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Thread: $150-$200 dollar concert Uke for a complete string instrument beginner

  1. #21
    Join Date
    Apr 2012


    I have a Kala travel Uke (it's just thin-bodied isn't hinged or telescopic or anything...yet) and the build quality and sound are excellent. I can definitely recommend the brand.

  2. #22
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Oop North in England


    I have a Kala solid top acacia soprano which cost me £180. A concert equivalent would still come in within your budget. It's a well made uke which plays and looks very well.

    All your suggested ukes are good but, like others, I suggest you also consider a Flea or a Fluke. I have a Flea, which has all the virtues others have listed plus, although it's a soprano instrument, there is just a little more room on the fretboard than most sopranos which make them a little easier to play.
    Geoff Walker

    I have several ukuleles in various sizes and am not planning on getting any more...

    at least, not yet.

    I also play some blowy things and a squeezy thing

    You Tube Channel:

  3. #23
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Los Angeles - The Foothills


    Quote Originally Posted by Ukulele-uk View Post
    Thanks for your input Lori, Which do you prefer out of the Mainland and Kala out of interest? Sounds like Ohana is your preferred make overall.

    Ok, new update is its between the Ohana CK20's, Kala KA or spend the extra for a mainland. what u think?
    It is a little tricky comparing the Mainland vs. Kala, since one is a tenor and the other a concert. The Kala Mango Tenor I have has a mellower/ lower (more bass) tone and a fancier wood grain. The Mainland has a straighter wood grain, and brighter tone. I have the Kala strung in Low G tuning, and it sounds very nice. The Kala is a laminate, so I don't worry as much about it when going from a beach climate to a desert climate (a 30 minute drive is all it takes in Los Angeles). Both Mango ukes have a slightly different character to their tone... different than mahogany, koa, maple, or spruce.


  4. #24
    Join Date
    Jan 2013


    The Aria ACU 250 concert (or the Southern Ukulele Store re-branded equivalent - if they are still doing them?) is a solid mahogany (ie NOT laminate), very nicely made and very nice sounding instrument that fits well within your budget!

    Amazon list them at £90 from Omega Music - from memory, they were about a tenner cheaper from SUS, under their own label.

    I got mine from Clifford Essex, who also did a full setup and threw in a Uke-Crazy hard case for £110, but they're not in stock there anymore.

    Cracking uke though - but make sure whoever sells it to you offers a proper setup, as that'll make a huge difference.....

    Hope that helps

    Mahalo 2020 Soprano - or at least it used to be!
    Aria ACU-250 Concert
    Clearwater UCW7T Tenor
    Epiphone Les Paul Concert
    Fender 52 Telecaster Concert

  5. #25
    Join Date
    Apr 2012


    Quote Originally Posted by Ukulele-uk View Post
    Also, Is it true that the solid wood Ukes take a lot of maintenance compared to the solid tops?
    Quote Originally Posted by Ukejenny View Post
    As far as maintenance, I think keeping the humidity adjusted is the only major worry.
    What ukejenny said. Shouldn't be a problem in the UK where
    (a) climate is much less extreme and
    (b) aircondition is much less common/used
    compared to the US.

    Soundwise laminates are not necessarily "worse" than solids, e.g. Ohana build some very nice and thin laminates...
    Soprano Concert Tenor Bass
    Makala MK-S (Baton Rouge SU-BW)
    Kala SSTU-FMCP (ukuMele FC)
    Makala Waterman (ukuMele)
    Firefly Walnut (Aquila)
    Flight TUS50 (ukuMele)
    Flea M-42 (Worth CM-LG)
    Koa Pili Koko Acacia (Aquila CGDA)
    Big Island KTO-CT (ukuMele)
    Blackbird Clara
    Risa Solid
    Pono MTDX8 (Worth BM) Kala Ubass EM-FS (Aquila Red)

    more about all my ukuleles on

    Every artist was first an amateur (Ralph Waldo Emerson)

  6. #26
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Alabama, USA


    Yes, England is a happy place for all-wood construction ukes to live. I would be diligent in keeping a humidifier in use if I lived in Arizona.
    Click a photo for information!

  7. #27
    Join Date
    May 2013
    New Jersey, USA


    I don't know if they're available in the UK, but Makai ukes would fit the bill of economy, playability and good looks. I have an MC-90 (concert-size solid mango uke) as my main instrument, plus a UK-55 laminate mahogany soprano as my "beach" uke, and I am totally satisfied with them. You don't see too many Makai-o-philes on this forum (beats me as to why), but I think they are a secret treasure among the Chinese ukuleles. Elderly Instruments carries them, as does Uke Republic & Mim, plus you can also find them on Ebay (for a song). Maybe worth a look before buying a Kala.

  8. #28
    Join Date
    Aug 2013


    Thanks for the help everybody!!

    Have decided on getting the Mainland Concert from eaglemusicshop and cant wait to start playing

  9. #29
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Redding, CA


    I don't think you'll be disappointed with Mainland. I have a couple. I'm in a small uke club and have been to a workshop with 70 ukes there. I really like the resonance of my Mainland concert over the other ukes. Like you, I was a beginner when I bought my first Mainland (tenor). No regrets. I just bought a Mainland Gecko for my grand daughter. I would not recommend it for adults, but it has a decent tone. Glad you found one in England. Enjoy!

    Mainland Mahogany Tenor Cutaway
    Mainland Concert, Red Cedar/Rosewood
    Flea Natural w/tenor neck
    OU-53 Oscar Schmidt Baritone (GCEA, Low G)
    OU-6W Oscar Schmidt Tenor (wide neck)

  10. #30
    Join Date
    Dec 2012
    Rockford IL


    Since this is your first uke, I'm only gonna say this. This is your first uke. There will be more. Try as you might, you won't pick the "right one" the first time. In fact the "right one" will change as you go. Based on your research, and the opinions of the fine folks here, take a scientific wild old guess, and pick one you think will be right. Play it a while, and decide which direction (if any) to go.

    By doing this, you'll have these three things: 1) a new uke; 2) a fantastic place to start; and 3) more fun that you can ever plan on.

    Good luck & welcome!
    I read somewhere that 77% of all the mentally ill live in poverty. Actually, I'm more intrigued by the 23% who are apparently doing quite well for themselves.

    ~Jerry Garcia

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