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Thread: Buying a used Kamaka ukulele on craigslist?

  1. #1
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    Default Buying a used Kamaka ukulele on craigslist?

    I've found a 2007 Kamaka ukulele on craigslist for approximately 1/3 less than the available retail price of a new one. The seller says its been well cared for and is in "perfect" condition. Unfortunately, the posted photos are a little blurry, so I'm going to ask for more photos, including close-ups of the fretboard and the soundboard for signs of wear. The problem is that the ukulele is in another city and I'd have to buy it without being able to see it first? I've communicated with the guy once (to get the ukulele's serial number) and he seems nice. I still need to ask him if the ukulele comes with a case and for more photos.)

    I know craigslist can be risky, but I also know people who sell stuff on craigslist who are good honest people. I'm curious about whether anyone's bought an expensive ukulele sight unseen from craigslist or from some other private party (other than through the UU marketplace), what your experiences have been, and whether you have any advice about minimizing the risk of buying an instrument that isn't in as good a condition as represented.

    Thanks in advance for any input or advice!

  2. #2
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    I've bought two Kamakas, sight unseen, on eBay. In each case the photos were high quality - if they were anything less than that, I would definitely have asked for better pics. One seller posted a link to a sound sample for me; the other seller played the uke over the phone for me.

    I also bought one on Craigslist - it was local, but not conveniently so, and the seller posted a video on YouTube of him with the uke before I committed to a long rush-hour drive.

    All three were excellent deals.

  3. #3
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    My Kamaka came from craigslist, but I was able to meet the owner and play the ukulele before making a decision.

    In your situation, I'd be sure to ask the important questions: "Why are you selling this instrument?" "How much has it been played?" "How has it been stored?" Best to ask over the telephone, so the conversation can flow and you can get a feel for the owner's personality. If that conversation goes well and the pictures look good, this could be a great buy. But if you're uncomfortable at all, walk away.

    Best of luck finding the best ukulele for you!
    -Ralf Youtz

    My videos are here.

    The future is unwritten.

  4. #4
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    I'd pass on it myself. There is no recourse on craigslist. At least on ebay you can file a complaint. If the city is near you then I'd make the drive or meet halfway in a public place to check it out first. Good luck with whatever choice you make!
    Aloha,
    Ronnie



  5. #5
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    I would never buy from Craigslist if the guy needs to ship the item. I've called Paypal before and they don't protect you in any way as long as something is delivered. As everyone knows, Paypal is part of Ebay so they have great buyer protection via Ebay but not anwhere else. That's the same for UU but I trust the people here!!

    If you can meet the person and try it out at a safe location, that's another story. Good luck and don't forget to try the instrument.

  6. #6
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    Aloha Mark,
    Contact the guy and ask him to strum it on the phone for you..and go from there.....Yup risky business, especially when you are forking down hundreds of dollars....Hope it helps..MM Stan
    Sometimes I wonder if it is worth it, when you can go in the store and play all of them and pick the best one....then the risk is gone, but so will your money be too....but you will get the best one..
    Last edited by mm stan; 06-08-2011 at 11:01 AM.

  7. #7
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    1/3 price makes me wary. 1/2 to 2/3 is more legit, unless they don't know what they have. Since Google and eBay everyone with internet access can look something up.

    I have bought off FMM and here, and eBay, and off CL in person. I got my keeper Kamaka off CL locally, had to drive an hour but it was worth it. I could see it had a neck reset and I was told about the belly dip and seam. It's a white label, sounds awesome and has good mojo. He came down $150 on the price because of seam which was invisible at that time and has not come back, and dip which is normal, and neck which was done right. I never could have afforded retail. Being able to look it over and play it and feel it was really important.

    Also not all Kamakas are winners.

  8. #8
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    Thanks for the comments and opinions.

    Quote Originally Posted by Teek View Post
    1/3 price makes me wary. 1/2 to 2/3 is more legit, unless they don't know what they have. Since Google and eBay everyone with internet access can look something up.
    What I meant to say is that it's 1/3 off the list price for a new one, not 1/3 of the list price for a new one. It's a baritone, for which the seller is asking $950. Kamaka lists new baritones at $1,295, and I've seen them new online for between $1,250 and $1,350. Sorry for the confusion.

    I've asked the seller for photos and suggested he post a video or audio sound sample, but I haven't heard back yet. What I should do is either go to the area myself (I have relatives there) or find someone in the area who knows something about ukuleles to have a look at it for me.
    Last edited by mds725; 06-08-2011 at 11:04 PM.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by mds725 View Post
    Thanks for the comments and opinions.



    What I meant to say is that it's 1/3 off the list price for a new one, not 1/3 of the list price for a new one. It's a baritone, for which the seller is asking $950. Kamaka lists new baritones at $1,295, and I've seen them new online for between $1,250 and $1,350. Sorry for the confusion.

    I've asked the seller for photos and suggested he post a video or audio sound sample, but I haven't heard back yet. What I should do is either go to the area myself (I have relatives there) or find someone in the area who knows something about ukuleles to have a look at it for me.
    You must have seen the one on CL Los Angeles...that listing has been on for awhile now. LA CL only allows posts for a week so it disappears and reappears. I definitely think you need to play as there are lots of people on the UU forum who live in socal so ask if anyone has played it yet???

  10. #10
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    CL tends to be decent. But people on there are often not very informed. The two ukuleles I've sold were via CL.

    Two days ago, I sold my KTS-4 to someone who has no idea about ukuleles. It's for his husband who's graduating later this week who wants a really good starter ukulele. When I met him, I took it out of the case and handed it to him. He looked at it and said "I don't know what I'm looking at...".

    I went through the basics, he handed me $340 cash and I drove home. He's a professional oboe player, so he recognized some of the things that hint to the quality of the Kiwaya, but... I feel that were I the type, I could have BSed him on a number of things.

    At bottom CL makes a good marketplace. And I full agree with what many have said - get high-res pics, get to hear it on the phone/sound sample where he mentions your first name, something to establish it.

    Besides, if you're picking it up in person it's not because you're seeing it that you're necessarily buying it. When I sold a motorcycle a while back some people came to look at it but didn't buy it. It's normal and you shouldn't be pressured.

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