Putting all jokes about Instrument Acquisition Syndrome to one side, my instrument collection seems to be steadily growing over time. The occasional one leaves the nest to go to a new home, but sometimes I do wonder why I have so many. Yes yes, I know I can only play one at time. However I do think that some instruments are better to some tunes than others, whilst yet other require a combination (to my ears anyway).
Until recently all my ukuleles were tenors, and whilst I still love them, I have been seduced by the slightly deeper sound of the baritone ukes. My Scottish friend Alan really should take a big part of the blame for this, as he plays his so beautifully I just had to try one out.
As much as watching all comparison videos was useful, for me there is nothing like holding the instrument in my hands and feeling the tones as its played. However here are some links anyway, in case you are interested.
The Ohana Baritone BK-35CGE is an absolutely joy to play. With a rich, round sound, and really comfortable fretboard this high end baritone has definitely become my go to ukulele.
The Makala Baritone was only supposed to be a short term loan whilst my brand new Cordoba was back at the shop getting sorted. But I fell in love with its deep beautiful tones and consider the instrument very good quality for the price, so I paid and the Makala stayed. I now have two, one tuned to High D and one with the standard Baritone tuning of Low D.
Originally I definitely had mixed feelings about the Cordoba Baritone 24B. Whilst I loved its bright, sweet tone due to it’s spruce soundboard, I had to send it back after four days to have the frets redressed* as they were so rough I injured my hand playing it on and off over the course an afternoon. I knew they were a bit rough when I bought the uke, but hadn’t expected it to cause the problems it did.
Since I swapped out the original strings for a High D set from Living Water strings, I’m playing the Cordoba a lot more, and this alternative tunings makes a nice counter point to the deep resonance of my Ohana. I will probably look at getting an internal pickup installed at some stage, as this is really the only other thing that for me, lets it down.
(*A huge shout out to Ron Leigh’s Music Factory for really going the extra mile to look after me and get it sorted. Sadly no response to my many attempts to reach out to Cordoba Guitars on social media).
This beautiful high end Tenor is made here in Melbourne by Maton, and with its great internal active pick up, it is my go-to tenor uke.
The two UBass ukuleles couldn’t be more different. The Mahalo Electric Acoustics model with is well made, but personally I’m just not a fan of the Thundergut strings. I much prefer the wound strings and overall tone of the Kala Journeyman Acoustic-Electric U•BASS® with F-holes. For me it has more of the upright slap bass sound. As with anything, it’s all about personal preference, and you might find you prefer the Thundergut to wound strings. If you do, let me know!
I occasionally get asked about my other gear. I use a Rocksmith Realtone Cable (available at many online stores) to plug straight into my PC to record with my Maton (which has an internal active pick up). When recording with Kna Ukulele (passive) pick up I run it thorugh my StudioV3 preamp first, and also my ProFX6 mixer is I’m adding vocals. These days I tend to do a lot of recording (with and without vocal) using my Rhodes Shure 058 mic into the ProFX6. My new Ohana baritone has an internal pick up without I’ve yet to try. I’m also partial to the odd effects pedal.
Along with decent security and three attack cats… four if you count me.