Can someone recommend a good ukelele?

Discussion in 'Acoustic Instruments' started by JeffreyC, Jan 3, 2008.


  1. JeffreyC

    JeffreyC Member

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    Is the used market best or are there great new ones for a reasonable cost?

    Gtrs I own:

    Martin D35
    57 RI strat
    04 Amer Dlx strat
    94 Amer strat
    92 Mexi strat
    50's Kay archtop for slide
     
  2. Hoyt

    Hoyt Member

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    I got into ukes about a year ago. Really cool and they have improved my guitar playing, as well. My guitar friends were shocked, but ukes are really fun and comfortable to play. They are great solo instruments and I use mine much like a mandolin, playing along to so-called Americana music.

    I'd suggest a few Web sites like www.fleamarketmusic.com and www.ukulelecosmos.com for ideas on what's important.

    Folks that hang out there are more opinionated than guitar players, so watch out.

    You can get a pretty good new uke for $ 200 - $300 and a killer uke for $ 600 up. Used ukes are a good way to go.

    Of course, you have to decide whether you want a soprano (smallest), concert, tenor or baritione. I think most of the touring professionals play tenors most often.

    Bushman makes a pretty good starter uke that is all solid wood. I had a tenor Bushman early on that sounded very good (and I'm pretty particular). A lot of people like Hamanos. Moving up a bit, Ponos are well thought of. I now have a G-string tenor that I like a lot. I also have a Johnson resonator that I did a lot of work to, making it a pretty good concert resonator -- added National cone, bridge and new tuners.

    Apparently, the current production Martin soprano is not well thought of, although vintage Martins are pretty good as is the 5K (assuming you'd spend $4500 on a uke).

    There are a couple of sellers on ebay with large inventories that are well respected -- musicguymic in Hawaii comes to mind. Buffalo Brothers Guitars have a good uke selection (I bought my G-String there for a pretty good price). Elderly is good too.

    Good luck.
     
  3. JeffreyC

    JeffreyC Member

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    Thank you very much Hoyt for such an informative post! That's exactly the kind of summary I was looking for.... this helps a ton as I may get out and play a few, but most likely will end up buying over the net somewhere.

    I'm not sure what they used, but 2 good sounding ukes to my ears were the one Joe Brown played on Concert for George and the one Paul McCartney played when doing George's Something. I may have to watch that DVD again. :)
     
  4. TwoTubMan

    TwoTubMan Member

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  5. Hoyt

    Hoyt Member

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  6. alanbass1

    alanbass1 Member

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    I love Ukes and have a Tenor, Concert and Soprano. Each has a great sound but, like guitars, ones that sing are quite expensive. I can highly recommend Musicguymic on e-bay who will typically take offers 30% lower than his buy it now price. Here's some photo's:

    Rick Turner Compass Rose Tenor:

    [​IMG][/IMG]


    I'iwi Gold Series Concert:

    [​IMG][/IMG]

    Peter Lieberman SK45 Soprano:

    [​IMG][/IMG]
     
  7. Hoyt

    Hoyt Member

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    Alanbass1,

    That Compass Rose is really nice, and the other two ain't bad.

    What wood is the Rose made from? That's the nicest one I've seen. I know they all sound good.

    I almost bought one and may have to look again.
     
  8. alanbass1

    alanbass1 Member

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    It has a Spruce top and highly 'fiddleback' flamed maple back, sides and neck. It also has a Cocobolo fingerboard. It sounds really sweet but punchy at the same time.
     
  9. Hoyt

    Hoyt Member

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    Thanks, Alan.

    It's really nice. I know what I want next.
     
  10. alanbass1

    alanbass1 Member

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    The other thing is the finish which is beautiful. They call it Cremora.
     
  11. Pa'ani

    Pa'ani Supporting Member

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    Kamaka, Makainai, G-String, Sonny D ukes are all, Highly Recommended!
     
  12. therealting

    therealting Member

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    Whatever you do, don't buy the cheapest one you can find. I bought a Mahalo tenor just to play around with, and within days I wish I had bought something better instead. After trying a bunch of ukes at a uke shop here in London, I ordered a Pono from Musicguymic and couldn't be happier especially for the price... except I don't really like the Dean Markley piezo (it sounds ok but picks up no body tapping which is really important in the way I like to play it) and have ordered a K&K Bigspot to put in. It came with a beautiful hardcase and a Dean Markley external preamp and was a fantastic deal, Mike is really great to deal with as well... give him a call!

    Also, I recommend buying a tenor as they are probably the easiest size for guitarists to get along with - I find sopranos and concerts too small to fret, and baritones too clunky to carry around and too guitarlike in their sound.
     
  13. johan

    johan Member

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    Time to wake up this thread. Going to Hawaii in a couple of weeks and thought of getting a ukelele while I'm there. Musicguymic has a lot on eBay and I hear prices are better than his BIN if you ask.

    I'm thinking tenor but can't decide which woodk to go for. Is Koa THE wood for ukes? How about mahogany or maple. I hear the difference between different acoustic guitars, maple, mahogany, rosewood etc but the ukelele voice is at another freq.

    How about $4-500? Will that get me a decent ukelele?

    Thanks!
     
  14. jerrysleftyguit

    jerrysleftyguit Member

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    Cole Clark makes the best performance ukes. A built in rechargeable preamp and their great face sensor pickup. Too cool.
     
  15. 57paf

    57paf Member

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    Johan:
    Since you'll be in Hawaii, you might as well get a genuine Kamaka--that's what ukelele virtuoso Jake Shimabukuro plays.
    The best store for Kamaka's with the best prices would be Dan's Guitars, located about 2 miles (3 km) from Waikiki, open every day except Sunday.
    Coincidentally, Dan happens to also have all the high end guitar stuff in Hawaii (Anderson, Suhr, PRS, Bad Cat, Bogner, Divided by 13, 65 amps, Fulltone, Eventide, Analysis+, Evidence Audio, Fishman, plus he is the Vox dealer & 1 of 2 Marshall dealers as well).
     
  16. Lawn Jockey

    Lawn Jockey Member

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    + 1 for Dan's.

    Talk to Zach......tell him Scott said hello!!
     
  17. vector808

    vector808 Member

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    Hey everyone...this is my first post! Ukuleles that I would recommend are Kamaka, KoAloha, G String, Sonny D, and Uilani Instruments. I have a Sonny D concert size uke and a Uilani (Heke model) tenor sized uke. For me, I prefer to play the tenor sized, much easier for my fat fingers! The Sonny D is made of koa all around and my Heke has koa back and sides with a spruce top, sounds really nice and its loud. Well, good luck on finding a uke!
     
  18. vector808

    vector808 Member

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  19. johan

    johan Member

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    500 won't buy me a Kamaka. Checked with Dave's and a Kamaka Koa Tenor is around 900. Maybe I'll go for a Pono or something.
     
  20. Dotneck

    Dotneck Member

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    [​IMG]


    I found this uke when I was in Hilo. The builder had a shop behind his house and a sign by the side of the road as you went up the mountain. Got to meet his whole family as I picked out my uke.
     

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