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Down Up Dick
09-07-2014, 12:14 PM
I know I'm probably gonna "catch-it" for this but here goes. Wouldn't it be better to stop buying all these $200-$250 Ukes, save all the $250s for four or five months and then buy a Kamaka or something? One could learn a lot (some) in that time and would really appreciate an extra nice Uke. Would you rather have 5 so-so Ukes or one really great one? :old:

ukantor
09-07-2014, 12:22 PM
Hey, Reciprocating Richard, what has logical thinking got to do with UAS? My dream uke was always a Martin style 1. When I got one, four years ago, did it stop me wanting more ukes? It did not. So now I've got several great ukes, some good ones, and a couple of beaters.

My UAS is in remission, but could flare up at any time.

John Colter.

GinnyT11
09-07-2014, 12:35 PM
I bought so-so ukes for a while, then sold them as I went on to something else. (I made a spread sheet for when I bought and sold them.) I discovered that when I got to where I had a very few really nice ukes, my UAS stopped, and now I rarely look at ukes for sale. Many people need to try and buy to know for sure what their taste is.

Down Up Dick
09-07-2014, 12:38 PM
I understand, but think of the really nice one you could have if you hadn't bought those beaters. I said, on one of these threads, that when I got really good I was gonna get a Boatpaddle. But the chances of that are pretty slim. My money is safe.

Why "Reciprocating Richard"? Strange . . . :old:

GinnyT11
09-07-2014, 12:45 PM
They weren't beaters by any means—they were mid-priced factory-made ukes that each had its own attraction. Until you have both a koa and a mahogany uke, for example, you don't know how different they sound. I had a couple customs made, but I liked one and not the other. You don't know until you have it in your hands. Sometimes the idea of a $900 uke you haven't played is overwhelming to a buyer.

Down Up Dick
09-07-2014, 01:05 PM
No, no GinnyT11, I wasn't calling yours beaters. I was talking to ukantor. Somehow, you got between us.

Yes, you're right. That's why I don't like to buy things through the mail. When we were overseas we usta buy things through the mail a lot. It took a long time to get them, and lots of times we didn't like them. I'd rather pay a bit more and be satisfied with my purchase. :old:

Jim Hanks
09-07-2014, 01:14 PM
If you want the Boatpaddle, then save up and get the BP. It looks like you have enough variety that you aren't likely to find something significantly different in the low-to-mid range. I am still in the "buy to see what you like" phase but I'm thinking I can find what I like in the mid-to-upper-mid range.

Dan Uke
09-07-2014, 01:18 PM
I agree with buying the uke you want if the funds are there. I don't understand the concept of "deserving" a better uke when the ability is there.

ukantor
09-07-2014, 01:21 PM
Reciprocate - "move backwards and forwards in a straight line". Reciprocating Richard = Down Up Dick.

Ukejenny
09-07-2014, 01:45 PM
My "nice" ukes are both in the 300 dollar range. I have one in each size - soprano, concert, tenor. I also tried a different wood with each purchase. Now that I know the concert size is my sweet spot, I want to eventually get a Kamaka koa concert and I'm asking Santa for a Blackbird Clara this Christmas. I'll pretty much be finished shopping then.

I think it all stems from what you enjoy. If you like a lot of choice, different woods, different hardware, different sounds, then owning several ukuleles is a lot of fun. If you want that and you're on a budget, then you can still have a ton of fun within means. Some folks would enjoy having one $1,400.00 professional ukulele. Other folks would rather have that money spread across several very well made, yet less expensive ukes.

Perhaps, those with many ukuleles, many woods, different looks and all the bling, would look at someone with one expensive ukulele and think of it as being limiting.

If I could sell all three of my ukuleles right now, and then go and purchase the Clara I want, I would say no thanks. I'm not wanting to give up what I have. I love my Ohana cedar/rosewood concert. It plays like a dream for me. I played a K brand at a uke meeting in another town. It had a nice sound, quite mellow. But I wouldn't have traded my Ohana for it at that moment. Maybe if it had been the Kamaka concert my heart is set on...

janeray1940
09-07-2014, 01:48 PM
I know I'm probably gonna "catch-it" for this but here goes. Wouldn't it be better to stop buying all these $200-$250 Ukes, save all the $250s for four or five months and then buy a Kamaka or something? One could learn a lot (some) in that time and would really appreciate an extra nice Uke. Would you rather have 5 so-so Ukes or one really great one? :old:

I agree completely. But then I've been accused of being a uke snob, so... there's that. But for me it's not just ukes; I'd rather have just one nice (whatever the item is) than a whole flock of mediocre (whatevers).


I agree with buying the uke you want if the funds are there. I don't understand the concept of "deserving" a better uke when the ability is there.

Neither do I, and moreover, I still believe that my playing progressed better and faster as soon as I got my first good uke. Maybe it's all an illusion, but I think the more fun/pleasant/easier it is to play, the more one will play, and playing more will just make one a better player. That's my story, and I'm stickin' to it, anyway :)

Ukejenny
09-07-2014, 01:57 PM
Most of my private students get to a point where they deserve and really need a better instrument. It happens. They plateau on the instrument they have. I have "the talk" with their parents. They realize it is an investment. But, they are paying for lessons and already making an investment, so they want to keep going. I've seen kids get a Kamaka equivelent clarinet/flute in their hands and they have such a musical growth spurt. It is amazing. Maybe it is just the mindset that they can do more, or maybe they really have been held back on that student horn. Whatever it is, it has happened every time for my students. And, I do believe they deserve that horn. They've earned that horn. I want them to have that better horn. I once had a private student who couldn't really afford a professional clarinet, but she was beyond ready. It was time. Everyone in our band circle helped make that happen, some in small ways and some in bigger ways. She still has that clarinet. She still plays it. She still kicks butt with it. And she is now a private lesson teacher. Sorry to wax poetic, but once I get started..... oy...

PereBourik
09-07-2014, 02:32 PM
Most of my private students get to a point where they deserve and really need a better instrument. It happens. They plateau on the instrument they have. I have "the talk" with their parents. They realize it is an investment. But, they are paying for lessons and already making an investment, so they want to keep going. I've seen kids get a Kamaka equivelent clarinet/flute in their hands and they have such a musical growth spurt. It is amazing. Maybe it is just the mindset that they can do more, or maybe they really have been held back on that student horn. Whatever it is, it has happened every time for my students. And, I do believe they deserve that horn. They've earned that horn. I want them to have that better horn. I once had a private student who couldn't really afford a professional clarinet, but she was beyond ready. It was time. Everyone in our band circle helped make that happen, some in small ways and some in bigger ways. She still has that clarinet. She still plays it. She still kicks butt with it. And she is now a private lesson teacher. Sorry to wax poetic, but once I get started..... oy...

I like this thinking and this story too.

Nickie
09-07-2014, 02:56 PM
Wow Jenny, I loved that story. Made me tear up. Music is an awesome thing, it really gets people acting nice.

PhilUSAFRet
09-07-2014, 03:08 PM
http://www.allmusic.com/song/whatever-makes-you-happy-mt0006316417

Ukejenny
09-07-2014, 03:44 PM
I like this thinking and this story too.


Wow Jenny, I loved that story. Made me tear up. Music is an awesome thing, it really gets people acting nice.

I just had my high school band reunion this weekend - 75th anniversary of the marching band at my old high school. So, it has been an emotional weekend, wonderfully emotional. We all shared our "band/music changed my life" stories and it continues on Facebook. Not only did I go through the band and graduate there, but I had the wonderful chance to go back home and teach. Life changing stuff... life changing stuff. And I feel the same way about ukulele. It changes lives.

But back to the original topic - my philosophy is, don't go broke buying instruments, but get the best you can afford, and if you win the lottery, please send me the fanciest, best sounding, best feeling, best playing, snazziest with ultimate bling ukulele in a concert size. And please ship that in a nice, hard case if you don't mind (and can you send a Blackbird Clara and Kamaka Concert Koa???). Until then, I will uke poetic on my Ohana cedar/rosewood that I love so much.

Inksplosive AL
09-07-2014, 04:10 PM
Know thyself!

I passed on a blackbear uke right before my birthday back in Jan. White pine soprano at an unheard of price listed at just $300. I saw it and thought birthday! Then I thought nitro finish, way too nice for my level of playing and how sick I would feel seeing the first dent scratch or ding on that beautiful instrument.

That and $300 is my holding point when buying things. I walk away and if I go back I'll purchase it. It was gone by my afternoon rising. As much as it hurts missing that instrument I know how disgusted I would be and how many nicks and dings it would have had by now.

Having said that I now have a bunch, bushel, a pride or perhaps a flock of ukuleles that while none of them are high quality instruments they are all different. Like guitars I think each ukulele has a song or style stuck in it a soul if that's your thing. Each instrument can show you this soul when you play it. I just don't know to me just one ukulele sounds boring.

I've spent a lot of time learning what makes me tick.

Stay happy!

VegasGeorge
09-07-2014, 04:31 PM
Good subject! My experience is kind of unique. I had no idea at all about Ukuleles, or playing them, when my wife brought home a Kamaka Soprano as a surprise gift. So, I kind of started at the top, so to speak. Now, if I had decided I wanted to play the Ukulele, and shopped around for one to start on, would I have bought a Kamaka? No, not back then when money was tight, no sir! But that gift set the bar for my expectations and desires in Ukuleles. So, I was one who did save up and stretch the budget to get another Kamaka, then another, and so on. Now was that a mistake? Should I have dropped back into the midrange priced instruments? Well, if I had, I wouldn't be sitting here with the nice ones I have now. So, I've got to come down on the save up and buy the best side of this question. That's my experience, and I'm glad of it.

Rllink
09-07-2014, 05:23 PM
I got the loaner back to the owner today. So I'm back down to one cheapie, which is actually a pretty good uke, even if it didn't cost much. I intend to upgrade at some point. I have my eye on the one I think that I want. When I start to feel like I can't progress because the uke is holding me back, then I'll get it, but right now that isn't the case. For me, I didn't like having two ukuleles, especially when one wasn't mine.

igorthebarbarian
09-07-2014, 06:57 PM
I'm in the buy-to-try camp. The most I have spent, I believe, is 300-400 and that's definitely my max. If I got something more $, I think I would have the fear of it being too nice/ too perfect! But that's just me.

Teek
09-07-2014, 08:51 PM
I'm not really afraid to buy to try, I usually get fairly close to what I paid if I bought used and did a nice setup to make it play well. Most I bought used, my new ukes were Chinese made and under $300 or high end: Kanile'a, Collings, Ponos up to the last, a Pro Classic I'm keeping. There are a few that were $20-$50 that are on the wall for color and fun, some are vintage and were a steal and are full of character, I don't really count those any more and figure some will be giveaways.

I also just bought two new guitars, one a lovely pre Fender Tacoma Chief and the other a 3/4 Yamaha in a tobacco burst with a solid spruce top for the short scale. The used guitar (a Peavey T-30 cheap and awesome) is a short scale, I have a single pup 19" scale but wanted more thump. My husband was so impressed with the Tacoma I let him play with it, now he is looking into taking online lessons to start because he wants to play something, and the Yamaha is for him to start on as it fits a couch player better. Unless he wants to try the Peavey which will be kinder to his fingers and might be what really suits him.

I don't worry too much about buying if I can spare the funds and still have a good reserve, because they all have resale value, and I figure the difference as "rent". The time has come to move out a lot of ukes. Rule is if they don't all fit in my small closet or on the wall someone has to go. I've pretty much figured out what I want and those are the keepers.

Now it remains to be seen if I can learn to play the full scale guitar a little bit. If not I like it so much I'll just tune it down and put a capo on. And also how well I can sidestep GAS. I've already had and sold four guitars a few years ago. Wish I had the Gibson SG Les Paul '61 reissue back.

ukantor
09-07-2014, 09:15 PM
Every uke has a unique sound. They don't have to be expensive, or to carry a name starting with "K" in order to be appealing. To call mid-priced ukes "mediocre" is harsh - some of them are very good indeed. And some "posh" ukes are mediocre.

I keep a uke on a stand beside my easy chair. After about two weeks of playing the same uke, I put it away, and select another from my harem. It is pleasing to play another uke with a distinctly different character. I could live with just one cheap uke, if I had to, but it is better (for me) to have a selection. However, I definitely do not NEED the dozen sopranos that clutter up my home, or the next one that will surely join them.

John Colter.

Down Up Dick
09-08-2014, 05:22 AM
Well, to each his own I guess, but having three concerts and three or four tenors and some sopranos seems like over kill to me. I don't know if there's much difference in sound, but I probably wouldn't hear it anyway. And all that dusting and string changing!

My other instruments are mostly the best I could afford at the time, and I'm not in the market any more. However, I really would like a gold flute, or a bass flute, or new and better alto flute (which I may get). Maybe when I win the lottery. What I'd really, really like is a new embochure. :old:

billten
09-08-2014, 05:40 AM
My experience was similar to as Jenny described it i think regards finally getting 'the good' instrument. I bounced around the $200 - $400 mark with loads of UAS and lots of different ukes for a couple of years. For me browsing the marketplace was actually a part of the pleasure of the hobby, imagining this or that uke as my own and occasionally buying or selling one mid range uke. I finally decided exactly what my needs were, what the type of music i love to play the most and what my 'sound' is and i bought my quality uke. It was over $1,000 and took a lot of saving and dithering, but now i have it my UAS is completely cured and the pleasure i get from playing a really great uke is like nothing else. I never play anything else and my playing time has at least doubled due to how easy and smooth it is to play.

For me, getting the good uke has changed my play and made me a lot better player. I am trying new and interesting music, stuff i would have never tried before, partly because the uke is so easy to play and partly because i am a lot more confident that i will be able to manage it due to playing so much more.

YMMV but after you get past the phase of trying lots of things, my opinion is to kill the UAS with one perfect uke and watch your enjoyment take off...

Down Up Dick
09-08-2014, 05:54 AM
billten, I couldn't agree more. Happy strummin'! :old:

Kevs-the-name
09-08-2014, 08:47 AM
I bounced around the $200 - $400 mark with loads of UAS and lots of different ukes for a couple of years. For me browsing the marketplace was actually a part of the pleasure of the hobby,. I finally decided exactly what my needs were, what the type of music i love to play the most and what my 'sound' is and i bought my quality uke. It was over $1,000 and took a lot of saving and dithering, but now i have it my UAS is completely cured and the pleasure i get from playing a really great uke is like nothing else.
I agree!
I have tried quite a few ukes, different sizes, and different price levels including different woods types, custom builds, solid and laminates.
With trying different makes, playing and learning, I have found that the Concert is my size., I have now finally purchased ‘the’ Uke for me. It was very expensive (in my scheme of things) but it was THE one I wanted after playing a friends.
Now, I can’t see why I would want or need any others. The ukes I have kept all serve a purpose, (Electric, Camping, Everyday player)
My UAS is cured to some degree, I have bought and sold and only lost occasional ‘rent’ money! HOWEVER: I do like looking! (and I recently purchased a bargain to try out!!!)
I guess at my level of playing, I struggle to ‘need’ different sounding Ukes.

Teek
09-08-2014, 09:43 AM
You "need" two if you want to be able to play reentrant and linear tunings without changing stings.

And possibly a 6 string is nice, and a steel string electric.

Oops.

janeray1940
09-08-2014, 09:49 AM
You "need" two if you want to be able to play reentrant and linear tunings without changing stings.

And possibly a 6 string is nice, and a steel string electric.

Oops.

Yes for sure to reentrant and linear! I play both every single day. And I like to have a spare on hand... in case of emergency :) So, I "need" three.

Beyond that - personally I haven't been drawn to the 5/6/8 strings, electric, and so forth. I'm thinking that this is kind of like having ukes made of different woods. I consider my koa ukes to be pretty much all purpose, which is why I am so enamored of koa - I think it sounds great for everything I like to play. However, I can see needing/wanting an electric if you like to play rock and roll, or a mahogany uke if you like to play vintage/1920s, etc.

Rllink
09-08-2014, 09:49 AM
I bought my Makala in April and started playing it. As time goes on, as I play other ukes and see what other people are playing, I'm starting to get an idea of what I want in a uke. Right now, I think that I can get what I want for around $500. But I sort of set a timeline of one year before I buy number two, so that is quite a way off. That said, Christmas is coming up, and I didn't sign a legal document or anything, so I can upgrade whenever I want. But right now I'm satisfied with what I have, and I want to make sure that when I do buy that next one, I don't take it home, decide it isn't exactly what I want, and immediately go off looking for another one. I can say with certainty, that if I paid over a grand for a uke, I wouldn't play it. I would be scared to death that I was going to scratch it up, drop it, or set it down and someone sit on it. I've been through this before with other things. That is just me, but no amount of arguing is going to change it.

Rllink
09-08-2014, 09:53 AM
I have no urge right now to play low G. But that is probably another thread. :-)

janeray1940
09-08-2014, 09:55 AM
I have no urge right now to play low G. But that is probably another thread. :-)

As one who sometimes gets tired of lugging around two ukes ALL THE TIME, consider yourself lucky :)

strumsilly
09-08-2014, 09:58 AM
So so is really in the ear of the beholder. It's more about the sound and playability than the price for me. I've had[and have] several $1000+ ukuleles, but my favorite is one I bought on ebay for $300. my next favorite is a $150 one. I've had a lot of nice ukes go through my hands[Kamaka, Kanilea,Koaloha, MP, CR, breedlove, Martin, Gibson,etc. ]but really haven't lost $ on them as I've bought most used and sold them for pretty much what I've paid. I've even bought one back again! Unless you live in a big city with some nice stores and can try before you buy, buying used [ or trying other peoples] and trying them out is really the only way to find out what suits you. It's been a fun journey for me , but my UAS is now in remission[for now] There is nothing wrong with a $250 uke if YOU like it.

Down Up Dick
09-08-2014, 10:03 AM
janeray1940, it's a little different if your Ukes are all different though. A low G and a high G would at least sound different from each other. A Uke in a different key might be okay too. Some professional trumpet players have four or five trumpets, but they're in different keys. Having 5 really nice trumpets all in the key of Bb would be stupid and very expensive. :old: