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View Full Version : How does one become a Ukulele Monogamist?



Mivo
02-14-2016, 03:25 PM
Three years ago, when I looked for a new hobby that would hopefully add some depth and width to my life, I took up the ukulele because of its portability, smallness, and underdog status. I liked the small size because it meshed well with my minimalist lifestyle desires (less stuff, less clutter).

I partially succeeded in what I set out to find: The ukulele did add width and depth to my life, and new friends as a bonus! What didn't quite work out was my plan to just have one instrument. Right now I'm at seven, and I'm planning to pick up two more this year, and while I enjoy the aspect of learning about new instruments and getting to know them, as well as the anticipation and the magic of a new romance, deep down I'm a little uneasy with having so many ukuleles (I realize that seven or nine is probably below average around here!). I also feel that it adds an element of "too much choice" when it comes to improvement.

But in spite of the mild unease (it doesn't trouble me all that much lately, but it's on my mind), I think I have resigned to it being likely that in order to learn what you really want, you need to get exposure to what's out there, and that takes going through instruments and spending time with them (my recent experience with switching a tenor to Bb tuning demonstrated to me that first impressions are not very meaningful). My difficulty is probably rather with selling the "temporary" ukuleles, the letting go part and the hassle, which causes the potential issue of them piling up.

So anyway, those of you who managed to voluntarily downsize (no financial hardship forcing you) their ukulele collection to just one instrument, or who never got in the habit of collecting a five or ten or thirty ukuleles and are satisfied and fully happy with their One Uke, what did the trick for you?

blorb
02-14-2016, 03:42 PM
Un-possible

DownUpDave
02-14-2016, 03:53 PM
Mivo........the question is doomed to go largely unanswered. Remember the people that you are asking the question of are the same ones who you yourself said probably have more than your count of seven. We are all like minded enablers, even Janeray has more than one uke.

NatalieS
02-14-2016, 04:03 PM
This is a great topic! I have definitely been where you are... While I've never had seven ukuleles at one time, I have gone through about 25 in total during 11 years of playing. I feel it's normal to go through a "collecting phase" where you may acquire several instruments at once. For some people, this phase never goes away! For me, that lasted for a few years. Then I decided that rather than having several ukuleles that I sort of liked and played for a certain portion of time each, I'd rather have one ukulele that I really loved and developed a bond with. By selling my other instruments, I was also able to use my budget to buy a more expensive, really nice instrument. So really, my decision to downsize merely came down to budget and, as you say, the desire to be minimalist in my possessions. For me personally, I do feel that the experience of playing is more special when you devote your efforts to a single instrument. However, I know this sentiment isn't shared by all and that's ok! I like to collect things in general but can easily go overboard. I have made an effort to live a more minimalist life and eventually felt having more than one uke was excessive for me.

jer
02-14-2016, 04:18 PM
For me? Getting better at being content may be the biggest thing.
I've become more and more of a minimalist as well. It seems the fewer possessions I have the more free I am.
I simply do not need multiple ukes. I don't even NEED one uke. I really enjoy having one around though.
For the record -- I've owned quite a few, and also some really nice ukes... Now my one and only is an Outdoor Ukulele tenor. It works for me, but wouldn't be the choice for a lot of people as their one and only. I'm thankful to have it. I think that's another thing for me: just being thankful.
A new uke can bring a temporary high, but it fades...and excess does nothing positive for me at all.

I guess you have to decide what works for you. Some people have more fun with the collecting than the actual playing it seems. There are different ways to go at most any hobby.

seattle
02-14-2016, 04:39 PM
I don't collect anything and I do like the minimalist approach. Yet, I have too many instruments (of all kinds) in general simply because it's a hassle to sell them or I wouldn't get enough to justify it.

I do get the progress though. You learn what you want only (it seems) after going though many instruments. I could easily settle for one model of each instrument if I could easily sell everything and just settle on one model that I now know that I like.

For me it's not even a matter of moving up to some really expensive model. I've moved down in price in many cases.

I only have two uke's, one laminate soprano and one solid wood tenor but I have 3 mandolin's,1 banjo, 1 charango, 3 electric guitars and 2 acoustics.

I could get down to 1 mandolin, a different banjo, a better charango, 1 electric guitar and 1 acoustic guitar. I would like a better solid wood tenor ukulele and I have no reason to get rid of the $60 laminated soprano.

kohanmike
02-14-2016, 09:10 PM
In the first year of playing ukulele about three years ago, I went through 16, with maybe 8-9 at one time. As I got better at playing and could better hear the differences between them, I decided to pick the ones I liked the best and just sell the rest. I decided on the 4 in my signature and put the word out to my ukulele group (50_ people), list the ukes on UU marketplace, take them to a ukulele festival, and check with the uke store I frequent (U-Space in downtown Los Angeles). It took a few weeks to get them all sold.

The ironic thing is about a year ago I started playing bass ukulele and have been neglecting my ukes, and now I'm up to 8 bass ukes, trying to hold the line there.

janeray1940
02-14-2016, 09:18 PM
...even Janeray has more than one uke.

Hahahahahaha! :) Since I play both low G and reentrant daily, I'll probably never have fewer than two. And I actually keep three on hand - you know, just in case.

Rakelele
02-14-2016, 10:05 PM
To answer the question in your title: sheer will power, I would say. Nobody is forced to have more than one Ukulele, this is all about wanting. Pick one that you like best, and you're all settled. However, I would think that even the most minimalist Ukulele enthusiast should be ending up with at least two instruments: a re-entrant Soprano and a linear Tenor. Add to this a fine Baritone - and there we go again, starting to pile up.

As for downsizing our collections: I think this is a lot harder to do for us Europeans, as we don't have a large market for used ukes, especially if they cost more than, say, 100 bucks. With high shipping cost and added taxes, like you said, it's just not worth the hassle. Example: If I buy a uke for $300 USD, I'll have to add shipping cost of about $70, and finally fees/taxes of up to 25%. That uke will have cost me close to $500. Even if I could re-sell it close to its original price, I'd be losing half of that money, and there will be another $70 for shipping.

zztush
02-15-2016, 02:33 AM
Most priority is handiness to me. I'd compared travel guitars with ukulele at first, and I bought soprano. Handiness requires cheapness. If it was expensive, I can not play anywhere or at anytime I want. I often play in back yard and out door. I don't want another ukulele so far, because no one wants two cheap ukuleles. I've set up nut and saddle by myself. I've installed strap pin. I put strap on. I've changed better friction tuners. I have both low G and high G strings and both work very good. So far so good.

Rllink
02-15-2016, 03:51 AM
Interesting thread, and it caused a little soul searching for me, as I consider myself a one ukulele man, yet I have three.

hollisdwyer
02-15-2016, 04:18 AM
Sometimes I think about having just one ukulele and then I come to my senses. But seriously, minimalism is being forced on me as we prepare for retirement later in the year and selling up and moving across the continent. The less stuff we have the less stuff we have to pack and store while we find another abode.
My ideal collection would be 1 high g, 1 low g, 1 8 string, 1 resophonic. Conspicuous consumption would be illustrated by adding to this list: 1 lap steel, 1 banjo Uke, 1 mandolele, 1 Bari or Kinnard-esque Kiku.
How can I even say these things in a thread discussing owning only one Uke?

kypfer
02-15-2016, 04:32 AM
So anyway, those of you who managed to voluntarily downsize (no financial hardship forcing you) their ukulele collection to just one instrument, or who never got in the habit of collecting a five or ten or thirty ukuleles and are satisfied and fully happy with their One Uke, what did the trick for you?

For 40 years or so I had just the one guitar. We were very happy together and we played the same few dozen tunes over and over and over and .... then I bought a nylon-strung 3/4 size Yamaha and found there was more to life than six steel strings on a jumbo acoustic, then along came a 12-string ... and an electric Epiphone ... and a bass ... and a 5-string banjo ... and a mandolin ...

The same is true for me with ukuleles ... there's just so much more one can do with a range of differently configured instruments that having just one would be a very difficult decision, but if push came to shove, I'd probably keep the re-entrant tenor ... I think :confused:

drbekken
02-15-2016, 05:05 AM
I have too many ukes. I am about to get rid of a few, and I believe I will donate them to one of the refugee centers here. When refugees enter the country, they live for some time in special quarters before they are either returned or given asylum. There is generally nothing to do there, so I know that some musicians have donated guitars etc. Others donate clothes or other useful goods. Why not a couple of ukes? Who knows what kind of music might emerge?

DownUpDave
02-15-2016, 05:27 AM
I have too many ukes. I am about to get rid of a few, and I believe I will donate them to one of the refugee centers here. When refugees enter the country, they live for some time in special quarters before they are either returned or given asylum. There is generally nothing to do there, so I know that some musicians have donated guitars etc. Others donate clothes or other useful goods. Why not a couple of ukes? Who knows what kind of music might emerge?

What a wonderful idea. Thank you for mentioning as I never gave their "other" needs much thought.

I have given this thread a lot of thought since reading it last night. I would like to give this a try. I thought if I just kept one uke on the main floor to play I would put the others in the basement for a few months. As I was filling the humidifiers I took them out of the case and played a final song.

I can't do it........they all sound so nice and so different. That is why I bought and have kept them. I am weak, weak I say

spookelele
02-15-2016, 05:49 AM
Here's how you do it.
You buy one uke.
And then don't buy any more.

sam13
02-15-2016, 05:51 AM
What a wonderful idea. Thank you for mentioning as I never gave their "other" needs much thought.

I have given this thread a lot of thought since reading it last night. I would like to give this a try. I thought if I just kept one uke on the main floor to play I would put the others in the basement for a few months. As I was filling the humidifiers I took them out of the case and played a final song.

I can't do it........they all sound so nice and so different. That is why I bought and have kept them. I am weak, weak I say

Or you enjoy the different qualities and builds of musical master pieces.

Enjoy them Dave, or give them to me as I will be happy to appreciate them.

rappsy
02-15-2016, 05:57 AM
I will also help you Dave. As much of Canada empties out into South Florida in the winter months, so too can your Ukes. They will be handled properly.

pluck
02-15-2016, 06:00 AM
I've been playing a little over a year so my perspective is still that of a newcomer. I am not a collector by nature so the reasons I am NOT a uke monogamist are:

1) There are too many sizes and materials and shapes out there so curiosity leads me to buy more ukes
2) For me ukes are not prohibitively expensive so there is some impulse purchasing (and rationalizing) involved.
3) When I sit at a desk in an office all day it is much easier to look at ukes on the internet than it is to play one I already own. Looking leads to wanting which leads to buying.
4) Finally, buying is relatively hassle free while selling is a pain in the butt, so the collection naturally grows.

The main reasons I may yet become a monogamist are:
1) it's become clear that any uke I own will sound a LOT better if I learn to play it better.
2) having a lot of ukes around makes me feel kind of silly

Rllink
02-15-2016, 06:09 AM
Sometimes I think about having just one ukulele and then I come to my senses. But seriously, minimalism is being forced on me as we prepare for retirement later in the year and selling up and moving across the continent. The less stuff we have the less stuff we have to pack and store while we find another abode.
My ideal collection would be 1 high g, 1 low g, 1 8 string, 1 resophonic. Conspicuous consumption would be illustrated by adding to this list: 1 lap steel, 1 banjo Uke, 1 mandolele, 1 Bari or Kinnard-esque Kiku.
How can I even say these things in a thread discussing owning only one Uke?I have two abodes, one surrounded by corn fields, and the other by ocean. I think that I could get along with one ukulele just fine, as a good part of the year I do just that. The ukulele that I consider my one ukulele is my Mainland concert, and it is everything that I want. It resides in Iowa most of the year. Then there is the Makala concert, and it resides in Puerto Rico all of the time. The thing is, that when I'm bouncing back and forth, one is in one place, the other in the other place, and that way I can travel light. But when I came down to PR for three months or so this year, I hauled the Mainland down with me, defeating the whole idea of having one uke in each place. So as I write, I have both ukuleles here in PR. OK, so number three is a Waterman, and it doesn't count. Well, I'm saying that. I won the Waterman in a contest late last summer, I don't ever play it, and I don't plan to have it long when I get back up to Iowa. But that is how I justify being a one ukulele man, take it or leave it.

kohanmike
02-15-2016, 06:29 AM
Let me add that after having only one uke at first that had to send it in for some work, I realized I should have a second as a backup in case the first is not available.

In support of drbekken, I recently discovered the Ukulele Kid's Club that donates ukuleles to hospital music therapy departments, I'll be donating to them from now on. (https://theukc.org)

Dan Uke
02-15-2016, 06:37 AM
Even the definition of minimalist is very subjective. If I have the very best one that I can afford, does that make me a minimalist? I don't know?

There's a saying, where your treasure is, there will your heart be also. For some, the uke is just a way to pass time, for others, it's a passion or their treasure. I think that will also dictate how many ukes one has.

janeray1940
02-15-2016, 06:43 AM
...or who never got in the habit of collecting a five or ten or thirty ukuleles and are satisfied and fully happy with their One Uke, what did the trick for you?

I've never had more than four at once, and three seems to be my sweet spot. Several factors went into doing the trick for me to keep things on the minimal side: I think being a non-collector by nature might be the most important one. That, plus my 250 square foot house that only allows room for four ukes total. And of course the fact that my taste is much more expensive than my budget!

But also I learned early on that the sound I prefer is koa, so I never had to go through the stage of trying different woods. I can't play anything larger than concert, which I learned from borrowing a couple tenors. The fact that I'm at a music store three days a week and around other uke players regularly also helps - I don't have to buy one to know that, say, a certain brand or size or wood is not for me, when I can try them out in person so easily. And last, my personal choice to avoid made-in-China products whenever possible, which rules out a whole lot of ukes.


Let me add that after having only one uke at first that had to send it in for some work, I realized I should have a second as a backup in case the first is not available.


And that's exactly how I learned that I need to keep a third one on hand!

janeray1940
02-15-2016, 06:46 AM
Even the definition of minimalist is very subjective. If I have the very best one that I can afford, does that make me a minimalist? I don't know?


It is subjective, but I think so, coming from the perspective of someone who has done a lifetime's worth of reading pertaining to minimalism and voluntary simplicity. It's pretty common advice to "buy the best you can afford," the rationale being the higher-quality one will last longer and serve one better than buying a succession of lesser-quality items.

cml
02-15-2016, 07:58 AM
It is subjective, but I think so, coming from the perspective of someone who has done a lifetime's worth of reading pertaining to minimalism and voluntary simplicity. It's pretty common advice to "buy the best you can afford," the rationale being the higher-quality one will last longer and serve one better than buying a succession of lesser-quality items.
This is something I try to do more and more these days. Saves both on resources, the environment and sometimes it is even better economically (not always though).
I still have way too much stuff of course, like most people in today's consumer society. Still, only have 2 ukes so far, the really cheap one I bought at a hardware store to try it out and which got me hooked, and a much more expensive one I bought when I realised I really love playing, a solid koa concert.
Like many here though, I suffer from UAS, and I feel I am only a click away from ordering a plastic uke for trips, hiking and other outdoor stuff with my child.

Rllink
02-15-2016, 08:12 AM
It is subjective, but I think so, coming from the perspective of someone who has done a lifetime's worth of reading pertaining to minimalism and voluntary simplicity. It's pretty common advice to "buy the best you can afford," the rationale being the higher-quality one will last longer and serve one better than buying a succession of lesser-quality items.I appreciate the minimalist movement, and would love to embrace it myself, but up in Iowa, I have a house, a three car garage, and two sheds, with forty five years worth of accumulation. Every spring, I sell, give away, and throw away truck loads to stuff. In the winter, I haul and send stuff down to PR, that I never use in Iowa, and for some reason think it will come in handy down there, and it doesn't even seem to make a dent. It is for that very reason, that I am trying my hardest not to accumulate a dozen ukuleles and all the accoutrements that go with them. So far, I've been less than successful.

One thing that does help though, is that my wife doesn't appreciate ukuleles as art, decoration, or conversation pieces, so my ukuleles and all of my music stuff has to keep hidden, unless they are being played. That actually helps keep the herd manageable.

sam13
02-15-2016, 08:15 AM
I will also help you Dave. As much of Canada empties out into South Florida in the winter months, so too can your Ukes. They will be handled properly.

Well said Lenny. I know that Dave would trust you ...

blorb
02-15-2016, 08:16 AM
Having only one ukulele is kind of like owning only one dining utensil (e.g. a spoon), because different ukes have different uses.

Everyone should have at least two: one that's durable and easy to travel with, and one that's higher quality. Then you need your different sizes, or maybe you want extras for alternate tunings.

Really it only becomes unhealthy if you start purchasing like 10 sopranos or something totally unnecessary.

Fleacia
02-15-2016, 11:19 AM
I have *2* that I'm attempting to play - a concert and a tenor. The concert is the "uke" and I play it all the time. I just strung and tuned the tenor in linear 5ths, CGDA. Physically it was made and marketed as a uke. But to me it's a mandola. I have no desire for another instrument with steel strings, or 8 strings for that matter, but I like the sound of 5ths tuning. So I have one uke and one in disguise. :D We shall see how this goes and if I can progress with both. I also play acoustic guitar...

macfish
02-15-2016, 11:40 AM
I have another expensive hobby - photography. Went through a period of buying/trying different systems, etc. but I learned some time ago that it's the artist not the tools. Does anyone argue on the Internet what brushes Picasso used? So why do we care what uke someone plays? Or how many one has? If I was a good or great player it might be different, but as a uke rookie I invested in one decent uke to see if I would stick with it ($350). Yep. So sold that and went with a custom that I knew I'd pass on to my grandkids. Then that mya moe resonator popped up and they said we're stopping next year. Two instruments, period. Fun to look at others, but my skills don't begin to justify the one I have, let alone multiples. I try to buy once instead of a series of progressively more expensive steps.

Mivo
02-15-2016, 11:40 AM
Thoughtful responses, thanks folks!

Jer's post hit home with me: For me, if I'm honest with myself, it really is about being content (or in this case: not being content), right here and now with what's there, and appreciating it, instead of engaging in the continuous search for something else that "may" bring contentment, but never does because contentment is (probably) a choice and (certainly) a mindset. In a way, my minimalist desires clash with too much "attachment" to stuff. This possibly leads to an unhappy form of minimalism without simplicity, and thus dissatisfaction, I think. Somewhere I read the term "hedonistic adaption" where you always think the next thing (or person, circumstance) will bring happiness, but it never does, because the appeal fades and the quest begins again. I feel this may apply to me, sometimes or even often.

I also found it interesting that one group of minimalists (or those like me who are stuck halfway) aim for one, or a few, high quality ukulele(s), while the followers of the other school of thought value a lack of value.

Probably not coincidentally, I'm pretty torn between those two. On a theoretical, purely philosophical level I find the "low value, nothing that can't be replaced" approach rather delicious and agreeable. That resonates well with me, like a low-G in a tenor body. But on the practical level I have now experienced higher end ukuleles and their craftsmanship. None of my sub-$500 ukuleles offer the same level of playability and "sound experience" as the KoAloha and the Barron River. I don't have many samples to go by, but with the ukuleles I do have the discrepancy is significant and even from my perspective of a relative novice. So for me, the One Uke, or the Three One Ukes, probably need to be between the Moore Bettahs and the Real Plywood ukuleles.

Going back to what I mentioned in my first post, I do believe that I need to experience different ukuleles (and woods) for some time before I can really make an educated decision as to what I enjoy the most. I'm not sure whether that is actually true or just self-trickery so I can remorselessly keep buying ukuleles and experience that "high" that comes with anticipation and planning purchases. But I'm skilled at self-deception, so I really do feel it goes beyond that. Now that I have played and heard different ukuleles, my preferences take on more form: I gravitate toward the concert size, I seem to enjoy the sound of mahogany more than acacia-type of woods (koa), I dig the KoAloha sound resulting from the type of bracing they use, I like tied bridges more than the alternatives, and so on. That spells out "KoAloha Opio Concert". Perhaps it's my mind playing tricks, because the sapele line is being discontinued and replaced with acacia, so I sadly just HAVE to get one in the next couple months!

Reading the responses, I also kept thinking that half of my first world problem is the "letting go" aspect, not only the "acquiring" part. I bond with stuff, somehow, even if it clashes with where I want to go. This probably "just" requires practice, though. So, I may donate my Lyon & Healy Washburn to someone that I have in mind who I think will treasure it and appreciate it (vintage stuff is hard to replace and I worry too much about damaging it), and my acacia tenor, which I never really play, will go to my landlady's grandson when he next visits. That's two out, one in ... hey, progress! Let's see how long that moment of clarity lasts ...

I do think this is different for everyone. I really understand, and sometimes feel that way myself, those who say that having multiple ukuleles to cover tonal ground is fantastic. Or the players who enjoy having different instruments to choose from, depending on mood. Or those who like collecting and taking in amazing ukuleles. So this is really no criticism of collecting or simply enjoying a roomful of great ukes. For myself, I hope the journey leads to having two or three ukuleles at the end. That's not exactly minimalism, but I have known myself for a while and I seem to do better with goals that aren't too "extreme" right off the bat. Whenever I do that, I set myself up for failing.

I like you guys, you're a great bunch.

Ukulele Eddie
02-15-2016, 01:04 PM
While you initially asked only for feedback from "voluntarily monogamist ukers" (VMU's), I believe they are a rare bird among this collection of ukers so I'll pipe in anyway. ;-)

I have owned over three dozen ukes in my 2.5 years. I absolutely find it hard to let some ukes go, so I focus on the joy it will likely bring the new owner and the joy of discovering other ukes for myself. One of my "will never sell" ukes just didn't work for the person from whom I bought it. I can't imagine ever selling that uke. Had that person not let it go, that uke would likely be sitting unappreciated and unplayed.

Maybe keeping the above in mind will help you, "let it go." Hey, that gives me an idea for a song. ;-)

acmespaceship
02-15-2016, 01:05 PM
"Letting go" is surely a challenge. As is giving up on the dream of that magical next purchase. Was it Woody Allen who said marriage is the death of hope?

Remember being young, falling in and out of love all the time? Your new Prince (or Princess) Charming is all you need... until you get bored. Surely the next prince is the one who will make your life complete! Most of us outgrow this sooner or later. Eventually you realize nobody's perfect and that initial adrenaline rush isn't true love. You date a few people, break up with the ones who don't fit, and find someone who's "good enough." Then you settle into a steady relationship and get on with your life. Or at least one hopes so.

Seems like uke players pass through the same stage. The next uke will make you a better player! I've seen new players (and old players with new money) burn through a lot of acquisitions until 1) they find a "good enough" uke and 2) they realize that buying yet another ukulele won't change anything about their lives except require more storage space.

At least buying ukes is far less expensive, overall, than changing spouses. So if you need the adrenaline rush of new love, UAS is the better way to go.

Not sure how far this analogy extends. I like having a standard concert uke and a banjo uke because they sound different. And it's handy to have a loaner uke for visitors to play with. Whereas I don't think it would be convenient to keep a loaner husband.

Ukejenny
02-15-2016, 01:16 PM
I never upsized. I am not sure exactly why. I enjoy looking at all the photos y'all post of the newest, prettiest thing you have coming. There are some gorgeous works of art out there. Maybe I didn't upsize because I was a musician before coming to ukulele. I majored in music education in college and clarinet was my major instrument. So, I had the one instrument and have played the stew out of it. Still love it. Then again, I know quite a few clarinet players that own a ton. I own more than one, but have one major player.

With clarinet, I got/had what my college expected me to have. With ukulele, I started with a tenor. I gave it to my husband when I discovered I was perfect for the concert scale. I ordered a concert that I loved. Then I had love/need at first sight with the Blackbird Clara. Professional playing quality in a durable, user friendly instrument. Once I got my Blackbird, I knew it was the one. It just plays so beautifully. My fingers just meld with the instrument. It is a natural fit. And I love the sound. Now, I do have a soprano for when I need a re-entrant G. My Blackbird is low G. I kind of consider that being two instruments, though, because you can do totally different things by changing that one single string. So, I have a Clara, I have a little Ohana soprano that I dearly love - it plays beautifully as well, and has quite a bit of aloha punch. My first concert I don't play hardly ever. I need to sell it.

Maybe another reason I haven't bought 10 ukuleles is because I have had the opportunity to help some other folks shop. I lead the Ukulele Band of Alabama and a few of our members have let me be part of their ukulele journey, in purchasing their first ukulele. Nothing too fancy or expensive, but instruments they love to play and instruments that are quite nice.

Could it be that, since I have several different instruments, maybe I don't buy too many of one kind? I teach private lessons on a few instruments and play some others. Maybe I'm just spreading the love, but I have IAS as bad as some folks here have UAS. Nah, I've seen some of the gorgeous ukuleles purchased and special ordered here - y'all have it bad!!!!!

tbeltrans
02-15-2016, 01:57 PM
I still have three ukuleles - one each of the three typical sizes (soprano, concert, and tenor). I have not had the desire to get any more. That isn't just one, but it is not an ongoing collection either. I just bought the best of each type that I could afford and let it go at that. I learned from owning and playing guitars for a long time that "trading up" is more expensive than just doing it right the first time. I do have other instruments I play too. I play piano and guitar. I am not collecting in these areas either. I did let go of a couple of guitars that I no longer use since I am not playing out regularly any more. I think that, considering their size and cost, collecting pianos is probably impractical for most of us, so that is not typically a problem for piano players.

It seems to me that you should do whatever makes you happy. The choice as to how many ukuleles to own, what music to play on them, how often, etc., is really up to the individual. What somebody else does or thinks really doesn't matter.

Tony

Rainbowuke
02-15-2016, 03:22 PM
I'm so happy to know I'm not alone in this affliction! While I've only been getting into uke for the past two or so years, I've played guitar for quite a while- thanks to my dad. I was raised in a minimalist-by-choice lifestyle, often surviving off the land in Alaska. My parents chose to live without much money, so the possessions we had were treated carefully.

All that being said, my dad was an amazing musician and a trained luthier. Out of necessity (space, $$, transportation to the bush) he only had one low-midrange guitar. He knew quality instruments and wanted one deep down-- but he always put his family first, and a new instrument wasn't in the budget. Until one day he had enough saved up, and bought a used '73 Martin D-35. He had waited his whole life for that guitar, and he loved it.

My dad passed away from brain cancer about 13 years after he bought his Martin. He was the most influential person in my life, ever. And before he died he said he wanted me to have the guitar. So there I was- a skinny, 5'3" girl playing a huge dreadnought. It's gorgeous and resonant-- almost sounds like a piano! And it is BIG. I was young and broke and had no reason to buy another instrument, because I already had the epitome of fine craftsmanship and sound. I would never be able to afford another guitar that nice. But...it didn't fit me. Eventually I bought myself a smaller-bodied Martin. And my playing ability went up almost immediately!! I chalk it up to the simple fact that I picked up the instrument more often-- it being much more manageable for me. I will not part with Dad's Martin, but I think he is looking down with a smile, happy that I didn't wait my whole life to buy mine.

So- I know this is a ukulele forum, not guitar. But I think this story explains the psychology behind my personal collection. I don't want to wait too long to have the instrument that is just perfect for me (how's THAT for justification and enabling!! Haha sorry!)

Right now, until my kids are old enough for it, I play a lovely koa Mele that was my grandmother-in-law's. But visiting Maui to see family this Christmas means...it might be time for my one uke!

(PS- I realize this entire post only helps further our collective urge to indulge. But I like to talk about my dad ;) )

strumsilly
02-15-2016, 03:47 PM
I've thought about it. that's as far as I got

flailingfingers
02-15-2016, 03:49 PM
The main reasons I may yet become a monogamist are:
1) it's become clear that any uke I own will sound a LOT better if I learn to play it better.
2) having a lot of ukes around makes me feel kind of silly

This pretty much sums it up for me especially #2. I went through SERIOUS guitar AS when much younger. I learned the emptiness of that but I also learned the joy of having one REALLy fine instrument. They do play better. They do sound better. I do play them much more. So when the ukulele bug hit I went for one inexpensive but nice one for travel, the beach and so on and then went through one high end uke before finding THE one for me. Very high end and worth every penny to me. Sold the 1st high end one and never looked back and UAS has never entered the picture. I don't have a "signature" on my postings and I have settings that don't show anyone else's "signature" either. I don't care what ukes you have. I'm sure you love them and that's as it should be. Mainly I don't like the space the "signatures" take up when I am following a post. I do care about learning to play better and I would like to learn to be a good teacher to my 8 yo granddaughter and her friends who are interested in the uke. I have bought as number of pink and blue ukes for that gang. Also tuners and some books that I teach from. Lots of fun there. For me, that's what it's all about.

hollisdwyer
02-15-2016, 04:03 PM
I'm so happy to know I'm not alone in this affliction! While I've only been getting into uke for the past two or so years, I've played guitar for quite a while- thanks to my dad. I was raised in a minimalist-by-choice lifestyle, often surviving off the land in Alaska. My parents chose to live without much money, so the possessions we had were treated carefully.

All that being said, my dad was an amazing musician and a trained luthier. Out of necessity (space, $$, transportation to the bush) he only had one low-midrange guitar. He knew quality instruments and wanted one deep down-- but he always put his family first, and a new instrument wasn't in the budget. Until one day he had enough saved up, and bought a used '73 Martin D-35. He had waited his whole life for that guitar, and he loved it.

My dad passed away from brain cancer about 13 years after he bought his Martin. He was the most influential person in my life, ever. And before he died he said he wanted me to have the guitar. So there I was- a skinny, 5'3" girl playing a huge dreadnought. It's gorgeous and resonant-- almost sounds like a piano! And it is BIG. I was young and broke and had no reason to buy another instrument, because I already had the epitome of fine craftsmanship and sound. I would never be able to afford another guitar that nice. But...it didn't fit me. Eventually I bought myself a smaller-bodied Martin. And my playing ability went up almost immediately!! I chalk it up to the simple fact that I picked up the instrument more often-- it being much more manageable for me. I will not part with Dad's Martin, but I think he is looking down with a smile, happy that I didn't wait my whole life to buy mine.

So- I know this is a ukulele forum, not guitar. But I think this story explains the psychology behind my personal collection. I don't want to wait too long to have the instrument that is just perfect for me (how's THAT for justification and enabling!! Haha sorry!)

Right now, until my kids are old enough for it, I play a lovely koa Mele that was my grandmother-in-law's. But visiting Maui to see family this Christmas means...it might be time for my one uke!

(PS- I realize this entire post only helps further our collective urge to indulge. But I like to talk about my dad ;) )

This is such a great story in so many ways. Thank you so much for sharing it with us.

I was also wedded to a small bodied Martin (0-16 New Yorker) when I was 15. Even thinking about that instrument brings back all the associated memories of time and place (Greenwich Village 1960-1968), all my friends and lovers, the great music scene that was New York in those days. Because of this I perceive and associate any fine instrument as a vector to fun and joy with great people as, I guess, you do with your Dad. So owning a few good ukes at this stage in my life and the activities and people who surround me in the Uke-a-verse, act as a multiplier of contentment.

NatalieS
02-15-2016, 04:28 PM
It seems to me that you should do whatever makes you happy. The choice as to how many ukuleles to own, what music to play on them, how often, etc., is really up to the individual. What somebody else does or thinks really doesn't matter.

Tony

Absolutely agree, and I couldn't have said it better myself. Life is too short to force yourself to conform to what you think the norm is, or should be. If having a uke collection makes you happy, then have a collection! My group of ukes started feeling stressful and overwhelming, and I'm happier with one. To each their own. :-)

Doug W
02-16-2016, 02:29 AM
I have one ukulele, my Mainland, because I have an image of myself eventually riding off into the sunset with a uke strapped across my back. It might have to be on a bicycle because horses are such high maintenance critters.

bariukish
02-16-2016, 03:28 AM
I see my ukuleles as a five dimensional works of art. The fourth dimension being the music that can be made with it and the fifth, the joy the fourth dimension can bring. Would you decorate your home with only one wall decoration? Would the Louvre be complete with only the Mona Lisa? Within your budget, buy and keep the one(s) that bring you positive feelings and get rid of the rest.

plunker
02-16-2016, 02:08 PM
With Ukuleles it is OK to have a harem. Wives, not so much.

Mivo
02-16-2016, 02:16 PM
With Ukuleles it is OK to have a harem. Wives, not so much.

Well, I'm at seven ukuleles and zero wives. My life needs more balance.

KaraUkey
02-16-2016, 07:58 PM
I have too many ukes. I am about to get rid of a few, and I believe I will donate them to one of the refugee centers here. When refugees enter the country, they live for some time in special quarters before they are either returned or given asylum. There is generally nothing to do there, so I know that some musicians have donated guitars etc. Others donate clothes or other useful goods. Why not a couple of ukes? Who knows what kind of music might emerge?

When I was in Greece recently I saw able bodied young men begging on the streets of Athens. Totally without hope they mostly stared at the pavement and held out a hand or a cup. I wondered how cool it would be if they could all be given a Ukulele and taught to play a few songs. Maybe they would have a bit of hope. Maybe they would enjoy it. Maybe it would lead to something better for them. Maybe Coca Cola or McDonalds or some other big interest could have some special ukes made to hand out for free as a form of advertising. Or is that just dreaming?

strumtheory
02-16-2016, 08:35 PM
Monogamy is so over-rated ;) Bring on the ukes I say.....there are worse things to spend your moula on and it's cheaper than therapy :P Granted I am at the beginning of my uke journey so very much in the 'testing the waters' phase. Give me a year or two :)

NewKid
02-17-2016, 01:13 AM
I went through UAS my first two years and went through 15 instruments of varying sizes and wood combinations. Then I decided that the tenor size was what I loved and downsized to two. A third, awesome tenor from Jerry Hoffman made it three tenors in year three.

In year 4 two impulse buys: a vintage soprano and a custom baritone. Both phenomenal instruments but seldom played and now up for sale.

Then in July of 2015: mandolin fever. I worked a second job to purchase a used Phoenix mandolin by Rolfe Gerhardt. Since acquiring it in late November, the tenor ukes have been seldom played. I still love those instruments though and won't sell them.

I do feel like my uke acquisition journey has ended and that I'm very satisfied with the three tenors. I'ved learned that there is no "best" only different.

So right now I'm a mandolin monogamist. I got my dream instrument used and I started at the top and don't feel the need for another mandolin. Though a back-up does make a lot of sense :)

Croaky Keith
02-17-2016, 01:40 AM
How does one become a Ukulele Monogamist?
By only thinking about your next purchase............. :)

Mivo
02-17-2016, 02:52 AM
To balance a life with only 7 ukuleles and 0 wives, you may need to consider another custom ukulele.

Statistically, how many ukuleles before I meet a wife?

On a serious note, though, while I appreciate and value my one custom ukulele, at least at present I have no desire to get another custom instrument. Prices for customs, in general, have risen to a point that is beyond my comfort level and I feel I'm just too late for that game. That'd be different if I collected instruments, but I want to use them and if something is too expensive (for me that is past around the $1200 mark, I think), I won't ever take it out of the case. Right now, I feel that $600 is a happy price point where you'll get quality without crossing into the "hard to replace" area. KoAloha's Opio line contributed to that view quite a bit, for me.

whistleman123
02-17-2016, 03:11 AM
Does the term "hoarder" resonate?
If they are all the same size and tuned the same way - you're a hoarder!

billten
02-17-2016, 03:43 AM
Does monogamy count if you stick to a single maker, one of each size from one builder? Hmmmm, perhaps i am semi-monogamous but still lusting after the kinnard baritone to complete the set. :)

Tanman
02-17-2016, 05:34 AM
With Ukuleles it is OK to have a harem. Wives, not so much.

Yes, I personally don't like the sound of a binding social contract with only one uke. Guess I'm a polygamist lol.

bunnyf
02-17-2016, 11:50 PM
I am a minimalist by choice and by nature. I had only one entry-level lam.baritone uke for several years and was happy. Then I began to crave the sound and size of a soprano. I have a lovely walnut LoPrinzi sop. Not a lot of bling but it's sweet sounding, beautifully finished and comfortable to play. Paid only $300 for it. To upgrade to anything I liked more would really be a matter of diminishing return for me, so it's my forever soprano. Still love the baritone though and it has remained my main player. I've passed on my first Bari to one of my kids and have gone through several Baris from vintage to custom looking for "the one". I didn't collect baris though, if the one I had turned out to not be "the one", it usually got sold off or traded for a different Bari. I experimented a little with concert and tenors as a part of my uke exploration phase, but they didn't suit me, so I've passed them on.
So I'm a three uke woman right now. One, is my forever soprano (but not my main player). Two, is my new Pono Bari PC cedar/acacia cutaway w/misi (main player). After having more expensive baris that just weren't "the one", I've landed on this Pono as a moderately priced (got it for $500) that looks, feels and sounds good. I don't see myself finding one I like more without spending ALOT more, so it's a keeper. Three is a beater Bari. I've kept one of my old baris (cedar/saeple, from a small unknown luthier as a backup beater uke for outdoors.
I sometimes think that I'd be a better player if I stuck to one size but I love the soprano and the Bari and they are so different sounding that I don't know that I could give one up. If I took to playing the soprano exclusely, I'd be perfectly content with my LoPrinzi. BUT, if I paired down to just one instrument and it was a Bari, I might just want that vintage Martin that I've craved or a newer Kamaka. For now though, 3 is just right for me.

mikebell48
02-18-2016, 03:20 AM
I think the trouble with UAS is that we can spend so much time researching or hankering after the new instrument that we neglect our playing and practice. I thought I would put a stop to my early onset UAS by adding to my existing two ukes with one good quality one. So I put down a deposit on a Tenor Mya- Moe resonator which won't be ready until summer next year. Plenty of time to save up the balance and I thought that would be it. However I blew my theory last week by ordering a Soprano Argapa resonator for later this year delivery. The only upside UAS wise is that I'll probably need to sell my existing two ukes to avoid a financial car crash down the road.

My advice. Don't worry about it, UAS is apparently normal.

janeray1940
02-18-2016, 04:48 AM
After reading all of these responses, I think one could generalize that we fall into three distinct groups: ukulele maximalists, ukulele minimalists, and the rarest of rare ukulele monogamists. The last is obviously one uke only, I'm not sure what the specific criteria for the other two should be... maybe a minimalist is 4 ukes or less (I'm thinking one each of the most common sizes), and a maximalist is anything more than 4.

Down Up Dick
02-18-2016, 05:27 AM
I don't see how some Ukists have time to play all their Ukes. I only have a few compared to some others, and I don't have the time or the inclination to play them all.

I have five ukuleles to play and two wall hangers; I consider the Banjoleles to be banjos. So, I suppose I could play one Uke each day of the week, only I have a lotta other stuff to play. And some of you have many more Ukes then I do plus a full time job! Wow! Busy, busy, busy . . .

When do you have time to shop to support your UAS? :old:

cml
02-18-2016, 06:22 AM
I think I will be aiming for 3, and then call it a stop there. One with high-g, one with low-g and a plastic one that can take a beating.

Down Up Dick
02-18-2016, 06:44 AM
Smart choices, cmi, but will you stop at three? I'm sorta anti-UAS, but I, too, got carried away.

We have a joke in my family: If I somehow accumulate three of anything then--POW!--I've got another collection, and I can start gathering stuff. I've had a whole bunch of collections . . .

Well, we've gotta do somethin' . . . :old:

cml
02-18-2016, 07:44 AM
Smart choices, cmi, but will you stop at three? I'm sorta anti-UAS, but I, too, got carried away.

We have a joke in my family: If I somehow accumulate three of anything then--POW!--I've got another collection, and I can start gathering stuff. I've had a whole bunch of collections . . .

Well, we've gotta do somethin' . . . :old:
I hope so! But again, maybe I can rationalise a custom one in a few years time...not sure what the wife would think of that though :P

Croaky Keith
02-18-2016, 07:59 AM
... maybe a minimalist is 4 ukes or less (I'm thinking one each of the most common sizes), and a maximalist is anything more than 4.

Soprano, pineapple, long neck soprano, concert, tenor, baritone, but then a sopranisimo is just the other end to a baritone so that makes 7 common sizes......... :D

(...and then there is the electro accoustic & the solid body electric.....)

janeray1940
02-18-2016, 08:07 AM
Soprano, pineapple, long neck soprano, concert, tenor, baritone, but then a sopranisimo is just the other end to a baritone so that makes 7 common sizes......... :D

(...and then there is the electro accoustic & the solid body electric.....)

Hovering dangerously close to maximalist territory, I'm afraid... :)

I was thinking soprano, concert, tenor, and bari, and not considering shape or electronic gadgetry, both of which could open up lots of territory - Vita Uke shape! AeroUke shape! and then of course those banjo ukes...

I've never actually seen a sopranisimo in person and I spend a lot of time at a shop with lots of ukes, so at least in these parts I wouldn't consider them common. Same goes for longnecks, I rarely seem them in the wild and it took me years to track down the one I wanted locally. And thank goodness for that last part, because if they were easy to come by I'd be tempted by more!

ralphk
02-18-2016, 09:17 AM
In my case, I was moving to a retirement village and needed to downsize everything. I sold a few on UU or to my club members, got down to two.

Mistake. I sold some of my best ukes, and not surprisingly, have slowly acquired a couple ones. I think that some of the newer ones are not as nice as what I got rid of.

And I got rid of all my laminates (such as a nice Flea) and now, even with a humidifier going, I will not leave any solid ukes out. So what to do? Got a Gretsch mahogany laminate tenor (#9120) which while comparatively economical, is one of the best of the lot.

Lesson -- downsize to the minimum and really keep the best (what pleases you the best)

Ralph

Mivo
02-19-2016, 04:22 AM
After reading all of these responses, I think one could generalize that we fall into three distinct groups: ukulele maximalists, ukulele minimalists, and the rarest of rare ukulele monogamists. The last is obviously one uke only, I'm not sure what the specific criteria for the other two should be... maybe a minimalist is 4 ukes or less (I'm thinking one each of the most common sizes), and a maximalist is anything more than 4.

That is a good definition, actually!

Reading everyone's thoughts, and doing some soul searching, I have worked out a tentative plan of action for myself. I'll probably stray from it within a month, but at least it provides a break and an opportunity to buy something else!

Last night, I sat down on my ukuMele soprano, which I forgot lay on the bed in the dark. This was sort of my beater, but I quite liked it. Still a bit upset with myself, but I guess it's in line with the goal of wanting fewer ukuleles. Always get what you focus on, just not always in the way you envision, eh? It drove home the point of needing a "beater" if I insist on playing before sleep. That is one down.

My acacia tenor will go to my neighbor's grandson, unless she wants to learn it. Would give me someone to practice with. The 1920s Washburn I intend to donate to a soprano enthusiast that I have in mind. I'm just not into vintage stuff and antiques (those seemed more fun when I wasn't myself approaching vintage conditions), and I believe it deserves an owner that will appreciate it. That's another two down.

After I figured out that low-g doesn't work for me on my Barron River tenor (at least I tried), it'll go back to re-entrant Bb (Fancy Bees Deliver Greatness) because that is where its voice is at. I also like the tension better. To my novice self, this makes it a different instrument altogether! I'll keep my LN pineapple soprano because I love it and bonded with it; darn attachments. I also have a Stagg UC-80S, which is an overbuilt (probably could sit on it safely!) concert, that will be my new beater ukulele. I'll buy an Opio Concert or Tenor --either a concert because I have no good concert and I want the sapele model before they are no longer available, or the tenor because I'd like mahogany (sapele) and keep it in re-entrant C tuning as my Barron River is in Bb. The tenor is probably more sensible as my longneck pineapple soprano covers both the soprano and concert side well.

So, well, that'll give me a soprano, a tenor, and either a concert or a differently tuned tenor, all of good quality, and a beater ukulele. I'll sit on this plan for a couple weeks (better than sitting on ukuleles) and nuzzle it, and see how I feel about it at the end of the month.

I need a blog. And a night light.

Rllink
02-19-2016, 07:12 AM
Last night, I sat down on my ukuMele soprano, which I forgot lay on the bed in the dark. This was sort of my beater, but I quite liked it. Still a bit upset with myself, but I guess it's in line with the goal of wanting fewer ukuleles. Always get what you focus on, just not always in the way you envision, eh? It drove home the point of needing a "beater" if I insist on playing before sleep. That is one down.I came close yesterday as well. I was crossing some rocks to take a short cut to another beach, and I was wearing flip flops, carrying my Makala in a backpack style gig bag. On the way, my foot slipped, and I fell flat on my back, right on top of the uke. So I was able to get up, which surprised me at my age, and made it over the rocks. I checked the uke, and other than a little dent, it isn't any worse for wear. Lucky me, lucky uke. We are both up and going strong this morning. The only thing I can figure, is that the uke came down between rocks, and not on one.

Croaky Keith
02-19-2016, 08:08 AM
Last night, I sat down on my ukuMele soprano,

Sorry to hear of the untimely demise............

Croaky Keith
02-19-2016, 08:10 AM
...foot slipped, and I fell flat on my back, right on top of the uke.

Definately a lucky escape for both of you......

Mivo
02-19-2016, 08:16 AM
Not a good week for ukuleles around the world!

R., I'm glad you didn't get hurt.

stevepetergal
02-21-2016, 03:52 AM
How does one become a Ukulele Monogamist?

Play the one ukulele A LOT.
(If my Kala had let me play with it every day, I would never had looked elsewhere.)