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

  1. #21
    Join Date
    Oct 2015
    Location
    Near Lake Okeechobee, Florida
    Posts
    546

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    The KA-ATP-CTG-CE is a very good uke, especially for its price. There aren't many models its equal in the sub-$500 range.

    I advise that you look for a used, simply appointed, high-quality ukulele that sells for $600-700 when new. A good starting place could be tracking down a used Kremona Mari (all mahogany) or Coco (cedar/rosewood).

    Good luck. Finding a tenor that can equal the KA-ATP line without spending at least $600 may prove challenging.
    "Who hears music, feels his solitude Peopled at once -- for how count heart-beats plain / Unless a company, with hearts which beat, / Come close to the musician, seen or no?" - Robert Browning, "Balaustion's Adventure"

  2. #22
    Join Date
    Sep 2018
    Location
    PNW
    Posts
    247

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    eBay is a mixed bag though my overall experience is positive for ukes, Reverb is solid too, IME. I have had 2 perfect Hawaiian-made legacy brand uke transactions from eBay (plus 3 good transactions on blem novelty/plastics), a few from Reverb (1 misrepresented by seller but backed up by Reverb's terms/conditions & returned for full refund & no out of pocket from me for shipping, other than time/repacking).

    Quote Originally Posted by BBegall View Post
    My first tenor was a used Pono Mahogany I found on Ebay. While I wouldn't particularly recommend Ebay for used instruments, I love that sweet old Pono and would highly recommend one, either new or used.
    Last edited by Wukulele; 05-10-2021 at 04:51 AM. Reason: Added quote
    keeping an eye out for a very special pre-owned concert....

  3. #23
    Join Date
    Sep 2018
    Location
    PNW
    Posts
    247

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    All three of my Pono instruments were bought used. I wouldn't exactly say they hold their pricing value for resale as, in my observation, almost no ukulele does until one gets well into the 4 digit $USD zone. Even then only a (small?) subset will (see https://ukulelefriend.com, including "previously sold" -unlikely to find Ponos there but there are definitely Ko'olau). But Ponos do hold their value in a way that's tricky describe briefly. Base prices have increased for the deluxe or pro models. Not sure if it's at a rate higher than baseline models (which is how I judge uke makers, plus I am generally not big on "bling"). In any case, resale value is no longer a high priority when I am buying ukes.

    One Pono was purchased on the marketplace forum here, one at a local long-standing reputable bricks & mortar shop, and one via Reverb. I could trace all three to previous owners/shops, which was cool/fun.
    One of them was this https://vimeo.com/66360182, which 8 years ago listed for MSRP$1,099 /actual$769. I luckily bought used for it for within your stated price range, 2.5 years ago. It plays well/easily, is robustly built "like a guitar"... as opposed to lightly, like especially Kiwayas, which this shop also carries along w Kamakas, Kremonas hanging on the same shop wall (all brands I'd totally consider or own).

    The Ponos I've picked up & played at the in-person shop were all well made, worth their cost IMO, especially the baseline, non-deluxe, non-pro models. But this is not just due to Pono at the manufacturing level. This shop would very unlikely ever sell an instruments that is inferior.
    My understanding is instruments received at this shop that are too far off, in need of much more work than the set up that comes w each instrument purchase, get sent back to the manufacturer. They also carry 12-14 other brands consistently, including one not previously mentioned that starts with "K" (I was told they send ~1/3 of those ukes back... where who knows how many of those make it back to other online outlets).

    Someone mentioned that Ponos have thicker neck profiles. Keep in mind there's also width. Ideally, I would want to pick up any decent uke & play it decently. There's something to be said for sticking w one instrument to have consistency as one gets more proficient. Ideally, I'd consistently practice, lol.

    Bottom line, whatever you choose, seriously consider getting one that includes a professional set up (HMS currently ~3 week turnaround time IME, Mim's which right now gets filled to capacity shortly after when she resets at every Friday 9am Eastern time... lots of other indie shops worth checking like Gryphon/Palo Alto, Dusty Strings/Seattle). Humidifier = a must if uke lives in/near the Rockies.

    Let us know what you end up getting! Uke shopping! Even vicariously, is fun!
    keeping an eye out for a very special pre-owned concert....

  4. #24
    Join Date
    Jan 2021
    Location
    Colorado
    Posts
    6

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by bacchettadavid View Post
    The KA-ATP-CTG-CE is a very good uke, especially for its price. There aren't many models its equal in the sub-$500 range.

    I advise that you look for a used, simply appointed, high-quality ukulele that sells for $600-700 when new. A good starting place could be tracking down a used Kremona Mari (all mahogany) or Coco (cedar/rosewood).

    Good luck. Finding a tenor that can equal the KA-ATP line without spending at least $600 may prove challenging.
    I’m glad you approve of my first “big” ukulele purchase! I’m a big fan of the sound on my Kala as well. Thanks for your input!

  5. #25
    Join Date
    Jan 2021
    Location
    Colorado
    Posts
    6

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Wukulele View Post
    All three of my Pono instruments were bought used. I wouldn't exactly say they hold their pricing value for resale as, in my observation, almost no ukulele does until one gets well into the 4 digit $USD zone. Even then only a (small?) subset will (see https://ukulelefriend.com, including "previously sold" -unlikely to find Ponos there but there are definitely Ko'olau). But Ponos do hold their value in a way that's tricky describe briefly. Base prices have increased for the deluxe or pro models. Not sure if it's at a rate higher than baseline models (which is how I judge uke makers, plus I am generally not big on "bling"). In any case, resale value is no longer a high priority when I am buying ukes.

    One Pono was purchased on the marketplace forum here, one at a local long-standing reputable bricks & mortar shop, and one via Reverb. I could trace all three to previous owners/shops, which was cool/fun.
    One of them was this https://vimeo.com/66360182, which 8 years ago listed for MSRP$1,099 /actual$769. I luckily bought used for it for within your stated price range, 2.5 years ago. It plays well/easily, is robustly built "like a guitar"... as opposed to lightly, like especially Kiwayas, which this shop also carries along w Kamakas, Kremonas hanging on the same shop wall (all brands I'd totally consider or own).

    The Ponos I've picked up & played at the in-person shop were all well made, worth their cost IMO, especially the baseline, non-deluxe, non-pro models. But this is not just due to Pono at the manufacturing level. This shop would very unlikely ever sell an instruments that is inferior.
    My understanding is instruments received at this shop that are too far off, in need of much more work than the set up that comes w each instrument purchase, get sent back to the manufacturer. They also carry 12-14 other brands consistently, including one not previously mentioned that starts with "K" (I was told they send ~1/3 of those ukes back... where who knows how many of those make it back to other online outlets).

    Someone mentioned that Ponos have thicker neck profiles. Keep in mind there's also width. Ideally, I would want to pick up any decent uke & play it decently. There's something to be said for sticking w one instrument to have consistency as one gets more proficient. Ideally, I'd consistently practice, lol.

    Bottom line, whatever you choose, seriously consider getting one that includes a professional set up (HMS currently ~3 week turnaround time IME, Mim's which right now gets filled to capacity shortly after when she resets at every Friday 9am Eastern time... lots of other indie shops worth checking like Gryphon/Palo Alto, Dusty Strings/Seattle). Humidifier = a must if uke lives in/near the Rockies.

    Let us know what you end up getting! Uke shopping! Even vicariously, is fun!
    Pono love, huh? I’m not in a hurry, just taking my time and keeping the ole eyes open for the right instrument. Thanks for the info, and yes, I’m humidifying all day high up here in the Rockies.

  6. #26

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    what a beauty! Sounds great and I love watching the way the gentleman plays.

  7. #27
    Join Date
    Sep 2013
    Location
    Los Angeles, near the Beverly Center.
    Posts
    5,431

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    After going through 16 ukes under $200 the first year when I first started playing in 2013, Mim recommended the Kala Kala KAATP-CTG-CE solid cedar top, acacia koa boy tenor cutaway with electronics for $370. I went to a store and compared it to a few of the $1000+ K brands and found it keep up very well, so I bought it, It's my go-to uke for the last 8 years.




    This is Michael Kohan in Los Angeles, Beverly Grove near the Beverly Center
    8 tenor cutaway ukes, 4 acoustic bass ukes, 10 solid body bass ukes, 14 mini electric bass guitars (Total: 36)

    Donate to The Ukulele Kids Club, they provide ukuleles to children in hospital music therapy programs. www.theukc.org
    Member The CC Strummers: www.youtube.com/user/CCStrummers/video, www.facebook.com/TheCCStrummers

  8. #28
    Join Date
    Feb 2014
    Location
    Ewa Beach, Hawaii
    Posts
    582

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    Quote Originally Posted by kohanmike View Post
    ...solid cedar top, acacia koa boy tenor
    Ah, a boy tenor. Now, if you can find a girl tenor, you can start your own ukulele store.
    Make UU smile: Support the Forum.

  9. #29
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Posts
    390

    Default

    I recommend Noah ukuleles from Matt Cohen in Uk. Superb fit and finish. My spruce topped tenor plays like a dream. Excellent set up. I use Living Water strings from Ken Middleton, also UK.

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