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JustinJ
04-30-2015, 02:35 AM
I would like to continue the discussion from "One Super High End Uke" .

My argument

Many people are overpaying for custom ukuleles and even some of the K brands now. There is a point of diminishing returns in regards to sound. There are biases among some people that the more expensive the uke the better the sound and instrument. Many ukuleles are overvalued at current market prices.

Guitar Builders

Many guitar builders are not going to build a great ukulele right away. There is much trial error in craft. It takes years to learn something properly, especially a craft. But we see many guitar builders charging high prices for ukuleles, even just starting out. Many guitar builders will begin their careers as apprentices for 4-5 years before starting out. Making great guitars does not automatically translate to great ukuleles. Ukuleles are not little guitars. There is much trial and error in instrument building.



Custom Market Prices

Custom market prices have risen way too quickly. It reminds me of a classic bubble. If someone is going to charge 2000 and up, they should have built at least 100-200 ukuleles. Higher end ukulele prices are too high right now, especially for the newer builders. There is not a long tack record for them.




Sound Sample of two Ukes with a price difference of $2500

Removing comparison, not fair to builder. My post was never about this Ukulele brand.


Comparison of what 2000 will buy for a guitar

Here is what $2000 msrp will get you in the guitar world. This is a Cervantes Crossover 1 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RRCl6Ny7qrw . This is one responsive instrument. I would like to see more ukuleles built with this type of responsiveness.



Do people tell of their bad experiences with a custom ukulele?

How many people are going to come out and say I made a $3000 dollar mistake? This uke does not sound as good as a manufactured ukulele?

wayfarer75
04-30-2015, 03:04 AM
I am not a builder of ukuleles, nor am I a buyer of custom instruments. Did I think the Hive sounded $2500 better than the Blackbird? No. My problem with buying a custom uke is not so much the price as not being able to try one before I buy it. I would buy a spec uke from a custom builder or a used custom, as long as I could hold it in my hands first. Yes, UUers sell their customs, and yes, some have said they regretted a purchase.

Ukuleles are known to be an inexpensive instrument, despite the fact that they require just about the same amount of work as a guitar. When I started out, I was very surprised at what I could get for my money. (I am coming from the woodwind world in particular; even a beginner clarinet costs much more than a beginner uke.) I could get LoPrinzi to make me a custom for $2000, and I can buy spec instruments from Hoffman and Compass Rose for $2K or much less (like $1000-$1200). Those are all fine instruments from builders who have been around a while. There may be newer players like Hive, but I can assure you Jake Maclay has been on UU a lot longer than you have and had been building fine instruments for Rick Turner before he started his own business.

Do I think there's a lot of jumping on bandwagons on UU, commissioning customs by those who don't need it? Absolutely. There are professional ukulele players out there right now who don't play custom ukes. I don't need a custom uke, and have no serious plans to buy one. But there is obviously a lot of pleasure that uke players find in their customs.

Prices are rising for K brands because they build mostly with koa (gets more expensive all the time) and Hawaii is a very very very expensive place to live. There has also been quite a demand for those ukes, especially Kamaka. I paid $925 for my Kamaka pineapple, and I am not sorry. Does it sound $850 better than my Kala KA-S? Hard to say. It is lighter, more resonant, has better intonation, and more depth to the tone, but the Kala is louder and some may think that's a sign that the Kala is superior. To each one's own.

RichM
04-30-2015, 03:10 AM
A Maserati won't get me to work any faster than my Camry. Therefore, all cars more expensive than my Camry are absurdly overpriced.

I'm glad we got that settled. :D

wayfarer75
04-30-2015, 03:14 AM
A Maserati won't get me to work any faster than my Camry. Therefore, all cars more expensive than my Camry are absurdly overpriced.

I'm glad we got that settled. :D

Sigh. I typed all those paragraphs and you made the point much better than I did. ;)

DownUpDave
04-30-2015, 03:14 AM
I like it, I want it, I can afford it, I buy it. End of story.

Way too much prequalifing and justification going on in the oringal post, it is not only about sound.

Plenty of hotrodded Mustangs worth $60,000 can beat a $250,000 Ferrari in the 1/4 mile. Ferrari onwers are still happy with their choice.

Edit : RichM seems we were typing at the same time and had the same train of thought.

Ukulele Eddie
04-30-2015, 03:19 AM
@JustinJ, I think there is a fatal flaw in your logic. You assume sound is the only factor. There are two others to consider: aesthetics and playability. Some of us put a lot of value/appreciation on the artistry/craftsmanship of an excellent uke with highly figured woods.

JustinJ
04-30-2015, 03:36 AM
@JustinJ, I think there is a fatal flaw in your logic. You assume sound is the only factor. There are two others to consider: aesthetics and playability. Some of us put a lot of value/appreciation on the artistry/craftsmanship of an excellent uke with highly figured woods.

I agree there can be more craftsmanship. I have a handmade Japanese fountain pens that are more expensive than many current ukuleles. So I understand about craftsmanship and aesthetics. I've seen a few posting of some finish flaws on 3000 dollars ukes. This is not acceptable.

I'm not criticizing your purchases or your decisions.

No one has addressed yet, why guitars makers can automatically make a good ukulele.

mm stan
04-30-2015, 03:46 AM
something about owning a custom built just for your to your specifications. not only it sounds and feels and and made for you...but you develop
a bonding with the builder and your uke....
like buying a hotrod specifically built for you...the feeling is the same....A Yenko camaro would be considered a custom built or a saleen, Mustang
my regards to a true custom is one built to your specifications, whether from the store taking the order or buying direct from the builder....
Others I would refer to as premimum high end rack ukes...

JustinJ
04-30-2015, 03:50 AM
A Maserati won't get me to work any faster than my Camry. Therefore, all cars more expensive than my Camry are absurdly overpriced.

I'm glad we got that settled. :D

I was not comparing a cheap ukulele to a more expensive one. We're not talking cars. Cars have engines, leather, suspensions, custom made parts, etc Parts for cars cost much more money and there is a difference.

Ukuleles are wood, metal, and glue. Yes, some wood is more expensive but not on the order of a Ferrari vs. Toyota Prius.

Jon Moody
04-30-2015, 03:54 AM
A Maserati won't get me to work any faster than my Camry. Therefore, all cars more expensive than my Camry are absurdly overpriced.

I'm glad we got that settled. :D

Rich wins the internet. Best post.

As for selling custom ukes, I see a lot of people get overly excited about their build, and get caught up in the minutia of the build by going over EVERY SINGLE OPTION. And some of the builders say "We'll make it however you want it," so the customer goes crazy, gets the uke and then isn't happy with it because it doesn't sound like they thought it would. But, they got EXACTLY what they asked for. So, I think some of the custom ukes - and instruments of any kind - that get commissioned and then sold fairly quickly come down to the customer not trusting the builder, or the builder opting to make the customer happy over their vision.

hollisdwyer
04-30-2015, 03:56 AM
The quality/price ratio has never been linear in most products. The curve flattens out and you find you have to spend a lot more proportionally to get that next jump in quality. Some people believe that jump to be worthwhile, others don't and are satisfied with less. I learnt that lesson more than 50 years ago when I went shopping for my first component HiFi stereo system. The same holds true for camera lenses (which I have purchased many of over the years). There is no right or wrong here just personal perception and choice of what value means to each of us.

JustinJ
04-30-2015, 04:03 AM
The quality/price ratio has never been linear in most products. The curve flattens out and you find you have to spend a lot more proportionally to get that next jump in quality. Some people believe that jump to be worthwhile, others don't and are satisfied with less. I learnt that lesson more than 50 years ago when I went shopping for my first component HiFi stereo system. The same holds true for camera lenses (which I have purchased many of over the years). There is no right or wrong here just personal perception and choice of what value means to each of us.

Stereo equipment is definitely a money pit. I have Martin Logan Electrostat speakers, which are not cheap. To my ears, they sound better. Others may not think so. But they are made extremely well. I'm building a phono tube amp to play my records. I'm satisfied with my sound system. I stay off the Hi-Fi forums because I know that I would be unhappy with my current setup.

I enjoy high quality items. I'm not criticizing people spending their money. I'm only pointing out my observations.

NewKid
04-30-2015, 04:04 AM
Luis Feu de Mesquita and John S. Kinnard are long time guitar makers who are relatively new to the ukulele market. They both make fabulous ukuleles and I think are both well under 200 instruments built to date.

I think their instruments are great values and I enjoy playing them every day.

Ukejenny
04-30-2015, 04:11 AM
If you can afford a Maserati, are you really worried about a bubble to begin with?

If it is your income, spend it as you will.

As for "prequalifing and justification" going on in the OP, that is his perspective and his way of thinking it through. Others have a right to spend their money in a different way or based on different criteria.

As for the OP having too much

RichM
04-30-2015, 04:13 AM
Luis Feu de Mesquita and John S. Kinnard are long time guitar makers who are relatively new to the ukulele market. They both make fabulous ukuleles and I think are both well under 200 instruments built to date.

I give John Kinnard high marks for sending a few of his ukes around to the community when he first started building them, and eliciting feedback. I was lucky enough to test drive one of his early ukes and provided feedback that was clearly integrated into his building strategy. I have a custom guitar John built under his Dell Arte brand that is as fine an instrument as I've ever played.

Luis Feu de Mesquita came under some fire here a few years back in the Luthier's Lounge for his unique lattice bracing. His ukes are beautifully made, sound great, and continue to grow in popularity. Sometimes you need to break a few rules to develop something new.

Rick Turner is, of course, another guitar builder who's had huge success with ukes. And bigger companies like Collings make great ukes, too, as do Santa Cruz (rarely!). I've never played a Larrivee uke, but I hear they are quite good as well. A guitar company called Martin also made a pretty big splash with ukes a few years back, too. :)

mm stan
04-30-2015, 04:20 AM
When buying high priced items, whatever it may be. Buy the best
You can possibly afford. And not worry on current Market value or resale
If you do, you cannot afford it..
Buying top of the line luxury items is all about personal enjoyment and not worries. At least this is how I see things.
Many of us don't have disposable incomes, make sure the uke is affordable to you and paid off fully when buying,
Worrying about prices you have no control is a waste of time.

kkimura
04-30-2015, 04:29 AM
I read the posts here and there in UU and start thinking of the ukes I could get versus the ones that I have. Then I turn off the computer and start playing and as I reach for that elusive E major, all is well again.

maclay
04-30-2015, 04:30 AM
Hey Folks, Jake here from Hive Ukuleles.
First off, I want to say thank you to all those who have supported me over the years. None of this would be possible without your support. Thank you from the bottom of my heart :)

A little bit about myself - Building ukuleles is what I love to do.....This is my profession, this is my passion!

I have devoted the last 10 years of my life to this craft. You may not be familiar with my name, but I assure you I have been in this game for a long time. I left everything I had ever known to pursue this life - my hometown, my job, my friends, my family. I moved from West Virginia to Arizona to California and finally back to West Virginia to chase this dream.

I started this journey at the Roberto School of Luthiery. This school is no joke, it has produced some of the worlds greatest luthiers. From there I went to work for the Rick Turner (Compass Rose) where I ran the ukulele department for a number of years. Working for Rick is where I honed my craft. After years of sanding, scraping, gluing, and voicing hundreds of instruments, I decided to start building my own ukuleles.

Now when it comes to prices - Here is my reality....This is what I have to charge to keep the lights on. I know that sounds crazy, but it is the truth. If you think luthiers are making a lot of money building custom instruments, you are sadly mistaken. Most of us work 60 hour work weeks just to make ends meet. We have to pay rent, utility bills, material and maintenance costs....the list goes on and on.
The amount of time I spend on construction, design, and customer relations would surprise you. I spend countless hours (day and night) in the workshop, answering emails, social networking, sourcing materials, etc.

Nobody becomes a luthier to make money. In fact, that would be the stupidest business plan ever lol.
We become luthiers because this is our passion, this is what we love to do. To quote Gillian Welch "we're gonna do it anyway, even if it doesn't pay."

What I can guarantee - I put my heart and soul into each instrument - each and every step/procedure along the way.
Tone and playability come first. Without this nothing else matters.....this is my primary concern. Next comes design

I believe an instrument should serve a duel role:
1. As a tool for the musician to creatively express themselves.
2. To provide inspiration to the musician as a work of art.

In conclusion
There are a lot of great ukuleles out there in different price ranges, and you don't half to spend $3,000 to get a nice sounding uke.
What I don't understand is this custom ukulele shaming. If you are a person who has the money and you want something extra special, then go for it.
If you don't really have the money, then buy something else....like I said, there are a lot of good choices out there.

I am not very good at expressing my emotions (or writing for that matter) but I just wanted to give people the luthiers perspective.
Big thanks to all who took the time to read this.

Rllink
04-30-2015, 04:42 AM
If you can afford a Maserati, are you really worried about a bubble to begin with?

If it is your income, spend it as you will.

As for "prequalifing and justification" going on in the OP, that is his perspective and his way of thinking it through. Others have a right to spend their money in a different way or based on different criteria.

As for the OP having too much
I think the key word here is "justification", and I see a lot of people coming here to get that from the rest of us. And we are, without a doubt, a supportive group. Every once in a while someone will preface their support by, "if you can afford it", but most of us blissfully encourage others to spend their money. But back to "justification" I personally seldom look for justification. I worked long and hard to reach a place on life where I don't have to justify how I spend my money, or how I spend my time, and I have to admit that I often times get a little aggravated by people who seem compelled to bring to my attention what I should, and what I should not be doing.

Finally, my opinion on value, and disappointment. Life is full of disappointments. Some people do not deal well with it, and they become very guarded as a result. I try to understand that, and consider that when I talk to them. But I'm somewhat of a risk taker, and things come and go. To not venture too far afield, for fear of being disappointed, is not the way I want to live.

johnson430
04-30-2015, 04:44 AM
Well said. Sometimes I lurk here and there to see what is happening then I pull out the mango and let the happy feeling come. =)



I read the posts here and there in UU and start thinking of the ukes I could get versus the ones that I have. Then I turn off the computer and start playing and as I reach for that elusive E major, all is well again.

wayfarer75
04-30-2015, 04:52 AM
I think the key word here is "justification", and I see a lot of people coming here to get that from the rest of us. And we are, without a doubt, a supportive group. Every once in a while someone will preface their support by, "if you can afford it", but most of us blissfully encourage others to spend their money. But back to "justification" I personally seldom look for justification. I worked long and hard to reach a place on life where I don't have to justify how I spend my money, or how I spend my time, and I have to admit that I often times get a little aggravated by people who seem compelled to bring to my attention what I should, and what I should not be doing,

Very well said. This thread started because someone was asking if he should buy two lower-priced ukes instead of one higher-priced uke. My suggestion was to go for the higher-priced one because he'd likely buy one down the line anyway. I call that sound financial reasoning. ;) It wasn't a question of "How much is too much to spend on a uke" because obviously this person had the money to spend.

Nobody here knows everyone's financial status, and it's not my business how much money anyone spends or how many ukes they have or even what they do with them. Some people don't even play some of the ukes they have! Gasp! Some people collect them! Gasp! Someone even made a lamp out of a Pineapple Sunday! Gasp! (Although I do think that was a tragedy.)

And now I see the OP says he has fantastic Japanese handmade fountain pens. I'm pretty sure he can tell the difference between them and a plastic Bic or even a Waterman when he writes with them. Just as, I'm sure, one can tell the difference between a custom build and a factory uke. Don't knock it if you haven't tried it.

CeeJay
04-30-2015, 05:03 AM
Hmmm , when I said something similar about custom ukes and their prices on the Luthier thread I was savaged ...well attempted to be savaged
my skin is thick , which is why I maybe draw some disapproving tut tuts...just shows ...you only need to make one robust comment on this forum.



Like the guy who built ,all the houses in the village, do they call him Philip the master Builder, he built the harbour and all the boats in it , do they call him Philip The Chandler, He donated all the books to the Library and the School , do they call him Philip The Philanthropist ??
No. It was just one sheep........

johnson430
04-30-2015, 05:29 AM
And now I see the OP says he has fantastic Japanese handmade fountain pens. I'm pretty sure he can tell the difference between them and a plastic Bic or even a Waterman when he writes with them. Just as, I'm sure, one can tell the difference between a custom build and a factory uke. Don't knock it if you haven't tried it.


Did you read what he was saying about the pens or are you only picking out what works for your argument?
He was talking about craftsmanship of a quality item. He was making reference to 3K ukes that have build quality issues.

It seems as though anyone who goes against the grain on this forum is lambasted for stating an opposing view of the masses.

The OP was commenting on the price of custom and K brands and weather the price equals the true value of the instrument. (whatever that means)
I would agree with the OP. but also know that people are going to do what they want and will spend their money however they feel fit.
Yes, people collect things and make art out of things and let things collect dust.
To each his own. But...

The OP was not talking about these things.
He was talking about what he perceived as a market that was over-inflated. Specifically the K brand and custom build market.
I am glad to hear from Hive Ukes and appreciate his professional insight into the OP.

Cheers,
Johnson
=)

RichM
04-30-2015, 05:32 AM
It seems as though anyone who goes against the grain on this forum is lambasted for stating an opposing view of the masses.



No, some people just have a different opinion than you. That's what makes it a forum.

wayfarer75
04-30-2015, 05:51 AM
Did you read what he was saying about the pens or are you only picking out what works for your argument?
He was talking about craftsmanship of a quality item. He was making reference to 3K ukes that have build quality issues.

It seems as though anyone who goes against the grain on this forum is lambasted for stating an opposing view of the masses.

The OP was commenting on the price of custom and K brands and weather the price equals the true value of the instrument. (whatever that means)
I would agree with the OP. but also know that people are going to do what they want and will spend their money however they feel fit.
Yes, people collect things and make art out of things and let things collect dust.
To each his own. But...

The OP was not talking about these things.
He was talking about what he perceived as a market that was over-inflated. Specifically the K brand and custom build market.
I am glad to hear from Hive Ukes and appreciate his professional insight into the OP.

Cheers,
Johnson
=)

No Japanese pens have build quality issues? All custom ukes do? Seems more like Justin is trying to tell us what people should be paying for their ukuleles, based on his opinion.

JustinJ
04-30-2015, 05:53 AM
I want to make something clear. I was not criticizing Hive Ukuleles or their build quality. This was never my intention. So please do not associate my post as against Hive Ukuleles. It was no way meant as negative against Jay of Hive Ukuleles.

wayfarer75
04-30-2015, 06:05 AM
I want to make something clear. I was not criticizing Hive Ukuleles or their build quality. This was never my intention. So please do not associate my post as against Hive Ukuleles. It was no way meant as negative against Jay of Hive Ukuleles.

Well, I for one never thought you were lambasting anything other than the prices charged for customs and what you see as over-encouragement for people to follow the herd and buy them. But those custom prices are what they are for a reason, as Jake attested to. It's not cheap building ukes in the US, and there are start-up costs to Hive's operations that factories and older shops like Martin and LoPrinzi have already paid off (I'm only guessing).

The encouraging people to buy all the ukes isn't exclusive to UU. Anywhere you find enthusiast forums you'll find people buying things, showing them off and so on. Just check out Purse Forum and see what the ladies spend on bags they don't need. It's a status symbol, it's exclusive, it's fine craftsmanship, it's nice materials, and yes, even extremely expensive bags have flaws in their manufacture.

maclay
04-30-2015, 06:12 AM
I want to make something clear. I was not criticizing Hive Ukuleles or their build quality. This was never my intention. So please do not associate my post as against Hive Ukuleles. It was no way meant as negative against Jay of Hive Ukuleles.

Hey no worries JustinJ. I understand where you're coming from.
I just want people to see things from a builders perspective.

mkatz
04-30-2015, 06:19 AM
i listened to both videos and can definitely hear the difference. I had a Clara for a while and it is a well built, nice playing, good sounding instrument that makes for a nice addition to any collection. To my ears, The Hive sounds much better with a lot more depth.

Mitch

dirtiestkidever
04-30-2015, 06:44 AM
i listened to both videos and can definitely hear the difference. I had a Clara for a while and it is a well built, nice playing, good sounding instrument that makes for a nice addition to any collection. To my ears, The Hive sounds much better with a lot more depth.

Mitch

I 100% agree. The Clara sounds great. But that Hive sounds really really special.

I disagree with the statement that custom ukes cost too much. I think most custom ukuleles are actually incredibly cheap considering the experience and effort that are required to build them. Look at how old many of the builders are, how much experience they have, and how much time it takes to make each uke. Then think about whatever field you work in. Think about what you would get paid for that many hours with that much experience. Remember to factor in all of the expenses and lack of health care and other benefits. And then imagine that you are one of the best in your field. These things are bargains. I think it is amazing that so many of us novice players have a chance to play the ukulele equivalent of Maseratis.

Rllink
04-30-2015, 06:51 AM
I have a friend that I go to coffee with quite often, and we always go to a little coffee shop down the street from where I live. It is a nice place, coffee is pricy, but I think that it tastes better, in fact, I'm sure that it tastes better. And they have art from local artists displayed on the walls. My friend says that he can't tell the difference between their coffee, and the coffee at the food court at the HyVee grocery store. He also complains that they put that "art" on the walls, then charge us extra, as if that "art" is some how offending his frugality. He has suggested that we go to HyVee more than a few times, to save the sixty cents. Every time he complains, I tell him that by all means, if he can not tell the difference, if he doesn't appreciate the ambiance, go to HyVee, but he will just have to go without me. I think it is that way with many things. My wife markets wine, high end wine. We appreciate good wine, and have developed a taste for it. Some people are quite satisfied with cheap wine, and there is nothing wrong with that. We certainly do not want to force good wine on people who don't appreciate good wine. And it is that way with a lot of things, ukuleles included. Some people appreciate a custom made ukulele, and are willing to pay for it and enjoy it. I think that is a good thing, both for them, and for the artists who build them. But just because a person does not appreciate that experience, doesn't mean that others shouldn't pay to do so. Just saying, it is all about appreciation, not money. If you can't appreciate a nice custom uke, don't buy one. Pretty simple, but don't expect others to be lacking in that taste.

Steveperrywriter
04-30-2015, 07:13 AM
Guitar Builders

A guitar builder is not going to build a great ukulele right away. There is much trial error in craft. It takes years to learn something properly, especially a craft. But we see many guitar builders charging high prices for ukuleles, even just starting out. Many guitar builders will begin their careers as apprentices for 4-5 years before starting out. Making great guitars does not automatically translate to great ukuleles. Ukuleles are not little guitars. There is much trial and error in instrument building.

JustinJ: Certainly you are allowed to offer your arguments regarding this, but broad, sweeping statements are tricky. The old joke is, "Most broad, sweeping statements are wrong, including the one I just made ..." I could speak to all your points, but I'll confine myself to this one. I have a tenor ukulele built by Alan Carruth. It is, in my estimation, and the opinions of the uke players who have handled or heard it, a lovely instrument, a cannon, and easy to play. It was build for somebody else, but they bought a house and ran out of disposable income, so it wound up at Steve's, and for much less than I would have expected.

The builder has only made two of them. One went to a charity auction, the other came to live with me.

Now it is true that while most of what Alan builds are guitars, he has made other fretted instruments, but to date, only two ukuleles. He patterned the ukes after classical guitars, using ukulele plans by a man who believed that design was the way to go, lightly-built, twelve-frets to the body, yadda, yadda.

So if I have this great-looking, great-sounding, great-playing tenor uke that was made by a guy who primarily builds guitars, patterned after a classical guitar, and he has build but two of them? Then your argument has at least one exception, and I hope you won't think me unrealistic, but I expect that there are other exceptions. If you posit an argument and offer it up for debate, it is a good idea to limit the scope so as to not be shown in error right off the bat ...

A quick sound sample: Bear in mind this was four months after I started playing, and straight into my iMac, no EQ:


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P2nTpq-txeQ

JustinJ
04-30-2015, 07:34 AM
Hi Steve,

There are always exceptions. It is hard to be great at something. We often think of many people being average but never consider they're very few people are at the 50% point. Just as there are very few people in the top 10%. Now apply these percentages to ukulele makers. There is probably %5-10% who are building outstanding instruments. These builders are the ones who deserve their pay. There are many builders jumping on the custom ukulele bandwagon.

Would you allow a ukulele builder to build you a classical guitar? Of course you could not play it, you would just have to purchase it and see. This is what many ukulele buyers are faced with. I've seen more than a few badly done custom ukuleles. I've also seen some major manufacturers with seams showing and poor finishing. I'm not mentioning names.

I think it is important to be educated in your decision and to look at things critically. Often times in forums, people are looking for honesty and help in their decisions. If we all just jump on and say everything is great , it's not being honest.

Dan Uke
04-30-2015, 07:42 AM
The price differential between production ukes vs. the premier custom ukes is a few thousand while the guitar counterpart could be tens of thousands. I think ukes are a great value!

Let's assume it takes a custom luthier 50 hours to build a uke with nitro finish. If labor was $20/hr, then labor cost alone would be $1000, if $40/hr, then $2,000, if $60/hr, then $3,000. I would hope a premier craftsman of any field gets paid for their work!

Steveperrywriter
04-30-2015, 07:46 AM
Hi Steve,

There are always exceptions. It is hard to be great at something. We often think of many people being average but never consider they're very few people are at the 50% point. Just as there are very few people in the top 10%. Now apply these percentages to ukulele makers. There is probably %5-10% who are building outstanding instruments. These builders are the ones who deserve their pay. There are many builders jumping on the custom ukulele bandwagon.

Would you allow a ukulele builder to build you a classical guitar? Of course you could not play it, you would just have to purchase it and see. This is what many ukulele buyers are faced with. I've seen more than a few badly done custom ukuleles. I've also seen some major manufacturers with seams showing and poor finishing. I'm not mentioning names.

I think it is important to be educated in your decision and to look at things critically. Often times in forums, people are looking for honesty and help in their decisions. If we all just jump on and say everything is great , it's not being honest.

You make some good points about education, and how one might decide to buy something, and critical thinking. But if you are going to start a debate, which is a way to argue with civilized rules, you have to take care in how you offer it.

Here’s the thing between logic and truth: If you say, “All crows are black, and Joe is a crow, therefore Joe is black,” then your syllogism is properly constructed; however, your basic premise is wrong. There are albino crows. For the statement to be valid, you have to start with it being true.

So if you offer an all-inclusive comment and there are exceptions? Then anything that follows in your argument is based on misinformation. All I need do is demonstrate one exception to show you are incorrect. I have a great ukulele made by a guy who has made but two, so the notion you start with is, ipso, facto, incorrect.

If you alter your statement from “all” to “most,” or “many,” you’ll have an easier go of it, but even so, if you are in a debate, burden of proof rests on the affirmative, so if you say, “Most guitar builders won’t make a good ukulele the first few times they try,” you still have to show that’s true. And since you don’t know most guitar builders who make ukuleles, that is going to be tricky. I have bought guitars and ukuleles I couldn't play in advance because I commissioned them and they didn't exist. I did as much due diligence as I could, but much of my decision in each case was based upon research into the builder and his reputation.

If you say, "In my experience ..." or "In my opinion ..." then you have leave to say whatever those are, but as so as you stick "all" into it? You shoot yourself in the foot.

You are allowed to voice an opinion, but that isn’t necessarily the truth. Evidence is not the plural of anecdote; lot of folks used to believe the world was flat, and that fires produced phlogiston …

CeeJay
04-30-2015, 07:46 AM
Guitar Builders

A guitar builder is not going to build a great ukulele right away. There is much trial error in craft. It takes years to learn something properly, especially a craft. But we see many guitar builders charging high prices for ukuleles, even just starting out. Many guitar builders will begin their careers as apprentices for 4-5 years before starting out. Making great guitars does not automatically translate to great ukuleles. Ukuleles are not little guitars. There is much trial and error in instrument building.

JustinJ: Certainly you are allowed to offer your arguments regarding this, but broad, sweeping statements are tricky. The old joke is, "Most broad, sweeping statements are wrong, including the one I just made ..." I could speak to all your points, but I'll confine myself to this one. I have a tenor ukulele built by Alan Carruth. It is, in my estimation, and the opinions of the uke players who have handled or heard it, a lovely instrument, a cannon, and easy to play. It was build for somebody else, but they bought a house and ran out of disposable income, so it wound up at Steve's, and for much less than I would have expected.

The builder has only made two of them. One went to a charity auction, the other came to live with me.

Now it is true that while most of what Alan builds are guitars, he has made other fretted instruments, but to date, only two ukuleles. He patterned the ukes after classical guitars, using ukulele plans by a man who believed that design was the way to go, lightly-built, twelve-frets to the body, yadda, yadda.

So if I have this great-looking, great-sounding, great-playing tenor uke that was made by a guy who primarily builds guitars, patterned after a classical guitar, and he has build but two of them? Then your argument has at least one exception, and I hope you won't think me unrealistic, but I expect that there are other exceptions. If you posit an argument and offer it up for debate, it is a good idea to limit the scope so as to not be shown in error right off the bat ...

A quick sound sample: Bear in mind this was four months after I started playing, and straight into my iMac, no EQ:


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P2nTpq-txeQ


So this is not a broad sweeping statement then ?

Yes I caught the caveat ,"Old Joke etc".

However it does seem that some people on this forum are allowed opinions , and they seem to want to dictate that no-one else has the right

to have an alternative one without developing a superior, lofty and quite insulting attitude.No need for it Steve.

The uke sounds no better or worse than some good off the shelf models I have played and heard . The playing is impressive .
The whole matter is subjective , I agree with the OP.You don't. Neither are right nor wrong. They are opinions ,which are like bottoms apparently ,we all have them.

Keep It Slippy and Uke On:rock:

CeeJay
04-30-2015, 07:52 AM
So if you offer an all-inclusive comment and there are exceptions? Then anything that follows in your argument is based on misinformation. All I need do is demonstrate one exception to show you are incorrect. I have a great ukulele made by a guy who has made but two, so the notion you start with is, ipso, facto, incorrect.


If you say, "In my experience ..." or "In my opinion ..." then you have leave to say whatever those are, but as so as you stick "all" into it? You shoot yourself in the foot.




Hoist upon your own petard ....you did not say "In my opinion" I have a great Ukulele built etc...others may not agree (Not Me , just to be clear ):rolleyes:

End of Line.

rappsy
04-30-2015, 07:54 AM
I like it, I want it, I can afford it, I buy it. End of story.

Well put. You buy what you can afford. How can anyone ever tell you that something is better? Everything is subjective. When someone tells me something is better, I tune out.

I can make my own determinations. Get what works for you. If spending more makes you play more and feel good, then it was worth it.

RichM
04-30-2015, 07:57 AM
I think it is important to be educated in your decision and to look at things critically. Often times in forums, people are looking for honesty and help in their decisions. If we all just jump on and say everything is great , it's not being honest.

Who exactly is being dishonest? This thread has had many contributions from people who have a lot of experience with a wide variety of instruments. Are you suggesting that they are trying to fool people into buying expensive ukes? Why in the world would they do that?

I would be the last one to say that a uke needs to be expensive to be good. I have a few lower-priced ukes in my collection, and they are very good. I also have some pricier ukes, and each was well worth the price I paid-- to me. And frankly, since I'm the one who plays them, I'm the only one who matters. My favorite uke has a minor binding issue-- the binding on the neck just misses matching up on the binding on the headstock. It sounds beautiful and plays like a dream. I'm glad nobody "protected" me from this slightly imperfect instrument that has given me pleasure for years.

In the end, nothing is "overpriced"-- the market decides the price in the long run. If an item is priced beyond its value to consumers, it won't sell, and the price will come down, or the company will go out of business. If you feel an expensive uke doesn't provide value commensurate with the price, then don't buy it-- but why criticize people who *do* find the value matches the price?

Steveperrywriter
04-30-2015, 08:01 AM
Ceejay --

I have no problem with people expressing opinions, and nobody I'm looking at is saying you don't have the right to offer one. For me, opinions don't carry the same weight as facts.

Nor am I being superior, lofty, or insulting -- I'm laying out what I understand the rules of civilized discourse are when it comes to debate. And pointing out what I see as a simple, factual error. I don't know why this bothers you, me establishing what I see as the difference twixt truth and truthiness, but apparently it does, because it isn't the first time you have leaped into a discussion to offer thinly-veiled personal insults. I suspect you and I aren't going to agree on much of anything. I can live with that. To that end, and for fans of the old TV series of The Paper Chase, I'm gonna shroud you. Have a nice life.

JustinJ
04-30-2015, 08:07 AM
Hi Rich,

No, I'm not saying that people in this thread are dishonest. How many times have you heard someone give a critical review (critical in a good sense) on a custom ukulele?

Dan Uke
04-30-2015, 08:17 AM
Hi Rich,

No, I'm not saying that people in this thread are dishonest. How many times have you heard someone give a critical review (critical in a good sense) on a custom ukulele?

I think there are many factors that goes into a review. First of all, most of us are not professional reviewers and don't have any websites. If you want a critical review, go to those websites!!

We commissioned an instrument and to build a relationship with the builder. Not everyone gives a review of their instruments so if someone isn't happy, they probably don't want to write a review. Those that are happy want to write a review to support the builder. This isn't yelp!!

RichM
04-30-2015, 08:30 AM
Hi Rich,

No, I'm not saying that people in this thread are dishonest. How many times have you heard someone give a critical review (critical in a good sense) on a custom ukulele?

I have seen a few, but certainly not nearly as many as people delighted with their purchase. If you're speaking specifically of custom, built-to-order ukes, I have say I'm not surprised there aren't more negatives. My experience so far with small builders is that they are extremely customer-focused, make an effort to communicate with their buyers, and do what it takes to resolve issues should they arise. And generally, the buyer ends up knowing the builder well, appreciating being part of the experience, and feeling like the resulting instrument is their "baby." Could they have bought a comparable uke for less money off the rack? Quite possibly, but for many, owning an instrument that they feel is uniquely theirs justifies the cost.

The approach we're using seems to that if there are 100 custom builders, 50 percent of them are below average. While that's statistically true, that doesn't mean 50% of them are bad.

JustinJ
04-30-2015, 08:34 AM
Steve,

I would like to continue the discussion, but it seems you're too busy trying to prove or win your argument. I understand about logic and did not intend make a universal blanket statement. If I make any more statements with you, I'll use the proper quantifiers. You can generalize all you want. There are always outliers in any field. You can not get around the fact that there are very few people who truly excel at a craft or in life.

I actually know a Luthier that graduated from the Roberto school. I've talked to some of the top ukulele builders and they may not say anything on the UU, but they agree about many of the guitar builders work. My experiences is anecdotal as yours. Please do not pass yours off as truth. I'm not only taking what I've seen but information from those who are at the top of the ukulele building profession.







You make some good points about education, and how one might decide to buy something, and critical thinking. But if you are going to start a debate, which is a way to argue with civilized rules, you have to take care in how you offer it.

Here’s the thing between logic and truth: If you say, “All crows are black, and Joe is a crow, therefore Joe is black,” then your syllogism is properly constructed; however, your basic premise is wrong. There are albino crows. For the statement to be valid, you have to start with it being true.

So if you offer an all-inclusive comment and there are exceptions? Then anything that follows in your argument is based on misinformation. All I need do is demonstrate one exception to show you are incorrect. I have a great ukulele made by a guy who has made but two, so the notion you start with is, ipso, facto, incorrect.

If you alter your statement from “all” to “most,” or “many,” you’ll have an easier go of it, but even so, if you are in a debate, burden of proof rests on the affirmative, so if you say, “Most guitar builders won’t make a good ukulele the first few times they try,” you still have to show that’s true. And since you don’t know most guitar builders who make ukuleles, that is going to be tricky. I have bought guitars and ukuleles I couldn't play in advance because I commissioned them and they didn't exist. I did as much due diligence as I could, but much of my decision in each case was based upon research into the builder and his reputation.

If you say, "In my experience ..." or "In my opinion ..." then you have leave to say whatever those are, but as so as you stick "all" into it? You shoot yourself in the foot.

You are allowed to voice an opinion, but that isn’t necessarily the truth. Evidence is not the plural of anecdote; lot of folks used to believe the world was flat, and that fires produced phlogiston …

CeeJay
04-30-2015, 08:47 AM
Ceejay --

I have no problem with people expressing opinions, and nobody I'm looking at is saying you don't have the right to offer one. For me, opinions don't carry the same weight as facts.

Nor am I being superior, lofty, or insulting -- I'm laying out what I understand the rules of civilized discourse are when it comes to debate. And pointing out what I see as a simple, factual error. I don't know why this bothers you, me establishing what I see as the difference twixt truth and truthiness, but apparently it does, because it isn't the first time you have leaped into a discussion to offer thinly-veiled personal insults. I suspect you and I aren't going to agree on much of anything. I can live with that. To that end, and for fans of the old TV series of The Paper Chase, I'm gonna shroud you. Have a nice life.

Well I understood about half of that . I offered no insults . Not even thinly veiled ones. Were does that come from ?

Ummmm , it's a forum ...hello?

Is that a threat of some sort , what , I don't understand "Shroud Me" clarify ....no really , I am curious ...I know of the Paper Chase ...Houseman ?

CeeJay
04-30-2015, 09:02 AM
You see what has happened here I think is that when Justin has made a statement of his point of view or opinion , there are elements who have purchased custom ukuleles who seem have seen this as a personal attack on their choice .

I do not see it as anything other than a discourse on Custom versus Off The Peg . Which would you rather have ?

That's all.

spookelele
04-30-2015, 09:04 AM
I never understand the point of these types of arguments.

If you don't think customs are worth the money don't buy one.
If you don't think gays should be married don't marry one.
If you don't think God is real, don't pray.

What you do or believe us up to you.
What anyone else does or believes is up to them.

If you make it any more complicated than that.. you're just being a jerk.

Steveperrywriter
04-30-2015, 09:12 AM
Justin --

You started a debate about a provocative subject; surely you didn't think everybody was going to just nod and agree? I pointed out that you maybe needed to amend it. I'm not arguing with the notion that there are some folks who are better at their craft than others, or that people sometimes don't get what they pay for, but your opening statements don't prove, as much as they provoke. And maybe you are absolutely right, now that it has been amended, that most guitar builders don't produce decent ukes right out of the gate. But in a debate, if you are offering that something is so, you have to support that with evidence, and I haven't seen much. All I have to do for my part is say, "Show me." Burden of proof is on the affirmative.

In logic, there is a thing called argumentum ad verecundiam, i.e., argument from authority. Sometimes this can be shown to be valid, but because a luthier from the Roberto School said so doesn't make it evidence. Was he at the top of his class? Was he in the bottom percentage? Why is his opinion valid? Which top luthiers agree about many guitar builders' work? How did they come to that conclusion? I am not trying to be snide here, but if you are going to start a debate with a provocative assertion from out the gate, you need more ammunition than you apparently have. As one of the participants in the discussion, all I need do is say: Really? Show us.

Of course I am trying to prove and win my argument. That's exactly what a debate is. If you claim your horse is faster than mine? We gotta have a race.

CeeJay
04-30-2015, 09:19 AM
I never understand the point of these types of arguments.

If you don't think customs are worth the money don't buy one.
If you don't think gays should be married don't marry one.
If you don't think God is real, don't pray.

What you do or believe us up to you.
What anyone else does or believes is up to them.

If you make it any more complicated than that.. you're just being a jerk.

Yes, and me .

Inksplosive AL
04-30-2015, 09:19 AM
Well I understood about half of that . I offered no insults . Not even thinly veiled ones. Were does that come from ?

Ummmm , it's a forum ...hello?

Is that a threat of some sort , what , I don't understand "Shroud Me" clarify ....no really , I am curious ...I know of the Paper Chase ...Houseman ?

I find it amazing what people say that they would never have the guts to face to face to someone on internet forums. I think your being ghosted... with a sheet. :) Please share pictures!


You see what has happened here I think is that when Justin has made a statement of his point of view or opinion , there are elements who have purchased custom ukuleles who seem have seen this as a personal attack on their choice .

I do not see it as anything other than a discourse on Custom versus Off The Peg . Which would you rather have ?

That's all.

Ah yes the internet and today's society of victims. Its tough today to even disagree with anyone without them taking a difference of thought as a personal attack. I dont have much to add other than I can hardly tell myself I can spend over $300 on anything, $3000 for anything that isn't used to make money is a waste to me.

general statement

Having hand built a professional tattoo machine for myself while still an apprentice the owner having never built a machine Asked me if I wanted to drive a Cadillac or a VW. I understood his analogy we just had differing opinions on what a VW was.

I'm left wondering if we are discussing ukuleles here or actually more about wealth inequality in America.

Steveperrywriter
04-30-2015, 09:22 AM
Hey, Inksplosive --

I make it a point to not say something about somebody I wouldn't be willing to say to them. In person, face-to-face. Keeps me out of trouble ...

Inksplosive AL
04-30-2015, 09:29 AM
I never understand the point of these types of arguments.

If you don't think customs are worth the money don't buy one.
If you don't think gays should be married don't marry one.
If you don't think God is real, don't pray.

What you do or believe us up to you.
What anyone else does or believes is up to them.

If you make it any more complicated than that.. you're just being a jerk.

Yeah I get it but the option is what? Back to the caves everyone! How dare we talk about differences of opinions. Communication is lost when talking is automatically dismissed as a waste of time or people are always hurt over having their thoughts or beliefs bested.

Being a jerk is mostly perspective based. If we were going for the same job and I stepped over you to get it to you I'm a jerk, to the business owner I'm the guy for the job. Talking about ones opinion factually in a forum designed for this purpose is not ever being a jerk.

IMMHO
~AL~

spookelele
04-30-2015, 09:33 AM
There's a difference between expressing an opinion, and telling someone else theirs is wrong, or trying to change theirs.
Everyone is entitled to their own opinion. They are not required to take yours.

Inksplosive AL
04-30-2015, 09:45 AM
Hey, Inksplosive --

I make it a point to not say something about somebody I wouldn't be willing to say to them. In person, face-to-face. Keeps me out of trouble ...

Hello there perrywriter,

I do so enjoy real people. Fake happiness and hugs and kisses for all is so plastic from my view. I enjoy CeeJays style myself its just always easier to complain than to praise someone. I'm guilty of it myself.

Of course in the real world we mostly walk away from those we disagree with or just dont jive with. Here you are forced to have those same peoples words cross your screen on a fairly regular basis. I do believe there is an ignore feature though I would never use it, it works well if you just cant stand seeing someones words or controlling your emotions.

Time to go drool over those wonderful Blackbear and Timms ukuleles in the marketplace tell myself though I could buy both (under $2000 total) I wont. Then go pickup my lowly KA-SEM and better use my time.

~peace~

Inksplosive AL
04-30-2015, 09:59 AM
There's a difference between expressing an opinion, and telling someone else theirs is wrong, or trying to change theirs.
Everyone is entitled to their own opinion. They are not required to take yours.

A quick thought and apology for going off topic but I'm a people watcher.

I encourage everyone and anyone to tear my thoughts and ideas to shreds if you can! You will not harm me I will not get angry because if my thoughts are not strong enough to survive the encounter then they deserve to be crushed. One becomes stronger for this.

At least that is my opinion feel free to disagree.

tangimango
04-30-2015, 10:02 AM
I actually think most custom builders are under valueing there ukuleles when selling. Yes there are some builders that overprice there ukuleles, but for the good builders it worth every penny and more. Also you dont really need 200 ukulele builds under your belt to sell.over $2000. Why, for example, theres a builder who built over 200 ukuleles pricing from $1500 to $5000 but all are crap(subjective :)). So technically he built 300 crappy ukuleles but the market and brand helped the sale. But theres a talented builder with no name brand and built maybe 15 ukuleles, but may be the best sounding ukulele campared to $2000 plus ukuleles (again subjective)

Beau Hannam Ukuleles
04-30-2015, 10:04 AM
ive not read all 6 pages but it boils down to this,

Some people understand the value of handmade things and their importance in the world. Others simply don't.

A table is equally functional if it is from ikea, or hand made by a 90 year old master craftsman. But i would prefer the handmade, even though it costs 1000% more. With hand made, you are paying for a fragment of someones life, knowledge and love. With CNC stuff, you are paying off someones credit card debt for the cnc machine.....

I dont argue with those that can't understand this.

Steveperrywriter
04-30-2015, 10:06 AM
Hello there perrywriter,

I do so enjoy real people. Fake happiness and hugs and kisses for all is so plastic from my view. I enjoy CeeJays style myself its just always easier to complain than to praise someone. I'm guilty of it myself.

Of course in the real world we mostly walk away from those we disagree with or just dont jive with. Here you are forced to have those same peoples words cross your screen on a fairly regular basis. I do believe there is an ignore feature though I would never use it, it works well if you just cant stand seeing someones words or controlling your emotions.

Time to go drool over those wonderful Blackbear and Timms ukuleles in the marketplace tell myself though I could buy both (under $2000 total) I wont. Then go pickup my lowly KA-SEM and better use my time.

~peace~

Not arguing with your enjoyment of Ceejay's style, have at it. Real people, (as opposed, I suppose, to fake people?) are fine; those who seem to get great joy from putting turds into punchbowls? For me, not so much. If you want to interpret this as me preferring plastic happiness and hugs and kisses, why, you just go right ahead and feel that way. I'll try and soldier through.

spookelele
04-30-2015, 10:07 AM
I encourage everyone and anyone to tear my thoughts and ideas to shreds if you can!

Just because you're entitled to your own opinion, doesn't mean you're entitled to everyone else's.

If I welcome hungry people into my home for something to eat, it doesn't mean I can raid anyone's fridge when I'm hungry.

CeeJay
04-30-2015, 10:12 AM
There's a difference between expressing an opinion, and telling someone else theirs is wrong, or trying to change theirs.
Everyone is entitled to their own opinion. They are not required to take yours.

Just so that we can be clear on this .

Whom is doing what to whom , with what, when and where ?

Because I thought that a forum was a place to express opinions and not be "shouted " down. (clarity : I am not saying that you are doing this)

I do sometimes express some pretty strong opinions and views, quite strongly and robustly, but always, always meant with a tip of the hat and a nod and a wink.

It is, in my own esteemed opinion, never my intent to offend at the outset of any of my posts or threads.

But when I, inadvertantly have done so it is quite ironic that the rebuttals are often more and deliberately rude, insulting and offensive than my originally off the cuff ,possibly ill advised attempt at bantah guv.

That's All.

JustinJ
04-30-2015, 10:18 AM
Justin --

You started a debate about a provocative subject; surely you didn't think everybody was going to just nod and agree? I pointed out that you maybe needed to amend it. I'm not arguing with the notion that there are some folks who are better at their craft than others, or that people sometimes don't get what they pay for, but your opening statements don't prove, as much as they provoke. And maybe you are absolutely right, now that it has been amended, that most guitar builders don't produce decent ukes right out of the gate. But in a debate, if you are offering that something is so, you have to support that with evidence, and I haven't seen much. All I have to do for my part is say, "Show me." Burden of proof is on the affirmative.

In logic, there is a thing called argumentum ad verecundiam, i.e., argument from authority. Sometimes this can be shown to be valid, but because a luthier from the Roberto School said so doesn't make it evidence. Was he at the top of his class? Was he in the bottom percentage? Why is his opinion valid? Which top luthiers agree about many guitar builders' work? How did they come to that conclusion? I am not trying to be snide here, but if you are going to start a debate with a provocative assertion from out the gate, you need more ammunition than you apparently have. As one of the participants in the discussion, all I need do is say: Really? Show us.

Of course I am trying to prove and win my argument. That's exactly what a debate is. If you claim your horse is faster than mine? We gotta have a race.

I amended my post and your correct. I did not mean to make a universal statement that all guitar builders can not make a good uke the first time. I can see how this could be implied from my original used.

I think in my post that I stated that I was using anecdotal evidence . I understand about arguing from authority. I'm well aware of this fallacy. You have only to turn on the tv.

You have to accept that you are dealing with your own biases. You will rationalize your decision to own a custom uke. The human mind is good at rationalizing decisions and ignoring evidence that goes against your decision.

I'm fascinated with behavioral economics and how the brain works. I'm a natural skeptic. Being skeptical, you have to question constantly.

I've made it clear that there are builders whose ukuleles are worth the money.

I've also made it clear that I've purchased luxury goods. So I'm not criticizing people for spending their money. I'm only pointing out there are some poor quality custom ukes being built and sold for high prices.

CeeJay
04-30-2015, 10:19 AM
ive not read all 6 pages but it boils down to this,

Some people understand the value of handmade things and their importance in the world. Others simply don't.

A table is equally functional if it is from ikea, or hand made by a 90 year old master craftsman. But i would prefer the handmade, even though it costs 1000% more. With hand made, you are paying for a fragment of someones life, knowledge and love. With CNC stuff, you are paying off someones credit card debt for the cnc machine.....

I dont argue with those that can't understand this.

What's a CNC machine ?

janeray1940
04-30-2015, 10:26 AM
My problem with buying a custom uke is not so much the price as not being able to try one before I buy it.

This is such a good point. I made this mistake once. It was a mistake, truth be told, but I consider it part of the learning process - no regrets, but I am not likely to do it again. It wasn't the uke or the builder, hence the lack of critical review - it just didn't feel comfortable to play and I found the sound to not be what I had hoped for. The sound was *exactly* as discussed with the builder; turned out it wasn't the sound I wanted for the type of playing that I do. And I gave it a good couple years' trial before admitting that!

As for K brands - those who know me in these parts know I love Kamaka. I've bene playing them for years now and there have been several price increases. That being said, I still feel they are worth it - they have a sound and playability that fits what I do. The price of everything else in the world has gone up over the years, why not ukes... if only my salary would rise at the same rate!

A parallel for me - I'm on my third Toyota Corolla. When it dies, guess what I'll probably buy? Yep, another one. Even if something fancier was in the budget I would not likely spring for it because I know what I like and I know what is reliable... so I guess I'm saying I buy ukes the same way. Your mileage may vary, to each their own, yadda yadda yadda...

Beau Hannam Ukuleles
04-30-2015, 10:28 AM
My responses are in red


I would like to continue the discussion from "One Super High End Uke" .

My argument

Many people are overpaying for custom ukuleles and even some of the K brands now. There is a point of diminishing returns in regards to sound. There are biases among some people that the more expensive the uke the better the sound and instrument. Many ukuleles are overvalued at current market prices.


I agree that there is indeed a point of diminishing returns. But it is that last 5% or 10% that separates the good from the great.


Guitar Builders

Many guitar builders are not going to build a great ukulele right away. There is much trial error in craft. It takes years to learn something properly, especially a craft. But we see many guitar builders charging high prices for ukuleles, even just starting out. Many guitar builders will begin their careers as apprentices for 4-5 years before starting out. Making great guitars does not automatically translate to great ukuleles. Ukuleles are not little guitars. There is much trial and error in instrument building.

Great guitar builders can build great ukes .
It does indeed take years to get good at instrument making. It took me 10 years to make a great guitar. It took me 4 ukes to make a great uke.
So 4 ukes, but with 10 years of knowledge behind it.
Ukuleles are, in fact, little guitars....little classical guitars to be exact.

Custom Market Prices

Custom market prices have risen way too quickly. It reminds me of a classic bubble. If someone is going to charge 2000 and up, they should have built at least 100-200 ukuleles. Higher end ukulele prices are too high right now, especially for the newer builders. There is not a long tack record for them.


If a new builder is making a great sounding instrument that is well constructed they should be able to charge what everone else charges for the same thing, regardless of how many they have under their belt.

Comparison of what 2000 will buy for a guitar

Here is what $2000 msrp will get you in the guitar world. This is a Cervantes Crossover 1 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RRCl6Ny7qrw . This is one responsive instrument. I would like to see more ukuleles built with this type of responsiveness.

This is ridiculous- while ukes are small guitars, to ask the same of a uke as you do of a guitar is utterly impossible. To ask the same of a concert that you do of a tenor is likewise impossible- its vibrational physics. We can, however, build responsive ukes in accordance with what is possible from their vibrating surface

Do people tell of their bad experiences with a custom ukulele?

How many people are going to come out and say I made a $3000 dollar mistake? This uke does not sound as good as a manufactured ukulele?

We all make mistakes. Top guitar builders (who charge $20- $30k a guitar) get cracks in back and sides, finish issues. If an instrument turns out bad for some reasons, another gets made, or it is re topped. it is taken care of be it sound or build quality

Steveperrywriter
04-30-2015, 10:30 AM
I amended my post and your correct. I did not mean to make a universal statement that all guitar builders can not make a good uke the first time. I can see how this could be implied from my original used.

I think in my post that I stated that I was using anecdotal evidence . I understand about arguing from authority. I'm well aware of this fallacy. You have only to turn on the tv.

You have to accept that you are dealing with your own biases. You will rationalize your decision to own a custom uke. The human mind is good at rationalizing decisions and ignoring evidence that goes against your decision.

I'm fascinated with behavioral economics and how the brain works. I'm a natural skeptic. Being skeptical, you have to question constantly.

I've made it clear that there are builder whose ukuleles are worth the money.

I've also made it clear that I've purchased luxury goods. So I'm not criticizing people for spending their money. I'm only pointing out there are some poor quality custom ukes being built and sold for high prices.

Great line in the movie, The Big Chill, where Jeff Goldblum says that rationalizations are more important than sex. When somebody argues he said, "Yeah? When's the last time you went for a week without a rationalization?"

I agree, I have my biases, we all have our own axes to grind. How I justify paying for handmade this or that goes to what I value, in terms of art and craft and experience. I try to buy the best of whatever I want or need that I can afford, and over the years, I have found this to be more satisfactory than buying cheap and then replacing it. That's my bias, it doesn't work that that way for everybody, and I am happy to admit to it. We're good here, you and I, because you listened to what I had to say in response and amended it to be more accurate, which was all I was trying to do. Sometimes we have to restate a premise to make it better. All we have here are words on a screen, and making them as clear and clean as we can helps keep the conversation going.

When we discuss things about which we have strong feelings, there is going to be some contention if we don't agree. Gun control, abortion, best beer, those get quick and passionate responses. So do musical instruments, and since it is obvious that one size doesn't fit all, whenever something arises that seems to say that? There is going to be a spirited discussion about it.

JustinJ
04-30-2015, 10:31 AM
What I find interesting here is a video of Ervin Somogyi https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SqbbXtpoMt0&spfreload=10 .. He states at 4:15 that he did not know what he was doing in the beginning of making guitars. This is a man whose guitars start at $31,000 . It takes time for talent and artistic ability to develop. And you have to continue to try to be better every time. It's easy just to stay at the same level. You have to fight against mediocrity.

Hive ukuleles' owner has stated that he went to luthier school, apprenticed and work for someone for 10 years. This makes a big difference. He has worked with ukuleles.

Also, they're has to be a passion when it comes to creating something beautiful.

Beau Hannam Ukuleles
04-30-2015, 10:36 AM
What's a CNC machine ?
a CNC machine is an expensive robot- After programing, you press a button and a neck, bridge, arched top guitar, violin, cello etc etc etc is produced. Some guitar tops are entirely carved with a cnc, braces and top all in one which isa particular dumb idea.

79025

Beau Hannam Ukuleles
04-30-2015, 10:37 AM
What I find interesting here is a video of Ervin Somogyi https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SqbbXtpoMt0&spfreload=10 .. He states at 4:15 that he did not know what he was doing in the beginning of making guitars. This is a man whose guitars start at $31,000 . It takes time for talent and artistic ability to develop. And you have to continue to try to be better every time. It's easy just to stay at the same level. You have to fight against mediocrity.

Hive ukuleles' owner has stated that he went to luthier school, apprenticed and work for someone for 10 years. This makes a big difference. He has worked with ukuleles.

Also, they're has to be a passion when it comes to creating something beautiful.

Somogyi has only recently been charging alot- the first 25 years he was getting a few grand a guitar

CeeJay
04-30-2015, 10:40 AM
Great line in the movie, The Big Chill, where Jeff Goldblum says that rationalizations are more important than sex. When somebody argues he said, "Yeah? When's the last time you went for a week without a rationalization?"

I agree, I have my biases, we all have our own axes to grind. How I justify paying for handmade this or that goes to what I value, in terms of art and craft and experience. I try to buy the best of whatever I want or need that I can afford, and over the years, I have found this to be more satisfactory than buying cheap and then replacing it. That's my bias, it doesn't work that that way for everybody, and I am happy to admit to it. We're good here, you and I, because you listened to what I had to say in response and amended it to be more accurate, which was all I was trying to do. Sometimes we have to restate a premise to make it better. All we have here are words on a screen, and making them as clear and clean as we can helps keep the conversation going.

When we discuss things about which we have strong feelings, there is going to be some contention if we don't agree. Gun control, abortion, best beer, those get quick and passionate responses. So do musical instruments, and since it is obvious that one size doesn't fit all, whenever something arises that seems to say that? There is going to be a spirited discussion about it.


Not if you keep "shrouding " the other debaters !!:biglaugh:

johnson430
04-30-2015, 10:44 AM
I edited my post. No real info was here anyway.

JustinJ
04-30-2015, 10:45 AM
Somogyi has only recently been charging alot- the first 25 years he was getting a few grand a guitar

Is this because Michihiro Matsuda was his apprentice?

Is it the internet driving his prices?

Why have his prices increased so dramatically?

Beau Hannam Ukuleles
04-30-2015, 10:58 AM
Is this because Michihiro Matsuda was his apprentice?

Is it the internet driving his prices?

Why have his prices increased so dramatically?

His break came with selling guitars to Windham Hill in the 80's and just got better/more well known. Matsuda-- and every other apprentice-- helped with a new fresh approach to aesthetics and design in rosettes etc.
Also, a general boom in lutherie. Before, it was Martin or Gibson. With the advent of the internet, people are more aware of other options in every aspect of life.

Somogyi's prices reflect his skill. He is that top 5%

bobmyers
04-30-2015, 11:09 AM
Wow, I just spent the last half hour trying to find a common denominator to all the comments, I can't. It's as personal a decision as buying a suit ( enough with the cars). You can buy suit separates or low end suite and if you have a perfect body you will look decent. Go to Italy and have a custom made suite that is made to fit your body, you will look great even with those extra 40 LBS.
So I have bought and sold many ukes in the attempt to find nirvana. It does not exist, but I got close enough to resolve my tenor needs. The bottom line is I own a Moore Bettah Milo tenor with a bear claw Sitka face that sounds and plays great. But what I paid for is much more, this instrument is a work of art and everything I have compared it to pales in comparison. Its sister was recently sold on ebay for $5400 and it was not as nice as mine.
I also have a Collings Mahogany burst tenor that sounds just s good (though different)and plays as easily. I purchased it used in mint condition for less than half the price of the MB. This is a fine instrument but NOT a work of art, although without a flaw its a plain Jane work horse ( some of you may disagree).
Both are needed to meet my needs. The MB never leaves home and is played daily for my own satisfaction and a lot of the time it is just looked at. the Collings goes with me to all gigs.
I am fortunate to own both but after owning them I could not move back to a lesser uke especially mass produced on an assembly line.
Getting back to my point it's all about what your needs, expectations, talent and budget is. I recommend you start with well respected medium price uke in used condition so you can try more and resell till you find one or two that you feel satisfied with.
Good Luck,
Bob Myers

stevepetergal
04-30-2015, 11:47 AM
Everyone seems to be making this subject far simpler than it really is. Especially sound comparisons, which are impossible to quantify. The difference in sound from one ukulele to the next may be insignificant-inaudible to most musicians or listeners. But when played by a real artist, not only will that exact same comparison be more noticeable, it may actually be a much bigger difference. And that may be the difference between playing notes and making music.
Get out your calculator, and I defy you to evaluate not just the significance, but the dollar value of this distinction.

Moore Bettah Ukuleles
04-30-2015, 11:48 AM
Thanks Spook, this needs repeating:

I never understand the point of these types of arguments.

If you don't think customs are worth the money don't buy one.
If you don't think gays should be married don't marry one.
If you don't think God is real, don't pray.

What you do or believe us up to you.
What anyone else does or believes is up to them.

BTW, I would love to jump into this mental masturbation but apparently from what I've read I've got to go to some kind of school to learn this art/craft or nothing I say has any credence. Even after building well over 600 ukes (no guitars, thank you) I did so without a minute's worth of formal instruction. I learned to build from a Stewart McDonald parts catalog and figured it out from there. I must be doing something wrong!
It's the pervasiveness of these kind of generalizations that makes me want to avoid threads like this. Just please know, it's a big world and there's room for everyone.

RichM
04-30-2015, 11:59 AM
Thanks Spook, this needs repeating:

I never understand the point of these types of arguments.

If you don't think customs are worth the money don't buy one.
If you don't think gays should be married don't marry one.
If you don't think God is real, don't pray.

What you do or believe us up to you.
What anyone else does or believes is up to them.

BTW, I would love to jump into this mental masturbation but apparently from what I've read I've got to go to some kind of school to learn this art/craft or nothing I say has any credence. Even after building well over 600 ukes (no guitars, thank you) I did so without a minute's worth of formal instruction. I learned to build from a Stewart McDonald parts catalog and figured it out from there. I must be doing something wrong!
It's the pervasiveness of these kind of generalizations that makes me want to avoid threads like this. Just please know, it's a big world and there's room for everyone.

I love you, man.

Ukulele Eddie
04-30-2015, 12:51 PM
What I find interesting here is a video of Ervin Somogyi https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SqbbXtpoMt0&spfreload=10 .. He states at 4:15 that he did not know what he was doing in the beginning of making guitars. This is a man whose guitars start at $31,000 . It takes time for talent and artistic ability to develop. And you have to continue to try to be better every time. It's easy just to stay at the same level. You have to fight against mediocrity.

Hive ukuleles' owner has stated that he went to luthier school, apprenticed and work for someone for 10 years. This makes a big difference. He has worked with ukuleles.

Also, they're has to be a passion when it comes to creating something beautiful.

I added italics to your quote. I'm not suggesting you meant otherwise, but at its face, that is quite an understatement. Andrew Kitakis of HMS said here (http://www.theukulelereview.com/2015/04/17/hive-spruce-maple-tenor/) in his review he puts Jake among his top 5 luthiers in terms of tone. That's quite an endorsement from the one guy who has probably inspected/played more of the world's top ukuleles than anyone. He also told me he can't find a flaw anywhere on the spruce/maple uke. Will Hive maintain that sort of reputation long-term? We'll see. Jakes seems absolutely committed, is clearly passionate and is a very nice person to deal with and I think it's truly wonderful he has achieved such accolades for his long-term commitment to his trade.

I do agree that there are custom ukes out there that I've seen/played that aren't worth the money to me. I've played/owned some that had phenomenal tone but had finish or playability issues. Just as there are plenty of highly regarded K brands that similarly underwhelm me. But to deliver exceptional tone, precise and inspired craftsmanship and incredibly beautiful woods in one package? Now you have my attention and access to my wallet. ;-)

CeeJay
04-30-2015, 01:01 PM
a CNC machine is an expensive robot- After programing, you press a button and a neck, bridge, arched top guitar, violin, cello etc etc etc is produced. Some guitar tops are entirely carved with a cnc, braces and top all in one which isa particular dumb idea.

79025

Thank You.

JustinJ
04-30-2015, 01:03 PM
His break came with selling guitars to Windham Hill in the 80's and just got better/more well known. Matsuda-- and every other apprentice-- helped with a new fresh approach to aesthetics and design in rosettes etc.
Also, a general boom in lutherie. Before, it was Martin or Gibson. With the advent of the internet, people are more aware of other options in every aspect of life.

Somogyi's prices reflect his skill. He is that top 5%

Thanks for answering my questions. There is poetry in motion when you see how he works his hand tools.

CeeJay
04-30-2015, 01:28 PM
To be honest ...it don't matter how much it costs ...a good uke player will make a 10:00 uke sound fantastic ...

johnson430
04-30-2015, 02:50 PM
My girls were taught this lesson at Camp Aloha Hive in Vermont long ago: Don't yuck-yuck somebody's yum-yum!

So some people may be overpaying for mediocre customs and K-brands. There's no need to make them feel bad about it. Better to be kind than right.

This is some flawed logic here. So you want others to waste their money on mediocre customs and k brands than being a knowledgeable consumer solely for the purpose of kindness?
That might work when you are 6 but when you are 40 or 60 and dropping 1-3k on a uke I would think brutal honesty about a product wins over niceties.
Cheers,
Johnson
=)

Inksplosive AL
04-30-2015, 03:30 PM
Just because you're entitled to your own opinion, doesn't mean you're entitled to everyone else's.

If I welcome hungry people into my home for something to eat, it doesn't mean I can raid anyone's fridge when I'm hungry.

Wwwwwhhhaaaattttt?

I'm a bit loose in writing tonight perhaps I was a bit confusing. Teeth pulled riding out the pain whee... but no excuses I like to chat. My open invitation was more to show the flavor of my personality not calling for a mentor. I have other much stricter forums I've used for the last 10+ years for self enlightenment.

A forum is a private semi public place. To make sense of your analogy if you lived on a private road (the forum) and pushed your fridge (your thoughts and opinions) to the street for all to see then clearly your inviting others to take from it (learn).

~AL~

Moore Bettah Ukuleles
04-30-2015, 03:32 PM
To be honest ...it don't matter how much it costs ...a good uke player will make a 10:00 uke sound fantastic ...

And here's another one of those broad generalizations that keep popping up. While a proficient player can make any uke sound better, a poorly built uke has it's limitations and the same player has a better chance of making better music from a higher quality uke. I've heard professional players play a wide array of ukuleles and you can certainly hear the difference. And I know these players can feel the difference.

wayfarer75
04-30-2015, 03:36 PM
This is some flawed logic here. So you want others to waste their money on mediocre customs and k brands than being a knowledgeable consumer solely for the purpose of kindness?
That might work when you are 6 but when you are 40 or 60 and dropping 1-3k on a uke I would think brutal honesty about a product wins over niceties.
Cheers,
Johnson
=)

Wasting money on a uke? Who here on UU has not wasted money on a uke? <crickets>

I think the only time buying an instrument is a perfectly rational idea is when the buyer will perform and make money with said instrument. If everyone's purchases always avoided "wasting money," we wouldn't have things like jewelry or paintings or designer shoes that hurt your feet. Why would I buy fine art when my kid's scribbles decorate my walls adequately?

As for "mediocre customs and K brands"--things are very very very subjective when it comes to which ukes are "better." There's just no way to measure ukes in the same way you can weigh and grade diamonds. For instance, I have zero desire to buy a Mya Moe. I'm not into their sound, at all. Others? They looooove them and think they're the bees knees. Is it my opinion that the sound is lacking or are Mya Moe ukuleles, empirically, mediocre? One may cite finish flaws as the mark of a poor build, but others say the sound wins out. And that's the thing. The consumers decide what has value, and personal opinion differs so widely.

Icelander53
04-30-2015, 03:41 PM
Good topic and I've wondered about some of these prices myself. However I doubt that many are going to think about this logically so...

Anyway I think your observations are valid ones. I'm sure many feel very happy with a custom built but I'm also pretty sure there folk who regret that decision. They likely are not all talking about it though. Embarrasment for making a bad choice. Humans being what we are will often defend a bad choice just so we don't have to feel like a schmuck or feel like we may look that way to our friends.

Of course it's sometimes not easy to play before pay on any uke unless you live in a major population center or hang with Andrew in Hawaii so some risks often are the only way to play.

I have enough money to buy any uke on the market say up to 20 grand. But I have found from lots of life experience with many material things there is a strong point of diminishing returns and I like to hit that point of most bang for the buck. I've settled on Pono's and a Risa with a Gretsch and Moku thrown in. I'm very happy with those and so don't feel the need for a custom uke anymore. I think, considering my talent especially, I need go no further. I could be wrong of course but from experience I have found that most of us are into some kind of status thingy. So we go for a name or style and think it's great because it's a famous brand. Very few can get around that imo. That isn't to say that some are not great but rather you might find something that sounds as good or close for a fraction of the cost. But you'll not have as many bragging rights.

wickedwahine11
04-30-2015, 03:46 PM
Harley Davidson fans have a saying, "If I have to explain, you wouldn't understand." I would never judge what anyone else spends their money on. If you can afford it, and it makes you happy, go for it. There are plenty of people that are quite content with lower priced musical instruments and like to gamble, or drive fancy cars, or go on vacations. There are others that find a great deal of joy in a well made custom instrument.

A lot of time and energy goes into building these instruments - the cost is not just the sum of the raw parts to make it. I am sure some folks would consider it a waste of money to spend all that on an ukulele. There are many of us that do not. Sometimes I think the most vociferous people attacking these "wastes of money" are simply bitter. Sometimes I think they just have never experienced an incredible custom made by the likes of Chuck, Beau, Eric, et al. first hand and would be swayed if they did. But mostly I just think that while certainly entitled to their own opinion, they should just not buy one if they think they are a waste of money. I know this, no money I ever spent was as well spent as the money I spent on my custom uke. Call it a rationalization if you wish, but I know it to be true - for me.

CeeJay
04-30-2015, 03:53 PM
And here's another one of those broad generalizations that keep popping up. While a proficient player can make any uke sound better, a poorly built uke has it's limitations and the same player has a better chance of making better music from a higher quality uke. I've heard professional players play a wide array of ukuleles and you can certainly hear the difference. And I know these players can feel the difference.

You have something against Broad Generalisations ? :D

It's actually true ....a half decent player ..not just your "professionals" will make a half decent uke sound brilliant . I did not actually think that the rest needed to be said but onwards and upwards as you state.

..the other half that I left off because I thought it was contentious , but seeing as you want to go there is that a mediocre player will still sound mediocre on a top quality instrument .

The only winner in that case is the manufacturer / seller .

I liken it to golf ... the best bag of bats won't make you the best player on the golf pitch.

CeeJay
04-30-2015, 04:10 PM
Harley Davidson fans have a saying, "If I have to explain, you wouldn't understand." I would never judge what anyone else spends their money on. If you can afford it, and it makes you happy, go for it. There are plenty of people that are quite content with lower priced musical instruments and like to gamble, or drive fancy cars, or go on vacations. There are others that find a great deal of joy in a well made custom instrument.

A lot of time and energy goes into building these instruments - the cost is not just the sum of the raw parts to make it. I am sure some folks would consider it a waste of money to spend all that on an ukulele. There are many of us that do not. Sometimes I think the most vociferous people attacking these "wastes of money" are simply bitter. Sometimes I think they just have never experienced an incredible custom made by the likes of Chuck, Beau, Eric, et al. first hand and would be swayed if they did. But mostly I just think that while certainly entitled to their own opinion, they should just not buy one if they think they are a waste of money. I know this, no money I ever spent was as well spent as the money I spent on my custom uke. Call it a rationalization if you wish, but I know it to be true - for me.

I actually don't think that anybody has said that Custom Ukes are a waste of money . No-one, I think has said don't buy one.....

The original poster made a point about the relative merits of some builders and then the rest of the scrum caved in on him .

There is no bitterness or animosity towards the Luthiers that you mention....well ,not regarding their product anyway .

It just seems that you cannot have a conversation about Custom Ukes and their pricing without being hollered and yelled at .

Buy what you want ,play what you want and let's talk about what we want .....I thought it was a forum ....

wickedwahine11
04-30-2015, 04:24 PM
I actually don't think that anybody has said that Custom Ukes are a waste of money . No-one, I think has said don't buy one.....

The original poster made a point about the relative merits of some builders and then the rest of the scrum caved in on him .

There is no bitterness or animosity towards the Luthiers that you mention....well ,not regarding their product anyway .

It just seems that you cannot have a conversation about Custom Ukes and their pricing without being hollered and yelled at .

Buy what you want ,play what you want and let's talk about what we want .....I thought it was a forum ....

You are right, perhaps waste of money is too harsh. Overpriced though is in the same direction, albeit not as absolute or extreme. But again, I still maintain my original belief. Overpriced to one person is a proper valuation to another. These instruments are not just (or necessarily) better in sound - though they may be, or fancier in appearance -though that can be the case. They honestly feel different in your hands - the shape if the neck, the balance, the weight, the playability is superior. I have been blessed to have a number of high end ukuleles, and the custom one leaves them in the dust.

Now just because I think it is worth it to me (and my skills as a player will never measure its merits), that doesn't mean it is to someone else. Everyone has their opinion, but I would never speak in absolutes about them being overpriced...they are not to those that value them. I have no desire to have a Lamborghini but that doesn't make it overpriced, just not worth it to me. I think that is what the OP and others are doing - making a bit of an absolute statement as to relative worth universally when really it should be personally.

On the topic of discussion, I do want to thank everyone for maintaining a pretty civil tone in this thread. I don't believe we all have to agree, but I am glad we can disagree respectfully.

Inksplosive AL
04-30-2015, 04:25 PM
That of course is the bottomline CeeJay, although a master ukulele player would probably prefer to play a high-end custom built ukulele over a Makala if he or she could afford one.

To get back in the camp of being on topic-ish. I tell people I could use one of the cheap Chinese tattoo machines we get free in the mail all the time after a tuneup and still do a great tattoo. I'll use a custom or an inexpensive daily driver depending on various factors. Why fight the tools? But that black nondescript ($60-$70) machine is being used because its a hidden jem, not because its cheap.

The tattoo industry has seen some phenomenal growth much like the ukulele phenomenon of recent years. There are a few well known machine builders that can demand whatever they wish as a price and get it. Most custom machines average around ($250-$500) new. Its a pisser buying a $250 custom based on a builders reputation and finding many flaws in it that the $70 machine doesn't have. Eh? I think I get the gist of the original post quite well.

Edit: Dang you guys write a lot while I plink along. Dang picture of the machine tagged along even though I thought I deleted it. Well its machine porn for me and for those of you who enjoy art it might be interesting enough. I wont say what I paid for it.

Consumerism has many searching for the best price! Every tattoo is a handmade artists interpretation of something. Add to this it is work done to your one piece of skin you have for life. I could fill a blog with stories about people wanting to spend less on their skin that their weekend party supplys.

Years ago Geico had a short lived commercial I saw once or twice. a family sit around a dinner table the mother is pissed and huffing the daughter is smiling at the younger brother. Mom is saying I cant believe you did that and the sister sticks here pierced tongue out at the brother. Flash to a family shot with mom in the foreground. Mom says I cant believe you didn't shop around for the best price. My head nearly spun off.

CeeJay
04-30-2015, 04:33 PM
To get back in the camp of being on topic-ish. I tell people I could use one of the cheap Chinese tattoo machines we get free in the mail all the time after a tuneup and still do a great tattoo. I'll use a custom or an inexpensive daily driver depending on various factors. Why fight the tools? But that black nondescript ($60-$70) machine is being used because its a hidden jem, not because its cheap.

The tattoo industry has seen some phenomenal growth much like the ukulele phenomenon of recent years. There are a few well known machine builders that can demand whatever they wish as a price and get it. Most custom machines average around ($250-$500) new. Its a pisser buying a $250 custom based on a builders reputation and finding many flaws in it that the $70 machine doesn't have. Eh? I think I get the gist of the original post quite well.

Hellfire Ink ....that picture ...it looks something that Sweeney Todd cooked up after a pipeful of WaccyBaccy . Is that a tatoo machine ...please say not ...!!:biglaugh::cheers:

That is a razor on the side though isn't it ??

now look at the edit reason

PS Pictures ....what sort are you interested in seeing ?...they are mostly just scruffy cartoons...

NewKid
04-30-2015, 04:39 PM
This is some flawed logic here. So you want others to waste their money on mediocre customs and k brands than being a knowledgeable consumer solely for the purpose of kindness?
That might work when you are 6 but when you are 40 or 60 and dropping 1-3k on a uke I would think brutal honesty about a product wins over niceties.
Cheers,
Johnson
=)


I wouldn't want anyone to waste their money on a mediocre instrument. But I also wouldn't presume to tell them how to spend their money. Least of all a 40-60 year old.

mm stan
04-30-2015, 04:58 PM
This is some flawed logic here. So you want others to waste their money on mediocre customs and k brands than being a knowledgeable consumer solely for the purpose of kindness?
That might work when you are 6 but when you are 40 or 60 and dropping 1-3k on a uke I would think brutal honesty about a product wins over niceties.
Cheers,
Johnson
=)
Happy Birthday Greetings johnson430,
That may benefit for the consumer, however why trash the business
Owner..if it was your business, how would you feel about that then? Doing something in public and causing harm to someone just for your selfish benefit. There should be some morals, don't you think?

wayfarer75
04-30-2015, 05:35 PM
Harley Davidson fans have a saying, "If I have to explain, you wouldn't understand." I would never judge what anyone else spends their money on. If you can afford it, and it makes you happy, go for it. There are plenty of people that are quite content with lower priced musical instruments and like to gamble, or drive fancy cars, or go on vacations. There are others that find a great deal of joy in a well made custom instrument.

A lot of time and energy goes into building these instruments - the cost is not just the sum of the raw parts to make it. I am sure some folks would consider it a waste of money to spend all that on an ukulele. There are many of us that do not. Sometimes I think the most vociferous people attacking these "wastes of money" are simply bitter. Sometimes I think they just have never experienced an incredible custom made by the likes of Chuck, Beau, Eric, et al. first hand and would be swayed if they did. But mostly I just think that while certainly entitled to their own opinion, they should just not buy one if they think they are a waste of money. I know this, no money I ever spent was as well spent as the money I spent on my custom uke. Call it a rationalization if you wish, but I know it to be true - for me.

Well, there are UUers who feel the need to rationalize the fact that they didn't buy a very expensive uke. Then they feel the need to tell the rest of us that we're wasting our money if we spend more than they would.

AndrewKuker
04-30-2015, 07:22 PM
Now when it comes to prices - Here is my reality....This is what I have to charge to keep the lights on. I know that sounds crazy, but it is the truth. If you think luthiers are making a lot of money building custom instruments, you are sadly mistaken. Most of us work 60 hour work weeks just to make ends meet. We have to pay rent, utility bills, material and maintenance costs....the list goes on and on.

The amount of time I spend on construction, design, and customer relations would surprise you. I spend countless hours (day and night) in the workshop, answering emails, social networking, sourcing materials, etc.

Nobody becomes a luthier to make money. In fact, that would be the stupidest business plan ever lol.
We become luthiers because this is our passion, this is what we love to do. To quote Gillian Welch "we're gonna do it anyway, even if it doesn't pay."


I can attest to this being true across the board for custom luthiers. I grew up with this reality. It's actually a pretty well known fact within the industry.

You can survive as a custom luthier, if you are good, and that's about as good as it gets. You have to have a desire and dedication to do great work every single day and there's still very little security, certainly no pension, payed vacation and all that jazz. This is something you have to love more than money. Do you guys not understand this fact?

Sure there are different levels of skill, time, attention, and experience involved. But these things are factored into what you pay accordingly and nobody even gets close to rich. The workers in question bust their butts to offer the finest quality ukulele possible and it has enriched many of our lives.

So, of course, it's a forum and everyone can say whatever they want. But I think I can speak for us that appreciate what these people do and say quit disrespecting them and buy what you see fit.

kohanmike
04-30-2015, 08:06 PM
I'm a basic uke player, playing for about 19 months. I have great fun buying ukes, having gone through 16 in that time (down to 5 now, one for sale), including a few customs, but seeing Daniel's (nongdam) LfdM gypsy jazz uke (a beaut I have to say) I chose not to spend thousands or wait years, so I went with an Asian builder, who was very responsive and accommodating. What might have cost $2000 to $2500 and over a year to build, cost me $780 including shipping and took about 5 months. It looks really good, but it doesn't have enough sustain or projection for me, though the builder and others here on UU tell me to give it about a year or so to open up. So I'll wait.

Two other ukes built by the same company sounded much better right out of the box for even less, and my Kala cedar even better for $360. Over-all I'm satisfied with my decision on the customs and don't feel compelled to get one for thousands, in fact, I'm now having mods and custom work done on u-basses, so I've actually been able to buy a greater variety for my money, something I really like doing.

Andy Chen
04-30-2015, 08:52 PM
Yes, exactly what Andrew said: Buy what you can afford, what you are willing to pay for, point out good and bad qualities of the uke.. sure, but why accuse luthiers of avarice?

If luthiers price their ukes higher than people are willing to pay for, it's their decision to make. You don't have to buy it or endorse it.

In Singapore, there are small businesses that charge more during festive seasons, to make up for the fact that they don't have year-end bonuses like many salaried workers. We don't have to patronise them, but we do anyway, cos we understand that they to have to "keep the lights on".

DownUpDave
05-01-2015, 12:08 AM
This thread has made me want to buy another custom. I respect precision craftmanship and a persons desire to excel in a specific area. Reading all of this has just strengthened that for my...........Thank You JustinJ

Andy Chen
05-01-2015, 12:18 AM
Sigh. I typed all those paragraphs and you made the point much better than I did. ;)

This is too funny! And right on the money.

Andy Chen
05-01-2015, 12:22 AM
Hey Folks, Jake here from Hive Ukuleles.
First off, I want to say thank you to all those who have supported me over the years. None of this would be possible without your support. Thank you from the bottom of my heart :)

A little bit about myself - Building ukuleles is what I love to do.....This is my profession, this is my passion!

I have devoted the last 10 years of my life to this craft. You may not be familiar with my name, but I assure you I have been in this game for a long time. I left everything I had ever known to pursue this life - my hometown, my job, my friends, my family. I moved from West Virginia to Arizona to California and finally back to West Virginia to chase this dream.

I started this journey at the Roberto School of Luthiery. This school is no joke, it has produced some of the worlds greatest luthiers. From there I went to work for the Rick Turner (Compass Rose) where I ran the ukulele department for a number of years. Working for Rick is where I honed my craft. After years of sanding, scraping, gluing, and voicing hundreds of instruments, I decided to start building my own ukuleles.

Now when it comes to prices - Here is my reality....This is what I have to charge to keep the lights on. I know that sounds crazy, but it is the truth. If you think luthiers are making a lot of money building custom instruments, you are sadly mistaken. Most of us work 60 hour work weeks just to make ends meet. We have to pay rent, utility bills, material and maintenance costs....the list goes on and on.
The amount of time I spend on construction, design, and customer relations would surprise you. I spend countless hours (day and night) in the workshop, answering emails, social networking, sourcing materials, etc.

Nobody becomes a luthier to make money. In fact, that would be the stupidest business plan ever lol.
We become luthiers because this is our passion, this is what we love to do. To quote Gillian Welch "we're gonna do it anyway, even if it doesn't pay."

What I can guarantee - I put my heart and soul into each instrument - each and every step/procedure along the way.
Tone and playability come first. Without this nothing else matters.....this is my primary concern. Next comes design

I believe an instrument should serve a duel role:
1. As a tool for the musician to creatively express themselves.
2. To provide inspiration to the musician as a work of art.

In conclusion
There are a lot of great ukuleles out there in different price ranges, and you don't half to spend $3,000 to get a nice sounding uke.
What I don't understand is this custom ukulele shaming. If you are a person who has the money and you want something extra special, then go for it.
If you don't really have the money, then buy something else....like I said, there are a lot of good choices out there.

I am not very good at expressing my emotions (or writing for that matter) but I just wanted to give people the luthiers perspective.
Big thanks to all who took the time to read this.

Thanks, Jake, for sharing. I hope to buy one of your ukes one of these days.

Andy Chen
05-01-2015, 12:28 AM
i listened to both videos and can definitely hear the difference. I had a Clara for a while and it is a well built, nice playing, good sounding instrument that makes for a nice addition to any collection. To my ears, The Hive sounds much better with a lot more depth.

Mitch

Holy crap, I hope I didn't start this comparison. I was perhaps one of two people who first listened to these two ukes on HMS listening booth side by side.

I thought both were deep and warm, but Hive definitely sounded better to my ears.

iDavid
05-01-2015, 01:23 AM
I had several very nice ukuleles. My Kinnard tenor is the easiest to play. The shape of the neck is incredible and makes life sweeter. My latest uke is a Pono baritone which was an incredible deal and lovely instrument.

I don't think ukes should be an investment, but we spend money on much worse investments.

The $2,000 PC or Mac that will be replaced in 5 years, if your lucky. And don't get me started on iPhones.

If you buy a quality instrument and take care of it, not only will you enjoy it, but your children and grandchildren may also.

Not being able to play a custom first is a problem. However, I worked with Kevin from Kinnard and he talked me into a cedar-top uke. Look wise, it really wasn't my first choice, but sound-wise it is spot-on. I trusted his knowledge and ended up with one of the world's finest ukuleles.

good_uke_boy
05-01-2015, 01:32 AM
Holy crap, I hope I didn't start this comparison.

You didn't. I did. Because you own a Clara and were considering the Hive, I posted URLs to Corey's playing the same (beautiful) Chet Atkins tune on both instruments and suggested you might be interested in comparing their sound.

Andy Chen
05-01-2015, 02:02 AM
You were the other guy I was thinking of. I posted in another thread about the similarities (it was a Blackbird Clara thread here: http://forum.ukuleleunderground.com/showthread.php?90072-The-quot-I-Bought-a-Blackbird-Clara-Ukulele-quot-Thread/page10)

CeeJay
05-01-2015, 02:36 AM
I have trawled this thread from front to back and then retraced my steps .

I have NOT once seen anybody , neither the Original Poster , nor anybody from the alleged "anti Custom" (let me assure you that no such stance exists in this thread either) side of the arguement once state that buying customs was a waste of money.

They queried the intrinsic value of the Ukuleles being bought. They at no time accused the Luthiers of avarice. They may have expressed that in their opinion maybe the price did not reflect their perceived true value of the uke. What is so wrong with that ?

That is the right of that person, just as it is the right of the "pro" camp to buy whatever custom they wish.

All the comments that are perceived as anti luthier, anti -custom, anti-High End are ,once again coming from the pro camp who are attributing this stance themselves to those who express concerns about custom ukes .

The original poster expressed an opinion. He is entitled to his opinion.
The "pro" custom camp are entitled to their opinion equally, however the mockery and scorn poured upon him and those who have an opposing point of view is palpable . Rude and hectoring , snide and subtle references to lack of income, capital and talent .

So it would seem Mahalo is a one way street ,and Johno3443 thingy (to be editd) put it spot on , to paraphrase

"if you go against the grain on this forum then you are given a hard time"

Whatever happened to "I disagree entirely with what you say , but will defend to the death your right to say it "

Not on this thread , and certainly not on other posts around the place.

We have had a lively debate up to a point and some justifications and some climb downs and some explanations . But the overall tone is "if you say anything against Custom Ukes then you are a Hater " to encapsulate a broadly apparent stance.

Sometimes the way the names and makes and models of ukuleles are traded and talked about makes them seem not like instruments to be played and cherished , but like a game of Ukulele Top Trumps .

Personally I don't care what ukelele you own, only that you play ukelele. If you are happy and able to pay loads-a-money for an expensive ukelele then I am made up for you , enjoy it and strum happily ......Campanella, Clawhammer , Fingerpick or whatever is your bag or even a combination of all four ...(I don't Camp' much).





PS

I have also obliquely been referred to by one poster as a "person who enjoys putting a turd in a punchbowl" because I disagree with him.
How vulgar and how rude. Mahalo eh ?

wickedwahine11
05-01-2015, 03:04 AM
I have trawled this thread from front to back and then retraced my steps .

I have NOT once seen anybody , neither the Original Poster , nor anybody from the alleged "anti Custom" (let me assure you that no such stance exists in this thread either) side of the arguement once state that buying customs was a waste of money.

They queried the intrinsic value of the Ukuleles being bought. They at no time accused the Luthiers of avarice. They may have expressed that in their opinion maybe the price did not reflect their perceived true value of the uke. What is so wrong with that ?

That is the right of that person, just as it is the right of the "pro" camp to buy whatever custom they wish.

All the comments that are perceived as anti luthier, anti -custom, anti-High End are ,once again coming from the pro camp who are attributing this stance themselves to those who express concerns about custom ukes .

The original poster expressed an opinion. He is entitled to his opinion.
The "pro" custom camp are entitled to their opinion equally, however the mockery and scorn poured upon him and those who have an opposing point of view is palpable . Rude and hectoring , snide and subtle references to lack of income, capital and talent .

So it would seem Mahalo is a one way street ,and Johno3443 thingy (to be editd) put it spot on , to paraphrase

"if you go against the grain on this forum then you are given a hard time"

Whatever happened to "I disagree entirely with what you say , but will defend to the death your right to say it "

Not on this thread , and certainly not on other posts around the place.

We have had a lively debate up to a point and some justifications and some climb downs and some explanations . But the overall tone is "if you say anything against Custom Ukes then you are a Hater " to encapsulate a broadly apparent stance.

Sometimes the way the names and makes and models of ukuleles are traded and talked about makes them seem not like instruments to be played and cherished , but like a game of Ukulele Top Trumps .

Personally I don't care what ukelele you own, only that you play ukelele. If you are happy and able to pay loads-a-money for an expensive ukelele then I am made up for you , enjoy it and strum happily ......Campanella, Clawhammer , Fingerpick or whatever is your bag or even a combination of all four ...(I don't Camp' much).





PS

I have also obliquely been referred to by one poster as a "person who enjoys putting a turd in a punchbowl" because I disagree with him.
How vulgar and how rude. Mahalo eh ?

Except Ceejay, when people claim things are overpriced, they are insinuating that people that buy them are doing just that, wasting money. Perhaps the uke itself is not a waste of money, but money was wasted in purchasing it.

There are plenty of things I consider a waste of money - the quarters my mother-in-law pours into slot machines, my spouse's motorcycle that gets ridden a few times a year, many of the ukuleles on this forum. But the difference is, I choose not to tell those people that. It is frankly none of my business. If it makes them happy, and they do not regret the purchase then it was priced appropriately. If these luthiers and K brands were overpricing their instruments then there would not be multiple year wait list for luthiers, and the K brands would go out of business. The correct price is what the market will bear.

Surely the right to an opinion that exists within the "anti" camp (not my term, just paralleling your use of "pro") permits the "pro" camp to defend their purchases and the luthiers that made them. That being said I would like to remind everyone to try and maintain civility and respect during this discussion. I do not remember the reference regarding the punch bowl, I will re read the thread when I get to a computer (on my phone now). If that is the case, that is rather crass and should not take place if it is a direct attack on you personally. But if they are just referring to people that rain on the parade in general (I won't use the phrase I intend or I would be accused of the same crassness) then it is not really an attack. Again, I will re read the whole thread.

CeeJay
05-01-2015, 03:23 AM
Except Ceejay, when people claim things are overpriced, they are insinuating that people that buy them are doing just that, wasting money. Perhaps the uke itself is not a waste of money, but money was wasted in purchasing it.

There are plenty of things I consider a waste of money - the quarters my mother-in-law pours into slot machines, my spouse's motorcycle that gets ridden a few times a year, many of the ukuleles on this forum. But the difference is, I choose not to tell those people that. If it makes them happy, then it is not a waste of money.

Everyone has different priorities and preferences. If anyone is acting superior or sanctimonious around these parts, I would wager it is those individuals telling luthiers what their products are worth and buyers what is a proper valuation for their instruments.

Definitely NOT a waste of money ....how verrrrrrry dare you :biglaugh:(I have one of those too :o)

I'm not writing any more on this custom pro/dubious thread because it is clear that it is a bone of contention that will achieve nothing but acrimony and unwanted animousity (I'll keep that spelling , I am sure it is because I have just had to clear up Bumps latest Mouse offering off the kitchen floor).

I might just go and prod the Kwacker into life , the sun is out and dry as abone (still boody cold though)

Cheers

Andy Chen
05-01-2015, 03:46 AM
CeeJay:

When there is talk of luthiers overpricing their works, it can go two ways:

1. It's unintentional. Which means the luthiers are unaware or not very clever, or both.

2. It's deliberate. Hence, they are greedy or avaricious.

Rllink
05-01-2015, 03:48 AM
Well, there are UUers who feel the need to rationalize the fact that they didn't buy a very expensive uke. Then they feel the need to tell the rest of us that we're wasting our money if we spend more than they would.
There is no end to people telling others what not to buy here. Cheap uke are no good, custom uke are over priced. The ones in the middle are only good if you buy them from certain people. You have to take everything here with a grain of salt. No offence intended my UU friends and neighbors, but most of what I read on UU I consider background noise while I'm making my own decisions.

maclay
05-01-2015, 03:48 AM
Look people, we are just going in circles here. People have their opinions.
I don't believe JustinJ meant any ill will with his original post, and he and I are cool.

What I do know -
1. The uke in question was a damn fine instrument.
2. People will spend their money however they choose.

Thanks to all those who have supported me.
I strive to build the best ukulele I've ever built, every time I build one. I promise to do my best every time I approach my workbench.

Looking forward...

CeeJay
05-01-2015, 04:29 AM
There is no end to people telling others what not to buy here. Cheap uke are no good, custom uke are over priced. The ones in the middle are only good if you buy them from certain people. You have to take everything here with a grain of salt. No offence intended my UU friends and neighbors, but most of what I read on UU I consider background noise while I'm making my own decisions.

Bravo :cheers:

Beau Hannam Ukuleles
05-01-2015, 04:38 AM
Look people, we are just going in circles here. People have their opinions.
I don't believe JustinJ meant any ill will with his original post, and he and I are cool.

What I do know -
1. The uke in question was a damn fine instrument.
2. People will spend their money however they choose.

Thanks to all those who have supported me.
I strive to build the best ukulele I've ever built, every time I build one. I promise to do my best every time I approach my workbench.

Looking forward...

I've played a Hive uke and they are fantastic, super clean and worth every penny, or dime, or whatever Americans say.:)- I hope to one day own one.

Also,
Any uke at any price is a waste of money if you never play it.

wayfarer75
05-01-2015, 04:38 AM
There is no end to people telling others what not to buy here. Cheap uke are no good, custom uke are over priced. The ones in the middle are only good if you buy them from certain people. You have to take everything here with a grain of salt. No offence intended my UU friends and neighbors, but most of what I read on UU I consider background noise while I'm making my own decisions.

Indeed. Everyone has their own tastes and budget and space to hold instruments. I make my buying decisions based on those limitations, and others' opinions are just that, opinions.

mm stan
05-01-2015, 04:53 AM
Okay I'll bite...okay,
what's you point already, everything has been said? :deadhorse::stop:

AndrewKuker
05-01-2015, 05:13 AM
I'm not pro or anti any price range. Part of my whole effort is to give affordable imports with proper QC and improved playability. I am not a snob and I don't think people need high end ukes. But the ones we carry are worth their tag and more. That much I know.

As a child I remember great musicians praising my dads work, and his customs were not cheap, but we were poor. No big deal. Money is just something to pay the bills. Doing good work is the point. But understand that people with this mind frame take longer to do better work. Sometimes they trash work that isn't up to their standards. And they DO give many musicians and enthusiasts something you won't get out of a factory.

There is an incredible amount of time and effort given by a good luthier and they need to get what they can to keep doing what they do at the quality they are capable of. Hopefully you guys can empathize with that. I'm not trying to tell people what to value. But that's my experience and why I felt it was disrespectful even though I'm sure it was not intended to be.

Dan Uke
05-01-2015, 06:30 AM
I'm a basic uke player, playing for about 19 months. I have great fun buying ukes, having gone through 16 in that time (down to 5 now, one for sale), including a few customs, but seeing Daniel's (nongdam) LfdM gypsy jazz uke (a beaut I have to say) I chose not to spend thousands or wait years, so I went with an Asian builder, who was very responsive and accommodating. What might have cost $2000 to $2500 and over a year to build, cost me $780 including shipping and took about 5 months. It looks really good, but it doesn't have enough sustain or projection for me, though the builder and others here on UU tell me to give it about a year or so to open up. So I'll wait.

Two other ukes built by the same company sounded much better right out of the box for even less, and my Kala cedar even better for $360. Over-all I'm satisfied with my decision on the customs and don't feel compelled to get one for thousands, in fact, I'm now having mods and custom work done on u-basses, so I've actually been able to buy a greater variety for my money, something I really like doing.

Hey Mike since you're commenting about finding an alternative to LFDM including commenting in LFDM threads, I don't want people to think that the two ukes are the same. You took pictures and measurements of my uke so I'm sure they look very similar but there's more to it than looks. You've now had your uke for nine months and so I am not sure how much better it'll sound. I really believe LFDM is one of the best sounding ukes I've tried. To be fair, I've never tried your gypsy jazz uke but I tried your Mandolele and you know what I think of that. I would buy a Flea, Fluke or many of the Chinese made ukes for the cost of the Mandolele. There's alternatives to Bruce Wei too but might not look as unique.

Man, the guys who live in Hawaii are either up early or haven't gone to sleep yet!! hahaha

JustinJ
05-01-2015, 06:42 AM
I'm not pro or anti any price range. Part of my whole effort is to give affordable imports with proper QC and improved playability. I am not a snob and I don't think people need high end ukes. But the ones we carry are worth their tag and more. That much I know.

As a child I remember great musicians praising my dads work, and his customs were not cheap, but we were poor. No big deal. Money is just something to pay the bills. Doing good work is the point. But understand that people with this mind frame take longer to do better work. Sometimes they trash work that isn't up to their standards. And they DO give many musicians and enthusiasts something you won't get out of a factory.

There is an incredible amount of time and effort given by a good luthier and they need to get what they can to keep doing what they do at the quality they are capable of. Hopefully you guys can empathize with that. I'm not trying to tell people what to value. But that's my experience and why I felt it was disrespectful even though I'm sure it was not intended to be.

I was not going to post on this thread anymore but would like to make a point here.

1. I never said that all custom ukes were overpriced.
2. There are custom builders who deserve the money they get for their ukuleles.
3. I never criticized anyone for spending their money on ukulele.
4. There are less than reputable custom builders selling ukuleles for over inflated prices. I'm sure you know some of them. They take away from the work of the true craftsman.
5. I have artist and musicians for friends. I understand what it takes to do something right.

My post was never meant to go where it has gone. I just enjoy playing the ukulele. Unfortunately, I made a post when I had free time. My time could have been spent practicing and getting better. I pride myself on getting better every time I pick up my uke.

CeeJay
05-01-2015, 08:01 AM
I was not going to post on this thread anymore but would like to make a point here.

1. I never said that all custom ukes were overpriced.
2. There arecustom builders who deserve the money they get for their ukuleles.
3. I never criticized anyone for spending their money on ukulele.
4. There are less than reputable custom builders selling ukuleles for over inflated prices. I'm sure you know some of them. They take away from the work of the true craftsman.
5. I have artist and musicians for friends. I understand what it takes to do something right.

My post was never meant to go where it has gone. I just enjoy playing the ukulele. Unfortunately, I made a post when I had free time. My time could have been spent practicing and getting better. I pride myself on getting better every time I pick up my uke.

Which is what I have been saying . Any implied offence taken by some posters is all in their own imagination or interpretation of your original
premise and stated opinion .

Bugger .

I wasn't going to post again either ...:music::music::music:

Icelander53
05-01-2015, 08:12 AM
I could have told you how this was going to play out when I saw the thread title. Some sacred cows got their toes stepped on.

hawaii 50
05-01-2015, 08:23 AM
I was not going to post on this thread anymore but would like to make a point here.

1. I never said that all custom ukes were overpriced.
2. There arecustom builders who deserve the money they get for their ukuleles.
3. I never criticized anyone for spending their money on ukulele.
4. There are less than reputable custom builders selling ukuleles for over inflated prices. I'm sure you know some of them. They take away from the work of the true craftsman.
5. I have artist and musicians for friends. I understand what it takes to do something right.

My post was never meant to go where it has gone. I just enjoy playing the ukulele. Unfortunately, I made a post when I had free time. My time could have been spent practicing and getting better. I pride myself on getting better every time I pick up my uke.

if you are not going to post on your thread anymore...you should ask the moderators to close the thread....as Jake said everyone just going in circles...trying to show they are smarter or more right with their opinions....CeeJay said he was not going to post anymore...but there he is again saying the same things over and over....haha

must 2 cents,don't take it too serious......

CeeJay
05-01-2015, 08:38 AM
if you are not going to post on your thread anymore...you should ask the moderators to close the thread....as Jake said everyone just going in circles...trying to show they are smarter or more right with their opinions....CeeJay said he was not going to post anymore...but there he is again saying the same things over and over....haha

must 2 cents,don't take it too serious......

Over and Over and Over ....isn't that a song ....and I have to keep putting my BanjoUke down as well...I just can't helppppp myself :deadhorse::2cents:

hawaii 50
05-01-2015, 08:42 AM
Over and Over and Over ....isn't that a song ....and I have to keep putting my BanjoUke down as well...I just can't helppppp myself :deadhorse::2cents:

haha..you can do it...concentrate....:)

bobmyers
05-01-2015, 10:25 AM
Please close this thread, everything that needs to be said has been said. I'm sorry for my addition.
Bob Myers

kohanmike
05-01-2015, 02:25 PM
Hey Mike since you're commenting about finding an alternative to LFDM including commenting in LFDM threads, I don't want people to think that the two ukes are the same.

Yes Dan, my uke definitely doesn't sound as good as yours, and realistically I don't think a year will make a difference. But mine is not bad, just not as loud as I would like, and for the price, I'm good with it. Maybe someday I'll go for an LfdM, but you play so much better than me, and I'm not sure I have the wherewithal to get as good, especially since I've been concentrating on bass lately, but ya' never know. I hope I didn't sour your opinion of me, I'd still like to get together for Koreatown Raman.

stevejfc
05-01-2015, 04:33 PM
Except Ceejay, when people claim things are overpriced, they are insinuating that people that buy them are doing just that, wasting money. Perhaps the uke itself is not a waste of money, but money was wasted in purchasing it.

There are plenty of things I consider a waste of money - the quarters my mother-in-law pours into slot machines, my spouse's motorcycle that gets ridden a few times a year, many of the ukuleles on this forum. But the difference is, I choose not to tell those people that. It is frankly none of my business. If it makes them happy, and they do not regret the purchase then it was priced appropriately. If these luthiers and K brands were overpricing their instruments then there would not be multiple year wait list for luthiers, and the K brands would go out of business. The correct price is what the market will bear.

Surely the right to an opinion that exists within the "anti" camp (not my term, just paralleling your use of "pro") permits the "pro" camp to defend their purchases and the luthiers that made them. That being said I would like to remind everyone to try and maintain civility and respect during this discussion. I do not remember the reference regarding the punch bowl, I will re read the thread when I get to a computer (on my phone now). If that is the case, that is rather crass and should not take place if it is a direct attack on you personally. But if they are just referring to people that rain on the parade in general (I won't use the phrase I intend or I would be accused of the same crassness) then it is not really an attack. Again, I will re read the whole thread.

Well said Staci.

stevejfc
05-01-2015, 04:52 PM
To be honest ...it don't matter how much it costs ...a good uke player will make a 10:00 uke sound fantastic ...
As F.U. on the original BBC (and BEST)House of Cards said, "You may think that. I couldn't possibly comment".

sukie
05-01-2015, 05:54 PM
To be honest ...it don't matter how much it costs ...a good uke player will make a 10:00 uke sound fantastic ...

It's very true. Jake played my first ukulele and he made it sing. My playing it? Not so much. But I haven't played it in years. I should see if I've improved.

CeeJay
05-02-2015, 12:28 AM
As F.U. on the original BBC (and BEST)House of Cards said, "You may think that. I couldn't possibly comment".

Well ,you are very gracious,thank you ....and well don't then.;) Fair enuff guv...
( Not a series I ever watched so the meaning of the phrase is possibly lost on me. I preferred Yes Minister and Yes Prime Minister )

AndrewKuker
05-02-2015, 02:03 AM
I was not going to post on this thread anymore but would like to make a point here.

1. I never said that all custom ukes were overpriced.
2. There are custom builders who deserve the money they get for their ukuleles.
3. I never criticized anyone for spending their money on ukulele.
4. There are less than reputable custom builders selling ukuleles for over inflated prices. I'm sure you know some of them. They take away from the work of the true craftsman.
5. I have artist and musicians for friends. I understand what it takes to do something right.

My post was never meant to go where it has gone. I just enjoy playing the ukulele. Unfortunately, I made a post when I had free time. My time could have been spent practicing and getting better. I pride myself on getting better every time I pick up my uke.

Right on Justin, I understand this for sure. A customer sent me the link when this thread started and you had the comparison of two ukes. As much as I tried to stay out of it, it festered with me, and I felt compelled to speak up. I can agree with all that you said in your points on this post and also feel that my time would have been better spent playing an ukulele than getting salty over some forum argument, lol. Live and learn. Mahalo to all for their empathic kindness toward others as we discuss things just for the sake of it.

LittleCeci
05-02-2015, 05:40 AM
Thanks Spook, this needs repeating:

I never understand the point of these types of arguments.

If you don't think customs are worth the money don't buy one.
If you don't think gays should be married don't marry one.
If you don't think God is real, don't pray.

What you do or believe us up to you.
What anyone else does or believes is up to them.

BTW, I would love to jump into this mental masturbation but apparently from what I've read I've got to go to some kind of school to learn this art/craft or nothing I say has any credence. Even after building well over 600 ukes (no guitars, thank you) I did so without a minute's worth of formal instruction. I learned to build from a Stewart McDonald parts catalog and figured it out from there. I must be doing something wrong!
It's the pervasiveness of these kind of generalizations that makes me want to avoid threads like this. Just please know, it's a big world and there's room for everyone.
What you haved said is like philosophy to me, and I think anything that exists must be reasonable. In China, we have an old saying: 千金难买心头好 which in my opinion means: Even if you are a millionaire, it is very hard for you to get what you truely love. So I just follow the feeling from the bottom of my heart.

LittleCeci
05-02-2015, 05:47 AM
So I have bought and sold many ukes in the attempt to find nirvana. It does not exist, but I got close enough to resolve my tenor needs. The bottom line is I own a Moore Bettah Milo tenor with a bear claw Sitka face that sounds and plays great. But what I paid for is much more, this instrument is a work of art and everything I have compared it to pales in comparison. Its sister was recently sold on ebay for $5400 and it was not as nice as mine.Aloha Bob, I brought that sister uke of yours. And I think it is as nice as yours,haha ;)
Cecilia Xia

johnson430
05-02-2015, 05:50 AM
Right on Justin, I understand this for sure. A customer sent me the link when this thread started and you had the comparison of two ukes. As much as I tried to stay out of it, it festered with me, and I felt compelled to speak up. I can agree with all that you said in your points on this post and also feel that my time would have been better spent playing an ukulele than getting salty over some forum argument, lol. Live and learn. Mahalo to all for their empathic kindness toward others as we discuss things just for the sake of it.

Andrew,

We are all uke players and that should be our compass point.

Thank you for your honesty and insight.

Cheers,
Johnson
=)

Icelander53
05-02-2015, 07:10 AM
Of course to each their own as long as it doesn't harm others. However I see nothing wrong with and benefit from discussions such as these. There's always something to learn in these forums. Just let it out is my motto. Do it respectfully but do it.

HBolte
05-03-2015, 03:06 AM
And here's another one of those broad generalizations that keep popping up. While a proficient player can make any uke sound better, a poorly built uke has it's limitations and the same player has a better chance of making better music from a higher quality uke. I've heard professional players play a wide array of ukuleles and you can certainly hear the difference. And I know these players can feel the difference.

Exactly. It's not the ukulele it's the player, blah, blah, blah.

Icelander53
05-03-2015, 05:22 AM
It's both. IMO the only way to walk this path is right down the middle.

mds725
05-03-2015, 09:24 PM
I've been very fortunate to have met a number of very highly regarded luthiers (most in person, one or two online) and to play (and in a few instances, possess) one of their instruments. I'm also something of an artist - a cartoonist, to be precise - so I feel like I can relate a little to the process of making something that wasn't there before I made it. I know that everyone of my cartoons has some bit of me in it, whether it's just my sense of humor, my view of the world, or the way I draw an eyebrow. (I've been told that the penguins I draw sometimes look like me, although I don't see the resemblance.) The quality of a custom instrument is, of course, very important, but in my view, owning a custom is not completely about the quality of the instrument. I'm not as talented a cartoonist as the luthiers I've met are at making instruments, but I can tell you from my own experiences and from having met these luthiers that they build ukuleles because that's what they love to do, and as is true of anything one loves, they put their hearts into each ukulele they build. Each instrument I own carries with it some of the spirit and heart of the person who built it (and I know that from having met these people) and in that sense, each of my custom instruments is not just an instrument but, in some way, a friendship. I don't play a custom ukulele without thinking of some quality of the person who built it that delights, amazes, awes, and/or inspires me, and that changes and enhances my experience of the instrument. I simply can't put a price tag on that experience. If the world's best ukulele was built by someone I absolutely disliked, I'm not sure I would want it at any price.

Icelander53
05-04-2015, 01:35 AM
I'm the same way with my ukes. I know that some person on an assembly line put some of themselves into my uke and that is as valid imo as any other method. All humans doing what they love. I feel no less blessed to own my Pono's.

Ukulele Eddie
05-04-2015, 04:25 AM
... I know that everyone of my cartoons has some bit of me in it, whether it's just my sense of humor, my view of the world, or the way I draw an eyebrow. (I've been told that the penguins I draw sometimes look like me, although I don;t see the resemblance.) ...

I think you need to post a pic of you and one of the penguins and let us vote via poll! ;-)

Moore Bettah Ukuleles
05-04-2015, 06:45 AM
I think you need to post a pic of you and one of the penguins and let us vote via poll! ;-)

I was going to say.......We need to see you in a tuxedo before we can make that call Mark!

Ukulele Eddie
05-04-2015, 07:01 AM
I was going to say.......We need to see you in a tuxedo before we can make that call Mark!

Of course!