OK I'll kick this one off - anyone know of any reasonably priced but playable / good ukuleles?
A couple of hundred quid (yeah yeah I'm a cheapass but hey its a little instrument needed for one song!!) at most...preferably less...vibe is more important than fancy lutherie...
Actually, as odd as it looks, the Fluke sounds and plays quite decently.
Get the Fluke (which is a concert size model) or the tenor sized model rather than teh sopranos size model (the Flea). I would get the upgraded wood fretboard with metal frets so you can used metal wound strings and then tune it Hawaiian style -- For your tenor uke, do the Brahdah IZ' (Kamakawiwo`ole) method and it will be easier to play. Again, this is (for GCEA):
1) put the C string where the G string goes,
2) put the G string where the E string goes,
3) put the E string where the C string goes,
4) leave the A where it is.
So you have the top string (the G) a metal wound string and the others nylon. This in effect 'slacks' the strings (except the A) and makes the instrument easier to strum. Also gives you a much better and fuller low end.
If you get the standard model, the fretboard and frets are plastic and metal wound strings will trash them.
That should give you a decent sounding uke within your price range. If you want to get a wood uke, exect to pay more. I like Kamaka for new wood ukes. Avoid the new cheap Martin uke (the S-0 I think) -- not worthy of the name. There are lots of good makers in Hawaii now, but you might have a problem getting one in Europe. Haven't ever played a Bushman so I can't offer any advice there. Used Martin and Gibson tenors are generally the best with Kamaka running after them, but they will be pricey unless you luck into a deal.
Yeah I'm an attorney, but everyone needs a day job.
After looking about a bit I'm definitely into getting a concert body...I tend to like concert bodies on guitars as well.
I found a few shops with a good selection here in the UK. Don't like new Martin guitars so was def. not gonna look at their uke!
I own a concert Bushman. It even stays in tune!
I lust for an old Martin but too expensive.
I think some of the Island brands have good, inexpensive
models now too. Elderly has tons of them. That's where I
got my Bushman (a brand I hadn't previously heard of).
I might try a Fluke someday too. I got a DVD
of Mr. Beloff and it was cool.
Keep an eye out for the Ukulele Occasional magazine.
It's occasional but great!!
"Polishing turds is worlds cheaper today but it's really hard to call that progress."-Bob Olhsson
Actually, all of mine (in the picture) are mahogany. If they were koa they would be worth considerably more. Koa was an upgrade from the "standard" wood which was mahogany. I did have a Kamaka uke from the 70s that was Koa, but my sister has it now. All of the Martins I have were made in Nazareth. I don't believe they ever made any in Hawaii. In the 70s, Kamakas were a cheaper alternative to Martins or Gibsons -- but even those are now worth serious money. They are really good instruments as well.
I'd say it's a tenor. Sopranos sound more "plinky". Concert sized ukes aren't seen that frequently and also don't sound as full as a tenor. Not a bari. Most people using a uke for pop/rock music use tenors. Easier to play and intonation is less fussy. Sounds like standard IZ tuning (GCEA) with the 4th string dropped an octave. I'll pull out a uke when I get home and see.
Yup. Just standard tuning. Sounds like IZ tuning with the 4th string G dropped an octave. Google it if you aren't sure what it is. Strings are either switched around so that the 4th string is a wrapped string or a wrapped 4th string set was used. Gives you better bass response and makes it sound fuller. See my description earlier in this thread. You can buy wrapped 4th string sets these days.
Bought 2 Kanile'as (Kanile'a Ukulele - Home) in the last couple months, a super tenor and an 8-string tenor. Not at all cheap models, but so damn fun that I haven't picked up a regular guitar in months.
All guitar players should try one.
"I like bass lines. They're good, because for people who don't understand what's going on in the rest of the song, there's always the bass line." - FZ