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Thread: Considering purchasing a Mainland Red Cedar Soprano

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2013
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    San Diego , California
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    Default Considering purchasing a Mainland Red Cedar Soprano

    I started another thread recently about possibly purchasing a Sailor Brand soprano, however I am torn between custom ordering this uke and a Mainland Red Cedar Soprano. If anyone has presently, or in the past owned a Mainland Red Cedar soprano, I would appreciate their thoughts on this instrument; primarily in terms of tone, playability, and build quality. I currently own a Ohana Sk-35, but it has some buzzing issues on the E string that I have been unable to completely fix, and I have tried everything from a new saddle, fret leveling and re-dressing, to even restringing with hard tension strings.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Location
    Colorado
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    3,495

    Default

    I have a Mainland Red Cedar Soprano PINEAPPLE.... it's a great sounding and nice playing uke. I got it direct from Mainland, and the set up is really nice. My only complaint, which also applies to my Mainland Mahogany Soprano, is that the fret ends are a bit rough on the higher frets. It's not a big deal, but it is noticeable. Actually, I had a local guitar maker smooth them up a bit for me on the pineapple, but not on the other one yet. Other than that, I couldn't be happier with it. I think the red cedar top and the rosewood back and sides look really striking together. I wouldn't mind having a regular "figure 8" red cedar soprano too, but I have enough ukes for the time being!
    There are two types of people in this world:
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    ca. 1923-'27 Martin Style 3M, ca. 1927-'28 Martin Style 2M, 1950s Martin Style 1M, ca. 1930 Gibson Uke 3, Kiwaya KTS-7, Mainland Gloss Mahogany Soprano, Mainland Red Cedar Pineapple Soprano, Mainland Maple Soprano Banjo Uke, Flea Soprano, Maccaferri Islander Soprano and Baritone, et al...
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  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    Philadelphia, PA
    Posts
    7,360

    Default

    I have a Mainland red cedar soprano and I love it! Very big voice, great intonation, and no significant fit and finish issues. I really like the somewhat more "open" sound of the cedar top, although it's a different tone than koa or mahogany, for those that are traditionalists. I think the red cedar line are the most interesting models that Mainland makes.



  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Location
    Vancouver Island BC-eh!
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    1,167

    Default

    I have the red cedar pineapple as well and it sounds very different than my Mainland mahogany. Very loud, even brash with the Aquilas. I like it for that traditional uke sound when strumming especially in a group but prefer the mahogany with fluoro strings for picking as the tone of the individual notes is sweeter. I suspect different strings on the cedar would make it a fine all round player.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    Sunless Rustbelt Northeast Ohio
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    Default

    I've had 2. Loved them both but my tastes have changed in the type of music I want to play so they have moved on.

    They are great sounding ukes with a sharp bright sound. I put Worth Brown Mediums on mine to tone them down a little and add a little fullness to the sound.

    Beautiful instruments in every way.
    Kala KA-ACP-CTG. Had the tenor version. Decided tenor's not for me. Got the concert.
    Mainland Classic Concert Solid mahogany, no bling, beautiful.
    Bonanza Concert Oreo Slimline black walnut and cherry CNC marvel.
    Ohana SK-39 Great little Martin wannabe.
    Mahalo Smiley Face. Cute little bugger and Jake signed it!
    Kala KA-15S. Good starter.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Nov 2010
    Location
    DFW, TX, USA
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    Default

    I haven't had the red cedar soprano but I do own about a half-dozen Mainland ukes; some purchased direct from Mainland Mike and some from the second-hand market (ebay and the marketplace here). All have been well worth the money and my Mainland mahogany soprano is neck-and-neck with my KoAloha longneck soprano for the title of "my best uke" (and that's after I had to make a new saddle to correct the intonation on the KoAloha - before that the mahogany soprano was hands-down my #1).

    Now...that mahogany soprano is kind of special and probably a "pick of the litter" even though it was a second for a tiny cosmetic flaw. So, I wouldn't claim that every Mainland uke will compare favorably with Hawaiian-made ukes - but in their price bucket they're a very sound purchase.

    John
    I'm not entirely convinced that it is possible to polish a turd. However, if one were to accomplish that feat one would still have a turd, and one all the more noticeable for being shiny.

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