Concert Ukulele

Colleen Hailey
@colleen-hailey
4 months ago
63 posts

Well, I am way late to this discussion... I just picked up my very first ukulele today. It is a Kala KA CEM concert and it is lovely. I've already tuned it and have started trying some chords. It will take a while to get my squishy fingers in shape. I keep hitting adjacent strings. Of course, I've played the guitar before. When I was 12. Forty five years ago... So this should be easy :)

Sheryl St. Clare
@sheryl-st-clare
2 years ago
334 posts

Good things take time, and come in little boxes. But not too little. 

k0k0peli
@k0k0peli
2 years ago
22 posts

Realistically, at least two months will elapse before I can really get going. Hold that thought!

Sheryl St. Clare
@sheryl-st-clare
2 years ago
334 posts

I hope you will share some photos of your finished projects! 

k0k0peli
@k0k0peli
2 years ago
22 posts

[blue jokes deleted]

Yes, I'm more likely in navy or khaki. And I only own one string axe that color, a wee little soprano 'uke. Hmmm, maybe I need to build some fire-engine red standup dulcimers. And the violele I am (slowly) working on, sure. And I was thinking of stripping and refinishing a cheap mandolin -- red stain would be nice. [/me jots notes to self re: perverted instruments]

Sheryl St. Clare
@sheryl-st-clare
2 years ago
334 posts

K0k0peli, Interesting lyrics. Jimmy Buffett would be proud. Glad you found your avatar. I can almost see you strumming around your house amid your many musical toys, but maybe a little less blue. 

k0k0peli
@k0k0peli
2 years ago
22 posts

Wahine, Kokopeli (I spell my handle uniquely) is the Trickster God of some Native American peoples, similar (somewhat) to the Norse Loki but not so evil. Kokopeli is usually depicted as a hunchback playing a flute. I play fipple flutes but an not hunchbacked! I saw the avatar I use before I joined UU and knew immediately that it was perfect for me! That could be me (in dreadlocks!) clutching an 'uke, mando, or small dulcimer - that is how I like to hold mine. I very much dislike similar images of Koko clutching an assault rifle. :(

As for wahines... my wife and I wrote a Hawai'ian parody song some time back [copyright (c) 2001]. The chorus goes:

I wanna watch the wahines sway / Down on the sands at Kahuna Bay

We'll feast on mangoes and coconuts / While those hula girls shake their butts

We'll suck on daiquiris and shave-ice / In that trop-pick-i-pickle paradise

We'll plonk and play / Our lives away / Down on the sands at Kahuna Bay

I admit to wearing a grass skirt in the first verse. But the song is all about having big dreams. I'll have to record it someday.

Sheryl St. Clare
@sheryl-st-clare
2 years ago
334 posts

For anyone wondering, Wahine (wah-Hee-neh) is my moniker on the Ukulele Underground forum. It's Hawaiian for woman, or female. Seemed appropriate. dancetomato

k0k0peli, what is the meaning of your screen name? 

k0k0peli
@k0k0peli
2 years ago
22 posts

Wahine, you are most welcome. I am active there and at Mandolin Cafe - I consider 'ukes, mandos, and MDs as my "small lutes" (and yes, I know dulcimers are zithers). UU, MC, and FOTMD all seem like great little communities for those of us loving "expensive kindling with strings".

Sheryl St. Clare
@sheryl-st-clare
2 years ago
334 posts

K0k0peli, Just joined the UU forum. Beginner Uke player, with lot's to learn. Looks like a great place to do it. Thanks for your recommendation.  ~Wahine

k0k0peli
@k0k0peli
2 years ago
22 posts

I own a dozen 'uke-like objects, all rather different, none high-end, ranging from sopranos to a baritone (which I've tuned GGBD like a plectrum banjo). I have an Oscar Schmidt OU28T 8-string tenor (US$93 shipped) which ain't bad but I had to shim-up the bridge to kill a buzz. I have an Alvarez RU22T 4-string tenor (US$100 in the store) and a Harmonia UK201 4-string concert (US$50 from the importer). All these have laminated sides, solid tops (I think), thin satin finish (no heavy gloss), and very listenable tones. Harmonia is a very mixed bag; that UK201 concert is their only decent 'uke IMHO. Most of my other 'ukes are non-mainstream so I won't discuss those now. Anyway, one need not spend vast amounts of cash to get a decent-sounding 'uke. Just be sure to play before you pay.

Anyone with deep 'uke questions should check the very friendly and active Ukulele Underground site.

Paul Certo
@paul-certo
2 years ago
293 posts

The one or two Oscar Schmidt ukes I have tried had poor sound. We have 2 Kala ukes, a concert and a Travel Tenor, and both sound pretty nice. The Travel has a very thin body, so it doesn't sound as nice as the other Kala. We also have a baritone Favila made in 1963. This is my favorite, but Favila closed up some years back. The fourth is an Islander concert made by Kanile`a. I think Islander is their budget line. I would put the Islander up with Kala for sound and quality. It sounds better than the Travel model Kala, but the Travel Kala gets the most use.When it was my only uke, I put a pickup in it for playing out, so it gets the nod by default, plus being thin makes it easy to fit in a crowded car or under the seat in an airliner when travelling. I feel cramped on the 2 concert ukes, years of playing wide necked 12 string guitars, probably. If I played them enough, I would probably get over that. They are my wifes toys, actually.

I don't advocate buying instruments without playing them first, though a friend's 8 string Kala almost had me ordering one. I did play his, though. I can't see having a fifth uke in the house. But buying without playing robs you of one of musics greatest pleasures, and can leave you wishing you had "known then what I know now." I wanted a Martin guitar for years. But when I saved the money to buy one, I tried a lot of them, and the necks felt like the wrong end of a Louisville Slugger. I ended up with a Taylor instead. Had I ordered a Martin without trying, I might be wishing I hadn't. Hindsight is much clearer than foresight.

John Hanley
@john-hanley
2 years ago
1 posts

I have two Ukes, the first born was a Mainland soprano and I really enjoy its clear original uke sound, the second is a Lanikai S-T (spruce top-tenor). The Lanikai being a tenor is slightly larger with a fuller sound was an online purchase. Even with my limited skills I enjoy both instruments. 

Nigel Caddick
@nigel-caddick
2 years ago
13 posts

I have owned around 60 ukes of varying quality, I had 45 at one time once, mainly because I started the Sedgley Ukulele Strummers group (Google ;) ) I needed this amount because some of the new members needed to borrow one, plus I had both GAS and UAS as I'm an avid collector.

I have never owned a hand made Hawaiian uke costing loadsamoney, although in our group we have a uke maker extroadinaire. I found that those already mentioned are very good, my personal preference being Lanikai. My keeper uke is the Lanikai 8 string, as it gives a mighty sound similar to a 12 string guitar does, you're looking to pay, in Sterling UK about £120 + for a decent concert, up to £200.

Hope this helps, Nige

Kristi Keller
@kristi-keller
2 years ago
97 posts

Ohana and Mainland and Kala all make decent to very nice ukes. I have never heard an Oscar Schmidt that has the tonal quality, projection or balance I like in ukes. Have played for 63 years and most of my ukes are what you might call high end. But you do not need to spend $$$$s to get pleasant sounding instruments.

Babs Greene
@babs-greene
2 years ago
130 posts

Is that what that top sound hole is for, I had wondered what the purpose ofit was, when I was searching through multitudes of ukulele images...I have a hankering to play one but I just can't, my hands won't permit it; I get to watch and listen to others though, so, not all bad.

Dusty Turtle
@dusty-turtle
2 years ago
891 posts

James, I think you've mentioned that parlor guitar before. It sounds like a really nice instrument. I was in no way trying to disparage Oscar Schmidt instruments. It just seems that if you have to buy an instrument without playing it, it would make sense to stick with brands known for that instrument.

Babs, I've never really played the ukulele seriously, so I've never tried anyone's arrangements. And I don't think I could approach Jake Shumabukuro level even while dreaming. Since I played guitar for most of my life I can figure out ukulele chords and melodies pretty quickly, but I have no right-hand technique at all.

And yes, filipinouker, I have a pink ukulele that I bought my daughter a few years ago for her birthday. She has never shown any interest, but once or twice a year I pull it out and fiddle a bit.

However, at the risk of hijacking James's thread . . . I just bought a Riptide concert uke. It is not the one in the picture I linked to above, which has an acacia top, but one with a spruce top. Here's my new baby in its cozy cradle:

623_forums.jpg?width=500

It only has three strings in the picture because it came with a low G string but I put on the more traditional high G, and the picture was taken in the middle of that exchange. There is another sound hole on the side facing up when you play so that supposedly what you hear is closer to what others hear. Now I just have to learn to play the darn thing.

I organized a ukulele workshop and concert by Butch Ross here in Sacramento the day after the Berkeley Dulcimer Gathering and I wanted a decent instrument to use. Well, that's my excuse anyway. But if we call our instruments "tools" instead of "toys" don't they sound more justifiable as purchases?




--
Dusty T., Northern California
Site Moderator

"A good song makes you laugh, it makes you cry, it makes you think."
-- Pete Seeger
filipinouker
@filipinouker
2 years ago
3 posts
In the new Minions movie trailer, there is one that always carries a ukulele (look at photo).
I wonder if the dulcimer would ever feature in a popular animated film?
filipinouker
@filipinouker
2 years ago
3 posts
Dusty - by 'toys' do you mean the plastic types? I'll bet you can play them really well and make them sound like instruments! :-)

Dusty Turtle said:

I Have a few ukuleles that I consider more toys than instruments.

James Phillips
@james-phillips
2 years ago
95 posts

This is so funny that this thread has scene a new lifeSmile.gif I ultimately have put the idea of getting a ukulele on hold for the time being. Dusty, I wound up with an Oscar Schmidt parlor guitar, which is like the old Stella guitars they made through the 1920's and 1930's. I had a nice full sound to it, not "tinny" sound if you know what I mean. Sounds well in the Maybelle Carter scratch, fingerstyle, and basic rhythm strumming.

Babs Greene
@babs-greene
2 years ago
130 posts

Have you ever been tempted to try some of Jake Shimabukuro's arrangements?

Dusty Turtle said: I Have a few ukuleles that I consider more toys than instruments.

Dusty Turtle
@dusty-turtle
2 years ago
891 posts

What a coincidence, Cynthia! You know what they say about great minds . . .

Cynthia Wigington said:

Dusty, I'm looking at that one too...
Dusty Turtle said:

For the record, within the next week or two I hope to buythis Riptide concert ukefrom a local music store that also hosts my local dulcimer group meetings.




--
Dusty T., Northern California
Site Moderator

"A good song makes you laugh, it makes you cry, it makes you think."
-- Pete Seeger
Cynthia Wigington
@cynthia-wigington
2 years ago
78 posts

Dusty, I'm looking at that one too...
Dusty Turtle said:

James, perhaps I'm too late to this conversation. Interestingly, I am in the same boat in that I want to buy a decent ukulele but I can't afford the really fancy ones. I Have a few ukuleles that I consider more toys than instruments.

But my gut tells me to stick with Oscar Schmidt for autoharps and get a ukulele by a one of the companies that specializes in ukuleles, such as the brands filipinouker lists.

For the record, within the next week or two I hope to buythis Riptide concert ukefrom a local music store that also hosts my local dulcimer group meetings.

Dusty Turtle
@dusty-turtle
2 years ago
891 posts

James, perhaps I'm too late to this conversation. Interestingly, I am in the same boat in that I want to buy a decent ukulele but I can't afford the really fancy ones. I Have a few ukuleles that I consider more toys than instruments.

But my gut tells me to stick with Oscar Schmidt for autoharps and get a ukulele by a one of the companies that specializes in ukuleles, such as the brands filipinouker lists.

For the record, within the next week or two I hope to buythis Riptide concert ukefrom a local music store that also hosts my local dulcimer group meetings.




--
Dusty T., Northern California
Site Moderator

"A good song makes you laugh, it makes you cry, it makes you think."
-- Pete Seeger
Cynthia Wigington
@cynthia-wigington
2 years ago
78 posts

As you know James, I own this one, and it is my best uke. Uke friend Ron also thinks it's my best one. I like it, nice to play, nice sound, and I can be heard in uke club. My others get drowned out in the buzzing...

filipinouker
@filipinouker
2 years ago
3 posts
Hi James!Not sure if you've decided to purchase that uke and, if you have - what do you think?I've not had any experience with Oscar Schmidt ukes, but have found brands like Lanikai, Kala, and Ohana pretty reliable and won't break the bank balance.My bit of advice would be - regardless of the brand - don't buy until you try it! All the best!
Babs Greene
@babs-greene
2 years ago
130 posts

It looks like a decent Uke; hubby has a Lanikai Concert Uke which is great.

James Phillips
@james-phillips
2 years ago
95 posts

For a while, I have been toying with getting a ukulele to learn to play, to add to my list of instruments I play. (I also can play acoustical guitar, autoharp, and can fake my way on the electric bass.)

At any rate, I was wondering who all plays the ukulele, and what they think of this package that I am eye-balling on Amazonhttp://www.amazon.com/Oscar-Schmidt-OU5-Instructional-Polishing/dp/B005ETZN72/ref=sr_1_1?s=musical-instruments&ie=UTF8&qid=1420763277&sr=1-1&keywords=oscar+schmidt+ou5+concert+ukulele

If it isn't that good a ukulele, I would like to know, then maybe get pointed in a right direction. My budget won't stretch for a fancy handmade $1000 type LOL but I want one that is a quality instrument that will bring joy, not defeat, when learning.


updated by @james-phillips: 06/11/15 07:42:23AM