Favorite uke and why?


“Where words fail, music speaks.”
Jun 21, 2010
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South San Francisco
Hi all. I know we aren't supposed to have a favorite child but do you have a favorite uke that you own, and why?

I could start. My favorite uke is my Kimo with a redwood top and rosewood back and sides. I had a bad case of UAS during the pandemic and I was looking for uke with warmth, resonance, and projection. I went through a number of ukes and I ended up ordering this uke. I learned that I really like the x-bracing due to the projection that it gives and how it emphasizes the high and low end. The redwood top gives it nice crisp highs and the rosewood gives it a nice low end.

My second runner would be the UT3K.

I know many members have multiple ukes and do you have a go to?

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Mine is my Kala ziricote tenor (KA-ZCT-T). My wife gave it to me as a surprise in early 2020 - essentially my first uke. I've gotten several more since then, but this one just feels the best in my hands, has a great setup from Elderly, and always sounds good to my ear. Plus, nothing I could buy would offset the sentiment attached to this one. The Ohana SK-350G in middle of the bottom row is my second favorite. It just is.
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That's a tough question, ukes are a lot like children. You love them all but they are special in different ways. I currently have seven but I consider one of them my wife's so I'll say I have six. I'll give you my top three. (in no particular order)

1. Bonanza homesteader concert - This is one of my favorites despite a couple significant build flaws. I love the look, the feel and the woodgrain. I like the fact that it was built in my home state of Minnesota. I love that it is a thinline and that it sounds so good tuned down a half-step. I like that the shape of the state of Minnesota that appears on the sound hole label came about from a suggestion I made in a thread here on Bonanza ukes.

2. Rebel Double Creme soprano - I love that it is a finer uke than I would buy myself at their current pricing and that I won it in a contest. It is my only true soprano, has great resonance/sustain and it sounds great. I love everything about the look and the woodgrain. I love that it seems more traditional with the rear facing tuners and that they are UPT tuners. I thought I was a concert scale only kind of guy but this little gem has opened my eyes.

3. Aiersi concert resonator - I loved the acquisition adventure of finding it at a great price and ordering it directly from the factory in China gambling on the quality, playability and that it would arrive safe after traveling by boat across the world. It is very playable, great quality, it's loud and I love that it has a sound that is unique and different from all my other ukes. I love the look with it's antique brass. I call it my steampunk uke. Some might think playing it would be like wrestling a tank and it is indeed heavy but I like that substantial, solid feel. I like that it is unique and stands apart from all my other ukes.
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The Blackbird Clara has been my favorite for years. I have 2. I use the Clara exclusively for my professional gigs and always bring one of them along when travelling.

The Ekoa is so easy to care for and doesn't expand and contract with temperature changes. The strings (Oasis warm) do change pitch with the temperature, but not having to battle both the instrument and strings every time the temperature changes is a big plus!

The unplugged acoustic sound is big and warm, but I'm also very fond of the sound of the Misi pickup. The ability to plug it into an outlet for one minute and then play for several hours and not have to worry about batteries going dead is a major plus for me.

I really hope they completely recover from the fire they had and begin production again. I haven't heard anything about their recovery.
My favourite is still my Enya EUT-MS tenor. One of my least expensive - it is solid mahogany, satin finish and quite a nice sounding pickup. I just find it to be really comfortable to play and I love how it sounds - the body is slightly larger and deeper than my other tenors which probably helps give it a sound I like.
If the house was on fire and I could only save one ukulele, it would be my custom Beansprout Port Orford Cedar and Walnut Tenor. Not only is it my most expensive ukulele, but it's also the best-sounding and easiest-playing instrument in my stable.

I am at a loss. I don't understand how a person like me who has about 30 ukes can have a favorite? Impossible. I have many favorites like I have many favorite foods, and favorite places to visit, and best friends. Out of all of my ukes, here are the tops and the ones I enjoy playing the most:
1. KoAloha Red Label Koa/cedar concert
2. Pops custom Koa tenor
3. Vintage Martin Tenor
4. Pops Wow (harmony)
5. Romero Grand Tenor Rosewood/cedar
I have two old Martin Sopranos, different styles, and I love them both. I have them strung with different strings so I can have two ukes that play the same with different sounds. I guess if I had to keep just one of them it would be the Style 0 because it is a bit louder, but I'd be happy with either. They both have great tone, projection, are well set up, look and feel like a million bucks...and no cracks or repairs!!!
It would have to be one of the three Kepasa Hollywood style concert ukes. Which one? Good question! One is koa, one is spruce, mahogany and maple; one is spruce and blue-tinted maple. Why? Fits my style of playing perfectly … esthetically awesome … sounds terrific … crafted by a friend.
I can't narrow it down to one. My favorites are:

  • My Kamaka long neck koa soporano. My Millar long neck spruce top soprano comes a close second here.
  • My Kanilea K1 Tenor. I particularly like this one because it has a natural finish rather than a gloss.
  • My Millar spuce top jumbo tenor. Not as expensive as the other two but it has a huge sound and a wide neck, both of which I love.
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My fave is my Ohana CK-42 concert. I love the way it sounds! So much resonance and sustain! I've got it tuned and set up to my liking, and it just makes me happy. I also like that, even though it's a factory-built uke, it's got a "story" in the sinker Redwood top. Wood from a 1,000 year old tree that sat at the bottom of a riverbed for 100 years. Did I mention that it sounds fantastic?

But, I do have a challenger on the way...
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