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Thread: what's a good acoustic-electric concert ukulele?

  1. #1
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    Wink what's a good acoustic-electric concert ukulele?

    I've been looking at two ukuleles: the first is a KALA KOA CONCERT UKULELE w/pickup from MGM for $300. The second is an applause tenor ukulele for $350. My main concern is that these ukulele's will be too quiet if played acoustically. Is that a common feature of acoustic-electric's? Also, what kind of acoustic-electric's do you guys recommend? Thanks for helping!

    kala koa concert ukulele: http://cgi.ebay.com/KALA-KOA-CONCERT...item3a5d55b842

    applause uae148: http://folk-instruments.musiciansfri...le-?sku=516719

    I've added a 3rd consideration thanks to Vibe: http://www.bouldercreekguitars.com/uk_EUT-2N-Tenor.html
    how would this compare to the kala and the applause?
    Last edited by newmail445; 07-29-2010 at 06:57 PM.
    Believe you can do something. Believe you can't. Either way you're right

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
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    12

    Default Solid wood

    I know from my experience, any kind of solid wood is going to be louder than a laminate and sound better, I think koa would be the loudest because it is a hardwood. The electronics donʻt hamper volume as far as I know. Your best bet is to play them but I know it is hard to get a good sample size when you dont live in Hawaii. I have been researching a new uke too and here are some of the midrange ones I like.

    I have a lanikai concert A/E, I got a long time ago. It is laminate with Shadow electronics. It is a great beginner uke and I have loved it but I have grown out of it and need a solid wood tenor. I am looking at the Big Island Honus and the Nalu for my next uke, but I am waiting til I go back to Hawaii so I can play them before I buy them.

    Try to avoid Shadow electronics, though decent they are not great fro recording/performing. They are commonly used on Lanikai and Kala. But Lanikaiʻs exotic line uses fishman, which I think are pretty good.

    Hope that helps

    http://www.bouldercreekguitars.com/u...enor-Cuta.html
    http://www.lanikaiukes.com/exotic_series.html
    http://www.nalu-ukulele.com/productinfo.html

  3. #3

    Default

    I know from my experience, any kind of solid wood is going to be louder than a laminate and sound better
    This is not true from my experience - it depends on what models and how they are made.
    There are laminates that are louder than solid-wood ukes, and vice versa. And sound 'better' is a matter of opinion. There are those (including myself) who have concluded that a well made laminate ukulele can sound more balanced and pleasant ('better') than a solid-wood ukulele of similar price range.

    This topic is actually one of the prime examples of this.
    The Kala Koa concert is a laminate instrument, and the Applause is a solid-spruce top.
    So-called "book-knowledge" that a lot of people have about solid/laminate woods will say that the solid-spruce top is the louder instrument.
    But it just so happens that Applause ukuleles are not that great as acoustic-instruments. They have a quiet, muted sort of sound and are primarily electronic instruments designed to be plugged in.

    The Kala Koa laminate concert on the other hand, is actually quite a loud instrument that is just as loud as a Kala solid-mahogany uke (I've compared them side by side before), and can also be plugged in.

    I daresay the Applause has more versatile electronics, since they're famous for their pickup/preamp system, but it won't be the best choice in the purely acoustic department.
    The Kala Koa will sound fuller and louder in the acoustic sound department, but the electronics are not as fancy as the Applause's (though Shadow pickups are pretty good anyway for amplification)

    When judging a uke, you cannot just assume solids will be louder and 'better' than laminates. You have to look at each ukulele yourself, because you'll find that the generalisation does not apply to a lot of them

    My main concern is that these ukulele's will be too quiet if played acoustically. Is that a common feature of acoustic-electric's?
    Acoustic-electrics are the SAME as acoustics. They're just acoustic ukuleles with a pickup installed.
    But then there are acoustic electrics with different properties. Some are designed to have a quiet acoustic sound, but sound excellent plugged in (eg: Applause ukuleles, Kala Archtop jazz-uke), while others are perfectly fine acoustic ukuleles that are designed to have a loud acoustic sound, and also have the option of amplifying (eg: Kala Koa concert acoustic-electric).
    Last edited by kissing; 07-29-2010 at 02:29 PM.

  4. #4
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    Default

    thank you guys so much for the info! please keep it coming haha.
    Believe you can do something. Believe you can't. Either way you're right

  5. #5
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  6. #6
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    Default

    Any decent instrument sounds shocking when it's plugged in unless the pickups are good. If you're after something that sounds good both plugged and unplugged then buy one and get a really good pickup installed in it. If it's got a good pickup that's been properly installed you'll find you sound good both ways. I never trust pre-installed pickups as I can't afford to buy a really good uke with a really good pickup, so I've got two beginners ukes with very good pickups and they sound just fine plugged in. Now if I had a great uke and my current pickups? Wow!
    Makala MK-C concert uke and Clearwater Pineapple Soprano.
    Ashbory De Armond with Pahoehoe strings
    Various Squeeze Boxes

  7. #7
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    Default

    Mainland Classic Mahogany concert with Mi-Si pickup installed by Mike., great sounding in both modes.
    http://shop.mainlandukuleles.com/pro...9&categoryId=3
    http://shop.mainlandukuleles.com/pro...6&categoryId=2
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