?
    At that age I’d suggest Soprano was the most appropriate size and it could see them through indefinitely. Lower tension strings are a good idea too, don’t want their fingers hurt or anything overloaded.

    Dolphins and Sharks are effectively the same instrument and Ukadellics used to be too but now AFAIK the later are painted Watermans. I’d leave the Watermans alone but a Dolphin or Shark should be just fine - I’ve had a few as beaters (now gifted on to others) that would have been just the job for any new player.

    Mim does the basic Ohana painted Uke line (SK10 and CK10?) and IIRC she’s pretty positive about them. One of those would doubtless be fine and maybe Mim isn’t too far from you.

    With Kids it’s usually a bad idea to spend a whole bundle of money on something. Some of the cheapest toys my kids had were the most used and some of the expensive ones they (the children) quickly tired of and put to one side. Just saying ... your choice.

    Lefty stringing? I’m not at all sure that it matters one bit. Both hands are used to play a Uke and both have quite a lot asked of them. Lefty stringing might well just add complexity and not be particularly help at all.
    Last edited by Graham Greenbag; 10-31-2020 at 11:47 AM.

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