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Thread: 1st Proper uke: two provisional options

  1. #1
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    Default 1st Proper uke: two provisional options

    Hello everyone.

    I'm Mark from Ireland and I'm new to this forum and relatively new to ukuleles.

    I am sorry to burden you all with what must be the 100th such thread but I need some purchasing advice and you guys seem like just the people to provide it!

    I recently became infatuated with the ukulele and resolved to buy me a nice one. Having no money I bought a cheap €20 soprano and put some martin strings on it to tide me over for the time being.

    It sounds fine as a practice uke that I could possibly bring when travelling. I really enjoy playing it so I've decided that the instrument is for me and I want to move up a few steps.

    ---

    So I've narrowed it down to two provisional options, both Lanikai concerts.

    (Living in Ireland means that Ukulele options are severely limited - the instrument isn't a natural option for us :P ; Lanikai is the best brand that any shop will stock and even then you can only get the LU-21 models. Likewise, those martin strings are the best any Dublin shop will stock. I've chosen to order from a German site, www.thomann.de, which is, again, one of the few options open to us and who also only seem to stock Lanikai - which is fine by me really - with more models.)

    Anyway, they are:

    1. The CK-C (koa laminate)
    2. The LFM-C (Laminate maple with solid spruce top)

    My initial instinct was to go for the koa model as I played a koa soprano in a shop in Munich and I remember loving the tone. It was about €120 ($170 I think...) so I don't know if it was laminate, but I did like it.

    I've also read a review or two for the koa model that seem to be quite positive.

    But in the last day or so I've been considering the Maple uke, as it's only €20 more expensive and I gather that a solid top is really something to go for.
    The problem is I can't find a single review, video or noteable mention of the LFM-C; Not one!
    So I figure that I could get a lot of useful input on this forum.

    ---

    What I really need to know is

    1. If there is anyone here familiar with either or both of those models and their experience of it.

    2. What's to be gained from upgrading to the maple, and to be lost from not buying the koa / is it worth it? (should I just buy a bag with the money?)

    3. If anyone strongly feels I should reconsider my options (perhaps a cheaper lanikai :P).

    4. Any other helpful tips

    ---

    Sorry for the long post.

    Any help would be seriously appreciated.

    Thanks,

    Mark
    Last edited by Mark S; 09-13-2008 at 01:08 PM.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
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    UK
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Mark S View Post
    Hello everyone.

    I'm Mark from Ireland and I'm new to this forum and relatively new to ukuleles.

    I am sorry to burden you all with what must be the 100th such thread but I need some purchasing advice and you guys seem like just the people to provide it!

    I recently became infatuated with the ukulele and resolved to buy me a nice one. Having no money I bought a cheap €20 soprano and put some martin strings on it to tide me over for the time being.

    It sounds fine as a practice uke that I could possibly bring when travelling. I really enjoy playing it so I've decided that the instrument is for me and I want to move up a few steps.

    ---

    So I've narrowed it down to two provisional options, both Lanikai concerts.

    (Living in Ireland means that Ukulele options are severely limited - the instrument isn't a natural option for us :P ; Lanikai is the best brand that any shop will stock and even then you can only get the LU-21 models. Likewise, those martin strings are the best any Dublin shop will stock. I've chosen to order from a German site, www.thomann.de, which is, again, one of the few options open to us and who also only seem to stock Lanikai - which is fine by me really - with more models.)

    Anyway, they are:

    1. The CK-C (koa laminate)
    2. The LFM-C (Laminate maple with solid spruce top)

    My initial instinct was to go for the koa model as I played a koa soprano in a shop in Munich and I remember loving the tone. It was about €120 ($170 I think...) so I don't know if it was laminate, but I did like it.

    I've also read a review or two for the koa model that seem to be quite positive.

    But in the last day or so I've been considering the Maple uke, as it's only €20 more expensive and I gather that a solid top is really something to go for.
    The problem is I can't find a single review, video or noteable mention of the LFM-C; Not one!
    So I figure that I could get a lot of useful input on this forum.

    ---

    What I really need to know is

    1. If there is anyone here familiar with either or both of those models and their experience of it.

    2. What's to be gained from upgrading to the maple, and to be lost from not buying the koa / is it worth it? (should I just buy a bag with the money?)

    3. If anyone strongly feels I should reconsider my options (perhaps a cheaper lanikai :P).

    4. Any other helpful tips

    ---

    Sorry for the long post.

    Any help would be seriously appreciated.

    Thanks,

    Mark

    Hey Mark and welcome! Finally a post I can help with! I have one of the models you're asking about!

    My first uke was a Lanikai LU21 and I upgraded to the CK-C a few months ago. The difference was quite impressive.

    Overall the uke feels really solid and has an excellent tone. It's very bright and has a good sustain. I play a range of different music on it and it sounds good from the Beatles to Hawaiian stuff.

    It has pretty cool fret markers (like half moons, unlike the usual circular inlays) which make it stand out a bit.

    The only down side to the uke is that it is quite top heavy due to the metal tuning pegs - something you won't notice unless you've used a much lighter uke, I got used to it in about 5 seconds.

    The CK-C also stays in tune for days without needing to change anything.

    In terms of looks I prefer the koa grain, it's more traditional and looks good. The light purfling around the uke looks really cool and is v distinctive.

    I've written a review of the uke for the site but haven't been able to upload it for some reason. I'm happy to send you it and some photos if it would help. I can also record me playing something so you can get feel for the tone (ignore the bad playing).

    I think mine cost £145. I bought my first uke (the Lanikai LU21C) in Hawaii for about $100 and I was happy with that so don't write off the cheaper models. The CK-C is a great mid-range type uke that will last for a fairly long time and produces a great sound.

    I hope this helps!

    John

    P.S the shop I bought mine from had the maple in stock and it was exactly the same price as the koa. It's effectively exactly the same as the koa, the sound was very similar too. I just prefered the koa which looked more like a uke as opposed to the maple which looked like a small guitar (it was really nice looking wood though, very unusual). Let me find the web address of the shop. They definitely deliver all over the place.

    EDIT: I found the website but they seem to have changed it, definitely for the worse! They don't seem to have half of the products they used to have. the only model I could find was the tenor, they definitely sell the concert though:

    http://www.newcastlemusic.co.uk/prod...5001/view.ashx

    It may be worth calling them and double-checking the prices as I got my CK-C for £145.
    Last edited by upskydowncloud; 09-13-2008 at 01:47 PM.

  3. #3
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    Sep 2008
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    Dublin, Ireland
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    Hey John.

    Thanks very much for the reply.

    It was certainly very helpful.

    A recording and some photos of the CK-C would be fantastic!

    and thanks for the link. Thomann has a similar price but I'll definitely give that shop a call to see if they have the model and if their shipping costs are less.

    Much appreciated

  4. #4
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    Hey Mark,
    Have you tried emailing MGM at ebay. He offers discounted shipping international and he seems to be awesome. Other than that I would recommend buying the solid wood top uke. Looks matter but anyday a solid top sounds better than a laminate. I've owned 4 ukes in my life and i got rid of my laminate one. Gave it away. I also didn't pursue the uke for 4 years b/c the sound was so cheap sounding but once I got my first solid I can't seem to stop buying.

  5. #5
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    Feb 2008
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    Phoenix, AZ
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    Mark, welcome to UU.

    I don't have any experience with those two ukes, but based on my experience with other ukes, I'd recommend the one with the solid top. It does make a difference, soundwise.

    Good luck and let us know what you get.....

  6. #6
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    One thing I'd say is that if you import a uke into the UK customs will automatically add 17.5% on for VAT which makes importing one rather expensive!

  7. #7
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    I'm sure the Irish authorities will do a similar thing!

  8. #8
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    San DEeezy california (chula vista)
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    save up! man get anything solid. solid wood such as mahogony and koa or like a curly mango sides and back with a solid spruce top.

    i own a ck-c! its cool but yeah.. id onnnt know with mine the laminate or the satine finsih? i dont know it was coming off. haha look into ponos!

  9. #9
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    Hey thanks everyone for the replies!

    I was about to purchase that spruce top when I discovered two other shops that are open to me and thus many other options!

    I still want to stay within that general price range and I've decided to aim for at least a solid wood top.

    So I was also looking at this Kala all solid mahogany concert:

    http://ukulele.de/shop/product_info....7qiurm6uv6c4m4

    and this pono all solid mahogany concert:

    http://ukulele.de/shop/product_info....7qiurm6uv6c4m4


    as per usual, it's hard to find reviews for many of these, so if anyone has experience with any of these models, some feedback would be a great help

    What's the consensus for all solid mahogany ukes? They seem to be the closest I can get to a fully solid wood instrument...

    Also, a shop in the UK has flukes, which I didn't think I'd be able to get...

    So I might just be able to get that surf fluke I had my eyes on

    not sure if it's a wise choice for a first proper uke though...

    Your help is hugely appreciated! Can't wait to actually buy one...

  10. #10
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    YO the pono solid mahogony is nice! fo realz. its solid wood you cant go wrong bro i think its a satin finish. ! and ponos are made by the same guys as koolau sp? ahhaha but yeah! keep us updated!

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