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View Full Version : What's the best price for a ukulele



Hluth
02-19-2015, 05:54 AM
For those who build ukuleles to sell them, one of the important things to consider is the price point. I can think of two categories that are at play: basic ukes where your volume is greater than your price and high-end ukes where your price is greater than your volume. I sell between 40 -45 ukuleles a year for an average price of about $1400. Looking at the big picture, that is a mid to high price point. Kamaka, Collings and others sell their instruments at an average price a little higher than this. Imported ukes have risen to about $250. Custom builders can go considerably higher, but have to work longer to develop a market. This means I have to make about one each week and am limited to the amount of trim and finish I can afford to use. I have chosen this price point because Iím relatively new to the market and at 67 years old, I donít have the luxury of developing a solid custom market with time. I believe that a good handmade uke is worth more than a Collings, but itís sometimes hard to find customers who understand that. Hereís a picture my latest offering, itís a baritone that took just under a week to build and sells for $1450.

763057630676307

Beau Hannam Ukuleles
02-19-2015, 06:05 AM
I prefer to make fewer, but more expensive instruments. I could make 100 cheap instruments per year and get the same at the end but there is enough crap in the world.

ps- your uke looks nice!- i like that Kay Kraft guitar like shape

Hluth
02-19-2015, 06:28 AM
Thanks for the compliment Beau, but I think K craft's are really ugly guitars

Beau Hannam Ukuleles
02-19-2015, 06:34 AM
They are different lookin for sure- ive never played one though

- 76315

Barbablanca
02-19-2015, 07:08 AM
Lovely looking beast. I wish I could afford to splash out on something so lovely. I'll have to just stick to my mass produced models till the lottery win :)

It must be hard being a maker if you are building in a vacuum. In other words, not building to order. Do you just build and then hope to sell, or do you only build when someone has expressed an interest?

CeeJay
02-19-2015, 07:31 AM
I prefer to make less, more expensive instruments. I could make 100 cheap instruments per year and get the same at the end but there is enough crap in the world.

ps- your uke looks nice!- i like that Kay Kraft guitar like shape


Fewer. Sorry Pedant Alert ;) but I had a moment when I thought that you made only cheaper or more expensive than $1400.00 .

My fault . Well , and yours too ......;)

Hluth
02-19-2015, 07:50 AM
Do you just build and then hope to sell

Word of mouth is the best advertising, and a lot of effort towards customer satisfaction so that players will write favorably about your stuff. Beyond that it requires a good professional looking web site loaded with meta tags, a Facebook presence, and selling at ukulele events. My wife manages a music venue in the same building as my shop and we co-produce ukulele festivals as well. I also created and host the Top 50 Ukulele Sites, and it drives a lot of traffic to the web site. You have to make a pretty good effort at selling if you don't want to become a starving artist.

Pete Howlett
02-19-2015, 08:47 AM
Add $450 to the price and make less. Your work looks finely executed. People ought to be prepared to pay for it..

stevepetergal
02-19-2015, 08:50 AM
Word of mouth is the best advertising, ...

Well, please allow my mouth to help spread that word, Hluth. I went to one of your ukulele festivals and played about a dozen of your instruments, some new and some used.

All, without exception, were the very best ukuleles I've ever played. Tone was consistent from top to bottum, intonation as good as anyone's. Robust tone, capable of great volume with never a harsh sound. Lovely woodwork and joinery, and impeccable finish work (though I don't remember seeing any with a gloss finish). And each and every one of them played easily.

There were a few very high-end, big-name (the biggest) ukes there. Yours were by far the best.

Steveperrywriter
02-19-2015, 09:04 AM
Ceejay -- Beau is from Oz, they murder the Queen's English differently than we murder it in the U.S., which is different again from Canada, or Great Britain. The distinction between "less," and "fewer" isn't important to everybody, and even grammarians argue about this one: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fewer_vs._less ...

CeeJay
02-19-2015, 09:26 AM
Add $450 to the price and make less. Your work looks finely executed. People ought to be prepared to pay for it..

So thinks everybody and anybody who works for a living :o...Perhaps you highly gifted artisans need to get out of the garrets and into the real world a bit more....:o cos the reality is that people are more money savvy these days and weigh up quality and quantity a bit more shrewdly (or tightly lol)

....in your shop your Ukulele is a hand built BettahowlRoseUltHTinguitarTimBuck....to your average punter , it is vastly more pennies than a KalaOhanaBrunswickTanglewood...a which can be picked up , played , compared and blah blah.....

I blench at the prices of a lot of the Luthier made machinery on here ....I also suspect that a lot are sold more for their "exclusivity" than the buyers performance potential...and that's fair enough , it's their dosh . I am not decrying the Luthiers and their artisanry ..I much admire their skill and craft . But the question was asked and I have given , non - confrontationally I hope , one possible answer .

I would not pay upwards of £500 quid for a ukulele ...there just isn't enough wood in it ....and I base that on my Deering Goodtime ...plain jane , unvarnished ,but built to play and sound as good as you can get . All for less than £700 .....alright ...it may not be hand built .....but hand built has some pro's and cons ....I know ...I've seen my hand built shelves ..LOL

This is purely my standpoint and personal view and is in no way a denigration of those who build and buy hand made Luthier instruments ...all power to their arms ,planing and strumming ....it is just a point from a scruffy average herbert representative of the UK section of ukelele players as to why some people don't ....YMMV (apparently)

mzuch
02-19-2015, 09:48 AM
Deering Goodtime ...plain jane , unvarnished ,but built to play and sound as good as you can get

Wow. More power to you if you really think that your entry-level, factory made banjo is "as good as you can get." But legions of professional banjo players would disagree strongly with that statement. (Full disclosure: I own a Deering Goodtime)

Clearly, luthier-built instruments aren't for everyone, and mass produced instruments are intended for the masses. But to tell "highly gifted artisans" to "get out of the garrets and into the real world" is an insult to artisans everywhere.

DazW
02-19-2015, 09:55 AM
The Jeremy Clarkson of UU strikes again :)

lauburu
02-19-2015, 09:58 AM
Actually I believe that any luthiers in their garrets should make immediate plans to relocate. It would be far safer to have your heavy machinery on ground level.
Miguel

Pete Howlett
02-19-2015, 10:29 AM
You can't be serious? A troll maybe...

resoman
02-19-2015, 10:53 AM
I would not pay upwards of £500 quid for a ukulele ...there just isn't enough wood in it ....and I base that on my Deering Goodtime ...plain jane , unvarnished ,but built to play and sound as good as you can get . All for less than £700 .....alright ...it may not be hand built .....but hand built has some pro's and cons ....I know ...I've seen my hand built shelves ..LOL

This is purely my standpoint and personal view and is in no way a denigration of those who build and buy hand made Luthier instruments ...all power to their arms ,planing and strumming ....it is just a point from a scruffy average herbert representative of the UK section of ukelele players as to why some people don't ....YMMV (apparently)
Holy Cow ceejay! It's not about the wood!! It's about the hours and hours it takes to build something like these along with the experience it takes to get there. It's about upgrade in tonal and visual quality built into a custom made instrument. Most builders work on a pretty slim budget and I guarantee they are not making a killing and I bet most are barely scraping by. You gotta have a wife with a good job in town! I recently sold a bocote/yellow cedar concert that I showed here on the LL. I got $750.00 for it. It was worth much more for sure but I am a relatively unknown builder except for my little town so I cannot command a higher price. But, I'm gettin there. Every custom instrument that I own, mostly dobros and guitars, just blow the doors off of "factory" produced instruments and I've owned a bunch of them. I've played the Deering Goodtime but put it up against a Huber and tell me that again!
terry harris

Steveperrywriter
02-19-2015, 11:19 AM
You know, maybe it's just me, but it does seem as if CeeJay sometimes just likes to stir the muck up to see where it goes ...

Pete Howlett
02-19-2015, 11:23 AM
You are correct... Such comments are clearly meant to be inflammatory... I must also have missed the election where you were voted representative for the ukulele community in the UK. Tell me, when did that happen? Back in 1994 when I began building for the ukulele market here because I don't remember meeting you or reading your manifesto? Your remarks are both offensive and inaccurate. Premium materials for a ukulele alone cost upwards of £200 and you clearly have never played a bespoke instrument of any note particularly banjos. This is not the place to light your fire!

Hluth
02-19-2015, 11:44 AM
So thinks everybody and anybody who works for a living :o...Perhaps you highly gifted artisans need to get out of the garrets and into the real world a bit more....:o cos the reality is that people are more money savvy these days and weigh up quality and quantity a bit more shrewdly (or tightly lol)

I just pulled one part of this quote, but the whole thing so provocative. If you look at the big picture it's more about the world we live in today. Corporations are driven by profit and have managed to make most things cheap and unattractive these days. There was a time before this "more is better" mindset took over when everything was handcrafted and meant to be kept for many years. Today you can hardly find furniture without particle board at its core, or a product made of metal in which the very lightest gauge possible is used. It's also a time vs. money thing where the value of something is based on how long it takes to make it. It use to favor the "time" side of that equation allowing for quality goods, now it's about the money side and the result is a plethora of crappy goods.

Pueo
02-19-2015, 11:44 AM
I have played a few of Jerry Hoffmann's ukuleles and they are fine instruments indeed. Not only are they very well crafted, they also have new innovations in styling and construction, as well as that wonderful pin nut that accepts any and all strings, just great stuff!

Jerry, I do hope to own one of your ukuleles one day, I just don't have the means at the moment. It's not that I would not pay those prices, I just can't right now.
I do think that your current prices are more than fair, even quite a value for the quality.
I would charge what the market will bear.

Keep up the great work!

Timbuck
02-19-2015, 12:23 PM
So thinks everybody and anybody who works for a living :o...Perhaps you highly gifted artisans need to get out of the garrets and into the real world a bit more....:o cos the reality is that people are more money savvy these days and weigh up quality and quantity a bit more shrewdly (or tightly lol)

....in your shop your Ukulele is a hand built BettahowlRoseUltHTinguitarTimBuck....to your average punter , it is vastly more pennies than a KalaOhanaBrunswickTanglewood...a which can be picked up , played , compared and blah blah.....

I blench at the prices of a lot of the Luthier made machinery on here ....I also suspect that a lot are sold more for their "exclusivity" than the buyers performance potential...and that's fair enough , it's their dosh . I am not decrying the Luthiers and their artisanry ..I much admire their skill and craft . But the question was asked and I have given , non - confrontationally I hope , one possible answer .

I would not pay upwards of £500 quid for a ukulele ...there just isn't enough wood in it ....and I base that on my Deering Goodtime ...plain jane , unvarnished ,but built to play and sound as good as you can get . All for less than £700 .....alright ...it may not be hand built .....but hand built has some pro's and cons ....I know ...I've seen my hand built shelves ..LOL

This is purely my standpoint and personal view and is in no way a denigration of those who build and buy hand made Luthier instruments ...all power to their arms ,planing and strumming ....it is just a point from a scruffy average herbert representative of the UK section of ukelele players as to why some people don't ....YMMV (apparently) it looks like I'll have to put my prices up to keep this guy happy...I usualy sell e'm at less than £350 :)

Steveperrywriter
02-19-2015, 12:24 PM
I don’t begrudge people who have more money than I do; (well, except maybe for corporation CEO’s who make sixty million dollars a year while some of their employees have to collect food stamps to survive.) But, not normal people who work for a living.

Nor do I look down on folk who don’t have as as I have been blessed with, and who can only afford what they can afford. It takes all kinds to balance the world, you do the best you can with what you got.

It does seem, however, that when these discussions arise about quality and cost, there is a strain of something that is akin to the fox talking about the grapes being sour anyway. Somebody posts a note about handmade instruments, and somebody else immediately jumps in with a comment to effect of “Hey, you don’t need all that stuff! Production models are fine, you are getting gouged if you spend more than (X-amount) for a (fill-in-the-blank.)"

No. Generally, you are wrong.

High-end ukuleles are, insofar as stringed instruments go, a bargain. For what you’d pay for a high-end guitar, you can get two custom-made ukes, plus cases, strings, tuners, along with a drive down the coast to a great restaurant for dinner with a nice bottle of wine, to boot.

Price violins or mandolins, while you are at it. Or cellos, or basses, or just about everything.

I have corresponded with several top-drawer ukulele makers, well-regarded, and with prices at the upper range for ukes, and you know what? None of them are rich. By the time you factor in their costs and labor, some of them don’t make much more than the checkout clerk at your local Safeway. You think these folks are rolling in money? They aren't.

Quality is gonna cost more than something less-well-made, anybody with two neurons to spark at each other knows that, and I don’t begrudge the makers valuing their work. They should.

You don’t have to value such things, but you know what? You don’t need to keep telling us you don’t. Those of us who do?

We don’t care.

CeeJay
02-19-2015, 01:41 PM
Well , bugger me ...did I walk into the Humourless Self Important Self Regarding Section Of UU by mistake or what ?

I bet you bunch of scratch builders are the first to start muttering when Public Sector workers go on strike about pay and conditions .

All the way through my post I kept saying how much I respected the skills and talents of Luthiers. At no point Sperrywriter did I mouth off about wealth , envy or anything remotely connected with that..So I'll raise you a Loofah IQ to your two neuron spark crack...;)

And Peter Howlett ..I made a mistake..I should have used "member" not "representative" of the etc , fair enough .

But as you clearly regard my open and honest reply as inflammatory , when I clearly wrote that I was not trying to be confrontational ...but you probably did not read past the red mist ...

I was trying to explain why your average Joe (me) might not want to spring for a Custom Uke ....and this is the abuse I get for answering a question light heartedly , factually and honestly .

In the Prison Service we have a saying . If you don't want the answer , don't ask the question .

The question was ...is.. " What's the best price for a ukulele " . And yes I know it's more than just the wood and the skills and the time and all the other stuff ...irony ...some one needs to explain it to you...

I used a bit of light hearted bantering and hectoring to make a point....Christ , I thought the Baftas and Oscars were "luvvie centric" ...pardon meeeeee....No don't...

And I'm sorry, yes , to the uninitiated the custom uke is as out of reach as is the concept of religion to an atheist .....what you can touch , hold , play , feel and take home that day is far more tangible than some notion of a super ukulele which does not yet exist and will take a long time to build and will be wonderful.......and all for a lot more money ...

Right ...I'll recap...I admire you for your skills and Luthiery, I wish you every luck with you endeavours and business . I answered the question as I saw it asked . Your skin must be as thin as the veneers you use........................................

HBolte
02-19-2015, 01:52 PM
Is ceejay really the Big Kahuna???

Beau Hannam Ukuleles
02-19-2015, 01:53 PM
Fewer. Sorry Pedant Alert ;) but I had a moment when I thought that you made only cheaper or more expensive than $1400.00 .

My fault . Well , and yours too ......;)

hahaha- quite true that it was a brain twister- I've amended my first post.

Instruments are like cars- a cheapy to middle cost car will do you just fine through life and even career , but people who can afford a luxury model will usual buy it. Its not a utilitarian purchase, but people very rarely buy anything in a utilitarian manner.

equina
02-19-2015, 02:12 PM
Hi Jerry,

Currently, you are not taking any more commissions and building and innovating the instruments on your own. Some of your instruments also took some time to 'move'. I think you're a fantastic builder and great innovator and gives great value for your customers at your current price point.

May I suggest the following for your consideration: You already have a group of loyal supporters who are willing to buy a custom uke from you. You can accept commissions but charge a premium as what Pete has suggested, *sob*. To minimise your time on quoting, you can automate your website to accept custom orders and various add-ons, or like what Beau did, state all the charges upfront and let the customers choose the various add-ons for his basic model. Your instruments will move a lot faster this way. Another way is for you to announce the model and size you will be building in say, 3 months' time, and let your interested customers place their orders and specify the various add-ons they want. To minimise time on queries, you might also want to make your website more informative, like, differences in tone among your various models, and general characteristics of the various tonewoods you offer.

tangimango
02-19-2015, 02:46 PM
Your price point is very good. You have a great looking ukulele.
Maybe you can try selling them at local ukulele shops, of course you wont make much profit cause they have to sell for at least double but will get your name out.
I know of many ukulele builders here in hawaii alone, some really bad some really incredible ukuleles. They have no name brand , no website, or following but boy can they build a fine instrument.

CeeJay
02-19-2015, 03:23 PM
hahaha- quite true that it was a brain twister- I've amended my first post.

Instruments are like cars- a cheapy to middle cost car will do you just fine through life and even career , but people who can afford a luxury model will usual buy it. Its not a utilitarian purchase, but people very rarely buy anything in a utilitarian manner.

Thank you for taking my posts in the spirit that was intended , humorous, not critical of the makers or buyers....just a gentle poke at the reality of life...ah well...my point is exactly as you make yourself ...some get fish and chips ...some can have caviar a crepe suzette ...or something ;)

No bitterness at all .

CeeJay

CeeJay
02-19-2015, 03:29 PM
it looks like I'll have to put my prices up to keep this guy happy...I usualy sell e'm at less than £350 :)

Are you building again ? ....and this is another thing ...you decide you may at last venture into the world of custom ukes ...

Mr Timm's Machines are well feted (especially on the Cosmos....bunch of curmudgeons ) You try and track the Luthier down ,find him ..(I did this last 2013) .Sorry not building anymore for the minute ...Gone Slaying Dragons........Having a Rest ....all fair enough....but those squids in your pocket want to go somewhere .!! Seriously ..are you building ...I live in Northumberland and would dearly like to try one of your Sopranos....they remind me of me yoof.........

Steveperrywriter
02-19-2015, 03:40 PM
Well , bugger me ...did I walk into the Humourless Self Important Self Regarding Section Of UU by mistake or what ?

Well, not to put too fine a point on it, Ceejay, if that's where you are, then you brought it in with you. Several times -- forgive me if I don't do the search to point out chapter and verse -- you have been at the center of some wrangle or another here on UU, and as soon as you get called on it, you accuse us of being thin-skinned, or else you say you were just offering your open and honest opinion, or even joking, ha, ha. And we all missed the point. The tone of your post is what it is, and I could be misreading it, but if so, I'm certainly not the only one; more, this seems to happen a lot. If someone calls you an ass, you can safely ignore them; if ten people call you an ass, maybe you might consider getting a saddle ...

Saying you don't mean to be confrontational doesn't give you a free pass if that is what you are doing.

Not that I'm talking about you, or being confrontational or anything. Just, you know, light-heartedly bantering and hectoring and all. If you don't want to get called for saying things that aren't funny, then brush up your material. It needs work, because, well, it ain't funny.

Andy Chen
02-19-2015, 04:43 PM
Let me be another to sing Jerry's praises. While I am happy to have paid about USD1,400 for the first-ever A-style custom tenor, I think it's worth USD2,000 to judge by the prices of the custom builders on sale at HMS.

Jerry: I look forward to getting a Kayak tenor from you at some point.

CeeJay
02-19-2015, 04:43 PM
Well , bugger me ...did I walk into the Humourless Self Important Self Regarding Section Of UU by mistake or what ?

Well, not to put too fine a point on it, Ceejay, if that's where you are, then you brought it in with you. Several times -- forgive me if I don't do the search to point out chapter and verse -- you have been at the center of some wrangle or another here on UU, and as soon as you get called on it, you accuse us of being thin-skinned, or else you say you were just offering your open and honest opinion, or even joking, ha, ha. And we all missed the point. The tone of your post is what it is, and I could be misreading it, but if so, I'm certainly not the only one; more, this seems to happen a lot. If someone calls you an ass, you can safely ignore them; if ten people call you an ass, maybe you might consider getting a saddle ...

Saying you don't mean to be confrontational doesn't give you a free pass if that is what you are doing.

Not that I'm talking about you, or being confrontational or anything. Just, you know, light-heartedly bantering and hectoring and all. If you don't want to get called for saying things that aren't funny, then brush up your material. It needs work, because, well, it ain't funny.

No pal ...nor are you .......tiresome ,boring and you do come over as a hugely snide , self important pomparse (sic) egotistical ,humorless dried up stick who can't read a post correctly. But possibly because English is a borrowed language for you .

And as English is your borrowed language and as you don't appear to have the natural wit to appreciate the subtleties , nuances and inflections you can only give it the "Oh My Gaad ..Who is this person ? " I'll pat you on your little head and say ,"okay I forgive you" now run along and play with the other children .

You are being openly confrontational and as rude as you claim I was being ..... ...this is deliberate and antagonistic .


I've been called on nothing ..the OP asked a question ....I answered it in my style of writing ...if that offended you and a bunch of others that's their problem ...I now don't give a stuff ..I don't need your patronising permission to write on here ....and yes you have a thin skin ....pathetic and puerile ....Now jog on and call a moderator ...it's about your style .

Oh and NO ..My intention was not to be confrontational..but by God I can be....If I were to write something like ,oh say

"My problem is not what I wrote , but rather misjudging the humour , intelligence and wit of my audience .....I forgot ..at my school all the woodworkers were the ones who weren't very good at academics " ....Now that would be rude and be very naughty ...or say something like "if I were that up myself I would post a blog about me and claim things that were unproveable , like I was a big shot writer " oh look ....you have....

But here is the point ......Who the F Cares ?

Andy Chen
02-19-2015, 05:02 PM
Hi Jerry,

Currently, you are not taking any more commissions and building and innovating the instruments on your own. Some of your instruments also took some time to 'move'. I think you're a fantastic builder and great innovator and gives great value for your customers at your current price point.

May I suggest the following for your consideration: You already have a group of loyal supporters who are willing to buy a custom uke from you. You can accept commissions but charge a premium as what Pete has suggested, *sob*. To minimise your time on quoting, you can automate your website to accept custom orders and various add-ons, or like what Beau did, state all the charges upfront and let the customers choose the various add-ons for his basic model. Your instruments will move a lot faster this way. Another way is for you to announce the model and size you will be building in say, 3 months' time, and let your interested customers place their orders and specify the various add-ons they want. To minimise time on queries, you might also want to make your website more informative, like, differences in tone among your various models, and general characteristics of the various tonewoods you offer.

I would second this. Jerry, depending on how much premium you'd charge for a custom, I would be very interested in getting a custom Kayak tenor from you.

Steveperrywriter
02-19-2015, 05:33 PM
Hey, Ceejay? I don't need to call for a moderator to help me in a battle of wits against someone of your ilk. But I do expect the mods will take a look at this and tell us to knock it off, so I'm done. You can have the last word. Adios.

CeeJay
02-19-2015, 05:45 PM
Well thanks for that , Adios ,eh ?......ummm ...what do I do with it ?

wickedwahine11
02-19-2015, 05:56 PM
Enough already! Why is it people around these parts have to be so confrontational with one another? Why can't some of you just accept that some people think higher priced ukes are worth it, others don't. Apparently I need to remind some of you the golden rule of UU: don't be a jerk. I will even link the UU rules for those around these parts that have forgotten them. I swear, some of you guys are worse than children. My three-year-old niece and four-year-old nephew are better behaved than some UU members.

You don't have to agree on everything but you don't have to insult people either.

http://forum.ukuleleunderground.com/showthread.php?85568-Ukulele-Underground-Forum-Rules

Steveperrywriter
02-19-2015, 06:02 PM
Apologies to the members. Sometimes I speak when I should be quiet. Mea culpa.

CeeJay
02-19-2015, 06:02 PM
We've taken it private.

Thank You.

CeeJay
02-19-2015, 06:04 PM
Apologies to the members. Sometimes I speak when I should be quiet. Mea culpa.
Write ...you "write" ...shhh, laters .

mds725
02-19-2015, 06:56 PM
Well , bugger me ...did I walk into the Humourless Self Important Self Regarding Section Of UU by mistake or what ?



I'm not even a luthier and I was offended by your earlier post, mostly the tone of it. You can say what you want about admiring the skill and craft of luthiers, but I don't see much respect in the way you talked to them as if they are naive children who don't have a clue about how life works outside their workshops. I've had the pleasure of meeting and getting to know a handful of luthiers. The luthiers I know have worked extremely hard for years to hone their craft. The ukulele you buy from a luthier is not just a collection of wood and metal and strings that just happened to find their way together, it's the product of every new idea they tried that worked, every instrument they had to toss after trying an idea that didn't work, the amount of time that goes into actually building the ukulele you buy, and, in addition to skill and craft and experience, the heart with which they built it. If you really want luthiers to believe that you respect them, don't talk to them like they need to be schooled by "everybody and anybody who works for a living."

CeeJay
02-19-2015, 07:28 PM
I'm not even a luthier and I was offended by your earlier post, mostly the tone of it. You can say what you want about admiring the skill and craft of luthiers, but I don't see much respect in the way you talked to them as if they are naive children who don't have a clue about how life works outside their workshops. I've had the pleasure of meeting and getting to know a handful of luthiers. The luthiers I know have worked extremely hard for years to hone their craft. The ukulele you buy from a luthier is not just a collection of wood and metal and strings that just happened to find their way together, it's the product of every new idea they tried that worked, every instrument they had to toss after trying an idea that didn't work, the amount of time that goes into actually building the ukulele you buy, and, in addition to skill and craft and experience, the heart with which they built it. If you really want luthiers to believe that you respect them, don't talk to them like they need to be schooled by "everybody and anybody who works for a living."

I'm not responding other than to say I find your attitude as offensive as you claim mine to be . Private message en route.

Pete Howlett
02-19-2015, 11:51 PM
I have re-read your initial post CeeJay and it is offensive. As a ukulele maker celebrating 20 years in the business and at last, managing to pay myself a little income I find it inflammatory and smug. To try and excuse it as anything other than such is disingenuous. Unlike 'cosmos' this forum tries not to be confrontational and aims to respect the luthiers who post. Please refrain from poking us in the eye here - go over to the 'cosmos' and do it there where they seem to relish the abuse.

Inksplosive AL
02-20-2015, 12:51 AM
Oh CeeJay the composer of the great insult 2015. So end it already from a super mod means its still OK to continue with the pile on/ tag team towards CeeJay. Shenanigans! Everyone grab a broom!

You all put way too much power and importance into another persons thoughts or opinions. Everybody is just looking to be a victim upset over something or another. Only you can be insulted after all. Why do you let what CeeJay says bother you so? My grandmother all 4 feet of Canadian French spitfire would have said something to the effect if I was getting so pissed at something somebody said I must feel guilty or they hit on the truth. Damn crazy old lady. ;)

I will still own a BlackBear ukulele someday I've learned not to sleep on it if I see one I like come up for sale as it will be gone by morning. I would love to own a Timms but I never see them for sale, one came up recently as a UK sale only so I couldn't even be interested in it.

Consumerism stinks try being me and explaining to someone drawing for them and coming up with ideas is in actuality working and not just having a good time with my new found buddy.

The story goes that Picasso was sitting in a Paris cafť when an admirer approached and asked if he would do a quick sketch on a paper napkin. Picasso politely agreed, swiftly executed the work, and handed back the napkin — but not before asking a rather significant amount of money. The admirer was shocked: "How can you ask for so much? It took you a minute to draw this!" "No," Picasso replied, "It took me a lifetime."

BlueLatitude
02-20-2015, 04:27 AM
The Jeremy Clarkson of UU strikes again :)

At least Clarkson is funny sometimes.

I saved up for more than a year and a half to pay for my Beau Hannam uke. Was it worth it? Oh yes. I love playing it so much I even get up early in the morning to play it before I leave for work. And I HATE getting up so that means something.

I do understand that not everyone is able to do this, or is interested in doing it. But I know I'll get much more than 18 moths of pleasure from my purchase.

Long live luthiers!

Rllink
02-20-2015, 04:28 AM
Well, I have been watching this since the beginning with some interest. This forum is set aside for the builders of ukuleles. I assumed for a while that it was more an exchange of technical information on building ukes, but it seems that that on occasion it becomes a place for Luthiers to discuss pricing models for their wares. This particular forum is not the sole ownership of Luthiers, everyone is allowed here. I think that while some state their position rather bluntly, it is their position none the less, and perhaps, it may reflect what others less bold are thinking as well. After reading all the posts over and over, including many posted by the defenders of virtue, all I can say is that if someone does not want to hear what others think, they should either find a closed forum, where they can have discourse with only like minded thinkers, or chance taking a beating from the proletariat.

DownUpDave
02-20-2015, 04:46 AM
Breaking one of "MY" rules here...........don't post in this forum. It is for luthiers and I respect their right to some degree of exclusivity, especially if the questioned asked is towards luthiers.

The opening sentence from the OP asked " For those who build ukuleles to sell them......". If you are not part of that group why jump in and spout your opinions about pricing when you have ZERO crediblity. If you are not a builder then this question was not asked of you so let these luthiers have their discussion. Some people just like to blahblahblah.

wayfarer75
02-20-2015, 04:53 AM
Let's compare ukes to purses. We ladies are not all of the same mind when it comes to what we pay for these things, just like we ukulele players are not of the same mind when it comes to paying for instruments. Some ladies are happy with cheap fake leather bags from Target, some love unique designs no one else will have, some go for vintage, and others like really exclusive/best leather ever/waitlisted for years/handmade in Paris by Thierry HermŤs' descendents. Each handbag manufacturer has to decide which group they'll appeal to, and price accordingly.

A luthier-made uke is not like a Target bag, and builders should not really try to appeal to value shoppers who willingly put up with the more "disposable" nature of less expensive ukuleles. Are there luthiers who could raise their prices and their ukes would sell at the same rate? Absolutely. But I don't know their costs, profits, etc, so I really couldn't tell them what to do. I do like equina's advice a lot.

Pricing is hard. I have an MBA, and the professor of one of my marketing classes had that as his main research--writing books and papers on the subject, the whole thing. It's complicated! So don't feel bad if this decision doesn't come easily.

RPA_Ukuleles
02-20-2015, 04:58 AM
… The opening sentence from the OP asked " For those who build ukuleles to sell them......". If you are not part of that group why jump in and spout your opinions about pricing when you have ZERO crediblity. If you are not a builder then this question was not asked of you so let these luthiers have their discussion. Some people just like to blahblahblah.

And BAM, there it is. Well said.

Moore Bettah Ukuleles
02-20-2015, 06:00 AM
Some people just like to blahblahblah.

Thank you. I too didn't want to waste time posting in this thread but outside of the first page your post says it best. There are doers and there are talkers.

Rllink
02-20-2015, 06:04 AM
Breaking one of "MY" rules here...........don't post in this forum. It is for luthiers and I respect their right to some degree of exclusivity, especially if the questioned asked is towards luthiers.

The opening sentence from the OP asked " For those who build ukuleles to sell them......". If you are not part of that group why jump in and spout your opinions about pricing when you have ZERO crediblity. If you are not a builder then this question was not asked of you so let these luthiers have their discussion. Some people just like to blahblahblah.Well, then maybe it should be closed to non-Luthier's. Or perhaps a little note that says that opinions of people who do not build and sell ukes are unwelcome here. I've come here many times, and not posted, but I was not aware that it was an exclusive club. I am glad to know that. I have some opinions, but other than the one that I've already made, I'll keep them to myself. I would appreciate it as well, if you might let me know of any other forums where certain opinions are not appreciated. I'm trying hard to stay right minded in this community.

CeeJay
02-20-2015, 06:13 AM
Well, then maybe it should be closed to non-Luthier's. Or perhaps a little note that says that opinions of people who do not build and sell ukes are unwelcome here. I've come here many times, and not posted, but I was not aware that it was an exclusive club. I am glad to know that. I have some opinions, but other than the one that I've already made, I'll keep them to myself. I would appreciate it as well, if you might let me know of any other forums where certain opinions are not appreciated. I'm trying hard to stay right minded in this community.

They clearly don't mind though when we walk into their shops....sorry boutiques , and part with our hard earned money. Earned at doing whatever profession we chose to do....

But give 'em a good natured tweak on the beak and they howl the house down .

Tch Sad really .

Flyfish57
02-20-2015, 07:45 AM
Wow, I can't believe I wasted most of my lunchtime on this Thread. Fortunately for me, my ADD saved me from much of it.

Topics like this are best saved for the conventions/builder group meetings such as AISA (this summer) or GAL (last summer).

Jerry, If you go to AISA this summer look me up.

buddhuu
02-20-2015, 10:22 AM
Which part of "Enough already" are some of you too dense to comprehend?

Some of you just love to stir up arguments, don't you? Seems to me that there are more people pissed off by that than amused by it. For that 'democratic' reason, those of you who work SO hard to get on the radar will be pleased to know that you're on it. If you want to go one better and get banned, just keep pushing. You don't have far to go.

If this post offends you then just report me to the other mods or to admin. I'd rather get sacked than see a handful of you keep pissing off members who've been here far longer and contributed far more.

Go to it.

spookelele
02-20-2015, 10:57 AM
I wonder.... if this is an issue of perception?

Like.. maybe some people can't hear the difference between a finely crafted uke, and a mass production?
Someone in another thread was convinced that laminate and solid sounds the same, which got me thinking... maybe some people can't hear the difference a good instrument makes, and thus can not appreciate the better sound to understand the higher price?

If you can't hear a difference, then it it would just seem like a matter of bling to them. I know my father's hearing has gotten worse the older he gets, but he refuses to believe his hearing is any different from mine, and to someone like him, a high end uke would sound no different from a dolphin. That's an extreme case, but really.. not every one hears the same.

Michael N.
02-20-2015, 11:29 AM
Hearing deteriorates with age. It's not a matter of opinion but a known fact. We lose the high frequencies, some at a much younger age than others. There may be older folk who can hear as high as 16 Khz but they will be in a real minority.
It's probably why I favour bright sounding instruments, to compensate.
As for relatively expensive Ukuleles, well no one is compelled against their wishes to buy one. I will say that the vast majority of the development of the Guitar (my speciality) was done by individual makers and not by mass producers. From Lacote, Stauffer to Torres, Smallman and Dammann. Each and everyone had a very significant part to play in the development of the Guitar. It's the individual makers that are doing most of the scientific research too - hence Gore, Carruth et al. The volume makers tend to take their lead from that lone little man in his workshop.

Pete Howlett
02-20-2015, 12:28 PM
I went back to the beginning of this thread to see if my initial reply answered the question. I think it did
add $450 to your basic price. So what of the fuss? It's the usual thing - unhelpful advice from the uninformed. This is a space for free and open comment. It's a conundrum that much of it is so off topic, regularly failing to answer the thoughtful questions posed with thoughtless and confrontational off-topic answers. So to be exact in answering the initial question:
Your tenors should be around the $1750 - $2,000 mark given the excellent level of fit and finish. Baritones from $1950 to $2,500. Go to shows to peddle your work and keep up the excellent and informative website. Is this helpful?

PS: We should have met 20 years ago - we'd be rolling in it now :) All the best. You deserve it :)

wayfarer75
02-20-2015, 04:06 PM
I wonder.... if this is an issue of perception?

Like.. maybe some people can't hear the difference between a finely crafted uke, and a mass production?
Someone in another thread was convinced that laminate and solid sounds the same, which got me thinking... maybe some people can't hear the difference a good instrument makes, and thus can not appreciate the better sound to understand the higher price?

If you can't hear a difference, then it it would just seem like a matter of bling to them. I know my father's hearing has gotten worse the older he gets, but he refuses to believe his hearing is any different from mine, and to someone like him, a high end uke would sound no different from a dolphin. That's an extreme case, but really.. not every one hears the same.

I don't think it's bad hearing. Mine is almost as bad as it gets. I have congenital single-sided deafness (left ear is 100% gone), and recurring tinnitus in my working ear. Yet I was able to correctly identify all four uke brands in La Perdrix's "Blind Test" post on the Uke Talk forum--and that wasn't a random guess. I think, like some people just can't carry a tune when they sing, some people can't really discern nuances in sounds.

Paul Henneberry
02-22-2015, 03:42 PM
Hi and thanks for starting this interesting thread. Shame it degenerated into an ego fuelled invective laden word swamp like it did. You seem to know your market and I’ve got nothing to add apart from that your ukes look fantastic are good value and if I was a buyer and not a maker I’d be trying to get on your order list.
I’ve just got one question, when you say “ it’s a baritone that took just under a week to build” how many hours are we talking about and is that literally from go to woe in seven days or did you mean the equivalent of a week’s work spread over a few weeks. I’m not asking to try and deduce your hourly return but simply to understand how efficient the process can be made with practice and experience. It has implication for hobbyist because maybe some of us are being way too conservative in letting glue dry and finishes to dry between coats.
Cheers
Paul

adam1985
03-22-2015, 04:44 PM
Im new to this forum and am pretty suprised to see this sort of attitude. I thought the ukulele was a happy instrument?!
I personally dont see a problem with spending £1500 + on a beautiful, hand crafted instrument that will last a life time. Obviously others wouldnt feel the same, but its not like they are short of options.
Seems strange someone would be in the luthiers lounge if they have no interest in high end instruments.
sometimes people just like to splash out on something special. I wonder how many people are reading this thread on a top of the range macbook, that will be out of date in a few years, when they could have bought a budget laptop?

Timbuck
03-23-2015, 12:32 AM
I went into a music shop some years back when I was working professionally in a band..I was looking to buy a new bass amp..I found one that I liked but it was beyond my budget..The shop owner said "It's not an expensive amp, the trouble is you've got nowt to spend" ;)

pbagley
03-23-2015, 06:27 AM
Another new to the forum guy chiming in.

First, I found the exchange with Mr. CeeJay very entertaining. Perhaps it is just because I'm genetically inclined toward British Humour. An opinion was offered. It is has a much worth as you give it, and it cost you nothing. In all things of judgement, there will be others who have differing opinions.

Second, I'm here as a luthier want-to-be. I'm here to learn. I have built an electric guitar and an electric bass from scratch, and I have another electric bass nearing completion that started as tree trunks on my trailer. For me, the cost of the wood is trivial compared to the time it takes to turn it into an instrument.

Third - I have an appreciation for high end instruments, but I also have a budget that keeps me down in the "good" ukulele range. I have my starter Kala, and I can hear a vast difference in sound quality between it an my Kamaka or Mele. For me sound quality comes first - fancy wood and inlays don't mean anything if it does not sound good. I have a great appreciation for a hand made ukulele at a reasonable price point, say under $500 US.

For this common man, the $1400 price point is out of reach.

hollisdwyer
03-23-2015, 07:53 PM
I wonder what is the proportion and approximate numbers of UU members that own at least one Uke that costs the equivalent of US$1400 or more? Observing the speed with which high end ukes get sold on UU and Flea Market Music and the number of new builds that members buy, I would expect that there are more than a few. Individuals make value judgement when they decide to spend their hard earned savings. Some will drop $2000-$6000 on a camera lens if they are really into photography or spend lots of $$$ on a stereo system.
IMO its disingenuous to criticize either players or Luthiers for their personal choices as it is nobody's else's business but those who are in the position to make those choices.
Personally it is a joy for me to work with a creative, competent Luthier to create a musical instrument and that's my value judgement and no one else's business.
"Do no harm but take no shit" especially from the wowsers of the world.

PS. For those not familiar with the Australian idiom, CJ Denis , an early 20th century Australian poet, best described Wowser as "an ineffably pious person who mistakes this world for a penitentiary and himself for a warder".

Sylvan
03-24-2015, 03:19 PM
It all depends on what someone is into. Some people spend their money on fancy vacations, others on motorcycles, boats, electronics, fancy restaurants, etc. Custom ukes last longer than any of those items and by that measure, they are probably a better investment. Spending money is what makes the world go around. I'm happy that people choose to buy custom ukes. A world without independent luthiers making ukes that are uniquely theirs is a much less interesting place. I feel that the world needs more art and that is what the the best of them make.

hollisdwyer
03-24-2015, 03:30 PM
It all depends on what someone is into. Some people spend their money on fancy vacations, others on motorcycles, boats, electronics, fancy restaurants, etc. Custom ukes last longer than any of those items and by that measure, they are probably a better investment. Spending money is what makes the world go around. I'm happy that people choose to buy custom ukes. A world without independent luthiers making ukes that are uniquely theirs is a much less interesting place. I feel that the world needs more art and that is what the the best of them make.

Agree! I think Beau Hannam said it well, "there's enough crap out there". There will always be a market for quality, albeit a small one. There will always be a market for mass produced goods as well as those goods match the needs of that market demographic. Those of us who have a choice are fortunate.