Tell us about your best sounding ukulele..


Feb 13, 2018
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Saratoga, CA
This should be a fun thread to revisit.

Sound of a uke is very subjective but should be a fun read none the less.

For me:

Make: cocobolo ukulele
Model: super concert
Strings: worth brown concert
Tuning: high g

How do I play it: Usually in a quiet room at a low volume.

What do I like about it: it has a good deep tone and a balanced sound across the range. The body resonates well at around high G so standard tuning works well. Really good dynamic range, sounds good and rich when played soft or loud.
I also like the super soprano form factor. Excellent sustain!

I would like to have a lighter head stock and I do not like bridge pins on ukes but the playing more than compensates for the things I would like to see done differently.

I have tried other strings and it currently has titanium strings on but I prefer worth Brown.

Current heard:
Makala dolphin that I sanded down.
Martin c1k
MM tenors: all myrtle and cedar top mahagony back cutaway.
Concert Fluke
Best sounding? To whose ears?

For me, I seem to default to mahogany with either Worth browns or Southcoast stings. Even my ultra cheap Donner solid mahogany top uke with browns sounds pretty good to me.

But then my new koa tiny tenor with a low g is great too. Cannot fault it at all.

Martin C1K for me with M600s... it sings when I sit in the corner of the fireplace. I find that corner gives the best acoustic... I'm getting spoiled when I use the Concert Flea it just doesn't sound the same as the Martin.

However I'm drooling over the Farrallon right now... debating whether to buy one!!
No particular one, but I have a few that I really like the sound of, mainly solid mahogany or solid acacia

Different sizes, but all fitted with Living Water low G fluorocarbon (concert) strings.

Edit: I suppose I ought to say my long neck concert KoAloha acacia, as it's my most expensive, but I really like my Ohana mahogany long necks too. :)
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Can't pick a best sounding, but I can sure pick out the worst sounding.
Wow. That’s a tough one. I have 4 that are all quite different in their sound. Each one sounds great. My KoAloha concert is perhaps the overall sound winner. It suits most music well, is bright & happy, with good intonation everywhere on the fretboard. My Gary Gill short neck tenor is mellow and well suited to strumming, blues, country, and has great intonation. My Loprinzi cedar/ rosewood has been a little mystery uke. It sounds kind of “timid” at home but when I plug into the sound system at church on Sundays, it sings like nobody’s business. It truly sparkles! Maybe it just likes attention. Then there’s my trusty acacia laminate Islander soprano which is just flat out fun sounding around a campfire.
That was nice, Campbell. How do you make the video look like disembodied hands are playing? Cover yourself in black velvet? :confused:

I can't feel the love for my Martin S1, and instead love playing a cheaper Barnes and Mullin Gresse... maybe its the mahogany I don't like, but personally, the Gresse just sounds better to me, and in honesty, as I play for me, that's the most important thing.
The one I'm playing generally. I recently got rid of one custom uke that drove me to despair everytime I played it - feels good not to have it in my life now, as I kept on trying to justify ownership, and having a rotten time with it.

I've recently bought a new old stock Collings UC1 koa, and I'm blown away by it; so at the moment that is my best sounding uke.

I've got a Mya Moe koa tenor that I'd love even more if it weren't for the radius fretboard - love the sound, just get that annoying squeal/buzz on those tricky chords due to not being able to hold down the strings cleanly on the very radiused fretboard. Such a shame, it's one piece koa with bloodwood bindings (custom made for me). The Collings also has a radius, but it is less pronounced (more subtle) than the MM. I would, and I never thought I'd say this: consider a trade for a Collings tenor (must be near mint though) pm me before I change my mind if you have anything suitable, cash either way (I'm UK based).
I suppose it would be my home made concert scale resonator
ukulele? I am mainly a blues player,with lots of rock and a load
of old time tunes thrown in,and it just sounds 'right' to me, for
what I am playing,and my own style of playing!
The one I'm playing generally. I recently got rid of one custom uke that drove me to despair everytime I played it - feels good not to have it in my life now, as I kept on trying to justify ownership, and having a rotten time with it.

WOW Pete F , you really took the word right out of my mouth. Thank you. I too owned a custom ( it's a six strings baritone size guitar most people refer it as guitarlele) . The name brand is highly respected and I was blessed to have the opportunity to buy it off the first owner. It was the most expensive piece of instrument I have ever owned . I kept on trying and trying so hard to justify ownership and feeling miserable. Yes the word is having a rotten time with it to the point that I really thought something is wrong with me.

If it was a few hundred dollars instrument, I may let it sit and hope one day I will learn to love it. There is simply no explanation to why I can not bond with this thing. When someone asked me if I would sell it to him, I actually felt relief that I can pass it on to someone who may have more love than me. You pretty much summed up my feeling in that one sentence.

I have a good collections of uke now. I love them all equally but the one holds dear to my heart is my custom built LFdM which I named it Mercedes and I have made many videos with this instrument. I call it my magic uke. It made my lousy playing sounds good in just about every song.

Five stars for this thread......
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I didn't realise how nice my Martin T1k sounded until I listened to someone else play it. The fullness of the sound is in front rather than above. That might be why people like sound holes on the top side.
Well done Brenda, it must be such a relief to have unloaded that unlovable guitarlele.

Everyone has different opinion , just because I can't justify my ownership of a certain instrument it does not mean it is a bad or an unloveable instrument.

Perhaps, 'relief' is the wrong word choice ! I am just happy someone will play it and hopefully appreciate it much longer than I have.

Most of us have sold instruments for various reasons. For me is if you can't bond with an instrument , let's someone else have it. As simple as that.

I too agree with Oldtoolie Instrument sounds different when you are listening to it from across the room.
My Kanilea K-1 tenor has a buttery sound. People remark on it, even compared to more expensive custom made ukuleles.

But, I once strummed or picked a Kinnard and the damn thing started playing itself it was so good.
I have two, because they have such different sounds.

My sapele KoAloha Opio soprano with Living Waters strings. It only needs a very light touch to ring out.

The $94 spruce/ovangkol Kala soprano many of us on here got from is the other one. When I changed the strings to Martin's, it became the uke everyone comments on when I play it.
Best sounding? Hmm, overall I'd have to say the Ono baritone. Living Water strings in linear Ab tuning (up half step from DGBE). Myrtle/cedar gives a warm low end with clear mids and a little sparkle on the highs without being too bright.
It depends on the genre, as each seems to ring better with different woods and such.

For the "Gulf & Western" and country rock stuff, the Lanikai 6-String.
For classic folk stuff, the OS 8-string.
For gentle ballads and hymns, the Martin T1K

The banjo-ukes add a different spin to everything.
A Martin tenor from the 60's that somehow made it to Australia, then was turned into a 6 string - even had steel strings on it at some stage (judging from the fret wear). It's a real Franken-uke that shows the scars of it's many lives: huge back cracks, parts of the sound-board replaced, headstock damaged from extra post holes, finish all over the shop... but man! when I strum that thing... It is mellow yet bright and "ukey" at the same time. And there's an emotional component to playing it too: I reclaimed and re-loved it - with all it's imperfections, and Cliff Edwards ended up on a Martin tenor (there's even a photo of him in the nursing home with it)
I have many ukes, they all have a place and a story but the sound - and feel of this one makes me smile.
p.s. don't worry, everything has been repaired
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