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Ukulele - which makers?

Tootler 14 Aug 11 - 06:32 PM
PHJim 14 Aug 11 - 06:38 PM
Tootler 17 Aug 11 - 11:28 PM
josepp 18 Aug 11 - 12:26 AM
Wesley S 18 Aug 11 - 12:34 AM
The Sandman 18 Aug 11 - 12:54 PM
lefthanded guitar 18 Aug 11 - 01:16 PM
foggers 18 Aug 11 - 02:23 PM
josepp 18 Aug 11 - 04:33 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 17 Aug 11 - 06:59 PM
buddhuu 17 Aug 11 - 07:06 PM
Little Robyn 17 Aug 11 - 10:40 PM
Little Robyn 17 Aug 11 - 10:50 PM
Tootler 18 Aug 11 - 02:20 PM
Artful Codger 18 Aug 11 - 03:06 PM
buddhuu 18 Aug 11 - 04:26 PM
buddhuu 18 Aug 11 - 04:28 PM
Leadfingers 18 Aug 11 - 07:04 PM
Little Robyn 19 Aug 11 - 02:08 AM
Stringsinger 19 Aug 11 - 05:06 PM
buddhuu 19 Aug 11 - 07:57 PM
Tootler 26 Aug 11 - 02:59 PM
GUEST,Winston 10 Sep 11 - 02:08 PM
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Subject: Ukulele - which makers?
From: Tootler
Date: 14 Aug 11 - 06:32 PM

I went to a beginners ukulele workshop some time ago and got myself a cheapo soprano uke which developed intonation problems and stopped me playing. As the problem was with just one string someone suggested getting new strings. I have done that and it has made a big difference and I feel I am starting to make worthwhile progress. However looking at I feel I should get a better quality instrument as I can tell it's not really all that well made. Worth the money to start with and see how I get on, but not much more.

If I get a new one, my thought is to get a concert uke - or possibly a tenor. I do not want to spend a huge amount, say 50 to 100 GBP (I can't afford much more just now) and there seems to be plenty in that price range.

I am wondering which makers to consider, and I am mainly interested in using it to sing with so also what are the thoughts on concert vs tenor uke.

Guitarists, please don't bother suggesting guitar instead. I've tried guitar three times in the past and never really got on with it and I rather like the uke and I do feel I am making progress.


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Subject: RE: Ukulele - which makers?
From: PHJim
Date: 14 Aug 11 - 06:38 PM

Kala and Lanikai make ukes that are quite playable and sound good for a reasonable price. I like a concert size, but I haven't played too many tenors. I think the smaller size is one of the charms of the ukulele.


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Subject: RE: Ukulele - which makers?
From: Tootler
Date: 17 Aug 11 - 11:28 PM

Refresh


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Subject: RE: Ukulele - which makers?
From: josepp
Date: 18 Aug 11 - 12:26 AM

I just bought this one--a Luna Concert Tattoo. About US$120. Good sound, handles well, sturdy, catchy-looking and has electronics.

Luna Concert Tattoo Uke


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Subject: RE: Ukulele - which makers?
From: Wesley S
Date: 18 Aug 11 - 12:34 AM

I have a Pono tenor that I like a lot. It was about 300 American. I think the concert size might have more of the traditional uke sound you might enjoy. But try both sizes if possible and see what appeals to you.


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Subject: RE: Ukulele - which makers?
From: The Sandman
Date: 18 Aug 11 - 12:54 PM

contact antony black in sunderland he is a superb instrument maker, i have a mandolin that he made it is unbelievably good.


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Subject: RE: Ukulele - which makers?
From: lefthanded guitar
Date: 18 Aug 11 - 01:16 PM

Did any one see/hear Eddie Vedder playing uke on Letterman recently? Amazing how adaptable the instrument was to his well wrought, earnest and bittersweet rockstyle song. Who knew the uke could so touching?

I wanna play whatever he's playing.


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Subject: RE: Ukulele - which makers?
From: foggers
Date: 18 Aug 11 - 02:23 PM

Hi I bought a Moana concert uke from the Music Room at Cleakheaton (they do on line sales) and paid £86 for it. With solid spruce top and solid mahogany back and sides, it has a nice responsive tone.


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Subject: RE: Ukulele - which makers?
From: josepp
Date: 18 Aug 11 - 04:33 PM

The best uke player alive is Jake Shimabukuro but I don't know what kind of uke he uses. Wait a minute. Yes, I do. He uses a Kamaka with D'Addario strings. It was printed inside his new CD and I just remembered reading it a couple of days ago. So there you are.


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Subject: RE: Ukulele - which makers?
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 17 Aug 11 - 06:59 PM

Are there others besides Kamaka?
Kamaka Hawaii


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Subject: RE: Ukulele - which makers?
From: buddhuu
Date: 17 Aug 11 - 07:06 PM

Good, modest priced, brands readily available over here (UK) include Kala, Ohana and Mainland. There are some really great budget instruments coming out of China these days.

Ohana and Mainland are very similar. I believe they are actually made in the same factory. Quality control on both is excellent. Main differences are minor cosmetic variations - binding, tuners etc. The actual body patterns are much the same. Kala are a little different, but still similar.

A solid mahogany model from any of those would be a very fine starting point. I've played them all and they are all easily up to gigging standard and, IMHO, represent probably the best value for real, solid wood ukes. My personal favourites are the Kalas - I like the necks.

Be aware: a new uke will likely play dreadfully out of tune until the action is properly set at the nut and bridge. The combination of short scale and nylon strings is not very forgiving of high string action. Stock strings are nearly always crap. A decent set of Aquila or Worth strings makes all the difference.

I'm a moderator over at the Ukulele Underground forum, and I totally love 'ukulele. It's not my main instrument, but it is fun, versatile and addictive.

Google "southern ukulele store". Or, for more choice, try one of the German sites such as ukulele.de.

Good luck.


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Subject: RE: Ukulele - which makers?
From: Little Robyn
Date: 17 Aug 11 - 10:40 PM

I've always plunked away on any old thing but one of my workmates had a beautiful concert uke that I just loved. When I left work (made redundant) about 5 months ago he gave it to me!!!
It's a Lanikai and seems to be made in Hawaii. It came with a solid case as well so I guess it's an expensive one. But it's beautiful to play.
Robyn


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Subject: RE: Ukulele - which makers?
From: Little Robyn
Date: 17 Aug 11 - 10:50 PM

There's a picture of mine here.
Robyn


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Subject: RE: Ukulele - which makers?
From: Tootler
Date: 18 Aug 11 - 02:20 PM

What about these?

Seem to be good value and I am tempted. I have seen the concert version from other retailers for around £60. The tenor version is about 10 pounds more.

There are Lanikai concert ukes at about £80, so are also a possibility and within my budget.

My needs are fairly modest. Mostly for use in folk club singarounds and possibly the occasional gig.

Q:
Kamaka are definitely beyond my budget :-)

I suspect the luthier in Sunderland will be too, though thanks for the suggestion, Dick.


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Subject: RE: Ukulele - which makers?
From: Artful Codger
Date: 18 Aug 11 - 03:06 PM

Another vote for Kala. I have a Kala baritone and love it. I also have a Mainland concert uke, but am not nearly as happy with its intonation or action, and would not buy another uke from them.

The damn little concert uke keeps slipping out of my grasp: another reason I'm happier with the baritone, which is fitted with a strap. I've tried fashioning a makeshift neckstrap holder, but it doesn't seem to help appreciably.


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Subject: RE: Ukulele - which makers?
From: buddhuu
Date: 18 Aug 11 - 04:26 PM

Tootler: Lanikai are comparable to Kala. They're generally fine, and fair value. Personally I prefer Kala, but that's just me.

Codger: If the action on your Mainland is high (especially at the nut) then it could well account for the intonation issues. Lowering action at the nut is easy enough - or a guitar shop tech could do it for you. I'd hesitate to write off a Mainland before trying a good setup on it. I've played several and every one that I have tried has been an excellent instrument for the price. Their QC is highly regarded (as is that of Ohana), but they don't always get a good setup before sale. That depends upon the retailer.

I've set up countless 'ukuleles for myself and for friends. Even a dead cheap Makala or Mahalo can usually have good action and intonation once the nut and saddle have been tweaked.


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Subject: RE: Ukulele - which makers?
From: buddhuu
Date: 18 Aug 11 - 04:28 PM

Robyn: looks like an LU21 concert. The LU21s are very popular. You did all right there!


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Subject: RE: Ukulele - which makers?
From: Leadfingers
Date: 18 Aug 11 - 07:04 PM

Intonation is the biggest problem with entry level Ukes = I have one with a fixed bridge , has a lovely tone , but crap intonation = I have taken the ridge back nearly a 1/4 of an inch and its still not right !
   Caveat Emptor rules !!


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Subject: RE: Ukulele - which makers?
From: Little Robyn
Date: 19 Aug 11 - 02:08 AM

Yup. it has LU21C inside it.
A really lovely little instrument.
Robyn


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Subject: RE: Ukulele - which makers?
From: Stringsinger
Date: 19 Aug 11 - 05:06 PM

Anybody have an opinion on Koa wood construction? I've heard that they make the best sound for ukes and the ones I've tried sort of bear this out.


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Subject: RE: Ukulele - which makers?
From: buddhuu
Date: 19 Aug 11 - 07:57 PM

Koa's the trad wood for Hawaiian ukes. The big 'K' makers seem to specialise in koa instruments.

At the end of the day, all that matters is what you like. Personally I prefer mahogany. It sounds warmer to me - a little less brittle. That said, koa seems to deliver volume.

Doubt I could afford any of the koa ukes I've tried.

Actually, Kala make a line of solid acacia (related to koa) which are really nice. A different sound... Sort of koa-ish, and fair volume. Worth a try.


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Subject: RE: Ukulele - which makers?
From: Tootler
Date: 26 Aug 11 - 02:59 PM

I bought a ukulele at Whitby earlier this week.

It's a Korala concert uke. Spruce top and Mahogany laminate back and sides.

I tried what I could find. Two Koralas, a Lani and and an Ashbury.

The best I can say about the Ashbury is that I was underwhelmed by it.

The Lani was pretty good but it was the Spruce Korala that really grabbed me. Clear, bright tone. I can imagine that others might prefer the mahogany but to me it was a little muddy in tone.

I met a luthier at a session later and he had a look and said he thought it was a good instrument and that I had made a good choice.

I played it later at a couple of singarounds and I am definitely pleased with it.


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Subject: RE: Ukulele - which makers?
From: GUEST,Winston
Date: 10 Sep 11 - 02:08 PM

For anybody looking to buy a ukulele in your price range I always recommend a Kala or Lanikai. Their entry level models (KA-T and LU-21C) are pretty much identical, and they both cost around $100US.


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