Thursday, October 10, 2013

Review of the Alfred Ukulele Starter Pack (Soprano)

      I'm always looking for new inexpensive ukuleles,and so I had to check out the Ukulele Starter Pack before I offered it for sale. It arrived yesterday. Nicely boxed and well packed,I met the Fed Ex guy at the door to ensure it wasn't tossed about. 
Alfred makes a kids' version of this too,which is basically the same pack except the how to play guide is aimed at children. The ukulele is a very sturdy,solid constructed one with open geared tuners which work smoothly. The frets are nicely filed and no rough edges or bumps as you move up and down the neck. Action is very decent,and it's very easy to do barre chords on,even at the 1st fret. The tone is impressive-I've had other brand ukes in this price range and they had a "dead" tone tho they were also well crafted. Alfred's "Firebrand" soprano has a sweet full tone to it that would be much improved by a decent set of strings.  And speaking of strings,there is a spare set included with this starter pack.....but they're not individually packaged. All bundled together in a plastic envelope with no string name tags attached,wasn't the brightest thing they did. The strings stretch forever and a day-so if you're giving this to a friend or family member and you're a player,do them a favor and stretch the strings for them so they won't have a horrible time tuning it.  It doesn't come with a tuner either,so bear that in mind. 
   It sports a satin finish in a basic brown shade,with a gold decal around the soundhole. It comes with a method book,CD,and DVD on how to play,so the recipient of this uke will have plenty of good direction to go on. The gigbag is what I call a "minimal" one,being of non padded nylon with a zipper and a strap for over the shoulder carrying in addition to a regular handle to carry it like a briefcase. All in all I give it a 9 as far as being a good enough quality instrument to either take along with you instead of your vintage one,as well as being a good first uke for one on a budget or a child as you don't know if they'll stick with it or not. 
   Which brings me to a point I want to make to parents-do not buy your child an expensive instrument when it's their "first". I've seen many a parent wanting the best for their son or daughter, spend the farm on whatever instrument they decide they will like,just to find the child either has no interest or wants to play a different instrument. So-this starter kit,in my opinion,is perfect for children 7 and up. Great quality and playability at a minimal price,and if they fall in love with uke playing,you can always get them another higher quality ukulele next birthday or Christmas. Personally,I always like having a "beater" around to take with me without fear or something happening to it. And,as many a ukulele player will tell you, moderately priced instruments get played a lot more than the fancy expensive ones do.  The link at the beginning of this entry is a direct link to my Bonanza Booth where I have these kits in stock....and you'll get an additional 10% off at checkout! 

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