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Thread: help with chosing a new uke

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    norwich, UK

    Default help with chosing a new uke

    i've been playing for about 2 months now on a mahalo soprano that i bought off ebay on a whim. I bought a cheap uke to start because i didn't know if i would actually bother to learn but i've gotten really into it. I've noticed some problems with tuning (all the strings are in tune but the chords sound out of tune) and tinnyness. I've seen a lot of other people post on her with the same problems with this uke so it seems i just chose poorly. So now i've decided to buy a new uke to get a nicer sound. However, i literally have no idea where to start. I can't afford more than about 75 (i think that's around $125). I'd be really greatful for some advice. Also, there are no shops anywhere near me that sell decent ukes so it will have to be an internet buy so i can't go in and get a feel for different types which is a problem.

    Another thing, the uke's i've seen people playing all seems to come in different sizes. The one i have now is very small but i like the look and sound ones that are a big bigger. What's the difference?


  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    No longer a member


    I improved the intonation on my Mahalo - as others have - by filing down the nut slots a little at a time - it's far from perfect but it's useable.

    The uke sizes are:

    soprano or standard - 33cm scale (g'c'e'a' or a'd'f#'b')
    concert - 38cm scale (g'c'e'a' or gc'e'a')
    tenor - 43cm scale (gc'e'a', g'c'e'a', or d'gbe')
    baritone - 48cm scale (dgbe')

    Personally I consider the tenor and baritone to be small, 4-string guitars. The soprano is slightly too small for me (difficult to play some chords) so I'm leaning towards buying a cheap concert:

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    the sticks, Nebraska


    $125 might just net you a Kala KA-T off of ebay if you look hard enough. Its a tenor uke, the biggest you can get with standard g tuning. Kala is a good entry brand, and I have the KA-T myself and like it a lot. Its a laminate uke, not solid wood, but to my beginner ears it doesn't sound too bad with upgraded strings.

    I've had the itch to upgrade to the Kala KA-ST, the solid spruce top version, but there's no way my wife would let me without first selling the one I have. Best of luck!

    Fluke concert | Honu traditional tenor (TR-KRGT) | Kala KA-Watermelon | Lanikai spruce top 6 string (O-6) | Mainland mahogany concert-slotted headstock (CMM-CGH) | Stagg electric-gibson style (EUK L-SB)

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2007


    The differences with sizes are number of frets and tone. For the purest, most ukulele-like tone, you want the soprano size, also called "standard." As the size gets bigger, more overtones seep into the ukulele's sound, giving the instrument a more complex, deeper sound.

    I would take a look at the Makala brand of ukuleles. For $125, you should be able to find what you need. It's a great starter brand.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2009

    Default same problem here

    I bought a cheap ukulele for about 20, and it just sounds 'off'. I want a slightly bigger ukulele as well.

    Did you manage to find anything better in your price range ?

  6. #6


    Quote Originally Posted by leftovermagic84 View Post
    I've had the itch to upgrade to the Kala KA-ST, the solid spruce top version, but there's no way my wife would let me without first selling the one I have. Best of luck!
    If you can encourage your to take up the uke, she can have your current one and you can get a new one.
    -- Al

    Lazy River Uke blog
    Learning to play the ukulele - a journey up the Lazy River

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