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Thread: Help! Second Uke Recommendation

  1. #11
    Join Date
    May 2017
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    Confluence of the Mississippi and Rum Rivers
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    423

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    I'm not expert that is for sure. But my spouse with the musical training, experience, good ear said get one with a solid top. I did. I don't always follow her advice but on musical accounts I usually do. I've been happy with every solid top uke I have bought. The one laminate top I had, I sold after only a few months. Didn't like the sound for whatever reason.

    Go for whatever strikes your fancy with a solid top.

  2. #12
    Join Date
    Jun 2020
    Posts
    348

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    Solid vs. laminate top is a good rule of thumb, but don't get hung up on it. There are many okay sounding laminate instruments, and many bad sounding solid tops. And laminate ukes are more durable in terms of changes in environmental conditions, which is something to consider if your house isn't well climate controlled and you don't want to have to deal with a humidifier in your case.

    You've mentioned good tone - that's easy, everyone wants good tone. As you play more, you'll probably find that your definition of "good" becomes more specific, and in future uke purchases you can try to search out your specific good tone versus generic good tone. But if you're not there yet, that's fine, there's definitely a difference in generic good tone between a cheap amazon special and just about anything in the class you're talking about.

    Besides tone, you may want to start thinking about other factors. Things like ergonomics can be easy to overlook unitl you've had a bunch of ukes in your hands. Some people find they like a slightly wider neck vs narrower, or a specific neck profile. There's a fair amount of variation with ukes so it's worth considering - but then again, some people really couldn't care and may not even notice the difference. Think about how your uke feels in your hands, and if you like the way it feels, and if you think you want a similar feel in your new uke's neck. If you do, it may be worth measuring your nut width at least and considering that as a parameter in your shopping list so you don't end up with something completely different that suddenly feels uncomfortable.

    Tuner style is another consideration, peg vs geared, although if you're halfway handy you can swap without concern. But - if you have a specific style on your current instrument that you either like or hate, keep that in mind. If your new uke has the style you decide you don't like, then at least budget a bit of money to change them.

    And finally, setup. Most ukes purchased from non-uke-focused vendors will just come as-is. This often isn't as horrible as it's made out to be, but regardless of which uke you end up buying from whom, if you have no good local music store or tech you'd trust to do a setup, it may be worth learning on your own, at least in terms of adjusting the saddle and nut height - which are both pretty easy and well documented here and on youtube. The most fantastic brand new uke in the world will be a hateful experience if the setup is totally wrong for what you're expecting.

  3. #13
    Join Date
    Dec 2017
    Location
    Bellingham, WA USA
    Posts
    137

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    > My first uke was a beginner model Oscar Schmidt laminate

    Strings. A very inexpensive upgrade would be to restring with florocarbon stings. Doing this held off my need/desire to upgrade my first tenor for almost a year. Martin, Fremont, Worth, et al are all good.

    Also take your current uke to a local luthier to check the setup. Or better yet, learn to do it yourself. A beginner uke is ideal for learning how to lower the action.

  4. #14
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Location
    Port Hope, Ontario, Canada
    Posts
    1,094

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    You didn't say where in Canada you live, but if it's near Dundas (the town, not the street), there's a place that is knowledgeable about ukuleles and you won't be dealing with just guitar players. It's called String Along Ukulele. I tried to post a link to their website, but I got the message: *** Forbidden. Message seems to be spam. ***

  5. #15
    Join Date
    Jul 2020
    Location
    Mankato, MN
    Posts
    35

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    I'm a beginner, but learning a lot from forums like this and choice YouTube channels. My first uke was a gift - a solid mahogany (front, back & sides) Kala KA-SMHCE-C. It's a concert (I know they made the same model as a tenor). Has a pickup system, goes for under $400 (when you can find it, it's been discontinued by Kala). I'm very happy with it, a warm sound, feels good in my hands, it probably also helps that the instrument (being a gift) has personal sentimental value. But I love it. I also have a hricane travel, tenor. Solid spruce top with spalted maple sides & back (no electronics). It's very nice for the price (I found some promo codes bringing it down to $54), generally goes for around a hundred bucks. I know it's limiting to have to buy from a local store, but the plus side is that if you find one that has someone educated about ukes, it's worth going through them. For set up, maintenance and frankly, just building a friendly connection. As a beginner, that's one of the things I love about this instrument, it's become a center point for connecting with people.

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    Mankato Uke Club

  6. #16
    Join Date
    Oct 2014
    Location
    East Asia
    Posts
    117

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    Quote Originally Posted by Archile View Post
    My first uke was a beginner model Oscar Schmidt laminate. I shouldn't have implied that I really dislike it. It feels nice in my hands and is fun to play, though a little "plinky" sounding. I'll definitely keep it as a "no worries" travel uke...
    But I decided I wanted an electic ukulele to explore different sound effects. And after looking at the cheaper options online, thought maybe I would like to spend a little more on a solid top to get a richer sound for my acoustic playing as well.

    Well I once tried some Oscar Schmidts and they all sound a bit dead to me, though the look and finish are perfect from what I can see. I understand why you want an upgrade....
    From what you have listed the choices seem a bit limited.
    Maybe you should also consider buying an all solid mahogany cutaway and pay some extra cost to install a good quality pickup.

  7. #17
    Join Date
    Jan 2021
    Posts
    6

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    Thank-you for all the wonderful replies. I love that the advice from uke players (as opposed to many guitarists) is thoughtful and practical in nature. Much more 'you should think about this' then 'I have this so you must get this too'. For those living in Ontario, besides the store suggested by Jim, I found another small, uke exclusive store, HaliUkes, which gave me a few more options. The is also a Canadian maker Honolua, who ships anywhere in North America free of charge. I didn't go with them, but I found a store owner who vouched for them as a legit company offering quality ukes at very reasonable prices...
    Anyway, back to HaliUkes, they are the only Canadian dealer for Flight ukuleles. Michael is fantastic to deal with. I ended up going off list and getting a Flight Diana TE. It sounds fantastic and has all the features on my check list. I fell in love the moment I saw the images of it. I may be reading between the lines of the advice in this thread a little too much, but part of it was not to drive yourself crazy and go with the one that appeals to you. The one I picked is gorgeous and sounds great, so I'm happy. Thank-you to everyone who took the time to respond.

  8. #18
    Join Date
    Aug 2016
    Location
    PNW
    Posts
    1,443

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    It sounds like you made a great choice. Congratulations!

    Quote Originally Posted by Archile View Post
    Thank-you for all the wonderful replies. I love that the advice from uke players (as opposed to many guitarists) is thoughtful and practical in nature. Much more 'you should think about this' then 'I have this so you must get this too'. For those living in Ontario, besides the store suggested by Jim, I found another small, uke exclusive store, HaliUkes, which gave me a few more options. The is also a Canadian maker Honolua, who ships anywhere in North America free of charge. I didn't go with them, but I found a store owner who vouched for them as a legit company offering quality ukes at very reasonable prices...
    Anyway, back to HaliUkes, they are the only Canadian dealer for Flight ukuleles. Michael is fantastic to deal with. I ended up going off list and getting a Flight Diana TE. It sounds fantastic and has all the features on my check list. I fell in love the moment I saw the images of it. I may be reading between the lines of the advice in this thread a little too much, but part of it was not to drive yourself crazy and go with the one that appeals to you. The one I picked is gorgeous and sounds great, so I'm happy. Thank-you to everyone who took the time to respond.

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