Friday, April 4, 2008

Updated Uke Rankings

It's been a couple of months since I ranked my ukes. So I thought I'd do a quick one before a couple of customs I ordered are due to arrive in about a month. Again, the reason for doing these rankings is because sometimes it takes a while to come to appreciate a uke and also some might fall out of favor a little bit after a while. This helps me keep track of how my personal tastes in 'ukuleles change.

I'll just rate the top 5 this time:

1. Koa Works tenor: This doesn't come as a surprise as this is by far the best sounding, playing, and feeling 'ukulele I currently own. I simply love the "feedback" it gives me while I play it. None of my other ukes has this quality. It has held up well since I got it back from Hawaii a month ago for bridge re-glue. It's just so nice to play and sounds so good that I seem to be playing this about 90% of the time now compared to the other ukes. I really hope the two customs will be at this level. If so, I'm going to have to think hard about purging many ukes in my collection because many of them probably won't get touched then.

2. Honu DLX concert: This is a great sounding uke. The sound is so clear, with such good sustain, that it continues to be a standout in my collection. I think if it had the "feedback" quality that the Koa Works has, it could possibly be considered in almost the same class. It jumps ahead of the Pineapple Sunday because I have been picking it up to play more frequently of late.

3. KoAloha Pineapple Sunday: A great and unique sounding 'ukulele. Not to mention uniquely styled. It drops down a spot because I have been playing it less. It probably has a lot to do with my infatuation with the Koa Works as that's the tenor I always reach for.

4. Kanile'a Custom Super-soprano: This uke made a big jump up my personal ranking. I had previously rated it at #7, citing that it sounds a bit muffled compared to some others ukes I have. Well, I now think that it has a fine deep sound. Funny how your perceptions can change huh? Another thing I've come to appreciate more is the super-soprano size. I like the small body coupled with a concert neck, which is very suitable for playing in front of a computer desk in a small corner while learning from a Youtube lesson or something. And of course, it looks gorgeous, especially since I installed new koa bridge pins on it. I think this will probably act as my "soprano" uke for a while.

5. Bluegrass Ukuleles Cigar Box tenor: I haven't been spending a lot of time with this uke lately, so it drops down a couple of spots. However, it's always had fine sound and that cigar box mojo is still there. I find that it works really well for sliding notes, such as in "In My Life", where there's a note that you slide from the 2nd fret up to the 11th fret. I sometimes bust out this uke just to play that song. In fact, I've been planning to post a video of that song played on this uke, but so far I haven't been able to nail the song quite yet. :P

You may have noticed the absence of any soprano ukes on this list. That's because I've come to realize that I hardly ever play them any more. I think my G-String soprano is an outstanding uke, but the soprano scale keeps me from playing it much. I'll probably be parting with the G-String soprano soon and just keep the Martin as kind of a player/collectible. Some day I'll probably love the soprano scale again, but for now, I would have to say I'm a tenor/concert guy.


rtl said...

If I had the money, I'd work on such a collection as well. I currently only have one uke, with another on the way. The wife has two and my son has two, though only plays one.

The problem is that those truly worthy of playing tend to be fairly expensive.

GX9901 said...

Part of the reason I've got so many is because that's the only way I get to try out various ukes. The only ukes I could find locally are cheap laminated stuff. I think I probably would have less ukes if I lived in Hawaii. Just go to the music stores to satisfy my curiosity!

I hear you on the ukes worth playing. I'd probably be perfectly happy if the Koa Works was the only uke I had. I need to work on my UAS later this year. :p

rtl said...

Same here... there are next to no ukes except laminated $40 starters.

Which uke should I bring on my next trip to Oahu???

What's the maximum you'd spend on a ukulele case for your best uke?

If you could steal one of my ukes, which one would it be???

How curly do you like your koa? (preferably on a uke)

What's the maximum number of ukes a perfectly sane person should have???

Poll: How often do you play the ukulele???

Poll: Which guitar company's approach to ukes do you prefer???

Poll: What's your favorite type of headstock???

Poll: The new basic Collings concert uke (UC-1) sells for about $1k, your reaction is: