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Thread: Buying advice: good tenor in $200-500 range

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2021
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    Colorado
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    Cool Buying advice: good tenor in $200-500 range

    Aloha! I've been lurking on these forums for a while now and, I must say, based off of everyone's signatures, you are quite the ukulele collectors!

    Anyway, I am looking for some help on finding a new ukulele to purchase. I currently have a Kala KA-ATP-CTG-CE tenor w/ pickup strung as a low-G and I really like it, however, I think I would like to hold another (no-electronics) tenor with a high-g. I have a lower quality high-g concert, but I have found that I enjoy the size and playability of a tenor scale better (especially for fingerstyle), thus the search for a high-G tenor.

    My problem is that I do not have a huge budget ($200-500) compared to a lot of the ukes I see here on the marketplace or just talked about in general. It seems that Kala is the space leader in this price range but I want to do my due diligence before making a purchase to see if anyone has any recommendations for other brands that fit the mold. I am an intermediate/advanced player, play every day, and looking for advice from you wonderful folks.

    Should I stick with Kala? They have some cool ukes on their spring sale for around $230 that look good.

    Should I save for a Martin Tenor? They don't have a lot of options and they are almost 2X the Kala price.

    Does anyone have a tenor gathering dust that fits my mold that they would be willing to part with at a good price?

    Any thoughts? Thanks in advance.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2020
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    There are many here who will chime in with good suggestions, perhaps even offer you a good deal on a lightly used uke. I have a Kala solid wood flame maple, KA-ASFM-T-C, that sounds really sweet with Uke Logic strings. I have it with low g, but high g suits the maple tone well. Several Pono models would fit the bill too (in fact, I might have one to sell). One of my most favorite ukes, though, is the aNueNue AMM3 solid mahogany tenor which is just slightly above your budget at $599, but that includes the heavy duty gig bag, setup and shipping if you buy it from The Ukulele Site. This uke sounds and plays as good as $1000 ukes, so I think it's a real bargain. At your level of playing, I think you would really appreciate what it has to offer. And it is sweet fingerpicked!

    https://theukulelesite.com/anuenue-a...nor-amm-3.html

    Here's a video of it being played: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qkyB67NOjZs&t=408s

    This Kala intrigues me too: https://theukulelesite.com/shop-by/p...ka-ascp-t.html
    Last edited by Cadia; 05-04-2021 at 12:03 PM.
    "So many ukes, so little money..."

    Kanile'a KSR-T premium koa tenor
    KoAloha KTM-00 tenor
    Rebel Double Cheese spruce/mahogany tenor, my BFF.
    Pono ATC-PC acacia cutaway tenor
    Kala KA-ASFM-T-C flame maple tenor
    Pono MT-SP tenor
    Cocobolo concert #467
    Pono ASD acacia soprano deluxe
    Pono MGS mango soprano

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2014
    Location
    Ewa Beach, Hawaii
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    I don't know about you but, when I set a price range of $200-$500, I am prone to be strongly biased toward the low end of that range. If you have the same bias then -- uh-oh -- I'm going to recommend an ukulele that is toward the high end of your stated price range.

    I recommend a PONO ATD Acacia Tenor Deluxe Ukulele, as shown on THIS web page. Its price is $479, with free shipping & free set-up. The website has plenty of photos and, 3/4 down the page, there's a video demo of that Pono being played.

    This Pono is all-solid acacia, stunningly beautiful, a delight to play, and lovely to hear. In the unlikely event you ever decide to sell it, Ponos hold their value very very well.

    I have a number of ukes that I rotate among when going to group play-alongs. This Pono tenor is one of the few that, when people try it out, they almost always offer to buy it from me. No sale -- this sweet thing goes to someone in my family when I check out.

    Whether the Pono or something else, I hope you find just exactly THE ukulele so that, not only will you love that uke, but that uke will love you right back. Aloha from Hawaii!!
    Last edited by bellgamin; 05-04-2021 at 03:35 PM. Reason: clarity
    Make UU smile: Support the Forum.

  4. #4
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    Jul 2015
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    Canada Prairies, brrr ....
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    The last time I was tempted to buy a tenor it was a Rebel Mango that was offered for $500 at the HMS store closing sale just a bit over a year ago. I don't look for specific brands as the mass produced ukes are generic anyway, but let the great ukes and deals come to me. Just needs little patience and open mind.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2020
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    484

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    Quote Originally Posted by merlin666 View Post
    The last time I was tempted to buy a tenor it was a Rebel Mango that was offered for $500 at the HMS store closing sale just a bit over a year ago. I don't look for specific brands as the mass produced ukes are generic anyway, but let the great ukes and deals come to me. Just needs little patience and open mind.
    That was a great deal!
    "So many ukes, so little money..."

    Kanile'a KSR-T premium koa tenor
    KoAloha KTM-00 tenor
    Rebel Double Cheese spruce/mahogany tenor, my BFF.
    Pono ATC-PC acacia cutaway tenor
    Kala KA-ASFM-T-C flame maple tenor
    Pono MT-SP tenor
    Cocobolo concert #467
    Pono ASD acacia soprano deluxe
    Pono MGS mango soprano

  6. #6

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    With a budget of up to $500, if it was my money I'd get the new Shima (Jake Shimabukuro licensed) solid mahogany tenor:
    http://shimaukulele.com/

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Apr 2020
    Location
    Georgia
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    The Kala KA-ASOV-T is a a real gem. People overlook it because it doesn’t cost as much as the Elite series and isn’t made from koa, but it’s all solid, lightweight, resonant, lively, and easy to play.

    And it’s affordable.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Aug 2019
    Location
    Finland
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    If I were you I'd definitely try a different brand since you already have a Kala, and a decent model as well. The range of your budget includes a vast variety of different kinds of ukes. At the lower end you'll find similar brands to Kala, such as Ohana or Flight. I'm a big fan of the latter but their nicer all solid ukes are closer to the upper range of your budget, and if you're looking to spend closer to that $500 range I would probably rather look at brands like Pono (as already mentioned by bellgamin) or KoAloha Opio, although the latter is quite hard to find currently and might actually be beyond your budget anyway.

    Suggestions:
    Pono tenor - mahogany, mango or acacia - standard or deluxe - each depending on your preference for sound
    Flight Voyager tenor - just within your budget, solid spruce top and acacia back and sides - comes with a pick up if you need one.

    edit.

    I forgot you specifically mentioned Martin. I would recommend a different brand. Not that their ukes are bad but I feel you can get much better quality for the same amount of money. Specifically those Ponos that have been mentioned are far better made and often cheaper as well.
    Last edited by Dohle; 05-05-2021 at 06:22 AM.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    May 2013
    Location
    NH
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    1,599

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    A Martin T1K sits at $499
    Kamaka HF3, Tenor
    Ko'olau C1, Concert
    Pono MC, Concert

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jul 2015
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    Catskill Mountains, NY
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    "New" means more expensive, not necessarily better. I've bought lots of used ukuleles - more than a third of my collection - and most looked like they just came from the manufacturer. The few exceptions were the very old ones. I have several Kala cedar-top tenors, and they are a bargain. They look great and sound great, and they come with different numbers of strings.
    Too many ukes, but I can't stop buying!
    https://www.catskillukulelegroup.com/

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