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Thread: Best gift ever?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    Honolulu, HI
    Posts
    400

    Default Best gift ever?

    So because I work retail, in a job that requires me really to be there on Christmas Eve and the day after Christmas, I'm not going to be able to get home for Christmas. I am, however, going to be able to get home for a week before Thanksgiving, so I'll have to have my Christmas cheer about me way too early to make the best of things.

    I have two very young siblings, aged 5 and 8. The 8 year old, my little brother, always got excited to hear me play guitar, and always wanted to learn despite his size. I have this one memory of him coming downstairs into the living room one day when I was at home, while I was playing guitar, and he sat down and silently watched/listened to me for well over an hour before saying "you're so cool." I think he was about 4 or 5. It was pretty much the most adorable thing I've ever heard/seen.

    He's finally big enough to really understand how noise comes out of a guitar, and I think he could learn a lot. I hope he will be as focused as he would if I kept him at it, but we'll see how it goes. For Christmas, the pair of them are getting ukuleles! I'm thinking the Mahalo colored series:

    http://www.amazon.com/Mahalo-U-30GN-...0201147&sr=8-7

    He'll be getting the green or blue and she'll be getting the pink (she loves pink). My master plan is to hang out for a few hours, show them my Ohana (which will hopefully be getting to Mike at Uke Republic soon so he can send it my way!!!!!), play it for a while to see how their big brother plays it as seriously as he plays guitar (so they know it's not a toy), and then surprise them with their Christmas gifts early. I really want it to happen that way because they will know that I'm not just playing it to humor them, I really want them to view the uke as something serious that they can work a lot of different sounds out of. I also want them to understand how taking it seriously can teach them a lot about playing stringed instruments. Ideally, in five years they both are pretty proficient at uke, and by my 30th birthday I can jam with either of them on uke or guitar.

    I guess if I have a question, it is: who here has this uke and is it an okay instrument? I'm not working with too many dollars (I've spent a lot on my own uke interests) so the price of the Mahalo, paired with the colors and the fact that they're 8 and don't care about sound, make this ideal. It is important however that they keep relatively good tune, and sound reasonably good. They will both receive a full set-up before they go to the kids, courtesy of me. Both will get Aquilas.

    Does this sound like the coolest gift ever, or should I not do it?
    -Ben

    KoAloha Pineapple Sunday 6 String
    Kamaka HF-3 Tenor
    1928 Harmony Johnny Marvin
    Ohana TK-39
    c. 1970's Hikare Baritone
    Gretsch G9100
    Outdoor Ukulele Soprano #43


    Videos

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Location
    Japan
    Posts
    117

    Default

    I think it is a great gift idea! Definitely do it.

    I am not so sure about the ukuleles you are choosing though. My very first ukulele was a Mahalo UK-120 (similar to this) and it was very difficult to play. The strings were too high off the board and had to be pushed really hard just to get them to make a clear sound. It didn't make a good sound and it didn't stay in tune well. Changing the strings made a bit of difference, but even then it still didn't sound good. Actually it doesn't make much of a sound at all. A good setup would definitely help.

    Here is an example of the Mahalo with changed strings: http://youtu.be/iFS19FNANtE

    Maybe consider the Kala Makala Dolphin instead? It also comes in many colors, is only a little bit more, and seems to get a lot of good reviews on UU.

    I think it's great that you will be teaching them. That should really keep them motivated and get them to the point they can play songs.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    Yigo, Guam
    Posts
    98

    Default

    Actually this ukulele was pretty much the one i started on, my dad got it for about 15 bucks when he went to Hawaii on vacation. of course its nothing special, but it does really make a good starting ukulele, it builds up your calluses quickly, and it also (at'least the one I had) stays in tune pretty well, after i played it for about a month i never had to tune it again. so i definitely think it would be a awesome beginners thing.

    i also think another cool addition would be if you got them just a simple Christmas song book for the Ukulele, so they can see where they put their fingers on the paper.
    -Nathan

    I think i may be the only person from Guam on this forum!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Location
    Japan
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    Default

    It sounds like we had really different experiences. My ukulele was slightly different than the one on amazon, so maybe they have gotten better. But with all the people who say they love their dolphins I would still say go for that.

  5. #5

    Default

    If you can afford the slightly increased cost, definitely go with Makala Dolphins.

    I think you can find them for $35-$40, maybe less. So instead of $50, it will be closer to $80.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Location
    Japan
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    Default

    Looks like $35 on Amazon!

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    Minnesota
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    Default

    Hi Ben, I bet if you can get these mahalos set up right and with good strings you'll all be jammin into the new year. Great gift!

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Location
    Los Angeles - The Foothills
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    3,979

    Default

    Hi Ben

    I think you're a great brother! I recommend the Makala Dolphin bridge ukes as well. Buy them now while you can, because they go quickly. I bought 9 Dolphins last year, and had difficulty finding all the colors I wanted even in October. I put Aquila strings on all of them, and had to do a little set-up on a few (to improve intonation). Ukuleles, especially entry level ones are popular Christmas gifts. Good luck.

    –Lori

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Hamburg, Germany
    Posts
    72

    Default

    Also give them a clip tuner!

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    Honolulu, HI
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    Default

    Thanks everyone for the suggestions! I'll definitely be including a tuner. The choice between the Makala and Mahalo was tough, but I'm reasonably confident I can correct any major issues with a set up and good strings. Plus, they really won't know the difference, which helps
    -Ben

    KoAloha Pineapple Sunday 6 String
    Kamaka HF-3 Tenor
    1928 Harmony Johnny Marvin
    Ohana TK-39
    c. 1970's Hikare Baritone
    Gretsch G9100
    Outdoor Ukulele Soprano #43


    Videos

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