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DaveY
09-10-2015, 12:21 PM
Is anyone else frustrated ó and maybe a little baffled ó by the lack of brick-and-mortar stores selling quality (and quantity/variety of) ukuleles? Sound samples and written descriptions and phone conversations donít come close to the experience of trying out an instrument. (I mean, itís at least 94% subjective.)

Supposedly ukuleles have become relatively popular in recent years, but still itís the same brands (Kala, Lanikai, and other mostly inexpensive ones) in most stores. (Iím not knocking those brands; I just want more variety.) Iím not just looking for higher-priced ukes, either.

Why are there so many more guitars to try out ó or are the guitars also the same brands, repeated among stores? (And Iím sure there still are many more guitar players than ukulele players.)

Do certain uke makers require an investment (number of ukes purchased) by the store that the store feels it canít justify?

Is it also that too many stores see ukuleles as toys, and itís easier to just put anything out there because, you know, it doesnít really matter?

Are they afraid that the ďfadĒ will end suddenly, like the í29 crash, leaving them destitute, sitting on a street corner with a sign reading ďwill strum for foodĒ?

There, Iíve vented. But . . . what do you think?

turtledrum
09-10-2015, 01:03 PM
I've wondered about this myself and talked to folks who work at Sam Ash. They've cited a general decline in instrument sales at their store. That broke my heart. We've seen lots of bookstores close on Long Island. Are music stores next?

Why Kala and Lanikai? I wonder that, too. I also am not thrilled with how ukes are displayed at the S.A store-one vertical rack, all the ukes on their backs.

whistleman123
09-10-2015, 02:05 PM
I just asked my local brick and mortar why they didn't carry Martin. The reply was tha a lot of manufacturers won't let a dealer carry just a few models, they have to stock all models and it's just too expensive to do that!

DaveY
09-10-2015, 02:14 PM
I just asked my local brick and mortar why they didn't carry Martin. The reply was tha a lot of manufacturers won't let a dealer carry just a few models, they have to stock all models and it's just too expensive to do that!

Why is it that manufacturers require that? Are they trying to get the store to stock (and sell) more models, or is there some less sinister explanation?

Rllink
09-10-2015, 02:20 PM
That's why, when the "play it before you buy it", crowd jump in with their sage advise, I think, "in your world maybe you can do that, but not mine."

DaveY
09-10-2015, 05:13 PM
That's why, when the "play it before you buy it", crowd jump in with their sage advise, I think, "in your world maybe you can do that, but not mine."

Yeah, I've kind of wondered about that, too. I think most people's worlds are limited in play-before-you-buy options. Part of my frustration is looking at an online seller like theukulelesite / HMS and wishing I could try 90% of what they have online . . . without going to Hawaii. Which I intend to do, but not this week.

CeeJay
09-10-2015, 05:38 PM
I am truly amazed ...really that in the US you seem to have so few stores....shops, locally that sell ukes ...and the other musical trifles like guitars and things...

From where I live I can count at least , hang on....Omega , GuitarGuitar, JGWindows x 2, The Guitar Shop, Curvy Sounds,Rainbow,Core...without thinking . All within a 45 mile radius...spoiled or what ?

CeeJay
09-10-2015, 06:38 PM
You may not have noticed, but here in the US we're mainly consumers of entertainment, not producers of self-entertainment. Our pub musical tradition is limited to karaoke. Big Music has convinced most of us that folk music is complete rubbish, and no music is worth listening to if it's not recorded or performed on stage by so-called professionals, blasted at us at 30 db with unrelenting drum tracks and frenetic effects-soaked electric guitars. Uke is only slowly making inroads into that world.

We are also a culture that increasingly shuns contact with each other. I long for your SMSs, but don't interrupt my texting with your noisome conversation. So naturally we prefer to order things online rather than change our sweatpants for trousers and slog all the way to some {gak} store where there are {gak} other people and we might have to {gak} wait for service. Wait for service! Can you even imagine!


I notice that you are using "gak"...are you promoting the Shop "Guitars and Keyboards" whom have several branches acros the UK and oooowwwwww...stop hitting me !!!

Actually you have also put your finger on something else that has been irritating me slightly for a while about UU and the general response to Links and Videos.....

If it isn't an over rehearsed slick production by a card carrying pro then here is generally no response....not even a "Well that was crap, but hey it was fun"....hmmmmm...you may have just rendered this site redundant for me...

Thanks Ubulele, you have just made it all very clear....:biglaugh:

DaveY
09-10-2015, 06:43 PM
You may not have noticed, but here in the US we're mainly consumers of entertainment, not producers of self-entertainment. Our pub musical tradition is limited to karaoke. Big Music has convinced most of us that folk music is complete rubbish, and no music is worth listening to if it's not recorded or performed on stage by so-called professionals, blasted at us at 30 db with unrelenting drum tracks and frenetic effects-soaked electric guitars. Uke is only slowly making inroads into that world.

We are also a culture that increasingly shuns contact with each other. I long for your SMSs, but don't interrupt my texting with your noisome conversation. So naturally we prefer to order things online rather than change our sweatpants for trousers and slog all the way to some {gak} store where there are {gak} other people and we might have to {gak} wait for service. Wait for service! Can you even imagine!

So are you saying that there aren't enough people (demand) for ukuleles in walled stores, or that the perception is that there aren't enough people? Or . . . both?

Sure, most people want to only receive music. But of those who want to make it on a uke, are there enough of us to warrant stores with a quantity and quality of options?

ukulelekarcsi
09-10-2015, 09:36 PM
I also think that the price setting makes ukuleles a little less interesting for shop owners or shop keepers than keyboards and guitars. A decent 'sell one every few days' ukulele costs a third or less than a decent keyboard or guitar sold at the same frequency. That's why they usually have more choice in drum sets than in tambourines.

I don't think canned music is to blame - it has been around for several decades, and people still make their own music, although less than somewhat over a century ago when the only music was live music.

As for brands only supplying shop stock on their conditions, I've only heard it about the Gibson vs. Elderly trial.

kypfer
09-10-2015, 10:19 PM
I am truly amazed ...really that in the US you seem to have so few stores....shops, locally that sell ukes ...and the other musical trifles like guitars and things...

From where I live I can count at least , hang on....Omega , GuitarGuitar, JGWindows x 2, The Guitar Shop, Curvy Sounds,Rainbow,Core...without thinking . All within a 45 mile radius...spoiled or what ?

Spoilt!! ;)

Without catching a boat or 'plane we've got just the one "proper" music shop, a second-hand shop that carries a few instruments occaisionally and one or two small (one person) repair shops. The range they carry isn't bad, but if they don't have what I want in stock I'll have to wait for the next delivery ... which well may be several weeks/months hence, as they have to bulk up an order to any one supplier to keep the prices down. Even then, they'll only order stock they think they can sell anyway if I change my mind (understandable).

Hippie Dribble
09-10-2015, 10:34 PM
So naturally we prefer to order things online rather than change our sweatpants for trousers and slog all the way to some {gak} store
Do you really get changed out of your sweatpants into trousers to go downtown? Wow. Commitment mate. I am not worthy.

We have 2 (count em) music stores in Hobart with a few uke brands hanging on the wall. Painted Mahalos take up half this space. The others are Lanikai, Lag, A couple of Anuenue's and Gretsch's and some banjo-uke thingy. Oh and there was a Maton uke there a few weeks ago which was overbuilt and sounded like poo. Try before you buy? Aaaaaah, not in my world either.

AJ Hill
09-10-2015, 10:40 PM
It's the Same down here Mr Dribble in the Byron Bay Area of NSW the usual suspects like you described on he walls of the music shops mostly out of tune ,,,,and yes I've had a go of the Maton and found the head stock shape not helpful and yes sounded like poo keep posting I enjoy your posts

Booli
09-10-2015, 10:43 PM
ok, I'll bite...:)

Could it be a perfect example of cause and effect, or Chicken and egg?

Maybe the scarcity of our beloved instrument, and selection of only a few brands in mainstream retail brick & mortar music stores is a consequence of Amazon Prime. My local retails stores that are NOT Sam Ash or Guitar Center, and family or single-owner run shops are Ritchie's Music in Denville and The Music Den in Ledgewood.

Ritchie's is an authorized dealer for both Kala and Cordoba and has at least one uke in each size hanging up in the acoustic room and ready to play, and can order anything not in stock and it takes about 2 weeks for them to get it. That's how I bought my first uke (Kala KA-T). Their prices match most online shops and 20% advance deposit gets you anything you want.

Music Den seems to only carry Oscar Schmidt's lowest-end ukes, and a few Asian import brands I never heard of. I'm not a fan of OS ukes so I have not bought anything from them.

The nearest legit shops that I know of that have a better selection are either Mandolin Bros. in Staten Island or Matt Umanov Guitars in NYC, both are at least 1 hr or more from my door on a good day.

I'll be the first to admit that if I can wait 2-3 days, and don't need to inspect before buying, that I'm a lazy pile of flesh and will order it online.

I suspect that more and more folks adopt this behavior over time as Amazon grows into an even bigger empire that's trying to crush WalMart and Sears.

I would think that the owners of retail stores know this and just figure that it's not worth carrying the stock, and tying up shelf or display space with niche products.

Sadly this is only going to get worse over time - oh, and by the way - I know it's only September, but have you STARTED your Christmas shopping yet?

Black Friday (and Cyber-Monday) are only ~75 days from now. LOL.

Hippie Dribble
09-10-2015, 11:24 PM
Can't speak to the wider market issue but here in Hobart the reasons are obvious:

1. Uke is still a very small and niche group. Nothing like the numbers of people that play guitars, drums, bass, keys. Consequently the range and quality of that range is diminished. Sales at retail outlets are also down here across the board and stocking a uke valued in the 800-2000 price range just doesn't make sense. It would most likely sit on the shop floor gathering dust, attracting comments like: "But it's an ukulele!Who would pay x dollars for an ukulele??!!!"

2. Music retailers (generally run by mainstream musos) still see the uke as a novelty and don't take it seriously beyond a kitsch and fun toy.

3. The only real market here is kids and beginners. Hence, painted Mahalos occupy half of what is already a small uke space. (See point #2)

hammer40
09-11-2015, 12:48 AM
2. Music retailers (generally run by mainstream musos) still see the uke as a novelty and don't take it seriously beyond a kitsch and fun toy.

I believe this is the main reason, besides sales. If something sells they will stock it.

For all the talk of the "boom," for the two years I have been at this, the retailers GC and Sam Ash have never stocked more than an entry level Lanakai, Kala or Cordoba. Oh, and one Mitchell at GC. And even then there is always one or two missing a string.

Not to mention, nobody in these stores knows much if anything about the instrument or can even play it. No selection, shoved in a back corner, no sales support, no marketing...gee, I wonder why we can't sell any ukulele's.

DownUpDave
09-11-2015, 01:35 AM
It is very simple, money talks and bulls**t walks. Retail stores are there to sell product and turn a profit. You have limited wall and shelf space so to survive financially you display items that have the best chance of turning a profit for you.

I worked in retail for a number of years in my teens and 20s. A lot of manufactures force you to carry X amount of their product line to get a deep enough discount to be profitable.

Sorry boys and girl but as great as we all here think the uke is...............it's hardly even an after thought in big buisness. It is all about numbers

Rllink
09-11-2015, 03:44 AM
Well, as much as the ukulele is popular with us, I don't think that it is really that popular. I mean, I don't think that there are a lot of people out there "discovering" the ukulele. It is sort of a novelty, and when it comes to picking up an instrument and learning to play it, I don't think everyone is caught up with it. For me, coming across the ukulele was literally the stars aligning at exactly the right time and place.


You may not have noticed, but here in the US we're mainly consumers of entertainment, not producers of self-entertainment. Our pub musical tradition is limited to karaoke. Big Music has convinced most of us that folk music is complete rubbish, and no music is worth listening to if it's not recorded or performed on stage by so-called professionals, blasted at us at 30 db with unrelenting drum tracks and frenetic effects-soaked electric guitars. Uke is only slowly making inroads into that world.

We are also a culture that increasingly shuns contact with each other. I long for your SMSs, but don't interrupt my texting with your noisome conversation. So naturally we prefer to order things online rather than change our sweatpants for trousers and slog all the way to some {gak} store where there are {gak} other people and we might have to {gak} wait for service. Wait for service! Can you even imagine!

Ubulele, it is interesting that you say that, because I do think that it is very true. But at the same time, me and my ukulele have become very popular around here this summer. Lately, when my wife and I get invited to our friend's, they say, "bring you ukulele along too." So I think that there are a lot of people who like that kind of entertainment, there just doesn't seem to be anyone else doing it. I don't know what it is, actually, but I think there is room for it. Also, whenever we end up going somewhere, and I end up playing the uke, which isn't always, even if I do bring it with me, someone will say something like, "Oh, I used to play the accordion when I was a kid, I should get an accordion and play it." But they never do. But you are right. Sometimes people say, "bring your ukulele", and when I do it just sits in the corner, because they are listening to something else, or they just want to visit.

Mivo
09-11-2015, 03:52 AM
Well, as much as the ukulele is popular with us, I don't think that it is really that popular. I mean, I don't think that there are a lot of people out there "discovering" the ukulele.

I think it still suffers from the toy reputation of being a "mini guitar". Literally everyone who isn't familiar with the ukulele and that I have shown some videos of Jake, Val, John King, to said something along the lines of, "Wow, I didn't know you could do that with a ukulele!".

DaveY
09-11-2015, 05:43 AM
So now my question is . . . How/why do a few stores carry a quality/quantity mix of ukuleles? That is, how can the exception help to explain the norm? I'm thinking of (in eastern USA) Bernunzio Uptown Music in Rochester, NY and The Music Emporium in Lexington, MA. Have they already established themselves as "serious" stringed-instrument stores, and therefore know that people will come to them for better instruments? Also, Bernunzio is around the corner from the renowned Eastman School of Music (where the Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain will appear on 9/30, FWIW) and Lexington is a relatively affluent suburb near many, many colleges. Do these places already have the customers that will buy the ukuleles that would hang forever in other stores?

hoosierhiver
09-11-2015, 06:17 AM
I think it's really a tough time for independent music stores. Big box stores draw a lot of people as does Amazon and even Ebay. Aside from that, our society in general seems to be placing less and less value on the arts, many schools are dropping arts and music programs.
Mainland sent out a mailing about six months ago and it was sad how many came back because the store had closed. I think the ones remaining are living month to month and don't have the money to experiment with anything they aren't convinced will sell quickly.

CactusWren
09-11-2015, 06:59 AM
It's not just uke, try finding a good classical or flamenco guitar locally. Even here in Phoenix, population 6million+, there is only one place (http://www.acousticvibesmusic.com/) (luckily, they had a Koaloha tenor. Had.) Although an incredible store, it appears to be a side business for its owner. Judging by their testimonials, they do a bunch of their own business online, too. I am not sure if I buy them having to carry the whole product line, they didn't have a huge spread.

The wall-space devoted to ukuleles has grown here, but they are all entry- and mid-level stuff. Not bad, but only that one place has anything for people with money in their pocket and itching to spend it.

Rlink, when I bought my Koaloha soprano, I picked it out of four from the same brand (visit to family in Hawaii). It was love at first strum. Later I bought a tenor sight unseen and it had some problems. Luckily, my local store had a tenor and it was beautiful. It really does help the odds if have a chance to try it out. But if you can't, you might have a few strikes before you get a hit. Thus, the uke marketplace.

greenie44
09-11-2015, 07:30 AM
And there is another problem, although with a different source.

I have never found a store anywhere that carries a significant number of really high end ukes. So it is virtually impossible for almost everyone to compare top of the line ukuleles side by side. Given the bigger investment, it seems even more 'risky' to accept online raves and evaluations.

And almost no one has had experience with all of them. Except, of course, Stan, and he's not making recommendations :D

kohanmike
09-11-2015, 07:34 AM
I've noticed recently that the Guitar Center near me in Los Angels (Hollywood and West LA) are thinning out all their equipment, while the Hollywood Sam Ash right across the street from GC is adding more and more product, including many more uke choices. Luckily there are a number of full service ukulele stores, including McCabe's in Santa Monica, Boulevard Music in Culver City, U-Space in Downtown Little Tokyo, Island Bazaar in Huntington Beach and I'm sure a great deal more I don't know about.

My realization and experience is that the internet is taking over sales, even though you can't do hands on. Most of my uke and bass purchases have been online. I'm finding that a lot of retailers like GC, Sam Ash, Staples, Office Depot, Home Depot, etc. have products that are only available online.

Rllink
09-11-2015, 07:40 AM
It just seems to me that when you get beyond necessities, and household goods, it is hard to find anything locally. I'm always off looking for something I think that I want, then just coming home and finding it on line. That, or I convince myself that if I can't find it, I don't need it. But I have dozens of stories about the trials of trying to find something locally, or even more frustrating is ordering something through a local store. Why it takes my local music store three weeks to get something that I can get in three days on line is beyond me.

DaveY
09-11-2015, 07:50 AM
I'm coming to the conclusion that I (we?) just have to make sure that an online seller will take back a ukulele that is not defective but that I do not like, and that the cost of paying the shipping is somewhat balanced by the savings in gas and maybe time. I like to have pickups installed with the purchase, and being able to return a uke with a pickup also might be an issue. But it's not an enjoyable way to "shop," as I would find it brings with it detachment and some anxiety.

greenie44
09-11-2015, 08:13 AM
I'm coming to the conclusion that I (we?) just have to make sure that an online seller will take back a ukulele that is not defective but that I do not like

Many years ago, I used to order some fairly high end Hawaiian shirts from an online seller. They had a no questions asked return policy. On one of my last orders, I sent the shirt back, and they called to ask why. I told them "It did not set my soul on fire". They accepted the return, but sounded somewhat puzzled on the phone.

DaveY
09-11-2015, 08:26 AM
Many years ago, I used to order some fairly high end Hawaiian shirts from an online seller. They had a no questions asked return policy. On one of my last orders, I sent the shirt back, and they called to ask why. I told them "It did not set my soul on fire". They accepted the return, but sounded somewhat puzzled on the phone.

Ha! "It Did Not Set My Soul On Fire" should be an online checkbox on "Reason for Return."

Down Up Dick
09-11-2015, 08:27 AM
Store owners have told me that they are having trouble because everyone is buying on line to get stuff cheaper. Good (nice) Band/Orchesta instruments are also scarce in stores. I've been looking for a good Alto Flute for quite a while. I played one in a store, but I didn't like the tone I got out of it.

Maybe if everyone would buy or order stuff from stores, they would be able to stock more. But then, we'd have to pay more for our stuff.

The times have really changed. When I was a kid in San Diego there were lots of music stores, and I would go to them just to look at stuff. Sometimes the guy would let me play an instrument. I just loved the ambiance.

Well, I guess we won't be able to change things, so we'll just hafta buy what we find in stores or send for stuff. :old:

kypfer
09-11-2015, 12:58 PM
Why it takes my local music store three weeks to get something that I can get in three days on line is beyond me.

Pure logistics ... if your store got it in three days at the same price as you could get it for, then put on their mark-up, you'd say "No thanks, I can get it cheaper on-line!"

So, to make any profit at all, he's got to "put an order together", both to get a bulk purchase discount and to save on the costs of shipping ... which is likely to be "slow boat" 'cos it's cheaper than air-mail/courier, but slower! So your three days becomes his three weeks, but he makes a few units of currency to pay his rent/staff and feed the children, assuming he manages to sell the stuff fairly quickly and his overdraft isn't too expensive ... the real world, it's a hard place to trade :(

Patrick Madsen
09-11-2015, 02:24 PM
The stores can have all the quality in the world. If they don't do a setup or give a statement like"it was setup at the factory"; I'm outta there.

Nickie
09-11-2015, 03:09 PM
After reading all of this, and chuckling at some of it, I'm still flummoxed, like the OP is. You'd think, with the ukulele craze that's ben going on, that it would be THE instrument showcased in a music store. But it's still treated like a toy here, except for the Martins at Sam Ash, and the ukes at Compass Music on the beach. There's one guy selling Pono out of his home, and a bait shop sells Kala (probably not many).
It's disappointing to try to go ukulele shopping. Even after Jake has been here, there's still ukes hanging in the stores. Most people in our club initially buy from Sam Ash or Compass or even GC, until they realize there's a better way.
There's too many good online sellers here, like Mainland Ukes, MIMS Ukes, HMS (which is a store I wanna visit), Elderly Music, etc.
And you're right, there are no upline ukes ins stores around here, save the Martins at Sam Ash, which, let's face it, most people just can't afford these days..... which sucks.

bigphil
09-11-2015, 04:19 PM
Take a trip to Hawaii, there are stores with ONLY ukuleles! We have the same limited selection here as most other parts of the country. Online retailers indeed offer quite a selection, but there is no real substitute for trying before buying. If you are a ukulele nut, you owe it to yourself to go to the land of Aloha! It's WORTH it! From Waikiki you can walk to more ukulele stores than there are ukuleles in the local stores! Go!

Bumgardner
09-11-2015, 04:35 PM
I had honestly not noticed a lack of ukuleles in stores. I live in the Nashville TN area and it seems like all of the good music stores in town have a pretty decent selection of ukuleles. While it does not rival the selection of guitars it honestly is pretty good. Locally I can buy a ukulele from any of the following: Collings, Martin, Maui, National, Gold Tone, Kala, Cordoba, Heindel, Breedlove, Moku, Kamaka, and probably over a dozen other brands. Sure the local stores don't have the selection of HMS, but honestly it is pretty decent.

Ukulele Eddie
09-11-2015, 05:06 PM
It's simple supply/demand theory. We are a highly biased sample and by no means indicative of the general market. Reminds me of b-school (ah, so many years ago!), when a student made some generalization based on personal experience, not data. The professor stopped class and gave us a pop quiz on what percentage of the US beer market was import vs. domestic. We knew what point he was trying to make, so we all low balled our "guesses" and yet we all missed it by magnitudes. Why? We thought our experience was relevant to the overall market. It wasn't.

According to NAAM*, ukuleles make up 4% of the fretted instrument market in the US, whereas guitars are about 62% (electric and acoustic). Yes, roughly 16x as large as the ukulele market. In dollars/units, guitars are about a $1B market (2.5 million units) whereas ukes are ~$65 million (~950K units). Do the math ("maths" for our UK friends). Weighted average guitar price is $400. Weighted average uke price is ~$65. Markup % will be similar. Your gross profit dollars will be about 6x on a guitar vs. a ukulele. If you owned a retail store, how would you allocate your space? Quite simply, given the lower average price of ukes, the retailer realizes 6x fewer profit dollars per unit than guitars.

* p. 11, https://www.namm.org/files/ihdp-viewer/global-report-2014/A7352D4907B25A95B2CE27A075D3956F/2014MusicUSA_final.pdf

CeeJay
09-11-2015, 05:06 PM
After reading all of this, and chuckling at some of it, I'm still flummoxed, like the OP is. You'd think, with the ukulele craze that's ben going on, that it would be THE instrument showcased in a music store. But it's still treated like a toy here, except for the Martins at Sam Ash, and the ukes at Compass Music on the beach. There's one guy selling Pono out of his home, and a bait shop sells Kala (probably not many).
It's disappointing to try to go ukulele shopping. Even after Jake has been here, there's still ukes hanging in the stores. Most people in our club initially buy from Sam Ash or Compass or even GC, until they realize there's a better way.
There's too many good online sellers here, like Mainland Ukes, MIMS Ukes, HMS (which is a store I wanna visit), Elderly Music, etc.
And you're right, there are no upline ukes ins stores around here, save the Martins at Sam Ash, which, let's face it, most people just can't afford these days..... which sucks.

'Cos it's only Uke nuts that see it like you do ...I am afraid that suffer from a condition known as Other Instrumentitis.....and therefore see that the Uke is still pretty much not considered a mainstream instrument ...there are certainly more about and a wider choice ...but I think that the Ukers lives in a cosy little bubble
of delusion about the relative popularity of our...your ... the instrument sometimes....:biglaugh::uhoh::shaka:

Ukulele Eddie
09-11-2015, 05:10 PM
'Cos it's only Uke nuts that see it like you do... of delusion about the relative popularity of our...your ... the instrument sometimes....:biglaugh::uhoh::shaka:

I need another beer. This is 2X in one week where I agree with CeeJay (and our posts coincided to prove it!)!!! LOL!!!

kypfer
09-11-2015, 09:09 PM
So now my question is . . . How/why do a few stores carry a quality/quantity mix of ukuleles? That is, how can the exception help to explain the norm? ...

There'll probably be some underlying factor which isn't immediately obvious, such as these stores maybe owner/occupied, so no rental overhead, run by people who no longer have a requirement to take a large salary (they've paid for their house) or even as a family business with some members possibly "living over the shop" ... or maybe they're just a front for some nefarious dealings which we'd rather not know about !! ;)

LDS714
09-12-2015, 12:47 AM
I had honestly not noticed a lack of ukuleles in stores. I live in the Nashville TN area and it seems like all of the good music stores in town have a pretty decent selection of ukuleles. While it does not rival the selection of guitars it honestly is pretty good. Locally I can buy a ukulele from any of the following: Collings, Martin, Maui, National, Gold Tone, Kala, Cordoba, Heindel, Breedlove, Moku, Kamaka, and probably over a dozen other brands. Sure the local stores don't have the selection of HMS, but honestly it is pretty decent.

Who carries Kamaka, Collings and Breedlove? I know Two Hippies carries Breedlove guitars, but the only ukes I've seen there the couple of times I've visited are Kalas.

stevepetergal
09-12-2015, 04:37 AM
I have a couple of suggestions. (Haven't read this entire thread. Sorry if I duplicate others)

Join a ukulele club and ask other members (with instruments you find interesting) if you might try their ukuleles.

Start a thread here. Ask nearby or travelling UU members if they'd be able/willing to "show you theirs" One Colorado member brought his Mya Moe on a trip to Chicago, for me to play.

When you go on vacation (or leave town for any other reason), wherever it might be, search the internet for ukulele sellers. You may find Kalas and Lanikais, but you never know what else will be there, new or used.

I don't know where you live, but you may be close enough to take a weekend trip to a place that has a store or two with a wide selection. Look in a circle within four to eight -hour drive. I got back yesterday from Elderly which is a four hour drive from my home. It's a comitment, but I got to try out Ohanas, Kamakas, Collingses, Kanile'as, Romeros, Amahis, Kiwayas, Gretches, Takumis,.... Worth it. I don't know where you live, but Chicago has many dealers with variety, I'm sure New youk city does, Rochester, NY has Berninzio Uptown Music, L.A will have many, I'll bet there's a wide variety in Nashville... Lots of big cities out there.

Bumgardner
09-12-2015, 05:06 AM
Artisan carries Collings and Kamaka, I have seen Collings at Gruhn on several occasions. Corner music almost always has at least one Breedlove ukulele in stock.

Chopped Liver
09-12-2015, 05:35 AM
Shhh, that was subliminal advertising. If the word gets out, I'll lose the penny I earn for every 1000 hits when someone uncontrollably goes to their web page after viewing my message!

As for no responses, I'm too cultured and polite to tell y…, er, someone, "Well that was crap" and my sincerely held religious beliefs forbid me from adding "but hey, it was fun." What's a fine moral beacon to do?? I feel like Rosa Parks and Abraham Lincoln, persecuted, persecuted for refusing to give my pro forma endorsement to music I find unacceptable and contrary to the principles clearly exemplified in The Well-Tempered Clavier. We must rally on the steps of the NKY School of Music! We must build a Ukulele Underground to freedom from cacaphony! I shall be a martyr for the cause, yea, though they wrest away my holy earplugs! Let the crowdfunding begin!

I gotta lay off the Rowan County Spring Water.

:D Sounds like Rowan County, NC, to me!! :D

DaveY
09-12-2015, 05:36 AM
There'll probably be some underlying factor which isn't immediately obvious, such as these stores maybe owner/occupied, so no rental overhead, run by people who no longer have a requirement to take a large salary (they've paid for their house) or even as a family business with some members possibly "living over the shop" ... or maybe they're just a front for some nefarious dealings which we'd rather not know about !! ;)

OK, those are factors that I wouldn't have thought of. Thanks for the insights.

DaveY
09-12-2015, 05:43 AM
I have a couple of suggestions. (Haven't read this entire thread. Sorry if I duplicate others)

Join a ukulele club and ask other members (with instruments you find interesting) if you might try their ukuleles.

Start a thread here. Ask nearby or travelling UU members if they'd be able/willing to "show you theirs" One Colorado member brought his Mya Moe on a trip to Chicago, for me to play.

When you go on vacation (or leave town for any other reason), wherever it might be, search the internet for ukulele sellers. You may find Kalas and Lanikais, but you never know what else will be there, new or used.

I don't know where you live, but you may be close enough to take a weekend trip to a place that has a store or two with a wide selection. Look in a circle within four to eight -hour drive. I got back yesterday from Elderly which is a four hour drive from my home. It's a comitment, but I got to try out Ohanas, Kamakas, Collingses, Kanile'as, Romeros, Amahis, Kiwayas, Gretches, Takumis,.... Worth it. I don't know where you live, but Chicago has many dealers with variety, I'm sure New youk city does, Rochester, NY has Berninzio Uptown Music, L.A will have many, I'll bet there's a wide variety in Nashville... Lots of big cities out there.

These are good ideas, too. I live two-thirds to the west in Massachusetts (01007). I've been to Bernunzio, and liked it a lot -- the people were great, and there were a few ukuleles (Eastman, Cordoba) that I hadn't tried before. I've been to Music Emporium -- also a good place -- and played a Kamaka or two there, but others I had tried elsewhere or wasn't interested in. A place in Vermont sells Collings (and KoAloha -- when I tried the concert my jaw actually dropped), but when I asked the guy about Collings a few years ago he stood between the instrument and me and told me that it's really expensive. (I don't go there anymore.) I actually tried a Kanilea in a shop in Northampton, MA that mostly has Lanikais, Makala, Kohala (or whatever it is - NOT KoAloha).

So maybe it's not as bad as I'm making it. I guess I wish the array of ukuleles that I see on one seller's site was in a showroom near me.

It also would be nice to live closer to Elderly, or the other places mentioned. I always search for ukulele sellers when I travel, but I'll try the other strategies you mentioned. Thanks.

Rllink
09-12-2015, 05:49 AM
Pure logistics ... if your store got it in three days at the same price as you could get it for, then put on their mark-up, you'd say "No thanks, I can get it cheaper on-line!"

So, to make any profit at all, he's got to "put an order together", both to get a bulk purchase discount and to save on the costs of shipping ... which is likely to be "slow boat" 'cos it's cheaper than air-mail/courier, but slower! So your three days becomes his three weeks, but he makes a few units of currency to pay his rent/staff and feed the children, assuming he manages to sell the stuff fairly quickly and his overdraft isn't too expensive ... the real world, it's a hard place to trade :(I understand that everyone has to make a profit to stay in business, and I don't mind paying a little bit more to touch something before I buy it, but sometimes I wonder if they are even trying.

CactusWren
09-12-2015, 06:01 AM
There'll probably be some underlying factor which isn't immediately obvious, such as these stores maybe owner/occupied, so no rental overhead, run by people who no longer have a requirement to take a large salary (they've paid for their house) or even as a family business with some members possibly "living over the shop" ... or maybe they're just a front for some nefarious dealings which we'd rather not know about !! ;)

Exactly, the one high-end store in this giant sprawl of Phoenix appears to be a side business for a professional, using an adjoining space, open by appointment only, using the other business' receptionist. Not the most convenient set up in the world for the browser, but I am glad they exist!

Mivo
09-12-2015, 08:23 AM
Pure logistics ... if your store got it in three days at the same price as you could get it for, then put on their mark-up, you'd say "No thanks, I can get it cheaper on-line!"

It's all true, and it's fundamentally the same reason that kills small grocery stores. When I moved to the village I live in (twenty years ago), there was a grocery store and a bakers. Now there is nothing, not even a post office. The supermarket chains and malls in the cities with their better prices and larger selection wipe out smaller, independent places.

Not sure what the solution is. Of course I'll buy instruments online if that means a better price, far larger selection, and better service (setups). Heck, I even get better customer rights that way: in Germany, like in most of Europe, you can return anything you buy online within 14 days, no reason needed, and seller pays for return shipping.

I even buy the majority of my groceries online now (except stuff that requires cooling).

SailorUke!
09-12-2015, 01:57 PM
Wow. I was going to complain about the selection we have in Alaska but I guess it isn't as bad as I thought. I can test drive Martins, Gretch, Fender, GoldTone (Banjo Uke), Kala, Luna, Lanikai, Oscar Schmidt, Magic Fluke, Deering (Banjo Uke again), Cordoba, and all the major plastic ones you see out there within 45 miles of my house. No higher end stuff up here but we are an extremely small market from a population standpoint. I am not at all surprised that I can't go try out that Kanile'a line that makes me drool locally.

Guess I just need to go to Hawaii. ;)

LDS714
09-12-2015, 02:39 PM
Artisan carries Collings and Kamaka, I have seen Collings at Gruhn on several occasions. Corner music almost always has at least one Breedlove ukulele in stock.
Thanks! Now that you mention it, I do recall seeing a Breedlove at Corner.

Brian_the_electrician
09-13-2015, 12:44 AM
I'm coming to the conclusion that I (we?) just have to make sure that an online seller will take back a ukulele that is not defective but that I do not like, and that the cost of paying the shipping is somewhat balanced by the savings in gas and maybe time. I like to have pickups installed with the purchase, and being able to return a uke with a pickup also might be an issue. But it's not an enjoyable way to "shop," as I would find it brings with it detachment and some anxiety.

I kind of appreciate that there is easy access online to any number of things including ukuleles. If we could flash back say to 1973 we'd be ordering out of a print catalogue, sending a check via the postal service and hoping that four to six weeks later a playable instrument showed up at our door! Not only that we'd somehow first have to get on that music companies mailing list which means that we'd somehow have to find out they existed without benefit of a search engine and online community. So in some sense things are better.

But yes, I wish one or two of the good music stores nearby would stock better ukes and banjos for that matter.