Your better and wilfully retained mass manufactured Sopranos

Graham Greenbag

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It seems to me that the market place is busier with some Ukes than others, the keepers stay with their owners and the rest are re-homed to be either played or gather dust elsewhere. Maybe some of the mass manufactured instruments don’t sell in large numbers and hence not many are for resale, but I recall one USA based reviewer saying that he’d kept a particular model for his own use and the rest he’d let go (because you’ve only got so much wall space and can only play a limited number in rotation, etc.).

I've an Ohana SK35 that‘s pretty good; it ain’t perfection but it was relatively affordable, I’m very pleased with it and I anticipate keeping it for a very long time - who knows, it may even never be sold by me. The SK35 is quite a popular model but (here in the UK) I rarely see second hand ones for sale and I had to watch and wait for quite some time before ’mine’ appeared on eBay. Its slightly more expensive sister, the SK38, never seems to be for resale … and that’s the one the tester kept.

Of the mass made Sopranos that you own which are the ones that you both regularly play and refuse to sell?
 
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Just speaking personally, the only ukes that I would not sell are those that have a special meaning for me. I won't sell my 1997 KoAloha soprano because it is an early Koaloha made by Pops and I won't sell my Ukesa Harmony Wow soprano that Pops made specifically for the Harmony Choir that I directed. Other than that, I would and have passed on many sopranos and ukes that I loved. I had a 2009 KoAloha concert that I absolutely loved and held on to for 12 years with no thoughts of selling, and yet I sold it last week because a post in the forum touched me in a way that it felt right to pass it on to someone who I felt would love it as much as I did. I have bought and sold some wonderful ukes in the past 13 years that I have been on here. Really, it is just a matter of time before I pass them on.

on the other side, some of the greatest ukes I have owned I purchased on the UU marketplace. People loved these ukes but it was just time to pass them on for various reasons. I have seen wonderful ukes come up for sale and that is what makes this forum so wonderful-- the sharing and the giving.
 
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I have an Ohana SK-30M (solid mahogany, long-neck soprano) that I love and will not sell. It's not like it would fetch anything anyway if it were for sale. They sell for around the $180 mark new and I bought a B-stock for significantly less than that but I love the little thing.
 
Of the mass market ukes, assuming the Martin M2 is not nor would Koaloha be included.

Then the Ohana sk-75g is the one. It's in the bedroom and gets played often.
 
I wish I'd kept a roundback Clearwater, the soprano Kala travel.... but one's personal strategies change as one 'matures' (sic). I spent ages taking the gloss - and many grammes - off my SK35 but it went just because I wanted to experience something else using the same ukapital pot. Having now attempted a first open mic, suddenly I'm reconsidering again - I want something tatty, light, soprano and spruce-topped to put a pickup in - but my instruments are all so competent and yet practically valueless.
(Should have bought the very cheap SK75G on ebay recently... and there was a nice SK28 on facebook recently that seems to have gone despite it being a lot more than I'd have wanted to pay for it).
 
For me, that would be my, mass manufactured in the 1920s, Martin Style 0. I can't imagine getting rid of this uke. I hope whoever gets it after I die takes good care of it and enjoys playing it. Other than my Martins, I don't have any other mass marketed ukes in my small, but growing collection of homemade ukes.
 
I have an Ohana SK-30M (solid mahogany, long-neck soprano) that I love and will not sell. It's not like it would fetch anything anyway if it were for sale. They sell for around the $180 mark new and I bought a B-stock for significantly less than that but I love the little thing.
I can say the same thing about my Islander AS-4, and I often do. ;)
It was the second uke I bought, but I don't keep it for sentimental reasons. It just sounds great and is a joy to play.
 
I don't know about refuse to sell (if the right offer came along 😉), but a used $10 Kala KA-S has served its purpose well as a packable traveler... ended up getting a concert as well.

Come to think of it, the eleuke could fit the bill...not hugely mass produced though (I don't think).
 
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My Ohana SK-28. It’s wonderful to hold, light as a feather, looks striking, and sounds like a soprano should. I’ve been pleased with each of the dozen or so Ohanas I’ve owned, and yet I’ve rehomed all but that one and a taropatch.
 
My willfully retained mass market soprano is actually a long-neck soprano, so hopefully it qualifies for this thread. I bought three different ukes when I first started playing. My Kala KA-SLNG is the only one of those three that I still have. Highly affordable, cute as heck in real life, unassuming, always stays in tune, and waits patiently for it’s turn to be played, never giving me attitude if it’s been awhile. The SLNG is lightweight, sounds good, is comfortable to play, and travels well. Definitely a keeper.
 
My thanks to all that have responded so far, it would be really good to hear from others too so please do ‘chip in’ with your experiences. What you folks are saying is an education for us all and, though we are all unique individuals, the sharing of common experiences has so many benefits.(y):)
 
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Interesting thread, thanks. Many mass-market instruments have come and gone over the years. Thinking on it, the only mass-market soprano left with me is a Favilla U2. I bought it off eBay when I first started playing ukulele. Sometime later I had the friction tuners replaced with new ones. I don't really play it much, but this thread is making me want to go pull it out :) . Otherwise, all the mass-market purchases have been given away or sold; mostly given away. The benefits to me for having owned mass-market, low-cost ukuleles is, that over time, I have learned to do set-ups, and to deal with fret sprout, as many came needing or later wanting a bit of help.
 
My willfully retained mass market soprano is actually a long-neck soprano, so hopefully it qualifies for this thread. I bought three different ukes when I first started playing. My Kala KA-SLNG is the only one of those three that I still have. Highly affordable, cute as heck in real life, unassuming, always stays in tune, and waits patiently for it’s turn to be played, never giving me attitude if it’s been awhile. The SLNG is lightweight, sounds good, is comfortable to play, and travels well. Definitely a keeper.
I've been seriously tempted by your Kala KA-SLNG's sibling, the KA-SSLNG (solid spruce top) multiple times. If I weren't trying to pare down my uke collection I'd still be tempted.
 
Another vote for SK-30M here. Out of the box it was near perfect. Compared it to a Martin S1 in store and came home with the SK.
 
It seems to me that the market place is busier with some Ukes than others, the keepers stay with their owners and the rest are re-homed to be either played or gather dust elsewhere. Maybe some of the mass manufactured instruments don’t sell in large numbers and hence not many are for resale, but I recall one USA based reviewer saying that he’d kept a particular model for his own use and the rest he’d let go (because you’ve only got so much wall space and can only play a limited number in rotation, etc.).

I've an Ohana SK35 that‘s pretty good; it ain’t perfection but it was relatively affordable, I’m very pleased with it and I anticipate keeping it for a very long time - who knows, it may even never be sold by me. The SK35 is quite a popular model but (here in the UK) I rarely see second hand ones for sale and I had to watch and wait for quite some time before ’mine’ appeared on eBay. Its slightly more expensive sister, the SK38, never seems to be for resale … and that’s the one the tester kept.

Of the mass made Sopranos that you own which are the ones that you both regularly play and refuse to sell?
My O'hana sk-25 is a happy little sop banger. Set up beautifully by AlohaCity Ukes, it's loud, bright and easy to play.
 
For me it's a Nova-U concert in black with Fremont black line low-G strings. Nothing says "mass manufactured" like a plastic ukulele. That said, it sounds good to my ears and is easy to play in it's current configuration. Yes, it's a keeper.
 
The two soprano ukuleles that I play the most are a Martin 0XK (standard soprano, made in Mexico) and a Famous FLS-1 (long-neck soprano, made in Japan). Both are mass produced and were relatively inexpensive (around $200) when I bought them a few years ago. The Martin is all-laminate and the Famous is solid top and laminate back. I leave the Famous in my backpack (in a lightly padded gig bag) to take to jam sessions and it has never disappointed me when playing with others. I leave the Martin on my desk (without any case) for easy access. Both are sturdy enough that I am not too worried about damage from the way I use them now and if they do get damaged, I will probably replace them with similar models since I believe both of these are now discontinued, but Kiwaya does make several similar models.
 
I've been seriously tempted by your Kala KA-SLNG's sibling, the KA-SSLNG (solid spruce top) multiple times. If I weren't trying to pare down my uke collection I'd still be tempted.
Not trying to feed your UAS or anything, but I’ve heard great things about the SSLING model. Just saying … :)
 
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