PDA

View Full Version : Do you play a uke that far exceeds what your skill warrants?



mikelz777
08-05-2015, 07:28 PM
I was wondering if there are many people out there who play a uke that far exceeds what their skill/talent warrants? If so, do you think it is likely that you'll ever reach the level that you feel truly justifies having such a nice uke?

I ask because tonight I just pulled the trigger on a new tenor that is far nicer than what my talent/skills require or warrant. I'm treating myself because I had a totally unexpected, large amount of cash come my way. I wouldn't have got it otherwise. I'm very excited about it but at the same time, I still feel a bit squirmy spending so much on such a nice uke considering where I'm at and where I realistically am likely to go.

gyosh
08-05-2015, 07:54 PM
I was wondering if there are many people out there who play a uke that far exceeds what their skill/talent warrants? If so, do you think it is likely that you'll ever reach the level that you feel truly justifies having such a nice uke?

I ask because tonight I just pulled the trigger on a new tenor that is far nicer than what my talent/skills require or warrant. I'm treating myself because I had a totally unexpected, large amount of cash come my way. I wouldn't have got it otherwise. I'm very excited about it but at the same time, I still feel a bit squirmy spending so much on such a nice uke considering where I'm at and where I realistically am likely to go.

I have a custom that far exceeds my talent level.

With that said, even with my inept playing it sounds better than my other ukes. The action is lower and easier to play thus I play a little better and it is just more enjoyable to hold and play.

Why not?

Will I ever play it to its ability. Nope. But I still love it playing to mine. Isn't that what counts?!

Ukulele Eddie
08-05-2015, 07:54 PM
I would wager many, if not most, moderately serious uke enthusiasts' instruments are excessive to the bare minimum quality intonation and playability to make satisfying sounding music. To wit, most professional musicians have pretty ordinary instruments. But many of us ordinary folks like pretty woods, precise craftsmanship and some of us even like bling. It's great you had a nice windfall, so enjoy your splurge. Look forward to finding out what you picked!

itsme
08-05-2015, 08:02 PM
I'd say my best ukes are Mainland cedar tenor, a Pono mahogany tenor and my Lehua acacia tenor, none of which were *that* expensive.

I did buy a used classical guitar once used for more than a couple grand. Never regretted it.

You said you came into some unexpected money. What a fun way to spend it on yourself. Better than a high powered/dangerous motorcycle.

gyosh
08-05-2015, 08:05 PM
I would wager many, if not most, moderately serious uke enthusiasts' instruments are excessive to the bare minimum quality intonation and playability to make satisfying sounding music. To wit, most professional musicians have pretty ordinary instruments. But many of us ordinary folks like pretty woods, precise craftsmanship and some of us even like bling. It's great you had a nice windfall, so enjoy your splurge. Look forward to finding out what you picked!

Off topic, but do you have pics of your Hive? Jake's craftsmanship and knowledge are top rate!

Hippie Dribble
08-05-2015, 08:08 PM
No stooge wrote a rule that says you have to be able to justify owning a certain value instrument by your skill level. If that were the case then almost all ukulele makers would be out of business. There'd be no market.

Buy that which you can afford and makes you happy and motivated to play. It's your money. Heck, hang the thing on a wall and gaze at it with lustful and loving eyes. Then take it off the wall and play the snozzle out of it. Don't feel guilty, apologetic or unworthy; feel darn glad that we live in a world where these things are possible. If you're hung up about your level of playing, use that as motivation to improve. And what better instrument to use than the lovely one you've just bought.

Congrats Mike. Look forward to the big reveal!

kohanmike
08-05-2015, 08:10 PM
About six months after I started playing ukulele, I ordered a custom gypsy jazz style from a builder in Vietnam for $780, less than half of any other builder I contacted, and the most money to this day I've spent on a uke. Even though it's not my loudest uke, it's mellow and is beautiful and I enjoy it.

So enjoy it, play it, relish it, and use it to the best of your ability. The more you play, the better you get. (I'm a member of the Talk Bass forum club titled; "Crappy Bassist w/Expensive Gear, #336" and proud of it.)

boogie10
08-05-2015, 08:19 PM
Can you imagine if this same logic applied to the weekend golfers (like myself)? The golf industry would go broke :-) Enjoy your new addition to the uke family regardless how skilled you are just as long as you're having fun!

Jeffelele
08-05-2015, 08:45 PM
I was wondering if there are many people out there who play a uke that far exceeds what their skill/talent warrants? If so, do you think it is likely that you'll ever reach the level that you feel truly justifies having such a nice uke?

What language is this? I seem to understand all the words but arranged like that they make no sense.

Jeff

Mivo
08-05-2015, 10:26 PM
Actually, I think you need more skill to make an inexpensive instrument sound good.

I struggled with the whole question for a bit when I dropped over a grand on a ukulele, but the doubt went away when I got it. Great playability and perfect intonation benefit someone with limited skill as much, if not more, than an advanced player whose skill may compensate for shortcomings of the instrument.

A high quality instrument may well remove obstacles and annoyances from the learning experience (wrong action, not staying in tune, etc.), which allows a better focus on improving musicianship instead of having to fight with the ukulele.

If there was a correlation between skill level and the price of an instrument, I'd not "deserve" more than a plastic $30 ukulele. But then I'd look for a different hobby, because I'd probably not have nearly as much fun. :)

upskydowncloud
08-05-2015, 10:39 PM
I have a semi-custom Kamaka HF-3 that clearly exceeds my skill level but I think it's better to start on the best instrument you can (as advised by Jake S I think) - it definitely gives you a goal too so don't worry about it!

DownUpDave
08-05-2015, 11:21 PM
Jake plays Kamaka. They also sell their instruments to all of us that are far less skilled and deserving then Jake. The Kamaka family is really glad so many of us don't warrant owning their instuments but buy them anyways.

The golf analogy was already used but my bag is worth over 2K and PGA pros using the same stuff can shoot a 63 to my 83, I enjoy those clubs immensely.

I started out with a $135.00 tenor realized I loved ukulele and quickly purchased ukes of increasingly higher costs. With each better uke I fell deeper in love with the music I was able to make with them. The ukes I own now will always and forever be so much better than I am, thats ok. One strum or plucked note of pure gorgeous tone and it is worth every penny. It brings so much enjoyment

Congratulations on aquiring a fine instrument..........now WHAT is it :drool:

sam13
08-06-2015, 01:32 AM
I think buying an expensive instrument is worth it. I enjoy my time playing them so much.

Ha it said THAT I have a few inexpensive Ukes that I love to play as well. I really enjoy them and I appreciate their tone and don't care how much I paid for them.

AndrewKuker
08-06-2015, 01:42 AM
Either every ukulele will exceed your talent, or none will.

Mivo
08-06-2015, 01:49 AM
Either every ukulele will exceed your talent, or none will.

I like this.

autojoy
08-06-2015, 01:56 AM
I think this is an interesting thread & I'm happy to see the replies! :)

I'm hoping to get an ukulele at Christmas time that I hope will see me from a beginner, into intermediate, and maybe even beyond. It will certainly be above my skill level! But I like what upskydowncloud said about goals; I want to be able to step up and be the best I can to match whichever instrument I will welcome into my home! :o

Maybe thinking of the "above-skill-level" ukulele as a "teacher" who can take you and your skills to places you dreamed about going might be a nice way to think about it, too, and take some of the pressure off...

SteveZ
08-06-2015, 02:00 AM
It's only an instrument. It's "value" is as subjective as it gets.

One's skill level does not determine whether one "qualifies" to have or play any instrument. The only "qualification" is one's decision to acquire, and the tactors which lead to that are legion.

Simply put, if it feels good, get it!

guitharsis
08-06-2015, 02:00 AM
With so many professional musicians playing K brand ukuleles, I would say yes, the ukes I play definitely exceed my skill level. Do enjoy having beautiful, great sounding ukuleles though.

Jon Moody
08-06-2015, 02:18 AM
Either every ukulele will exceed your talent, or none will.

This. Beautifully stated.

To the OP, the idea that an instrument is or is not worthy to be played by someone due to their skill level is silly. The instrument is a tool, and a means of musical expression. Use the one that best helps amplify your individual voice.

mikelz777
08-06-2015, 02:37 AM
Either every ukulele will exceed your talent, or none will.

This puts some nice perspective on the question and I feel more reassured after reading everyone's responses so far. While I'm way past struggling to down-stroke my way through a 2-chord song, HMS won't ever be hiring me to do ukulele sound demos. I suppose it's kind of like driving a car. Not really skill-wise but a cheap car is going to get the job done but a nicer, more expensive car is going to feel more substantial and will make the same trip nicer and more enjoyable.

It's not like I'm breaking the bank with this purchase but for me, it's a lot of money to spend on a uke. After a lot of deliberation, I decided to get a Pono ATD, an all-solid acacia wood with Macassar ebony bridge and fingerboard and a gloss finish. I haven't received it yet of course but this is what Andrew at HMS chose for me. He sent me these pics:

8211582116

I like the color a lot, it leans to the darker side. The grain patterns in the body look nice and when I blow the picture up a bit, I can see kind of a swirling, twisting, contrasting grain pattern in the ebony fretboard. It looks kind of like smoke coming out of the sound hole. You can see it better if you right click and open the picture in a new window. I dig it, Andrew did a great job picking it out for me.

guitharsis
08-06-2015, 02:42 AM
What a beautiful uke. Congrats!

Rllink
08-06-2015, 03:52 AM
I was wondering if there are many people out there who play a uke that far exceeds what their skill/talent warrants? If so, do you think it is likely that you'll ever reach the level that you feel truly justifies having such a nice uke?

I ask because tonight I just pulled the trigger on a new tenor that is far nicer than what my talent/skills require or warrant. I'm treating myself because I had a totally unexpected, large amount of cash come my way. I wouldn't have got it otherwise. I'm very excited about it but at the same time, I still feel a bit squirmy spending so much on such a nice uke considering where I'm at and where I realistically am likely to go.Interesting question, and I'm not completely sure what you are asking. Because it appears that you are asking, round about, if we think you should buy an expensive ukulele that you do not feel that you are worthy of owning, by asking if any of us have ukuleles that we feel we are not worthy of. And frankly, I find it interesting that you put an ukulele in that position. Of course you can have an expensive, nice ukulele. Why would you think that any ukulele would be too good for you?

RichM
08-06-2015, 03:55 AM
None of you are good enough for the ukes you own. Send them to me, and I will take care of them until you improve.

spookelele
08-06-2015, 04:16 AM
What ever your skill level, a good uke will sound better than a bad uke.
A great player will get more out of a great instrument because thats part of what makes them great.
But you don't have to be at Corey level to hear an improvement in the music you make with a better instrument over a cheaper one.
Also, a better instrument makes you want to play more, and then you get better.

fretie
08-06-2015, 04:25 AM
A crap instrument puts me off playing. A good instrument is like a magnet; I am constantly drawn to pick it up and then I play it more and more.

Get the best you can afford.

Recstar24
08-06-2015, 04:27 AM
Life is short. Enjoy what you can within reason.

My ukes have all been way better than me. As a result, they've helped me become a better player.

UkerDanno
08-06-2015, 04:32 AM
Can you imagine if this same logic applied to the weekend golfers (like myself)? The golf industry would go broke :-) Enjoy your new addition to the uke family regardless how skilled you are just as long as you're having fun!

exactly! My skills don't warrant a Kanile'a, but I love to play it! I have lots of money tied up in golf clubs too, maybe they make me better, maybe not, who cares? Used to have a Porsche Boxster S, which far exceeded my driving abilities, but it was a kick in the A$$!

BTW, what did you get?!

kkimura
08-06-2015, 04:33 AM
Do I have a uke that exceeds my playing ability? Most definitely yes!

A friend of mine was given a 16 lb bowing ball when he first took up bowling as a grade schooler. When he asked about the weight, his dad told him not to worry because he would grow into it.

UkerDanno
08-06-2015, 04:33 AM
Either every ukulele will exceed your talent, or none will.

maybe, maybe not...:shaka:

Ukulele Eddie
08-06-2015, 05:11 AM
Off topic, but do you have pics of your Hive? Jake's craftsmanship and knowledge are top rate!

Are you kidding? That's like saying, "Do you have pictures of your kids?". Sure, do you have an hour or two! ;-) Here is the link to the original HMS listing: http://www.theukulelesite.com/hive-ukulele-hornet-tenor-spruce-maple.html . And just one photo inline:

https://farm9.staticflickr.com/8857/16841622423_291ca108aa_b.jpg (https://flic.kr/p/rEeHAp)

Ukulele Eddie
08-06-2015, 05:12 AM
Either every ukulele will exceed your talent, or none will.

Whoa, that is like Yoda good, Andrew!

guitharsis
08-06-2015, 05:28 AM
LOVE your Hive Ukulele Eddie!

katysax
08-06-2015, 05:43 AM
In any event, there is no such thing as being too good for your instrument. If you have a good instrument it will motivate you to learn. When I was a kid learning clarinet my parents bought me an inexpensive instrument. My best friend had a top of the line Buffet. It was night and day playing my clarinet and hers. I had to struggle and hers got great tone and was much easier and more fun to play. I decided then and there that I would never limit myself by having anything less than the best when I had the ability to choose.

By the way its a myth that professional musicians play inexpensive instruments or only have one. It depends on the musician. Plenty of them have lots of instruments and only play the best. Most professional ukulele players play K brands in public because of the arrangements they have with the manufacturers.

Craig Chee
08-06-2015, 05:54 AM
I started on a Tanqi (not even sure if it was a q or g...) that had incredibly high action, started going out of tune past the 4th fret, and a bridge that had to be reglued back twice. But I played the heck out of it because I really wanted to learn. After a while though it did get frustrating mainly to having its intonation being all over the place so I kept thinking it was something I was doing wrong. So I stopped playing as much.
Then as a high school graduation gift my parents bought me a Kamaka... And I could not put it down. Of course it was "beyond my level" at the time but it made me want to play it every second I could. Things were sounding correct! It was easier to play! It ended up becoming an amazing instrument to grow with and an instrument I can still bring out today and find little nuances in its sound and discover new things about it.

As I got older it was very interesting to hear so many stories of other ‘ukuleles. Some are cherished because it was passed down in the family, or bought from their first big paycheck, or gifted from a loved one, or found after years of looking for the "one", or a matching pink plastic Uke that they bought on vacation with their daughter... Whatever inspires one to play, that is going to be the best ‘ukulele for them :)

k0k0peli
08-06-2015, 05:55 AM
Hopefully without insulting / maligning the OP, IMHO the question is absurd. Yes, nice instruments are preferable to crap instruments -- usually. If I'm going to go all Pete Townsend on a 'uke, it should be something cheap. But no instrument is 'beyond' my skill level unless I just don't know how to play the sucker at all -- like me with a tuba. (Well, I made bad but enthusiastic noises with a slide trombone.) Any more-or-less fretted string instrument in a more-or-less familiar tuning is fair meat for my meaty fingers.

Do I prefer my luthier-built Celtic mandolin to the cheap pac-rim-factory US$46 (delivered) Rogue RM100A mando? Yes, although I practice more on the Rogue. Do I 'deserve' one more than the other because my skill isn't at Jethro Burns / Dawg / Chris Thile level? Nope. Do I *deserve* a better uke than my current specimens? I'd like to think so. But that doesn't really matter. Humans make music. Instruments are our tools. We rationally don't blame our tools, or deserve them, or justify them, any of that stuff -- we just use them.

mikelz777
08-06-2015, 05:56 AM
BTW, what did you get?!

See post #21.

8211982120

Habanera Hal
08-06-2015, 06:02 AM
Any ukulele is beyond my talents or ability. http://www.freesmileys.org/emoticons/emoticon-south-park-006.gif (http://www.freesmileys.org/emoticons.php)

mikelz777
08-06-2015, 06:54 AM
Interesting question, and I'm not completely sure what you are asking. Because it appears that you are asking, round about, if we think you should buy an expensive ukulele that you do not feel that you are worthy of owning, by asking if any of us have ukuleles that we feel we are not worthy of. And frankly, I find it interesting that you put an ukulele in that position. Of course you can have an expensive, nice ukulele. Why would you think that any ukulele would be too good for you?

The deed was done before I even posted so I wasn't seeking thoughts on whether I should buy or not. Maybe thinking an instrument is too good for me is the wrong way of looking at it. I'm not sure, maybe I wanted reassurance that I wasn't the only one out there spending a lot of money on a nice uke when my skill set would probably be just as satisfied with a more affordable, perhaps lesser uke. :o It was kind of a crazy splurge for me and even though I'm using what is intended to be guilt free money, there's still a little bit of guilt there.

sukie
08-06-2015, 07:03 AM
I LOVE my ukulele. I find a lovely nice one keeps me striving to get better. And I have since figured out there is no such thing as too nice. Who says? I just like it.

rappsy
08-06-2015, 08:02 AM
We aspire to be better. Make sure your instrument can take you there.

SailingUke
08-06-2015, 08:06 AM
When I bought my DaSilva, it far exceeded my ability (it still does).
The fine instrument both allowed me to play better and motivated me to learn and improve.
If one can afford it they should buy the instrument(s) of their dreams. Life is short, play well and prosper.

hawaii 50
08-06-2015, 08:22 AM
When I bought my DaSilva, it far exceeded my ability (it still does).
The fine instrument both allowed me to play better and motivated me to learn and improve.
If one can afford it they should buy the instrument(s) of their dreams. Life is short, play well and prosper.

I agree 100% with you..

I retired in 2013 and bought my Kanile'a Feb 2012..knowing if I did not get something nice it would sit in my closet after a few months....started taking lesson and reading up on the UU....I was glad to see I was not the only one with UAS...:) made a plan to get custom ukes from builders who I thought were worth the cost of their ukes.....my last uke is a R.Scherenbrand which is almost done....it took me three and a half years to get these ukes and am happy I did what I did I have kept all of my ukes except for two....I am no way a good player but the ukes make me happy..i think that is the main thing......I may get one more uke if heaven permits it(but happy with the ones I have now)......so now I just practice and try to play up to my ukes..never will happen but good fun trying.....

just my 2 cents

janeray1940
08-06-2015, 08:27 AM
The shop where I hang out and take lessons has posted an essay that touches on this on their website, which I've linked to in the past and will do so again (http://www.mccabes.com/usedrent.html). It's aimed at guitarists but applies to uke players as well. The main takeaway?

"Beginners need better guitars than experienced players, but sadly, they seldom get them. That is often why beginners quit."

Replace guitars with ukuleles, and there you go.

I think "buy the best you can afford" is a good rule to apply here. The best doesn't always mean the blingiest, or the most expensive. Six years later, I'm still playing one of the Kamakas that I started on daily. When I bought it, I was hesitant as I'm a serial quitter - I felt it was difficult to justify an instrument that cost the equivalent of half a month's rent when, knowing me, I'd probably abandon it within weeks, but - I was already noticing intonation issues on the starter uke I'd bought to learn on, and knew full well that would frustrate me enough to quit.

And now I have three. Does their value exceed my ability? Oh, probably (I certainly can't be the judge of that). But who cares - the important thing is that I play them, which can only improve my ability. Hopefully I'll live long enough for things to equal out :)

sculptor
08-06-2015, 09:04 AM
I was wondering if there are many people out there who play a uke that far exceeds what their skill/talent warrants? If so, do you think it is likely that you'll ever reach the level that you feel truly justifies having such a nice uke?

I ask because tonight I just pulled the trigger on a new tenor that is far nicer than what my talent/skills require or warrant. I'm treating myself because I had a totally unexpected, large amount of cash come my way. I wouldn't have got it otherwise. I'm very excited about it but at the same time, I still feel a bit squirmy spending so much on such a nice uke considering where I'm at and where I realistically am likely to go.

If someone had paid me to take a broken plastic uke off their hands then that might have matched my talent on the instrument. :) However, I bought a Pono mahogany tenor so I've clearly overreached. But if you are going to suck on an instrument you might as well sound as good as possible!

strumsilly
08-06-2015, 09:46 AM
yes, more than 1. good grief!

vanflynn
08-06-2015, 09:47 AM
Congrats on the Pono. I think you will find that having a nice uke will make it much easier to play, making it more enjoyable and will help you improve quicker (especially with barre chording).

BTW I have a Pono AC and really enjoy it. Post some pics when you get it

mikelz777
08-06-2015, 10:30 AM
Congrats on the Pono. I think you will find that having a nice uke will make it much easier to play, making it more enjoyable and will help you improve quicker (especially with barre chording).

BTW I have a Pono AC and really enjoy it. Post some pics when you get it

My computer is relatively new and I haven't figured out how to post pictures from my camera yet so I'd better figure that out. (There's some other stuff I'd like to do elsewhere with pics as well as some stuff I want to sell online so I'm motivated.) Until then, I don't know if you missed it in earlier posts but here are two pics of the actual uke sent by Andrew at HMS. You can see them a lot better if you right click on them and open them in a new window.

8212382124

mikelz777
08-06-2015, 11:00 AM
The shop where I hang out and take lessons has posted an essay that touches on this on their website, which I've linked to in the past and will do so again (http://www.mccabes.com/usedrent.html). It's aimed at guitarists but applies to uke players as well. The main takeaway?

"Beginners need better guitars than experienced players, but sadly, they seldom get them. That is often why beginners quit."

Replace guitars with ukuleles, and there you go.

I think "buy the best you can afford" is a good rule to apply here. The best doesn't always mean the blingiest, or the most expensive. Six years later, I'm still playing one of the Kamakas that I started on daily. When I bought it, I was hesitant as I'm a serial quitter - I felt it was difficult to justify an instrument that cost the equivalent of half a month's rent when, knowing me, I'd probably abandon it within weeks, but - I was already noticing intonation issues on the starter uke I'd bought to learn on, and knew full well that would frustrate me enough to quit.

And now I have three. Does their value exceed my ability? Oh, probably (I certainly can't be the judge of that). But who cares - the important thing is that I play them, which can only improve my ability. Hopefully I'll live long enough for things to equal out :)

Thanks for the link to that article. I hadn't seen it before and they make a lot of excellent points! I'm somewhat of a quitter myself, at least that is how it was with me and the guitar. I was very enthusiastic at first, then I might not play it for a few days. Then I'd play it again for a while and not pick it up again for weeks. Then I'd play a little while and not pick it up for months or years. I never developed a passion for the guitar (but I don't blame it on having a bad instrument). Me and the guitar just wasn't in the cards. It did lay the groundwork for a ukulele though. I played the uke more in 1 year than I did the guitar over the course of over a decade! I think one of the things that helped me rationalize pulling the trigger on this uke was that it was going to be an investment in something I enjoy and that I'm passionate about and that in all likelihood, it would be the last uke I ever buy. (I'm already feeling crowded with the thought of having 3. One has to go.) Maybe I won't develop the talent to make it sing as beautifully as it is capable of but nevertheless, I will be able to make it sing.

the.ronin
08-06-2015, 11:17 AM
Practically everything I own exceeds my talent level. Oh ... no, wait ... yup, *everything* I own exceeds my talent level LOL.

Now ask me how much I think about it. :D



[edit] I don't mean that to be a knock on your post, OP. Actually I think it's a very cool thought provoking post.

Steveperrywriter
08-06-2015, 11:31 AM
If the instrument is the limiting factor, you will eventually have to replace it. If you are the limiting factor, you can get better. That's my choice.

mikelz777
08-06-2015, 11:49 AM
If the instrument is the limiting factor, you will eventually have to replace it. If you are the limiting factor, you can get better.

Succinctly and well put! It makes perfect sense.

Nickie
08-06-2015, 01:51 PM
This was an interesting question posed by the OP.
And many interesting answers.
Very thought provoking.
Somedays I feel like just about any instrument would exceed my abilities.
I have had ukes that I felt were inhibiting my ability, so I quickly ridded my house of them. I'll not own one that is difficult to play.
I would not be ashamed to own a K brand, or even a MB, because, even though I'm not materialistic, I feel like nothing is too good for me.
Several of my friends have ukes that far exceed their ability, and they couldn't care less.

ChnkChnk
08-06-2015, 04:33 PM
Good intonation and sustain will help players of all levels sound better (especially beginners), and a beautiful instrument looks great no matter who is playing it. I don't see how paying extra for these can leave you with an instrument that's "too good" for your level of playing.

If there were expensive features that give advanced players an edge but make no difference for everyone else, that might be something to wait before buying, but I don't know what that would be--radiused fretboards, maybe? Anyone have any idea?

The best analogy I can think of was when I played pool with dorm buddies in college: everyone applied chalk to their queue before shooting, but I was pretty sure the extra accuracy it provided was much smaller than the margine of error for most of us.

vanflynn
08-06-2015, 04:41 PM
I refuse to join any club that would have me as a member.

CeeJay
08-06-2015, 05:43 PM
Do you play a uke that far exceeds what your skill warrants?

No. Having said that I must confess that I don't actually understand the real meaning of the question.

Do I have a uke that I can't justify the expense of ...No....

Do I have one that is somehow going to improve my playing because it is so well made ..No...


I don't get the question.....is it can you , the OP play the uke sufficiently well to justify an expensive ukelele ?...I have no clue how good you are ....nor what your budget is and what you would normally be able to afford. Nor what it is that you have bought . Or how much .

To be absolutely frank and brutally honest I would rather hear some half decent playing on a beat up old painted Dolphin then a half arsed attempt on a k, sorry K series or whatever Rosey Compass Eeni Meenie Minor Moe Pogo....but then I'm just a cynical curmudgeon and you know that.:biglaugh:

Katz-in-Boots
08-06-2015, 06:58 PM
My K ukes might be much higher level instruments than my playing ability,, but I could never be happy with less than the best I can afford.
As someone who played violin, viola then cello, I love the sustain, the ring, the tone of a decent instrument, and this is important to me.
Sometimes I have reason to strum someone else's Mahalo or whatever as they ask me to tune them yet again, and am saddened by the lack of volume & ring to them. No wonder so many beginners give up so quickly.
I am the same with strings: if they hurt my finger, don't enhance the sound & therefore the experience of playing, I don't want them.

Why work harder than you have to to make a nice sound? Enjoy the sound. Sometimes I love talking to my ukuleles because when I get the pitch right, they ring back at me. Okay, stopping now before I tell too much...

Ukulele Eddie
08-06-2015, 07:07 PM
LOVE your Hive Ukulele Eddie!

Me, too. ;-)

Yeah; it's exceptional both in craftsmanship and tone. I may never do it justice but I don't think I could ever let it go. I thought about it not long after I got it because it tend to prefer smaller sizes and felt it was silly to have such a phenomenal uke that might not always be the first one I grab. But then I came to my senses ;-)

Andy Chen
08-06-2015, 07:17 PM
Me, too. ;-)

Yeah; it's exceptional both in craftsmanship and tone. I may never do it justice but I don't think I could ever let it go. I thought about it not long after I got it because it tend to prefer smaller sizes and felt it was silly to have such a phenomenal uke that might not always be the first one I grab. But then I came to my senses ;-)

Phew... this removes a HUGE temptation for me :)

k0k0peli
08-06-2015, 11:11 PM
Another approach: I don't look at an instrument as setting a standard for me. I've played crap guitars that were real challenges -- like my cousin's, and she was amazed at what I could do with it. Is such a guitar 'below' my level? I've played heavenly mandolins and guitars that just sang under my fingers. Are such axes 'beyond' me? I own a cheap but substantially-made small-voiced baritone 'uke that I don't care for, not because it's unworthy of me, not because it plays badly (it doesn't), just because it's quiet. Does it 'deserve' someone with lesser playing skills? Sorry, that's all too metaphysical for me.

We're going theological here. We're implying that "expensive kindling with strings" have spiritual qualities. Sorry, that's mystic crud. We may love our instruments but they're dead objects built from wood, glue, plastic, metal, whatever. They're built by more-or-less skilled hands with more-or-less concern and care. At least some portions of them are usually produced by machines -- unless you make your own gut strings from rawhide.

Some are finely crafted. Most are assembly-line products. They *may* be glorious to see and hold and hear and play. They *may* be ugly as sin and sound funny. Doesn't matter. They're our tools. We use them, evoke what we can from them with our skills, hope for the best. They're not cursed nor blessed nor magical. And there's no Santa Claus, either. Ratz.

Tootler
08-06-2015, 11:51 PM
Do you play a uke that far exceeds what your skill warrants?

No. Having said that I must confess that I don't actually understand the real meaning of the question.


I came across the same question expressed differently on the concertina.net forum some years ago.

It ran something like this:

"Players of modest attainment shouldn't be buying top grade instruments because they are unable to get the best out of them"

It's tantamount to saying "you can't have that, you're not good enough". Basically that's what the person who started the thread meant.

He was pretty comprehensively rubbished in that forum and if it was expressed that way here, I suspect it would be treated in the same way.

I once tried a £1000 recorder. It was a lovely instrument but I personally did not feel that at that time I could justify that expenditure on an instrument - it was beyond what I could afford. I have recently, however spent almost as much, £800 on a recorder and that is also a lovely instrument and I really enjoy playing it.

The point was well made earlier about beginners needing better instruments than experienced players. I nearly gave up early on because the instrument I had was so poor. Fortunately a change of strings dealt with some of the issues and not long after I bought a much better instrument and I continued.

It's my belief that money spent on a good quality instrument is never money wasted because playing of it will give so much pleasure and if you give up or have to give up then it can be sold or passed on for someone else to enjoy.

My ukuleles are all mid range but they give me a lot of pleasure. I am thinking of stepping up a level to get a custom made instrument. I'm not interested in bling, just a well made instrument with good intonation that's a pleasure to play and sounds good both to myself and anyone listening and I don't mind paying a fair bit for it as long as it's within my means.

Michael N.
08-07-2015, 01:14 AM
Being a maker I've come across this kind of thing fairly frequently. There was a time when it was slightly embarrassing. Someone would turn up and they could just about manage 3 chords. I felt kind of cheated. I haven't felt that way for a long time. If someone wants to own and play an expensive instrument that is their concern. It probably makes them feel good. People spend all sorts of money on all manner of things. Frequently that stuff ends up in landfill, a few years later. It's value down to zero.
A few years ago I bought a Violin bow that was far, far better than I 'deserved'. I could have purchased a suitable one at one fifth of the price. I didn't. I purchased one from an individual maker and from one that represented decent quality without being really outlandish.
I've enjoyed using it and at the end of the day I know for a fact that I can't blame my lack of skill on the instrument or bow. I've never once regretted the purchase even though there have been a couple of years when I stopped playing. I could always resell it and even if I lose 50% of what I paid I still consider it to be good value, especially considering the number of hours that I've used it. Playing a musical instrument can be expensive, initially. It has very low running costs though. Compare it to many other hobbies with a similar amount of time spent on them. I doubt that it's the most expensive.
Having said all that you shouldn't feel too bad if you use a cheap instrument. Just play and enjoy it. That is ultimately what it is all about.

mikelz777
08-07-2015, 03:14 AM
Another approach: I don't look at an instrument as setting a standard for me. I've played crap guitars that were real challenges -- like my cousin's, and she was amazed at what I could do with it. Is such a guitar 'below' my level? I've played heavenly mandolins and guitars that just sang under my fingers. Are such axes 'beyond' me? I own a cheap but substantially-made small-voiced baritone 'uke that I don't care for, not because it's unworthy of me, not because it plays badly (it doesn't), just because it's quiet. Does it 'deserve' someone with lesser playing skills? Sorry, that's all too metaphysical for me.

We're going theological here. We're implying that "expensive kindling with strings" have spiritual qualities. Sorry, that's mystic crud. We may love our instruments but they're dead objects built from wood, glue, plastic, metal, whatever. They're built by more-or-less skilled hands with more-or-less concern and care. At least some portions of them are usually produced by machines -- unless you make your own gut strings from rawhide.

Some are finely crafted. Most are assembly-line products. They *may* be glorious to see and hold and hear and play. They *may* be ugly as sin and sound funny. Doesn't matter. They're our tools. We use them, evoke what we can from them with our skills, hope for the best. They're not cursed nor blessed nor magical. And there's no Santa Claus, either. Ratz.

I don't know if this approach was inspired by other's responses but this metaphysical, theological, spiritual, mystical angle isn't even remotely what I intended or meant when posting the original question.

In hindsight, the original question (as posed) probably only works if it's taken within the framework of extremes. Ex. Do you play a Stradivarius when your skill level is scratching out Twinkle Twinkle Little Star and you're not likely to advance much further than that? Do you play a Steinway when your skill level is Chopsticks or playing Heart And Soul while a friend pounds out the boom-de-ah-da part on the base end of the keys? Do you own a nice Kamaka when your skill level is churning out down-strum versions of 2-3 chord songs and it's likely you'll always be in that neighborhood? Clearly in each example the instrument is much more than the player needs when they would be just as happy with a less expensive and what would be considered a lesser instrument without necessarily saddling them with a piece of junk. The question starts to become muddled and kind of falls apart when the skill level increases and the player becomes average, pretty good or better even if their skill level is unlikely to draw out the sounds the instrument is capable of. Floating above all that is the good old American way where anyone can do whatever they want or spend however much money they want without having to rationalize or justify their actions in any way. In any event, the question generated a much more interesting conversation than I thought it would. I've enjoyed reading the responses.

CeeJay
08-07-2015, 03:46 AM
and there's no santa claus, either. Ratz.


what.....?

Purdy Bear
08-07-2015, 03:50 AM
I deliberately didn't go expensive with my first Ukulele. I have only been playing 3 weeks, and I'm a bargin hunter. I ended up with an unknown make with Aquila strings for £14 which suits me for a while. The next was an Octupus Soprano a little bit more money at a huge amount of £25. If I really get the bug then I may consider going for something £100, but that wont be for a long time yet.

In a way Ukulele players are very lucky that instruments can be brought so cheaply, yep they aren't brilliant, but they are ideal for learners. With some instruments the complete beginner would have to spend hundreds of pounds just to find out they hated it. My Orchestral flute was £140 second hand, and that was the cheapest you could get back then.

Now crossing a bit over as for the spiritual energy of a Ukulele, yes those hand made would have the energy of the maker within them more then the factory made. Thus the Luthier made instrument may well have a better 'energy/aura' to it then the mass made, and so a good energy to it for the player. Whether this would improve the players ability I am not sure, but it may well make the owner feeling a deeper connection to it.

hollisdwyer
08-07-2015, 03:55 AM
I openly admit that my competency at this point in time does not match the quality and capability of the instruments that I currently own. But so what? Firstly I know that I am very fortunate to be able to have those instruments to play and secondly I believe that the quality of those instruments facilitate the progression of my skills. They also give me an immense amount of fun and joy on all sorts of levels. In fact I have just commissioned another wonderfull instrument from a great Australian luthier. Yippee!

Steedy
08-07-2015, 05:06 AM
A man's uke should exceed his skill, or what's a credit card for? :cool:

the.ronin
08-07-2015, 05:24 AM
A man's uke should exceed his skill, or what's a credit card for? :cool:

now THAT ought to be a shirt!!! love it!!! LOL!!!

Fleacia
08-07-2015, 05:27 AM
I would wager many, if not most, moderately serious uke enthusiasts' instruments are excessive to the bare minimum quality intonation and playability to make satisfying sounding music. To wit, most professional musicians have pretty ordinary instruments. But many of us ordinary folks like pretty woods, precise craftsmanship and some of us even like bling. It's great you had a nice windfall, so enjoy your splurge. Look forward to finding out what you picked!

I agree in general, but at the same time I realize I'm not one of the "many". No, I don't have a uke that exceeds me. I did once and didn't keep it, not because it was better than I was, but because financially I had more important, more responsible things to consider. Also along that line, I didn't play that uke like I deserved to be played - I worried about it too much. So it was practicality that made me part with it, and I'm glad I did. That wouldn't be the right decision for everyone, but it was right for me at the time.

Right now I have a concert that is right where I am in quality, specs, playability and price range. But it's not the sound I want. So when I can swing it financially, I'm going to re-home this one for a different concert, including a wood combo that makes the sound I want. It's the same price range and coincidentally the same brand as what I have. But wow wee, it's gloss. LOL I wouldn't normally choose gloss (it's too pretty to be practical), but that uke only comes in gloss so I'll have to deal. :o

There's something to be said for having an instrument you can grow into and that can grow with you. Beyond that it's about personal preference and what you're comfortable spending, living with, and playing.

Congratulations, enjoy your tenor! :D

the.ronin
08-07-2015, 05:29 AM
Wow these are some great responses.

What really resonated with me was this - that it really ought not matter what kind of instrument you are playing regardless of your skill, just so long as you are actually playing it and enjoying it.

I know this one guy - all the money in the world. But no friends. Bought everything. He had a $2000 guitar in his living room. He took 1 lesson. The poor thing just sat there as a decoration (read: for the ladies). Not being played! Now THAT is wrong.

KikonuMedia
08-07-2015, 06:09 AM
I feel like I am the opposite, currently I have a Hau'oli Fender and for some reason I feel like it is restricting me of my capabilities. It's probably just me though. Ever since I was looking into ordering from Mya Moe for a custom uke my current one feels so inferior :c

k0k0peli
08-07-2015, 06:32 AM
A man's uke should exceed his skill, or what's a credit card for? :cool: Yes!!!


What really resonated with me was this - that it really ought not matter what kind of instrument you are playing regardless of your skill, just so long as you are actually playing it and enjoying it. Again, yes!!! Any axe is just as good as what we can elicit from it. Same with camera lenses -- the best lens is whatever you actually use rather than some masterpiece that's not on your camera. And to use any such *well* we must be aware of their strengths and weaknesses -- all tools are like that. No lens is too good for me. Too expensive, maybe, but that's another issue. ;) Same with 'ukes.


I know this one guy - all the money in the world. But no friends. Bought everything. He had a $2000 guitar in his living room. He took 1 lesson. The poor thing just sat there as a decoration (read: for the ladies). Not being played! Now THAT is wrong. Indeed. We must have known the same guy. (Well, it was in 1977 for me.) I'm fast-n-fancy-picking my twenty-five-buck Ventura and he's briefly stumbling along on his mega-buck masterpiece and I'm thinking, "This ain't fair!" But he was lonely and I wasn't. Do we ever get what we deserve? Sorry, does not compute.


In a way Ukulele players are very luck that instruments can be brought so cheaply, yep they aren't brilliant, but they are ideal for leaners. With some instruments the complete beginner would have to spend hundreds of pounds just to find out they hated it. Our parents learned that when they tried to have my sisters learn 'cello.


Now crossing a bit over as for the spiritual energy of a Ukulele, yes those hand made would have the energy of the maker within them more then the factory made. Thus the Luthier made instrument may well have a better 'energy/aura' to it then the mass made, and so a good energy to it for the player. Whether this would improve the players ability I am not sure, but it may well make the owner feeling a deeper connection to it. Energy can be measured. Acoustics can be measured and calculated with some measure of precision. Even ability can be assessed. Spirit can't, apparently. (Alcoholic spirits are another matter. :cool:) In camera circles we talk of lenses made with pixie dust. Not really, of course -- merely fine optical engineering, assembling, and quality control. If a maker's 'spirit' enters their product, does it matter if the maker is a ruddy abusive arsehole in their personal life but just happen to be a talented craftperson? I'm quite happy to have non-haunted axes.

kkimura
08-07-2015, 06:33 AM
A man's uke should exceed his skill, or what's a credit card for? :cool:

So, how many of us own ukuleles that exceed the capability of our credit cards?

the.ronin
08-07-2015, 06:49 AM
So, how many of us own ukuleles that exceed the capability of our credit cards?

Ah!! Now we're getting somewhere!! LOL :D

Buc-a-Roo
08-07-2015, 07:46 AM
Do you play a uke that far exceeds what your skill warrants?

Indeed I do, and I enjoy every minute of it!

CactusWren
08-07-2015, 08:07 AM
One should play the best instrument one can afford, whatever the skill level.

Many working musicians play on very ordinary gear. It does seem sad that some of the best instruments made sit in cases and are never played. In the classical world, collectors sometimes loan out their $1M+ Strads, to the benefit of the world.

mikelz777
08-07-2015, 08:23 AM
It does seem sad that some of the best instruments made sit in cases and are never played. In the classical world, collectors sometimes loan out their $1M+ Strads, to the benefit of the world.

I saw an interesting news story where a museum (it may have been a Stradivarius museum) had some Stradivarius violins on display. On a regular basis, they had a professional musician come in to play the instruments. I think it was set up in such a way that patrons would know of these times and could attend the "performances" if they wished.

gyosh
08-07-2015, 08:36 AM
I saw an interesting news story where a museum (it may have been a Stradivarius museum) had some Stradivarius violins on display. On a regular basis, they had a professional musician come in to play the instruments. I think it was set up in such a way that patrons would know of these times and could attend the "performances" if they wished.


Anyone can play my Uke, just ask me :)

TheCraftedCow
08-07-2015, 09:26 AM
I have a 1929 DoBro Claro walnut bodied mandolin single cone with engraving on the 16 inch hubcap they used as the cone cover, engraving on the tailpiece, inlay for the name on the peghead, and an inlaid black heart on the heel of the neck. It was professionally appraised by a company well known and respected. They offered me $3500 , but said they would resell it between 7 to 10. They would even open it to the Asian market between 15 to 20. It is in its original hard case. It has Aquila white strings tuned gG Cc EE aA. It gives me great pleasure to hand it to someone to play. When I have it safely back in my hands I tell them what I have just written. The fellow who sold it to me thought his grandfather would have rather preferred it in the hands of a player who would appreciate it rather than hanging on a hook on a museum wall. He sold it to me for $275.00 . If you ever come to Salem, Oregon, it would be a pleasure to have you put your fingerprints on it. I am quite close to an I-5 offramp. 503-730-2484

Ukejenny
08-07-2015, 01:27 PM
I was wondering if there are many people out there who play a uke that far exceeds what their skill/talent warrants? If so, do you think it is likely that you'll ever reach the level that you feel truly justifies having such a nice uke?

I ask because tonight I just pulled the trigger on a new tenor that is far nicer than what my talent/skills require or warrant. I'm treating myself because I had a totally unexpected, large amount of cash come my way. I wouldn't have got it otherwise. I'm very excited about it but at the same time, I still feel a bit squirmy spending so much on such a nice uke considering where I'm at and where I realistically am likely to go.

Yes, I believe I do. My Blackbird Clara can do so much more than what I'm able to get out of it right now. Will I ever get to that level? I have no idea, but trying sure will be fun.

Uk3player78
08-07-2015, 11:23 PM
Well i have waited 8 pages to see if anyone said a straight no. I may be the first to say no. :)

Ex guitarist that went up and down the price scale. Only really trying cheap guitars when my first daughter was born (priorities changed). This being fairly recent times when you can actually buy a decent cheap guitar. From 3k Martins to actually listening to cheaper instruments. I do still play but i have a cheap strat and a one off acoustic that beats the likes of a Martin D28 & HD28.

Ukulele? I came to a few years ago. I swapped and changed through cheap to 'hand made' factory models. I had a break and came back again about a year ago. I got a cheap tenor, a Mahalo U320T with all the intention of going 'up'. I didn't. 9 months later i have added a Makala Dolphin and one Makala MK C brown. Insanely happy with these. I can work a fretboard due to playing guitar since i was a teen, i'm in my mid 30's now.

My thoughts and in agreement with most posts before me. I am worthy of these cheapies which please me and are way better than they should be. No joke!

The issue i had with higher up the price point factory ukes is none blew my socks off so i'm not trying. So buying a vintage lightly built Martin aside i have my eyes on a custom builder to make a lightly built mahogany concert or tenor. I find most overbuilt in store.

Till then i'll play ukes i am worthy of. :D

VegasGeorge
08-08-2015, 01:53 AM
Oh sure! In fact, I think all my Ukuleles exceed my skill level, even the $30 one hanging in my garage. I can imagine buying the world's crappiest Ukulele, then handing to a real master and hearing it played better than I could ever hope to play on my best Uke on my best day. This brings up two points:

1. A beginner should always start out on a good instrument, one that will draw him/her upward toward higher skill levels, and;

2. A poor workman always blames his/her tools. And, that is as true in music as it is in carpentry.

So, as a perpetual "beginner" on the Ukulele, I'm determined to play on the best Ukulele I can get, and resolve never to blame the instrument for my shortcomings.

Highmiles
08-08-2015, 02:31 AM
Good answer Vegasgeorge. My feelings also. Right now I have a serviceable Uke but nothing fancy. Next year, that will change with a Kamaka built in their anniversary year.

CeeJay
08-08-2015, 03:28 AM
Well i have waited 8 pages to see if anyone said a straight no. I may be the first to say no. :)

:D



Do you play a uke that far exceeds what your skill warrants?

No. Having said that I must confess that I don't actually understand the real meaning of the question.

Do I have a uke that I can't justify the expense of ...No....

Do I have one that is somehow going to improve my playing because it is so well made ..No...


I don't get the question.....is it can you , the OP play the uke sufficiently well to justify an expensive ukelele ?...I have no clue how good you are ....nor what your budget is and what you would normally be able to afford. Nor what it is that you have bought . Or how much .

To be absolutely frank and brutally honest I would rather hear some half decent playing on a beat up old painted Dolphin then a half arsed attempt on a k, sorry K series or whatever Rosey Compass Eeni Meenie Minor Moe Pogo....but then I'm just a cynical curmudgeon and you know that.:biglaugh:




Entry #56.......................but then I am used to being ignored or disapproved .......:p

Uk3player78
08-08-2015, 10:43 AM
Entry #56.......................but then I am used to being ignored or disapproved .......:p

My apologies i'm often distracted while reading here. :) If (doubtful) i ever become a famous ukulele player. I will be the M brand guy. :P

k0k0peli
08-08-2015, 11:46 AM
I think a few of us said 'no' or otherwise indicated dissatisfaction with the question. Let's re-frame it: Do you play an 'uke that challenges you and makes you push your skills ever onward?

And I'll say YES, certainly! ALL of'em! Except maybe the quiet baritone that plays too much like a familiar guitar. But even the guitar-like Oscar Schmidt hundred-buck 8-string tenor forces me to think in changed keys. The cheapest Kohala soprano tuned reentrant standard or slacked sets a new bar for me -- do I need to learn Campanella fingering? Other cheap sopranos tuned in mando-like fifths offer their own learning curve. The Kala KA6 with the first and third courses in octaves is a real challenge for picking out bass lines with index finger instead of thumb. All of these demand skills I don't now and may never possess. So I just do the best I can with them, and try to do better.

Another reframing: Do you play an 'uke that isn't worthy of your skills?

This is the original question reversed. If I was intellectually dishonest I might nominate that seventy-buck Harmonia baritone as being unworthy of me. But in truth, I just haven't yet learned all its secrets, have I? I'm still learning from axes I've had a quarter-century. I cannot claim total mastery of anything -- except maybe making guacamole. ;) I'd need to be an omnipotent music deity to actually be beyond the capabilities of any instrument, even a police whistle. (I recently bought a two-tone whistle carved from buffalo horn. It's a lovely, subtle piece. I could explore it for years.)

Every instrument is too good for me. I won't let that stop me!

Ukulelerick9255
08-08-2015, 07:20 PM
I have a custom made African Blackwood back and sides and sinker redwood top tenor, it's way better than my skills at present but I'm working hard at becoming worthy of it. I posted pics in a previous thread

Django
08-09-2015, 03:43 AM
After my first guitar many years ago, (bowed and twisted neck requiring high action), I have always played instruments that were at least good enough so that they could not be used as an excuse for my lessor playing or hold me back from playing to my ability, and expanding my ability. It is a shame that many budding musicians are turned off and miss out on the joy of playing music because they purchase a "student or beginner" instrument. They don't have to have the most bling. Tone and playability are definitely more important, but to me, an instrument has to appeal to more senses than just my hearing.

I have only been playing the Ukulele with any serious effort for about 8 months, but I did sell a few guitars at a good price and I too had an unexpected windfall that became a new Martin 5K, (2014 build). If you but right, you can recover your money if you change your mind down the road. The deals that I got on the 5K and my other Ukuleles were good enough that I don't worry about recovering my investment in the unlikely event that the guitar or banjo becomes my number one again.

I presently have a Martin 5K, 3K, 3 Cherry, vintage Martin 1, Kiwaya KMS-K, KTS-7 and KTS-6. All but the 5K and KTS-7 were bought used and at good prices, so recouping my money should not be a problem, (the problem is that I enjoy them all). I will probably be selling the KMS-K and the KTS-6 to thin out the redundancies in my little collection, but I hate to do it.

I guess that my bottom line is two part. An instrument should never frustrate you or hold you back and if you can justify the expense, it is nice to have an instrument that touches most of your senses.

Trinimon
08-09-2015, 07:42 AM
I'm a 10¢ player with a $2K semi-custom uke. The nicer uke makes me sound like a 12¢ player. lol

mikelz777
08-09-2015, 07:57 AM
I'm a 10¢ player with a $2K semi-custom uke. The nicer uke makes me sound like a 12¢ player. lol

That only leaves you with $1999.98 worth of skill to aspire to! :D

Trinimon
08-09-2015, 08:24 AM
That only leaves you with $1999.98 worth of skill to aspire to! :D

lol, the good news is that I can only progress from rock bottom. Theoretically...

HBolte
08-09-2015, 10:45 AM
Cost of a ukulele has no relationship to abilities. I could never understand why forum members are so obsessed with the cost of ones ukulele...

Tootler
08-09-2015, 12:04 PM
Cost of a ukulele has no relationship to abilities. I could never understand why forum members are so obsessed with the cost of ones ukulele...

It's uke snobbery or maybe one upmanship.

k0k0peli
08-09-2015, 12:17 PM
Cost of a ukulele has no relationship to abilities. I could never understand why forum members are so obsessed with the cost of ones ukulele... I find art+tech forums (such as music and photography) are populated by distinct groups. Some concentrate on the art, some on the technologies involved, and some obsess on gear. (Photo saying: amateurs fret over lenses; pros fret over costs; artists fret over light.) And some just like to chime in on almost anything.

Gearheads include collectors-for-collecting's-sake aka anal-retentives; seekers of the 'best' (or at least the costliest / rarest); collectors of a wide representative sample of what's available; bottom-feeding bargain-hunters; single-brand fan-bois; folks with too much cash or credit who just grab whatever they fancy with no discernible pattern; and probably a few other types. I'm in the representative-sample group, leaning toward bottom-feeding, same as with lenses. Am I recovering from LBA? We'll see...

Why do some obsess over costs? Maybe because money can be quantified but musical / artistic quality can't. A price is fairly tangible. It's THIS many bucks / euros / yen / pesos, period. I can yammer about a beautiful Tomioka-made 55/1.4 M42 lens I won for US$2.25 shipped and sold for 100x that amount, or the big Sigma 175-500mm zoom that cost me a grand, and about their specs and other hard numbers, throwing out acronyms like AoV / DoF / OoF / etc. With that, I need not evaluate the aesthetics of images I shot, or my artistic vision, if any. I can merely say, "I like using them," and that's enough.

Same with musical instruments. Bragging about my luthier mandolin is more satisfying than admitting my playing sucks.

Tootler
08-09-2015, 12:40 PM
Why do some obsess over costs? Maybe because money can be quantified but musical / artistic quality can't. A price is fairly tangible. It's THIS many bucks / euros / yen / pesos, period. I can yammer about a beautiful Tomioka-made 55/1.4 M42 lens I won for US$2.25 shipped and sold for 100x that amount, or the big Sigma 175-500mm zoom that cost me a grand, and about their specs and other hard numbers, throwing out acronyms like AoV / DoF / OoF / etc. With that, I need not evaluate the aesthetics of images I shot, or my artistic vision, if any. I can merely say, "I like using them," and that's enough.

Same with musical instruments. Bragging about my luthier mandolin is more satisfying than admitting my playing sucks.

Someone once said to me in a different context but it seems to fit here:

The truly important often can't be quantified so they quantifiy that which can with the result that that which can be quantified becomes important.

k0k0peli
08-09-2015, 12:48 PM
The truly important often can't be quantified so they quantifiy that which can with the result that that which can be quantified becomes important. Bingo.

(Or maybe money IS of greatest importance to many.)

flailingfingers
08-09-2015, 02:26 PM
To answer the OP question: "Hell yes." When I bought the uke I was somewhat embarrassed in talking to the salesman since I was pretty much a beginner. He assured me that, with the playability and beautiful sound of the instrument that I would play much more often. He was very right on that. I had a uke already that I now use only for outdoor playing and rough travel. It's a good uke and I enjoy it but it's not an amazing uke. The second one is. I do not regret the purchase for a minute. It was also a present to myself for my 70th birthday. Why the hell not? I love playing it. Love it. Life is good.
Want to add after reading over the posts that I agree that the pros talk money and the amateurs talk gear. I am a pro in another area and when I get together with other pros we talk contracts, margins, agents, dealers,etc.... not philosophy. It's pretty funny we all agree but it always goes that way.

quiltingshirley
08-09-2015, 05:10 PM
You're supposed to be able to play well before you buy one? Never heard such a crazy idea. I thought you just had to get something to match your coloring, forget the price. You want it to make you look good.

igorthebarbarian
08-09-2015, 07:56 PM
Thank you OP for such a good engaging read/thread here.
I would like to say that this kind of triggers a quality vs. quantity thought for me. In that I should have probably conglomerated my purchases into 1 or 2 really nice ukulele vs. 10-12 good (but cheaper ones) over a few years.... but I have no patience and have not really had that much of a one-time disposable dollars at hand. I applaud anyone who can afford the nicer ones. At least you're not gambling that money/ drinking that money/ doing cocaine with that money!

CactusWren
08-10-2015, 05:10 AM
kokopeli, great observations. The "quantifiable" aspect is pertinent. In classical guitar and flamenco forums, there is a subgroup that obsesses with scale speed. The desired parameters are 1. rest stroke, 2. 16th notes, 3. at least an octave preferably two, 4. loud. Anything below 120 bpm is not worth mentioning. Above 144 and clean, you are in business. Above 160, you can get some serious street cred. Approaching 200, you've got it made!

Musicianship, tone, rhythm, breadth of repertoire, are never discussed with such intensity.

Perhaps it goes without saying that this is a male phenomenon. It's refreshing to see the absence of this competitiveness here in the uke forum, although I am new here and to the uke so I could just be missing it :)

Edit, to the OP:
Another thing to think about. Some people put their money into an ever-expanding collection of gear. Another type puts their money into education. Lessons with a good teacher will often run $50 or more an hour. That comes out to $2000+ a year. That 2K, along with a reasonable amount of practice, will make you sound a lot better than a custom instrument.

John A
08-10-2015, 06:13 AM
I have followed this thread with interest as the variety of opinions, thoughts, and beliefs have been shared and discussed. For me, a ukulele, no matter what the cost, is a simple thing with a wide range of responses. The difference between playing and mastering a cheap and an expensive ukulele is not the same as, say, the difference between riding a 50 cc moped and a 1000 cc Harley, where riding a Harley may very well far exceed the skills of the humble moped rider. I feel more that the humble ukulele waits patiently to display its loveliness, to whomever plays it. It doesn't matter about the cost or quality, or the skill of the player, the ukulele remains humble, devoted, and always the same... (apart from maybe, quality in build, beauty, and tone, etc.) ... a few strings stretched across a piece of wood with hidden delights just waiting patiently to be coaxed out. It's not really a matter of the ukulele exceeding one's skills, as if pointing a finger and accusing a lesser player of not reaching its expectations. For me, even the most expensive ukulele in the world is not at all intimidating as far as my skill level is concerned, it has, after all, been created to play a simple, three chord, strum-along type of tune, as well as, a solo piece by Paganini! A ukulele will react and respond to both with equal acceptance and tolerance... so, for me, a ukulele cannot exceed what a player's skill warrants because it passively, and un-biasedly, responds as best as it can, equally to a clumsy beginner as well as a virtuoso, unlike a 1000 cc Harley!

earljam
08-10-2015, 06:48 AM
I'm with the buy the best you can afford crowd. The better the instrument the more you'll play it. And if you decide to sell it will still be worth something.

thejumpingflea
08-10-2015, 06:55 AM
In my opinion, it's really important to try and play an instrument that far exceeds your skill!

Making progress with playing should only be held back by your practice, not the instrument you are putting the time into. Having a ukulele that is beyond your current skill allows your skill to grow into it. If you try to learn on a cheap uke, you'll only become as good of a player as the instrument you are playing.

My Moore Bettah Uke is still leaps and bounds a better ukulele than I am player. I know that since I've gotten that instrument I've made strides in my playing and tone that I don't think I could have without it.

Fleacia
08-10-2015, 07:42 AM
I have followed this thread with interest as the variety of opinions, thoughts, and beliefs have been shared and discussed. For me, a ukulele, no matter what the cost, is a simple thing with a wide range of responses. The difference between playing and mastering a cheap and an expensive ukulele is not the same as, say, the difference between riding a 50 cc moped and a 1000 cc Harley, where riding a Harley may very well far exceed the skills of the humble moped rider. I feel more that the humble ukulele waits patiently to display its loveliness, to whomever plays it. It doesn't matter about the cost or quality, or the skill of the player, the ukulele remains humble, devoted, and always the same... (apart from maybe, quality in build, beauty, and tone, etc.) ... a few strings stretched across a piece of wood with hidden delights just waiting patiently to be coaxed out. It's not really a matter of the ukulele exceeding one's skills, as if pointing a finger and accusing a lesser player of not reaching its expectations. For me, even the most expensive ukulele in the world is not at all intimidating as far as my skill level is concerned, it has, after all, been created to play a simple, three chord, strum-along type of tune, as well as, a solo piece by Paganini! A ukulele will react and respond to both with equal acceptance and tolerance... so, for me, a ukulele cannot exceed what a player's skill warrants because it passively, and un-biasedly, responds as best as it can, equally to a clumsy beginner as well as a virtuoso, unlike a 1000 cc Harley!

Hats off to you, John! So well stated and true, thanks!

Everything else - thoughts, feelings, beliefs - is all just perception and in my own experience, gets in the way of enjoying any uke I happen to have in hand! :o

k0k0peli
08-10-2015, 12:17 PM
You're supposed to be able to play well before you buy one? Never heard such a crazy idea. Another bingo. ANYTHING we start on far exceeds our capabilities at that time. A ten-buck bugle is too good for me.


Another thing to think about. Some people put their money into an ever-expanding collection of gear. Another type puts their money into education. Lessons with a good teacher will often run $50 or more an hour. That comes out to $2000+ a year. That 2K, along with a reasonable amount of practice, will make you sound a lot better than a custom instrument. And yet another bingo. In the camera world, some buy gear and others invest in workshops. Guess which gives better results?


I'm with the buy the best you can afford crowd. The better the instrument the more you'll play it. And if you decide to sell it will still be worth something. Not necessarily. As with lenses, sometimes "the best" is not what I need or am comfortable with at the moment. (In rainy weather I'll pick the hundred-buck waterproof kit zoom over the kilobuck superzoom.) I love my luthier mandolin but I play my variously-tuned cheap Chinese mandos more, especially when I don't want the Celtic's loud voice.. I'm not sure what my 'best' 'uke is because they're mostly strung and tuned differently -- they don't compete for my attention, and each is 'best' in different situations.

mikelz777
08-10-2015, 12:28 PM
Maybe the next question should be, does the number of ukes you own far exceed your ability to give each one the time it deserves? Discuss... ;)

janeray1940
08-10-2015, 12:37 PM
Maybe the next question should be, does the number of ukes you own far exceed your ability to give each one the time it deserves? Discuss... ;)

I only have three, but - yes. One gets neglected more than the others (but it's a great uke and in an ideal world, I'd have more free time...)

k0k0peli
08-10-2015, 12:41 PM
Maybe the next question should be, does the number of ukes you own far exceed your ability to give each one the time it deserves? Discuss... ;) :drool: Does the number of hammers / shoes / books / cameras / chairs / bicycles you own far exceed your ability to give each one the time it deserves? Do shoes / bikes / chairs / etc deserve equal treatment? Are any of your 'ukes / chairs / forks more deserving than the others you possess? How much use does a spoon deserve? How do you determine which of your inanimate possessions is more or less deserving? Do you use a deserve-o-meter?

DownUpDave
08-10-2015, 12:44 PM
Maybe the next question should be, does the number of ukes you own far exceed your ability to give each one the time it deserves? Discuss... ;)

Yes the number I have limits the time I can spend with each. But that is ok because they do not get jealous and just wait patiently for their turn in the sun.

I have a baritone that I just played for the first time in about a month. It was like having a New Uke Day without spending any money, glorious.

mikelz777
08-10-2015, 12:47 PM
Does the number of hammers / shoes / books / cameras / chairs / bicycles you own far exceed your ability to give each one the time it deserves? Do shoes / bikes / chairs / etc deserve equal treatment? Are any of your 'ukes / chairs / forks more deserving than the others you possess? How much use does a spoon deserve? How do you determine which of your inanimate possessions is more or less deserving? Do you use a deserve-o-meter?

These topics seem to have struck a tender nerve with you. I posed the question in jest, hence the ";)".

k0k0peli
08-10-2015, 01:22 PM
These topics seem to have struck a tender nerve with you. I posed the question in jest, hence the ";)". Oh, I'm not bothered. I thought I was rather jestful too. But just to be safe, I added a drooling smiley.


Yes the number I have limits the time I can spend with each. But that is ok because they do not get jealous and just wait patiently for their turn in the sun. Good thing instruments possess nearly infinite patience or my Aloha Hawai'ian lap steel would either murder or leave me. The Tanara bass is probably pretty pi$$ed at me too. And that poor old Aria archtop in EADGCF, alas...


I have a baritone that I just played for the first time in about a month. It was like having a New Uke Day without spending any money, glorious. A total restringing can make a NUD also, like when I replace my baritone's old DGBE set (Martin M630) with ADF#B strings (Venezuelan cuatro, D'Addario J98). It's a whole new instrument! Without bumping my credit limit! And yet more fingerings to learn, oh joy.

Rllink
08-10-2015, 01:44 PM
I'm with the buy the best you can afford crowd. The better the instrument the more you'll play it. And if you decide to sell it will still be worth something.How do you determine "best"? If you are going to say "best that you can afford", I'm assuming that best is based on price?

Hippie Dribble
08-10-2015, 01:44 PM
Yes the number I have limits the time I can spend with each. But that is ok because they do not get jealous and just wait patiently for their turn in the sun.

I have a baritone that I just played for the first time in about a month. It was like having a New Uke Day without spending any money, glorious.
I think this is a great post Dave. Totally feel the same. Nothing like taking out a uke to play after a few weeks and feeling the new uke day love all over again!

Hippie Dribble
08-10-2015, 01:54 PM
How do you determine "best"? If you are going to say "best that you can afford", I'm assuming that best is based on price?

Yeah I think that generally applies. From my own experience it's pretty clear to me that you get what you pay for. Not always, but mostly.

There's often a noticeable difference in sound, feel and build quality as between a $50 uke and a $300 one. And again, a significant difference between a $300 and a $1000 instrument.

If I could afford it for example, I would gladly pay extra to have a luthier built instrument over a cheaper factory alternative - whether that costs $100 or $1500. Feels more personal somehow, less anonymous, and then of course, there's the potential bonus of forming friendships in the process.

keod
08-10-2015, 02:54 PM
Yes the number I have limits the time I can spend with each. But that is ok because they do not get jealous and just wait patiently for their turn in the sun.

I have a baritone that I just played for the first time in about a month. It was like having a New Uke Day without spending any money, glorious.

Love, love, love this - my sentiments exactly ROTFL

Rllink
08-10-2015, 03:01 PM
Yeah I think that generally applies. From my own experience it's pretty clear to me that you get what you pay for. Not always, but mostly.

There's often a noticeable difference in sound, feel and build quality as between a $50 uke and a $300 one. And again, a significant difference between a $300 and a $1000 instrument.

If I could afford it for example, I would gladly pay extra to have a luthier built instrument over a cheaper factory alternative - whether that costs $100 or $1500. Feels more personal somehow, less anonymous, and then of course, there's the potential bonus of forming friendships in the process.So are you saying then, that there is no such thing as an over priced uke? Or under priced for that matter?

Hippie Dribble
08-10-2015, 03:18 PM
So are you saying then, that there is no such thing as an over priced uke? Or under priced for that matter?

Any instrument is worth what you are willing to pay whether it costs 50 bucks or 5000. It's valuable to you and that's all that matters ultimately.

I feel there's a lot of sideways talk about price levels and I confess, I don't really understand why folks get hung up in a circular debate over such things. I owned a 20 dolar Mahalo for the first 3 years I played uke and loved it. Never contemplated buying another. It's now my car uke and I play it every day at the traffic lights. I payed $150 to have an 'unknown' fellow build me a little soprano once and to me - and in lieu of becoming his friend as a result - that was a great experience and the uke sounded super. How can you put a value on that?

k0k0peli
08-10-2015, 05:15 PM
There's often a noticeable difference in sound, feel and build quality as between a $50 uke and a $300 one. And again, a significant difference between a $300 and a $1000 instrument. I haven't possessed (even briefly) as many 'ukes as you have (even briefly) but my experience is otherwise. I've encountered numerous instruments that played and sounded no worse than others costing many times more. I've played too many high-priced name-brand 'ukes, mandos, and guitars that sounded and felt acoustically dead.

My wife is a trained singer with a good ear. We cruised all the instrument shops in a state capitol auditioning 'ukes. The best we found for under US$500 cost us 1/5 that amount (Alvarez RU22T) and even the store owner admitted its rich tone. We scoured the music shops in a metropolis trying out mandolins; she often asked, "Why would anyone pay thousands and thousands of dollars for THAT?" when I fingered high-end axes that sounded little better than my old $30 Kay. We left town with a pro-quality luthier-crafted Celtic mandolin for $650+tax that easily smoked others costing 7x more.

Yes, you get what you pay for, but the equation is asymmetrical. Just because you pay more doesn't mean you get more. And I'm not even counting the "trolling for suckers" syndrome.

Hippie Dribble
08-10-2015, 05:31 PM
I've encountered numerous instruments that played and sounded no worse than others costing many times more. I've played too many high-priced name-brand 'ukes, mandos, and guitars that sounded and felt acoustically dead.

Totally mate. My experience also. There are some high end builders whose instruments I've played I didn't care for at all. In fact, disliked. Always exceptions to the rule, and then you apply the law of diminishing returns and you think why would you bother spending thousands on a uke or (insert other instrument here)! I have a $150 laminate concert that feels as good as anything and, even sound wise, while it lacks depth and warmth, is still a darn fine sounding and playing instrument. But as I said before, I do think the principle applies "not always, but mostly".

stevepetergal
08-11-2015, 02:33 AM
All my ukuleles are junk. (Unfortunately they fit my skills pretty well)

Down Up Dick
08-11-2015, 03:51 AM
I'm pretty happy with all my Ukes, though most are mid range at best. They suit my purposes and talents well. What I would really like is some new fingers, a memory and a little bit more hand-eye coordination. Ahhh, well . . . :old:

Papa Bear
08-11-2015, 08:30 AM
Going with a nicer instrument can help you become a better player. Smoother action and better tone can motivate you to play more, which may result in you improving your talent level. That is not always the case, but I see nothing wrong with buying a high quality instrument if you can truly afford it.
I play acoustic guitar and I am probably mediocre to fair at best. I own a Augustino (yes, as in Lo Prinzi) DR-31 that cost me 550.00 in 1980 and is now worth at least 1,200 (they sell new for 2400. I may eventually sell it. but I don't feel guilty for owning it.

bman40
08-11-2015, 09:08 AM
I think that there are diminishing returns with instruments. We migth all want a $2000 custom uke or guitar, but will it sound 10 times better than a nice producton model? I dont think so. However, a nice soundign instrument is inspiration in itself. Not sounding like you are playing a plastic Sponge Bob uke is a good thing, and I find it makes me try harder if teh basic instrument sounds good. My two cents worth :)

spongeuke
08-11-2015, 01:54 PM
Cliff Edwards set the pace as far as Martins go. I'm not even close, but sometimes enthusiasm over takes skill.

mikelz777
08-13-2015, 07:06 AM
My new Pono ATD whose purchase was the impetus of this thread has made its way from Honolulu, HI to Memphis, TN! Maybe it will pick up some music mojo on its way through there. ;) It's scheduled to be delivered here in MN tomorrow. I'm just hoping that the required-to-sign-for-it delivery timing works out because I can't sit around the house all afternoon, I have to run out of town. I'm getting excited!

Pueo
08-13-2015, 08:20 AM
Maybe the next question should be, does the number of ukes you own far exceed your ability to give each one the time it deserves? Discuss... ;)

I struggle with this a bit, and have posted about it before. I have ten ukuleles. A few are pretty nice. I also feel that I could not sell them for what they are worth to me, so I just hang on to them. Some definitely do not get played as much as I would like for them to be played, but parting with any of them is just -- difficult. Each one is unique and has its charms or purpose.

vanflynn
08-13-2015, 08:24 AM
My new Pono ATD whose purchase was the impetus of this thread has made its way from Honolulu, HI to Memphis, TN! Maybe it will pick up some music mojo on its way through there. ;) It's scheduled to be delivered here in MN tomorrow. I'm just hoping that the required-to-sign-for-it delivery timing works out because I can't sit around the house all afternoon, I have to run out of town. I'm getting excited!

Can you do "Pick up at shipper's local office"? I've done that with Fed Ex.

Hope your weekend is open!

mikelz777
08-13-2015, 10:41 AM
Can you do "Pick up at shipper's local office"? I've done that with Fed Ex.

Hope your weekend is open!

I was hoping that I could do that and contacted Fed Ex customer service as soon as I got notice that it had shipped. They weren't able to hold it for me because of whatever option HMS chose to ship it. FedEx said that they were required to attempt delivery and obtain a signature and only if they attempted and failed could they/would they hold it at a Fed Ex office. They asked for my +4 zip code and were able to tell me that historically, they usually delivered packages in my area between noon and 2:00. I'm hoping that stands because I have to leave town around 3:00. I'll probably call them mid-morning on delivery day (tomorrow) to see if they can give me a probable window of time based on the load and the delivery times so far that day. Fingers crossed! :cool:

k0k0peli
08-13-2015, 05:37 PM
I have ten ukuleles. A few are pretty nice. I also feel that I could not sell them for what they are worth to me, so I just hang on to them. Some definitely do not get played as much as I would like for them to be played, but parting with any of them is just -- difficult. Each one is unique and has its charms or purpose. Similar situation here, except mine mostly aren't that nice. They're either real cheap and not worth trying to sell, or have doubled or tripled courses and are thus distinctive (for me). Only one each of various types are 4-string and tuned standard. I tend not to play the standard soprano or banjo-uke enough, not to mention the small-voiced baritone that I just might sell at a loss to make room for something better. That bari and an F2-clone mandolin, both Harmonia, are the only instruments I'd want to sell. The rest just call to me at random moments. (A faint voice calls my name.) Ah, that's a dulcimer; I must go now. ;)

good_uke_boy
08-14-2015, 12:09 AM
I was wondering if there are many people out there who play a uke that far exceeds what their skill/talent warrants?

I'm about to.

To elaborate:
82376

lewclev
08-14-2015, 08:10 AM
This is an interesting topic and has generated a lot of discussion.

I find it particularly interesting because I made a similar leap myself. I have been playing on and off for about three years, but have been steadily playing, practicing and improving over the last several months. I started on an all solid mahogany Fender from HMS and I also now have a solid spruce top Cordoba. I have been wanting to add another voice to the collection for several months and last week, decided to pull the trigger.

I started off looking for a cedar top uke and called HMS to discuss the Kala ATP CTG CE. After much discussion with the guys at HMS about how I play and the sound I was looking for and extensive research online, I purchased a Pono Cedar/Mahogany Pro Classic slot head tenor. It arrives today. I know it is a little late for you mikelz777, but I was able to schedule a specific delivery window for an additional $5.

This price of the Pono is more than double the price of my most expensive ukulele and also more than twice what I started out looking to spend. The reputation of the Pono is considerably better than my best uke. Just the anticipation of receiving the Pono has doubled my practice and playing time in the last week. I expect having it in my hands will keep me playing and practicing at that pace or better for weeks to come.

I am reminded of an interview I once saw of the great professional golfer Payne Stewart. He was well know for always playing in flamboyant attire of ivy caps and patterned knickers pants. He was asked during this interview about his colorful and unusual clothing. His response was that he felt it made him play better. He said, "Anyone who shows up on a golf course looking the way I do better be able to deliver one hell of a game".

Perhaps obtaining a ukulele above our playing level will inspire us to rise to the challenge, and, if not, it should at least increase the level of joy we get from playing ukulele. Isn't that what it's all about anyway?

So, good for you mikelz777! I hope you get your uke today!

greenie44
08-15-2015, 01:51 PM
That is one of the things that leads me on. If I had just continued to play around with the uke I had for years, I would have never fallen in love with the instrument, as I did with the 6 string tenor Lanikai 4 years ago.

I don't feel like I have erred by trying to buy better and better ukes that are that far beyond my skill level. Instead, I have been lucky enough to get a uke that smoothed the path I was already on and led me further down that path.

My latest uke, a wonderful Kinnard tenor, is another step on that road.

molokinirum
08-18-2015, 04:52 AM
No stooge wrote a rule that says you have to be able to justify owning a certain value instrument by your skill level. If that were the case then almost all ukulele makers would be out of business. There'd be no market.

Buy that which you can afford and makes you happy and motivated to play. It's your money. Heck, hang the thing on a wall and gaze at it with lustful and loving eyes. Then take it off the wall and play the snozzle out of it. Don't feel guilty, apologetic or unworthy; feel darn glad that we live in a world where these things are possible. If you're hung up about your level of playing, use that as motivation to improve. And what better instrument to use than the lovely one you've just bought.

Congrats Mike. Look forward to the big reveal!

Amen!!! :agree::agree::agree:

martinfan
08-18-2015, 07:31 AM
This has been a fun thread to learn from.

I bought a ukulele well above my skill level to avoid buying 'step by step' and wasting money. I learned that lesson from the guitar purchasing over the years. I already know that I am going to learn to play and not put it aside. Many years ago I purchased a Martin above my level and now play it well enough to appreciate its beautiful tone wood mahogany, and I wanted the same thing with the ukulele. I did play my daughter's cheap model enough to know I would like to learn to play and I read reviews here that led me to Pono. Instead of buying another entry level and then another, I went right to an intermediate one. I won't ever play professionally, but I can still appreciate the beautiful sound produced by a fine instrument.

Thank you to all who contributed to a most fascinating discussion on this thread.

Now back to the Pono ATD 2, and Fred Sokokow's DVD using the glass slide! It's a challenge, but I will practice daily.

Greenie 44 expressed it well:

it's great to fall in love with an instrument as it will lead to more time on it, which will lead to an increase in skill, which will lead to more enjoyment from it, which will lead to more time on it, which....

:)

k0k0peli
08-25-2015, 06:33 AM
I will say again that ALL new instruments are well beyond our skill levels -- until we learn them well. Except for my 12-string Ovation, I am most used to thinner-neck guitars, so even the cheapest wide-neck classical guitar exceeds my skills. I have not yet mastered dulcimer chording so my twenty buck Chinese mountain dulcimer exceeds my skill level. (And that cheap one plays more easily than a much 'better' crafted one.) My cheap Chinese mandola certainly outpaces my skills, and it's imperfect enough that, yes, I do lust for a luthier-crafted mandola; but yes, the cheap one still drives me onward.

Would I *like* a crafted 'uke? Rather! Beautiful instruments are indeed great -- IFF they sound and play as well as they look. (IFF is a logic symbol meaning If And Only If.) I have fondled enough high-end instruments to know that price and beauty do not necessarily translate to empathy and sound quality. And my superb handmade Celtic mandolin almost intimidates me with its beauty; I play my cheapest Soviet boat-paddle mando more now. Both are beyond my skills but the cheapo feels more accessible even if it is not as mellow.

UkerBabe
08-25-2015, 07:30 AM
Life is short!! There are far worse things that you can spend your money on than the sheer enjoyment of playing the ukulele! Go for it and have fun – you are as worthy as anyone! But now we need to know which uke you bought....:-)

Highmiles
08-25-2015, 11:10 AM
This has stuck on my mind since I first posted in this thread. I probably should sue the OP for what has happened to my UAS. lol At the time of my first post, I felt that I would overachieve on a Kamaka tenor in the near future. Since then I have added a Hokukano thin bodied tenor and a Moore Beddah to my list.
The scary part is that I have found justification for this new attitude. The bottom line, is that even though I might not get the most out of them, I would truly appreciate them, on all levels. And, they would get played, not collected. I am fortunate to have owned some beautiful guitars and also pool cues, that were really top end, and I know the joy I got form them not only using them, but also just sitting and digesting their beauty.

Tootler
08-25-2015, 12:36 PM
Even if you are only a moderate player, you can still appreciate the tonal qualities of a good quality instrument. In addition, good quality instruments are easier to play hence the reason for the advice to buy the best you can afford. Over time you will improve and "grow into it"

Teek
08-25-2015, 04:12 PM
I can yammer about a beautiful... big Sigma 175-500mm zoom that cost me a grand, and about their specs and other hard numbers, throwing out acronyms like AoV / DoF / OoF / etc.

Oooo, made me drool a bit there! :drool:

Teek
08-25-2015, 04:22 PM
I think it wasn't until I got my Pono Pro Classic that I really was able to kind of get somewhere. It just fit everywhere I needed it to fit. The radius on the neck, even though slight, helped my hands fit and last longer.

The couple of nice guitars that I have now; if I'd had just one comparable to any of them when I got a used steel stringed Framus with high action at age 16, might have been the difference between really trying to learn something on guitar and not. I come from a family of famous and talented musicians and none of them gave a crap that I wanted to learn. They're mostly dead now and I don't miss them.:p

k0k0peli
08-25-2015, 06:03 PM
Oooo, made me drool a bit there! :drool: I started a thread over on Mandolin Café titled DO YOU DROOL WHEN YOU PLAY? Maybe I should do that here, too. Anyway, if ya wanna drool, consider the Schneider Betavaron enlarger zoom as a brutally sharp camera lens. Nothing like it. They used to sell for US$3700. I got mine, brand new in the box from a liquidator, for US$70 shipped. Okay, you can wipe it up now. ;)

Meanwhile, I have come up with an instrument that is NOT beyond my skill level. May I present: the kazoo. Yeah, I can handle that, much better than a slide whistle (which I *still* have not mastered).

Rodney.
08-26-2015, 01:53 AM
I hope everyone has a uke that exceeds their playing abilities. It brings challenges and oppurtinities.

Doc_J
08-26-2015, 02:14 AM
I hope everyone has a uke that exceeds their playing abilities. It brings challenges and oppurtinities.

:agree:

If one could afford better, why would a person want to play something beneath their ability ?
Why should a beginner start with a poor intonating beater? They would be more likely to quit.

Coconut Willie
08-26-2015, 04:34 AM
Yes....I have a Kaneli'a 6 string and a Kamaka tenor. Beautiful ukes, but my ability is not on par, but who cares? Having tons of fun playing it!!!