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JustinJ
11-29-2015, 07:13 AM
I saw this topic on a guitar forum. It was about how unreliable reviews can be as the price of the guitar goes up. I thought about all the nice ukes that have been showing up in the marketplace.

As the price of a uke goes, should you take the review more critically? Also, is someone going to criticize their ukulele purchase when we start looking above the $1300.00 price mark. In other words, people are not going to be honest about the uke they bought.

There is a post-purchase rationalization which occurs with more expensive items https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Post-purchase_rationalization

One of the funniest things I've noticed in the marketplace is how people praise the uke for sale as the best sounding and playing, but they're selling it.

I've not seen someone point out any flaws in their custom or expensive uke, only accolades. Are we ignoring the flaws in the more expensive ukes? I've seen a few expensive ukes above the $3000.00 mark that have some flaws in them or do not sound the best. I'm not naming any makers but I just saw one recently with the trim done poorly in one of the corners.

Is there a group think that goes on in a forum? In other words, it's a type of religion but the object is not gods or god but certain ukes. Some ukes are revered while others are looked at as inferior. This brand of ukulele is the preferred one because it's what the group likes. There is no rationality only emotions and if you want to be part of the group then you buy the same uke brands.

DownUpDave
11-29-2015, 07:36 AM
No offense Justin J but you always seem to dwell on the same topic, it appears you have something against expensive ukuleles.

I read lots of reviews, I listen to as many sound samples as possible and I ask questions of people who own an instrument I am interested in.

But at the end of the day I make up my own mind, as most others do. Sure people will gush all over something they own or are trying to sell. That is human nature and we as adults already realize that........next

I own at present a LdfM, Collings, Compass Rose, Mya Moe, Webber, Loprinzi, Koaloha, Pono........and on the cheaper end Gretsch, Gianinni, Islander. I can tell the difference in all of them but likes and dislikes are all personal preferences. No I did not buy all of these because I thought they would make me a better player ( your usual next assumption) . I bought them because I wanted to and I can afford it.

Sanfe
11-29-2015, 07:37 AM
Don't trust reviews. Only trust what you hear, and even then it's subjective at best.

Dwjkerr
11-29-2015, 07:42 AM
It depends on who does the review

SteveZ
11-29-2015, 07:47 AM
Relying on another's product review as the main yea-nay buy factor may not be a wise thing, as experiences and opinions differ. I've never used another's review as the yea-nay buy factor for any purchase, but I do tend to use these reviews for adding items to investigate the product further.

What I do appreciate about reviews is that they often make me look at a brand/model that I may have overlooked previously. Whether the review is bad or good doesn't matter, because one person's dislike is often someone else's like. So, just getting my interest piqued makes me glad to see these reviews.

Lori
11-29-2015, 07:53 AM
You need to read a lot of reviews to get a clear picture on any product. Ukuleles are no different from many other items you can buy. Each customer will have different requirements. So just like shoes, cell phones, cameras, vacation travel.... the best choice is going to be different from person to person. When people sell an expensive uke, and say it is a great uke, it probably is a good uke, but has some subtle feature that the player isn't personally enjoying. That might be the feel of the neck, or the way the tuners work, or the sound. Maybe the size of the uke is not a good fit anymore. Most luthiers that can charge the big bucks, do so because of their good reputation, which is built on many years of making customers happy. The product speaks for itself, so if there are flaws, they are easily detected. So, when reading reviews, supplement that with listening to sound samples, and if you can, play as many different kinds of ukes as possible. Find out how thick the neck should be for you, and apply that knowledge to selecting your uke. That is why it is a good idea to try a variety of ukes so you can make a good guess on what will be best for you. Once you have determined what's best for you, sell off those ukes that didn't work out for you.
There will always be fan-boys and fan-girls for various brands. For them, part of their experience is the brand, it's image and it's history. If it makes you happy, I have no problem with that. It can tint a review, so just be aware of that. Sometimes people are more complete in their comments (complaints) if you are talking to them in person. Putting things in writing makes people more careful about what they say. It can be very damaging to criticize a product in print, and unless it is framed with the right circumstances, it can damage reputations.

–Lori

spookelele
11-29-2015, 08:33 AM
I dunno.. I think of a review like an opinion because that's what it is.
I may or may not agree with the reviewer, but that doesn't mean that person is right or wrong.
But in the end, it's my opinion that matters to me, so I use my own judgement which isn't always the same.

I used to snub the sound of a soprano as being not very full.
But at a recent uke fest, one of the performers played the crap out of a vintage martin and I was blown away.
So.. was I wrong, or did my opinion just change and now I appreciate it differently?

I don't think there's a right and wrong answer. There might be a right or wrong answer for a particular person though.

As far as selling something goes.. that might be different. The seller might love it, but have to sell it. Or there might be some other reason other than no longer liking it. I don't think theres a one answer fits all to the question.

JustinJ
11-29-2015, 08:51 AM
I'm not criticizing expensive ukulele. I own a very expensive ukulele which I like. I'm not trying to make you feel guilty for your purchases nor do I have problem with people buying them. I take my instruments to a professional luthier who makes very expensive guitars.

What I'm questioning here is the honesty of the review. As a buyer of an expensive uke, I can not expect myself to honestly evaluate something. Of course I'm going to accentuate the positives. I bought it.

What I'm proposing here is that people ignore the reviews or our suggestions and listen with their own ears. Do not take what others say. You may miss out on a great instrument by listening to other opinions. This may be why we see so many ukes being traded and sold in the marketplace.

A major thing that I hear is how thick Pono necks are. People just repeat this from what they read. I do not not think Pono necks are that thick.

I know when I went shopping for an archtop. I did not read reviews. I went to several music stores and sat down with the instruments. I did not look at the price tag but just played it.

I actually liked one better that was half the price. Now if I had gone to the newsgroup, everyone would have praised the higher priced one preferring it over the one I tried.




No offense Justin J but you always seem to dwell on the same topic, it appears you have something against expensive ukuleles.

I read lots of reviews, I listen to as many sound samples as possible and I ask questions of people who own an instrument I am interested in.

But at the end of the day I make up my own mind, as most others do. Sure people will gush all over something they own or are trying to sell. That is human nature and we as adults already realize that........next

I own at present a LdfM, Collings, Compass Rose, Mya Moe, Webber, Loprinzi, Koaloha, Pono........and on the cheaper end Gretsch, Gianinni, Islander. I can tell the difference in all of them but likes and dislikes are all personal preferences. No I did not buy all of these because I thought they would make me a better player ( your usual next assumption) . I bought them because I wanted to and I can afford it.

M3Ukulele
11-29-2015, 08:52 AM
I read all reviews. Take what I can out of them. Look for other reviews of same models. I look for a consistent picture if it exists. Then listen to lots of sound samples. There are certain reviewers I trust and I ask questions often with PM.
Since I'm only two tears playing , I have avoided doing my own NUD until I know a little more. When I do get to review my ukuleles hopefully readers will get an honest opinion because I've learned and experienced a few things. Ultimately a review is an opinion. I find them useful and filter all things I read.

Recstar24
11-29-2015, 08:58 AM
As a reviewer, I find it helps to also lost what other ukes you own and just a general background on your experience. That at least gives the reader an informed viewpoint of the inherent bias that may be present in a review, which can't be avoided but it's good practice to be honey about it. So let's say someone is reviewing a $3000 uke, if there previous ukes are all $100 laminates we can take their impressions under a certain context, whereas if someone is reviewing a $3000 uke and they have owned and currently own $1000-$3000 quality ukes we have a different context to read their impressions.

In my short time here I've learned to rely on certain impressions from certain users with more weight based on their background and uke experience. For example, doc J has owned and owns so many quality ukes I feel confident letting his reviews bear some weight with me personally. Others like downupdave I've learned to trust not only because of experience but I just happen to get along with him very well online and we see eye to eye. Others like hollisdwyer we've owned similar ukes before so I know his ears are similar to mine. And I can't forget my local friend stevepetergal as I've hung out with him and met and played with him and know how he hears things.

Basically you have to do your research on who is doing the reviewing and you'll learn quickly how serious to take their impressions. For me, I make sure to state upfront my background and what I currently own and have owned so people have an idea who I am.

janeray1940
11-29-2015, 09:02 AM
When it comes to the actual purchase, I only trust what I can see and hear in-person. I pretty much already knew this but buying a custom ukulele was what cemented it for me - while there was really nothing wrong with the uke and it was made to the specifications I discussed with the luthier, it just wasn't what I had envisioned it would be, sound-wise, even though I'd only seen high praise for the luthier in reviews. Bad fit, that's all.

I've sold about a half-dozen ukes over the years, either because they were not a good fit (the custom; a uke with a scale length that was too big for my small hands; etc) or because I'd found something that I liked the sound of better. I've got space limitations (250 square foot house) and therefore keeping them wasn't really an option, but I'm pretty sure I made this clear in all of my for-sale posts.

I think reviews can be a good way of gathering information to hone in on potential candidates for purchase, but they're no stand-in for actual in-person experience. Over the years I've seen a few "flavor of the month" manufacturers or luthiers get all the accolades on UU, only to see the Marketplace flooded with those makers some months later. I can think of a couple that I had thought, sight-unseen, I would really like, but in each case after encountering a few in person they turned out not to be to my liking at all even though the reviews had been absolutely glowing.

Croaky Keith
11-29-2015, 09:06 AM
Read as many revues as you can, listen to as many sound samples as possible, check the measurements if you can, because sometimes how something looks can dissapoint your expectations. My preferences are not likely to be your preferences, so take them or leave them. :)

Doc_J
11-29-2015, 09:09 AM
It depends on who does the review

+1 on this. Hopefully a seller will provide detailed pictures and good sound samples so that a potential buyer can (to some degree) make their own opinion.

Don't expect a store review to anything but positive. If they did like a model they probably wouldn't be selling them.

JustinJ
11-29-2015, 09:12 AM
How many NUD has anyone read about a negative of the instrument? What I want to point out here is the influence of the group on peoples' decisions. We read these opinions and think we will get a perfect instrument. Then to our surprise when we buy the same one, disappointment comes through or we convince ourselves that it is good.


Now, if we take a cheaper instrument then you will see people point out more things out in their review usually. You will not see this as the price goes up. It's just not human nature.


There for a while on this list, it seemed that there was a new custom builder cropping up ever couple of months. So everyone would start buying these ukes. Some nicknamed this phenomenon "the flavor of the month" builder. This is some of the group think that I was referencing in my first post.

janeray1940
11-29-2015, 09:17 AM
How many NUD has anyone read about a negative of the instrument? What I want to point out here is the influence of the group on peoples' decisions. We read these opinions and think we will get a perfect instrument. Then to our surprise when we buy the same one, disappointment comes through or we convince ourselves that it is good.


Now, if we take a cheaper instrument then you will see people point out more things out in their review usually. You will not see this as the price goes up. It's just not human nature.


There for a while on this list, it seemed that there was a new custom builder cropping up ever couple of months. So everyone would start buying these ukes. Some nicknamed this phenomenon "the flavor of the month" builder. This is some of the group think that I was referencing in my first post.

Exactly what I posted about several posts north of yours :) Group-think, at least in my experience, is very strong in the ukulele community - I see it in person as much as I do online, and I don't think it's especially unique to the ukulele community. I do think social media and the internet amplify it - reviews, photos, Facebook marketing, and so forth.

DownUpDave
11-29-2015, 09:19 AM
In response to your response to my repsonse :p you made some intersting points. I love Pono necks and my ET-PC is one of my favorite ukes. I totally agree that we need to trust and buy with our own ears and hands, but for many of us that is next to impossible. Many people don't have acess to the ukes they are intersted in possibly purchasing. So we are between a rock and a hard place.........how do we make an informed intellegent decision. It can actually be quite hard. As Ryan said most of us here have formed relationships and developed trust with other members, we rely on their opinions to help us decide

The old saying of "Buyer beware" is certainly appropriate. But whether or not people are purposely misleading when reviewing a product can be discussed for a long time.

Recstar24
11-29-2015, 09:27 AM
JustinJ,

I personally would not take much weight of NUD into my own buying decisions and have never done so. A NUD post is about excitement and sharing a new toy, and I love reading them and I love that people feel OK to share with the community. If you have done so, sorry that is your issue not the boards or the community itself.

Again it all comes down to context of what's being written. I would never expect someone to post a negative in a NUD, that is not its purpose. At the same time I would never make a buying decision solely on one NUD post, that would be silly. A good community is one that allows people to share willingly, which these boards for the most part encourage.

JustinJ
11-29-2015, 09:28 AM
Exactly what I posted about several posts north of yours :) Group-think, at least in my experience, is very strong in the ukulele community - I see it in person as much as I do online, and I don't think it's especially unique to the ukulele community. I do think social media and the internet amplify it - reviews, photos, Facebook marketing, and so forth.


I was writing my post at the same time. I noticed yours when I came back. You make many good points about groupthink. I belonged to an astronomy forum many years ago and got caught up in the group think myself with eyepieces. There was always some new or better eyepiece to buy.

JustinJ
11-29-2015, 09:33 AM
I see nothing wrong with sharing but people should take it as that. Many come on to UU and do research to buy a uke.

I understand that it is hard to get out and try ukuleles and perhaps we have obligation. That obligation is to list even the negatives of an instrument, no matter the price. So that when people do their research, they get a better picture.

My point is that this would be hard. Since most people are not able to even see any negatives about their purchases.






JustinJ,

I personally would not take much weight of NUD into my own buying decisions and have never done so. A NUD post is about excitement and sharing a new toy, and I love reading them and I love that people feel OK to share with the community. If you have done so, sorry that is your issue not the boards or the community itself.

Again it all comes down to context of what's being written. I would never expect someone to post a negative in a NUD, that is not its purpose. At the same time I would never make a buying decision solely on one NUD post, that would be silly. A good community is one that allows people to share willingly, which these boards for the most part encourage.

natchez
11-29-2015, 09:39 AM
How many NUD has anyone read about a negative of the instrument? What I want to point out here is the influence of the group on peoples' decisions. We read these opinions and think we will get a perfect instrument. Then to our surprise when we buy the same one, disappointment comes through or we convince ourselves that it is good.


Now, if we take a cheaper instrument then you will see people point out more things out in their review usually. You will not see this as the price goes up. It's just not human nature.


There for a while on this list, it seemed that there was a new custom builder cropping up ever couple of months. So everyone would start buying these ukes. Some nicknamed this phenomenon "the flavor of the month" builder. This is some of the group think that I was referencing in my first post.

Folks get excited about new purchases; and it nice that they do. Yes, some may get over exuberant. But, if they are having fun, so much the better.

If you are intellectually curious, there is some quite interesting academic work on "herd" mentality. There is also good research on early adopters of technology versus late adopters. There are many here that would qualify as early adopters.

As to your comments about price versus praise, I have seen quite a number of sale posts for high-end instruments here disclosing rather de minimus issues, such as light fingernail marks on softer topped ukuleles from playing.

Before joining this forum I lurked; the folks here impressed me as incredibly knowledgeable and, consequently, would logically be interested in what is new and different. IMHO- this is a very big plus, not a detriment, and one of the main reasons I decided to join and support this forum. I figured it is very cheap tuition for all that I have already learned and expect to learn going forward.

For example, before purchasing two Ponos- a concert and a tenor from the marketplace, I learned that some here feel that some Ponos might have a little less projection, and some others felt some Ponos might have thicker necks than other makers. So, from my reading here, I was able to adjust my expectations and to pre-check one purchase regarding neck size. I benefited from the learning that the early adopters provided. And consequently, am quite pleased with my marketplace purchases.

So from my persopective keep those NUD posts and reviews a comin' :o

actadh
11-29-2015, 09:51 AM
If is wasn't for some of the previous reviews on here, I would never have sent a pm on a marketplace Brueko within an hour of it being posted. And, I have been very happy with it.

By the same token, I purchased a ukulele based on reviews and was somewhat meh - my Harmony which is now slated for a grandkid.

Lastly, my first real ukulele was a Luna, which gets slammed as a piece of junk. I think it is a fine solid top in its price range, and I am glad I went with my own decision to buy.

I read reviews - on Amazon, here, music box stores. But, I realize how subjective they can be. I look for trends over time, more than one gushing or disparaging review.

Recstar24
11-29-2015, 10:00 AM
I would say that for a free online forum, no one has any obligation to aim for the highest level of objectivity in reviews. We as readers it is our responsibility to filter out "signal from noise", it is not realistic to expect every random person on the Internet to pre filter their noise and bias and leave purely objective impressions.

The only obligation for a free online forum and users posting impressions is that if they have any monetary connection to a vendor or builder or receive discounted or free product based on positive impressions ("shilling"), that clearly is not appropriate or at minimum should be stated up front. Otherwise, we should all remember this is the Internet with all sorts of weird and strange people from all sorts of different places, and considering this is a ukulele forum, we are all a little strange and weird for even being here (no offense).


I see nothing wrong with sharing but people should take it as that. Many come on to UU and do research to buy a uke.

I understand that it is hard to get out and try ukuleles and perhaps we have obligation. That obligation is to list even the negatives of an instrument, no matter the price. So that when people do their research, they get a better picture.

My point is that this would be hard. Since most people are not able to even see any negatives about their purchases.

Inksplosive AL
11-29-2015, 10:15 AM
My 20's Harmony is in a class of its own. It sounds old, it smells old, it has had some serious repairs to keep it playing and newer tuning pegs but the sound. Is it a KoAhola sound hell no but its a classic sound somewhere between a banjo and a ukulele. I must admit I cringe at hearing someone might be giving an irreplaceable antique to a child when a cheap Dolphin ukulele would suffice. Have you tried different strings or tuning to reentrant D-tuning where it was made to sing?

I do so like the realization in this thread which basically boils down to "not every opinion matters as much as every other". Too many people today forget the educated opinion always trumps the general opinion thinking their opinion as good as any other. A point Ive made in the past using the electoral collage vote as an example.

Ive been told I run the negative, I'm too hard on others and analyze everything too much. I know I'm not your average person and honestly I analyze myself the most so honestly I would have no issue pointing out flaws in something no matter the price. I'm not very afraid to face my own stupidity and might just cry out to try to guide others from making the same mistakes I have. It's just my nature.

~AL~

Rakelele
11-29-2015, 10:17 AM
You've made that same point several times now, and there's no denying that you are right - to some extent. If you rely on a single review from an unknown source, you might end up with something you don't like. Even in science, reviews are biased by people's opinions. So are they virtually useless? Not at all. In a scientific approach, you gather as much information as possible, and evaluate the sources. What is their background, what are their frames of reference, and what are their motifs?

In this approach, every review is a valuable piece of information; the more you can gather and compare to, the more likely you'll be able to make a well informed decision. So if anything, more people should be encouraged to write about their personal experiences and sentiments. What you'll make of it is up to you. But ignoring them altogether, might not be the smartest advice.

Freeda
11-29-2015, 10:36 AM
How many NUD has anyone read about a negative of the instrument? What I want to point out here is the influence of the group on peoples' decisions. We read these opinions and think we will get a perfect instrument. Then to our surprise when we buy the same one, disappointment comes through or we convince ourselves that it is good.


Now, if we take a cheaper instrument then you will see people point out more things out in their review usually. You will not see this as the price goes up. It's just not human nature.


There for a while on this list, it seemed that there was a new custom builder cropping up ever couple of months. So everyone would start buying these ukes. Some nicknamed this phenomenon "the flavor of the month" builder. This is some of the group think that I was referencing in my first post.
You seem to be fascinated by "confirmation bias". You might enjoy the book You're Not As Smart As You Think, which explores this and other ways we lie to ourselves and others.

UkieOkie
11-29-2015, 10:42 AM
Ok, so I only read the first page of this thread. The OP's concept is part of why I did the thread yesterday about people posting two sound samples of ukes unknown to the rest of us. With all other things being equal, we could listen, and form opinions based purely on the sound sample. It would be fun then to reveal what ukes they actually were. Undoubtedly most of the time the nice high end ukes are going to recieve good reviews from listening, but occassionally if we did it enough, the consensus would be that some cheapy actually sounded better than a high end.

No one has participated yet, but I think its a neat concept.

Happy Strumming,

Trevor

JustinJ
11-29-2015, 10:45 AM
Rakelele,

You make a several good points especially about people giving their experiences. If someone offers a counter opinion in this forum that goes against a brand then there is usually a negative reaction to the poster.

If someone has a different experience then what the group thinks, they will not speak up. If anything a lot of times, people will just repeat what they've read or heard.





Recstar,

I had to laugh about not being normal. I like to play a little instrument with four strings and go on a forum and talk about it :). Oh yeah, you could buy a used car for the price of my little instrument with four strings. It's a little strange when you think about it. Oh well, I'll just embrace the strangeness.

Freeda,

You are correct. I'm fascinated by human behavior. What started a lot of it for me was reading Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman . It helps to question ourselves and our beliefs.

I will take a look at the book you referenced.

Rllink
11-29-2015, 10:47 AM
Being objective, using common sense, thinking logically, all of that is subjective in itself. I managed an aquatics center before I retired, and this older lady would come there every day during adult waterwalking and lap swimming, and for some reason, she was obsessed with where people parked their bicycles and what lanes people used to swim in. And her favorite argument was, "common sense and logic would tell someone", then she would launch into her latest bitch. But I realized, her logic and common sense were not the same as mine. Her common sense and logic came from having never owned a bicycle that cost more than fifty dollars, and having never raced in a triathlon. But the thing is, that where people were parking their bikes, and where they swam was not the issue. It was not hurting her in any way. The issue was that people were not conducting themselves in accordance to her common sense and logic, and her common sense and logic took offense to that. I tried to point that out to her, but it just assaulted her common sense and logic that I could not see the common sense and logic of her argument. So I became a good listener. A lot of people get really upset about a lack of conformity in other people. If you want to learn a lot about people, manage an aquatic center.

dalamaricus
11-29-2015, 11:00 AM
The uke community is fairly small and friendly, so I think that makes reviews focus more on the positive side of the experience. Especially with custom instruments, when people get to know the builder as a person, then they're less likely to point out small flaws, or to work out issues directly with the builder. Having said that, every so often you still do read about problems with higher-end instruments.

Also there are things which bother some people but not others. I wouldn't notice if a side fretboard dot was slightly off center or if the 12th fret was slightly out of tune and wouldn't mention that in a review (ok now I've thought of it), but others might care a lot. As Recstar24 said, reviews on UU aren't done by professionals so you shouldn't treat them as such. Knowing the reviewer is an important part of understanding what to take away from the review.

Dan Uke
11-29-2015, 12:15 PM
I don't think this forum is all about being brutally honesty but a community that encourages all ukes and players. A review is just a subjective opinion anyways and thinking my opinion is very accurate could be seen as parochial.

spookelele
11-29-2015, 12:47 PM
How about this:

Yes we should trust reviews. I see no reason someone is trying to lie about their experience. Even if that experience is colored by personal excitement. Objectivity and honesty are not interdependent and that should be kept in mind with your grain of salt.

But no, you shouldn't rely solely on someone else's opinion to form your own.

The sticky bit comes.. when you don't have enough experience to form your own opinion though. Like the pono's in the market place thread. Alot of people go looking for something better than their entry. And the forum overwhelming points to pono's. But is an entry pono actually better than a Kala cedard top? The group think says it is... but honestly I'm not sure I'd tell my friends that.

I don't mean to start a war with that, just saying that an opinion is still just an opinion no matter how many times you're seeing it. But say for arguments' sake, the entry pono isn't really better... that doesn't make it wrong to suggest a pono either, because to someone it is better for various reasons.

One guy hates the "fat" pono neck. I personally love it. We can both be right, and to say don't trust one of those opinions I think is a dishonest thing to say.

Fuzzface
11-29-2015, 12:57 PM
"One man's meet is another man's poison"

Steveperrywriter
11-29-2015, 01:37 PM
I saw this topic on a guitar forum. It was about how unreliable reviews can be as the price of the guitar goes up. I thought about all the nice ukes that have been showing up in the marketplace.

As the price of a uke goes, should you take the review more critically? Also, is someone going to criticize their ukulele purchase when we start looking above the $1300.00 price mark. In other words, people are not going to be honest about the uke they bought.

There is a post-purchase rationalization which occurs with more expensive items https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Post-purchase_rationalization

One of the funniest things I've noticed in the marketplace is how people praise the uke for sale as the best sounding and playing, but they're selling it.

I've not seen someone point out any flaws in their custom or expensive uke, only accolades. Are we ignoring the flaws in the more expensive ukes? I've seen a few expensive ukes above the $3000.00 mark that have some flaws in them or do not sound the best. I'm not naming any makers but I just saw one recently with the trim done poorly in one of the corners.

Is there a group think that goes on in a forum? In other words, it's a type of religion but the object is not gods or god but certain ukes. Some ukes are revered while others are looked at as inferior. This brand of ukulele is the preferred one because it's what the group likes. There is no rationality only emotions and if you want to be part of the group then you buy the same uke brands.

Fascinating how often this topic, or a slight variation of it comes up -- Say, are you really getting your money's worth from that expensive ukulele?

You didn't say that this time, but you have said it before, and it kinda seeps through. Last time we went round, you blocked me for a while, and I am not trying to be nasty here, just wondering.

Why would anybody expect objectivity from a NUD review? Surely you expect we know this?

Anybody here not know it?

If I just spent several thousand dollars having a uke built by an expert luthier who included me all along the way, sent pictures, asked for my input as to woods and frippery, and he did his job like he was supposed to, why would I not offer a rave if it is exactly what I wanted?

Looks great, sounds great, plays great? Just what I asked for, right down the line?

Yeah, but you know, there's a pore on the fretboard, right there under the C-string, ninth fret, can't really see it, but I know it's there, so I need to point that out ...

Maybe not. Maybe it being handmade is part of the deal.

DownUpDave said it, this does seem to bug you in some way. If you don't have a problem with people buying more expensive ukes, why keep bringing it up? Yes, one speaks to a passing parade, so repetition is sometimes necessary for the fresh faces, but as often as not, this topic draws the same folks each go-round Some of us agree, some don't, if you are looking for converts, I suspect you won't find many ...

Booli
11-29-2015, 02:04 PM
For anyone thinking deeply about this topic...

Maybe it's worthwhile to keep these three ideas in mind when looking at these issues online:

1. A review is an OPINION, nothing more, nothing less. It is NOT gospel, advice, nor absolute. However, it allows the reviewer to SHARE their experience.

2. NUD posts are like 'Show and Tell' from grade school, which allow folks to SHARE their experience.

3. FOR SALE posts may have a marketing or propaganda angle, this is 'how it works' for selling anything in general as sellers compete for your hard-earned dollar. Caveat Emptor/Buyer Beware, Tempus Fugit, etc...

With ALL of the above, one might want to frame these items in reference to the reputation of the person posting them, and IN CONTEXT, use what makes sense to you and discard the rest. It's that simple.

i.e., a newbie opinion, uninformed review, gushing NUD, or sales post scarce on details will be indicative and obvious, as opposed to ones that can justify the perspective given, both qualitatively and quantitatively.

It is up to YOU, the reader to have an eye of skepticism, and a mental filter in order to be able to see past the bias of the person and information in question, while also tempering that with your OWN bias(es) and/or preferences and/or needs.

This too is a SKILL, that can only come from EXPERIENCE. Without this ACTIVE thinking, you are joining the herd of the blind leading the blind.

I personally reject the herd mentality as often as possible, and it has served me well. But this is MY experience, and as they say 'YMMV'. :)

But then again, please keep in mind, that this is only my OWN little opinion, and maybe has little bearing on the lives or thinking of others, and may or may not resonate with anyone else, and either way it's all good.

:shaka:

ksiegel
11-29-2015, 02:21 PM
I have done two reviews - one on a set of strings, one on an ukulele that was sent to me for my thoughts and opinion, which I then sent on to someone else.

In both reviews, I posted extensive sound samples, with different styles of playing. I gave both positive reviews, because - in my own humble opinion - they deserved them. Not because I am an expert - far from it; I am simply someone who enjoys playing the ukulele. I've played a lot of them, and I've had very different thoughts on them.

For example, the first Compass Rose I played, at Sylvan Music, was a lovely rosewood 5-string tenor. It had a great sound, and the action was perfect. And I didn't care for it. I found the feel too guitar-like, and it really did nothing for me. A year or so later, I played two CR ukes - one Cherry, and one Koa - and would have cut off intimate parts of my anatomy to own them - they were just That Good. So I asked Rick Turner what had changed - the instruments, or the player? He told me that how I played, how I approached an instrument, and my expectations in that year had undoubtedly evolved. He knew exactly which uke I was referring to at Sylvan, and said I would have a completely different experience with it if I picked it up and played it one year out.

I've played a lot of Kamaka ukes, and none have turned my crank but one - Gillian's Liliu uke, which I was unfortunately not in a position to buy when she sold it.

I've never played a Pono - the only ones available for me to play have been baritones, and I have arm problems that prevent my from playing something that size.

When I visited Ukulele Source in San Jose, I played just about every instrument in the place - including the KoAloha Pineapple Sunday I really wanted, and got nothing. I mean, they were nice, but I had no desire to purchase any of them. So I picked up the last, unplayed instrument, which I thought was just too gimicky - the KoAloha Sceptre. Withing 30 seconds of starting to play, my wife and I looked at each other and just said, "Wow."

Is the Sceptre perfect? No, it isn't. There are a couple of minor imperfections, but nothing that affects how it sounds, plays, or looks.

I also have the custom Donaldson - my absolute favorite ukulele of the bunch. Are there some minor issues? Sure there are. Do I care? Hell, no. Would I buy another Donaldson if I had the opportunity? Damned Straight! I've already told Bradford that if he builds any sopranos on spec to let me know and I'll have the money to him within 30 minutes.

Remember that a Review is subjective, and is meant only as a guide. To be objective, your scorecard is strictly 0/1, yes/no, open/closed, black/white.

Music doesn't work that way.



-Kurt

JustinJ
11-29-2015, 02:23 PM
* I would like to point out that I'm not criticizing reviewers. I do not even think it's intentional when we only mention the positives and ignore the negatives. I'm only saying and including myself that when I purchase something that I will justify my purchase.

As buyers, we should if possible play the instrument or have the option of sending it back. I purchased an expensive ukulele and had the option to send it back if it did not meet my expectations.

Following the herd will not always lead you to the correct decision for you. I think this especially applies to musical instruments, which are very subjective.


Booli,

You made a well thought out post.

You made some very good points. I like how you put things in categories.

I believe there are many brands underrepresented on the forum. I've seen it in other hobby forums. There are few that capture the audience and it seems to stick.

Kiwiohana
11-29-2015, 03:01 PM
Just my two cents as a noob.......as other have pointed out, to me a NUD is not a review. It's sharing the joy of the latest UAS symptom. I have and will post NUDs under Uke Talk, but I wouldn't dream of posting something in the actual Review part of the forum, as I know I am nowhere near experienced enough for that, either in playing skill or in experience with lots of instruments.

Booli
11-29-2015, 03:03 PM
Booli,

You made a well thought out post.

You made some very good points. I like how you put things in categories.

I believe there are many brands underrepresented on the forum. I've seen it in other hobby forums. There are few that capture the audience and it seems to stick.

Thank you for your kind words.

Maybe those brands that are not seen often or as much as one might like, do not have enough market penetration and availability to vendors, and as such do not get as much hands-on play at retail or exposure with online sellers.

I've never been to NAMM (but many folks here on UU have) and it seems that for a manufacturer to get visibility is quite difficult unless you have the budget for the giant noisy booth, with famous musicians playing your gear to attract the attention of either the trade press, distributors, or 'buyers' (for the bigger stores)...so a smaller brand just get lost in the mix...

and as such those lesser known names are not seen often or at all.

I always look at reviews as showing me a new brand or model that might not have known about before. The NAMM videos that Aldrine and other UU crew have done over the years have always been informative to me.

ukeeku
11-29-2015, 03:23 PM
I have done over 50 reviews, and I am now out of the business. I have been told twice that I will be sued for slander because they did not like my review.
It is really hard to review something and point out the issues you see. Some companies will take them to heart (Gold Tone) and others will just send a return label and never talk to you again.
They are opinions and I never thought I was right, just hoped that my experience would help others.
Here is the most expensive review I have ever done, and I got a lot of flack for it. It was expensive so the WOW machine was in full force for a lot of people who had played it.
http://ukeeku.com/2012/03/07/lichty_tenor_review/

I always tried to do the review for the price range. if it is a sun $100 uke I did not expect as much as a $1000+ uke.

igorthebarbarian
11-29-2015, 03:23 PM
Personally I trust this forum way more than I trust other websites. Most other websites are set up in order to sell you something and thus are going to have a bias toward promoting that product. This non-bias is what I love about this UU Forum. Because most of us are just amateurs (some super-beginner vs. some who are almost-pro's), so you get a broad spectrum of opinions, which is great.

NUD is for eyeball ogling. Just taunting me with those pics, feeding my UAS!

igorthebarbarian
11-29-2015, 03:25 PM
Your ukeeku site is a good, legit one. But I'm sure the threat/legal pressure sucks and is a very real thing. But as an end-user, I always felt your blog/site/reviews were real and authentic. Sorry you won't be doing anymore :(


I have done over 50 reviews, and I am now out of the business. I have been told twice that I will be sued for slander because they did not like my review.
It is really hard to review something and point out the issues you see. Some companies will take them to hard (Gold Tone) and others will just send a return label and never talk to you again.
They are opinions and I never thought I was right, just hoped that my experience would help others.
Here is the most expensive review I have ever done, and I got a lot of flack for it. It was expensive so the WOW machine was in full force for a lot of people who had played it.
http://ukeeku.com/2012/03/07/lichty_tenor_review/

I always tried to do the review for the price range. if it is a sun $100 uke I did not expect as much as a $1000+ uke.

70sSanO
11-29-2015, 06:01 PM
Having reviewed this thread, my opinion is that the people on UU are probably more honest than most guitar forums. It is valid for people to be excited and positive about their uke. As for the marketplace, it is pretty easy to decide for yourself, especially if there is a sound sample.

I do find it a bit humorous when it comes to expensive ukuleles because it was not that many years ago where you wouldn't see the word expensive and the word ukulele used in the same sentence. When a lot of people still see the ukulele as a toy, it is pretty amazing just how far the instrument has come that people see the value in the instrument to spend thousands and thousands of dollars to get a blinged out custom ukulele.

John

Added... Think about how many people get joy from every price range of uke. It is hard to not to be positive.

kkimura
11-30-2015, 04:50 AM
I've only had four ukuleles so what I'm about to say may not carry a lot of weight. That said, every uke I've bought sight unseen ended up sold to someone else. The only ones I still have are the ones I bought after trying them out.

Rllink
11-30-2015, 05:15 AM
I find that people, myself included, review things right away, before they get a chance to really put it through the paces. Later, when things start to show up, the review is already written.

Steveperrywriter
11-30-2015, 07:35 AM
I've only had four ukuleles so what I'm about to say may not carry a lot of weight. That said, every uke I've bought sight unseen ended up sold to someone else. The only ones I still have are the ones I bought after trying them out.

I own four ukues, all made by one-person shops. Three of these I bought sight-unseen, and those three are my favorites, I can't envision myself selling any of them, so different strokes.

Got o go walk the dogs befre the snow starts, but I will do a post detailing how I came to own these later. Not a review, but the process. I suspect that my experience was similar to that of others, but it might be useful to newbies considering a purchase from a luthier.

Steveperrywriter
11-30-2015, 11:03 AM
As I said, I own four ukes, had a couple others, but these four are the keepers. All tenors, all handmades.

The first one I bought used from the luthier at a show. It was a consignment from one of his clients, who was upgrading to a more expensive model. The luthier lives on the Big Island, builds classical guitars, too, and the uke was koa. It was a good price and what I was looking for — mellow, warm, well-made, easy action, easy on the eyes.

Second uke was from a well-respected luthier from whom I had bought a classical guitar, and he’s made but two ukuleles. He’s also made violins, violas, harps, dulcimers, archtop guitars, lutes, and I already had reason to trust his skills. Didn’t commission it, it was a sale that fell through because the buyer was buying a new house and needed every penny. I asked, just happened to catch the builder at exactly the right moment, and didn’t see how I could pass it up.

So, I had a warm and woody sound with the first, and a brighter tone with the second, and I was done, right?

Ah, but the attack of UAS is like a wolverine, fast and powerful …

I wanted to have one built for me, needed it, I say, and I went looking for luthiers.

Checked out local folks and local instrument shows, got no love. So I trundled over here to UU and started doing research.

Things I looked at and listened to, in no particular order, included:

Customer comments, yea and nay.

Resales.

Reviews.

Availability.

Sound samples, and videos.

Reputation among players and other luthiers.

Builder philosophy, as offered in various forums, especially the UU Luthiers corner.

I think you can learn a lot about folks based on what they say about their work, and when builders talked among themselves, I listened for resonance. What did they want to do with their instruments? What was important to them, as builders? How did they view life outside the shop?

I found a guy for whom the things that mattered to me lined up. We visited back and forth via email, and I liked what he said, so I went down that road. Terrific experience all the way around, great instrument, unbelievably low price. Couldn’t beat it.

Later, with UAS chewing on my ankle again, I decided I needed something between mellow and bright, so the notion of a redwood top arose. I started the research process, although I already had some ideas from the previous search.

Came across a sound sample, Cory Fujimoto playing a redwood tenor, and to my ears, it was the best-sounding uke I had ever heard. A luthier I had already come across, and who also lined up with my notions. I had his background, I contacted him, we started talking about woods and delivery …

Fast forward, new uke, not a single regret, another resounding victory.

So now, with UAS in full remission, I am good …

My point is, when I went to go see what was what, I researched everything I could think of, and didn’t pull the trigger until I was comfortable with my choice. Yes, it was possible I could have gotten a clinker even with the research, but I felt the odds were in my favor, and, as far as I am concerned, I won the lottery, both times.

Thanks largely to UU.

So those folks who say that UU isn’t giving an accurate picture of this or that might have a point, but in my case, it was an accurate enough picture for me to have come away with two outstanding handmade ukuleles. Can't ask for more than that.

And in case you are wondering:

Woodley White, koa
Alan Carruth, spruce/osage orange
Michael Zuch, spruce/tulip magnolia
Beau Hannam, redwood/rosewood

ukeeku
11-30-2015, 11:53 AM
I find that people, myself included, review things right away, before they get a chance to really put it through the paces. Later, when things start to show up, the review is already written.

I always wished I could keep a uke for a year, then review it. I think waiting 2 months is an OK amount of time to see what happens. I had 2 ukes split in that time (Both bamboo in the middle of summer in the midwest).
a few ukes that I had for a few months after the review showed their true colors with buzzing in the winter, or a major change after the glue and finished cured. they got way better.
How would you put a uke through its paces?

Rllink
11-30-2015, 12:40 PM
I always wished I could keep a uke for a year, then review it. I think waiting 2 months is an OK amount of time to see what happens. I had 2 ukes split in that time (Both bamboo in the middle of summer in the midwest).
a few ukes that I had for a few months after the review showed their true colors with buzzing in the winter, or a major change after the glue and finished cured. they got way better.
How would you put a uke through its paces?Just as you said, play it for a while, maybe a month or two, see what happens. Play different styles on it and see if it plays well. See if the tone matures, stays the same, see if everything hangs together. Even looking at a uke takes time, at least for me. I see things later on that I missed in the excitement when I first got it. I think that reviewing a uke before the strings even settle in is a little early to really know how it is.

70sSanO
11-30-2015, 03:37 PM
I do the complete reverse. I just buy a uke. Then I own it for a few years and work out how to use it to its best sound to my ears.

This is what I do. I personally think one of my tenors is too bright. I swapped out saddles & endless strings trying to find the perfect tone. I've worked on setup, intonation, and even some fretwork. It has been a love hate relationship. That said, it is the ukulele I've had the longest, play the most, and is the one I use those times when I play out, especially when I am playing alone for others. It plays fast and clear with great sustain. So I really understand what it means to get the most out of an instrument.

John

Ukulele Eddie
11-30-2015, 03:57 PM
I rely on HMS video samples and pictures and buy based on when my ears AND eyes (look is important to me; see signature as to why) scream, "Can't refuse!!!"

Sometimes what compels me surprises me. Like that used National Resonator "Speckled Chocolate Milk" that's on HMS. I have liked the sound of them but hadn't found one yet that was distinct/different enough in my eye candy rating to make me "put it into the cart." Until this one. :drool:

Recstar24
11-30-2015, 05:00 PM
Though steveperrywriter listed so many legitimate ways that I know I have used in my decision making process, I wanted to simply add that I agree that this forum has been very helpful to me in making solid wise decisions, even with the ukes I sold I do not place any blame on this forum or impressions or feeling misled.

To add to Steve, I will say that my current Hoffmann ML custom was essentially bought "blind" and was the largest investment I've ever made on an instrument so far. Some of the factors that influenced my decision were:

HMS sound samples

Consistency of user reviews and impressions

Reputation of luthier, including how long building ukes and consistency of quality of work over time

Reading posts here on UU by luthier in question - I clicked on the luthiers UU name and read through all their posts

Conversing with certain UU members specifically about luthier in question in email, in person, and private message

Clearly, UU was a big part of the decision making process and so far 3 months of ownership I feel I made a very good decision, and I am very happy with the music I am making with this custom. Thank you UU!

hollisdwyer
11-30-2015, 06:35 PM
Who wouldn't want to play the uke (or any instrument) you are considering buying before laying down cash on the barrel head?

That will never happen when you commission a custom and no matter what the reputation of Luthier, sound samples and the opinions of existing owners are, your instrument will be unique. Of course if all the above selection criteria are applied you will have significantly reduced the risk of getting an instrument that you will not be happy with but it will never guarantee it.

And for those who don't live close to large music stores or Uke Groups where you might actually have the chance to get your hands on your hearts desire, most purchases must rely on those selection criteria mentioned above and others that members have described in this thread.

I've sold a few high quality ukes both here and on FMM. I have never sold them because I was unhappy with them. I was just lusting after the next glittering prize and couldn't afford to own both, no matter how much I would have loved to.

The only Ukes that I was happy to get ride of because I realy didn't like them were the first two factory Ukes that I owned.

I should also add that every instrument mentioned in my signature below has exceeded my expectations of what a fine Ukulele should be. They are therefore a joy to play.

70sSanO
12-01-2015, 06:06 AM
I recently saw a video review and the reviewer made the statement that... you and I know there is no perfect ukulele. I think this holds true for most instruments. If you play an instrument long enough you will find certain notes where the tone is not quite as good, either louder softer or a different sustain. I have had enough stringed instruments over the years to know that every instrument is a bit of a compromise. As others have said, once the excitement has worn off there is a bit of reality that the ukulele that you just bought is not the perfect grail ukulele... except for rare instances where everything comes together.

Jake Shimabukuro talked about only having one ukulele and becoming familiar with the fretboard to be able to adjust to how certain notes sound. Part of the journey is getting to know a ukulele. How it reacts to different temperatures, humidity, etc. Acoustic instruments are susceptible to the environment and I think we all have experienced that.

As far as reviews, except for obvious quality and sound issues, most good ukuleles sound... good. If you listen to enough sound samples on HMS or Ukulele Friend, they begin to become a blur except the few that really impressed you or the ones you didn't care for; most of them sound pretty similar and none of them really stink. So I would think most reviews would be favorable.

John

Jon Moody
12-01-2015, 06:17 AM
I don't ever consider a NUD post to be a review. It's more of an announcement as the owner is excited about the new uke, and wants to share that. Nothing wrong with that at all, and I know everyone enjoys those threads, especially when pictures and/or sound clips are involved.

Any review is based on opinion, sure, and should be taken with a grain of salt. But the ones that I appreciate (and tend to put more weight on) showcase the instrument (or product in question) in as objective a light as possible. Show me what the ukulele can do, show me what it can't, etc.. All of that will give me a more real-world assessment of "Will this fit my needs enough to warrant looking for more reviews or finding one locally?"

The only reviews I dismiss are the ones that are either overly positive or negative.

JustinJ
12-01-2015, 07:03 AM
I never considered a NUD a review and agree with you Jon.

A review should be unbiased as much as possible. If a reviewer was sent a ukulele and had no financial incentive or investment in the uke, then this may give a better review. I see ukeeku reviewing the Lichety tenor as an example of this. It's interesting that he was honest and had a blowback.

Also, how good are the ears of the reviewer? Are they able to distinguish notes and chords? If we're talking about balanced sound, then you have to know how the chords should sound ideally. Of course, this is subjective.

A more seasoned musician with experience playing will be much more capable of judging the quality of sound in an instrument than someone with less expertise. Expertise does not come from years of playing. So someone with two years could be a better reviewer than some who has played 10 years. Also the technique which a person uses effects the tone of an instrument. I referenced this a while back on two different people playing the same instrument and how it sounded different.


John,

I agree with you about getting to know an instrument. You actually play better because you're used to the instrument and know how to bring out a good tone.

johnson430
12-01-2015, 11:32 AM
As the price of a uke goes, should you take the review more critically?

In other words, people are not going to be honest about the uke they bought.

There is a post-purchase rationalization which occurs with more expensive items https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Post-purchase_rationalization

One of the funniest things I've noticed in the marketplace is how people praise the uke for sale as the best sounding and playing, but they're selling it.

I've not seen someone point out any flaws in their custom or expensive uke, only accolades. Are we ignoring the flaws in the more expensive ukes? I've seen a few expensive ukes above the $3000.00 mark that have some flaws in them or do not sound the best.

Is there a group think that goes on in a forum? In other words, it's a type of religion but the object is not gods or god but certain ukes. .

As the price of a uke goes, should you take the review more critically?
In other words, people are not going to be honest about the uke they bought.

= It is hard for humans to point out their flaws or the flaws in the things they bought. Especially if it is something expensive. Who wants to look like a fool for overpaying for something?

There is a post-purchase rationalization which occurs with more expensive items https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Post-purchase_rationalization

=Good article. I would have to agree.

One of the funniest things I've noticed in the marketplace is how people praise the uke for sale as the best sounding and playing, but they're selling it.

=Haha. This makes me laugh...because it is true.

I've not seen someone point out any flaws in their custom or expensive uke, only accolades. Are we ignoring the flaws in the more expensive ukes? I've seen a few expensive ukes above the $3000.00 mark that have some flaws in them or do not sound the best.

=True, I have seen and heard this as well.

Is there a group think that goes on in a forum? In other words, it's a type of religion but the object is not gods or god but certain ukes.

=Yes, group think is very prevalent here.

DownUpDave
12-01-2015, 02:30 PM
As the price of a uke goes, should you take the review more critically?
In other words, people are not going to be honest about the uke they bought.

= It is hard for humans to point out their flaws or the flaws in the things they bought. Especially if it is something expensive. Who wants to look like a fool for overpaying for something?

There is a post-purchase rationalization which occurs with more expensive items https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Post-purchase_rationalization

=Good article. I would have to agree.

One of the funniest things I've noticed in the marketplace is how people praise the uke for sale as the best sounding and playing, but they're selling it.

=Haha. This makes me laugh...because it is true.

I've not seen someone point out any flaws in their custom or expensive uke, only accolades. Are we ignoring the flaws in the more expensive ukes? I've seen a few expensive ukes above the $3000.00 mark that have some flaws in them or do not sound the best.

=True, I have seen and heard this as well.

Is there a group think that goes on in a forum? In other words, it's a type of religion but the object is not gods or god but certain ukes.

=Yes, group think is very prevalent here.


So the short answer is.......yes you agree with everything Justin says.

RichM
12-01-2015, 02:34 PM
So the short answer is.......yes you agree with everything Justin says.

So this group think thing is real!

DownUpDave
12-01-2015, 02:39 PM
So this group think thing is real!

Oh.....touche'

johnson430
12-01-2015, 02:39 PM
So the short answer is.......yes you agree with everything Justin says.

Yes, I guess I do.
Does this mean I win a prize or get a gold star or a cookie?

johnson430
12-01-2015, 02:40 PM
So this group think thing is real!

Haha. Good one.
How ironic.

hollisdwyer
12-01-2015, 03:51 PM
Is there 'group think'? I believe so. It's sometimes referred to as herd mentality or , less pejoratively, the zeitgeist. But the thing is is that there is not just one 'group think' on this forum. That's what makes this place so interesting.

I can illustrate this by referring to the great love for the K brands on this forum. Do they sound great? Yes. Do they play great? Yes.
Would I ever buy one? No.

buddhuu
12-02-2015, 12:10 AM
Ah, reviews!

If we were talking about reviews on websites such as Amazon, IMDB, Review Centre, Trip Advisor or Trustpilot I would literally LOL at the concept of trust. Forums of that kind are saturated with bogus reviews. There are genuine ones (I write some myself) but in many cases the very obvious paid or vested-interest reviews overwhelm things.

Reviews on music forums are mostly different. They're not necessarily objective, but at least they are usually honest and sincere so far as self-delusion and pride will allow.

The thing about "if it's so great, why are they selling" is a non-issue to me. I know from experience that even when one owns a wonderful instrument, the GAS for greener grass rarely goes away for long. I have regrets about selling several guitars, ukuleles, fiddles and, most of all, mandolins. Although I loved them, I was swayed by hype and sold them on in order to sample the delights of The Next Big Thing. That Big Thing was usually also great, but often no greater than what I'd parted with, and sometimes I just didn't connect as well. Many of these sellers will regret parting with the items they advertise for sale.

As has been said, a review is an opinion and nothing more. One may find a review more credible if one knows and respects the credentials of the reviewer. On the other hand, when endorsement and sponsorship are lurking in the background one may wish to apply pinches of salt to taste.

I do have problem with reviewers presenting valid alternative techniques as being particularly problematic unless they can point to an actual, not theoretical, issue. Bolt-on necks, for example. The old chestnut about set necks producing better sustain is, IMO, drivel. My bolt-on Strat sustains better than my set-neck SG and my bolt-on Taylor sustains as well as my Vintage set-neck acoustic. I have always found bolt-on neck construction to have a list of advantages as long as both arms. Others may have, and are welcome to, another opinion but it annoys me when they try to dismiss the alternative as inferior. The same thing happens with finishes: nitro, poly, Tru Oil, French polish... they all have advantages and all are found on expensive instruments.

Reviews can be great sources of factual information that manufacturers and stores leave out of their published specs or may publish on a hard-to-find web page. For example, I recently found a review that had details of the fretboard radius of a guitar I'm considering. I hadn't been able to find that info on the maker's site or any retailer site and it's important to me.

Reviews are just a piece of a jigsaw. The most important piece of that jigsaw is your ears and hands.

One other thing. I never understood how someone can be satisfied until they've heard an instrument being played by someone else. Every instrument I've owned has sounded very different to me when I sat a few feet away from someone else playing it compared to when I was hunched over it twanging away. Reviews rarely reflect that.

DownUpDave
12-02-2015, 01:07 AM
@buddhuu......great point about the need to listen to someone else playing an instrument in question. I don't think I have every read it phrased the way you just did and it really rang a bell with me.

A few weeks back I had a "uke demo day" at my house. It consisted of myself and three other uke playing friends. All of them members here and all of them uke crazy. Instructions were simple, bring a minimum on 4 ukes and we all get to play each others stuff. The benefit was getting to hear your ukes played by other players........very enlightening.

Opinions were made and formed. Playability and dimensions are just as critical as sound for one to be happy with an instrument and that is all a personal "fit" and can only come from playing it. Sometimes we have go buy before we can try. I have two ukes that I absolutely love the sound of, the looks of, the over all quality is excellent. But I am thinking of selling them because the necks are slimmer than I prefer. When I put them in the marketplace and gush all over them about the sound and how great I think they are will I be perceived as being "less than honest" in my opinion of them?.

JustinJ
12-02-2015, 02:53 AM
When I put them in the marketplace and gush all over them about the sound and how great I think they are will I be perceived as being "less than honest" in my opinion of them?.




I recently sold a uke, not on here. I was completely honest with the buyer. There is a small indention, etc, They had heard me play the uke, so they knew the sound.


Personally, I can understand if something does not fit your hand. But when you see people talking up their uke when selling it, it comes across as less than genuine. First off, you're selling it, so at this present time you're not pleased with it, unless you need the money. Maybe you're in the throws of UAS.


If you put up a sound sample of your uke that you're selling then you want be perceived as dishonest. You can let the buyer decide.


You also bring up a good point about how the instrument sounds in other people's hands. I know for myself that when I hear a sound sample, that I like to hear each string plucked. I then like to hear a couple of chords played allowing the notes to decay. A good player will show the instrument near its top form. The opposite is true of a poorer player ( chords and notes not fretted well, etc..)

Michael N.
12-02-2015, 03:45 AM
I haven't done any reviews but I have done quite a number of A,B type blind tests. I had two guitars finished that were very different in construction, different models with different wood types. I had been playing these guitars for a couple of weeks and I had come to a firm opinion on the tonal merits of each one. They sounded very different to each other, especially on the high treble string.
One day a friend turned up and I asked him to turn his back whilst I played each instrument in succession. These were single notes on the high E string. A quick alteration between each instrument, perhaps no more that 6 or 7 seconds between playing each instrument. I did the A,B comparison 5 or 6 times. I was astonished when he informed me that he couldn't differentiate between the two. I actually found it pretty frustrating because the difference was quite obvious to myself, the person doing the playing. I tried again. He still couldn't differentiate between the two. I'd had enough. I handed him both guitars (he can play quite well) and told him that I would do the blind test. The outcome left me exasperated. I couldn't differentiate between them either. In fact I had no idea which was which. Yet whilst playing each instrument the tonal difference seemed very obvious. It did to my friend. I suspect there's much more going on than just 'tone' by itself. When we try an instrument we quite often come at it with pre conceived notions. I suspect the look, feel and weight of the instrument may alter our perception of tone. It's a lot more complex than just sound/tone.

buddhuu
12-02-2015, 04:41 AM
[...] I know for myself that when I hear a sound sample, that I like to hear each string plucked. I then like to hear a couple of chords played allowing the notes to decay. A good player will show the instrument near its top form. The opposite is true of a poorer player ( chords and notes not fretted well, etc..)

I'm sceptical of sound samples over the internet. There are too many variables: mics, editing software, file compression, player software, speakers/headphones. They may be useful to give very general impressions, or in direct comparisons recorded at the same time with the same equipment, but that's about it.

As for hearing an instrument in another player's hands, for me it's not about hearing a good player bringing out the best in the instrument (although there's no denying that can be enlightening and inspiring), it's mostly simply to hear the tone as perceived by an audience rather than by the player as proximity and position make a big difference to the perceived sound. An average intermediate player does that job just fine.

On the subject of perceived sound, some of you may be surprised just how loud your ukes are when heard from out in front. Try playing while standing facing a wall - about a metre away - or (if you can get the angle right) a corner where two walls meet.

Rllink
12-02-2015, 06:36 AM
I don't care how many sound samples you listen to, or how many reviews you read, there is no sure thing. Sooner or later, you have to take a leap of faith. I have a friend who will agonize for weeks, or even months, read every review he can find, watch youtube videos, and exhaust every option before he buys almost anything. I, on the other hand, am much more willing to throw caution to the wind and see what happens. I would say that he suffers disappointment more than I do, because with all his research and agonizing over everything, he generally gets an image of something in his mind, or some expectations, that he seldom ends up with in his hands. I'm not saying that research isn't good, but a person can get bogged down in it sometimes.

Kiwiohana
12-02-2015, 07:50 AM
I have two ukes that I absolutely love the sound of, the looks of, the over all quality is excellent. But I am thinking of selling them because the necks are slimmer than I prefer.

*makes mental note to watch the Marketplace like a hawk*

You have some lovely instruments Dave, I bet they will go real quick!

Personally, I research to a mild level, and then take the leap of faith. Living where I do I don't have the luxury of going and trying the instruments out, unless I am buying cheaper mass produced models. I will listen to sound clips, but I don't expect that's what the instrument will actually sound like - there are two many variables.

I would much rather trust the opinions of people like Dave - a guy I have never met, but whose posts always make sense to me and who has a great mix of instruments that also ring my bells. There are lots of people on this forum that fall into that category, and it is through the likes of you that I have grown my ukulele knowledge. Without this forum, I really would be making a completely blind decision. So thanks guys!

Dan Uke
12-02-2015, 08:55 AM
I don't believe in the group mentality. There are definitely a few rain makers here that will make someone consider a brand but the quality of the make and sound will ultimately be the final test. There isn't enough money in the uke business for a brand to last.

JustinJ
12-02-2015, 09:08 AM
Buddhuu,

You make many good points about sound. I would have to agree that an instrument is not going to sound like it come through on the computer. I'm looking at amps now and there are some brands that I can not get in my location. I've been trying to listen but there are so many variables with amps.

I actually did a test where I played my uke between the corner of two walls. It was surprisingly loud. I'm sure the sound bouncing off the wall made a difference but I was surprised.


Rlink,

This is a very good post. I agree about agonizing over the research. I'll research electronics but mostly to see about reliability. Does the piece of equipment last.

You get an ideal of what you're getting and of course it never works out that way. Our ideal is always above reality.



I don't care how many sound samples you listen to, or how many reviews you read, there is no sure thing. Sooner or later, you have to take a leap of faith. I have a friend who will agonize for weeks, or even months, read every review he can find, watch youtube videos, and exhaust every option before he buys almost anything. I, on the other hand, am much more willing to throw caution to the wind and see what happens. I would say that he suffers disappointment more than I do, because with all his research and agonizing over everything, he generally gets an image of something in his mind, or some expectations, that he seldom ends up with in his hands. I'm not saying that research isn't good, but a person can get bogged down in it sometimes.

JustinJ
12-02-2015, 09:20 AM
I don't believe in the group mentality. There are definitely a few rain makers here that will make someone consider a brand but the quality of the make and sound will ultimately be the final test. There isn't enough money in the uke business for a brand to last.

Where do people learn about certain brands or luthiers? It mostly comes from the forum. The group decides what ukulele brands are known and admired.

There may be some unknown luthiers who may build instruments better than the talked about luthiers on UU. We just don't know them. Someone in the group has not told us.

Dan Uke
12-02-2015, 09:56 AM
Where do people learn about certain brands or luthiers? It mostly comes from the forum. The group decides what ukulele brands are known and admired.

There may be some unknown luthiers who may build instruments better than the talked about luthiers on UU. We just don't know them. Someone in the group has not told us.

You have a very loose interpretation of group mentality. For almost everything we buy, someone needs to tell us about it. Just because someone says there's a new brand, that's not group menatality.

Group mentality is someone says this is a good brand and we all admire. This site trys to follow the aloha spirit and the rules state don't be a jerk. If someone doesn't like something, most people will not say anything. That doesn't mean we all agree. Also, since the community is so small and the luthiers are very accessible and often on the site, we all try to be respectful.

Steveperrywriter
12-02-2015, 11:02 AM
Where do people learn about certain brands or luthiers? It mostly comes from the forum. The group decides what ukulele brands are known and admired.

There may be some unknown luthiers who may build instruments better than the talked about luthiers on UU. We just don't know them. Someone in the group has not told us.

Quality, like talent, will out -- if there are terrific brands of ukes out there, folks here who get one will be apt to tell you. If you think there is some kind of hive-mind conspiracy to keep that quiet? Maybe you need to rethink that ...

johnson430
12-02-2015, 12:35 PM
Quality, like talent, will out -- if there are terrific brands of ukes out there, folks here who get one will be apt to tell you. If you think there is some kind of hive-mind conspiracy to keep that quiet? Maybe you need to rethink that ...

What are you talking about?
There was no talk of a hive mind or some conspiracy.


Question:
You call yourself ...writer.
Do you even understand how to properly use ellipsis marks?
I do not think so; and I say this as an English teacher.

I would like to offer you a friendly challenge. Let's post a thread for suggestions about a story topic in the Gen Discussions. (Must be uke related)
Then we both write a story on the agreed suggestion and have the other members vote on their favorite.
I am a writer at heart and it is my profession to teach others this craft.
I am curious as to how my writing stands up to yours.

Sincerely,
Johnson

Dan Uke
12-02-2015, 12:39 PM
What are you talking about?
There was no talk of a hive mind or some conspiracy.
Question:
You call yourself ...writer.
Do you even understand how to properly use ellipsis marks?
I do not think so; and I say this as an English teacher.

I would like to offer you a friendly challenge. Let's post a thread for suggestions about a story topic in the Gen Discussions. (Must be uke related)
Then we both write a story on the agreed suggestion and have the other members vote on their favorite.
I am a writer at heart and it is my profession to teach others this craft.
I am curious as to how my writing stands up to yours.

Sincerely,
Johnson

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Steve_Perry_(author)

hmmm...just because you write sincerely...are you sincere? I no idea wat ellipsis marks are but I'm ESL.

70sSanO
12-02-2015, 12:40 PM
Where do people learn about certain brands or luthiers? It mostly comes from the forum. The group decides what ukulele brands are known and admired.

There may be some unknown luthiers who may build instruments better than the talked about luthiers on UU. We just don't know them. Someone in the group has not told us.

UU has a list of builders and you can knock yourself out researching them. You can also spend a little more time reading threads in the Ukulele Building / Luthier's Lounge. A lot of good things happen a dozen sub-forums down from here.

I usually stop into local music stores, not the big box ones, when I'm on vacation to check out what they have. Every now and then you stumble across something. I think that is a great resource to find local builders.

There are probably groups or guilds that have members that make instruments. Here is one in Southern California...

http://www.simscal.com/

I've actually searched ebay a number of times and if something catches my eye, I'll google it, or the luthier. Found my last ukulele that way. My first tenor that way also.

A lot of times a guitar builder will also make ukuleles and that is another avenue.

And the pursuit can be a lot of fun also.

John

Edit added... At least my secrets are safe. No one will see it in the middle of this fray!

johnson430
12-02-2015, 12:41 PM
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Steve_Perry_(author)

hmmm...just because you write sincerely...are you sincere? I no idea wat ellipsis marks are but I'm ESL.

Dan,
maybe this will help you.

An ellipsis (plural: ellipses) is a punctuation mark consisting of three dots. Use an ellipsis when omitting a word, phrase, line, paragraph, or more from a quoted passage. Ellipses save space or remove material that is less relevant.

Regards,
Johnson =)

wayfarer75
12-02-2015, 12:53 PM
Generally speaking, I find it best to argue against a poster's point rather than argue about a poster's punctuation. Especially in a setting like this where we write very informally.

hollisdwyer
12-02-2015, 02:07 PM
This thread may have jumped the shark. Would the moderators please consider it for closure?

ukeeku
12-02-2015, 02:43 PM
Makers who want to be included on UU get their names onto the list and may prod the occaisional promotional comment. As far as I know, makers like to have their own promotional program, they don't need gushing UU members to "discover" them and publish a review. Many have little interest or need for promotion on social media. Many would not want customers like some of the commenters on this thread, they don't need the post sales stress. They also don't need the post sales stress that goes with being famous on UU.
The reviewers who link their blogs to UU obviously do it as part of some form of commercial activity, their reviews are always on ukes supplied by vendors who want a review as part of a marketing program. Get over it. If the copy they write is not entertaining, their blog will die, so they ones that endure are writing entertaining good material and most readers enjoy the reading experience, knowing well that there is some commercial thing behind the blog. If anyone wants to become like them, you need to start out with some good entertaining copy and do some hard promotional work, like the successful people have done.
One area where the review style copy could be changed is to pick out a set of technically challenging uke tunes, and work through them to give a more musical appreciation of the instrument, with a few lines at the end to cover physical attributes like wood and strings etc. . So the bulk of the review is about playing the instrument, not about how pretty the wood is or the styling of the bridge. Of course this would require the reader to develop some knowledge of the music, which may be a challenge for some ukulele players whose world revolves around wood grain, laminates, and changing strings every five minutes. Some ukulele enthusiasts just don't feel the need to learn a bit more about music, which I think is fine, but the downside is going to be that review style copy aimed at them needs to remain fairly basic to be of any use to these ukulele enthusiasts.

Build quality is a big thing. I found that if the build quality was not up to par, the uke was also not up to par in the sound department.
Whenever I see a uke that is crazy decorated I wonder if that is all there is to it. I have found that it could mean great care was taken, and I have also seen ones that the decoration is the only thing they care about and it is garbage.
On the topic of writing, I always hated writing, and I know it showed. I just wanted to play the ukes and have others play the ukes I was excited about.
I always told people that opinions are like butt holes.............. Everyone has one, and they all stink.
Also any idiot can start a review site and say whatever they like. its cheap.

coolkayaker1
12-02-2015, 04:06 PM
This site trys to follow the aloha spirit and the rules state don't be a jerk. If someone doesn't like something, most people will not say anything. That doesn't mean we all agree.

I agree. This fact is very limiting on true, unbiased reviews on this website.

Furthermore, if someone doesn't agree with a thread, instead of simply no longer clicking and reading it, they'll cry for the Mods to "please close this thread." Boo hoo.:(

JustinJ
12-02-2015, 05:00 PM
From what I gather about the write off, it's a short story of fiction related to something about ukuleles.

Back to the topic.


Bill,

How do you suggest we go about reviewing a ukulele?

How much does price factor in the review? I'm of the opinion that over 1500.00, a uke should be finished pretty much flawless. I'm sure that could be some very minor imperfections. There are some well made guitars that are in this price range.

Do we give a percentage to tone?

What about fit and finish?

Should there be a price to playing ratio. In other words, are you getting a well made instrument for a good price?

These are just some ideas.

hollisdwyer
12-02-2015, 05:09 PM
I agree. This fact is very limiting on true, unbiased reviews on this website.

Furthermore, if someone doesn't agree with a thread, instead of simply no longer clicking and reading it, they'll cry for the Mods to "please close this thread." Boo hoo.:(

The great majority of this thread has been very interesting to read, especially the earlier posts and some of the later. Lately though it has started to get off topic. I have seen that before and it can descend into an ugly sight. But then again you're right. If I don't like it I can just change the channel and not watch the programme any more.

Dan Uke
12-02-2015, 06:35 PM
I think the writing challenge is condescending. Steve is already accomplished so what does he have to prove? If Johnson wants to write a uke story just do it.

That's like all those people who go up to a pro basketball player and challenge them to a 3 point contest...gets old quickly. I work at a bank, you can probably count money better but who cares? We don't need a pissing contest.

Next thing you know, people will start commenting that they can play the uke better on a NUD thread or tell them to use a metronome.

DownUpDave
12-02-2015, 06:52 PM
I think the writing challenge is condescending. Steve is already accomplished so what does he have to prove? If Johnson wants to write a uke story just do it.

That's like all those people who go up to a pro basketball player and challenge them to a 3 point contest...gets old quickly. I work at a bank, you can probably count money better but who cares? We don't need a pissing contest.

Next thing you know, people will start commenting that they can play the uke better on a NUD thread or tell them to use a metronome.


Oh snap. ................God Bless you my man...............I am almost up to tempo.

A writing contest somehow came out of a thread about honesty in ukulele reviews, no this has not gone sideways.......not at all. As relevent as screen doors on a submarine.

Camsuke
12-02-2015, 07:40 PM
Next thing you know, people will start commenting that they can play the uke better on a NUD thread or tell them to use a metronome.

This is very funny Dan, you have absolutely nailed it! Thankfully Dave is way above these kind of comments!

Steveperrywriter
12-02-2015, 09:24 PM
What are you talking about?
There was no talk of a hive mind or some conspiracy.


Question:
You call yourself ...writer.
Do you even understand how to properly use ellipsis marks?
I do not think so; and I say this as an English teacher.

I would like to offer you a friendly challenge. Let's post a thread for suggestions about a story topic in the Gen Discussions. (Must be uke related)
Then we both write a story on the agreed suggestion and have the other members vote on their favorite.
I am a writer at heart and it is my profession to teach others this craft.
I am curious as to how my writing stands up to yours.

Sincerely,
Johnson

Good teachers are worth their weight in gold, and I appreciate the ones I have had along the way. That said, teaching a thing is not necessarily the same skill set as doing the thing.

This is not the first time this topic has arisen. A while back, somebody active in this thread allowed as how some high-end ukes weren't worth the money, and hinted broadly that "some," meant "most." Then he waved something at us as part of his evidence:

Dude, look, a trained luthier told me this!

Chuck Moore, who generally goes out of his way to avoid this kind of discussion, stepped up and allowed as he hadn't gotten any such training, and despite that, he was doing all right at this ukulele-building biz. You know, he's made a few, and people seem to like them.

Viz: I got your trained luthier right here, pal.

Right next to your trained English teacher.

Informal English, such as one uses to, say, write pop genre fiction, doesn't have to follow the rules for a scholarly paper. You aren't looking for a grade from somebody who knows how to do footnotes, but for a sale to somebody who wants to be entertained. If you know what they are, you can break the rules for literary effect, and swapping out dashes and ellipses for periods, ending a sentence with a preposition, using "ain't" instead of "isn't" or sentence fragments, these are allowed.

I know it isn't proper. I do it anyway. So what? What an English teacher thinks and a dime will get me ten pennies. My editors and I will discuss how much I can get away with in the book I sold them.

Or should I have said "... away with which I can get." would that have been better?

Being able to parse a sentence is a fine skill. It doesn't make you a writer.

When you tell a story, the point is to be clear, and whether your house uses the Oxford comma or not? Follows The Chicago Manual of Style? Most readers really don't give a sour owl poot. Nor should they.

Once, when Muhammad Ali knocked somebody out cold, there were boxing teachers who ragged on him because his form wasn't proper. Well, yeah, you are the heavyweight champ and all, but your foot was crooked.

I can only imagine what Ali thought when he heard that.

I once heard Stephen King castigated at length by a college professor who ranted how awful a writer King was.

I am sure King cries all the way to the bank.

I make no claims for talent, nor for expertise as a writer. Then again, I have made a living doing it for thirty-some years, and feel no need whatsoever to prove anything to someone who thinks he has chops. If you can write well enough to do it professionally? Have at it. I already know I can, thank you.

I had a college teacher tell me I would never be able to make a living as a writer. Proving him wrong still feels pretty good.

Steveperrywriter
12-02-2015, 09:35 PM
Probably this should be somewhere else, but if you want to see a ukulele-themed story I wrote? Have a look:

http://themanwhonevermissed.blogspot.com/2014/11/the-luthier-short-short-story.html

buddhuu
12-02-2015, 10:12 PM
*Sigh*

OFF TOPIC:

* writing
* grammar
* punctuation
* general irrelevant pedantry

From the rules:


2) General Conduct - Please do:
2.1 Stay on topic.
2.2 Post when you have something to say rather than to just make noise. A cluttered forum is more difficult to manage and moderate.

Don't screw up other people's threads.

Thanks.

hollisdwyer
12-02-2015, 10:21 PM
*Sigh*

OFF TOPIC:

* writing
* grammar
* punctuation
* general irrelevant pedantry

From the rules:



Don't screw up other people's threads.

Thanks.

Unfortunately, yes, sigh. Can we please get back on topic. It is damn interesting and I would like to hear more members opinions.

JustinJ
12-03-2015, 02:54 AM
Back to the topic.

I think the question that has not been answered is

As the price goes up should we trust the review less?

****Steve and Johnson430

I would like to ask Johnson430 and Steve to please delete their posts. I think many people are finding this discussion helpful. Steve, perhaps take your post having customs built and move it to its own thread. People could find it this way and you may get more responses. Steve, if you need to talk to me, please PM. You need to accept that we come from two different places. I accept you and it would help you to learn some acceptance.

I like to think of this place as where we can discuss ideas. Everyone needs to realize that it's a discussion and our feelings should not enter into it. It just a forum.

JustinJ
12-03-2015, 03:04 AM
In my opinion the main body of the review should take the reader through the reviewers experience of playing a selection of appropriate tunes in various genres and styles. Discussing how easy it is to hit notes around the neck, general intonation, and an impression of the sound. .


This is a great idea. Most of us buy a ukulele to play.

Jon Moody
12-03-2015, 03:21 AM
Back to the topic.

I think the question that has not been answered is

As the price goes up should we trust the review less?


The more expensive instrument needs to be held to a higher level of scrutiny, without fear on the reviewer's part of any blowback from either the builder or the readers. If I'm going to spend $2,000-3,000 on an instrument (when the median price for a solid playing one hovers between $500-$1,000), I'm going to want that review to be as critical as possible, with as much miniscule information. Stuff like fit, finish, does it come with a gigbag/case, etc.. are going to be of more importance on a top tier instrument over a standard production model.

So for me, because higher priced instruments are held to a higher standard, I wouldn't trust the review less per se. But, I would expect that the review would be much more indepth than just some simple playing and a couple pictures of the instrument, so I would hold the review to a higher standard as well.

DownUpDave
12-03-2015, 03:44 AM
I know this has been mentioned before but there are, reviews, NUDs, opinions, impressions and a mix of observations that can be wildly different in nature.

"As the price goes up do we trust the review less"...........my answer is yes we trust it less. Because on this forum we are reviewing our own instrument we bought with our own money. We paid that money, a lot of money because we wanted that instrument.

We are doing this review with our own hands, our own eyes, our own ears. It is our own senses that we are using to evaluate the instruments. Because we are all different the review that we present will be valid for us but maybe not for others. We all have different standards and different criteria. Maybe I don't care if a 1/16" section of purfing is imperfect because the tone and playability are perfect for me and those are my highest priorities. Nothing will ever be perfect no matter how much you spend, that is reality.

hollisdwyer
12-03-2015, 04:27 AM
Dave and Bill, you make good points. Add to that what Ryan mentioned about who is doing the review and how much you trust their opinions and I think you have completed the circle.

JustinJ
12-03-2015, 04:48 AM
Bill,

I think price is important. Jon made a good point that it should be held to a higher standard.

It's a luxury good. A good example is a Toyota Corolla vs. the Lexus. You're going to expect more from the Lexus and you should get more. It costs more.

hollisdwyer
12-03-2015, 05:18 AM
Bill,

I think price is important. Jon made a good point that it should be held to a higher standard.

It's a luxury good. A good example is a Toyota Corolla vs. the Lexus. You're going to expect more from the Lexus and you should get more. It costs more.

Totally agree! Why wouldn't you expect more? I do. That's how I justify the customs that I own to myself. So far I have not been disappointed.

70sSanO
12-03-2015, 05:37 AM
There is one other point that influences the cost. Maybe even more than the cost of the actual construction of the basic instrument. And that is the amount of "bling"... inlay, purfling, rosettes and how intricate, etc. I don't know how much more time it takes to add all of these embellishments, but I'm sure luthiers can give a good idea.

The appearance of some ukuleles are simply amazing, actually beyond amazing. They are masterpieces of art in many ways and I applaud anyone who is able to own one of them. But it is still a ukulele with a soundboard, braces, back & sides, neck, frets, etc that have been expertly pieced together. And that is where the magic is. How well a builder can put the pieces together is what produces the sound and transforms it from a work of art. The price paid reflects these extras that for some do not enhance the musical experience. If you strip them away, what really matters is what is left. But if a significant portion of what is spent on the ukulele are the extras, then it is important that they are done well and a review should point them out.

Bill is correct in coming to terms with what a person can afford, or maybe better put... feels comfortable spending, regardless if there is any monetary impact. I know that it is true for me. There is a threshold that I won't cross regardless of whether or not I can afford it because I would become more concerned about the instrument and less about the music.

John

Nickie
12-03-2015, 09:37 AM
This is an informative and exciting thread! So many great responses, and virtually no heated arguments! Is because of Christmas coming?

The ukulele reviewer I trust the most is http://www.gotaukulele.com/ (http://www.gotaukulele.com/). Barry has been very objective, and honest.

Beyond that, I trust my own judgement. I've learned over the years to trust my senses of hearing and feeling more than anything else. This (having a sample ukulele loaned to me) is how I determined who will build my next ukulele. Not everyone can have that opportunity, however.

Steveperrywriter
12-03-2015, 09:55 AM
*Sigh*

OFF TOPIC:

* writing
* grammar
* punctuation
* general irrelevant pedantry

From the rules:



Don't screw up other people's threads.

Thanks.

Yep. I sit corrected. Sorry for my part in it ...

Dan Uke
12-03-2015, 11:20 AM
Price is very important. When I look at a uke, I look at what are my other options (opportunity cost) in that price range. I personally like custom ukes. Assuming that all ukes sounds good, I look at what kind of finish. If it's truoil or something similar, I discount the uke as it takes a lot of time and skill to get a nice nitro finish. I look at purflings and bindings: is the fretboard bound, do they put purflings on both sides of the binding, do the miters connect with the end-graft, etc. All of these things add time to the luthier. I can get a plain custom but I expect the cost of that custom to be cheaper.

One thing that I really appreciate is if the uke is made by one person vs. several or lasers / machines. I personally feel really connected to the luthier knowing that this person put all his effort making this instrument for me. It's been mentioned before but you do build a relationship with the luthier when you get a custom.

johnson430
12-03-2015, 12:41 PM
John,
You bring up some valid points and I agree with what you are saying.
The part I quoted is most important to me and what I was trying to bring to light in a previous thread I started back in April that got many feathers ruffled about the price of custom ukes.

For example:
You buy a Corolla to drive, You buy a Lexus to drive. They both fulfill their primary purpose for production but one looks a heck of a lot better doing it.
That is the same standard we should have towards ukes ,or more importantly, high end ukes. The primary purpose of a uke is to make music. Right?
Regardless of the bulder, we should only seek the highest integrity of build quality and sound quality for a high end uke.
If not, then perhaps that uke's purpose becomes a means to warm the luthier during cold months while the luthier crafts an instrument that performs the primary purpose to the fullest.



But it is still a ukulele with a soundboard, braces, back & sides, neck, frets, etc that have been expertly pieced together. And that is where the magic is. How well a builder can put the pieces together is what produces the sound and transforms it from a work of art. The price paid reflects these extras that for some do not enhance the musical experience. If you strip them away, what really matters is what is left.

John

haole
12-03-2015, 01:46 PM
I trust that the reviewer is being honest about his or her particular instrument (unless it's a thinly-veiled ad). But I don't go by reviews when buying. Adjectives about the sound, feel, etc don't mean anything to me (one person's "warm" is another person's "bright"), and sound samples are honestly pretty useless because there are too many variables. Even the objective info like nut width, string spacing, bracing pattern, etc isn't going to make a difference in my decision. If I like it, I like it. If you can play it first, play it and judge from there. If you can't, take a chance.

70sSanO
12-03-2015, 02:52 PM
Ukulele reviews in general are as useful as pockets in underpants.

As a place to keep your tuner?

John

hollisdwyer
12-03-2015, 04:38 PM
So we seem to agree that:
1. Reviews are subjective and therefore should be irrelevant on our purchasing decisions.
1.1 Reviews from people we know/trust have some level of resonance with us and do impact on our purchasing decisions.
2 Sound samples have too many variables and therefore should be/are irrelevant on our purchasing decisions.
3.Reviews should include the price paid to provide a better context for the comments made regarding the various attributes of the instrument (sound, play-ability, finish, optional upgrades, etc.).
4.The usefulness of pockets on underpants is only limited by our imagination.

JustinJ
12-03-2015, 05:48 PM
I agree with your statements John. Bling is pretty and nice to have. But it is the construction and the wood that make the difference. If it's all bling and no sing, I would not want it.

I remember seeing a video of Steve Grimes building a guitar. I can not find it right now He was tapping the wood, listening intently, and then removing a little more wood off the top. He then proceeded to do it a again. It was fascinating to watch.



But it is still a ukulele with a soundboard, braces, back & sides, neck, frets, etc that have been expertly pieced together. And that is where the magic is. How well a builder can put the pieces together is what produces the sound and transforms it from a work of art. The price paid reflects these extras that for some do not enhance the musical experience. If you strip them away, what really matters is what is left. But if a significant portion of what is spent on the ukulele are the extras, then it is important that they are done well and a review should point them out.


John

RichM
12-03-2015, 05:49 PM
I just buy ukes that I like. Y'all make this so complicated!

JustinJ
12-03-2015, 05:59 PM
Hi Rich,

Do you just order the uke online or play one in the person before buying it? What is your criteria for liking it?


I just buy ukes that I like. Y'all make this so complicated!