Thursday, December 22, 2022

PSA - It's that time of year, low humidity season. Humidify, Humidify, Humidify Your Ukulele!


UKE Republic here to deliver this most important Public Service Announcement to all ukulele players; Humidify, Humidify, Humidify your ukulele! And here's why:


Low humidity levels can be highly damaging to ukuleles, as they can cause the wood to become dry and brittle. This can lead to cracks and other structural damage, which can significantly affect the sound and playability of the instrument. In addition, low humidity can cause the strings to lose their tension, resulting in poor intonation and a less pleasant playing experience.

One of the most common causes of low humidity levels in ukuleles is exposure to extreme temperatures and changes in humidity. This can include exposure to forced heating systems commonly used in homes and buildings to keep us warm during the colder months. While these systems are essential for maintaining a comfortable environment, they can also have a negative impact on the humidity levels in a room, leading to dry air and potentially damaging your ukulele.

To mitigate the risks of low humidity damage to your ukulele, there are several steps you can take. One of the most effective methods is to use a humidifier. This can be as simple as a small sponge or cloth soaked in water placed inside the case with your ukulele. Alternatively, buy a small instrument case humidifier from UKE Republic, or invest in a more sophisticated humidification system. Another option is to store your ukulele in a room with a humidifier or to use a room humidifier when practicing or performing.


Another critical factor is to make sure that your ukulele is properly adjusted. This includes checking the tension of the strings and the neck and bridge. Suppose the neck or bridge is not adjusted correctly. In that case, this can cause additional stress on the instrument and may contribute to low humidity damage, such as a popped bridge. 

An additional measure you can take to protect your ukulele is to ensure the raw wood of your fingerboard is moisturized. This will keep the wood from drying out and retracting, exposing sharp fret ends. Which can hurt or cut your fingers when playing. This can be done using a fretboard conditioner (a formula explicitly made for fretted instruments). Do not use straight lemon oil, as it is drying to wood. Follow the manufacturer's directions that are on the label. Ensure any excess conditioner is wiped off so that it does not overly moisturize and cause the fretboard to become uneven.  


Finally, it's essential to be aware of the humidity levels in your environment and take steps to protect your ukulele from extreme changes. This may include using a hygrometer to monitor the humidity levels in your home or practice space and making adjustments as needed. Consider using a humidifier to maintain a more consistent humidity level in your home, especially during the winter when forced heating systems are in use.

Low humidity levels can seriously threaten your ukulele's health and longevity, especially if you rely on forced heating systems to keep your home warm. Using a humidifier and taking steps to maintain proper humidity levels can help ensure that your instrument stays in top condition and continues to provide you with years of enjoyment.


Saturday, December 17, 2022

What sound are you wanting out of your ukulele? Consider tone wood attributes.


Tonewoods are essential to musical instruments, as they significantly shape their overall sound and quality. Different types of wood have unique characteristics that can affect an instrument's tone, resonance, and projection, making them a crucial consideration for musicians and instrument makers. This post will explore the various tonewoods used in constructing musical instruments and the sounds they produce.

  • Mahogany is a dense hardwood commonly used to construct guitars, ukuleles, and basses. It has a warm, mellow tone, good balance, and plenty of mid-range punch. Mahogany also has excellent resonance, which helps to enhance the sustain of an instrument. The wood has a smooth, even grain pattern that adds visual appeal to the instrument. Mahogany is versatile and can be used for various musical styles.
  • Maple is a hard, dense wood often used in constructing guitars, mandolins, and violins. It has a bright, crisp tone with good clarity and definition. Maple also has a robust projection, which makes it a good choice for lead instruments or those that need to cut through a mix. The wood has a distinctive grain pattern that ranges from subtle to highly figured, depending on the specific variety of maple used. Maple is known for its bright, punchy sound and is often used in constructing instruments with a more modern, high-energy sound.
LoPrinzi Solid Maple Ukulele


  • Rosewood is a dense, oily wood commonly used to construct guitars, ukuleles, and other stringed instruments. It has a warm, rich tone, good sustain, and a strong low-end. Rosewood also has a smooth, woody character that adds depth and complexity to the overall sound. The wood has a dark, lustrous appearance and is prized for its visual appeal and tonal qualities. Rosewood is known for its full, rounded sound and is often used in constructing instruments with a more traditional, vintage vibe.
Spruce Rosewood Ukulele


  • Spruce is a lightweight softwood commonly used to construct guitars, ukuleles, and other stringed instruments. It has a bright, clear tone with good projection and excellent resonance. Spruce is also very responsive, which makes it a good choice for fingerpicking or other delicate playing styles. The wood has a pale, creamy color and a subtle grain pattern that adds visual appeal to the instrument. Spruce is known for its bright, clear sound and is often used in constructing instruments with a more modern, high-energy sound.
Rebel Spruce Ukulele

  • Koa is a hard, dense wood native to Hawaii and is commonly used to construct ukuleles and other stringed instruments. It has a warm, mellow tone, good sustain, and a strong low-end. Koa also has a smooth, woody character that adds depth and complexity to the overall sound. The wood has a distinctive grain pattern that ranges from subtle to highly figured, depending on the variety of koa used. Koa is known for its full, rich sound and is often used in constructing instruments with a more traditional, vintage vibe.
KoAloha Solid Koa Ukulele


  • Mango is a medium-density wood that is commonly used in the construction of ukuleles and other stringed instruments. It has a balanced, full-bodied tone, good sustain, and a strong mid-range. Mango has a smooth, even character that adds warmth and complexity to the overall sound. The wood has a distinctive grain pattern that ranges from subtle to highly figured, depending on the variety of mango used. Mango is known for its warm, tropical sound and is often used in constructing instruments with a more laid-back, relaxed vibe.
KoAloha Royal Pikake Solid Mango Ukulele

  • Cherry is a medium-density wood commonly used to construct guitars, ukuleles, and other stringed instruments. It has a balanced, full-bodied tone, good sustain, and a strong mid-range. Cherry's smooth, even character adds warmth and complexity to the overall sound. The wood has a distinctive grain pattern that ranges from subtle to highly figured, depending on the specific variety of cherry used. Cherry is known for its warm, mellow sound and is often used in constructing instruments with a more traditional, vintage vibe.
Bruko Cherry Soprano Ukulele

  • Walnut is a type of hardwood that is native to North America and Europe. It is known for its durability and versatility and has been used in constructing various musical instruments for centuries. Walnut is a medium to dark brown color, often used for the back and sides of stringed instruments. The sound produced by an instrument made with walnut tonewood is generally warm and balanced, with a strong mid-range and a smooth, rounded sound. Walnut has a more subdued and mellow sound than other tonewoods, making it a popular choice for musicians who want a more laid-back, understated sound.
Kala Pacific Walnut Ukulele


  • Ebony is a type of dense hardwood that is native to tropical regions in Africa and Asia. It is known for its black color and ability to withstand wear and tear, and it has been used as a tonewood for centuries. Ebony is often used for the fingerboards of stringed instruments, as well as for the bridges and tuning pegs. The sound produced by an instrument made with ebony tonewood is generally bright and crisp, with a strong attack and a clear, focused sound. Ebony tends to have a more defined and punchy sound than other tonewoods, making it a popular choice for musicians who want a more punchy and articulate sound. 


To wrap it up, various tonewoods are used for musical instruments, each with unique characteristics and sound qualities. The most common tonewoods include maple, spruce, mahogany, rosewood, walnut, and ebony. The specific tonewood used for a particular instrument can significantly affect its sound, and musicians and instrument makers must consider this when choosing materials to construct an instrument.

Friday, December 16, 2022

The Big Ukulele Setup - What's It All About

UKE Republic's PRO UKULELE SETUP IS ALWAYS INCLUDED



The ukulele brands we carry will apply their quality control standard during the building process. Allowances are made for adjustment and improvement beyond that initial quality control and final factory setup. It's always possible that the factory could overlook issues in their last inspections. Also, instruments endure environmental changes while being imported and stored from great distances, significantly affecting the instruments' playability.
 
​By keeping our pulse on the ukulele community and our years of experience setting up different brands of ukuleles, we have honed our standards to meet our customer's preferences and stay within the instrument's full playing potential. Our experienced setup technicians thoroughly inspect each ukulele to address areas that call for attention and make any needed adjustments. Our wish for our customers is to have joyful playing experiences.
 
We setup every instrument in the order we received it. So, there may be a waiting period, and the wait times will vary depending on each instrument's needs to be addressed and any special request in addition to our standard setup. 

What is a ukulele setup and why is it so important?

A professional setup on a ukulele is an essential factor in the instrument's overall playability and sound quality. A professional setup involves adjusting and fine-tuning the various components of the ukulele to ensure that it is in the best possible condition for playing.

Several critical components of a ukulele are typically adjusted during a professional setup, including the strings, the nut and saddle, the action, fret dressing, intonation, and hydration.

  • Strings: The strings of a ukulele are an essential component that affects the sound and playability of the instrument. During a professional setup, the strings are checked for wear and replaced if necessary. The tension of the strings is also adjusted to ensure that they are neither too loose nor too tight. This can help improve the ukulele's intonation, or the accuracy of the pitch.
  • Nut and saddle: The nut and saddle are two small pieces of the material located at the headstock and the bridge of the ukulele, respectively. They help to guide the strings as they pass over the instrument, and they also help to transfer the vibrations of the strings to the body of the ukulele. The nut and saddle are checked for proper height and angle during a professional setup and may be filed or sanded down if necessary. This can improve the action or the ease of playability of the ukulele.
  • Action: The action of a ukulele refers to the distance between the strings and the fingerboard. During a professional setup, the action is adjusted to ensure that it is not too high or too low. This can help to improve the playability of the ukulele, as well as its overall sound quality.
  • Fret dressing: The frets of a ukulele are the thin metal strips located along the fingerboard. They help to guide the fingers as they play the instrument, and they also affect the intonation. During a professional setup, the frets may be dressed or polished to remove any burrs or unevenness that may be causing issues with playability or intonation.
  • Intonation: Intonation refers to the accuracy of the pitch of the ukulele. If the intonation is off, it can be challenging to play in tune, and the instrument's sound may be less pleasing to the ear. During a professional setup, the intonation is checked and adjusted to ensure that the ukulele is tuned up the fingerboard. This can be done using various techniques, such as adjusting the nut and saddle or adjusting the position of the bridge.
  • Hydration is essential to keep the ukulele well-hydrated to help prevent cracks and other issues with the wood. This can be done by keeping the ukulele in a humidified environment and using a hygrometer to monitor the humidity level. It is also a good idea to condition the wood of the ukulele periodically to help keep it hydrated and in good condition. The final touches of a professional setup is ensuring that the ukulele is well hydrated by treating the raw wood of the fingerboard with fingerboard conditioner and polishing the instrument's body with a safe polish for the applied finish. 

BUZZ REMEDIATION:
Several factors can contribute to a ukulele developing a buzz:

Humidity: Changes in humidity can cause the wood used in the construction of an 'ukulele to expand or contract. If the wood expands or contracts too much, it can cause the neck to warp or the strings to become too slack or too tight, leading to a buzz.
  • High humidity levels can cause the strings on an ukulele to become more susceptible to corrosion, which can cause them to break more easily or become more difficult to tune. This can also contribute to a buzz.
  • Low humidity levels can cause the wood in an ukulele to become dry and brittle, which can lead to cracks and other structural issues. This can also contribute to a buzz.
Loose strings: If the strings on your ukulele are not correctly tightened or have lost elasticity, they can vibrate excessively and create a buzzing sound.

Too low action: If the action, or the distance between the strings and the fretboard, is too low, the strings may buzz against the frets when played.

Warped neck: If the neck of your ukulele is not straight or is bowed, the strings may not be properly aligned and can create a buzzing sound when played.

Damaged frets: If the frets on your ukulele are damaged or not properly seated, they can cause the strings to buzz when played.

Uneven frets: If the frets on the fingerboard are not level with one another this can cause peaks where the string hits the frets and can cause a buzz.

Poorly constructed instrument: If the overall construction of the ukulele is poor or not up to standard, it may be prone to buzzing even if the strings, action, neck, and frets are all in good condition.

QUALITY CONTROL: An overall check for finish flaws, cracks, chips, or loose parts, making sure all components are in working order.

Considering all these details, having a professional setup on a ukulele is an important factor in the instrument's overall playability and sound quality. By adjusting and fine-tuning the various components of the ukulele, such as the strings, the nut, and saddle, the action, fret dressing, intonation, and proper hydration, a professional setup can help to ensure that the ukulele is in the best possible condition for playing. This is where your friends at UKE Republic have you covered, where we've been professionally setup ukulele since 2007.

Friday, November 25, 2022

Unpacking Paradise - our occasional newsletter

Ukulele Dealer

Did you know that UKE Republic will post a newsletter from time to time? The same goes for a blog post. Keeping up with all the social media outlets, newsletters, and blog posts is a full-time job. That would require us to hire more staff, causing a domino effect and essentially having to pass any added expenses onto our customers. We don't want to do that. The best way to keep up with the latest news with UKE Republic is to follow us on Facebook. There, we have spontaneous live feeds whenever Mike gets a wild hair, and it's what works for us. 

 Our newsletter informs our ukulele ohana of the latest models, upcoming events, featured products, sales, and promotional items. We individually put the newsletter together; these are not produced by a third-party automatic service. In other words, we won't jam up your email with newsletters and ads. You will occasionally hear from us from time to time with relevant content. If you like this avenue of insight and information, please consider subscribing to our newsletter.

 Check out our latest newsletter for the 2022 year-end season. Therein is a subscribe button if you want in on the loop.

http://static-promote.weebly.com/share/a6244ad0-d2e5-47db-ab76-4bb7162086d2

Wednesday, July 20, 2022

Happy Friday FaceBook Live July 15, 2022 with Mike at UKE Republic

HAPPY FRIDAY FROM UKE REPUBLIC Week of July 10 - 15!

FACEBOOK LIVE!


NEW PRODUCT UPDATE!
THIS JUST IN AT UKE REPUBLIC!
NEW! Kala Solid Body Tenor Ukuleles in Maple and Acacia.


Kala KA-SB-MAP Solid Body Tenor Ukulele at UKE Republic
Kala KA-SAB-ACA Solid Body Acacia Tenor Ukulele at UKE Republic


KALA KA-SB-MAP-T SOLID BODY MAPLE (also in acacia) TENOR UKULELE W/ BAG


The performer’s dream, the all-new Kala Solid Body Electric Ukulele brings a new dimension to ukulele recording, studio use, and amplified play. With the same traditional playability, light tension feel, and classic ukulele tone as the best of our acoustic offerings, this new Kala collection utilizes a fully-solid body design and powerful pickup to create the ideal instrument for performers across genres.


The perfect ukulele counterpart on-stage to the Electric Guitar and Electric Bass, this unique instrument can be played clean or paired seamlessly with external effects such as Chorus, Delay, and Distortion — all without the concerns of audio feedback.


FEATURES:

Tenor Scale

Solid Maple Body (Also in Acacia)


ALSO NEW AT UKE REPUBLIC!



KALA UK-BAMBOO BAMBOO TOP UKADELIC SOPRANO UKULELE

Kala’s new hybrid Ukadelic mixes the traditional wood ukulele with the durability of plastic. Each solid wood top Ukadelic has original laser-etched artwork with an arched plastic back that creates impressive sound projection. This uke is not shy—it likes to go places. Sturdy and rugged, throw it in the back of the car and take it to the beach or the woods where its big sound can be heard!


FEATURES:

  • Soprano Scale
  • Bamboo
  • ABS Plastic Back/Sides
  • Okoume Neck
  • Satin
  • ABS Plastic Fingerboard
  • Aquila Super Nylgut® Strings
  • Plastic Nut & Saddle
  • Black x1 Installed on Bottom


SPECS:

Scale Length: 13.5 inches, Overall Instrument Length: 21.0 inches, Body Length: 9.25 inches, Number of Frets: 12, Width at Upper Bout: 5.1875 inches, Width at Lower Bout: 7.125 inches, Width at Waist: 4.75 inches, Body Depth: 2.1875 inches, Fingerboard Width at Nut: 1.375 inches, Fingerboard width at neck/body joint: 1.75 inches


Friday, July 15, 2022

UKE Republic's FB Live Happy Friday July 8, 2022 - What's New?

Let's join Mike 👨 at UKE Republic for this week's Happy Friday recap of what's NEW at UKE Republic.
Tune in every Friday evening around 5:30 ish to catch Mike LIVE on our FaceBook Page. 


These featured ukuleles are available for purchase at UKE Republic, where Pro Setup is ALWAYS included!



KALA KA-CB-DECO-C ART DECO CIGAR BOX CONCERT UKULELE W/ BAG

Join the Cigar Box instrument movement! Kala’s homage to this innovative era of grassroots luthiery, our new Cigar Box Ukulele collection, brings this old-school bluesy practice to the world of ukulele with two original designs: Art Deco and Victorian.

With Art Deco, jubilant personality blooms from this thoughtful, polished framework!

The Cigar Box Ukulele is where ornate design meets quirky ingenuity. This model comes in a traditional rectangular “Cigar Box” body shape with Meranti wood construction and a detailed laser-etch design top.

**UKE Republic includes Pro Setup for optimal sound and playability.

FEATURES:

  • Concert Scale
  • Meranti Wood Top/Back/Sides
  • Art Deco Laser-Etched Design on Top
  • Meranti Wood Neck
  • Satin Finish
  • Indonesian Nandu Fingerboard and Bridge
  • Standard 3 Point Headstock w/ Kala Logo Laser-Etched
  • Open Gear, Chrome, Tuners w/ Black Buttons
  • Aquila Super Nylgut® Strings
  • Graph Tech TUSQ® Nut and Saddle
  • 1 Black Strap Button Installed on Bottom
  • Includes Padded Uke Bag w/ adjustable Backpack Straps
  • UKE Republic includes Pro Setup

SPECS:

Scale Length: 15.0 inches, Overall Instrument Length: 24.0 inches, Number of Frets: 18, Width at Upper Bout: 7.0 inches, Width at Lower Bout: 8.25 inches, Width at Waist: 7.75 inches, Fingerboard Width at Nut: 1.375 inches, Fingerboard width at neck/body joint: 1.75 inches


KALA KA-CB-VICT-C CIGAR BOX CONCERT UKULELE W/ BAG


Kala KA-CB-VICTORIAN Concert Ukulele Available at UKE Republic



KALA KA-MNGG-T ALL SOLID CURLY MANGO METROPOLITAN™ TENOR CUTAWAY UKULELE W/ BAG



Quickly recognizable for its distinct curly figuring of blonde and caramel streaks, Mango is a wood that thrives in tropical climates like Hawaii, Java, and India. This contemporary tonewood is the perfect match for players seeking a handcrafted ukulele that is both cosmetically beautiful and sonically competitive with the absolute best on the market. Sharing many tonal qualities with Hawaiian Koa, our All Solid Curly Mango Metropolitan™ Ukulele has a sweet and mellow character.


Kala's Metropolitan™ Series was designed for players needing an instrument that can match their trajectory and growth as an ukulele player — soloists, songwriters, and burgeoning performers will feel right at home with these distinct and feature-rich solid wood models. Every Kala Metropolitan™ Ukulele is all solid wood, handcrafted in Java, and includes a custom Kala Metropolitan™ Ukulele Gig Bag. UKE Republic includes Pro Setup for optimal sound and playability.


FEATURES:

  • Tenor Scale
  • Solid Top/Back/Sides
  • ABS - Black Binding
  • Rosewood Rosette
  • Mahogany Neck
  • Paddle Shape Headstock with Mother of Pearl Mango Design Inlay
  • Gloss Finish
  • Ebony Fingerboard
  • Chrome Geared Tuners
  • D’Addario® Pro-Arté Titanium Strings
  • Graph Tech NuBone® Nut and Saddle
  • Kala Deluxe Padded Gig Bag Included with Adjustable Shoulder Strap
  • UKE Republic Includes Pro Setup


SPECS:

Scale Length: 17.0 inches, Overall Instrument Length: 25.875 inches, Body Length: 11.875 inches, Number of Frets: 20, Width at Upper Bout: 6.875 inches, Width at Lower Bout: 9.125 inches, Width at Waist: 5.4375 inches, Body Depth: 3.25 inches, Fingerboard Width at Nut: 1.375 inches, Fingerboard width at neck/body joint: 1.8125 inches


Thursday, May 19, 2022

🍍🍍🍍Pineapple Ukuleles!

🍍🍍🍍Pineapples! Pineapples! Pineapples! Perhaps you own one or two in your own personal collection or maybe you've thought about trying one out and wanted to know something about them.

To start the pineapple's design was patented first by Samuel K. Kamaka in Hawaii, in 1928. The design and style proved to be popular and over the years others have produced their own pineapple-styled ukulele in various scales and tonewoods. Some that we carry are Kala, Makala, Ohana, Kamoa, Mainland Ukes, Pono, Ko Aloha, Ko'olau, Makai, Magic Fluke's Flea and sort of a pineapple shape from Pepe Romero's Tiny Tenor.

Tone-wise it seems the pineapple shape produces more bass than the traditional figure-eight shaped ukuleles. Using a variety of tonewoods changes the sound as it would with any other ukulele.
mahogany and Koa tend to produce the warmest tone with mango adding a bit more treble. Very lively sounds are coming from the spruce and cedar tops. The sizes UKE Republic carries are soprano, soprano with concert scale neck, concert and concert with tenor necks, and then of course tenor body and scale currently being produced by Ko'olau and Pono using solid mango wood.

So what's coming in 2015 for pineapples? Ohana is producing a solid spruce top with solid mahogany back and sides in a deluxe model. I had the opportunity to play it in both soprano and concert and was very impressed. I'm sure many more models will be produced by all the makers as this style of ukulele continues its popularity.

We carry excellent hard cases that fit soprano pineapples from Ohana, Mainland Ukes, Makai, and Kamoa ukuleles. The Kala Transit semi-rigid case and Fremont Deluxe Carrying Case will fit the other sizes and styles.

Currently, we are featuring some excellent prices on pineapple ukuleles so check out UKE Republic's  Pineapple and Unique Ukulele category page and try out one of these "sweet" ukuleles. 

Here's a sneak peek of Ohana's new pineapple for 2015 being demoed by Ken Middleton.