Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 10 of 16

Thread: At what price does a 'toy' become an instrument?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2013
    Location
    UK
    Posts
    568

    Default At what price does a 'toy' become an instrument?

    Just throwing this out there for some input.

    My first Uke was a Mahalo soprano (a gift that has got me into playing) but I quickly 'upgraded' to my Aria concert - which is undoubtedly better put together and better setup, and I guess at roughly twice the money, that's the least you could expect.

    But I'm very limited in experience of 'musical instruments' (being a drummer), so I'm hardly in a good place to comment with any authority.

    So, with the vast array of ukes on the market, especially at the lower end, is there a set price at which it's widely considered that 'real' ukes start?

    For example, given my Mahalo was around the 50 mark, at what price point should a novice like me be able to notice a tangible difference in quality (sound and build)? I know I said I think my Aria is better, but it cost twice as much - so it should.....

    And as a natural progression, is there a price point at which a novice player would be unable to appreciate where the extra expense goes?

    Looking forward to hearing some comments
    Keith

    Mahalo 2020 Soprano - or at least it used to be! http://www.ukuleleunderground.com/fo...akeover-Thread
    Aria ACU-250 Concert
    Clearwater UCW7T Tenor
    Epiphone Les Paul Concert
    Fender 52 Telecaster Concert

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    Middle of 'Merica
    Posts
    4,961

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by ChaosToo View Post

    But I'm very limited in experience of 'musical instruments' (being a drummer),...
    Ah, well then I'll speak slower.


    Quote Originally Posted by ChaosToo View Post
    .

    Looking forward to hearing some comments
    Difficult to say. The Ohana soprano (SK-21) is about $150 and sound better that the $30 - $50 Mahalos. The Mainland mahogany soprano is $189 and has an amazing sound. But some more expensive ukes don't sound as good as the Mainland or Ohana. The best sounding uke I've played is an old Martin soprano, which was about $400. A lot of costlier makers' money goes to the bling on the soundhole rosettes and inlays. Best to do lots of research. You'll find a lot of great ukes from different makers and fewer bad ones, which can make choosing a uke harder.
    -Alan (UKISOCIETY)

    My muse.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2013
    Location
    UK
    Posts
    568

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by UKISOCIETY View Post
    Ah, well then I'll speak slower.
    .
    I'll understand you fine if you ....speak...........out...of...................... .....time...a ...................little

    Thanks for the input
    Keith

    Mahalo 2020 Soprano - or at least it used to be! http://www.ukuleleunderground.com/fo...akeover-Thread
    Aria ACU-250 Concert
    Clearwater UCW7T Tenor
    Epiphone Les Paul Concert
    Fender 52 Telecaster Concert

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Posts
    111

    Default

    Depends on who you talk to. I know a dealer that pegs the line at 50 dollars. Anything less being in the toy category,not interesting to people who were serious about playing music.

    I have a couple 30 dollar Mahalos that I am extremely happy with. So I would peg Mahalos as not being toys. Maybe not much better but certainly not toys.

    Go with the advice given above. Find the one that you like and if some one else thinks its a toy then --- that's their opinion.
    Last edited by Dwjkerr; 02-04-2013 at 05:51 PM.
    Beaver Creek Soprano
    Beaver Creek Concert
    Mahalo U30G red and Green
    Mahalo UK-201 (modified)
    Evergreen (modified

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Location
    Catalonia
    Posts
    1,681

    Default

    Don't tell Dolphin owners they're only playing toys
    Green Dolphin
    Lidl Soprano (D Tuning)
    Epiphone Les Paul (Red) Concert
    Kala KA FMTE - C (Low G)
    Hora Tenor (Open G)
    Steel Strung Hora Baritone
    Korala Baritone UKB 36
    Eugene Customised Tanglewood TU5 Baritone (High D)
    Yamaha GL1 Guitarlele
    Baritone Ukulele Banjo
    Oscar Schmidt 8 String Tenor
    Jack Daniels Tenor - by Peavey
    Mainland Red Cedar Concert
    Korala Soprano Mahogany Electro Acoustic Cutaway
    Tenor Resonator Ukulele HB CLU 34-T
    Alida Electric Tenor
    Korala Explora

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Location
    Ashland, Kentucky
    Posts
    25,475

    Default

    I'm gonna answer from a different point of view.

    Put a dolphin in the hands of a talented player, and as long as the strings hold a tune, it's going to sound good. Possibly great.

    Put a custom in the hands of a novice, and it's just going to sound mediocre because they don't know how to attack the strings the way a great player does.

    Sure you may be able to tell a difference in tone somewhat, but a talented player can get every once of life out of a so-called 'toy' ukulele like a dolphin. It always excites me when I see someone playing a cheap uke and playing it very well. It makes me want to shove my custom into their hands so I can hear what it should sound like. And I'm usually rewarded when I do, because I hear it living to it's potential.

    That being said, I know that's not what you were asking on this thread. I'm going to answer my opinion of that now. Somewhere around $300 is where you start getting into the decent stuff. You can get a Mainland for around that amount, and they are very well put together ukes that have a great sound to them.
    You, sir, are the devil. --Tammy

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2013
    Location
    UK
    Posts
    568

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by consitter View Post
    I'm gonna answer from a different point of view.

    Put a dolphin in the hands of a talented player, and as long as the strings hold a tune, it's going to sound good. Possibly great.

    Put a custom in the hands of a novice, and it's just going to sound mediocre because they don't know how to attack the strings the way a great player does.

    Sure you may be able to tell a difference in tone somewhat, but a talented player can get every once of life out of a so-called 'toy' ukulele like a dolphin. It always excites me when I see someone playing a cheap uke and playing it very well. It makes me want to shove my custom into their hands so I can hear what it should sound like. And I'm usually rewarded when I do, because I hear it living to it's potential.

    That being said, I know that's not what you were asking on this thread. I'm going to answer my opinion of that now. Somewhere around $300 is where you start getting into the decent stuff. You can get a Mainland for around that amount, and they are very well put together ukes that have a great sound to them.
    The first part of your answer actually answers the second part of my question - that being there must be a cutoff at which a 'good' instrument is 'lost' on a novice..... I certainly don't think I'd appreciate a 200+ uke for anything more than how pretty it looked or it's build quality, as I simply haven't got the talent to appreciate its musicality at that sort of level.

    I do however think that, even as a novice, I can appreciate the basics. But with such a wide variety of entry and '1st step-up' models and makes to choose from, it does make picking that 'step-up' quite hard - especially without the benefit of a good uke shop where you can actually buy based on the thing that matters most - what YOU personally think feels and sounds good.

    Keep the input coming folks - it's really interesting getting other people's perspective on things like this......
    Keith

    Mahalo 2020 Soprano - or at least it used to be! http://www.ukuleleunderground.com/fo...akeover-Thread
    Aria ACU-250 Concert
    Clearwater UCW7T Tenor
    Epiphone Les Paul Concert
    Fender 52 Telecaster Concert

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Location
    Ashland, Kentucky
    Posts
    25,475

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by ChaosToo View Post
    The first part of your answer actually answers the second part of my question - that being there must be a cutoff at which a 'good' instrument is 'lost' on a novice..... I certainly don't think I'd appreciate a 200+ uke for anything more than how pretty it looked or it's build quality, as I simply haven't got the talent to appreciate its musicality at that sort of level.

    I do however think that, even as a novice, I can appreciate the basics. But with such a wide variety of entry and '1st step-up' models and makes to choose from, it does make picking that 'step-up' quite hard - especially without the benefit of a good uke shop where you can actually buy based on the thing that matters most - what YOU personally think feels and sounds good.

    Keep the input coming folks - it's really interesting getting other people's perspective on things like this......
    However--you may want to start with a low priced uke, and if you're interested, move on up to a high priced uke. You will buy the mid priced and want something better. It would be like throwing good money after bad, because you just can't recover the money you have invested in the mid price range ukes. So if you like the uke save for a good one. That is my advice to you. Take it for what it's worth.
    You, sir, are the devil. --Tammy

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Location
    Central IL & Fox Valley, IL
    Posts
    5,937

    Default

    In the right hands, one man's toy is another man's instrument. Behold the incredible Ukulelezaza, aka Remco, tearing it up on this vintage Carnival plastic uke!

    Last edited by coolkayaker1; 02-05-2013 at 02:05 AM.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    Location
    Redwood Coast, CA
    Posts
    2,829

    Default

    For me and my experience I bought and sold a lot of ukes in my first year of playing. I never could afford to spend more than $500 on a uke and I ended up selling a lot of nice $500 range ukes and keeping my Mainlands. Why? There just wasn't enough of a noticeable difference and I felt more comfortable and was happier playing my Mainlands that all cost under $200. I have a Kamaka that really is my best uke but new it cost at least three times more than a Mainland. I can't say that it is three times better. I can't comment on the higher end ukes. I would imagine they play smoother and do sound nicer but I personally can't afford them and like having several $200 ukes rather than one $1,000 uke.
    RoxHum

    "Music self-played is happiness self-made"


    Sopranos: Donaldson (Myrtle), Kamaka (Koa), 2 Mainland's (Cedar/Rosewood & Mahogany),
    Nahenahe (Mahogany) (Thank you Stan)
    Concert: Mainland Classic Mahogany (low G)
    and one flashy white and gold Titano accordion

Thread Information

Users Browsing this Thread

There are currently 1 users browsing this thread. (0 members and 1 guests)

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  
Top 50 Ukulele Sites