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View Full Version : One super high-end uke or two regular high-quality ukes?



Andy Chen
04-28-2015, 11:42 PM
I have been eyeing the Hive Hornet on HMS for days on end. The sound sample is probably the best I have heard to my ears.

Yet I cannot bring myself to buy it. With the same money, I have bought a Pono pro classic and intend to use the rest to buy an Ohta San.

Two main reasons:

1. What if I ding or drop it and it loses value?

2. What if I look ridiculous playing such a gorgeous uke with my mediocre skills?

What are your thoughts on this?

Olarte
04-29-2015, 12:04 AM
You already have an impressive collection.

So if you can afford it I think the hive would be a beautiful Uke to top that collection off.

With Gerald Ross being a fan of them having just got one I can only imagine that it's a wonderful instrument.

As far as dropping it etc. I treat all my instruments very carefully but accidents can happen. However if you are getting it to play then that's it's true value. If it's for a collectible then you'll need to be extra careful but that kind of puts a damper on the enjoyment of a fine instrument.

If it's a tenor I would recommend using a strap with it.

For me the similar question was in buying two blackbirds. Luckily while expensive they are much more hardy than a natural wood one.

Either way good luck and if you pull the trigger on the Hive I hope you share some pix and sound samples :shaka:

wayfarer75
04-29-2015, 12:19 AM
You will buy one eventually. Just do it now.

tbeltrans
04-29-2015, 12:25 AM
This is just one person's opinion, so take it for what it is worth...

I bought two high end ukuleles right off as my first. The first was a straight across trade for a guitar, rather than a purchase. It is a Ko'olau Deluxe with factory installed pickup (which is a high end LR Baggs). The selling price was $4,500 because though being based on the Deluxe model, it had only the best of upgrades. I think the ukulele pictured when you enter their site might be mine. This ukulele is in the traditional re-entrant tuning (high G), and is the most beautiful work of art I have seen in a ukulele. It is custom, one of a kind due to everything on it being of the finest upgrade.

A week or so later, I learned about low G tuning and found out that a lot of chord melody uses that. So I went back to the same store and they had since gotten in a Kamaka HB-2D Ohta-San, using low G tuning. I purchased that outright. It cost about $2,000. I had an under saddle pickup installed as an after-market item.

When I bought these, I knew nothing about ukuleles, but had played guitar for more than 30 years and recognized quality. I have never regretted my decision on these ukuleles. More importantly, I PLAY them and never look over my shoulder second-guessing my decision on these, and other than later getting a high end Guitalele (Kanile'a K1-GL6) on Craig's List, have not had the urge to get another ukulele

After going through the upgrade process on guitars again and again, I learned that it is far less expensive to do it once, do it right, and then stop looking and start playing. So I went for the best I could find straight off. It has worked for me. I would rather have just one or two fine ukuleles than a dozen lesser models and always be looking for THE ONE.

There are a lot of fine ukuleles available at all price points, so it isn't necessary to buy in the range that I did. However, if you are asking these sorts of questions, maybe my experience will be at least a consideration.

Tony

Hippie Dribble
04-29-2015, 12:26 AM
Buy it Andy. Life's too short.

If you don't you'll always be wondering 'what if' and that's not a pleasant place to be.

Play it into sawdust and come what may.

bunnyf
04-29-2015, 12:34 AM
Andy, I know exactly where you are coming from. I have several ukes of varying sizes but one is $1000+ and it's not even really my favorite and I am also a mediocre player, so...you have to wonder if it's worth it. I don't mean that the uke is not worth the price I paid, but that in retrospect, I would have been just as satisfied playing a perfectly nice, more moderately priced instrument, and with my average skill (and not particularly acute ear) neither I or anyone listening to me could tell the difference. Sometimes too, I also feel a little silly playing a wonderful instrument lamely and am especially reminded of this whenever I hear someone rocking out on a more modest instrument. This is just me though and I'm not saying what's right for others.

Fred Ukestone
04-29-2015, 12:35 AM
I'd be asking myself what is the resale value on the ukulele should I wish, or be forced, to get rid of it. How much will it depreciate in value after purchase?

I'd also be asking myself, why am I buying this ukulele when I've already got 6 high end ukes. Am I buying it to play or to make myself feel good.

Olarte
04-29-2015, 01:01 AM
Either way life is too short. If you really want it even if it's to play in private and you can afford it... Well Life is simply to short not to enjoy your journey.

Either way whatever you decide don't second guess yourself. I ordered the two blackbirds and am past the point of regretting it. No different than when I picked surgery for my cancer. Can't afford to second guess once the trigger is pulled. But that's just me.



I'd be asking myself what is the resale value on the ukulele should I wish, or be forced, to get rid of it. How much will it depreciate in value after purchase?

I'd also be asking myself, why am I buying this ukulele when I've already got 6 high end ukes. Am I buying it to play or to make myself feel good.

guitharsis
04-29-2015, 01:34 AM
Just went to the HMS site and saw and listened to the Hive Hornet. Absolutely breathtaking looks and sound.

JustinJ
04-29-2015, 01:41 AM
I wrote this in another post a while back. But I hope it will help you. When I first started playing ukulele, I found myself fascinated with Ko'olau, who I am kidding infatuated.

I had purchased a Pono MTD as my first ukulele. I was working in one of Lyle Ritz's books. I told myself learn these songs well and then buy a Ko'olau. It's a year later and I did not buy a Koolau. After two months of working in the book I improved. I no longer wanted a Ko'olau. It would have been nice but then I do not think I would have improved.

You need to ask yourself some questions. Why do you want it? Do you play the instruments you have now well?

If you're goal is to play the ukulele well, then your money would be better spent on lessons. Take the time to devote yourself to getting better instead of looking at other ukes.

Honestly, if you take one of your instruments and learn to play it well, it will sound better than the Hornet. Buying an expensive instrument is not going to make you sound better.

You could give Cory a Pono and he could make it sound like the Hive uke. It's the player that brings out the sound of an instrument. If you listen to his samples without knowing which uke he is playing, you would be hard pressed to know the prices. Of course, I'm not talking laminates but when you get above high end Ponos, you're buying bling.

I'm surprised at the tones I'm getting from my Pono MTD. It sounds like a different instrument. Even my wife agrees and often tells me that it sings. The instrument has not changed. My playing has changed and I understand how to bring the tone out of it.

I have a long way to go in my playing, but if I kept buying better ukes. I would be no farther a long.

Also, the newness of anything wears off. If you buy the Hive, then the next uke will be a more expensive uke.

It sounds like you already a little hesitant. Give yourself goal of learning some uke songs or working through a book. Make it a challenging goal. If after you finish those songs or learning the book, then buy a Hive ukulele. You may still want it but the desire will probably be gone.

If you're a collector and just like having nice instruments than I can understand. If you want to play a ukulele, then you already have ukuleles to play and I might add very nice ones. Do the instruments you have now sound like the sound samples that you listened to before you bought them?

Icelander53
04-29-2015, 01:47 AM
I have been eyeing the Hive Hornet on HMS for days on end. The sound sample is probably the best I have heard to my ears.

Yet I cannot bring myself to buy it. With the same money, I have bought a Pono pro classic and intend to use the rest to buy an Ohta San.

Two main reasons:

1. What if I ding or drop it and it loses value?

2. What if I look ridiculous playing such a gorgeous uke with my mediocre skills?

What are your thoughts on this?


Buy em all and let god sort em out.

JustinJ
04-29-2015, 01:48 AM
One last thing, have a read here at post 23. http://forum.ukuleleunderground.com/showthread.php?106474-Satisfied&p=1679373#post1679373


This is one of the best post I've read on buying multiple items in a hobby. It's very insightful and it may help you with your decision.

DownUpDave
04-29-2015, 02:02 AM
Andy I feel how conflicted you are and I can appreciate that. I have felt the same way at times. I have only been playing for one year and I own some really nice instruments, Mya Moe, Collings, Webber and I have an LfdM on order. I would not take any of these out in public for fear of others judgements. Then I took the Mya Moe to one of our uke jams and that changed everything. People loved seeing it and being able to play it, they were all very supportive of my decision to buy it. I am taking the Webber out tonight to a uke jam as a few people have asked to see it.

As other have said life is too short to worry about trival things like having the talent to be worthy of a fine instrument. Look at all the normal citizens driving Ferrari, Porcsh, Lamborgini, Aston Martin they are not race car drivers. They drive them and if these $250,000 cars get damaged they get them fixed. You can't worry about resale, ukes are instruments that are made to be played

If you really love everything about that instrument and can afford it with no issues you need to buy it and buy it NOW. It will be gone and it is one of a kind. The only qualification to owning instruments of this calibre is having a passion for ukulele. Your playing will improve and you will be glad you bought it.

SoloRule
04-29-2015, 02:12 AM
Andy, I know exactly where you are coming from. I have several ukes of varying sizes but one is $1000+ and it's not even really my favorite and I am also a mediocre player, so...you have to wonder if it's worth it. I don't mean that the uke is not worth the price I paid, but that in retrospect, I would have been just as satisfied playing a perfectly nice, more moderately priced instrument, and with my average skill (and not particularly acute ear) neither I or anyone listening to me could tell the difference. Sometimes too, I also feel a little silly playing a wonderful instrument lamely and am especially reminded of this whenever I hear someone rocking out on a more modest instrument. This is just me though and I'm not saying what's right for others.

I agreed with you totally. Sometime it's not about the money. It's if you can justify the spending when the skill don't match the instrument.
It's the same as owning a Ferrari but can't drive !
I would improve my skill on a decent $800 to $1,000 range first before jumping into a uke of your dream. As I get better my taste may change.
If the goal is to add something pretty to your collection then go for it! That's a different story !
I like to collect liquor that has unique design bottle and I don't drink.

spookelele
04-29-2015, 02:26 AM
If you can afford something without introducing a hardship, and it's something you want, why not buy it?
I play my favorite uke 80%+ of the time. So though I have multiple, for practical purposes, I play one.
The other times is if I want the other G. Playing a uke you love... makes you want to play more, and playing more makes you better.
Money you spend on something you love is never wasted.

UkerDanno
04-29-2015, 05:04 AM
personally, I would rather have the Pono and Ohta-San!

mm stan
04-29-2015, 05:29 AM
Depends on you financial situation, I see you have a lot of medium level and premium ukes...why want more
When you can get a high end.. eventually you will and it will cost more. After that you might only play your high
End uke and the rest will be dust collectors..
What if I drop it?.... huh what if I cross the street? :) if you lived your life on what if's, you'll never know
Things could have been. ..

wayfarer75
04-29-2015, 05:37 AM
Depends on you financial situation, I see you have a lot of medium level and premium ukes...why want more
When you can get a high end.. eventually you will and it will cost more. After that you might only play your high
End uke and the rest will be dust collectors..
What if I drop it?.... huh what if I cross the street? :) if you lived your life on what if's, you'll never how
Things could have been. ..

I agree. If this were a situation where someone has no ukes, or one soprano uke and wants a bigger size, then maybe the Ohta-San and Pono combo would be the way to go. But when one already has a number of different sizes and quality levels, upgrading to a Hive makes perfect sense to me.

janeray1940
04-29-2015, 05:41 AM
I'm going to offer a slightly different point of view than the majority, based on the (somewhat expensive) lessons I've learned over the years.

When I first started playing 6 years ago, I fell hard for Kamakas. I couldn't get my hands on a longneck soprano (not even on Oahu, a trip I made almost exclusively for this purpose!), and I don't like buying sight unseen, so - I've spent the better part of the last 6 years justifying buying other things for various reasons (Ohta-San because it had the 14-fret join I wanted and was smaller than tenor; Koaloha longneck because the price was right; custom because I thought that would be a way to get what I wanted but it fell short of my expectations, etc.).

A couple weeks ago a very elusive Kamaka longneck soprano fell right into my hands and - it was love at first sight. Looking back with 20/20 vision, I should have just ordered the darned thing sight-unseen 6 years ago (before several price increases) and been done with it. But - no regrets, I tried out some good ukes in the meantime and better learned what I want and don't want.

All of that to say - trust your instincts. I know how much you want that Ohta-San. My recommendation is to hold out for it; one will turn up when the time is right.

Dancing Seahorse
04-29-2015, 05:44 AM
Ukuleles are pieces of art but are also musical instruments. Buy the uke that you will actually play and enjoy.

Patrick Madsen
04-29-2015, 05:44 AM
Once you own and play a high end custom uke, you'll realize what you've been missing. I'll never go back to mass produced instrument unless it's vintage and high quality. For me, it's all about the neck and action. Most of the the mass produced ukes necks feel like baseball clubs to me compared to my custom thin, low, fast actioned necks.

mkatz
04-29-2015, 06:32 AM
I say if you if it doesn't cause you any financial hardship, go for it. I bought and sold quite a few premium ukuleles over the last 4 or 5 years but once I purchased a Kinnard and then a MB, my UAS diminished greatly. I am down to 4 ukuleles which all serve different purposes and really enjoy them all. Of course I should mention that my GAS (guitar acquisition syndrome) has increased.

Mitch

Andy Chen
04-29-2015, 06:34 AM
Thanks for all your replies! I read every one and found much to agree with all of you.

I like to collect but I will never not play a uke I own.

I shall sleep on this for a bit, with all of your input in mind.

Dan Uke
04-29-2015, 07:01 AM
is it sold? I don't see it on their website?

hawaii 50
04-29-2015, 07:09 AM
is it sold? I don't see it on their website?

Hey Daniel I hope Andy bought it...as it is sold.....sometimes when I visit HMS store a customer will be looking a uke and trying to decide what to do....and when they decide they want to buy it had been sold off the website while the person was trying to make a discision...seen it happen many times, hope you ordered it Andy....:)

katysax
04-29-2015, 07:17 AM
Some questions have no right answer and no wrong answer. If you miss the opportunity to get a great uke, another one always comes along. A $3000-4000 custom might be better than a $1000 uke, it might not. What's the definition of "better" anyway.

hawaii 50
04-29-2015, 07:20 AM
Some questions have no right answer and no wrong answer. If you miss the opportunity to get a great uke, another one always comes along. A $3000-4000 custom might be better than a $1000 uke, it might not. What's the definition of "better" anyway.

good question"better" is each persons opinion...but I did play the Hive and to me it is one of the better ones....:) IMO
I have seen/played some 3-4K ukes that are not as good as others in the same price range or lower.....

sukie
04-29-2015, 07:34 AM
I have a high end ukulele. So...I say go for it. Your 2 questions don't really make sense to me. Everybody knows I have some dings on my ukulele. Except for 3 or 4 that I did not put on it, (and they make me cross), I accept them for what they are -- badges of usage. As for being worthy? I have found my ukulele makes me want to learn how to get the very best out of it. Its definitely a motivator....for me.
There's just something about a beautiful instrument that strikes me.

tbeltrans
04-29-2015, 07:36 AM
As you have seen, you will get a variety of answers, with none particularly right or wrong except as what is fitting for your situation as you see it. My rule of thumb has always been to live debt-free. If I have to borrow to buy a thing, I can't afford it. I made one excpetion, and that was my condo. That took 10 years to pay off. After I have taken care of business and my family, then I can consider whether to purchase something such as a nice musical instrument. That is my own way of dealing with these sorts of things. I know many people use credit on such things, and that is their right, as with any such choice.

So, really, it comes down to what you want to do with your money and what your priorities are. I have never owned a new car, always paying cash for what I could afford. I have had very good luck with this, so it owkrs for me. I have never been one to desire expensive vacations or restaurants. These are very low priorities for me. However, enjoying fine instruments is something I decided to do later in life when I have the money. One such purchase will never wear out, lasting me a lifetime of enjoyment. A dinner lasts maybe an hour, and a vacation maybe a week. That is just how my priorities work. As with anything else, we all see these things differently.

Tony

Ukulele Eddie
04-29-2015, 07:38 AM
Daniel, here (http://www.theukulelesite.com/hive-ukulele-hornet-tenor-spruce-maple.html) is the uke. It is now sold, but Andy in particular, read on.

Andy,

I think you and I have similar tastes. I was going to buy this last week and was agonizing over the decision for many of the same reasons as you were. Plus, I already have a spectacular spruce/maple uke albeit in concert scale. Still, this uke captivated me despite all the reasons I could think of for not getting it. Then, blip, all of the sudden it showed "out of stock."

So, I checked with Jake about commissioning a uke and as I was trying to decide what wood (he does not have any more of this quilted maple, but does have some gorgeous flamed maple and some killer quilted sapele, among others), this one suddenly showed back in stock. How did I know? Like a hooked junkie, I was repeatedly listening to the video. I checked with HMS to confirm whether or not it was available. Late yesterday they let me know that somebody had it on hold but decided on a Ko'olau instead. I ended up buying it this morning. When you wake up, if you're absolutely 10,000% certain you really have to have this, PM me. I might consider backing off and letting you get it (no, I'm not looking for anything in return). If you're not 10,000% sure, then in the unlikely case I decide to sell it at some point, I will check with you first (I've done that before on a used uke bought here in the MM where I "beat" somebody to the punch).

Regarding your original question, I don't believe there is anything wrong with having great ukes despite not being great players. Very few people who drive Porsche's are even moderately skilled performance drivers. Even among those that are, nobody gets more than a small fraction of a 911's capabilities on anything other than a race track. In fact, few people really need anything more than a very basic car, but most people enjoy things for reasons beyond pure function. There is nothing wrong with that.

Personally, what I think is a shame is when somebody has more nice instruments than they can actually play regularly. But then their reason for doing so may be collecting and who am I to judge them for that? Maybe if I were truly wealthy, I could imagine owning several dozen spectacular ukes. For me, anything beyond 5-7 ukes and some would not get played regularly.

Anyway, PM when you wake up.

Dan Uke
04-29-2015, 07:51 AM
Hey Daniel I hope Andy bought it...as it is sold.....sometimes when I visit HMS store a customer will be looking a uke and trying to decide what to do....and when they decide they want to buy it had been sold off the website while the person was trying to make a discision...seen it happen many times, hope you ordered it Andy....:)

Haha, that happened to me too! I was looking at a uke but went to lunch and when I came back, it already sold!

JustinJ
04-29-2015, 08:05 AM
As a species we are prone to biases. Buying things and rationalizing the purchase is one of those biases. More money spent on something does not always equal better quality. I'll repeat it again. It is the player who brings out the sound in an instrument. If you're just an average player, the more expensive uke is not going to sound as well. It will sound average. In the hands of skilled musician, they may be able to bring out more qualities in the uke.

This does not mean that you should not buy an expensive uke but realize it is not going make you sound better until you put the work in to play it better.

An interesting website with some common biases is down below. I think many of use Post-Purchase Rationalization. We also do this when we make decisions and rationalize our decision ignoring anything that goes against it.

http://io9.com/5974468/the-most-common-cognitive-biases-that-prevent-you-from-being-rational

Here is a short video that Brain Games did for an expensive cake vs. cheaper cake. Pay attention to how people describe the more expensive one vs. the cheaper. Now just put words to a uke and not a cake. shimmering highs, bell like ringing, deep bass, etc. you get the point

http://channel.nationalgeographic.com/brain-games/videos/cakes-of-deception/

I'll be the first one to say that I like a nice uke. I'm not saying a laminate uke will compare with a solid top. There is very small return when you start getting up in price. 350.00 and up can get a nice uke. The important thing is to have it setup correctly. I would question what type of sound quality you get after 1500.00 and a lesser price uke may sound better. Is Kamaka a better instrument since they raised their prices 30-40 percent?

I'm just tying to be the voice reason here. I'm contrarian by nature. I do not think it always good to tell people to just spend their money. If you have disposable income then I see no problem, but I get the feeling many people do not have as much disposable income to keep buying expensive ukes.

I'm fortunate that my wife reeled in my spending. I've been on the side of acquiring expensive things. I was in the hobby of astronomy, which gets expensive fast. One eyepiece can easily be 800.00 . You can always buy a new telescope, eyepiece or expensive accessories.

DownUpDave
04-29-2015, 08:10 AM
Daniel, here (http://www.theukulelesite.com/hive-ukulele-hornet-tenor-spruce-maple.html) is the uke. It is now sold, but Andy in particular, read on.

Andy,

I think you and I have similar tastes. I was going to buy this last week and was agonizing over the decision for many of the same reasons as you were. Plus, I already have a spectacular spruce/maple uke albeit in concert scale. Still, this uke captivated me despite all the reasons I could think of for not getting it. Then, blip, all of the sudden it showed "out of stock."

So, I checked with Jake about commissioning a uke and as I was trying to decide what wood (he does not have any more of this quilted maple, but does have some gorgeous flamed maple and some killer quilted sapele, among others), this one suddenly showed back in stock. How did I know? Like a hooked junkie, I was repeatedly listening to the video. I checked with HMS to confirm whether or not it was available. Late yesterday they let me know that somebody had it on hold but decided on a Ko'olau instead. I ended up buying it this morning. When you wake up, if you're absolutely 10,000% certain you really have to have this, PM me. I might consider backing off and letting you get it (no, I'm not looking for anything in return). If you're not 10,000% sure, then in the unlikely case I decide to sell it at some point, I will check with you first (I've done that before on a used uke bought here in the MM where I "beat" somebody to the punch).

Regarding your original question, I don't believe there is anything wrong with having great ukes despite not being great players. Very few people who drive Porsche's are even moderately skilled performance drivers. Even among those that are, nobody gets more than a small fraction of a 911's capabilities on anything other than a race track. In fact, few people really need anything more than a very basic car, but most people enjoy things for reasons beyond pure function. There is nothing wrong with that.

Personally, what I think is a shame is when somebody has more nice instruments than they can actually play regularly. But then their reason for doing so may be collecting and who am I to judge them for that? Maybe if I were truly wealthy, I could imagine owning several dozen spectacular ukes. For me, anything beyond 5-7 ukes and some would not get played regularly.

Anyway, PM when you wake up.


Wow Eddie........that is an incredibly kind gesture on your part, amazing really.

hawaii 50
04-29-2015, 08:14 AM
Haha, that happened to me too! I was looking at a uke but went to lunch and when I came back, it already sold!

It happened to me too Daniel....it was when Mike was still there..i was playing a Ko'olau that happened to be in the store....while I was playing it I was telling Mike I might go to the bank and get the money for it.....and asked Mike to double check the price.....it was sold..haha I had checked before I drove down to the store so maybe 30 mins passed since the last time I saw I on the website...haha

billten
04-29-2015, 08:15 AM
I have a slightly different opinion about buying a high end uke. First, absolutely do it, BUT only if you have done all the research needed before dropping this much cash. IMO spending huge amounts of money without at least playing a uke from the same maker and similar woods to the one you are buying has the possibility to end badly. I would never buy one online regardless of how great the vendor is without that critical step of actually picking it up and hearing how it sounds to me playing the kind of music I like to play. I love playing classical and baroque music, my perfect uke is like a mini guitar in construction and that style of uke will not suit the next guy who loves to strum out a melody while singing.

I am a huge fan of getting one really good instrument because when you get the right 'high end' uke, you'll know it and everything else won't matter. Just get the right one...

Bill

bunnyf
04-29-2015, 08:38 AM
JustinJ, I am completely with you on both your posts. An average player does not need a super high-end uke. Nothing wrong with wanting one though, if you can easily afford it. There are excellent moderately priced instruments, say in the 300-500 range, and in the hands of an average player I really don't think you could hear or feel a difference. I do think that there is a value in having an instrument that is nice to look at, lovely wood, beautiful finish, maybe some bling (if you are into that). When I see pix of beautiful instruments like Chuck Moore's, I think how wonderful it would be to have one and I know I would get tremendous joy out of looking at and playing it every day...BUT that's not gonna happen in my lifetime (unless I hit the lottery) and I would not kid myself in thinking that I would sound any better. If I did have an enormous windfall, I would buy one in a heartbeat and try to get over my embarrassment of being an average player with a fabulous instrument.

Inksplosive AL
04-29-2015, 08:43 AM
Wow Eddie........that is an incredibly kind gesture on your part, amazing really.

It really is, my lady and I were discussing this.

If the guy who grabbed the blackbear pine ukulele for $300 a year ago last January while I slept on it ever wants to be as nice a person PM me. heh Being a tattoo artist I had to set myself a limit years ago as to what I would spend on any impulse purchase. I set this limit at $300, under $300 if I want something its mine at or over and I sleep on it, if I still want it a day or two later then its mine. I have trouble with the new lower value of the dollar as well. Buying my BC Rich Warlock in the 80's for $550 real USD to see a uke sell for $800 to $4000 of today's USD is mind boggling. But in the 80's a twenty would buy me lunch and a drink with $15 to spare, today's dollar you are lucky to get $5 back from a twenty and lets face it guitars have come down in price.

I own a KoAloha concert sold with much play wear I think its great and shows a well loved instrument. I own a bunch of lower priced instruments though I mostly play my Kala SEM. I really want a blackbear ukulele and missed my BD present that year. I also really want a Timms and it stinks they are popping up now while I'm in this transitional period. I have to pry myself from the dark stained Timms ukulele and the blackbear that sort of resembles the Martin 3 cherry every night. I look every day hoping to feel a bit of loss to see they are sold but no they still haunt me.

I asked myself if I'm just being a hoarder buying to feel good till the next purchase and I dont think I like my answer. So while life is short I feel its in my best interests to realize I really have all the ukuleles I need. Want is another story and can be fully controlled like emotion.

~AL~

Ukulele Eddie
04-29-2015, 09:31 AM
It really is, my lady and I were discussing this.

...

I also really want a Timms and it stinks they are popping up now while I'm in this transitional period. I have to pry myself from the dark stained Timms ukulele and the blackbear that sort of resembles the Martin 3 cherry every night. I look every day hoping to feel a bit of loss to see they are sold but no they still haunt me.



Appreciate the nice comments, @DownUpDave and @Inksplosive AL.

I just picked up a new Timms and they are very well executed. However, it is way too loud for me so I'll be putting it up for sale fairly soon.

Inksplosive AL
04-29-2015, 09:44 AM
Appreciate the nice comments, @DownUpDave and @Inksplosive AL.

I just picked up a new Timms and they are very well executed. However, it is way too loud for me so I'll be putting it up for sale fairly soon.

Oh you're killing my UAS! lol

Steveperrywriter
04-29-2015, 10:48 AM
Buy what you want and can afford. Part of both of these are going to be reasons yea or nay in your own head, can you justify the outlay, are you worthy of a high-end instrument, what if you have to sell it? For me, if I had to ask? I wouldn't be ready to drop the hammer.

And even if you are sure, time can be critical. Chuck Moore put up a note on FB once saying he had a uke not spoken for. I happened to be online when that note showed up, came across it two minutes after it was posted, and PMed him. Two minutes Too late, already sold, and I was third in the queue.

I am lucky in that I have been able to get several high-end ukuleles, two of which were made for me. Tickles me every time I open their cases and see them, no regrets whatsoever. The look, the feel, the sound, and I will always be the limiting factor, not these instruments.

Everybody's mileage varies, of course, but you are the driver, you get to decide how you want to do it.

NewKid
04-29-2015, 11:46 AM
I agree with the Life Is Too Short team. If you can afford it buy what makes you happy and play the hell out of it. You've earned it through your hard work and sacrifice, not your current musical ability.

I've owned several high end ukuleles and now I'm gravitating to super well-made with beautiful wood and nice tuners but no rosette, binding, or even gloss finish. The excellent builders are calling these "player" ukes. Beau Hannam makes a tenor for $1500, Maui Music for $1350, and Mya-Moe for $1150, and that's the path I'm on now.

Olarte
04-29-2015, 12:13 PM
One other way I look at this aside from enjoying what I want only if I can afford it. Is that I take very good care of my Ukes and unlike buying an expensive car for instance my hope is that when I move on or maybe even earlier they can be sold and donated to a good Uke worth cause or my sons can inherit the rest along with a couple of other collectibles and keep the funds. I kind of like the idea of them having to sell my prized stuff if they want the value instead of the items.

While I do have a fairly large collection and I play mostly 5'or 6 regularly, I do love playing any particular tune across as many as I have time for. It gives me a true appreciation of the magic that is the Uke and each Ukes individual tone and feel and personality.

Some people like to spend their extra income in disposables like fine wines or collectibles that you only admire I rather spend it on Ukes that I can play and enjoy and will keep or increase in value if cared for properly. That works for me.

tbeltrans
04-29-2015, 12:25 PM
There are a lot of thoughtful responses in this thread. I am impressed that there is no sign of friction among all of these. For some reason, on other forums I have been involved with, discussions like this can cause people to seem to want to argue.

Anyway, one thing I wanted to mention is the sheer joy and appreciation I experience whenever I open the case of either of my two ukuleles. The quality of the build, choice of woods are just something to behold. Whatever a person's interests and focus are, there is just something about true quality that enhances that experience. To me, the only things that would determine if a person "deserves" such quality are being able to afford it and being able to appreciate it. I don't mean that snobbishly. What I do mean about "afford" is that most of us in a group such as this (especially if we are considering purchasing a new ukulele purchase of moderate value) are able to make decisions about some amount of disposable income. How we choose to spend it is highly personal. Some people want a new car every so often, while others choose to spend it elsewhere. Whatever we choose to spend that money, means not spending it on something else. As my wife likes to say "you can't spend it twice" (well, unless one relies on credit cards in parallel with whatever real money they have).

The main thing, in my opinion, is that whatever you choose, you don't regret it later on. Know yourself and what you really want, and that should not be a problem.

Tony

Ukejenny
04-29-2015, 01:36 PM
From reading your OP, I think, in your heart, you really want the Hive. So, I hope you will be able to give yourself permission to buy it.

wayfarer75
04-29-2015, 01:49 PM
Daniel, here (http://www.theukulelesite.com/hive-ukulele-hornet-tenor-spruce-maple.html) is the uke. It is now sold, but Andy in particular, read on.

Andy,

I think you and I have similar tastes. I was going to buy this last week and was agonizing over the decision for many of the same reasons as you were. Plus, I already have a spectacular spruce/maple uke albeit in concert scale. Still, this uke captivated me despite all the reasons I could think of for not getting it. Then, blip, all of the sudden it showed "out of stock."

So, I checked with Jake about commissioning a uke and as I was trying to decide what wood (he does not have any more of this quilted maple, but does have some gorgeous flamed maple and some killer quilted sapele, among others), this one suddenly showed back in stock. How did I know? Like a hooked junkie, I was repeatedly listening to the video. I checked with HMS to confirm whether or not it was available. Late yesterday they let me know that somebody had it on hold but decided on a Ko'olau instead. I ended up buying it this morning. When you wake up, if you're absolutely 10,000% certain you really have to have this, PM me. I might consider backing off and letting you get it (no, I'm not looking for anything in return). If you're not 10,000% sure, then in the unlikely case I decide to sell it at some point, I will check with you first (I've done that before on a used uke bought here in the MM where I "beat" somebody to the punch).

Regarding your original question, I don't believe there is anything wrong with having great ukes despite not being great players. Very few people who drive Porsche's are even moderately skilled performance drivers. Even among those that are, nobody gets more than a small fraction of a 911's capabilities on anything other than a race track. In fact, few people really need anything more than a very basic car, but most people enjoy things for reasons beyond pure function. There is nothing wrong with that.

Personally, what I think is a shame is when somebody has more nice instruments than they can actually play regularly. But then their reason for doing so may be collecting and who am I to judge them for that? Maybe if I were truly wealthy, I could imagine owning several dozen spectacular ukes. For me, anything beyond 5-7 ukes and some would not get played regularly.

Anyway, PM when you wake up.

Wow, how nice is that? I am glad you're giving Andy a chance to really think about whether he does want it. So many times UUers pause (and rightly so) to consider while a fantastic uke gets snatched up, and now Andy can really decide for himself.

I was delighted to find out that Jake Maclay is in Wheeling, WV. Maybe, maybe, mayyybeee someday I can go visit and commission a uke myself. Wouldn't that be nice.

Oh, and if anyone is interested, there's another one for sale in the UK: http://thenorthamericanguitar.com/hive-ukuleles-hornet-claro-walnut-adirondack-spruce/

Sabantien
04-29-2015, 01:50 PM
I feel that if you really want the expensive uke, but you compromise and get two cheaper ones then you will always be wishing you'd gotten the expensive.

While I'm careful with my instruments, they're also tools, so I expect they might get some wear and tear over time. Might even break. But what's the point of having them if I'm not going to use them?

If you're collecting them for the sake of collecting, looking to sell later on for a profit, keep it in a box and buy a cheap uke to play.

JustinJ
04-29-2015, 02:05 PM
I think it is important to not think of these as an investment. I noticed someone mentioned this. There are a few ukes that have increased in value but overall you'll loose money in the end. If anything I believe the market is flooded right now with many custom uke makers. This is something to consider. Many people who sell on here will tell you that you loose the most when selling a custom uke.

I've also noticed a trend on UU. There seems to be a new custom builder that comes to everyones attention frequently. I've read this referenced as flavor of the month. It's not long and then there is a new builder. The other custom builder no longer gets mentioned. It's easy to get caught up with the crowd mentality.

tbeltrans
04-29-2015, 02:39 PM
I think it is important to not think of these as an investment. I noticed someone mentioned this. There are a few ukes that have increased in value but overall you'll loose money in the end. If anything I believe the market is flooded right now with many custom uke makers. This something to consider. Many people who sell on here will tell you that you loose the most when selling a custom uke.

I've also noticed a trend on UU. There seems to be a custom builder that comes to everyones attention. I've read this referenced as flavor of the month. It's not long and then there is a new builder. The other custom builder no longer gets mentioned. It's easy to get caught up with the crowd mentality.

Some good points here. I firmly believe in "try before you buy". That is probably why I selected the two ukuleles I have. I tried other brands that were available in the same store (Martin, Collings, and some others I don't remember), but for whatever reason I much preferred the Hawaiian "K" brands. If I had purchased over the internet, I would probably have guessed wrong and ended up selling and trying again. I think Collings makes great guitars, and the quality of the their ukuleles is first rate, but I just did not really enjoy them nearly as much as the "K" brands I ended up with. That is just an example. It does seem that there are a lot of individual makers these days and I really have no way of knowing which of these would suit me unless I tried them first. It does seem that the focus on the forums does switch from one to another, and possibly back again from time to time. The Hawaiian K brands seem to be perennial favorites, maybe because they have been around long enough to have "street cred" (?).

I don't think I would buy any instrument as an investment because I simply would not have a feel for whether enough other people would share my enthusiasm for that instrument down the road. I bought with the idea that I am doing it once and keeping the instruments from then on. There are people who seem to have a real feel for what will be valuable down the road, and they probably can invest and make money on that investment. I am not one of those, but I do appreciate a good quality instrument.

Tony

good_uke_boy
04-29-2015, 02:54 PM
Andy-

Have you played these back-to-back, eyes closed?
http://vimeo.com/125222729
http://vimeo.com/82995822
Same player, same piece. Kindof an interesting comparison.

johnson430
04-29-2015, 03:40 PM
Good points.


Johnson =)


As a species we are prone to biases. Buying things and rationalizing the purchase is one of those biases. More money spent on something does not always equal better quality. I'll repeat it again. It is the player who brings out the sound in an instrument. If you're just an average player, the more expensive uke is not going to sound as well. It will sound average. In the hands of skilled musician, they may be able to bring out more qualities in the uke.

This does not mean that you should not buy an expensive uke but realize it is not going make you sound better until you put the work in to play it better.

An interesting website with some common biases is down below. I think many of use Post-Purchase Rationalization. We also do this when we make decisions and rationalize our decision ignoring anything that goes against it.

http://io9.com/5974468/the-most-common-cognitive-biases-that-prevent-you-from-being-rational

Here is a short video that Brain Games did for an expensive cake vs. cheaper cake. Pay attention to how people describe the more expensive one vs. the cheaper. Now just put words to a uke and not a cake. shimmering highs, bell like ringing, deep bass, etc. you get the point

http://channel.nationalgeographic.com/brain-games/videos/cakes-of-deception/

I'll be the first one to say that I like a nice uke. I'm not saying a laminate uke will compare with a solid top. There is very small return when you start getting up in price. 350.00 and up can get a nice uke. The important thing is to have it setup correctly. I would question what type of sound quality you get after 1500.00 and a lesser price uke may sound better. Is Kamaka a better instrument since they raised their prices 30-40 percent?

I'm just tying to be the voice reason here. I'm contrarian by nature. I do not think it always good to tell people to just spend their money. If you have disposable income then I see no problem, but I get the feeling many people do not have as much disposable income to keep buying expensive ukes.

I'm fortunate that my wife reeled in my spending. I've been on the side of acquiring expensive things. I was in the hobby of astronomy, which gets expensive fast. One eyepiece can easily be 800.00 . You can always buy a new telescope, eyepiece or expensive accessories.

SoloRule
04-29-2015, 03:44 PM
Thanks for all your replies! I read every one and found much to agree with all of you.

I like to collect but I will never not play a uke I own.

I shall sleep on this for a bit, with all of your input in mind.

Let me know when you get tired of the blackbird tenor

JustinJ
04-29-2015, 03:54 PM
Andy-

Have you played these back-to-back, eyes closed?
http://vimeo.com/125222729
http://vimeo.com/82995822
Same player, same piece. Kindof an interesting comparison.


Thanks for this comparison. When you listen, it's only a matter of personal preference. They both sound good and similar in many ways. This was the point that I was making about the person playing the uke. So one uke is 1200 and the other 3700. Does anyone hear a 2500 dollar difference?

johnson430
04-29-2015, 04:00 PM
I think the miking is different so you are not comparing apples with apples.

Is it just me or do these two sound very, very similar to each other?
Listen with your ears not your eyes.
I couldn't tell them apart when I was listening... also Corey could make a shoe box strung with fishing line sound good. IMHO. =)

Andy Chen
04-29-2015, 04:05 PM
Wow, what a great forum we have here and such wonderful folks like Eddie!

I have decided not to take up Eddie's incredibly generous offer. Like him, I noticed it had been bought and then popped back into HMS for sale. As much as I appreciate his gesture, I couldn't possibly in fair conscience do that to him.

Eddie: I look forward to your review of it. Enjoy!

Thanks, everyone, for your insights. It has been great hearing from all.

I don't collect for investment. I play every one of my ukes, a different one almost every day. I collect for enjoyment, but given that I suffer slightly from OCD, I get really annoyed when a valuable possession is blemished in any way.

I live simply, am not in debt and do not own a car (a simple one of which costs a condo in the U.S., seriously). So this is my thing.

I look forward to getting my Pono and a cedar Ohta San.

bunnyf
04-29-2015, 04:06 PM
My husband would keep me in check too and I will never have the kind of disposable income to go s***ass crazy anyway. I do usually have 3 or 4 ukes though, but for good reason. I have a nice Bari (but not super expensive) and that's my regular player and first love (I started with a humble Lanakai LU-21B and it was much played and very loved but passed on to my son) but I also always loved the sweet high voice of the soprano so I do have one for songs that cry out to be played on something more "ukey" than my baritone, also it's super portable. Then I have a plastic flea for the beach, boating etc. and an old Harmony Bari ask a beater camping uke. The one uke I rarely play ((I break it out occasionally, out of guilt) is my best uke, a custom tenor LoPrinzi, which I stupidly got before I really knew what I wanted and should put it up on the marketplace bur know I'll never get anywhere near what I paid for it and keep thinking maybe one day my tastes will change and I'll want a tenor (and it is a lovely tenor). so, I can see why people have more than one uke but if you're not a collector, a huge stable seems excessive. I think sometimes that I will just get rid of almost everything and get back to being a one uke girl.

wayfarer75
04-29-2015, 04:13 PM
JustinJ, I agree with you 100%. I also believe this site helps perpetuate the Ingroup/Bandwagon bias.
Don't misunderstand me, I love gleaning information from this site but when it comes to buying ukes, it seems like a majority of the posters are for UAS.

Honestly, the OP has a string(pun intended) of ukes in his signature and wants another. I find that a bit ludicrous (no, not the rapper from Atlanta)

But really, think about it. Just look at the ukes in his signature. And he wants another?

I have never owned more than one acoustic guitar, electric guitar, camera, mountain bike, road bike or any other "want" in my life.
This is the first forum where I have seen people openly support other's buying addictions.
Yes, addiction. I said it.

I patiently await the onslaught.


Johnson =)

I agree in many ways, but not completely. Andy has a lot of ukes in his signature, a lot of tenors. I have three ukes. One beater, two "nice" ones. (I also have two clarinets and a tenor saxophone.) I would like to get a tenor and be done, but I am not at all likely to afford something as nice as a Hive--even if someone gave me the money for it. I have other priorities. I know if I were Andy I would sell some of those ukes in his sig. I also know I've seen some UUers pine for more expensive ukes, and have a string of cheaper ones in their signatures, and I can't help but think, if you didn't spend your money on those # of less expensive ukes, you could afford the one nice one you really want. So if it's a question of one super high-end uke or two less-expensive ukes, I say get the nice one. Seriously, I think he'd get one in the end anyway and spend more money. Some of us ladies are purse fanatics, and many of us have a wide variety to go with numerous outfits, at different price levels. Me? I have a main purse, a backup purse (in case of emergency), and an evening clutch. Some ladies collect them and never wear them, spending way more than we on UU spend on ukes (Hermes, anyone?) and honestly that's their prerogative. It is not for me to say how people should spend their money.

The Hive ukes sound lovely; I put them right up there with Ko'olau tone-wise (mind you, this is just thoughts drawn from recordings). But if I were to buy a very expensive ukulele, I'd want to hold it in my hands and play it before I bought it. That's another reason why I'm not likely to spring for a Hive or Ko'olau or any other custom, flavor of the moment or not. It's a nice idea, but not realistic for me, unless I do decide to drive to Wheeling and check them out firsthand. But I'd have to come up with the money first, and frankly, while I love ukes, I don't think I need to spend that much dough on one. That's me, though.

It's interesting to hear the Blackbird Clara and the Hive ukes played by Corey in low G with the same song. I definitely hear differences, but it's hard to put in words. The Hive ukulele sounds woodier and more guitary, but I can't tell you how. Some people could certainly think the Clara is better. Just a matter of preference. I do think it illustrates that spending twice as much on a uke doesn't make it sound twice as nice.

Andy Chen
04-29-2015, 04:30 PM
Hmm, I don't see that original post by Johnson.

In any case, Johnson, you're not getting the fight you are spoiling for. You probably lead a very disciplined life, with no extraneous stuff and a tight control on spending. Good luck to you.

An addiction? Maybe, but it's not one that will kill me if I lose my job and can't buy another uke.

Ukulele Eddie
04-29-2015, 04:35 PM
...

Eddie: I look forward to your review of it. Enjoy!
...
I look forward to getting my Pono and a cedar Ohta San.

Sounds like it worked out well, you feel satisfied in sticking with your original plan and I don't have to feel guilty like I snatched it from under you. Win/win!

Andy Chen
04-29-2015, 04:47 PM
Right on! Thanks again, Eddie.

johnson430
04-29-2015, 05:10 PM
Hmm, I don't see that original post by Johnson.

In any case, Johnson, you're not getting the fight you are spoiling for. You probably lead a very disciplined life, with no extraneous stuff and a tight control on spending. Good luck to you.

An addiction? Maybe, but it's not one that will kill me if I lose my job and can't buy another uke.

Andy, I wasn't attacking you, more backing up what the other poster had said. I did remove my original post because I didn't want to "fight".
Honestly, I have a Chinese wife and that keeps me in check.
I must admit, if I wasn't married I would most likely be right there with you.

Enjoy your Pono. I love mine. I have to...it is the only one I have.
Cheers,
Johnson
=)

Andy Chen
04-29-2015, 07:42 PM
No worries, Johnson. All's good.

Andy Chen
04-29-2015, 08:48 PM
Andy-

Have you played these back-to-back, eyes closed?
http://vimeo.com/125222729
http://vimeo.com/82995822
Same player, same piece. Kindof an interesting comparison.

I did! The warm tone and huge sound of both ukes are similar in some respects!

McX
04-29-2015, 11:19 PM
Answering the original question, I'd choose whichever would get you to play more. If you'd be afraid to play the high-end custom for fear of damage or wear, I'd stick with the others. If forced, I'd probably choose the two quality ukes over the one ultra, because I like variety and the flexibility of having more than one tuning available all the time.

Then I'd try to save to add the ultra later. :^)

tbeltrans
04-30-2015, 12:07 AM
Thanks for this comparison. When you listen, it's only a matter of personal preference. They both sound good and similar in many ways. This was the point that I was making about the person playing the uke. So one uke is 1200 and the other 3700. Does anyone hear a 2500 dollar difference?

I would not expect a linear difference in terms of tone. The more expensive ukulele may have features that appeal to a particular person, making that ukulele the more desirable one for that person. Choice and quality of the wood, craftsmanship, feel, etc. There are many factors to an instrument. Just because a given ukulele is more expensive is no guarantee that it will necessarily appeal to everybody as a justification for its existence and price.

Tony

wayfarer75
04-30-2015, 02:46 AM
Hmm, I don't see that original post by Johnson.

In any case, Johnson, you're not getting the fight you are spoiling for. You probably lead a very disciplined life, with no extraneous stuff and a tight control on spending. Good luck to you.

An addiction? Maybe, but it's not one that will kill me if I lose my job and can't buy another uke.

Evidently I took so long typing my reply (internet distractions) that I quoted him after he reconsidered his post.

RichM
04-30-2015, 03:06 AM
Play what you like, like what you play.

Ignore the opinions of people who tell you that you only need one instrument. That may work for them, but they aren't you. If collecting brings you pleasure and you can afford it, then do it.

Ignore the opinions of people who tell you that the cost is not justified by quality. If it's worth it to you, for whatever reason, then it's justified.

Andy, it sounds like you're wise enough to know that a new uke won't make you a better player, won't make you smell better, won't win you new friends. The only questions that really matter are: will it make you happy and can you afford it? Nobody on this thread can answer those questions for you.

If it's a lifetime instrument, you will look back years from now and wonder why you struggled so much. If it ends up being a mistake, you can resell and the few dollars you lose will be a valuable lesson.

There is also the middle ground, which is to buy it, see if it floats your boat, and send it back if it doesn't. Yes, you'll be out the shipping costs, but that's small stuff in comparison.

hollisdwyer
04-30-2015, 03:27 AM
Quality is always worth more to me than quantity. If I don't have the funds to purchase an instrument that takes my fancy, I'll wait until I do instead of settling for something that is just "nice" and there are a lot of nice Ukes out there. I also don't treat my Ukes like delicate artefacts. I take them to all my playing venues, I travel with them. I let my friends play them. I do however take very good care of them maintenance wise. That Hive is in the "pricey" zone for me personally but OMG, it sure looks like it is worth every penny. I'd be surprised if you would have any buyers regret if you purchased it.

sam13
04-30-2015, 03:40 AM
NUD to come soon on Bella ... but now I feel a little bloated on Ukes ... one really great Uke will do that ... make the others somewhat redundant EVEN THOUGH I love each of the other ones and they are so great.

1 awesome Uke. Then in six months ... um, get another one ... lol.

tbeltrans
04-30-2015, 02:16 PM
One thing I find interesting about discussing the cost of an instrument is that certain types of instruments seem "worthy" of high cost, while others generally do not. As an example, when I was growing up (assuming I ever really did...), guitars were largely considered little more than toys. If a violin cost many thousands of dollars, nobody blinked an eye. But if a guitar cost much over a hundred or so, it was considered a pretty dumb purchase. Over time, guitars have become more accepted as being worth at least a few hundred or even a thousand or so, but paying more than a hundred for a ukulele can be unthinkable to many folks.

In the acoustic guitar forum, I received many snide remarks about my ukulele purchases. Remembering the cultural attitude toward guitars in fairly recent history, the situation reminds me of how waves of immigrants treat the following waves. The Italians got to the US largely before the Irish, so when the Irish came along, they were treated badly and got the crappy jobs. I few Vietnamese folks I have worked with have said the same about how those who are already settled here treat the newcomers.

So I suppose that is just human nature. To me, the ukulele is a very "real" instrument. Listen to the likes of Daniel Ho or Jake Shimabukuro or many other accomplished players if anyone has any doubts. However, even here in the ukulele forums, I have read enough of the sentiment that seems to indicate that the ukulele is a fun toy, but it is a waste of money to buy a really good one at a price commensurate with the workmanship. So this cultural conditioning seems to be really deep-seated. I am not sure that this will change with the ukulele as it has slowly been changing with the guitar.

Just something to think about. If ukulele players don't consider the ukulele a serious enough instrument to invest in, who else will?

I don't believe everybody should run out and spend their savings on an expensive ukulele, just as not every guitar or violin player would do that. However, with those instruments, even those who don't spend that will realize that it is a valid thing to do because these are considered "real" instruments and not mere toys.

Tony

Andy Chen
04-30-2015, 02:35 PM
Tony: you're absolutely right. David Foster recently called the ukulele a toy on the TV show Asia's Got a Talent.

igorthebarbarian
05-01-2015, 06:49 PM
Just think of all the cocaine you could buy with that money?!?! Just kidding but seriously at least this way you're buying something you love, something you'll play, and not something which will be gone in a flash (gambling/ drugs/ drinking/ etc). If you can afford it, I say go for it..... hmmm I should probably practice this Quality over Quantity mantra myself.

Andy Chen
05-01-2015, 09:13 PM
Thanks man