Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Ukulele Smackdown: Mainland vs. Collings Round 4 - Video comparison

Before I try to do some commentary on the sound of the Mainland slotted headstock concert and Collings UC-1, I'll show a comparison video I made playing Going to California using the two ukes. The video is made by cutting and pasting several short videos of each segment of the song. I alternated the two ukes pretty evenly. Both ukes are strung with Worth CD strings. Take a look to see what you hear from the video. I will write more about the sound in a later post, as well as provide more sound samples.


Kimberly said...

Too bad it couldn't be a sound comparison of gloss finish to gloss finish, but it's safe to say the gloss Collings wouldn't exactly suck. You think the Mainland sounds nice, and then the Collings comes in and it's Woah!

What I heard through crappy computer speakers was a sweet gentle mellow sound from the Mainland. Very polite and wouldn't do anyone any wrong.

The Collings was louder, and more tonally interesting, with a more ukey sound.

Is it 5x better? Depends on what you mean by better, but you do demonstrate the law of diminishing returns very well.

I wouldn't say either one of those was bad, and it demonstrates just how far your money can go for a great instrument... and it shows how things get better up the chain.

Maybe what you heard was different, but I'd be pretty happy in your shoes, having gotten this great uke that "purists"(hilarious IMO to be a uke player and a purist) diss because a guitar maker dared make it.

And then to have gotten some sweet slotted headstock goodness with a sweet sound that doesn't sacrifice anything just because it's cheaper.

As compensated saddles, I know a luthier who railed against them, but I could never think why.

Kimberly said...

Okiedokie, put on a set of decent headphones (Jays audio, if I reach for my Beyer dt250s, I'll have to plug in the amp + DAC), and there seems to be a ton more resonance and sustain in the Collings. But then that would be part of the gloss version satin debate wouldn't it? Still though, I don't think Collings would release a deadened gloss instrument.

Still though, the Mainland doesn't suffer from things that many import ukes are accused of, such as poor intonation up the fretboard.

Matthew said...

I haven't played a Mainland before, but I have a Kamaka.

I've played on many cheaper brands, a custom luthier model, several of Rick Turner's ukuleles, and a couple of very nice Martins.

Aside from the vintage Martins, the Collings was the only ukulele that I found amazing to play.

IMHO, the Collins are worth the money.

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: