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Thread: HELP! First ukulele, alulu?

  1. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by takayakiba View Post
    hello! I'm a guitarist, and i recently i've been interested in buying my first ukulele. I don't want to spend too much on it, but i want a good quality uke at the same time. I saw a person on ebay named taisamlu and he claims it is a handmade, solid koa ukulele. But it seems "too good to be true". Anyone know about these ukes?

    http://www.ebay.com/itm/Alulu-Solid-...item25696cf475
    Aloha,

    Taisamlu actually makes some really decent instruments that are all solid wood with bone nut and saddle. I wouldn't buy an instrument that has all of the fancy mop & abalone inlay on the backside and sound board of the uke. Too much of the inlay compromises the overall sound and projection. The workmanship of his instruments are actually pretty good, too. Really clean. There may be some slight finish blemishes here and there, but supposedly, his instruments are hand made using hand tools - so you will find imperfections. Stick with the ukes that don't have all of the fancy mop & abalone inlays - just for the rosette, fretboard, and headstock which would be ok. Buy an uke that's on auction from him and if you're patient, you can get a nice solid wood uke for $150 - $200 including shipping. Most of his ukes are "ACACIA" which Hawaiian Koa is from the same species of wood, but different. Hawaiian Koa is more sought after and expensive. Taisamlu does sell Ayers Guitar Company ukes from time to time. Ayers ukes are made of solid Hawaiian Koa and for those of you that don't know this - the Ayers Guitar Company makes Big Island Ukes for the Big Island Ukulele Company.

    The eBay Seller that has a bad reputation is "Inlaidartist" His instruments have way too much mop & abalone inlays all over the soundboard and backside. I've heard that the wood he uses hasn't been dried properly either, so in about 2 months after receiving an instrument from him, the wood starts turning green. His instruments don't sound good either.

    Another eBay Seller is Brucewei. He has a couple of accounts on eBay under Bruceweiart and Bruceweiguitars. He makes nice solid wood instruments, too.

    Just because instruments are made in Asia doesn't mean they're junk. There are some very good builders in Asia. Hope this helps.

  2. #12
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    Nov 2011
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    Quote Originally Posted by GKK View Post
    Not All Koa wood are the same quality.

    The Hawaiian Ukulele Manufacturers use Koa wood that has been naturally dried for several years in a warehouse or has been dried in a climate controlled oven to an exact humidity level.

    Also, the thickness and grain direction of the Koa wood during manufacturing affect the sound and look of each ukulele.

    Many Ukulele's made in High Humidity countries such as southeast asia, may eventually develope cracks and warpage in a dryer climate.

    Good Luck if you decide to purchase.

    Thank you for so much information! How would i prevent the cracks from occurring? Do I need to buy a humidifier? I've heard of them, but was never really sure of how to use them, and what it does. I live in australia so do you think the instrument will crack?

  3. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by takayakiba View Post
    Thank you for so much information! How would i prevent the cracks from occurring? Do I need to buy a humidifier? I've heard of them, but was never really sure of how to use them, and what it does. I live in australia so do you think the instrument will crack?
    A good Humidity level for a Ukulele is around 60-70%.

    Less than 60% you should use a humidifier. I live in Northern California and the humidity level in my home is 68%.

    I bought an inexpensive analog Hygrometer and calibrated it using the salt method. Just get a Ziploc bag and put a small amount of salt in a small bottle cap or dish then, seal up the ziploc bag containing the hygrometer and capful of salt. This will create a known 70% humidity level in about 4-6 hours. you can then calibrate the hygrometer by bending the spring so, it reads 70% or reset the readout on a digital hygrometer.

    After calibrating your Hygrometer, you can tell how dry or humid your home is and if you need to use a humidifier.

  4. #14
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    60%-70% is impossible in any climate that isn't permanently warm. Even in my very well insulated house that would create condensation at this time of the year if I tried to humidify the room to that level.
    I would also dispute that 60%-70% is a good humidity level for the ukulele, unless it was built specifically for such a humid environment.
    Stringed instruments like ukulele, guitar, violin etc. are normally at their best at a humidity level where humans are at their best as well: Somewhere around 50% RH.
    In practice this means that if winters are cold you should try to keep it above 40% most of the time. If you live in a temperate region that won't be a problem of course, if it's colder then you'll need a humidifier during winter.

    -Tor

  5. #15
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    I've bought a solid koa uke from him before, very nice. I didn't have any problems with it, played nice out of the box.
    Kamaka 8-String | KoAloha Sceptre Tenor | Compass Rose Flamed-Maple Tenor | Goldtone Tenor Banjolele | Ken Timms Soprano Martin Style-O | Bruko Flat Soprano #6 | Sco Dart Jazzbox Uke | Tiki Surf Flea | Kala Cedar & Acacia Baritone
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  6. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by takayakiba View Post
    Thank you for so much information! How would i prevent the cracks from occurring? Do I need to buy a humidifier? I've heard of them, but was never really sure of how to use them, and what it does. I live in australia so do you think the instrument will crack?
    I imagine it will depend where in Australia you live. It's a big country, right?

    Have you tried contacting ukulele dealers in Australia? This Kala KA-TEM (solid mahogany) is not in stock right now, but they seem to stock a fairly large selection in the AUD $200-250 range. Shipping is reasonable at $20.

    Most importantly, you would have some reasonable chance of recourse if something went wrong with the shipment or the product was of unacceptable quality. That's much more of a pain with a seller in Taiwan.

  7. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tor View Post
    60%-70% is impossible in any climate that isn't permanently warm. Even in my very well insulated house that would create condensation at this time of the year if I tried to humidify the room to that level.
    I would also dispute that 60%-70% is a good humidity level for the ukulele, unless it was built specifically for such a humid environment.
    -Tor
    The Humidity level is measured in the Ukulele Case where the humidifier is placed.

    In a Dry climate, the ukulele should be stored in the humidified case when not in use.
    Getting better everyday with my Pono MHTSH Ukulele.

  8. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Drew Bear View Post
    This Kala KA-TEM (solid mahogany) is not in stock right now, but they seem to stock a fairly large selection in the AUD $200-250 range.
    The Kala KA-TEM is a Laminate, not solid wood.

  9. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by GKK View Post
    The Kala KA-TEM is a Laminate, not solid wood.
    Sorry about that. Thanks for catching my mistake. Maybe that Australian dealer wasn't a good random pick. They advertise this one as "ALL-SOLID MAHOGANY" and it certainly isn't either: http://www.melbournemusiccentre.com....uct/kala-ka-c/

    Ah well. Always caveat emptor. Has anyone verified the ones from Taiwan are really solid and not laminate wood?

    I found this listing earlier today on an "ebay" site:

    Big Island TR-KRGT Solid KOA Tenor Ukulele US $400

    Turns out it's a site based in India claiming the product is in California. I didn't bother to check further to see if this was a legitimate site or not.

  10. #20
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    Kala, Ohana, Mainland, Pono, Mele

    The last three don't make laminates at all. The first two make solid mahogany ukes with excellent quality control, at very reasonable prices.

    The Asian ukes with tons of inlay are wall-hangers.
    Allan

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