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  #1  
Old 12-10-2008, 05:03 PM
guitarjunky guitarjunky is offline
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Default A good UKULELE suggestion?

I would like to start playing ukulele, but have no idea what brand to buy or where to look for one...

I don't want a toy but would like to stay in the 100-500$ budget to start... I will see later if I need to invest in something handmade...

Any recomandation of a good brand sold in Canada or USA?

Should I go with soprano or concert size?

Thanks!
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  #2  
Old 12-10-2008, 05:48 PM
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charlemagne52 charlemagne52 is offline
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Larrivee made some gorgeous ukes in Canada a few years ago. I think they went extinct. I played a couple in a shop in Santa Cruz, California and they were worth chasing if you have the money...big bucks.

The only uke I own is a baritone Favilla which I've had since the 60's. If you can find a Favilla on ebay or somewhere they're a nice brand, well made.

I bought my dad a Martin S-0 a few years back. Mexican-made and nice-sounding but not all that pretty.

There are some cool new designs, like the "Fluke".

If you want to hear some amazing uke playing try googling Jake Shimabukuru.

Hope you enjoy ukulele, I love playing it, it's just so easy and fun.
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Old 12-10-2008, 06:07 PM
Brent Hutto Brent Hutto is offline
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It's not very satisfying for a wooden-box lover like me and probably yourself but the Fluke ukuleles are have an awful lot of sound and playability for the dollar. They're actually not cheap, a tenor one will be a bit over your target range, but in my limited experience they sound and play better than the similarly priced laminated-wood ones. Of course you can get all-Koa ukes that will have a much richer, more woody sound than a plastic Fluke but that'll cost you.

I think the key is that Fluke uses a decent quality solid-wood top for sound and then the rest of it is plastic. Very stable with temperature and so forth and very ringing tone. I bought one for my "travel guitar" and it has a good uke sound and nothing could be more portable. The little under-$100 laminated wood ukes I've played sound small and boxy and don't strike me as particularly travel-worthy.
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Old 12-10-2008, 06:37 PM
drjond56 drjond56 is offline
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First of all you might want to visit the Ukulele Underground Forum as there have been several threads on this topic:

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

When I started on Uke a couple of years ago, I ended up with a tenor, as it was more finger friendly than either the soprano or concert. I also tune with low G rather than the standard high G tuning, because I play fingerstyle tunes--it gives me the same intervals as the top 4 guitar strings, just a 5th off. Some guitarists prefer the baritone, since it is tuned identically to the top 4 guitar strings.

I would say that in the decent instrument category that Pono and Kala seem to be the brands most often in the price range you have mentioned.

For a step up (probably to the +/- $800 range you get into some real quality. I have a KoAloha tenor which is a superb instrument. Kamaka is likewise a high quality instrument. Kanilea and Koolau also get excellent reviews.

The following Ebay dealer is widely respected and you can check a lot of instruments on his site:

http://stores.ebay.com/Musicguymics-Room

I will personally vouch for Noel Tardy at UkeLady music:

http://www.ukeladymusic.com/index.html

Hope this helps and welcome to the world of Uke.

Jon
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Old 12-10-2008, 06:54 PM
benplaut benplaut is offline
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I've never played a bad Makala tenor (but some are certainly better than others!)

I'm in the process of building a Yellow Ceder/Mango tenor right now (It might even be finished today!), and from playing several custom builts made by my teacher, I can really, truly say that they sound better than any production built uke that I've tried. Depending on the maker, you can get a custom for under $500, or build one in a class. Better than many guitars, for that matter!
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Old 12-10-2008, 06:55 PM
mr51 mr51 is offline
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A couple of months ago I got a case of UAS and went in search for a decent uke. One thing I found during my search is that a good quality uke can be purchased for a couple of hundred bucks.

I chose to start with a tenor size, mainly because of the size. I purchased a Lanikai CK-T. All of the reviews that I had read indicated that it is a great instrument, so far it has lived up to it's reputation.

http://www.music123.com/Lanikai-CK-T...e=ZWWRWXYB&o=5

If you decide to get into uke playing, here are a couple of sites that I'd recommend:

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

From the above site, I learned of Aldrine Gurrero. He has a site which is full of free lesson videos. His videos are short, easy to follow and understand. Take a look, I think you'll enjoy them.

http://www.ukuleleunderground.com/fo...ead.php?t=7224

Good luck on your uke quest, they are alot of fun, and easy to play.
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Old 12-10-2008, 07:07 PM
mr51 mr51 is offline
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Last edited by mr51; 12-10-2008 at 07:58 PM.
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  #8  
Old 12-10-2008, 07:41 PM
Fran Guidry Fran Guidry is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by guitarjunky View Post
I would like to start playing ukulele, but have no idea what brand to buy or where to look for one...

I don't want a toy but would like to stay in the 100-500$ budget to start... I will see later if I need to invest in something handmade...

Any recomandation of a good brand sold in Canada or USA?

Should I go with soprano or concert size?

Thanks!
The `ukulele is a complicated subject, but we can simplify if we only talk about the current common configurations.

The soprano, concert, and tenor all use the same tuning on different scale lengths. The baritone uses an even longer scale and a lower tuning.

Each size has its fans -

the soprano is cute, fun, inexpensive, has a classic `ukulele sound. The number of frets is limited, as is the space between frets.

the concert has a bit more room between the frets and often a slightly "warmer" sound.

the tenor has the most room between the frets, most frets available, but costs more and has a more guitaristic sound than the classic soprano, especially if the low G is used instead of the reentrant G.

You can get a pretty nice uke for your budget. The suggestion of a Fluke is not at all bad, but you absolutely need to try one first, because the neck shape is a bit odd for many guitarists (and ukists). At the lower end of your budget laminated Kala and Lanikai ukes can hold their own if you get a good one. At the upper end you can find all solid instruments under the Pono http://www.koolauukulele.com/pono.html#guitar and Bushman Jenny.

The Pono site includes a long list of dealers: http://www.koolauukulele.com/ponodel.html

Here's a wacky idea for you, though. If you think a soprano might be fun, try to snag a Maccaferri Islander. I swear mine surprises everyone who picks it up, they go for well under your budget, they're classic, they're collectible!!

Well, maybe not that collectible <grin>.

Fran
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  #9  
Old 12-10-2008, 07:47 PM
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Larry Pattis Larry Pattis is offline
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Hey Fran:

What sized Uke does James Hill use on this video?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7sTBSVuuiYM

Tenor?

I CANNOT listen to this without smiling...no matter what my mood!
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Old 12-10-2008, 09:10 PM
guitarjunky guitarjunky is offline
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Guys I love you!!! You gave me much inside and I appreciate it verrrrry much!

After reading your posts, and surfing on the net, I kind of decided to avoid for now the Fluke... Not because it is not a good instrument, but because since it is my first and I'm a bit old fashion... I want to go for a wood-guitar shape uke...

Kala seems to be the right thing for me to start... But being... guitarjunky... It might be the first of a series... So I might ask more of you in the future!!!

Again thank you for all this info, I am thankful
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  #11  
Old 12-11-2008, 12:09 AM
benplaut benplaut is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Larry Pattis View Post
Hey Fran:

What sized Uke does James Hill use on this video?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7sTBSVuuiYM

Tenor?

I CANNOT listen to this without smiling...no matter what my mood!
looks like a tenor, might be a concert if he's larger than I think.
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  #12  
Old 12-11-2008, 12:25 AM
iDavid iDavid is offline
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Default jenny

get a jenny uke!

all wood, great tone and great price. I got one for the family and it is a wonderful instrument

http://jumpingflea.com/


david
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Old 12-11-2008, 02:04 AM
scottbass scottbass is offline
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I picked up the uke last year and I'm having a blast with it. I currently have two, a Japanese solid mahogony Kiwaya KTS-4 (Martin Style-O copy) and a 40s-50s Martin Style-O. Both can be had under $500.00 if you look. The Martin is absolutely sublime sounding and the Kiwaya is not that far behind. Maybe a bit stuffier than the Martin, but EXCELLENTLY made.

For a first uke, I'd stay with the soprano size. It's the standard, and quite fun.

The "four string farmhouse" section of the Unofficial Martin Guitar Forum http://www.umgf.com/ is a great place to talk ukes.

Good luck, and good uking!

Cheers,
Chris



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Last edited by scottbass; 12-11-2008 at 10:28 AM.
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  #14  
Old 12-11-2008, 07:50 AM
drjond56 drjond56 is offline
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James Hill plays a custom G-String tenor:

http://www.ukulelejames.com/signature_model.htm
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  #15  
Old 12-11-2008, 09:40 AM
Lawn Jockey Lawn Jockey is offline
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Man, here's a deal from Moore Bettah Ukuleles. Scroll down towards the bottom......and look at the two "simple" tenors.

Chuck builds great ukes.
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