The ukulele is a greatly underrated instrument that was one of the top instruments of the early 20th Century, but faded into obscurity due to numerous junk instruments on the market and novelty "musicians" like Tiny Tim. However, the uke is now experiencing a resurgence. This is partially due to a good supply of quality ukes on the market, as well as word-of-mouth and YouTube clips showing what the instrument is capable of.
Why you should learn it
What does real uke playing sound like?
I'm sold, what uke should I get?
Good question. The first issue is what size to get: soprano, concert, tenor, or baritone.
The smaller three are all tuned the same (GCEA), while the baritone is tuned like a guitar missing two bass strings (DGBE). So far as which to get: if you want to brightest/plinkiest sound and don't have huge hands, that's soprano. Also most-all of the <$50 ukes are sopranos. If you want the richest sound but still in uke tuning and mid-sized body, get a tenor. Concert is a compromise between tenor and soprano. Again, these three all play same note, same pitch, so tenor isn't any "lower" than soprano, just a rounder, fuller sound because the strings have more body to echo in, and the strings are physically longer.
I'd avoid baritone unless you are almost entirely using uke as a stepping-stone to or from guitar, in which case baritone is great. So if, say, you're a small female who can't reach your fingers around a guitar neck but want to paly something about the same as guitar, or you're a guitarist and want a slightly different sound but don't want to transpose for uke music.
What brands and price options are there?
Like most things, you get what you pay for. Fortunately, you can get decent ukes at prices far cheaper than even the junkiest guitars. Probably because ukes use less wood, and are under less pressure. I strongly advise against just buying whatever happens to be $30 at your local shop, unless you have the guitar knowledge or savvy friend to cherry-pick a good one. Another vital issue with the cheaper ukes is "set up", a proper tweaking prior to sale. See "Dealers" below for explanation.
Here are a few of the more popular and reputable brands:
Under $50 -- Makala, but buy one that has been tweaked by the shop.
Under $99 -- Kala (improved action/tone on laminate body), as low as $59 for soprano
Under $250 -- The Ohana brand of solid-mahogany ukes can be found in the mid-$100s when on sale, and as far as I've seen are the best uke in that range, basically equivalent to the Bushman Jenny but at a lower price. Also Fluke/Flea (solid spruce top, US-made), and Ovation/Applause (electric pickup for $20 more) are decent, if quirkier, options; both of these have plastic backs like an Ovation guitar.
$250-400 -- At this price-point, there are a large variety of Asian-made ukuleles made from solid woods (mahogany, koa, acacia, etc), many of which are said to be on-par with all but the best of early 20th C ukuleles. Some of the best-selling brands are Ohana, Bushman, Hamano, Mele, Pono, etc. Note too that Kala just got into the all-solid game as of late 2008, so they're player with all-koa ukes. Definitely do some reading-up before deciding on a uke in this pricerange.
$500 and up -- various high-quality Hawaiian and Mainland-made ukes start to become available. The classic-and-going champ here has been Kamaka, which start around $800 or so, but there are plenty of competing brands like G-String, etc. By the time you get to this price range, you probably want to be trying out the uke in person to make a decision.
Variants: In addition to basic four-string ukes in the four main sizes, there are also banjo, resonator (Dobro), and both solid-body electric and electro-acoustic ukuleles. The are also 6-string (plays like a 4-string, just two sets of strings come in pairs like on a mandolin) and 8-string (each string is a doubled pair) tenor ukuleles, which add some extra echo/resonance and richness of sound. Not to be confused with the 6-sring is the guitalele, which is a uke with six separate strings just like a guitar, but a tiny guitar that's about a 4th higher in pitch than a regular guitar.
Looking through the first few years of the thread, you'll see a lot of praise for MusicGuyMic, who was the go-to guy for ukes on eBay and one of the greatest online dealers in general. He moved so many Kalas they had the man help design their new product lines. He also pioneered the marketing of "set up", that is doing a Stateside QC of affordable import ukes instead of just taking them out of the shipping crate from Asia and chucking them in a box. Set up makes a huge difference, and thankfully has become more and more common with serious uke dealers. Tragically, Mic got hit by serious illness and was out of the game for a while, and has returned a member of The Ukulele Site, which is now the first go-to for generic goon uke-shopping.
A good dealer for Ohana and a few other brands is Elderly Instruments.
[more dealers pending]
Ongoing list of ukulele links first compiled by Beasticly, much thanks
http://nfo.net/usa/uke2.html Chord Chart.
http://www.sheep-entertainment.nl/ukulele/ - You can use the buttons on the bottom to form any chord and strum the virtual ukulele to hear what each one sounds like.
http://www.alligatorboogaloo.com/uke/chords/index.html Chord Chart.
http://www.gootar.com/folder/ukulele.html Allows you to 'generate' chords.
http://www.ukulele.de.vu/ - Only a relatively small collection of songs, but they're all finger picking arrangements that are great for performing if you don't want to sing. Really nice arrangements.
http://beatlesite.info/ - Lots of Beatle's songs that you can play along with and sing. Some songs are kinda tricky, but the animated moving chords are pretty awesome.
http://www.alligatorboogaloo.com/uke/tabs.html - Mostly chord stuff.
http://ukulelehunt.com/ - Bit of everything, sorted well too.
http://basikuke.tripod.com/ukulele_tab.htm - Small collection of songs and a few rifts.
http://www.giantflightlessbirds.com/ukulele/ - Chords.
http://www.ukeland.com/pages/media/music/ - Some nice arrangements.
http://dominator.ukeland.com/index2.shtml Large collection of tabs.
http://www.akulele.com/tablature.html Small collection of classical type stuff.
http://www.ezfolk.com/tabs-tutorial...-tutorials.html Bit of everything, very useful cause you can choose the difficulty level for different tabs.
http://www.ukulelestrummers.com/ - Lots of music theory type stuff.
Frequently asked questions
1) I just got a brand-new uke, and I tuned it up and it keeps going out of tune!
A: Nylon strings are stretchy when new. When you first get a new uke, or add new strings, they will stretch and go out of tune quickly. Simply tune them up, and keep tuning them up, and tune them up before you set the uke down. After a few days, they'll start holding steady, and once they're fully stretched they'll often stay in tune for weeks at a time.
2) How do I tune my ukulele? Not the names of the notes, but like how do I know if I'm tuned right?
A: Tuners can be "active" (they "hear" your note and tell you what it is and/or how close it is to the right pitch) and "passive" tuners (they produce a note and you try to match your instrument to it). Active tuners are quite a bit easier for a beginner: if you have a smartphone of some sort there are a bunch of good active tuners, some of them free. I really like like the $2.99 app ClearTune, which is both a good basic active tuner, and has a buttload of extra features if you ever feel like using them. If you want active but don't have a smartphone, the Intellitouch PT10 runs about $20 on eBay and is a great tuner for the price (watch out for ripoff brands like "Intelli", etc). There may be active tuners online that I don't know, but Fleamarket and Get Tuned have free passive tuners. If you want a portable passive tuner, there are pitchpipes and tuning forks, both of which are pretty old-school and not particularly easy to use for most beginners. Overall, definitely get a smartphone tuner if you have a phone, failing that use a passive on your computer and just sacrifice portability if you don't want to drop cash, or spend $20 on a PT10.
TapTheForwardAssist fucked around with this message at Oct 9, 2012 around 00:04
|# ¿ Nov 20, 2007 17:06|
|# ¿ May 21, 2013 06:45|
Mu Cow posted:
I saw a metal-bodied ukulele when I was in Seattle that I really wanted, but it cost more than buying a full-sized metal-bodied guitar.
At Dusty Strings in Fremont? Tons of good ukuleles there, definitely worth a look-see.
You probably saw a National, which are running around $1200 for a resonator uke now. The pic above is an Australian Donmo ($700ish), and the New Zealand Beltona uke runs around $500.
Resonator ukes are notably more expensive than the usual ukes, as are banjo-ukuleles.
|# ¿ Nov 20, 2007 17:21|
That being said, for a beginner, is it worth getting one of the cheap kinds? They're only about 30 dollars on Amazon. I'd like to buy one with my own two hands though. Do you think Sam Ash / Yamaha stores have them?
As mentioned above, the cheapies can be really hit or miss.
Main cheapie problems:
-low quality strings (replace with decent strings, like $2.50 online)
-low quality tuners (if you live near a real music shop (not a big-box shop), you can maybe buy better tuners for a buck or two each and drill them in)
-poor action (height of strings over fingerboard) and intonation (proper intervals of frets to get in-tune notes). If these are off, you fix it using your luthier skillz and files. If you don't have said skillz/toolz, you're just SOL and will never play quite right.
Accordingly, I would advise you spend $5-10 more and get a uke which has been "set up" by a reputable shop, meaning that they've actually opened the boxes, played the ukes, filed bridges/nutes where needed, put on proper strings, etc. I know the aforementioned musicguymic on eBay has $39 Makala ukes with settup and gig-bag. If there are similar deals online that goons have had good luck with, definitely post them here.
A further $20 to upgrade to a $59 Kala soprano would definitely be advisable if you're semi-seriously interested in this. I and mofolotopo both have $99 Kala tenors that we're pleased with.
Re: the "Flying V" shaped uke a couple posts above: they look really cool, but most folks have really bad luck with playability on those models (currently made by Mahalo). If yours plays well, you're a fortunate goon.
Thread is turning out quite well, have to dash right now, but will be back tomorrow to cover any questions left uncovered by the other ukegoons dropping in.
|# ¿ Nov 21, 2007 18:45|
WT Wally posted:
Sweet. Is there anywhere reputable online that you would recommend for buying? I googled a few sites, but most of them look a little questionable.
I hate to sound like I'm shilling for the guy, but musicguymic is a dealer on eBay. You can check both his listings and his eBay Store, and he generally has the best deals on Kalas, and is the main guy selling set-up Makalas. He's a regular poster on www.ukulelecosmos.com , so he's an actual player/participator in the community.
Agreeing with mofolotopo that Kala appears to be the best bet in the sub-$99 category. If cute/portable is not a concern, get her a tenor.
Can anyone give some general information on the baritone uke and how it compares to the others? I love lower instruments (euphonium player checking in) and I'd be interested in picking something like this up.
Baritone uke is just like a small guitar with the two bass strings removed. Tuned DGBe. They cost a little more just based on size. Not sure what the good bargain makes are, but there are several cheapies out there. I'd ask around on http://www.ukulelecosmos.com if we don't find a baritone-owning goon on this thread.
Has anyone here ever picked up one of Fleamarket Music's song books? Are they any good? I've been thinking about picking up their campfire book (along with the Fluke), what with me finally getting old and having a kid and all.
Generally, Fleamarket books are good gear. A few of the older ones on Tinpan Alley songs are a bit odder (unless you really dig that era), but the 60s, Country, Camp, Spiritual, and other books are quite good. Full melodies, chords with diagram at every chord, starting notes, etc.
My father is just starting to learn uke on a Kala tenor I got him, and he's using the Camp book. Their intro lesson book isn't particularly necessary if you're willing to look at a few online tutorials (YouTube or whatever), or have any friend who plays guitar.
The Dregs posted:
I got a bit of an odd question. I had an injury to my left hand few years ago. My pinky and ring fingers were crushed (the pinky acually was crushed off, but reattached). So now they are a bit weak and very sensitive. I tried to learn guitar, but it was just too painful. I couldn't muster up the pressure in my pinky.
Interesting question. Uke would be easier than banjo, due to shorter scale and (generally) less melodic work vs. chording.
Since I read your post, I went home and tried 2-finger chords. I can play all the common major chords except Bb, and most of the minor chords. I'd say you'll be slightly limited, but should have no trouble working around that limitation. That challenge might actually make it rather interesting. Might want to start on a soprano just to minimize and reach issues.
Are you familiar with Django Reinhardt, the famous Gypsy Jazz guitarist? His left ring and pinky fingers were paralyzed due to burns from a housefire, and it didn't seem to hold him back too much: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Django_Reinhardt
Django playing with half-paralyzed hand: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K6nkHJQnEPs
|# ¿ Nov 22, 2007 20:04|
I've found my Christmas present to myself
That's the guy I was talking about. If you read the descrip, you'll see why I trust the guy to know his stuff. I have not personally bought a Makala, but plan to buy one as a backup beater uke for $39. Might be a good "missionary uke" to carry around with me, so I can say "oh, you like it? $39 and I'll sell you this one right here"
Whats different about this ukulele from other inexpensive ukuleles you ask....They are all basically built the same with the same quality finish but heres the big difference....SETUP. Every Makala beginners ukulele is taken out of the box and the original strings removed. The frets and neck are checked for straight and flat and fret dressed if neccessary. The nut is filed to correct height so the action in the open position is easy. The saddle height is adjusted to about 3/32"+ at the twelfth fret so that action is low and comfortable to play. Finally new Premium 100% flourocarbon ukulele strings are restrung on the ukulele then it is tuned up to pitch and checked. No other seller goes thru all this to make sure you have a decent playing inexpensive ukulele. Many may claim they do setup but try asking exactly what is involved and compare. Player's choice Aquila strings is optional upgrade for an additional 6.00
Just one question.. If I got a guitar tab and transcribed it for the uke, would it sound as good/right? Obviously it'd mean that each string would have to have more notes on it, but I've sucessfully trascribed guitar tabs into bass ones, with minimal fidling required (as long as there aren't too many chords etc).
Any guitar tab you play on uke will sound the same, except one fourth higher. That is, if you're doing the bridge from Hotel California (for some ungodly reason) in key of G, it'll come out in key of C. A uke is basically a classical guitar with the two bass strings removed, capoed at the fifth fret. Hope that clears it up a little.
What would be the better deal (both cost the same, give or take $5) - a Kala Concert Uke for Mahalo Tenor? Another option would to get a cheap Kala tenor from the states (I'm in Australia), but that'd be a bit extra. I'd like the best sound from the uke that I get, but I guess I can always upgrade later. Is there much of a difference between a tenor and concert uke?
For imports, roughly speaking:
Mahalo/Makala/Hilo < (any of those with proper settup) < Kala
Not quite sure where Washburn/Schmidt/Sammick fall on that continuum, somewhere around the middle I believe.
A concert falls between a tenor and soprano in size. Given the two options you mention, I'd go for the Kala Concert. When you get around to upgrading, you might find a good deal on an Aussie-made uke.
Note on "re-entrant" tuning.
(If this confuses you, just ignore it and play along. Basic gist: many folks tune their uke with a high string in place of the lowest bass string. This has no effect on your actual fingering of chords, it just gives it a pingier sound with a richer middle but less bass.)
Most soprano ukes, and maybe 50% of tenor ukes, come in re-entrant tuning. Re-entrant means that the string that would be the lowest bass string of the four is replaced with a small string an octave higher in pitch. This has no effect on your actual fingering of chords, but means that you get a richer high end to your chord, but less depth.
I believe a soprano body doesn't have the size to get good bass response on the G, so it's essentially always strung with a High g. Concerts almost always low G, and tenors vary depending on owner's preference. Baritone ukes usually aren't re-entrant, but some folks do put a high D string on the lowest position. On the 8-string tenor ukes, which have double strings like a mandolin, people usually put two different strings, one in each octave, on the lowest course.
(End of detailed uke geekery, back to the normal n00b questions)
|# ¿ Nov 23, 2007 12:57|
Thanks heaps for all the info, but I was thinking more sound-wise for this question. What's the difference in terms of uke sound between a concert and a tenor? You recommended getting a tenor on the first page, is this just because they are bigger and have more tone range? What I'm basically asking is if a tenor is a concert + a little bit more, or if they have different uses.
Tenor would have a little more depth of sound, but it's not like a Concert would sound uber-lame by comparison, just not quite as full. If two models are similar price, I'd go Kala for better quality. Again, a Kala won't sound like a $600 solid-koa uke, but it's a great buy for the money.
The tenor will have a little more range due to having a longer neck with more frets, but almost nobody plays all the way down the neck anyway.
Do note that you can have too much body as well. For re-entrant tunings, I prefer the Flea over the Fluke (same mfg, different models), since the Fluke has more body than it needs for gCEa, thus I feel it sounds a little "muddy". If you play with a low G string, the extra body might be needed.
|# ¿ Nov 23, 2007 13:54|
Corsair Canard posted:
As soon as I get back home from my Thanksgiving trip I'm going to buy an uke and you bastards are all to blame.
Score! If you want max smallness and are okay with re-entrant tuning, get a soprano. If you want to have a bass on the lowest string, get a concert. Neither is really a "bad" answer, so long as you buy a semi-decent ($40+) one as discussed above.
If you want an actual chordbook, Roy Sakuma's is the best I've seen, and quite cheap.
A basic ukulele pitchpipe (like a harmonica with just the four notes you need to tune the uke to) is also useful to have, especially if you're not used to tuning instruments. Electronic tuners aren't bad either, but I wouldn't get one just for your uke unless you really feel like spending $25, or are truly baffled by even a pitchpipe. If you have lots of string instruments, you probably have an electric tuner already (though I've owned over a hundred string instruments, and never owned an e-tuner).
Re: learning uke songs
The books made specifically for uke are good for beginners, solely because they have diagrams of each chord as you follow the song along. Once you're beyond the basic point of knowing the standard chords, just get your chords online like all the guitarists do.
For example, if I google up "Earth Angel chords", I'll get some .txt file that tells me to play G-Em-C-D in succession, and I can do that on uke just as easily as on guitar. It's a little different for tablature, but only in that you can't play the lowest stuff, and that if you follow the guitar fingerings shown, you'll be playing a 4th higher.
For those inclined, you can play tons of doo-wop songs with G-Em-C-D. Earth Angel, Last Kiss, Duke of Earl jump to mind. Also "Butterfly" by Weezer.
While everyone's here, this is a neat track showing just some basic pop-music with simple strumming on the uke. Neat cover of "Hey There Delilah" by a Guamanian kid. Note that he also has a 9-minute tutorial where he explains how to play these chords in excruciating, painfully excessive detail. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n7bsfRal38Q
Another great cover, this one of the Jackson 5 ("Baby I Want You Back"): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y_0zA-FnmDM
|# ¿ Nov 24, 2007 23:12|
My boyfriend is a music geek, he's really drat good at the guitar, owns four of them and a bass.
I'm going to go the opposite direction from Benzoyl and suggest a soprano uke. A soprano would be the most distinct from his current items. He could use the exact same fingerings that he knows know, just he'll be transposed a key.
Sopranos are also less expensive due to material costs, so I'd vote for a Kala soprano uke. Should be about $59 plus shipping. Check around on Google and on eBay, but probably the best bet is Mic, as I've mentioned at various points in this thread. You can look him up on eBay as musicguymic.
Here's one for $59, with settup and gigbag, and free Priority shipping.
If this one goes, just email him directly and see if he'll match that deal. I've got his email in my inbox somewhere if you need it. As repeatedly stated, I have no business ties to Mic, I'm just honestly pleased with his service, and am open to any other dealer recommendations on this thread.
Ukuleles are awesome. Any guy who can work one will be a hit with the ladies. Give me a guy with a mellow voice and some mad uke skills and I'll go weak in the knees.
(Checks LD's profile pic) Hmmm...
Here's me, doing anything for you?
TapTheForwardAssist fucked around with this message at Nov 25, 2007 around 21:30
|# ¿ Nov 25, 2007 21:27|
As nice as that guy's deal seems, it isn't much of a deal when you count in the price for shipping to europe.. Thanks anyway, I think i'll have a look in the local music shops before hunting online.
Oh, if you're outside the US, I'm sure there are better dealers in your country/area. Are you a limey then? Over on http://www.ukulelecosmos.com it's majority Brit, and there are several recommended UK dealers there that I haven't paid attention to, and various random threads like "where to buy a uke in Benelux/Norway/Slovakia/etc".
I would definitely check with UkuleleCosmos first for Europe or Australia dealers. Buying locally is really a crapshoot unless you buy a higher-end uke, or buy from a shop that specifically states that they do a complete settup on the cheapies.
So far as awesome shops for stock ukes: any PNWgoons should definitely visit Dusty Strings in Seattle for awesome selection of high-end ukes. Decent vintage ukesat Trading Musician in Seattle as well.
|# ¿ Nov 26, 2007 12:10|
Prophet 60091 posted:
I was going to drive from CT to to East Village Music in NY today, with the intention of finding a <$99 Kala. About halfway there I was thinking about the Flukes and Fleas I had seen on their site, and decided to call them to see if they could help me find a local Fluke/Flea retailer. hosed if they aren't made right in CT. Within a few hours I picked up this:
I bought bascially the same model, and it should be delivered any day now (supposedly today, since the seller lives 2hrs away). I'm probably going to sell my larger Fluke (a standard concert-size in purple), since the Flea size is plenty big for re-entrant, and a small bit more portable. I'm up to six countries and territories since August, so portable is becoming a big thing for me.
Speaking of travel and ukes, I picked up one of these just a few days back. Poked into a store in Malaga to check for cheap guitars for travel, and saw something I'd never even heard of before:
It's a "timple" from the Canary islands. Basically a uke with an arched back and an extra string on the high end. It's re-entrant on the two lower strings, so basically tuned gcEad. If your immediate reaction was "oh, it's tuned like a lute!", then you're a sever geek. Got a lot of high end, but (due to rounded body?) sounds chimey rather than tinny. I'm digging it. Should be able to get some YouTube clips made on it in December.
If you like obscure stuff like this, check out: http://www.atlasofpluckedinstruments.com
|# ¿ Nov 27, 2007 14:16|
I am the milkman posted:
I have a cheap Mahalo ukulele, haven't played it much mostly because of the tuners making it a pain to play. I plan on changing them for some guitar tuners I have and changing the strings to something nicer. Any tips on other mods I could do to make the playing more enjoyable?
Putting decent strings on a cheapie is always a good idea (provided the rest checks out).
Putting better tuners on a cheapie (if it can be done affordably) could be a good idea.
Aside from that, you'd be looking at tweaking the action by lowering or raising the string height at nut and bridge. If wouldn't dick with that unless you talk to some uke luthiers on UkuleleCosmos or 4thPeg to get some advice on how to go about it.
That aside, some cheapies need "dressing" of the frets, basically filing down the sharp corners on the sides if they're rubbing your hand wrong.
If you have a cheapie and want to mess with it, you can't go too wrong. Main issue is intonation: if the frets simply aren't in the right place, not much can be done (short of ripping off and regluing the saddle). Everything else is pretty tweakable.
Very important note on breaking in new strings
For folks not accustomed to nylon strings, do note that they take a day or more to break in. If you tune up your brand-new uke for the first time and it won't stay tuned for more than a few verses, don't panic. Just play it for a bit, retuning it up as needed, and tune it up again before going to bed. Tune it up again in the morning, and just tune it up to pitch every so often until it stops going out of tune. At that point it should stay stable for days at a time, unless your tuners are crap (possibly the case on a $30 uke).
TapTheForwardAssist fucked around with this message at Nov 27, 2007 around 22:35
|# ¿ Nov 27, 2007 22:06|
There, I just went and took one from the seller that was talked about earlier on ebay. It's the first time I use ebay though so I hope I didn't miss any steps, I used the "buy it now" option and then made the money transaction through paypal, what next? Should it just arrive through the mail in the next few days or will he send some info on the purchase beforehand trough e-mail?
I've bought two Kala tenors from Mic (one that I sold to a friend, another for my da), and both were great for the price. It's not a $600 Kamaka tenor, but it's definitely better than 1/6 of a Kamaka, thus a good buy.
If you sent payment immediately through PayPal, it should ship from Hawaii in the next day or so, and then you go into eBay and leave feedback saying "Arrived promptly, good product" or whatever else.
If I don't want to pimp my uke by filing it and changing the tuners and so on how much should I consider having to spend on it to have a passable sound without doing all the handywork? (what uke to buy, I like the sound of James' uke but it must have cost a fortune so yeah)
If you want affordable but solid, Kala is probably your best bet. Usually around $59 for a soprano, $99 for a tenor. As stated numerous times, check musicguymic on eBay for good Kala prices.
Do not put steel strings on a uke, you'll cave the top in. Steel exerts far more tension than nylong. If you want a uke-like instrument with steel strings, you need to buy a cavaquinho (Brazil), braguinha (Portugal) or similar. Here's a clip of a cavaquinho player in Brazil: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P1erYoJ__Zk
If you buy a cavaquinho from a US dealer, probably $150 or more, probably far less if you have musician friends in Brazil to find you one. You're probably better off dicking around with a uke first, and then getting a cavaquinho if the nylon strings just don't do it for you.
|# ¿ Nov 28, 2007 03:43|
The seller (musicguymic) just sent a mail saying that it should arrive in canada in 2-3 days but will probably take 2-3 weeks through customs because of the christmas rush apparently. Is there a way of getting updates on where the package is? (tell me if i'm hijacking this thread towards a destination you don't want to get to)
The Kala tenor is good kit, so no worries there.
I had one Kala mailed to me (from musicguymic) when I was in Newfoundland, took about 2 weeks to get there, and Customs tacked on 14% HST (harmonized sales tax) payable on delivery, which was drat annoying. About 1/5 of the musical instruments I had mailed to me in NL (maybe 20 in all) had HST tacked on to them. It was completely arbitrary, in that I had $250 instruments with no HST added, and $60 instruments with HST due on delivery. It literally appears that some Customs guy just grabs random packages and says "oh, I'll put 14% HST on this one".
Then again, if you bought from a Canadian dealer you'd positively have to pay HST, so a 1/5 chance of paying HST sure beats the alternative.
|# ¿ Nov 28, 2007 04:08|
Just bought the Kala KA- 15S Mahogany Soprano Ukulele from musicguymic on eBay. I'm pretty excited
First thing is to tune it up. Here's a free online tuner for ukuleles: http://www.get-tuned.com/ukulele_tuner.php
Next is to learn some chords. Probably best way is to check out the links above and find a song with only two or three chords in it. A uke site for beginners should have a chord chart showing where to put your fingers to form each chord.
Uke is tuned, you have a song laid out in front of you showing which chord to change to at each point in the song. The chordsheet will either show a diagram of the chord, or you can print/draw a cheat sheet to look at to remind you what a "C" chord looks like, or whatever.
Now you just strum the uke in some vague semblance of rhythm, and change chords whenever you reach the next chord in the song. Your chord changes will be slow and sloppy at first, your rhythm spastic, but as you practice it gets better.
I've been teaching my da some uke recently, and the main problem he has it making sure that his fingers aren't muffling the neighboring strings. On some chords you have to kinda arch your fingers and come down from above so that you're only touching the string you actually want to touch.
There are various ukulele tutorials on YouTube as well, I'd check those out to get some ideas too. If you find yourself confused on any particular point, just come back here and post your question.
|# ¿ Nov 28, 2007 20:13|
Calvin Schoolidge posted:
I'm friends with a bunch of people who want to get together weekly and learn a new instrument, so this thread is perfect.
Huh, do you bring one instrument and pass it around the circle? Are most of the folks in your group pretty experienced multi-instrumentalists?
We might end up having a pass-around of an Appalachian dulcimer in the NMD:ML subforum early next year, you might want to check that out if we do.
|# ¿ Nov 29, 2007 21:10|
Would you recommend a "Beginners" one or a regular Kala from Musicguy?
Would that be the Makala vs the Kala, or are you referring to some other "Beginner" brand?
With the current deals Mic has, the Kala is only slightly pricier than the Makala, and is probably a better deal unless you're really scrimping.
If you're comparing to some other beginner brand (Hilo, Mahalo, etc), I would say that Kala is probably a notably better piece of gear unless the Hilo/Mahalo/etc was properly set-up by a uke luthier. Settup isn't really hard to do, but most shops don't bother, and most noobs don't know how to do it.
|# ¿ Nov 30, 2007 02:13|
Speaking of, I can't seem to get said dulcimer tuned. The pegs are just rotating freely with no resistance, so when I tune it up it just snaps right back the second I let go. Am I doing something wrong? There are little screws thru the pegs - should I tighten them?
Ah, mos def. Those are adjustable friction tuners, so you simply tighten the little screws until it holds but is still turnable. Let me know how it works after that. Did you get the pack of strings too? Not sure if I sent the playing/tuning info, but if not just google "In Search of the Wild Dulcimer", a free online tutor. Or you can just tune it up and play it, you seem to know your stuff. Common tunings are Daa (scale starts on third fret of string closest to you) and Dac (scale starts on 1st fret of string closest to you). Just finger the melody on the high string, and let the others sound as a constant drone as you strum across them all.
Say hello to my new Ukulele:
Got it tuned up yet? How does it play?
|# ¿ Nov 30, 2007 15:18|
I don't have it yet. That's the picture from ebay. But I can't wait to have it in my hands.
Dang, for a second I was hoping for a "it took me an hour, but I can play 3-chord songs now" motivational post.
If any noob gets their uke soon, it'd be cool to hear how the learning process goes for you. I was pleasantly surprised to see how fast my da (who has no instrument background) learned three chord songs, not sure if that's common or anomalous.
|# ¿ Dec 1, 2007 18:57|
This might have made my Christmas list. I went to guitar center today and they only had 2 (one of which was Koa and over $250). Quite a lot of fun to play. I think they were concert sized. Is that the default?
Any size Soprano/Concert/Tenor will play basically the same (same tuning too), it's just a matter of having more/less neck to work with, and more/less body (in an acoustic). Generally tenor is best for general musicianship, though soprano is more compact and cute.
If you're looking at an electric, I'd definitely go do some forum research over at 4th Peg and/or Ukulele Cosmos.
I've not tried many of the electrics, so know very little about them. I believe the Ovation acoustic/electric is pretty well regarded. Blue Star also makes some e-ukes, and there's a new/custom outfit in Australia called Jupiter Creek which has some very affordable ($270 and up) solidbody ukes made from quality woods:
EDIT: Jupiter Creek often sells gear on eBay for even less than their website. Shipping is $60 from Australia, but one of their solid-body concert ukes is $165 BIN on eBay currently. Do note that they also sell "lapsteel" ukuleles: do not buy one of those thinking that it's a regular uke! The "lapsteel" means that it's played laying flat in the lap with a slide, so the neck is not made to wrap your hand around in the regular position, and the strings are raised up for a slide.
Bear in mind that most electric ukes have steel strings (since most pickups are electromagnetic). I own one of the few models with nylon strings (Risa uke-stick). I got it mainly to use as a very quiet practice uke unplugged, and took mine to Iraq twice. It does amplify quite well, and can take pedals, etc. I haven't done a whole lot with mine, but if you look up "Risa" on YouTube there are various clips.
TapTheForwardAssist fucked around with this message at Dec 2, 2007 around 00:48
|# ¿ Dec 2, 2007 00:15|
I'm not specifically looking for an electric. $120ish is about the top of my price range, so I was looking at Kala ukes at that price point. There seem to be 2 tenors: that mahagony electric one (that seems like it has nylon strings), and one that's slightly more with a spruce top but not electric.
Okay, what we're looking at here is two possible $30 upgrades to the basic Kala tenor:
a) gets you a case/book/pitchpipe and an internal passive pickup
b) gets you case/book/pitchpipe and a spruce top
Unless you have special reasons to be plugging this critter in right away, I'd say that b) is the better option. A spruce top will theoretically produce better sound than the mahogany ply on the cheaper uke. Further, a spruce top "matures" the more you play it, theoretically producing a richer and richer sound over the years. That said, the basic Kala sounds peachy keen, but the spruce is technically a nice option, and when you count in the value of the case and book, it's a pretty affordable upgrade.
You can always add a passive pickup to an instrument, so it's easier to add that upgrade later than to try and change your top to spruce. So I vote for b).
|# ¿ Dec 2, 2007 03:22|
On ukulele "kinda" good is basically the same as "very" good.
That's funny, a buddy of mine was commeting on that just last night on the phone. He's an awesome classical guitarist, and does a lot of side work on open-tuned steel-string with lots of tapping/hammering and other such ornate stuff. I sold him my first Kala tenor (rather than have him pay shipping to Canada), and he says he's been playing it for hours a day since he quit his kitchen job.
He commented: "I've been watching YouTube, and there's almost nobody who's really great on uke. There's Shimabukuro and a couple others, but almost everyone else is just going strummity-strummity." Not to say that those clips are bad, just that it's nothing terribly complex.
I'm hoping that he'll post his own clips soon, as I'm sure that man can just tear it up on the tenor uke.
In the meantime, most folks just do on uke what the average guitarist does. Works plenty fine for backing up songs, having fun, etc. It's a pretty short learning curve from "I've never touched a uke before" to "I can play some Radiohead and everyone recognizes the song".
|# ¿ Dec 2, 2007 15:29|
Even that Mercedez chick isn't exactly a good player - if she was on guitar and not hot, most of those comments would be more like "lol girls can't play guitar nub".
No doubt. That said, I really like her cover. Part of it is that she's cute (especially in that stark background), part of it is that almost nobody in our generation plays banjo uke, and also it's just a fun choice of song. However, definitely agree that in terms of pure musicianship she's nothing amazing.
Her other tracks are also pretty cool though, some samba pieces played on tenor banjo, etc.
ing. I'm really surprised by the fact that in about three months of uke playing I can whip out stuff that's more intricate than 99% of the uke stuff on youtube.
Now you've just obligated yourself to pony up some clips for judgement.
I posted my lovely clawhammer-style uke playing, so it won't kill you to share some licks. Bonus points if your wife accompanies on bowed psaltery.
|# ¿ Dec 2, 2007 18:58|
Get him the nice one as a post-christmas gift and never tell his parents. He'll thank you after he gets a chance to compare. And if the parents ever happen to see it then they probably won't know the difference anyway.
Plus then you can steal his cheapie!
|# ¿ Dec 2, 2007 20:17|
I've been searching around for solid top Ukes that are under $200. The Flea ones for that price are laminate however. And the Ovation I assume would be too (as well as likely made in China?)
One of the other goons pointed out the spruce-top Kalas for $130. Those are made in China though, if that's a problem for you.
I believe (but not sure) that the larger Flukes have spruce tops. Confirm/deny?
The Ovation/Applause probably has a laminate top.
Meanwhile, I've instead decided for now, to bring him back a Greek mandolin or bouzouki from Cyprus.
Solid call. Sounds like you're a good girlfriend.
Don't forget to keep an eye out for more unusual Cypriot instruments while you're there. Maybe something harder to find than a bozouki, like a baglama (the Greek kind) or a tsouras:
TapTheForwardAssist fucked around with this message at Dec 2, 2007 around 23:12
|# ¿ Dec 2, 2007 23:08|
Came to post this. Beatles songs seem to translate really well on the ukulele.
Huh, funny how that works.
|# ¿ Dec 3, 2007 20:50|
That's pretty much my plan. Although the cheapie I bought actually sounds pretty great. $55 for a Lanikai. When I get back to the US I'm definitely buying a more expensive one, but I'm still trying to figure out what to get. Do the Fluke/Flea ukes actually sound good or are they just spiffy-looking?
Good question. In the past, when I didn't have much uke experience, I played Flukes against a variety of hardwood $400-600 ukes, and came away pretty pleased with the Fluke.
One of my goals for the Christmas break (visiting family in Seattle) is to go to Dusty Strings and spend hours playing every uke in the place, to figure out what I like in various higher-end models. I've been coming to DS since I was 14, so they know me pretty well there, should leave me be for a few hours to dig the gear.
If at all possible, when you're ready to upgrade simply try as many ukes as possible. Either go to an actual real music store (hint: not Guitar Center) and try different models, or check and see if there's a uke club or group in your town where you can meet folks and try gear out.
How about this plan:
I'd say a little overkill on both ends.
Cheap is fine, cheapest is maybe excessive. Since the margin between Mizkif's satisfactory Lanikai and an unplayable (not properly set-up) Hilo is maybe $20, I'd say the difference is worth paying. It's not like a choice between "barely playable" and "decent" is $100 or anything, and even the pretty okay starter ukes are still cheaper than any non-crap guitar you'll ever buy.
Economy is good, but let's not be pound-foolish here.
On the opposite end (upgrading to a Martin S-O): if you're about to drop that kind of cash, I'd definitely play as many ukes as possible. There's a lot of cool stuff out there for $400-800, so trying out a wide variety of wood/build/soundhole options would be most wise.
EDIT: Oh, the S-O model is the Mexican-made $300-400 one. For a second I thought your meant a $1000+ Martin. I haven't played a S-O, but off the top of my head I'd ask how it compares to a $175 Bushman Jenny, which is also made overseas from solid mahogany.
EDIT2: Hot drat, Mizkif, I just now remembered which goon you are. I was thinking "I should go bring that one guy over to this thread", and then I realize it's you. Did you get that batch of cheap ukes shipped to your buddies? Care to share your uke pics from an exotic locale?
TapTheForwardAssist fucked around with this message at Dec 4, 2007 around 01:24
|# ¿ Dec 4, 2007 01:07|
Glare Seethe posted:
I just bought a cheap ukulele and have a couple of questions. I used my guitar as reference to tune it to GCEA, as it is a soprano uke, but I just noticed that the extra pack of strings I bought says DGBE on the package, which is the baritone tuning. Are there special strings for baritone ukuleles or can I use these on mine too and just tune them accordingly?
Those should be baritone strings you've got there. I do not believe they'd be compatible with a soprano uke, especially since the low string would be non-re-entrant, thus probably putting more tension on the body. You might just want to sell those to a bari-owning goon (if they're a decent brand) or just give them away if they're $2 cheapies.
Also my G string is buzzing like hell, and in general seems to lack the same fullness of sound that the other three have. Any way to fix this? As I said, it's a cheapass uke so maybe that just comes with the territory, but if I can improve its sound it'd be nice.
Main question: is your G-string re-entrant (pitched higher than your C, an octave above where a low G would be)?
If not, then for some reason you has a low G on a soprano, meaning that the nut probably isn't set up for that diameter, and the body isn't big enough to give response for a low G. If that's the case, you need to go re-entrant by buying another high A string and just tuning it a step lower to G. If you're currently using the cheapie strings it came with, just buy a $2-3 pack of decent strings online (making sure they're re-entrant soprano strings) and go with the new pack.
If your G is re-entrant, it's a bid odd that it's not getting "fullness of sound". If it's buzzing, it might be because the action is too low on that string (probably someone cut the slot in the nut too deep). Using small coins (dime, penny), measure the gap between your G string and the fretboard, and do the same for the other strings. Is your G string noticeably lower? If so, try a temporary shim of a bit of torn paper and see if that raises it up and stops the buzzing. It's also help to try and figure out whether the buzzing originates at the nut, the bridge, or against an individual fret.
Too technical, or do these two possibilites make sense? What particular brand of cheapie did you get?
TapTheForwardAssist fucked around with this message at Dec 4, 2007 around 17:00
|# ¿ Dec 4, 2007 16:58|
Glare Seethe posted:
Ahh, thanks for this post, I think I figured it out. When I bought it it was completely out of tune and somehow I missed the bit in this thread about the re-entrant G string, so when I tuned it I set it to a lower octave than my C. Now I tuned it to a higher G and the buzzing stopped.
You are correct. With re-entrant tuning fretting the second fret on your G should match your A. If you had it tuned all the way down to low G, your string would be flapping like Paris Hilton's nether-lips.
Does it play well now that you've got it tuned up?
Not familiar with Richwood, but there are dozens of brand-names of Chinese ukes. Probably four brand names for each actual factory producing them. With standard cheapies it's really a matter of luck: some play just great, others play great with some tweaking, others are kindling. I heard good thing about the "Nenes" brand on UkuleleCosmos though. I've heard good things about the Mahalo brand sold in the UK, but the ones I tried in Canada were utter rubbish (different factory?).
Not sure what uke options you had available where you're at, but paying the extra few bucks for a set-up cheapie, or upgrading to a Lanikai or Kala, is usually a good investment for a noob.
Will go check out a bunch of higher-end ukes next week, will post a report. Am also considering getting a Bushman Jenny tenor uke: solid mahogany, made in China, about $220 for cutaway tenor.
This thread is actually turning out to be a lot of fun. Needs more YouTube clips though.
|# ¿ Dec 4, 2007 20:16|
It says the G is in tune but it sounds really out of whack, like it's way too low (maybe a lower G?) and the string feels very loose.
Cripes, did you pull a Seethe Glare too? Are you trying to turn a re-entrant G down to a bass G?
When you look at your G string, does it look thicker or thinner than your C string? If it looks thinner, it needs to be tuned up to a re-entrant (high) G, as in just a step below your A string. Does that help?
Your other problems sound a bit odd. Do you have a musician friend around who can look over your shoulder and see if you're doing something weird. Heck, if you want to YouTube your confusion and post it here we can take a squint.
|# ¿ Dec 5, 2007 03:42|
Maybe this tuner is just really cheap. I can't find anywhere to change the key settings.
I don't see anything inherently wrong with the type of tuner you have. The tuner gives readouts for the entire scale, right? That is, as you're tuning it up it says Db.......D.......D#......E as you climb, right? Such a tuner should work fine on your uke.
Oh, and is your G re-entrant or bass? What kind/brand of uke did you get?
|# ¿ Dec 5, 2007 03:47|
TLG James posted:
I know nothing about instruments but I think this would be a neat instrument to learn to play, where to I start?
1) Get a uke. You don't want to go uber-uber cheap, as some stuff is just unplayable crap. Fortunately, even a decent starter uke is way more affordable than most instruments. Probably the best deal running currently is the Kala uke, which several of us have bought from musicguymic on eBay and gotten good deals on. Soprano ukes run about $59, tenor ukes run about $99. Both play the same, it's just a matter if you want a smaller body with a little less volume/tone, or more volume/tone but not as tiny/cute/agile. If you're on a real tight budget, Mic also has some Makalas that he tweaks in his shop, so they're about the quality of the usual internet $35 uke, but with better strings and properly tweaked to play in tune, and the lemons weeded out, which warrants the small markup in price.
2) Learn some chords, and then match them up to a song. You don't need to find specificially uke songs online, just find a uke chord chart, and then match that up any song you google up the chords for. It might help to print out the song and then draw a little picture of the finger positions for each chord above the verses. For example, if "House of the Rising Sun" starts out Em, G, A, you just look those chords up on any online uke chord chart, and apply those fingerings to the song.
There's also a site linked a page or so back that will actually demonstrate the chords for Beatles songs as the song lyrics/chords are displayed in realtime, so that's a pretty cool learning resource.
This thread is worth a read-through, lots of good info brought up.
|# ¿ Dec 6, 2007 04:50|
All right, thanks. I looked at the some of the links to chords and found them confusing at first, so I was wondering.
No idea on the Cascade, but I posted asking about it on UkuleleCosmos. It's in the General section if you want to go scope the thread out. I'm initially wary of good deals from mega-stores, but I'm open to possibilities. Hang loose for a few days until we can get more info on that critter.
Chords might be a little confusing if you're not used to the concept. The chord diagrams are simply showing where your fingers go for each chord. If it's throwing you, it might be good to check some YouTube tutorials to see someone actually forming and strumming the chords. Try searching as "ukulele lesson" or "ukulele tutorial".
Any noob ukegoons found a YT tutorial that's especially cool?
This is a tiny, tiny bit harder than pure n00b, but kinda neat. 12 Bar Blues Uke Tutorial: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tVNNT2wfMgg
|# ¿ Dec 6, 2007 15:24|
Corsair Canard posted:
Well I've got a Soprano Lanikai! I've just been messing around a bit, already know a couple of chords, hooray.
The chord will be the same, the fingering will be different.
You can either play the guitar tab, and note that you'll be playing in a key a fourth higher (i.e. if you follow the guitar tabs and it's key of G, you'll actually be playing in C), or else you can look up the equivalent uke chords, so that you're playing a G on the uke, though the fingering will be different. It's way less complicated that it sounds.
If you're not playing along with anyone else, it doesn't really matter if your key is transposed, so just follow the fingerings as shown.
ould you advise a guitar player just looking to mess around with something fun a baritone uke? It would seem to be the easiest transition as a guitar player probably has a few songs that can be played on it, or at the very least they know the notes along the strings rather than having to relearn and then transcribe songs...
Same thing: if you're okay being transposed, get one of the smaller ukes. If the notion of being transposed bugs the heck out of you, get a baritone.
I'd vote to get a soprano or tenor uke and just pretend that it's tuned DGBE, and that it's the rest of the world that's transposed. The smaller uke would provide the greatest contrast with your current gear.
I'm loving my uke already though. It's perfect for my small fingers. Thanks for giving me another way to waste time!
"Waste time"? Compared to what? If you had been planning to feed starving orphans or study for the LSATs or something, maybe it's a waste of time.
Compared to what most goons do (play WoW, :schlick: to net porn, post in GBS) actually picking up a physical object and doing something is certainly a step in the right direction. Plus you can find other folks who can play instruments, or even can drum on an empty cigar box, and you've got a little combo going.
TapTheForwardAssist fucked around with this message at Dec 7, 2007 around 05:10
|# ¿ Dec 7, 2007 04:24|
I sent my loved ones a link to musicguymic's ebay store and said get me a concert size for Christmas. Exciting!
Nope. If I knew of an equally good or better online dealer for <$100 ukes, I'd be mentioning it here.
If anyone knows of a cheaper Kala dealer, by all means post. If anyone knows of a good dealer who does proper settup on Mahalo/Hilo/Makala, etc. definitely post it here. On the online uke forums, Kala is pretty much the prefered brand in the <$100 category, which is why I initially bought one. Mic is pretty much the largest online Kala dealer, thus has good prices. Check out the online uke forums, and he's is the main source for folks buying Kalas. An alternate dealer is Rob Deel (ukulele4u), who beats Mic on a few prices and seems to have a good rep on UC. They appear to be heavily competing with each other currently, so depending on the week one undercuts the other on various items.
I'd make some joke about trying to get a cut from Mic, but the guy moves about 30 ukes per day just from eBay listings, probably another 15-20 a day from his online store. Even if 100 goons buy ukes in Nov/Dec, and 2/3 of those buy from Mic, I don't think he'd notice any fluctuations in his sales.
I was just about to post a similar topic to this. I've been trying to learn how to play the bluegrass banjo for a year now but I've been having a hard time with it. I've never played a string instrument before that.
Banjo is a bit trickier than guitar/uke/mando because banjo has some very distinctive right-hand work. On the bright side, banjo left-hand work is really easy. Playing guitar or uke certainly wouldn't hurt your banjo playing, but it wouldn't automatically make it easy. Though the chord formations are different for those instruments, the overall left-hand concept is similar. However, the right hand picking-patterns are very different.
I'd been playing mandolin/uke/guitar/dulcimer for years, and tried to pick up some banjo, utterly failed. Years later I had a slow summer and picked up banjo again. I spent two weeks doing the wrong technique because I misunderstood the Pete Seeger instruction book, then suddenly I realized my mistake, fixed it, and could play dozens of songs that day. That's why you might want to really consider taking a few lessons on bluegrass banjo. Granted, I was teaching myself frailing/clawhammer, which is completely different from bluegrass/Scruggs, but the point remains that banjo is a tricky instrument to teach yourself without someone to watch and advise you at least a little.
For guitar and uke, I don't see a ton of point in lessons. If you're massively, totally noob it wouldn't hurt to have a guitar-playing friend sit down with you and offer some pointers, but I think we have noobs on this thread that have been puzzling out uke just fine on their own. Pretty similar for mandolin, though there it helps a little to get some pointers on the various (very different) ways you can play a mando: strum (often lame), chop chords (very cool), and melody work.
TapTheForwardAssist fucked around with this message at Dec 7, 2007 around 14:56
|# ¿ Dec 7, 2007 14:22|
Is there anything I can do to improve intonation? I got a Bushman Jenny over the summer, and while it sounds pretty decent, the intonation isn't the best in the world. Most noticeably, barring a chord such as a C sounds like crap when a D or G sound fine. I'm guessing the only thing I could do would be adjust something with the nut?
Assuming that the frets are inherently in there proper places (and the Bushman is generally a good brand, so they should be), your intonation issues may be caused by some issues with nut or saddle height.
Almost all my settup experience is with Appalachian dulcimer, so I'd hate to lead you wrong by guessing at it. I'd advise you go to UkuleleCosmos and clearly describe your intonation issues. Is your octave harmonic even with your octave fret?
If you happen to have a fully chromatic tuner (that tells precisely how sharp/flat you are from the proper pitch), that would be helpful but not essential for diagnosing your issues.
Check with UC, and they can probably explain some basic diagnostic checks to zero in on your problem. That's a little discouraging, since I was vaguely considering upgrading to either an Ohana or a Bushman (both a solid-mahogany ukes of decent offshore manufacture in the $200-300ish range). Not sure whether I'm ready to bite the bullet and spend $400 on a used Kamaka or such.
|# ¿ Dec 8, 2007 00:25|
Alright this thread sold me.
I went forth to find out what kind of uke they play in Beirut. Took a while, as every site just called it "a ukulele", and the one pic appeared to be two of them playing different sizes (believe one tenor and one bari). Finally I found this on the EZFolk forums:
ben claytor posted:
I've been interested in bushman ukuleles ever since Zach Condon from the band beirut told me that's what he uses (Jenny tenor, venetian cut, friction pegs). He also told me to buy my lanakai [Lanikai] tenor, that it's a good starting uke. I immediately ordered that uke, no questions asked.
There you have it.
I'd say a tenor uke is a good bet in the first place, as it sounds more "uke-like" than a bari, get has a nice big body and plenty of neck to work with.
I take it you were looking at the Lanikai electro-acoustic? I've not played a Kala and a Lanikai side by side, but I tried out a Lanikai baritone at a shop in MD yesterday, and it seemed a pretty similar product. I bought Kala for my tenor after reading through various Lanikai vs Kala threads on UC, but not sure if there's a tremendous difference.
Oh, if anyone is looking for a pure electric, the bidding is still pretty low on this Bugsgear solid-body (nylon strung) electric on eBay. There's also a used Applause/Ovation acoustic-electric going for a good price, and the Jupiter Creek solid-body (steel string) electrics going for under $200.
TapTheForwardAssist fucked around with this message at Dec 8, 2007 around 16:25
|# ¿ Dec 8, 2007 16:22|
Mike Toole posted:
Checking in to say that I ordered one of Mic's Kala ukes. My goofy little Oscar Schmidt concert uke is fine, but it sounds like this will be better for a sub-$100 instrument. Also, the Schmidt is concert size, and I've got a Hilo tenor, but I don't have a 'proper' soprano uke. It's about time I got a new instrument-- can't wait to get it!
Sounds like you'll be in a good position to compare three brands side-by-side. Definitely come post back here once you get a chance to compare them all together.
|# ¿ Dec 9, 2007 02:48|
However, I love how easy the chords seem to stay in memory. Maybe it just seems less intimidating but I remember pretty much all the chords for Something and I looked at them once. It took a gently caress load of time to memorize all the basic guitar chords.
Yep, uke chords are easier. Plus it's easier to make barre chords that you can slide up and down the neck. For example,
C = 0003
One thing I didn't get is if people normally play all the strings at once for every chord? All of the chord charts I find don't really mark played v. unplayed open strings. But without trying to work it out and having no ear for it, I'll just guess that not all of the open strigns can fit into the notes for all the chords?
On most chord charts, they mark an "X" on the string if it's not played. However, there are very few uke chord variants with an "X", so some charts might not even include them.
Do note that you don't need to strum all the way across a chord; you can also finger-pick a pattern continually with your right and just keep chaning chords with your left.
Also the cheap Makala sold on ebay? Is it a big step up in palyability? I'd be willing to ask for one as a present if it actually played sort of like a real isntrument as opposed to a toy, because these thigns seem very cool
The Makala is pretty much the same as Mahalo/Hilo/etc. The only difference is if the seller has tweaked action/intonation. If the action/intonation on yours is okay, then it's basically just as good.
So the actual tuner was visibly unwinding? Normally I'd just guess that the new string was stretching, but if you're actually noting your peg spinning, maybe the tuner is just cheap. Did you try tightening the screw on the back of the tuner (if it has one)? Some tuners are tension-adjustable.
If you were to take a step up, it'd either be to a Kala ($60-100), or further up to an Ohana or Bushman (both are solid Mahogany). I believe Elderly Instruments (http://www.elderly.com) and a few other sellers have long-neck Ohana sopranos for $125 or so.
|# ¿ Dec 9, 2007 04:08|
Anyone have experience with the Lanikai CK-TEQ tenor a/e? They're cheaper on musiciansfriend than Ebay, and it looks like it's just about exactly what I want.
Is the priority to have it sound good amped, unplugged, or the best compromise of both?
For an affordable electric that sounds good amped (that sounds just okay unplugged) a lot of folks like the Appaluse for $149 or so.
If you want something that's an upgrade from your Kala acoustically, you'd probably want to get an Ohana or Bushmas (solid mahogany). Given your wife's skills, you should be able to install a pickup later if you like. It's a pricey proposition to have someone else do it, so unless you're planning to do it yourself, it's probably cheaper to buy one pre-installed.
Here's a good UC thread on the subject:
|# ¿ Dec 9, 2007 04:35|
|# ¿ May 21, 2013 06:45|
Well I got all of my tuning issues sorted out and I'm happy to say that I've been practicing about an hour a day for the past few days.
Most motivational! What was the problem with your tuning? Even if it was a silly mistake, it'd be good to get some common mistakes discussed here to that folks know what to expect.
As mentioned before, another really common noob problem is fingers bumping into adjoining strings. For many chords, you have to kind of arch your fingers up and then down to come cleanly down atop the string.
|# ¿ Dec 11, 2007 03:58|