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Thread: NYC music stores don't give no respect to UKES

  1. #1
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    Default NYC music stores don't give no respect to UKES

    So I was walking around Midtown Manhattan around lunchtime and decided to go to the only two music stores left on 48th St. I entered one of the stores and headed towards the acoustic guitar section. I've never really pay attention to ukes when I go to these stores, they never seem to have any available. But today there were a few hanging behind the counter. There were a few Oscar Schmidt and Lanikai ukes and I've seen these ukes on the web but never hands on so I was curious. But even better there was a tenor uke that looked nice and I didn't know what it was.

    There was a salesman standing right next to the ukes tuning a guitar. I ask him what uke that was by the corner, he tells me it's a ukulele. I tell him yes I know but what kind is it, he says it's like the other ones but a little bigger. So I say, no I get that it's a tenor, but what model is it. Then he says it's a Cordoba.

    After the confusion I ask him if I could see it. He shows it to me and the uke was set up like it was just taken out of the box and never tuned. So I try to tune it but as new strings are, it takes forever. So I get frustrated, hand him the uke back and say thanks.

    You'd think that if you are selling something it might be good if someone tuned it before putting it out on the showroom floor. They seem to do it with all the other stringed instruments.
    Last edited by ed531; 10-22-2009 at 10:51 AM.

  2. #2
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    i have been in that exact same store in that exact same situation. it was the cordoba cutaway tenor with the pickup. its at the new samash that took over mannys...go across the street to rudys they have fleas, flukes, kala, lanikai, and occasionally national resonators. also the guy who works up there keeps them in great shape and always tuned

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by brad32593 View Post
    i have been in that exact same store in that exact same situation. it was the cordoba cutaway tenor with the pickup. its at the new samash that took over mannys...go across the street to rudys they have fleas, flukes, kala, lanikai, and occasionally national resonators. also the guy who works up there keeps them in great shape and always tuned
    Yeah that guy at Rudy's is really nice. They didn't have as many ukes but they keep all their stringed instruments humidified and tuned. I don't remember his name but we were talking and he was telling me that Rudy has a luthier friend that is making some concert ukes which they will sell around Christmas. I'm waiting for that.

  4. #4
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    You're not kidding. I have the same experience at nearly every music store around here. My local music chain store stocks one or two laminate Oscar Schmidts, an Applause, a Cordoba (with a bone-dry fretboard), and an overpriced Martin S-O. Nobody bothers to tune them or even keep them in a humidified environment. Either the staff doesn't know how a uke is tuned, or they just don't care to go out of their way because they sell maybe one uke every couple months. If you dare pick one up off the wall, better hope you brought a screwdriver to work those friction pegs. I wouldn't be surprised if they've lost ukulele sales simply because the ones on the wall weren't playable right off the bat, and it would take maybe 30 seconds of an employee's time to get them ready to go. I know that these stores are focused on selling guitars and drums and pro audio rather than ukes, but it wouldn't kill them to try.

    As much as I'd love to support a local music store instead of buying from out of state, the lack of knowledge and service is inexcusable. I'd much rather give my money to someone who knows what they're selling and tries to keep the customer happy.

    Not bashing the quality of the ukes being sold, though; I've seen some great players rock Oscar Schmidts and Applauses!

    Agree with Brad that Rudy's is a great store. The less conventional stringed instruments are still properly humidified and maintained well, and the folks there know their stuff. Other good places for ukes in the NYC area include Mandolin Bros. in Staten Island (Flukes/Fleas, Kamaka, old Martins), Matt Umanov Guitars in the West Village (Kamaka, Collings, Koloa, Ohana, vintage Matins and Gibsons), and East Village Music in, well, the East Village (Ko'olau, Pono, Mainland, Kala). You'll always find at least one person working in any of those stores that knows ukes.

  5. #5

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    You should go down to Matt Umanov guitars in the West Village if you want to try out some nice, well maintained ukulele's in NYC. They don't come cheap, but they do take care of their instruments and usually have a good assortment of high end new Ukes (Martin, Collings and Kamaka) and vintage beauties (Martin/Gibson) etc.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by haole View Post
    You're not kidding. I have the same experience at nearly every music store around here. My local music chain store stocks one or two laminate Oscar Schmidts, an Applause, a Cordoba (with a bone-dry fretboard), and an overpriced Martin S-O. Nobody bothers to tune them or even keep them in a humidified environment. Either the staff doesn't know how a uke is tuned, or they just don't care to go out of their way because they sell maybe one uke every couple months. If you dare pick one up off the wall, better hope you brought a screwdriver to work those friction pegs. I wouldn't be surprised if they've lost ukulele sales simply because the ones on the wall weren't playable right off the bat, and it would take maybe 30 seconds of an employee's time to get them ready to go. I know that these stores are focused on selling guitars and drums and pro audio rather than ukes, but it wouldn't kill them to try.

    As much as I'd love to support a local music store instead of buying from out of state, the lack of knowledge and service is inexcusable. I'd much rather give my money to someone who knows what they're selling and tries to keep the customer happy.

    Not bashing the quality of the ukes being sold, though; I've seen some great players rock Oscar Schmidts and Applauses!

    Agree with Brad that Rudy's is a great store. The less conventional stringed instruments are still properly humidified and maintained well, and the folks there know their stuff. Other good places for ukes in the NYC area include Mandolin Bros. in Staten Island (Flukes/Fleas, Kamaka, old Martins), Matt Umanov Guitars in the West Village (Kamaka, Collings, Koloa, Ohana, vintage Matins and Gibsons), and East Village Music in, well, the East Village (Ko'olau, Pono, Mainland, Kala). You'll always find at least one person working in any of those stores that knows ukes.
    You NYC folks are lucky to have all those ukulele shops...here in Tampa, there is one shop, and it's nearly an hour away from me, across the bay in St. Pete.

  7. #7
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    also there is a small little place upstairs right between sam ash and rudys called like alex's accordians or in that building that has some luthiers in there with ukuleles and charrangos

  8. #8
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    I have never come across a uke in an Atlanta store that was tuned GCEA, I always have to tune them if if I want to try them out.


  9. #9
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    VT
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    The music store I work at has a few different ukuleles (by Ibanez, Fender, and Oscar Schmidt). Before I started working there they would just pull the ukes out of the box, make sure there was no shipping damage, and then display them. Since I started working there I've been designated the "ukulele expert." Every morning I take a few minutes to make sure they're in tune and have doubled our store's uke sales.

    My boss was recently getting a new pair of glasses and the optometrist he went to had a Fluke in the waiting room. After playing with it a bit, he's thinking of getting some for the store. I just need to talk him into getting some more high-end ukes in stock!
    Custom Ukes:
    Tenors: Moore Bettah, Luis Feu de Mesquita, Monkey Wrench Steel-String Solid-Body

    Production Ukes:
    Sopranos: 1920's/30's Kamaka Pineapple, Surf Flea, Makala Dolphin
    Concerts: Martin C1K, Waverly Street Banjolele
    Tenors: Pono ETSH-PCC

  10. #10
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    Default Nyc

    Ha!
    I'm headed to NYC on Saturday - hunting for a new uke :-)
    This thread is just in time.

    Best,
    Jen Ford

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