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Thread: Ebay market querie

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    st. paul, MN

    Default Ebay market querie

    I've noticed that Ebay has been recently flooded with quality used ukes from Japanese sellers. Many of the best brands are represented, although prices are very, very high.
    Does anybody know the nature of this phenomenon?
    Leaves me scratching my head...
    Are these more affordable in other currencies where the exchange rate is more favorable than the US dollar?
    Last edited by ukeinfused; 05-13-2018 at 11:19 AM.

    Island Koa Instruments, prototype soprano, Peter Howlett #153
    Weymann soprano, 20's or 30's?
    Martin O, 1960's
    Kiwaya KTS-7
    Lanikai SPS-S spruce top
    Kanile'a K1 Concert
    Kamaka 1969 Tiki Concert
    Kala Elite 1MHG Concert
    Larrivee UT40MHO spruce/hog Tenor
    Guild Bari

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2015
    Austin, Tx, USA


    I have spent time snooping around Japanese websites looking at ukuleles. Their prices tend to be higher over there. I also think there are higher taxes for sales to the home market vs selling as exports. I don’t pretend to understand it, but I think they have more taxes built into their prices than we do, and perhaps shipping costs are higher over there as well.

    Having said all that, I did snap up a nice little Kiwaya with sunburst finish on it for $108 all in from a Japanese seller. This because it had been rode hard and put up wet. It has some dings in the edges. Also, the tuning pegs were messed up. Fortuneately, I had a set of Waverlys sitting around. That drove the cost of that uke up quite a bit! Of course, I could have put some cheaper frictions on there and been happy.

    Speaking of cheap Japanese ukes, this one (Famous) is so similarly shaped to my white label mango sop that I think they copied the design. Sounds similar, too. But that aged solid wood beats it out. I also have a solid wood Kiwaya that is also shaped the same. Again, the voice is similar but without the benefit of aging yet. I think a laminate Kiwaya/Famous wluld be a great choice for someone looking to upgrade from their starter uke.
    Play uke, live long, and prosper. Coupla Kamaka Sopranos (koa and mango), Suh-weet! Concert Cocobolo, Martin concert, Pono Pro Classic tenor, Kala Elite Tenor, Monkey Wrench tenor electric, (umm, lemme see, Risa travel, Enya soprano concert & tenor, Eleuke travel, coupla Caramel Sopranino, Lanikai Sop & Bari). Man, I really need to go on a diet!

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2014


    Interesting observation, thanks for sharing.

    A lot of it seems to be intersecting with "J-Guitar", a Japanese site for ordering from different music stores. Perhaps they only joined Ebay recently?

    Apart from some new ones, a lot of the ukes offered from Japan are labelled "used" or "pre-owned". Maybe it's just one collector selling of a large collection via different stores? Or is the ukulele losing some of its huge popularity in Japan, with several people trying to sell their expensive imports?

    I think Dionysis may be right about the prices: international sellers usually have a lot of taxes and shipping added to the total cost. In most cases, American buyers will probably be better off ordering from HMS or Mim.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2018
    Norfolk, UK


    I have seen a fair few Vintage Martins listed for some time by a seller in Japan by the name of , He did have 100% feedback until a couple of days ago when a customer appeared to be less impressed with a bass he was sold, obviously sells all instruments.

    I was thinking possibly fakes on first sight but now figured there must just be a big market out there and the funds to invest in vintage instruments!

    Current Strummers!

    Brunswick BU4C Mahogany Concert
    Kala KA-S Soprano
    Ashton UKE280MH Mahogany Tenor(Low G Living Water)
    Luna Tapa Solid Cedar Electro Concert
    Flight TUS35 ABS Travel Soprano
    Plus a plethorah of other Ukes!

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2015
    Catskill Mountains, NY


    Quote Originally Posted by ukeinfused View Post
    ...although prices are very, very high.
    Shipping can also be very high. I can't understand someone buying a uke from so far away when they are available much closer for a lower price.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Sep 2013
    Los Angeles, near the Beverly Center.


    Quote Originally Posted by Jerryc41 View Post
    Shipping can also be very high. I can't understand someone buying a uke from so far away when they are available much closer for a lower price.
    I buy lots of ukes from a builder in Vietnam, both custom and off the shelf, Bruce Wei Arts. I’m in Los Angeles. He makes very good quality instruments for a very good price, even with the shipping cost of $65. The ones I like of his have something unique, which always attracts me.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jul 2015


    I just bought a "vintage" Koaloha from a Japanese dealer for a price I thought was reasonable and shipping was free. However, the duty that was charged importing this into Canada was quite annoying.

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