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Tiki Central Forums » » Tiki Music » » Beginner Uke Advice Needed!
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Beginner Uke Advice Needed!
johntiki
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Mar 31, 2002
Posts: 1525
From: MD
Posted: 2005-09-23 08:02 am   Permalink

Call it effective advertising but I happened across and obviously took notice of this postcard at a local guitar store last weekend. I'm in the market for an inexpensive uke to play around with while my son beats on his new set of bongos and this store here in Baltimore has these on order... does anyone have any experience with Mahalo ukes? Is this a decent brand to fool around with or is there a cheaper brand/source I should be looking into? I don't need a $500 professional model and I don't want a plastic tourist souvenir either... any advice?


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Haole Kat
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Aug 02, 2004
Posts: 271
From: St Petersburg, FL
Posted: 2005-09-23 08:36 am   Permalink

Johntiki -- I don't have any experience with Mahalo Ukes, but I do know that Jim Beloff sells Flukes & Fleas at his website - Flea Market Music. His ukes are very consistent an affordable. I'm sure some other folks can chime in with more info.

FWIW - I found a used Mele Tenor Uke on E-bay for $225 a while back. I love it!

Good Luck!

Josh
www.whollycatsband.com

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Hot Lava
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Aug 01, 2003
Posts: 190
From: Saint Petersburg, FL
Posted: 2005-09-23 10:30 am   Permalink

Josh is right to recommend a Fluke — it's a remarkably well made instrument and since the body is plastic (like an Ovation guitar) it's quite durable as well. The smaller Flea models start at $144 while the larger Flukes begin at $179. They all come with a soft case.

Here's a direct link to their website:
http://www.fleamarketmusic.com/store/Scripts/prodList.asp

I often see the same instruments a little cheaper at Elderly Instruments: http://www.elderly.com/search/elderly?terms=fluke&x=0&y=0

If you like something a little more traditional looking, I recently acquired a Bushman Jenny after seeing many recommendations for it online. To my ears, it sounds a little better than the Fluke. They start at $169.00. Cases are extra.

http://jumpingflea.com/jenny.cfm

Your other big decision is which size to get: soprano, concert, and tenor are the most common. I started with a soprano Flea but ended up selling it to get a concert-sized Fluke, which I am much happier with since I have big hands and fingers. (Their concert size has the same fingerboard width as their tenor models.)

I bought the concert-size Jenny from Bushman, and unfortunately for me, the fingerboard is a bit on the small size for my tastes. I'll probably sell it before the end of the year and get a tenor one because it's just to hard for me to cleanly finger chords.

The Mahalo ukes have a reputation as being a pretty decent instrument for the beginning musician—but if you play another instrument and are looking to get into the uke, you'll probably be happier the Fluke or the Jenny.

Oh, and if you like the looks of the Jenny, let me know. Maybe I can cut you a deal on a like-new used one.

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Kanekila
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Aug 07, 2004
Posts: 185
From: Safety Harbor, FL
Posted: 2005-09-23 11:23 am   Permalink

Yes, both the Fluke/Flea and the Bushman "Jenny" ukes are good bang-for-the-buck ukes. I understand that it helps to have a pretty girl holding them, too!


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uke jackson
Tiki Centralite

Joined: Jun 21, 2005
Posts: 100
Posted: 2005-09-23 1:35 pm   Permalink

the mahalo is a surprisngly fine cheap uke. it intonates well all the way up the neck and with a set of aquila nylgut strings sounds quite sweet. i give away one a month on my radio show. i give away the color ukes. the natural wood ones seem ok, too. i had 80 of them last sept that we gave away to kids at the uke expo.

btw, you live in the same state as one of the finest uke makers in the country. when you do decide to upgrade, google "glyph ukulele" and contact dave means. tell him i said aloha

and the flea is a fine instrument but not in the same price range as the mahalo. try the Trimuph uke
http://www.empire-music.com/US/English/Catalogue.cfm?ProductID=TR400 at $43 incl s/h it's the best buy out there, imabho.

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johntiki
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Mar 31, 2002
Posts: 1525
From: MD
Posted: 2005-09-23 4:31 pm   Permalink

Thanks everyone for the links and info... I never realized how many ukulele variations there are! I'm definitely interested in the lowest of the low-end models being that I've never played a string instrument in any capacity. I also have a suspicion that if I don't get the hang of how to play this thing, it's going to spend a lot of time hanging on the wall behind the bar.

Uke Jackson - I technically wouldn't know a ukulele from a bass guitar but those Glyph ukes are absolutely gorgeous!



Makes me proud!

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Aloha from the enchanted Pi Yi Grotto in exotic Bel Air Maryland!

[ This Message was edited by: johntiki 2005-09-23 16:33 ]


 
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Chongolio
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Oct 02, 2002
Posts: 2765
From: The Coast of Kauai
Posted: 2005-09-23 5:25 pm   Permalink

My first Uke was a Mahalo and I have noproblem with the way it sounds. I would recommend Mahalo as a good first Uke. The flukes and fleas are pretty cool too! Best of luck with your ukin' Have fun.

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Iuka Grogg
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Oct 12, 2002
Posts: 176
From: Beside the sea under a coconut tree
Posted: 2005-09-27 8:34 pm   Permalink

Mahalo was my first ukulele. I bought it because I liked the idea of playing a ukulele and it was cheap. Kind of a test drive of sorts. It was pretty good about staying in tune. The intonation was fine although it didn't emit much in the way of volume. The frets were sharp, which tore up my finger nails. Not bad for a first instrument, but it didn't take me long to realize I needed to step up. My current axe is a KoAloha concert ukulele. A beautiful, handcrafted instrument made by a family on Oahu. Graceful look, stunning sound. Sensational customer service, too! I'm not a paid endorser (oh, how I wish), but have a look here: www.koaloha.com
Have fun strummin'

-Iuka Grogg
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HelloTiki
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Jul 23, 2005
Posts: 440
From: Kailua, Hawaii
Posted: 2005-09-27 10:04 pm   Permalink

Did anyone mention that Fleamarket has a Fluke with a Tiki design?
(I guess I did.)
Costs around 200 clams.


 
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Chongolio
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Oct 02, 2002
Posts: 2765
From: The Coast of Kauai
Posted: 2005-09-28 12:40 pm   Permalink

The tiki uke at Flea Market music is designed by TC's very own Tiki KIng! He also did the cowboy one as well. both look awesome in real life too!
Good call Hello tiki,

Chongolio
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Tiki King
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Jun 13, 2002
Posts: 548
From: Lush tropical Santa Cruz, CA.
Posted: 2005-10-08 10:12 am   Permalink

You can check out the Tiki Flukes and Tiki Fleas here:
www.tikiking.com/all_stuff_store.html
Cheers!
Tiki King.

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HelloTiki
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Jul 23, 2005
Posts: 440
From: Kailua, Hawaii
Posted: 2005-10-08 11:23 pm   Permalink

Wow! Tiki King is King. Checked your website. Love your designs. I bet they sound as good as they look.
This group always amazes me.
I must sell some tikis and get a uke.


 
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louisebialik
Member

Joined: Oct 10, 2005
Posts: 3
Posted: 2005-10-11 8:02 pm   Permalink

if you don't mind test driving on a kid's toy for thirty bucks, you can go to Toys R Us and get the First Act uke... I have a uke collection and wanted to encourage my toddler to play, so got him one of these First Act Ukes in the music section, and really, it's not that bad! If you also shop at (shudder shudder) Wal-Mart, the First Act is also there... at least if you don't do well with the practicing, you can give the toy over to a kid for the holidays. Louise

 
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stentiki
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Jun 24, 2002
Posts: 892
From: Huntington Beach
Posted: 2005-10-26 5:02 pm   Permalink

During my leave of absence from work, I decided to take uke lessons through the city of HB. I have a wonderful teacher but I'm having a problem with some of the simpler older songs that I'm not familiar with.

Can anyone recommend a CD or mp3's that feature fairly simple Uke tunes? I've seen some of the posts here regarding tunes which was also helpful but I need to hear them to make sense of them. Once I hear the tune, it makes it much easier for me to read the music. Granted, I'm just a beginner but I'll take any help I can get.

Mahalo!
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Aloha,

Arty



 
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4WDtiki
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Aug 03, 2004
Posts: 1851
From: Omao, Kauai
Posted: 2006-11-12 08:51 am   Permalink

I'm going to be buying a uke for my 8 year old granddaughter for Christmas. I don't know ukes, but did a little searching, and this thread looks appropriate to bump!

I'm leaning towards either a Mahalo, or a Classic from Empire Music. Both are in my price range.

Background: She lives on Kauai, and all grade school kids at her school have regular uke classes, how cool is that! Many kids have there own, and those who don't use a school uke. She wants her own, thus a uke for Christmas.

My questions are, tenor or soprano? Does it matter? Is one more common? Tuning peg or machine head? I see that option but don't know the difference. And, Mahalo or Empire? Sounds like both are decent, but can you steer me?

Thanks! And maybe Stentiki will get an answer now, too.


 
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