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Thread: What instrument for a beginner?

  1. #1

    Default What instrument for a beginner?

    Hi guys!
    I am about to buy my first instrument and after doing a bit of research I came to the following conclusion. The Ortega RUEB-SO soprano ukulele is perfect for people who want to learn how to play. It is a good instrument, allowing the user to test their skills. The set comes with a case, so you can transport the ukulele wherever you want without worrying about damaging it. Anyone who wants to start their adventure with music should think about this model because it makes learning to play easier. Another excellent choice is the Luna Mahogany Mo'o Concert ukulele, a concert ukulele with Hawaiian soul, whose sounds put you in a positive mood. The model is attractive and stands out for its nice sound.
    My question is, which should I buy: Luna Mahogany or The Ortega?
    Thank you!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2021
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    My opinion is to get the Luna for 2 reasons
    1) The other one seems to be $150, and you just don’t need to spend that much on a first uke. Honestly, you don’t need to spend $100 either. Your first ukulele, IMO, should be $60-$70 max and be treated as a proof-of-concept. Make sure you like to play the thing before you spend big money.
    2) The Luna is a concert size, which is the most popular size ukulele globally according to a statement made by Daniel Ho at NAMM 2017. It is the size that is most likely to be most comfortable for most people to play on.

    The cordoba protege concert uke is nice and inexpensive. It was my first concert size uke and worth looking into or trying out at guitar center or something.

    https://www.guitarcenter.com/Cordoba...SABEgJAZ_D_BwE

    I've been playing uke for around 10 yrs and I've never purchased a uke for over $119, for what that's worth.
    Last edited by donboody; 04-27-2021 at 06:37 AM.

  3. #3
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    Mar 2021
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    I’m sure others will have more considered replies, but as someone who recently started, a big thing for me was body size and nut width. You want to see where your strumming hand hits the uke. Ideally it will be right below where the neck meets the body. I’ve found tenors suited my size best and put me in the most natural position for strumming. Also, I’m a big guy with fat fingers, so sopranos were incredibly hard for me to learn chord on as my fingers would bunch up on certain chord shapes. I found I prefer a 37-38mm nut width (or something with a 28-30mm span between the G-A strings) to give me space for my fingers. Alternative, my tiny wife can play sopranos just fine.

    So, questions to consider: how long are your arms and how thick are your fingers. That will help you decide between a concert and a soprano. Others will have more informed opinions on the specific models you mentioned.
    Last edited by Veritas99; 04-27-2021 at 03:38 AM. Reason: Cut off (again)
    KoAloha KSNP-00; KoAloha KCNP-00; KoAloha KTM-25; Kamaka HF-3; Cocobolo concert; Kala Journeyman UBass

    Technically my wife's collection:
    Kanilea K-3 S Premium; Kanilea K-1 C; Kanilea KPA-C 5 string Premium; Kanilea P-1 T Premium; Kamaka HP-1; Kamaka HF-2D2IS; KoAloha KTNP-00; Blackbird Cara; Ohana SK-21A; Ohana CK-450QEL; Ohana TK-270G; Outdoor soprano; Risa Tenor Tele T-Style

  4. #4
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    Bellingham, WA USA
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    I’ve come to the same realization of just how important nut width is. Unfortunately, I know of no beginner/inexpensive ukuleles with wide, 1.5 inch, nuts.

  5. #5
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    Virginia
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    Quote Originally Posted by rorym View Post
    I’ve come to the same realization of just how important nut width is. Unfortunately, I know of no beginner/inexpensive ukuleles with wide, 1.5 inch, nuts.
    I think Lanikai ukes are around 1.5” and have sopranos just under $100, but I agree most of the beginner/inexpensive stuff is 1.375”.
    KoAloha KSNP-00; KoAloha KCNP-00; KoAloha KTM-25; Kamaka HF-3; Cocobolo concert; Kala Journeyman UBass

    Technically my wife's collection:
    Kanilea K-3 S Premium; Kanilea K-1 C; Kanilea KPA-C 5 string Premium; Kanilea P-1 T Premium; Kamaka HP-1; Kamaka HF-2D2IS; KoAloha KTNP-00; Blackbird Cara; Ohana SK-21A; Ohana CK-450QEL; Ohana TK-270G; Outdoor soprano; Risa Tenor Tele T-Style

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Apr 2019
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    San Francsico Bay Area
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    I agree with the ‘proof of concept’ statement. My first Uke was a $20 ‘toy’. I had fun ‘playing’ with it so I graduated up.

    So unless you are certain you want to invest, go inexpensive. If you KNOW you want to really delve into this wonderful instrument, spend the money and purchase something that won’t frustrate you.

  7. #7
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    Briarcliff, TX - Fabulous Hill Country home to Willie Nelson, and me!
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    The real problem here is that a beginner needs a decent instrument. Otherwise, it doesn't sound so good, and playing progress can be stifled or severely curtailed. On the other hand, spending too much money on a first Uke is probably a bad idea. For a beginner the tuners have to be accurate, the setup/string height needs to be good. That means, set low enough so the beginner can achieve barre chords without becoming discouraged. Cheap Ukes have notoriously poor tuners, and those sellers rarely do setups. If I were you, I'd rethink the budget, and go for a Uke from a reputable seller who offers a good beginner's setup. And, I'd be thinking of spending somewhere in the $250 range. Buy from a seller who offers setups, but contact that seller and tell them you need a beginner's set up. That way, they will bring the string height down as far as possible for ease of playing.
    "The sole cause of all human misery is the inability of people
    to sit quietly in their rooms." - Blaise Pascal, 1670

  8. #8
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    Sep 2018
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    I am always a bit surprised that there is so much feedback on going cheaper to save money on a first ukulele. I would look for one that sounds good and plays well first. Most "beginner" ukes do not fall in this category since most of those that get one want to "upgrade" once they decide they like it.

    I would consider a budget around $200 and then call Mim (or another excellent seller) and give her the parameters of what you are looking for and your budget. Let her guide you to a good choice. You should get a good instrument that plays well to give you the better chance of success.

  9. #9
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    I would avoid those laser edged Luna models.
    I once had a pineapple soprano from that brand, and it dissapointed me. And the review on GotAUkulele of one of their other laser edged models also had a bad verdict.

    With this argument I would take Ortega over Luna.
    And consider what size you want. The Ortega comes in a concert scale like the Luna, if you want a concert scale.

    That being said, neither of the ukuleles have a solid top. If I was to start over, I would start with a solid top. Spend a little more to begin with. If you write which part of the world you live in, I am sure this forum will have lots of solid top suggestions. But I assume you found your two options because you like the looks?
    Last edited by UkingViking; 04-27-2021 at 08:18 AM.
    Playing:
    Anuenue AMM tenor - Magic Fluke Koa Tenor - Cocobolo concert - Kamaka Tiki concert - Cort concert - Ohana LN soprano.

  10. #10
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    Briarcliff, TX - Fabulous Hill Country home to Willie Nelson, and me!
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    I was reluctant to throw out any store names, but yes, Mim's would be a good choice, as would Uke Republic, or Cool Hand Ukes. Any of those sources would take special care to provide a beginners setuup.
    "The sole cause of all human misery is the inability of people
    to sit quietly in their rooms." - Blaise Pascal, 1670

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