Hey friends, drummer/pianist here looking to purchase a Uke. Needless to say, I could use your help!
Due to some birthday cash and a few Guitar Center gift cards from Christmas, I have between $300-$400 to play with.
It’s obvious the Ukulele has become quite a popular instrument around here. I could use your advice in knowing what to look for! Have you bought one recently after doing some research? Share some of your findings! Would you suggest one with a quarter-inch input? Any particular brand/model that stands out above the rest? What other suggestions do you have?
Thank you so much!
After doing quite some research, I went with the Kala KA-15S which sells at around $50.
From the information I had gathered, it is a really good bang for the buck.
It does sound nicely by itself and is easy to capture. Usually not a lot of EQ tweaking needed.
I would refrain from buying an electro-acoustic one if your intend is mainly to record it for your AJ productions. I would rather save my money for a decent studio mic which can be found in your price range. Personally I use the RODE NT1-A, an excellent and very affordable mic. It always sounds much better this way.
This said, if you plan on doing gigs with your ukulele, an electro-acoustic one might be convenient then.
Hope this helps!
Kala is the way to go at that price range, they look and play beautiful. I started with a fender and its been good to me but Kala is next up.
Don’t worry about electronics. I like the concert size compared to tenor, baritone, & soprano.
My advice-would be to take that money and put it towards a solid mandolin. Ukulele is EVERYWHERE, it’s not worth the bucks when you can invest in a mando with a slightly different flavor and it’s not all over the place either (meaning not everyone is using them on tracks)
Good luck man!
My advice-would be to take that money and put it towards a solid mandolin. Ukulele is EVERYWHERE, it’s not worth the bucks when you can invest in a mando with a slightly different flavor and it’s not all over the place either (meaning not everyone is using them on tracks) Good luck man!
Just picked up a Kentucky mandolin, great little instrument.
I agree that Kala makes some very good ukuleles at very affordable prices. I have a Kala solid acacia concert which is what you’ll hear on most of my tracks, as well as a Lanikai tenor that’s on some of my earlier stuff. To be honest, for a first uke check out Lanikai as well – the one I have isn’t solid wood but sounds nice and they’re really affordable. Although I got the Kala for less than $300.
Phil, have you thought about what size you want? A soprano might be too small, so I’d consider a concert or a tenor, but you might want to play them and see.
The best results to my ear are using a bright SDC – I normally use an AKG C451b (uke is almost the only thing I like that mic on).
Also, get Aquila strings
As far as a mandolin goes, I agree, but a playable mandolin IMO begins at $500 and goes waaaay up from there. Also the learning curve is going to be much higher for someone who is not used to strings, and immediately you get a more serious folky vibe whereas ukulele is a more informal, anyone can do it vibe.
A quick follow up with a blast from the past forum thread which might be helpful:http://audiojungle.net/forums/thread/ukuleles-no-clapping/44915
Also I forgot to mention – unless you’re going to be playing it live, I would skip the pickup and record into a mic. Even an inexpensive mic will sound better than most pickups.
I have an old Eko Ukulele, made in Italy in the 70’s, but I’ve seen they’ve reissued it, they cost around 50$. Can’t tell about the new ones, but mine has a beautiful sound.
Mandolin: I’ve a Fender semi acoustic, but I record it with mics, you can get a nice full sound out of it. It cost around $400 when I bought it about 10 years ago, can’t tell now.
Thanks everyone! Keep the info coming.
Stuck_in_the_Basement – I actually own a RODE NT1-A … so no investment needed there.
Once I have the time, I’ll look further into your suggestions and let you know what I decide to do.
Also, I’m seeing that I should not go for the pickup – there is no way I’ll be performing any type of stringed instrument live any time soon!
If you combine all the suggestions, I guess the Kala KA-C Concert would be a good bet for you, unless you change your heart and go with the mandolin.
I would refrain from buying a super expensive ukulele from the get go, and again, these Kala ukes sound extremely well for the price, and come from a trusted manufacturer amongst ukulele lovers.
And yes, you need to get Aquila strings! I haven’t tried them yet, I am still using the strings that shipped with the uke, but I have read that everywhere!!!