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Old 12-26-2018, 07:06 PM
strat87 strat87 is offline
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Default Concert uke for $200 or less?

Hello all, after drowning in searches for the past few days I’ve decided to ask the masses for a recommendation on a concert uke up to $200.

As a reference I’ve dabbled in uke and understand the basics of chording etc. I’m really a guitar player looking for a fun couch/ travel/ writing instrument of a different flavor. I’ve currently got a cheap lanakai soprano that feels more like a toy than anything and want to graduate to a more mid-level instrument.

I went to my local GC today to check some out and was left disappointed. Nothing they had felt like a step up or struck me as something I had to have. I’m looking for a mellow sounding ukulele with at least some level of sustain, not just something that goes “plink” and dies off. I’ve heard YouTube folk playing so I know it can be done!

Seeing as I don’t think I’ll find something local it seems like my best bet is gonna be online. So I suppose I’d like:
1) good value for money, just like anyone I suppose. I’m not looking for the cheapest option, but rather something I won’t outgrow.
2) a reputable online shop since I’ll be ordering sight unseen
3) aesthetically I like the look of mahogany, at this price point I expect laminate construction, but am open to any wood grain really. Binding, rosette etc not very important. I do want non cutaway and no electronics though.
4) I’m pretty married to the concert size but if I’m horrifically wrong I’ll entertain other suggestions.

Thanks!

Last edited by strat87; 12-26-2018 at 08:26 PM.
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Old 12-26-2018, 07:59 PM
lfoo6952 lfoo6952 is offline
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Hi Strat:

There is an excellent site that gives reviews of ukuleles: www.gotaukulele.com. The guy who gives the reviews, Barry, is the real deal. He tells it like it is. No BS.

Assuming you are located in the US, two shops that have an excellent reputation are Mims Uke's and Hawaii Music Supply (www.theukulelesite.com)

At your price point, I like the Romero Creations brand.

Good luck in your search.

Last edited by Kerbie; 12-31-2018 at 03:44 PM.
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Old 12-26-2018, 08:09 PM
Earl49 Earl49 is offline
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Kudos for setting a decent budget. So many people want to keep their ukulele purchase to under $100 and end up quickly disappointed. I start with Kala, then move to Lanikai, and finally to Cordoba. That is in part because of what is available locally to play. Your #3 priority is right on track - skip the bling, cutaway and electronics and put all of the build budget into the wood and workmanship. I've also encountered students and uke club members with Oscar Schmidt and Fender ukulele of reasonable quality. And there are literally dozen or hundreds of imported brands - so many I cannot keep up with the names.

It is not quite what you are asking for and a bit over your budget (they used to be cheaper) but the Flea and Fluke are nice too, just not all wood. My Flea is my designated travel instrument, because it sounds good, plays well (good intonation) and can be replaced easily enough. Kick in the extra few bucks and get the Concert scale length if you can afford to. I have a Flea with concert neck, bought right after they started offering that option. My large hands don't care for soprano scale necks. https://www.magicfluke.com/product-p/flea_standard.htm
You can get the Fluke model with a 17" tenor neck, but I don't care for the hard edge on that squared-off bottom. My Fluke pre-dates the tenor neck option, so is concert length. That edge really needs the equivalent of a John Pearse arm rest for extended playing comfort. It is cool that it stands up on its end nicely. I used to keep it on my desk for handy play.
https://www.magicfluke.com/Fluke-Uku...e_standard.htm

As a guitar player myself, I suggest a tenor size. The 17" scale of a tenor is more familiar and forgiving than the ~15" scale length of a concert. And the bigger body gives more / richer sound, especially in the lower price range (expensive concerts can sound really nice, but are well beyond your budget). As for on-line retailers, I trust Elderly and Bounty Music and some others. But 90% of my ukulele have been bought in person, so my experience is both limited and not recent. Hope this helps.
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Old 12-26-2018, 08:46 PM
strat87 strat87 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Earl49 View Post
Kudos for setting a decent budget. So many people want to keep their ukulele purchase to under $100 and end up quickly disappointed. I start with Kala, then move to Lanikai, and finally to Cordoba. That is in part because of what is available locally to play. Your #3 priority is right on track - skip the bling, cutaway and electronics and put all of the build budget into the wood and workmanship. I've also encountered students and uke club members with Oscar Schmidt and Fender ukulele of reasonable quality. And there are literally dozen or hundreds of imported brands - so many I cannot keep up with the names.

It is not quite what you are asking for and a bit over your budget (they used to be cheaper) but the Flea and Fluke are nice too, just not all wood. My Flea is my designated travel instrument, because it sounds good, plays well (good intonation) and can be replaced easily enough. Kick in the extra few bucks and get the Concert scale length if you can afford to. I have a Flea with concert neck, bought right after they started offering that option. My large hands don't care for soprano scale necks. https://www.magicfluke.com/product-p/flea_standard.htm
You can get the Fluke model with a 17" tenor neck, but I don't care for the hard edge on that squared-off bottom. My Fluke pre-dates the tenor neck option, so is concert length. That edge really needs the equivalent of a John Pearse arm rest for extended playing comfort. It is cool that it stands up on its end nicely. I used to keep it on my desk for handy play.
https://www.magicfluke.com/Fluke-Uku...e_standard.htm

As a guitar player myself, I suggest a tenor size. The 17" scale of a tenor is more familiar and forgiving than the ~15" scale length of a concert. And the bigger body gives more / richer sound, especially in the lower price range (expensive concerts can sound really nice, but are well beyond your budget). As for on-line retailers, I trust Elderly and Bounty Music and some others. But 90% of my ukulele have been bought in person, so my experience is both limited and not recent. Hope this helps.
Thanks for the advice, the flea looks promising for sure, and only a little beyond my price range. I’ll certainly consider it but first I’d like to see some more traditional options before I end up ordering a purple composite pinaple shaped ukulele haha!
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Old 12-27-2018, 05:26 AM
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Woodstock School Of Music Woodstock School Of Music is offline
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I know what you're saying about the ukuleles in the big box stores that go "plink". Check out an Ohana CK 25 or 35 they are all solid mahoganies and have a rich mellow sound that projects nicely.
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Old 12-27-2018, 06:13 AM
strat87 strat87 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Woodstock School Of Music View Post
I know what you're saying about the ukuleles in the big box stores that go "plink". Check out an Ohana CK 25 or 35 they are all solid mahoganies and have a rich mellow sound that projects nicely.
That CK 35 looks terrific! Great suggestions by all so far, this is gonna take some thought.
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Old 12-27-2018, 06:33 AM
MikeBmusic MikeBmusic is offline
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I second the recommendation of https://www.theukulelesite.com/ - easy place to work with, they do a full set up on each instrument before shipping. If you can raise your budget a little, they have a nice all-solid hog uke from Kala on sale: https://www.theukulelesite.com/shop-...y-concert.html
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Old 12-27-2018, 06:59 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MikeBmusic View Post
I second the recommendation of https://www.theukulelesite.com/ - easy place to work with, they do a full set up on each instrument before shipping. If you can raise your budget a little, they have a nice all-solid hog uke from Kala on sale: https://www.theukulelesite.com/shop-...y-concert.html
I owned that model before I owned an Ohana CK-35 and I'd take the Ohana over it any day of the week. The sound doesn't have the depth of the Ohana
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Old 12-27-2018, 03:01 PM
merlin666 merlin666 is offline
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My first "good" uke was a Gretsch solid mahogany tenor which is still my go-to ukulele. In the meantime I acquired Koa KoAloha and Kamaka ukuleles and the difference in sound and projection is slight. So the laminate concert Gretsch might just be what you are looking for:

https://www.musiciansfriend.com/folk...andard-ukulele

or

https://www.guitarcenter.com/Gretsch...ard-Ukulele.gc

It looks like GC also has an open box of the discontinued solid wood models left over, but it's probably out of your range:

https://www.guitarcenter.com/Gretsch...uxe-Ukulele.gc

I should add that the Gretsch solid mahogany retailed new around $500, and were considered excellent value at the time that compared better to the 700 to 800 league than ukes in their own price segment. So having this NOS available at GC looks like the steal of the year.

Last edited by merlin666; 12-28-2018 at 12:08 PM.
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Old 12-28-2018, 10:53 AM
jricc jricc is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Woodstock School Of Music View Post
I know what you're saying about the ukuleles in the big box stores that go "plink". Check out an Ohana CK 25 or 35 they are all solid mahoganies and have a rich mellow sound that projects nicely.
I was going to suggest Ohana ukes as well. I have a tenor that is wonderful. They make quality stuff.
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Old 12-28-2018, 03:08 PM
Guitartanzon Guitartanzon is offline
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I am more of a uke player than guitar player. owned and played over 100 ukuleles from $50 bucks to $2000 bucks.

for 200 bucks budget for a concert size which should buy a new solid wood body from these china makers

Ohana......Reverb.....Mims ukes
Mainland ukes...very nice instruments and good looking too
http://www.mainlandukuleles.com/

Kala
Cordoba

used
Eastman

A little money you can get a mexican made Martin..

Best Ukes no budget constraint USA made
- Loprinzi
-Martin
-Kamaka
-Koaloha
-Kaniela

Coolest uke with great sound and low cost....all polycarbinate tenor made in Bend oregon....OUTDOOR UKULELE COMPANY.....tenor size $150. They play awsome and sound great
https://www.outdoorukulele.com/collections/ukuleles
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Larrivee P-03 Hog Top
----Ukulele------
Kamaka 100 year anniversary
Matin IZ tenor commorative
Koaloha long neck soprano
Southern Cross Bajoelele
Pono Acacia Taropatch

Last edited by Guitartanzon; 12-28-2018 at 04:14 PM.
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Old 12-28-2018, 04:32 PM
Neal Neal is offline
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No real recs, and I get it that guitar players would suggest something similar, thus tenor, usually low g, but if you want something different than a guitar, consider soprano, the makers mentioned are fine. You can play a tenor reentrant, and that’s what I did when I first started, but it’s not the same as a well made soprano. Big hands, little hands, all good. Sometimes folks with hand problems like arthritis appreciate the room on a tenor. They’re all cool, just throwing in a few cents worth.

Also, the Flea and Outdoor ukes had square-ish necks that I found uncomfortable, but that was 8-10(?) years ago on the Flea, less years back on the outdoor, but they may have changed.
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Old 12-31-2018, 01:16 PM
strat87 strat87 is offline
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Well after mulling it over for a bit, I decided to pull the trigger on a Flea concert size! I really do enjoy the traditional wood offerings that were suggested, but at the end of the day I realized I really wanted a fun, knock-around travel instrument and the Flea ticks those boxes. I also appreciate that they're made right here in my home state, and despite the fact I have several imported instruments of high quality I've got a soft spot for MIA when I can swing it. Once I decided I wanted the unconventional Flea uke, I decided to get a loud finish to compliment it. Whats the sense of being subtle at this point? here she is:



It is leaps and bounds better than my Lanikai is term of tone, intonation, and projection. I'm quite happy with my purchase, and I was able to find this one on sale on Reverb for $199 with a gator brand gig bag. If I really take off with the whole ukulele thing you can bet I'll be buying one of the solid wood options listed in this thread, but for now I've got what I need.
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Old 12-31-2018, 02:01 PM
Earl49 Earl49 is offline
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Cool! I like it - why be subtle?? We have a floral pattern finish on our Fluke, but it is subtle compared to yours. If you need any chord charts, etc, then try my web site: www.boiseukulelegroup.com
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Old 12-31-2018, 02:25 PM
strat87 strat87 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Earl49 View Post
Cool! I like it - why be subtle?? We have a floral pattern finish on our Fluke, but it is subtle compared to yours. If you need any chord charts, etc, then try my web site: www.boiseukulelegroup.com
Very cool resource you’ve made available!
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