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Thread: Some Help for a Beginner?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Posts
    3

    Default Some Help for a Beginner?

    I've fallen in love with the sound of the ukulele and am itching to give the instrument a try.

    The only problem I'm having is deciding on a ukulele to purchase.

    My price range max is about $80 so I'm hoping that will leave room for a quality "first" uke and maybe a little extra for a case.

    From just lurking the forums and seeing the advice your community has given the other beginners, I may have narrowed it down to a few choices, but am still fairly indecisive.

    1. KALA KA-S
    2. Lanikai LU-21
    3. Malaka MK-S

    If there are any options you find to be better than ones listed feel fee to suggest.

    I also need to know of any accessories I'll need. Tuner? Would a guitar tuner work? Or how about a piano?

    Thanks for all the help, I hope to come to a final decision soon so I can place my order and begin playing as soon as possible.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Location
    Santa Barbara, California
    Posts
    1,674

    Default

    I have not tried any of those, hopefully some people will come in here and help you. But I will say that I would NOT reccomend you to get an oscar schmidt, they need too much work done to be easily playable for beginners.

    And I would buy it from MGM

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Location
    Sherwood Park, Ab
    Posts
    258

    Thumbs up

    hey there...from one beginner to another you've narrowed it down really good. All those are great (just look at the ukulele porn thread teehee) but for one thing if your local music store has them or others I would just give them all a try. I think if the uke feels right and you think it sounds good then go for it. And if your local music stores don't have any of those (mine didn't) then definitely look those ukes up on youtube and see if you like the tone and whatnot.

    Go to musicguymic or ukulele4u on ebay, those guys are willing to answer your questions. I've bothered them about strings haha, and will probably purchase from them in the future. (they sell ukes with cases and other goodies)

    I play guitar and I have a tuner that has guitar/bass. Its fine I just switch to bass and look for GCEA (this is standard tuning for uke). You could buy a "chords" book but you can easily download them on the web. Also once you get a feel for your uke really look into new strings like "aquilas, worth, d'addario" i have aquila's right now and I love the feel of the nylgut. I've yet to try the others i mentioned they seem to pop up a lot around the uke community so I'd say those are a safe bet. My uke teacher is going to do a complete uke setup on mine (ie, action adjusted, etc) so that may be something youwant to do. I'm sure a luthier in your city could do that for you.

    Anyways welcome aboard, you'll be dying to get your hands on your OWN uke once you make your decision. A decision to get a uke is a good one!!

    CHEERS!!
    Samantha

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    Near Lawrence Kansas
    Posts
    76

    Default

    I know everyone buying a uke for the first time has a budget and that is good. I wonder how many people end up buying a cheap piece of junk and when it is hard to play and/or sounds poor you give up playing.
    There is a sweet spot for every first time purchase.

    Too cheap and it sets you back and you get something better later.

    I would advise buying the best uke you can and skip on any extras for now( tuners ,cases ect)
    You can tune with a pitch pipe or free online.
    Everything I have heard about musicguymic is pure great. I would contact him and tell him your budget. I have heard that he sets up your new uke correctly.
    With mandolins the set up can make all the difference in the world. I am finding that to be true with ukulele as well. I also heard that musicguymic upgrades the strings. I think that is important. I will buy from musicguymic, it would be silly not to.
    Good luck and remember this is your first uke.....you will have more in the future!

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    Duchy of Cornwall
    Posts
    99

    Default

    I agree with mentalfloss, buy the best uke you can with the cash.

    I did find that when I finally had some money a clip on tuner changed my life and on balance (whilst I enjoyed the online tuning sites, mucking about with chordfinder, trying to get a note out of a broken set of pipes, failing to tune from a working set of pipes and being smugly self satisfied that I did not need a clip on tuner for several months....) I wish I had got one earlier.

    My first 'real' (more than $100) ukulele was and is an Ohana, it's great as an intermediate instrument, if you can stretch a bit farther I recommend it. If not you seem to have a good range there.

    What ever you decide, good luck and have fun
    Jack33

    one and all

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Location
    Seattle
    Posts
    94

    Default

    My first ukulele was a Lanikai LU21 soprano. I tried a few at a store and was surprised by the variance of sound quality of the same model. Cost was $65. I changed the strings to Aquilas and have been very happy with it ever since.

    If you can, visit a store to try a few brands and models. Choose what sounds best to you. You can certainly get a decent ukulele for $80.

    Good luck and have fun
    "hana ka hoe, pa`a ka waha!"

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    Norfolk, Va
    Posts
    137

    Default

    I actually got my Kala Ka-S from musicguymic on ebay. It came in about a week and i couldn't be more happier with it. He set it up and put worth strings on it. I paid a little bit more than you want to but i got a case, pitch pipe, chord book and a another book that comes with a CD to help you start to learn the uke. Even if you dont buy the whole set up and you just get the uke i dont see why this wouldn't be a great start out uke.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    San Francisco, CA
    Posts
    2,901

    Default

    good advice from everyone so far. you've done your homework and narrowed it down to three beginner priced ukes, good on you dude!

    my 2 cents are to go with any one of your 3 choices. first uke, don't break the bank. if you don't end up liking it, you won't have spent too much money. if you do like it, you can upgrade to a much nicer uke and you have #1 as a beater/car/camping/travel uke.

    orrrrr, you can start with a much nicer uke and once UAS settles in, you'll have 5 within half a year. it can happen, seriously! if you decide that you aren't really into playing ukulele, you can probably resell your pricier uke on craigslist, ebay or UU, and probably get back most of your money. these things have decent resale value if you keep it in good condition.

    enjoy your first!

  9. #9
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    Virginia
    Posts
    340

    Default

    I've never tried any of your choices but, I do have a good uke to recommend.

    The Ohana SK-10. I recommend it to every beginner. It may be a laminate but that thing really is an awesome $40 uke.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Location
    The Ranch,CO
    Posts
    910

    Default

    Welcome

    I haven't played the LU-21 but I have played the others, the guy at my uke store told me the biggest difference between the Kala and Makala are the tuners and finshed look.

    I like my KA-S so much I got 2 (one for the car, it's been replaced in the car with a Flea). So far I have found the Aquilla strings sound brighter on it and the D'addario Uke (green pac) sound warmer on them, I have each strung different. As soon as my Low g's come one will be that way.

    You cant go wrong with any of those as a "First Uke" as Russ said you will get more, I've been playing 3 months and am ordering my 8th Uke tomarrow.

    Clip on tuners are nice over the mic'ed tuners as they work off the vibration.
    Ukulele, the most fun I've had being bad at something!!!

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