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Ukelele purcase

Lake Macquarie...
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Ukelele purcase

Well, HRH has decreed that she would love to add a ukelele to her list of musical instruments she plays. The royal squeeze been perusing the range on a website for "The Ukelele Site" up Haleiwa way, so I'm thinking that we might spend a bit of time checking out the ukelele merchants around Oahu. I'm sure it'd be a good way for the two of us to spend a day away from the rest of the Antipodean Entourage . Do any of you know any local muso's "in the know", that can recommend a reputable merchant offering quality instruments at a fair price?

I suggested to her that such a possession would make a fitting gift for her half-century celebration, but I've just been informed that for the last year, I've been regularly paying for a king's ransom of gold that's fashioned into an obscenely large piece of jewelry, which I'm yet to have the pleasure of setting eyes on Gee, I'm a good bloke and I didn't even know it. Anyhow, If I'm shelling out for the ukelele too, I'd like to buy one that will be worthy of her musical talents, without emptying the royal treasury.

Edited: 21 March 2012, 11:14
Los Angeles...
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1. Re: Ukelele purcase

As you begin your uke shopping experience you may hear people refer to the four K's. They mean Kamaka, Kanile'a, KoAloha, and Ko'olau. They're all made in Hawai'i, their standard models are solid koa, and they're in roughly the same price range ($400-700 for a soprano, $600-800 for a concert, $750-1050 for a tenor). They have a reputation for fairly consistent build quality and good customer service. Trying Google-ing their websites -- I think some may have factory tours?! If you're looking for a Hawaiian-made uke, the K-brands are a good place to start, but as you can see -- they are expensive! (I do NOT recommend a TENOR for a "first" uke.)

Their are also many more expensive custom makers and certainly plenty of less expensive good brands. I like Kala brand for "beach" ukes and for living-room playing.

...But try to get by with just getting her a plastic uke with a hand crank and a picture of Gumby on it from an ABC Store! ;)

massachusett
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for Turks and Caicos
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2. Re: Ukelele purcase

Hurleynut,

They had a nice display of Ukelele's at the Outrigger Reef. They will walk you through it all, with price range, and quality of the instruments. You don't have to buy one there, just get some information before you hit the streets in search of the instrument, before you purchase....or you can buy one there...

Saint Cloud...
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for Oahu
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3. Re: Ukelele purcase

Can't help you with purchasing one, but if you want to tour a factory:

tripadvisor.com/ShowTopic-g29222-i37-k329652…

washington
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4. Re: Ukelele purcase

LOL My-Mai-Tai...I was going to suggest a pink one from an ABC store with "Aloha" printed on it!

We bought our son a nice student Uke at a store in Ward Center...I think it was just over $100. Not Koa but a sweet sound.

There is also a neat music store in Lahaina http://lahainamusic.com/ukuleles.htm

Sorry I don't remember where the royal tour goes first!

Los Angeles...
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5. Re: Ukelele purcase

I found that in those brands that My-mai-tai mentioned, the price of those instruments are pretty much the same at all the stores.

Go to a ukulele store and try out all the instruments (as a beginner, start with a sorprano) and chose the one with the tone that you like. They don't all sound the same.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MUHB9jnsuUg

Since I have many friends that own Kamakas, I went shopping thinking I would get one too. I thought the Kamaka sounded a little tinny and not as loud as the others. I ended up getting a KoAloha (the Ko'olau was my fav but a little more than what I wanted to spend) which I love. It's also the only one that is solid koa (should it end up in a display case! LOL). The others use different woods for the neck and bridge for durability.

Wetaskiwin, Canada
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6. Re: Ukelele purcase

I would recommend "The Ukebox".

http://www.theukebox.com/#!

I was in Honolulu last October with my wife and decided that I needed to learn how to play the ukulele. I went to The Ukebox and ended up purchasing a Mainland concert sized uke that is made out of mango. It was less than half of the price of a KoAloha or a Kamaka, both of which they also handle. They were very helpful and offer a free lesson daily. No purchase required. The reason that I went with the Mainland was strictly price related and due to the fact that I didn't know how to play at all. We have plans now to go back in November and I think that a "K" brand is in my future. I still like the Mainland though.

Oahu, Hawaii
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7. Re: Ukelele purcase

Aloha,

Pua Pua has been around Waikiki for a few years and give lessons at 10 am everyday.

I know they have a shop in both the Moana Surfrider and the Sheraton Waikiki.

Really a great summary by all of the posters above.

Can be a little tough to choose as the market has been flooded with Uke's coming in from China, Vietnam, Japan and other places.

Always fun to play with friends or with your favorite Hawaiian CD

Good luck Harley and have a great trip,

Aloha

palm springs
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8. Re: Ukelele purcase

I looked all over Waikiki for one, and ended up getting mine at 'Hawaiian Music Supply' now in Haleiwa. I got a Kamaka for cheaper than anywhere in Waikiki...and knowledgeable staff.

Lake Macquarie...
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9. Re: Ukelele purcase

Thank you all for the excellent (as usual) feedback. From a a bit of a 'net snoop, we did notice the featuring of the 4x K's and the Hawaiian Music Supply is one already on the list to check out over Easter. I'm expecting this is going to set me back about a grand for a quality locally produced item. Although the value-for-money and quality may be in many of imported varieties, I couldn't buy a non-Hawaiian ukelele. This will be about the sound, the look, the material and the manufacturer, all adding up to a valued possession directly linked to the place and people we have grown to love.

Last time we were there, we spent some time in a shop near PF Chang's and the wife nearly bought one there. it was going to set us back about $1,500, but I suggested that we investigate more before jumping in to the sale. i know this has been on her mind since, so I think that a tour of all the available shops will also increase the experience.

Los Angeles...
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10. Re: Ukelele purcase

ooh! ooh! That reminds me... A Big Yes on Hawaii Music Supply that you & tomtravel mentioned...

http://www.theukulelesite.com/about-us

...Since you are already considering a visit there, please scroll down that page and try to make contact with Mike "Music Guy Mic" Aratani to get his thoughts, too. Mike is a ukulele "treasure" and has probably set up & sold more ukuleles than any living human being. He will have suggestions on which strings to set up with to achieve "her sound" as well. I was flabbergasted to see that he is alive and now affiliated with HMS since he almost passed away a year ago -- he was very, very, very sick and hospitalized! If you see him tell him Aloha from an old UU buddy/customer for me!

Another Hawaiian/Oahu made (K.C. Moore) overlooked/underrated uke is Keli'i (Kay-LEE-ee) :P

Some refer to Keli'i as the Fifth "K". They can be difficult to find but they are a tremendous value for a bona fide koa Hawaiian uke!

Also +1 with BBreb on Mainland Ukes! Beautiful non-Hawaiian ukes value-priced.