View Full Version : Mainland, Bushman, Ohana, Stagg...

03-19-2009, 06:48 AM
Mainland, Bushman, Ohana, Stagg - does anyone know if these ukes are all made by the same Chinese manufacturer?

I know there are differences in quality control, set-up and apparently in the specs, but the basic instrument profiles look so remarkably similar that I wondered if the original source was the same?

Not so long ago, many people would have turned up their noses at the prospect of any Chinese string instrument, but China is really turning out some very nice stuff these days - ukes, mandos, fiddles... All hugely improved in the last couple of years. :music:

03-19-2009, 07:50 AM
I am interested in this answer also!

Just purchased a Mainland Concert - could not be more pleased! the construction is excellent - the look, feel, sound is superb!

After trying several brands out at local music stores - I can honestly say I feel I got much more Uke for the money than those I was able to try out - that had similar price points.

I will add the the very high level of customer service and setup I received from Mainland would also differentiate them from other ukes that might be built by the same manufacturer.

Just my $.02

03-19-2009, 11:34 PM
I've seen similar with mandolins.

There are some very common models that go under the names Trinity College, Ashbury, Ozark, Richwood etc etc. They're mass-produced in the same SE Asian facility. The difference in QC and pre-sale setup makes all the difference. In my experience, the instruments branded Trinity College are very good value, whereas many of the others (also in my direct experience) - despite being the same basic instruments - are unplayable without significant corrective attention.

The same is true of the Romanian Hora instruments which are imported into the UK and rebranded by Hobgoblin, Troubadour etc etc.

I find this process fascinating. How one company can take so much more care than another to make the most of a good basic instrument is, to me, a great example of how quality control, attention to detail and customer service can make all the difference.

I'm pretty sure all the uke brands I mentioned above are made in China, but clearly the experience of their various customers is pretty diverse.

Mainland certainly get big-time respect here. Obviously they have got a real grip on it all. Ohana also get conspicuous props, from what I see. :)

I own a couple of the top-of-the-range Stagg ukes. They're great - but only after I put in the work to replace nut and saddle, lower action and fit decent strings. They're matt finish - no option for the nice glossy versions you see from other brands.

If I wasn't such a dedicated instrument tweaker I could have easily come away from the experience disappointed. Post-tweak they are terrific value and really perfectly serious ukuleles. But anyone not confident with a file and sandpaper, and who resented the need to do an immediate string change would find that they had bought a couple of ukes with high action, poor intonation and that twangy sound of cheap nylon strings.

It's the attention to detail that ultimately defines the customer experience.