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Ukulele advice needed

alex s 30 Oct 12 - 12:10 PM
GUEST 30 Oct 12 - 12:49 PM
Northerner 30 Oct 12 - 12:52 PM
Henry Krinkle 30 Oct 12 - 12:59 PM
Spot 30 Oct 12 - 01:13 PM
Tootler 30 Oct 12 - 01:23 PM
GMGough 30 Oct 12 - 01:57 PM
alex s 30 Oct 12 - 02:53 PM
GUEST 30 Oct 12 - 03:26 PM
GUEST 30 Oct 12 - 03:34 PM
GUEST,Stim 30 Oct 12 - 03:38 PM
alex s 30 Oct 12 - 04:26 PM
Tootler 31 Oct 12 - 12:31 PM
alex s 31 Oct 12 - 02:20 PM
GUEST,buddhuu sans cookie 31 Oct 12 - 05:57 PM
GUEST,Stim 31 Oct 12 - 06:20 PM
alex s 31 Oct 12 - 07:03 PM
GUEST,Stim 01 Nov 12 - 01:36 AM
GUEST,buddhuu sans cookie 01 Nov 12 - 10:42 AM
Sooz 02 Nov 12 - 04:11 AM
Tootler 02 Nov 12 - 07:18 PM
Leadfingers 02 Nov 12 - 08:03 PM
GUEST,alex s no cookie 02 Nov 12 - 08:03 PM
GUEST,buddhuu sans cookie 06 Nov 12 - 11:31 AM
Tootler 06 Nov 12 - 11:47 AM
PHJim 06 Nov 12 - 12:40 PM
alex s 06 Nov 12 - 01:16 PM
GUEST,bernieandred 06 Nov 12 - 04:32 PM
bet 06 Nov 12 - 05:16 PM
GUEST,Stim 06 Nov 12 - 06:43 PM
Tootler 06 Nov 12 - 07:16 PM
Henry Krinkle 07 Nov 12 - 11:51 AM
alex s 13 Nov 12 - 04:54 PM
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Subject: Ukulele advice needed
From: alex s
Date: 30 Oct 12 - 12:10 PM

Any thoughts on which are the best uke makers/brands?

I'm ok on guitars - got a Taylor, a Martin, an old Guild etc, but what are the equivalents in ukes?

I know it's "all in the playability and not the name" so spare me that advice.

I just want some general (and genuine) advice.

Also - United Kingdom suppliers?

Thanks


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Subject: RE: Ukulele advice needed
From: GUEST
Date: 30 Oct 12 - 12:49 PM

Hello! I have 2 ukes, but don't have them with me today. The first I bought at a local music shop. I had a problem with one of the tuning pegs initially, so wouldn't recommend it anyway. That one is a soprano. My second one is a concert uke, it is electro-acoustic (so I can do poetry events etc if I want to later). Cost me £100. I bought it at the Hobgoblin stand at Whitby Folk Week this summer. I love it! Hobgoglin do mail order. I am sure there are better, more expensive ukes but this does everything I want at the moment.


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Subject: RE: Ukulele advice needed
From: Northerner
Date: 30 Oct 12 - 12:52 PM

That was me above - forgot to log in. My concert uke is an Ashbury.


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Subject: RE: Ukulele advice needed
From: Henry Krinkle
Date: 30 Oct 12 - 12:59 PM

Kamaka is the big name. Pineapple ukes. I've had fun playing Harmony made ukes.
=(:-( ))


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Subject: RE: Ukulele advice needed
From: Spot
Date: 30 Oct 12 - 01:13 PM

Hallo everybody :-)

Alex, I have a Koa "Lanakai" tenor bought from a spot in Stockport - Purple Turtle Music... Two hundred quid 3 years ago... They had loads of different ukes there..very pleasant, helpful and "dealable with", as it were. This uke sounds lovely (even in my hands, well made and a beautiful thing, to boot. Worth a trip to PTM, a big place, but check first!! purpleturtlemusic.com    Good hunting ;-)

Regards to all....Spot


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Subject: RE: Ukulele advice needed
From: Tootler
Date: 30 Oct 12 - 01:23 PM

You need to think about what size. Most people coming from guitar seem to go for tenor or even baritone. Baritone is tuned like the top four strings of a guitar but it doesn't follow that that's what you will like

Check out the Southern Ukulele Store in Southbourne near Bournmouth.

http://www.southernukulelestore.co.uk/

They are uke specialists, have an excellent range and are good to deal with.


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Subject: RE: Ukulele advice needed
From: GMGough
Date: 30 Oct 12 - 01:57 PM

I went out to buy a Uke at Hobgoblin, but came home with a Blue Moon Mandola. The sound was so much more interesting and I was still within my budget - but I'm stuck with playing "I'm in love with a big blue frog" on the guitar and not on the Uke as I had imagined ...


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Subject: RE: Ukulele advice needed
From: alex s
Date: 30 Oct 12 - 02:53 PM

Some great advice, chaps, thanks a lot.
Spot, has PTM moved? I went years ago and it was small but with some good stuff.
Cheers.


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Subject: RE: Ukulele advice needed
From: GUEST
Date: 30 Oct 12 - 03:26 PM

Alex

Good question - I don't know!! No response from website... They used to be at Unit A8 Pear Mill Ind Estate Lower Bredbury SK6 2BP.

Phone 0161406 7700

I hope they haven't gone to the wall, they had some nice stuff.... It was a fair size shop 3 years ago...

Good luck..

Regards to all....Spot


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Subject: RE: Ukulele advice needed
From: GUEST
Date: 30 Oct 12 - 03:34 PM

Alex

Just Googled it...seems like its still in business at the same spot. You anywhere near?

Spot


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Subject: RE: Ukulele advice needed
From: GUEST,Stim
Date: 30 Oct 12 - 03:38 PM

Martin and Collings make high end ukes--Martin has had a reputation for making the best ukes since the 1920's. Other than that, there are many luthiers who now make them.


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Subject: RE: Ukulele advice needed
From: alex s
Date: 30 Oct 12 - 04:26 PM

Thanks for that, Spot. I can get there ok. Cheers, Stim.


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Subject: RE: Ukulele advice needed
From: Tootler
Date: 31 Oct 12 - 12:31 PM

Try the Ukulele Underground forum

http://www.ukuleleunderground.com/forum/forum.php

Lots of good advice there. You'll need to join if you want to post but it's free. There are so many well rated brands that it's difficult to list.

Alternatively find a decent local music shop that has a decent stock of ukes of different makes and try some out and buy what sounds best to you. That's mostly what I've done

I rate the Flea/Fluke range. Plastic bowl uke of distinctive design. They don't sound too wonderful on paper but the design and construction means they come with spot on intonation and set up out of the box and have good tone. My Flea is the one I play the most.

You can see the Flea and Fluke range here

You can get them in the UK at Southern Ukulele store and at Duke of Uke in London

Ukulele Underground is an excellent forum anyway friendly and supportive.


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Subject: RE: Ukulele advice needed
From: alex s
Date: 31 Oct 12 - 02:20 PM

Good advice, Tootler. thank you.


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Subject: RE: Ukulele advice needed
From: GUEST,buddhuu sans cookie
Date: 31 Oct 12 - 05:57 PM

I'm a moderator at Ukulele Underground. I agree with Tootler, it's a great place to get information.

There are many great 'ukuleles available at great prices - Kala, Lanikai, Pono... All fine, but not the equivalent of Taylor or Martin guitars. Martin ukes are great, but not everyone's preference. Certainly the Hawaiian people tend to prefer 'K' brands made on the islands.

The Collings ukes have an absolutely stellar reputation (as do all their instruments). If you have the money you couldn't go wrong. If not then try out the models you can get access to in a shop within travelling distance.

Moving from guitar I'd recommend trying concert and tenor sizes in particular. Just my personal opinion, but bari just doesn't feel ukey enough and I find soprano a tiny bit too tiny.

'Ukulele is a great instrument.


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Subject: RE: Ukulele advice needed
From: GUEST,Stim
Date: 31 Oct 12 - 06:20 PM

To add to buddhuu's comment--a few years back, tenors were rare, but now they've gotten quite popular;they definitely sound ukey, but they sound a bit fuller, and there is more room to move around on the neck--there is also a trend toward using non-re-entrant tuning(meaning the G string(in GCEA tuning) is tuned low, giving you even more room--


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Subject: RE: Ukulele advice needed
From: alex s
Date: 31 Oct 12 - 07:03 PM

This is good stuff, chaps, thank you.


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Subject: RE: Ukulele advice needed
From: GUEST,Stim
Date: 01 Nov 12 - 01:36 AM

Also,buddhuu, let me send out a big "Mahalo" to you and everybody at Ukulele Underground-a lot of good stuff--I pariticularly love Aldine Guerrero, he makes everything seem easy, and full of "Aloha"--


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Subject: RE: Ukulele advice needed
From: GUEST,buddhuu sans cookie
Date: 01 Nov 12 - 10:42 AM

Cheers, Stim! :-)

Glad you like the site.


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Subject: RE: Ukulele advice needed
From: Sooz
Date: 02 Nov 12 - 04:11 AM

We have just bought an Oscar Schmidt concert ukulele which is a very nice instrument. It came from Kenny's Music in Dunfermline.


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Subject: RE: Ukulele advice needed
From: Tootler
Date: 02 Nov 12 - 07:18 PM

There are a lot of very good mid priced ukes available and there is probably not much to choose between them in quality. One thing to watch for is that they are properly set up. Many otherwise good quality ukes come with indifferent setup and it can make all the difference to playability.

A decent retailer should set them up before selling them but if they don't either find someone to do it for you or many folks do it themselves. There is plenty of advice online on uke setup.


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Subject: RE: Ukulele advice needed
From: Leadfingers
Date: 02 Nov 12 - 08:03 PM

Seems to me that back in the Bad Old Days , the bottom end Ukes all seemed to have intonation probs - Since they became more popular this is not always the case , but still something to look out for .


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Subject: RE: Ukulele advice needed
From: GUEST,alex s no cookie
Date: 02 Nov 12 - 08:03 PM

Good point, Tootler. Cheers


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Subject: RE: Ukulele advice needed
From: GUEST,buddhuu sans cookie
Date: 06 Nov 12 - 11:31 AM

Leadfingers is right about problems in the old days, but things are better now. Intonation problems on 'ukuleles are usually down to playing technique issues (the strings are very bendy and require a very different touch from steel ones) and/or poor setup.

A few instruments have construction faults that affect intonation, but very few from recognised mainstream makers.

The most common problem is high action at the nut causing sharp intonation on notes played on low frets. If intonation becomes less sharp as one goes up the fretboard then that is a VERY strong indicator that the nut slots just need a bit of a file to get the action right.

I have set up dozens of 'ukuleles for many people and the only one that actually had a fault that screwed up the intonation incurably was one that I had bought myself: a Stagg concert with a misaligned bridge. All the others intonated acceptably after a setup - even cheap Makala Dolphins.

A good setup and a light fretting technique are usually all it takes!


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Subject: RE: Ukulele advice needed
From: Tootler
Date: 06 Nov 12 - 11:47 AM

All the ukes I've had, except one, have been fine for intonation. If I've bought them from a shop, I have checked the intonation before buying. I have a tuner app on my android phone so I can do a quick check and I've only bought if intonation was OK. I have bought two on line. One was a Flea and the design and construction means the intonation and set up is spot on out of the box. The other was advertised as set up and it was when it came.

The one which was not OK was my first uke, a cheapo. It had major intonation problems initially and I tracked it down to the C string and I suspect it had been stretched unevenly at some point. A change of strings resolved that. The other problem was the nut was out of line. It was glued into a slot which was a fraction too wide as a result was not properly lined up. Once I had bought a better uke, I got rid of that one. I have seen a You Tube video which has demonstrated dealing with problems with the nut by inserting a straightened paper clip to make a 'zero fret'. Overall, though I avoid the very cheap ukes although the Makala Dolphin does have quite a good name and it seems that properly set up it's not a bad uke and good value for money.


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Subject: RE: Ukulele advice needed
From: PHJim
Date: 06 Nov 12 - 12:40 PM

I own a Kala concert and am quite pleased with it for the price, under $200.

The baritone does not have the re-enrant tuning which is responsible for much of the charm of the uke. I do miss that low G string when I'm playing melody, but the high G gives great voicing for chording.

I have a few friends who have both low G and re-enrant ukes.


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Subject: RE: Ukulele advice needed
From: alex s
Date: 06 Nov 12 - 01:16 PM

why is is called re-entrant tuning?


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Subject: RE: Ukulele advice needed
From: GUEST,bernieandred
Date: 06 Nov 12 - 04:32 PM

I have a Lanakai, tenor cutaway, acoustic elect. Very inexpensive. It's fine, intonation is good, but pick up is not so great. So, yes I would recommend, but maybe not the electric, although I understand they are using a new pick up now. ( mine is about 3 years old.)
I thought I'd try one of the new Gretsch roots collection, they look very nice, & have a built in tuner, I thought it would be a step up from the lanakai, but when it arrived, it had a crack right down the front.
I am currently waiting delivery of a Kala tenor & will post when it arrives.


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Subject: RE: Ukulele advice needed
From: bet
Date: 06 Nov 12 - 05:16 PM

Love my Harmony Baritone!


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Subject: RE: Ukulele advice needed
From: GUEST,Stim
Date: 06 Nov 12 - 06:43 PM

Best conveyed in the wikipedia article on "Re-entrant tuning": "a break in an otherwise ascending (or descending) order of string pitches is known as a reentry."


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Subject: RE: Ukulele advice needed
From: Tootler
Date: 06 Nov 12 - 07:16 PM

This Mudcat thread discusses re-entrant tuning:

http://mudcat.org/thread.cfm?threadid=126768


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Subject: RE: Ukulele advice needed
From: Henry Krinkle
Date: 07 Nov 12 - 11:51 AM

I'd like to try         a National Resophonic uke.
If it's good enough for Bob Brozman.......
=(:-( ))


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Subject: RE: Ukulele advice needed
From: alex s
Date: 13 Nov 12 - 04:54 PM

Thanks for all the advice, everyone.
Got a nice inexpensive tenor and it's fine.
Cheers!


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