What is your most frequently played "beater" ukulele?


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Sep 11, 2022
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Does anyone have a Ukulele that they have played a heavy amount that they use the most for practice or prefer to take everywhere? Something that has a lot of mojo to it?
If the Kontor Uke went to the North Pole, I guess that I would take any of my ukes anywhere. The least expensive ukes I own, I built myself, so I don't consider them beaters, but they all get heavy play. They are getting more and more mojo each day.
Probably my Magic Flea concert pineapple flea with wooden fretboard and peghed tuners. Sits on my desk at work with wildly fluctuating humidity and fits in my backpack sorta when traveling. Plus, I know I can always buy another one if need be...
My Mele soprano has been my beater for a few years now. It’s got some cracks in the body that one of these days I’m going to get fixed.
Already posted recently under Show Us Your Couch Uke - It's my beater, the one that I'd be the least upset if it got destroyed:

My swivel office chair uke would be my 2006 $35 Hilo concert, not made now. All laminate mahogany. It's over braced and sounds dull but it plays okay. Good height, decent intonation, no buzzes. 17 frets, 12 to body. Build quality is good except it has white plastic washers instead of post hole bushings, and the black body "binding" is neatly painted on. Only photos I can find are the 12 fret soprano model.

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My Kala SSTU-t travel tenor. I've taken it to school hundreds of times and handed it to a gross of students over the years. Finally I retired it after 5 years as a survivor out out to pasture and I replaced it with an EMTU-t all laminate ukulele. That's the one I take camping and on field trips now... and they come with a padded case!
I don't put a negative connotation on "beater uke". To me, it's a term of endearment. Like a brother or best friend who goes through everything with me but sometimes needs to borrow a few bucks.
Does anyone have a Ukulele that they have played a heavy amount that they use the most for practice or prefer to take everywhere? Something that has a lot of mojo to it?
Thanks for this thread, it’s an interesting twist on a popular topic. The term beater means different things to different folks and even our own ideas of it change over time - I think that mine have shifted a little.

I have a few basic Kala Sopranos that I really like (KA-S and -P); I have have had them for many years and wouldn’t hesitate to take them anywhere: they both sound fine and are reasonably robust, and replacing a brocken one wouldn’t be an issue. Perhaps they are examples of perfect beaters? On the other hand people might prefer something (even) better sounding as their take anywhere instrument, different folk have a floor for how good an instrument should sound to be worth playing and are also differently sensitive to loss. Does that floor move for each of us? Very likely so - mine has - as we become able to afford more and expect more of our daily player.

A Uke with mojo? Years back I bought a Lanikai LU-21P that had been well used and needed repair. I did the repair - a valued learning experience - and afterwards it sounded good enough, but no better - or worse - than what I already had (the similar Kala KA-P). I sold the Lanikai on but that Uke had mojo, the years of usage had left gentle signs of use and I hope that the new owner gets decades of joy from playing it.

I‘ve recently bought an Ohana SK-35 and wouldn’t be surprised if that both became my daily player and, rather than being wrapped in cotton wool, was either safely left out or carefully taken nearly everywhere - maybe that makes it what some folk would consider to be a beater and maybe I only own beaters 😂. One of the Kalas (laminate and inexpensive) will be used for any obviously concerning situations; but the SK35 doesn’t seem fragile, it sounds better than the Kalas and replacing it wouldn’t be too hard a financial blow - ticks the boxes. 🤔 Now what did I say about things changing over time and folk having different ideas of what a beater was …
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Kala KTU-C
I have three instruments & usually play all of them, depending on my mood. My cheapest I bought 40 years ago for $100, my next one I bought used 5 years ago for $500 & my most expensive one I inherited 4 years ago (cost $3,500 in 1983 - had a Fishman Pro blend pickup).

Will usually bring my cheapest one to gigs where I might get rained on or damaged, my most expensive one if I NEED to be amplified, although have gotten rained on a few times. My middle one is the nicest & take it when it’s least likely to get damaged.
At home my Ohana SK30 and VKC get used a ton. An Enya Nova stays in my truck.
Tim is correct about Magic Fluke. In 2009 when I was 60 got my first uke a standard Flea. It plays great, hard to break, and I let everyone play it. I take it everywhere and still play it every day.
I don’t have a beater but wish I did. My only ukes are two expensive custom concerts, which I treat very carefully. Kind of feels like a formal occasion when I get one out.

It would be nice to have a beater, by which I mean something that wouldn’t have to live in a case, could go with me if I’m gonna be waiting in the car, could be left lying anywhere in the house if I feel like noodling for 5 minutes.

Anyone have a concert Risa stick to pass along?
I don’t really have a beater. I guess I never did. No matter where I’m living I play with a Uke group weekly and rehearse with a playing partner working up new repertoire every month to perform at a monthly open mic. I also play all my instruments everywhere. I travel regularly both domestically and internationally and always travel with one or two of my instruments. I have friends whose high end instruments never leave their house. I don’t understand that attitude. I guess if I regularly went camping or to the beach I would get a more robust instrument.
I'm gonna call it now: I'm expecting a LOT of Fleas and Flukes on this thread. :)
Yeah, they are really nice with a balanced tone, great set up and intonation. You can often find them used at great prices.
I bought a Flight Travel concert when I had to travel frequently for my job. Now that I’ve got a new job, entirely WFH, I never play it. I‘d much rather play my wood ukes. They sound so much nicer.
I don’t really have a “beater.” My only uke (that isn’t earmarked for my kids) is my KoAloha soprano. If I needed to take a uke somewhere I’d be worried about it getting damage, I’d probably grab the old harmony soprano or rethink taking an instrument at all.
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