Show Me Your Ukes!

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by BarfanyShart, Jun 6, 2020.

  1. BarfanyShart


    Sep 19, 2019
    DC Metro
    I feel like bassists and ukulelists are kindred spirits who are finding each other more and more due to the growing popularity of bass ukes. My Uke is my travel instrument, I write on it, and I am quite attached to it:
    It's 8 strings, I got it in Hawaii while traveling on business, I strung it with viola-tuned string (CGDA, with low C), which makes it like a mandola-uke hybrid now. My bass is also tuned CGDA, so this just two octaves higher.

  2. Winslow


    Sep 25, 2011
    Nice! I've got a Kala baritone that I love, and have been GAS'ing for an 8-string Kala bari at one of the shops I occasionally haunt. :drool:

    No pics handy at the moment, but the Kala bari was an upgrade from an initial "do I really want one of these?" el-cheapo bari from another local shop. The brand escapes me at the moment, but I pretty much had to hammer the thing to get any sound out of it. I strummed it so hard, the pick chewed the fretboard to pieces where it met the body. (Natural relic'ing!)

    Once I got the hang of the chords though, I was hooked, and sprang for the Kala. What a night and day difference that was! :woot:

    Good fun! :thumbsup:
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  3. Winslow


    Sep 25, 2011
    Wow. No one else, huh? Ok... :roflmao:

    Here's the cheapie, which turns out to be a Hilo. The label says "Since 1926," but it also says "Made in China." The price tag said, "It doesn't matter very much what you do with this," so it took a few years' worth of a beating while I learned chords, and flung it into the back of the car for the occasional road trip (and as with old cars, I generally refer to this one with the term "beater"):

    Hilo 1w.jpg

    The stock tuners were so bad, they couldn't hold tension no matter what I did. So on a trip into a local shop with a repair department, I asked one of the guys I knew in there if they had anything better. He laughed a bit, reached for the box of pull-off spare parts and said, "If there's anything in there that looks useful, you're welcome to it." I dug through it and found a sorta-matched set of four that fit, so that was that. Free "upgrade!" :smug:

    Hilo 2w.jpg

    Like I said, the sound on this thing is so weak, you have to wail on it pretty hard to get anything out of it at a worthwhile volume. It shows! :laugh:

    Hilo 3w.jpg

    Hilo 4w.jpg

    Hilo 5w.jpg

    Once I got the hang of it, I decided it was time to get something good. I found the Kala, and the heavens opened! :woot:

    This thing is so pretty, and sounds so good, it's a joy to play it. I decided it also deserved a much better case than the pressed cardboard job the beater rides around in:

    Kala 1w.jpg

    Stock tuners on this one are excellent! :thumbsup:

    Kala 2w.jpg

    I keep these tuned DGBE, so I can noodle around with regular guitar chords. Like I said, good fun! :D
  4. BarfanyShart


    Sep 19, 2019
    DC Metro
    I also like the DGBE tuning with low D, that's what I always used to use, too.
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  5. Rabidhamster


    Jan 15, 2014
    I’ve got a tenor and a baritone. I love the tenor.

    I only have the baritone because it was sold as a soprano and I needed a Christmas present, and the photos made the size unclear. When it came in as a Baritone instead it was way to big to be playable for the kid I had in mind, but I never bothered to send it back for some silly reason.

    I think I’m a lot more comfortable with the smaller ukes tunings for some reason.

    I have to say though now I want an 8 string uke!!! Maybe even a 12.
    Last edited: Jun 8, 2020
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  6. Yools


    Jul 24, 2009
    Perth WA
    Here's mine - Leolani tenor uke with the zebra laminate. My wife bought it for me in Hawaii years ago. G re-entrant tuning. Reasonably good quality, though someone told me that the strings that came with it are cheap and that it would sound better with a better set. Wouldn't mind getting a baritone and tuning it with standard tuning instead of the re-entrant.

    Actually got to use it on our last album for a hidden track. Those things are a lot of fun, and it is a legit instrument. I can play a bunch of songs, and I developed a version of "Lawyers Guns and Money" for it that kills.


  7. Winslow


    Sep 25, 2011
    Yes indeed! I had always been somewhat ambivalent about ukes, until I heard someone (it may have been Jeff Lynne, maybe Macca) say that after dinner at George Harrison's house, Georgie would break out ukes for everyone, and they'd all stay to play and sing. I decided, "If it's good enough for George Harrison, it's good enough for me!" :woot: So glad I did.

    And speaking of "legit" instrument... When I started looking at them, I told an old guitar guy I know that I was looking at ukes. He got a sour look on his face and said, "DO NOT get a ukulele. If you can't play "Lyin' Eyes" on it, it's not a real instrument!" :sour:

    Once I had a baritone uke hand, I promptly learned "Lyin' Eyes," went over to his house, and said, "Get out your [bleeping] flat-top, and count us in to "Lyin' Eyes." o_O By the time we got done with the song, he'd completely changed his mind, and loved the sound of it. :D

    Yes! I play that one on it too. That song is killer! :thumbsup:
  8. Volker Kirstein

    Volker Kirstein Blippy the Wonder Slug

    Does this count?
  9. Winslow


    Sep 25, 2011
    I don't know, but you get points for having cool curtains! :thumbsup:
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  10. Stevorebob

    Stevorebob Well... I Am Here, Aren't I? Supporting Member

    Sep 29, 2011
    Los Angeles
    Mine is of the 6-string variety...

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  11. BarfanyShart


    Sep 19, 2019
    DC Metro
    I got one of those for my kid, tuned A to A. Great instrument!
    Winslow likes this.
  12. Reedt2000

    Reedt2000 Supporting Member

    Apr 26, 2017
    Central New Jersey
    Ukes are fun! I got this little Kohala concert-size uke for free years ago. I was working for a music shop and it came in new with a broken tuner (it has a small battery-powered electronic tuner built into the side). The distributor just replaced it and the owner gave this one to me. It hangs out in my bedroom and I pick it and strum it all the time :thumbsup:

    Last edited: Jun 8, 2020
  13. knumbskull


    Jul 28, 2007

    Here’s mine, really fun. Concert size, C tuning.
  14. Volker Kirstein

    Volker Kirstein Blippy the Wonder Slug

    I found a Ukulele in want ads for €5. I knew it was going to be a toy, but I had hoped for a playable toy. Cigarette for scale. (you can see my Squier Mini P in the background)

    But it's not, so I stuck it in the Ivy. Hopefully It'll be enveloped next year.
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  15. Lizooki


    Feb 24, 2008
    The blue is the traveler/beater. been around a long time.
    Seen a lot of miles and music and louder than you would think.
    The small one was for my daughter and I got it back when she moved.
    It's a prized possession that sounds and plays good.

  16. EddiePlaysBass


    Feb 26, 2009
    I got these two, both actually gifts by friends. The Stagg was picked by me, when I cashed in a gift card.

    I mostly work from the Bluegrass Ukulele book, the Ukulele Aerobics book and the Beatles for Ukulele book. And I am having soooo much fun!

    Attached Files:

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  17. Reedt2000

    Reedt2000 Supporting Member

    Apr 26, 2017
    Central New Jersey
    So... Eddie also plays uke? :smug:
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  18. EddiePlaysBass


    Feb 26, 2009
    Haha yep, sure do! I got the soprano as a birthday gift years ago. Then at some point I decided I was gonna actually learn to play the damn thing, cos I wanted to learn more about chord theory. And dang, I was hooked!

    So about a year or 2 ago, I took some group lessons . Teacher wasn't very good, but we got a uke group out of it. Pretty soon after we began, I offered to play electric upright bass instead of uke, and they love it :-D

    That does mean I still spend all my uke time alone, but I don't mind. I am curreny focusing on bluegrass and Beatles, but also jazzy tunes and musical tunes like Raindrops Keep Falling On My Head. Fingerpicking and melodies... Although the Uke Aerobics has me strumming quite a bit, too!
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  19. Bob E

    Bob E

    Nov 18, 2012
    My new toy.

  20. KohanMike

    KohanMike Gold Supporting Member

    After playing rhythm guitar for almost 50 years, I bought a ukulele on a whim in June 2013 because it matched my Fender Telecaster guitar, thought them hanging on the wall together was cute. A couple of weeks later I received a postcard from the Los Angeles Music Center announcing their yearly summer Play-Along for ukulele, I attended previous ones for guitar. I signed up for the 3 day long seminars, which included about 400 people. After the 1st day, I was hooked.

    I had just retired early and decided ukulele was going to be my focus of attention and joined two uke groups, a 50 member seniors strum group, and a 10 member advanced ensemble (in which I lasted a year). The seniors group meets twice a week and I've become the right hand to the leader, Cali Rose. I also started playing bass uke with them. Once I started playing uke, I never touched my guitars again and gave all 4 to my nephew.

    As my signature shows, I like collecting. In my 1st year on the uke, I went through 16 ukes, settling on 4 that I liked the most, I'm up to 8 now. Since this thread is about ukuleles, I'll hold off posting my 28 bass ukes/mini basses.

    Ukulele Collection.jpg
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