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kissing
04-08-2009, 05:20 PM
Hello y'all again :shaka:

My friend and I were looking at some Kala ukuleles to buy since they appear to have a good reputation for our budget range ($250~$280 US). But we recently learned that they are made in China :eek:

This doesn't bother me much (a lot of things are made in China these days :rolleyes: ) but my friend is rather concerned about it. So I am seeking to get some insight about "Made in China" and Ukuleles.

Does a ukulele (such as some Kala ones) being made in China mean it's not good?
Are many ukuleles on the market (including good ones) made in China?
Are ukuleles made in other countries much better (but at what price range?).

I want to be enlighted about Ukulele quality and being from China.

Thanks! :cool:

RON<>VA
04-08-2009, 05:28 PM
Others can give you more detailed information to your questions, but I know a lot of ukes are made in China. For me, all else being equal, I have no problem with a ukulele made in China.

haole
04-08-2009, 05:37 PM
"Made in China" doesn't necessarily mean that it's a bad uke. China's a huge country with lots of factories! Some of them churn out toy ukes and unplayable souvenirs, while others make good-quality instruments. Some factories make instruments for more than one company.

Kala/Makala, Ohana, Bushman, and Mainland (I think) are made in China, but they have a good reputation for quality and customer service (they're owned by Americans). Any of these are a safe bet if you're looking for something affordable that sounds good. I'd keep my distance from other Chinese-made ukes without doing research first.

Vietnam is the source of some of those shiny, heavily-inlayed ukes on eBay that have a terrible reputation for cracking and falling apart quickly. But Honu ukes are also made in Vietnam, and I've heard nothing but great things about them (materials are from Hawai'i, assembled in Vietnam, and set up in Hawai'i before sale).

So it doesn't seem like country of origin is the best way to judge a uke. American-made instruments (or European/Australian/Japanese) are usually your safest bet for quality, but if you can't handle the price premium, there are some imports that are almost as good for a lot less. :D

kissing
04-08-2009, 05:46 PM
Thank you very much for the in-depth information :D
This really put me (and my friend) at ease :)

DeG
04-08-2009, 05:47 PM
Country of manufacture aside, I've played maybe 8 different Kala models, and own one. They all seemed like nice playing, affordable ukes to me.

scooterguitar
04-08-2009, 05:52 PM
Yes, but most of my golf clubs are made their as well.

Ahnko Honu
04-08-2009, 05:53 PM
If it wasn't for Chinese made ukuleles like KALA, OHANA, LANIKAI, allot of ukulele players could not afford to get started playing. As stated these are US companies with their own high quality standards so I wouldn't worry about it. Some people I know have issues about the politics of the countries of origin like Communist China, Communist Vietman, Indonesia (largest Muslim country in the world) but to me their large sales to the US only educates them that capitalism does work even for them which can and has lead to changes in these nations.
I own a made in China Mahalo pineapple that kept me playing when times were hard, and Philippines made MELE pineapple when I wanted a real Koa wood pineapple ukulele but could not afford a made in USA Kamaka or Koaloha, I'm happy with no regrets.

Pippin
04-08-2009, 10:06 PM
I had a Masterbilt guitar... DR500mens (big dreadnaught). It is sold as an "Epiphone Masterbilt" guitar. Gibson owns the assembly line. It's Gibson QC, Gibson management, and a Gibson master luthier in charge of the operations there - using less expensive Chinese labor. The quality beats Gibson's USA Bozeman, Montana factory and that git costs $699 rather than the $3000 price tag of the USA Gibson big dreadnaughts.

The Masterbilt was solid spruce top, solid mahogany neck, back, sides, with LR Baggs electronics in it. Beautiful guitar... I sold it recently to one of my best friends. He loves it.

My Chinese ukuleles are all great sounding ukes. All the Ohanas have excellent overall quality. I have one Indonesian Oscar Schmidt. The quality is very good, but it is laminated and doesn't sound nearly as nice due to the materials.

Buy from a good dealer with a return policy if there is a problem and you should be good to go. Chinese-made ukuleles make for affordable alternatives to the high-priced Hawaiian makers and custom American luthiers.

WS64
04-08-2009, 10:32 PM
My wife is made in China. It doesn't matter to me.
However it might matter to her that I am made in Germany... ;)

UkeNinja
04-08-2009, 11:12 PM
However it might matter to her that I am made in Germany... ;)
It must be your immaculate build and fantastic post-purchase service. Not to mention your Punktlichkeit. My wife loves that I smell of milk and cheese...

But seriously, come on. Check everything you have at home and throw out what is made in China. How is that for a great spring cleanup?
Personally, I am concerned about labor conditions and would pay to get a product that is produced under fair trade or what have you. I wonder how the Chinese-made ukes stand on that front.

*looks at sneakers* :uhoh:

Then again, never mind...

Ahnko Honu
04-08-2009, 11:32 PM
My wife is made in China. It doesn't matter to me.
However it might matter to her that I am made in Germany... ;)

Are your kids Chiman or Gernese?

buddhuu
04-08-2009, 11:50 PM
Doesn't matter a bit to me. We're all one world and I'll buy from whoever makes good stuff that I can afford, so long as there are no ethical issues with things like fair trade and workers' conditions.

I have had good Chinese mandolins and ukes. Also, photos I have seen of the Eastman guitar and mandolin facility show a clean, modern environment where workers look comfortable in their work.

This is SO not the time to think along narrow, protectionist lines of trade.

Asia is fine by me, same as anywhere else. :shaka:

hawaiianmusiclover06
04-09-2009, 12:47 AM
I have no problem having things made in China. In fact I have a KALA ukulele.... guess where it was made?

ichadwick
04-09-2009, 01:37 AM
A little history... and a screed.

After WWII, many European and American companies sourced goods made in Japan because labour was cheaper. Japanese goods had a terrible reputation as 'cheap' initially. Then came the turnaround and 'made in Japan' meant quality. It also meant rising costs.

So the companies went to Korea where labour was cheaper than Japan. The story repeats itself. Korean products developed a good reputation, and the prices rose. Korea learned a lot from the Japanese experience and made the turnaround faster.

Now it's China's turn in the barrel. From a maker of cheap, low-quality goods not very long ago, they are slowly emerging (in some fields) as the maker of respectable products (for a good inside view of some Chinese factories, watch Edward Burtynsky's syuperb documentary, Manufactured Landscapes (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jv23xwe0BoU)).

When American guitar makers turned to Japan, Japanese instruments weren't very collectible. When those makers went to Korea, Japanese instruments gained in collectibility and value. Now they are in China and Korean instruments are gaining respectability.

You have to wonder where the West will turn when China becomes as expensive to produce goods in as its former economic partners. Africa? And wil Chinese goods then gain perceived value when that happens? Probably some will.

China is different, however, than its predecessors. It is a Communist regime, and despite significant post-Mao reforms (mostly thanks to Deng Xiaoping), still a military dictatorship, slow to respond. The top-heavy hierarchy makes it more difficult and slower to change its market practices as it would in a more competitive society.

Chinese quality control is often sporadic - ukuleles may be well made, but who can forget the deaths of thousands of children from tainted milk? Or the tainted toothpaste scandal? Or the tainted food exports? Or the numerous recalls of toys and other products for safety or other hazards?

The issue of China's brutal treatment of Tibet continues to cloud relationships with China for many nations. For many Western consumers, Chinese human rights - especially with regard to Tibet - is a serious moral and ethical issue that affects their buying habits.

That being said, what are your choices? As a consumer, how far can you elect not to purchase goods made in China as a moral protest? In many situations you don't know the source because label laws don't tell you where all the components are from. China makes most of the world's Vitamin C. Can you tell that from the label on your daily vits?

Besides, in many cases there are no viable alternatives, or at least no economically feasible alternatives. As long as we look for prices as the prime factor in buying decisions, there are few alternatives.

The problem with all of this is not so much who is making a product, but more who isn't. Whether it's made in Japan, Korean, China or Vietnam, it's not being made in the USA, Canada, Germany, the UK or some other Western nation and that means jobs. That's not China's fault - it's our own. We're the consumers. We chose to make Wal-Mart the biggest company in the world. We chose to buy the lowest priced knock-offs that resulted in local factories closing and an accelertaing shift to overseas production. China just supplied the goods - we did the rest.

So, yes, there are elements of Chinese production and quality control that bother me. But like most of us here, my options are limited and my income more so. Not buying Chinese-made ukuleles will perhaps give me a self-righteous sense of satisfaction, but it won't make a whit of difference to the Chinese economy. Nor will it help the Tibetans or improve human rights. I choose not to shop in Wal Mart, but end up buying the same goods in other big-box stores.

And in the end I'd probably not have gotten started on the uke without Chinese instruments. I would not have risked $1,000 or more for an American-made first instrument to see if I liked it. But I was willing to risk $250 for a Chinese-made Kala and that led me down this delightful path. Now I aspire for that $1,000+ uke (but probably still need to win a lottery to get it!).

In the end I suppose I am just another budget-conscious consumer.

So when I play my Chinese-made ukes, I content myself in remembering that China also gave us Lao Tzu, Li Bo, Han Fei Tzu, Sun Tzu, Wang Wei, Mencius, Confucius, Chuang Tzu, Han Shan and many other philosophers and poets. Perhaps there's a little of their spirit in the small instrument I hold, not just that of the mega-state.

deach
04-09-2009, 01:55 AM
As long as it isn't covered in lead paint, I have no problem with it.


I take that back, lead paint is tasty.

wickedwahine11
04-09-2009, 04:09 AM
I wouldn't let the fact that it is made in China dissuade you at all. Tons of quality products (including those ukes) are made there. The only reason I ended up selling my Kala is that I wanted a Hawaiian made ukulele. Not for quality reasons, just for emotional ones (my family traveled there all the time, and my grandmother is laid to rest there). But the Chinese Kalas are perfectly fine, tell your friend not to worry.

hoosierhiver
04-09-2009, 04:29 AM
Very well put Ian.

UKISOCIETY
04-09-2009, 04:40 AM
If you have an issue with China, then by a Flea or Fluke. If not, you have a lot of other great choices.

deach
04-09-2009, 04:45 AM
If you have an issue with China, then by a Flea or Fluke. If not, you have a lot of other great choices.

I have a Fluke and a BP.


8675309

UKISOCIETY
04-09-2009, 04:53 AM
8675309

Soon......so soon....

kissing
04-09-2009, 04:54 AM
Thank you everyone for their honest and informative responses :)

With me, it was purely a quality issue. There still is a loose generalisation that Made in China products are often not so good. For someone new to ukuleles and uninformed of the good quality choices from China, it is easy to visualise that a Made in China ukulele will kinda fall apart on its own.

Thank you for the answers, especially to Ian who gave me an even deeper insight on the history as well. Thanks all :)
Looks like we'll be going ahead with our KALA purchases (from MGM).

I'm going for their Solid mahogany tenor (asmtec) (http://cgi.ebay.com.au/KALA-ALL-SOLID-MAHOGANY-CUTAWAY-TENOR-UKULELE-ka-asmtec_W0QQitemZ270369479979QQihZ017QQcategoryZ162 24QQcmdZViewItemQQ_trksidZp1742.m153.l1262), and he's going for their Koa Tenor (KA-KT) (http://cgi.ebay.com.au/KALA-ALL-SOLID-MAHOGANY-CUTAWAY-TENOR-UKULELE-ka-asmtec_W0QQitemZ270369479979QQihZ017QQcategoryZ162 24QQcmdZViewItemQQ_trksidZp1742.m153.l1262).

Looking greatly forward to getting them.
I've been playing around with a cheap Mahalo Soprano (which I'm already somewhat happy with), so I imagine those solid Kala tenors can only be so much better :)

Thanks for the help all!

russ_buss
04-09-2009, 05:34 AM
congrats on your decision(s)! you guys will likely be pleased with them.



....But seriously, come on. Check everything you have at home and throw out what is made in China. How is that for a great spring cleanup?
...

just wanted to say i loved this quote.:)

buddhuu
04-09-2009, 05:55 AM
[...]
Looks like we'll be going ahead with our KALA purchases (from MGM).

I'm going for their Solid mahogany tenor (asmtec) (http://cgi.ebay.com.au/KALA-ALL-SOLID-MAHOGANY-CUTAWAY-TENOR-UKULELE-ka-asmtec_W0QQitemZ270369479979QQihZ017QQcategoryZ162 24QQcmdZViewItemQQ_trksidZp1742.m153.l1262), and he's going for their Koa Tenor (KA-KT) (http://cgi.ebay.com.au/KALA-ALL-SOLID-MAHOGANY-CUTAWAY-TENOR-UKULELE-ka-asmtec_W0QQitemZ270369479979QQihZ017QQcategoryZ162 24QQcmdZViewItemQQ_trksidZp1742.m153.l1262).
[...]
Thanks for the help all!

Hey! That mahogany Kala's on the shortlist for my next uke - except I'm considering the non-cutaway. :shaka:

Ahnko Honu
04-09-2009, 07:48 AM
Thank you everyone for their honest and informative responses :)

Looks like we'll be going ahead with our KALA purchases (from MGM).

Thanks for the help all!

You can't go wrong buying from MGM, he never sells ukuleles he doesn't believe in, he sets each one up before he sells them.
http://reviews.ebay.com/Ukulele-What-is-setup-Action-and-Intonation-mean_W0QQugidZ10000000004902503 He has a passion for the ukulele reflected in his service.
You're going to have allot of fun with your new ukulele, please keep us posted on your progress.

deach
04-09-2009, 07:49 AM
You can't go wrong buying from MGM, he never sells ukuleles he doesn't believe in, he sets each one up before he sells them.
http://reviews.ebay.com/Ukulele-What-is-setup-Action-and-Intonation-mean_W0QQugidZ10000000004902503 He has a passion for the ukulele reflected in his service.
You're going to have allot of fun with your new ukulele, please keep us posted on your progress.

Wow! He's pretty good. I should check him out.

Ahnko Honu
04-09-2009, 07:56 AM
Wow! He's pretty good. I should check him out.

I thought you owned stock in MGM. ;)

Craig
04-09-2009, 08:01 AM
My friend and I were looking at some Kala ukuleles to buy since they appear to have a good reputation for our budget range ($250~$280 US). But we recently learned that they are made in China :eek:

This doesn't bother me much (a lot of things are made in China these days :rolleyes: ) but my friend is rather concerned about it. So I am seeking to get some insight about "Made in China" and Ukuleles.

Does a ukulele (such as some Kala ones) being made in China mean it's not good?
Are many ukuleles on the market (including good ones) made in China?
Are ukuleles made in other countries much better (but at what price range?).

I want to be enlighted about Ukulele quality and being from China.

Thanks! :cool:

What's good about Chinese-made ukuleles is that they're offered at an affordable price point, thus, allowing more people access to the instrument. With this said, I must say that I prefer my tenor Fluke (made in USA) over most Chinese-made ukuleles. Also, Pono, which is made in Java, is an EXCELLENT ukulele for the money. Kala, Bushman, Lahiana, all of their necks are too skinny for me....but that's me. Also, the electronics in the Bushman really, really suck...IMHO.

Most of all, wether one's ukulele cost $100.00 or $10,000.00, is to have fun with it and love it!:music:

russ_buss
04-09-2009, 08:04 AM
Most of all, wether one's ukulele cost $100.00 or $10,000.00, is to have fun with it and love it!:music:

i couldn't agree more!;)

Ahnko Honu
04-09-2009, 08:05 AM
Most of all, wether one's ukulele cost $100.00 or $10,000.00, is to have fun with it and love it!:music:

I even have fun with my $45 Mahalo pineapple. ;)

Oswegan
04-09-2009, 08:28 AM
Q: How many Chinese Zen Masters does it take to make a ukulele?

A: A tree in a golden forest.

cloudswinger
04-09-2009, 01:08 PM
That being said, what are your choices? As a consumer, how far can you elect not to purchase goods made in China as a moral protest? In many situations you don't know the source because label laws don't tell you where all the components are from. China makes most of the world's Vitamin C. Can you tell that from the label on your daily vits?

Besides, in many cases there are no viable alternatives, or at least no economically feasible alternatives. As long as we look for prices as the prime factor in buying decisions, there are few alternatives.

The problem with all of this is not so much who is making a product, but more who isn't. Whether it's made in Japan, Korean, China or Vietnam, it's not being made in the USA, Canada, Germany, the UK or some other Western nation and that means jobs. That's not China's fault - it's our own. We're the consumers. We chose to make Wal-Mart the biggest company in the world. We chose to buy the lowest priced knock-offs that resulted in local factories closing and an accelertaing shift to overseas production. China just supplied the goods - we did the rest.

So, yes, there are elements of Chinese production and quality control that bother me. But like most of us here, my options are limited and my income more so. Not buying Chinese-made ukuleles will perhaps give me a self-righteous sense of satisfaction, but it won't make a whit of difference to the Chinese economy. Nor will it help the Tibetans or improve human rights. I choose not to shop in Wal Mart, but end up buying the same goods in other big-box stores.

And in the end I'd probably not have gotten started on the uke without Chinese instruments. I would not have risked $1,000 or more for an American-made first instrument to see if I liked it. But I was willing to risk $250 for a Chinese-made Kala and that led me down this delightful path. Now I aspire for that $1,000+ uke (but probably still need to win a lottery to get it!).


Yes, well I bought an Hawaiian made ukulele for about $120. It is well made and reasonable, but pretty much local only. And now he's no longer making ukuleles. He's selling off what stock he has for cheap though.

There are people who don't buy Chinese made, and even if it's not American made, it doesn't go to Chinese pockets. If it's not going to be made in America, fine, if you don't like Chinese made, there are other countries that still make goods. I see a lot more diversity when I don't shop Walmart, things are made in S. America, Africa, E. Europe and other Asian countries. China is actually starting to get expensive compared to say Vietnam, Thailand, Nicaragua and Namibia. Yes, if it's unlabeled that's hard to do, but there's a big movement to label origins, especially food products.

One might joke about the lead in the paint, but who's testing those Makalas?

Howlin Hobbit
04-11-2009, 12:11 PM
The thing that bothers me about the folks who get in a 'moral' snit about boycotting Chinese products is, no matter how much they bloviate, they're really not thinking about the Chinese person who's working at the factory.

That person is probably ecstatic to move up from the subsistence farmer level. They've most likely not made that much money in their lives.

If boycotting Chinese goods hurts anybody over there, it's not going to be the upper echelon that orders the human rights abuses and other such things, it's going to be the poor sod who's just trying to improve his/her lot in life by getting a better-paying job.

UkuLeLesReggAe
04-11-2009, 02:04 PM
almost everything i own is made in china... and i still think they r the best.

doesnt bother me

Waterguy
04-11-2009, 03:10 PM
20 years ago I bought a Ford truck because at the time, buying American seemed important to me. Turns out it was made in Canada.

I made my most recent transportation purchace based on the needs of myself and my family. I'm 6' 6" tall, my oldest son is a little taller then me and he has a brother that is just a little shorter then me. I also have 2 other kids and my wife. That all means mini-van with good head room. Not one of the "American" manufacturers makes that van but Toyota and Honda both do. I bought a Honda Odyssy. I can sit comfortably behind myself in that van. I found out after I bought the van that 80% of the Hondas sold in the U.S.A. are made in the U.S.A.

The world is a small place these days. I have no problem at all buying Chinese made ukes, I have 2. I also have a Kanile'a. It was an extravagent purchase for me but I fell in love with the sound. If buying a Chinese made uke's bugs you for some reason, then buy a Flea or a Fluke.

toyrtle
04-11-2009, 03:34 PM
I think it's all about the company that has their product manufactured over in China.

Some of them are making cheap, crappy products in the first place - which means that there is no quality control. They only care about spending the least amount of money to make the most amount of money. So these products are often no-brands.

Brands like Kala have a reputation to protect, so they have more quality control mechanisms in place. They do it so that people don't have to wait a year to get their ukulele.

It's like this.

You can have the product cheaply and quickly, but it won't necessarily be good quality.

You can have the product be good quality and quick, but it won't be cheap.

Or you can have it cheap and of good quality, but it won't be quick.

cloudswinger
04-12-2009, 04:34 AM
The thing that bothers me about the folks who get in a 'moral' snit about boycotting Chinese products is, no matter how much they bloviate, they're really not thinking about the Chinese person who's working at the factory.

That person is probably ecstatic to move up from the subsistence farmer level. They've most likely not made that much money in their lives.

If boycotting Chinese goods hurts anybody over there, it's not going to be the upper echelon that orders the human rights abuses and other such things, it's going to be the poor sod who's just trying to improve his/her lot in life by getting a better-paying job.

There's always a poorer sod in the next country down the line. I don't boycott Chinese made goods, but between China and Vietnam, I have a preference for Vietnamese made goods, just because that's my heritage. But it also makes me question the quality from both countries, since I know the old adage "The emperor is far Away", which basically says that if you can get away with it, you try.

Nobody orders the abuses, it's just part of doing the business. Nobody makes the workers work 14 hour days, that's just how long the shift is. Nobody makes them keep working even though the lights hurt their eyes, or their hands hurt from the repetitive motion or backs and feet hurt from standing all day. There's always someone else who wants the job, that's why no worker will complain, they don't want to lose their "good" paying job.

The pressure comes from the American consumers on the American business. It does work, if you buy brand name goods, most of them are pretty vigilent on their factories now. It's only when you buy the no brand cheap crap, that's the worst on the workers and the consumers. Those are the factories that cut corners and substitute randomly toxic materials. It has to be cheap. So they cut corners by paying the workers the bare minimum. And by replacing an ingredient with a cheaper one that would work. But maybe instead of buying 3 cheap items, buy one well made item that could pay someone a living wage? Do I really need disposable clothes?

Even in Vietnam, clothes are so cheap now that some can afford to not pack for a trip, buy clothes at their destination and just leave it behind when they leave.

ichadwick
04-12-2009, 10:14 AM
The thing that bothers me about the folks who get in a 'moral' snit about boycotting Chinese products is, no matter how much they bloviate, they're really not thinking about the Chinese person who's working at the factory.
Maybe they're too busy thinking about the poor sod next to them who ISN'T working at a local factory because the guy in China is. Spouse, relative, friend - I'll bet most members in N America know someone whose life was changed because a local factory shut down and shipped the jobs overseas.

There are several million people affected by it in Canada and the USA, so it's not unreasonable that someone close to you has had their life turned upside down by a plant closure, or that their job is now being done by someone offshore, probably in China.

I live in a small town that once had a great shipbuilding industry here - that was shut down and production moved to the Philippines in 85. Since then, a starch plant closed and production was shifted to Mexico. A plant that made carpets closed. Another one that made automobile rims and one that made auto hoses and fan belts closed. Most of those jobs moved to China. A few thousand good jobs gone in less than 20 years.

Those were jobs that paid for houses, for dental care, for college educations, for sports equipment, and gave money to local charities and service clubs.

In a town of under 20,000 that loss hurts. A lot.

My neighbours are wondering how to pay their mortgage - house is up for sale but it's a bad time for selling and they are down to one part-time wage earner. They've taken their kids out of hockey and dance because they can't afford it any more. They sold the second car. They stand in line at the food bank on holidays to get a turkey dinner. They buy their kids' clothes at the thrift shop. They stopped buying healthy food at the grocery store because they can get more macaroni and cheese on their limited budget.

The lucky ones managed to find a job in the local retail or hospitality industries. They went from a 40-hour-week, $25-$50 an hour job to working 20 hours (sometimes less) for $8.50 with no benefits, retirment plan or sick pay. Many have to get two or three jobs to make ends meet. Ironically, several have found jobs at Wal-Mart and other big box outlets, stocking the shelves with the same sort of product - Chinese made - that they used to make here. Face it: who hires a 45- or 50-year old factory worker? There are only so many Wal-Mart greeters needed.

The effect ripples through every other business. Restaurants see fewer locals because fewer people can afford to eat out, so they cut back hours or lay off staff. Furniture and clothing stores - the same thing. Car lots are quiet because there are fewer buyers. Hardware stores too - who can afford to work on a house when you can barely afford to pay the hydro bill? Movies get shown to fractional audiences in theatres. Sporting goods stores cater to visitors because locals aren't shopping there much any more. All that adds up to fewer hours for workers, fewer jobs for the unemployed, less money spent on advertising and promotion.

Some marginal stores tip over the edge and close. The empty shops aren't being rented by new businesses, but stand as a mute testament to the job loss.

It spills down to my business because I do work for other businesses in town - and I'm seeing fewer business cards, flyers and menus produced, fewer ads and brochures to design. My staff get their hours cut because the store's income has fallen.

Charities are underfunded and scrambling to provide services on smaller budgets. Service clubs are dying because no one gives any more; they can't raise the money to continue their projects. Animal shelters, youth drop in centres, community projects, library programs are all at risk. Fewer businesses sponsor kids' sports teams so the leagues shrink and the kids hang around at home - or downtown in restless packs - instead.

Theft and minor crime is up substantially. You once could leave your car unlocked in your driveway here. Now you hide everything, remove the stereo, and double-check every door before you leave your car. Some kids will break your window to steal meter change and a CD on the seat.

It's everywhere, like slow, creeping mould that inexorably eats the heart of the community.

The people who worked in those factories are a lot closer to me than a guy in China. Sure he's happier that he's not grubbing the good earth like his ancestors. But his happiness comes at a cost that is exacted here.

If thinking more about the impact of offshore production on my friends and neighbours is having a 'moral snit' then I guess I'm having one.

nikolo727
04-12-2009, 11:25 AM
As a consumer i would say that only thing that would bother me about one of my instruments being made in china is that they could be damaged from all the shipping. parts from hawaii sent to china sent back to hawaii then sent to the consumer. BUT I have been proven wrong. This system works very well. Lanikai, Kala, etc, are all "produced" in china and they are incredible instruments. I have one myself and love it incredibley. Another reason though is that I would like to have something that was handmade and not made in a factory. I dont know, but factory produced ukes just seems kinda non traditional to me. and come on. who wouldnt want to see an ukulele made for them right here in the US of A?!

nikolo727
04-12-2009, 11:29 AM
btw guys dont excalate this. Ive seen way to many chat sites go to hell for bitter arguments. Im not saying that you would do that. I just dont want this family to be torn apart. :D

buddhuu
04-12-2009, 01:50 PM
btw guys dont excalate this. Ive seen way to many chat sites go to hell for bitter arguments. Im not saying that you would do that. I just dont want this family to be torn apart. :D

Good call. Parts of this thread already taste bad. :(

I'm out.

haolejohn
04-12-2009, 02:52 PM
Before everyone leaves. Let's all join hands and sing kum-bi-ya.

Link
04-12-2009, 03:16 PM
LMAO haolejohn.

I'm more than happy to buy something made in China. I have never checked where something was made before I bought it. The whole "they're shipping our jobs overseas" means nothing to me. Call me ignorant, or just someone who realizes that this has happened many times in history. The big empire gets greedy, and collapses itself. Yawn. All that worrying is only going to be worth half a chapter in someones history textbook someday.

So for now I'll strum my great sounding Chinese uke . And probably buy another one next month.

SnakeOiler
04-12-2009, 03:42 PM
Before everyone leaves. Let's all join hands and sing kum-bi-ya.

Got a tab for that?

ichadwick
04-13-2009, 01:37 AM
btw guys dont excalate this. Ive seen way to many chat sites go to hell for bitter arguments. Im not saying that you would do that. I just dont want this family to be torn apart. :D

Actually I didn't think this was going bad. I thought it was a good, open debate on a serious issue that not only affects all of us, but is integral to our hobby/interest/entertainment. It's something we should all think about.

Bitter? Gee - didn't see any of that. Just saw differences of opinion shared in a civilized manner. Very democratic, I thought.

Remember: a democracy is not measured by how it reaches consensus. It is measured by how it handles dissent.

I fully respect everyone's opinion, even if (sometimes greatly) different from my own. After all, that makes for interesting and challenging discussion. If we all agreed on everything, all you would get here are endless repeats of "ook-koo-lehle versus you-koo-lay-lee" and "do you like high or low g?" threads. Uck!

I didn't feel this was turning into a fight at all.

Now if you want to get into a discussion about the use of punctuation, capitalization and proper spelling in posts, well then, put on the boxing gloves because that's sacred territory for me... no one messes with the Church of Grammar withough bringing down the wrath of the Fowler upon them... ;)

Ukuleleblues
04-13-2009, 03:38 AM
I currently work with a really nice hardworking person who was made in China. I used to work with a real pain in the butt that was made in China. So I am starting to thing that where they are made really doesn't matter. :D

Also CNC machines run the same in the USA, China, the Phillipines, etc.

Weasel
04-13-2009, 04:16 AM
I always used to joke around with my dad when we found out something we just got was made in china, but it never really mattered to us, we didn't care, and always seemed to work fine.

It's just like the stereotypical dumb blonde jokes, not every blonde is dumb, even some brunettes are, and not all chinese products are crap, even some american products are.

casetone2514
04-13-2009, 04:35 AM
Hello y'all again :shaka:

My friend and I were looking at some Kala ukuleles to buy since they appear to have a good reputation for our budget range ($250~$280 US). But we recently learned that they are made in China :eek:

This doesn't bother me much (a lot of things are made in China these days :rolleyes: ) but my friend is rather concerned about it. So I am seeking to get some insight about "Made in China" and Ukuleles.

Does a ukulele (such as some Kala ones) being made in China mean it's not good?
Are many ukuleles on the market (including good ones) made in China?
Are ukuleles made in other countries much better (but at what price range?).

I want to be enlighted about Ukulele quality and being from China.

Thanks! :cool:

I don't necessarily think that quality is the issue.

A great number of successful brands are moving their production bases to China and the far East which is storing up trouble for our manufacturing industries at home.

MGM
04-13-2009, 05:05 AM
I would say approximately of all ukuleles sold and made only less than 10% are made in USA. 90 % comes from chinese and other countires imports. Yes these could al be made in USA. are you willing to spend twice as much for all the same ukes if made here?

cloudswinger
04-13-2009, 05:13 AM
The whole "they're shipping our jobs overseas" means nothing to me. Call me ignorant, or just someone who realizes that this has happened many times in history. The big empire gets greedy, and collapses itself. Yawn. All that worrying is only going to be worth half a chapter in someones history textbook someday.

So for now I'll strum my great sounding Chinese uke . And probably buy another one next month.

Someday is great for other people. But the fall of the Roman Empire wasn't pleasant for the Romans. It was full of civil unrest and violence. The top people were just busy absorbed in their own pursuits of wine, women and song, and let everything fall as it may. Then they realized they didn't have time to strum their lutes anymore, someone wasn't just bringing them food and drink at their every whim. It was too late. The next empire was already on its way.

So I'll join hands, and sing kum-bi-ya and watch that ukulele float away on the waves(how can I play it holding hands?). Then I'll go buy a pipa and discuss the traditional tuning Adea vs some other tuning.

Which, btw, I've always wondered why people would assume that Chinese made musical instruments would be bad, since they have been making a 4 stringed instrument for 2000 years.

This whole discussion gives me the feeling of the attitude of the musicians on the Titanic. I know music is helping people to enjoy life, and probably a bit of escapism, but an occasional discussion of consequences shouldn't seem like such a scary or bad thing. It isn't really the end of the world. I just don't want to live my life on autopilot and do what everyone else does. It may just be a passing thought, but I do like to think about the consequences of my actions.

We haven't even discussed buying counterfeit musical instruments made in China yet.

cpatch
04-13-2009, 06:36 AM
btw guys dont excalate this. Ive seen way to many chat sites go to hell for bitter arguments. Im not saying that you would do that. I just dont want this family to be torn apart. :D
On the other hand, there's nothing wrong with an open, honest discussion as long as you keep your emotions in check. I think Ian brings up some very valid points without being overly subjective.

I've seen way too many chat sites where people are afraid to express their opinions for fear that someone may disagree with them, and to be honest I think that part of the reason the U.S. is in the mess we're in is because of people keeping their mouths shut where they should have spoken up.

ksquine
04-13-2009, 06:40 AM
I have a cheap cheap kala pineapple (with stunning pineapple silk screen). Its a good cheap uke. I love a good cheap instrument...even if the paint job has questionable taste.
Buy the ukulele you like best in your price range. Who cares where its made or what brand it is. :rock:

I hear China is making those special led painted melamine instruments that give off a sulphur smell. (kidding)

ichadwick
04-13-2009, 08:40 AM
I'm more than happy to buy something made in China. I have never checked where something was made before I bought it. The whole "they're shipping our jobs overseas" means nothing to me. Call me ignorant, or just someone who realizes that this has happened many times in history. The big empire gets greedy, and collapses itself. Yawn. All that worrying is only going to be worth half a chapter in someones history textbook someday.

Henry David Thoreau wrote in his masterpiece, Walden (http://thoreau.eserver.org/walden02.html), that...

Moral reform is the effort to throw off sleep. Why is it that men give so poor an account of their day if they have not been slumbering? They are not such poor calculators. If they had not been overcome with drowsiness, they would have performed something. The millions are awake enough for physical labor; but only one in a million is awake enough for effective intellectual exertion, only one in a hundred millions to a poetic or divine life. To be awake is to be alive. I have never yet met a man who was quite awake. How could I have looked him in the face?
Thoreau wanted his readers to treat every moment, every decision, every action as a conscious one. He was less concerned about whether a decision was right or wrong as long as it was made consciously, with full awareness of the implications and consequences. That's what he meant by being awake.

So it's not about whether you buy or don't buy a particular product as it is about it being a conscious, realized decision. Thoreau was very Buddhist in his philosophy. He was talking about enlightenment; everyday enlightenment.

What big governments and big corporations want is the opposite: they want knee-jerk reaction, Pavlovian responses, easily swayed audiences, sound-byte politics, and gullible buyers who pay or vote without asking why. They don't want informed, awake consumers because such consumers question everything, including authority. Consumers are meant to consume as they are instructed, not debate, not peer behind the screen at the man pulling the levers. In the country where the lowest price is the law, the vigilant, ethical consumer is an outsider.

Unfortunately, even as Thoreau noted 150 years ago, the majority of people are seldom awake in that sense. We tend to make decisions - large and small - by rote, for convenience, for pleasure, for the easiest path, or just 'because' - but seldom thinking them through, seldom weighing our choices against the gravity of the consequences.

And every decision we make, every action has its consequences.

Thoreau encouraged his readers to awaken, because he associated making rational, conscious decisions with morality and, therefore, with the whole meaning of existence. He assumed - naively perhaps - that awakened beings would naturally chose the morally right option and that was the ultimate goal of a human:

We must learn to reawaken and keep ourselves awake, not by mechanical aids, but by an infinite expectation of the dawn, which does not forsake us in our soundest sleep. I know of no more encouraging fact than the unquestionable ability of man to elevate his life by a conscious endeavor.

It is something to be able to paint a particular picture, or to carve a statue, and so to make a few objects beautiful; but it is far more glorious to carve and paint the very atmosphere and medium through which we look, which morally we can do. To affect the quality of the day, that is the highest of arts. Every man is tasked to make his life, even in its details, worthy of the contemplation of his most elevated and critical hour.
So it's not - to me anyway - so much about what instrument or product or services one chooses, or the country of origin, or the colour of the skin of the person who made it. Rather it is about making our choices as awake beings; rational and conscious beings, responsible for both our decision and its effects - not somnambulists sleepwalking through life with the attitude the results of our choices "mean nothing to me."

Spooner
04-13-2009, 08:56 AM
It would have to have lead AND MSG in it. :p

I was of the mindset and still am to a degree that a uke I would buy had to be made in Hawaii.
My first uke was a Kala. I bought it in HI...and the guy who sold it to me said that one of the main founders of it used to be a maker in HI. So I figured it had it's Hawaiian influences plus being purchased in HI made it fine and dandy.

My Kala..well I can't say a bad word about it. I still play it regularly...you never forget your first love kinda thing.

Would I buy another Kala? Yes.
Would I buy an uke from China of my own free will? Probably not (unless it was a Kala).
But for that matter I am still very much of the mindset that an uke should be built by a Hawaiian luthier or IN Hawaii at the very least.

Of course that's not the best viewpoint given the fact that the King's are built in Texas and are considered among the elite in ukes...but I'm silly like dat. :D

Anyhoo...I have a Kala spruce top cutaway with p/u and find it to be a very nice uke. Not to call it a "starter uke" but I did start out on this baby and am still playing it today. I think Kalas make some fine instruments but once you start playing some of the higher end ukes you will notice a difference.

haolejohn
04-13-2009, 11:41 AM
Now if you want to get into a discussion about the use of punctuation, capitalization and proper spelling in posts, well then, put on the boxing gloves because that's sacred territory for me... no one messes with the Church of Grammar withough bringing down the wrath of the Fowler upon them... ;)

LMBO-That was funny.

I own two Kalas and one mitchell that are all made in China. Love the Kalas and the mitchell isn't all that bad. I also own two MELEs that are made in Phillipines and have all final set up done in Hawaii that I love and would put up there with the "Ks". I started a thread along similiar lines b/c I wanted people to realize that there are quality instruments available for a fraction of the cost of the Hawaiian made one (that i still want one of each).

Pippin
04-13-2009, 11:50 AM
"I have met with but one or two persons in the course of my life who understood the art of Walking, that is, of taking walks, who had a genius, so to speak, for sauntering..."

Thoreau's "Walking"

Ian, your citing of Thoreau was brilliant. Although, I must content that he was a tight-wad and as such would most likely perceive that a Chinese-made ukulele would, in fact, be a very frugal investment and that he would have good workmanship and a very affordable price. I believe he would have observed the benefits are greater in value than the long-term boost in GDP.

Nevertheless, your quote was wonderful and truly you wax poetic.

Link
04-13-2009, 02:19 PM
Sorry ichadwick, but all I can do is say meh. You always make great points, and I'm sure you're much more knowledgable than I am. But it's not that I didn't already know what you posted. I had that pounded in to my head by many teachers in school. I just don't care. And I'm happier for it.

It takes all different types of people to make the world go around. A world full of my type of people would be a world full of lazy slugs, and a world full of your type of people would be a world of uptight stuck up nitpickers. (I'm not calling you or myself any names here)

haolejohn
04-13-2009, 04:01 PM
Kum ba yah, my Lord, kum ba yah!
Kum ba yah, my Lord, kum ba yah!
Kum ba yah, my Lord, kum ba yah!
O Lord, kum ba yah!

Someone's laughing, Lord, kum ba yah!
Someone's laughing, Lord, kum ba yah!
Someone's laughing, Lord, kum ba yah!
O Lord, kum ba yah!

Someone's crying, Lord, kum ba yah!
Someone's crying, Lord, kum ba yah!
Someone's crying, Lord, kum ba yah!
O Lord, kum ba yah!

Someone's praying, Lord, kum ba yah!
Someone's praying, Lord, kum ba yah!
Someone's praying, Lord, kum ba yah!
O Lord, kum ba yah!

ichadwick
04-14-2009, 01:12 AM
I had that pounded in to my head by many teachers in school. I just don't care. And I'm happier for it.
Ah, grasshopper, you may, one day. They say the teacher will appear when the student is ready.

I was young, once, too, and cared less about the world and my fellow passengers on this blue ark than I do now. Wisdom, compassion and caring come slowly as we walk through life's path. And they do not come to all of us. We choose our own path and sometimes we choose the one that says "Me" rather than the one that says "Us."

I've always believed that, as Casanova once said, no man can know everything, but every man should attempt to do so. Knowing and learning have, in my own experience, helped me learn a little compassion and morality. Perhaps for you, the oposite is true: not knowing and not learning will lead you to greater happiness and even eventually to wisdom. Each journey is unique.

Good luck on yours.

littlesmall
04-14-2009, 06:08 AM
do u think about all the human rights issues when u eat noodles? do u think about Nazi when u drink beer or eat German sausages? do u think about WWII when u drive a Mazda? do u think about Guantanamo bay when u buy a US made uke? I eat noodles because they r delicious, I drive Mazda because it's fast, I buy US made ukes because they sounds good. Chinese ukes are worth the money, y not buying them? :D

deach
04-14-2009, 07:49 AM
do u think about all the human rights issues when u eat noodles? do u think about Nazi when u drink beer or eat German sausages? do u think about WWII when u drive a Mazda? do u think about Guantanamo bay when u buy a US made uke? I eat noodles because they r delicious, I drive Mazda because it's fast, I buy US made ukes because they sounds good. Chinese ukes are worth the money, y not buying them? :D

Beer, noodle and sausage! Finally the voice of reason!

cloudswinger
04-14-2009, 09:25 AM
do u think about all the human rights issues when u eat noodles? do u think about Nazi when u drink beer or eat German sausages? do u think about WWII when u drive a Mazda? do u think about Guantanamo bay when u buy a US made uke? I eat noodles because they r delicious, I drive Mazda because it's fast, I buy US made ukes because they sounds good. Chinese ukes are worth the money, y not buying them? :D

I eat noodles, but most of them are made in the US anyway. Beer - made in the US. German sausage, French fries, etc - made locally. Mazdas - mostly assembled in the US. When you buy something local, something like 70 percent of the money stays within the community, whereas if it's imported, the majority of the money goes out.

Many Chinese won't buy Japanese goods for the things that were done in WWII. And they don't need to, they can make it themselves. The US consumer, on the other hand, has to ignore those issues, because they've let themselves get to the point where they have no choice. How free can we be when we only have one choice?

Is it really cheaper to buy the Chinese uke? If you look at just the price tag, probably. If you look at the big picture, probably not.

haolejohn
04-14-2009, 12:22 PM
do u think about Guantanamo bay when u buy a US made uke?

Nothing happened at Gitmo. Trust me.

Spooner
04-14-2009, 12:25 PM
Beer, noodle and sausage! Finally the voice of reason!


:biglaugh::biglaugh::biglaugh::cheers:

deach
04-14-2009, 12:26 PM
Nothing happened at Gitmo. Trust me.

mmmm Cuban Sammiches!

Ahnko Honu
04-14-2009, 12:36 PM
I know one thing for sure... Chinese people make the best Chinese food. :shaka:

Spooner
04-14-2009, 12:48 PM
I know one thing for sure... Chinese people make the best Chinese food. :shaka:

.and they've got a good thing going with the whole checkers thing. :p

ukeatan
04-14-2009, 01:41 PM
Is it really cheaper to buy the Chinese uke? If you look at just the price tag, probably. If you look at the big picture, probably not.

Very well put, I must say.

SnakeOiler
04-14-2009, 02:40 PM
Here is what you are supporting when you buy a Chinese Uke...

BEIJING–He has been called "the Conscience of China," someone who – in another country – would probably be hailed as a hero.

But on Feb. 4 in Xiaoshibanqiao village in Shaanxi province, human rights lawyer Gao Zhisheng was treated worse than a common criminal.

In the small hours of the morning, police entered the home of his in-laws where he had been staying, wrested him from his bed and spirited him off into the darkness.

He has not been seen since.

http://www.thestar.com/article/617476

nikolo727
04-14-2009, 03:44 PM
I know one thing for sure... Chinese people make the best Chinese food. :shaka:

ive been to the local chinese buffet so much that they know me by site. They try to create small talk but i cant understand them, so i just let them pile my plate with food that they say i should try lol. and i have to say, its working out good so far.

Link
04-14-2009, 03:56 PM
ive been to the local chinese buffet so much that they know me by site. They try to create small talk but i cant understand them, so i just let them pile my plate with food that they say i should try lol. and i have to say, its working out good so far.
Hahaha that's hilarious!

Ahnko Honu
04-14-2009, 04:03 PM
Now you guys are getting me hungry for Mu Shu Pork, Kung Pao Chicken, Shrimp Canton, and Minute Chicken on Crispy Cake Noodles, Spicy Garlic Eggplant, Sizzling Mongolian Beef, side order Fried Rice. :D

Spooner
04-14-2009, 04:13 PM
Now you guys are getting hungry for Mu Shu Pork, Kung Pao Chicken, Shrimp Canton, and Minute Chicken on Crispy Cake Noodles, Spicy Garlic Eggplant, Sizzling Mongolian Beef, side order Fried Rice. :D

No but oddly enough I found myself playing Slow Boat To China before. :p

littlesmall
04-14-2009, 04:14 PM
Here is what you are supporting when you buy a Chinese Uke...


http://www.thestar.com/article/617476


I wonder who gave u the authority to judge other countries? All men/women/nations have their weaknesses and mistakes. If u wanna keep arguing and looking for others' shortcomings, keep doing that, but it does no good. If u don't buy Chinese made things, will u become a saint? Are you saying that it's "more moral" to buy things from the "moral people or moral countries"? If that's the case, u better stop using petrol and gas as most of them r from the middle east where most of the westerners believe to be evil. Who gave u the right to define moral? Why not examining ur own weak points and start to deal with them?

I'd like to quote what Jesus said 2000 yrs ago.
"Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you. Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother's eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, 'Let me take the speck out of your eye,' when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother's eye." Matthew 7:1-5

Spooner
04-14-2009, 04:19 PM
Mixing politics and ukulele is like having Barry Manilow open for Metallica.

littlesmall
04-14-2009, 04:20 PM
Mixing politics and ukulele is like having Barry Manilow open for Metallica.

agree:shaka:

Ahnko Honu
04-14-2009, 04:39 PM
Mixing politics and ukulele is like having Barry Manilow open for Metallica.

Or mixing a 600 pound Sumo wrestler Konishiki with a 100 pound Japanese girl. :eek:
http://cache.gettyimages.com/xc/2869962.jpg?v=1&c=ViewImages&k=2&d=17A4AD9FDB9CF193CC300C081D9F47001082869CE401E0E9 E32C9868202AD925E30A760B0D811297

Link
04-14-2009, 04:39 PM
Mixing politics and ukulele is like having Barry Manilow open for Metallica.
DOUBLE agree.

SamUke
04-14-2009, 05:28 PM
Yeah no political rants, we just had an election and I am still getting over that.

Deirdre
05-24-2009, 02:57 PM
Like any products I buy, I am more concerned about working conditions, living wage pay, and the environmental impact of both the product and the shipping. My current ukulele was made in China, and I don't know its production history. I would love to buy a custom Canadian made (or made wherever I happen to be living) ukulele some day.

jkevinwolfe
05-24-2009, 04:31 PM
The quality of Chinese ukes depends mostly on quality control. Companies that have a rep watching over quality or factories known for having strict standards of quality control locally in China will have the best ukes. It seems like that should go without saying, but that one person almost always makes the difference between great and crap in a Chinese factory.

I have been to Chinese factories, but it has been a few years and things change rapidly there. Were they sweatshops? Yes, but then you find factories with conditions similar to what I saw anywhere, first world included. A factory is a factory. They're not designed to look like the inside of a Target store.

Did I see child labor in China? No. Did I see employees who enjoyed what they were doing? Yes. Did they work long hours and get paid little, probably. But that's why Chinese ukes are such good values for us. Living wages are hard to judge. Does that include food, shelter and medicine or does it include a plasma TV? $10 a day in some countries covers all mentioned but the plasma TV. Sometimes a company will come in and triple workers salaries as a goodwill gesture. Then local prices triple and everyone not working for that company suffers. There are no easy answers for this.

I own a Flea which was made in the US. If it were produced in China it probably would not be the same quality, but it would sell for 1/4 as much. Actually I didn't mind paying the extra for one made in the US. I also own a uke custom made in the US and a Risa Solid made in Germany. I paid more for those and got great instruments. I still got a good value for my money.

However if I were buying a uke for someone who had never played one as a gift, I would probably buy a $40 Chinese uke. I think they have their place in the uke world.

Tanizaki
05-24-2009, 05:09 PM
Maybe they're too busy thinking about the poor sod next to them who ISN'T working at a local factory because the guy in China is. Spouse, relative, friend - I'll bet most members in N America know someone whose life was changed because a local factory shut down and shipped the jobs overseas.
In that case, the thing for that person to do is to stop being too busy thinking and start a local factory that can produce goods of comparable quality to the imports at a comparable price. In other words, if a person sees a problem, they have a duty to do something to fix it. Having a snit on the internet is easy.


Those were jobs that paid for houses, for dental care, for college educations, for sports equipment, and gave money to local charities and service clubs.

In a town of under 20,000 that loss hurts. A lot.
PRO TIP: You have no right to your job. At one time, lots of people had jobs manufacturing buggy whips.

Say, I have an idea. Let's get rid of all the robots that build cars and replace them with human workers. Of course, the price of cars will increase severalfold and autos will once again just for the social elite, but people will have jobs, right? They'll walk to those jobs, but they will have them!


My neighbours are wondering how to pay their mortgage - house is up for sale but it's a bad time for selling and they are down to one part-time wage earner. They've taken their kids out of hockey and dance because they can't afford it any more. They sold the second car. They stand in line at the food bank on holidays to get a turkey dinner. They buy their kids' clothes at the thrift shop. They stopped buying healthy food at the grocery store because they can get more macaroni and cheese on their limited budget.
How much attention did your neighbors pay to their educations?


Theft and minor crime is up substantially. You once could leave your car unlocked in your driveway here. Now you hide everything, remove the stereo, and double-check every door before you leave your car. Some kids will break your window to steal meter change and a CD on the seat.
Of course, this is the fault of Chinese ukuleles.


The people who worked in those factories are a lot closer to me than a guy in China. Sure he's happier that he's not grubbing the good earth like his ancestors. But his happiness comes at a cost that is exacted here.
Happiness always has a cost. I won an eBay auction - too bad for the other bidders. I got the job that three other people interview for - too bad for them. I married my wife - too bad for the other suitor who sought her. Nearly everything that has ever made you happy in your life has come at a cost to someone else.


If thinking more about the impact of offshore production on my friends and neighbours is having a 'moral snit' then I guess I'm having one.
What have you done about the problems you see besides have a snit? How many of the out of work factory workers have you employed? What are you doing to make something better and cheaper to compete with an import?

Tanizaki
05-24-2009, 05:18 PM
What big governments and big corporations want is the opposite: they want knee-jerk reaction, Pavlovian responses, easily swayed audiences, sound-byte politics, and gullible buyers who pay or vote without asking why. They don't want informed, awake consumers because such consumers question everything, including authority. Consumers are meant to consume as they are instructed, not debate, not peer behind the screen at the man pulling the levers. In the country where the lowest price is the law, the vigilant, ethical consumer is an outsider.
The trope of consumers consuming as instructed is a common trope, but it is a myth. Are educational and cultural events advertised in your area? I imagine they are. Care to tell me about consumption of these services in your town?

Lowest price is the law? Well, in the US, we have public broadcasting that is free. Can't get any lower than that, but when's the last time you tuned in to watch "Masterpiece" or "NOVA"? Can't we get these gullible consumers to watch Frontline?

It's so much easier to blame the producers of culture than it is to face the questions that the consumers' choices raise.

specialmike
05-24-2009, 05:56 PM
Kala has a pretty good reputation. I wouldn't be too worried about getting an ukulele that isn't worth the money. You'd be rather surprised at how many instruments are actually manufactured in China. Moreover, some of the most intricate devices that you use in your house is made in a foreign country. Hecho in Mexico, Made in Taiwan, etc.
If you're worried about an ukulele being made through an unsatisfactory method, I would recommend looking at their return policy. Any company that believes in their product will have such a policy.

The computer you're using was most likely made by using foreign parts. Perhaps they were "put together" in the US, but that doesn't make the final product "purely domestic". I would assume that your computer cost more than 300+, so... an ukulele that's crafted by inexpensive foreign labor, I wouldn't be too worried.

Just remember that whatever ukulele you buy, no two are going to be the same. One person might buy the same model, but human error will be a factor. Kamakas, $900+ ukuleles, aren't always perfect either. They're made in Hawaii, made of Koa. It doesn't mean anything. I suppose it has a better concept and reputation than the Chinese

Best solution= play the ukulele before you buy it. If you like it and think its worth the money, buy it. If not, look elsewhere.

Harold O.
05-24-2009, 06:01 PM
The trope of consumers consuming as instructed is a common trope, but it is a myth.

It has proven too hard for me to stay out of this...

I get a bit bent when I hear one of the talking heads saying that Detroit is building cars (SUVs usually) that people don't want to buy. Well, in my neighborhood, SUVs rule the roost. Years back it was a station wagon, then a van, then a mini van, now its an SUV. Why? because it's what people in that particular stage of life need to get get around. Ever try picking up your kid, the neighbor's kid, and the baseball team in a sedan? It ain't happening.

I'm a woodworker these days. Folks can commission a table, a music stand, a cabinet for their store, or whatever else from me. They are also free to choose something available at the local WalMart. What I've found is that people are coming around to appreciating something built by someone they know, someone local, and having something that has a hand-built quality to it.

I have three Chinese-built ukes and play them all. I have one I built myself and love it, too. I have a Tahitian uke that seems impossible to play.

We cannot control that which is beyond our control. We must also learn to accept that our way is not always the way others may choose. It is only when we are obliged to follow that we lose.

Lori
05-24-2009, 06:29 PM
Back when we didn't trade with China, we (The USA) had to worry about a war with such a large nation with a very large population. Since we have opened up trade, and become dependent on their goods, China has prospered. The USA owes lots of money, and we have gotten loans from China to help us out. We probably owe them so much, that they would not want to go to war with us, since we couldn't pay them back if we lost. So, instead of a military war, we have an economic war that we are losing. It will take a lot to change the way it currently is. We will need some really smart people in important positions to create a new model that is sustainable. If we keep all those manufacturing jobs domestically, we will also need to protect the environment from the byproducts of industry. Be prepared for higher prices on many items, and lower wages too. It is a huge problem.

What's the solution? I don't know. But being able to buy a Kala ukulele at a reasonable price makes music affordable to more people. And the enrichment that music brings to a person's life, is great. And knowing that the headquarters is in California, means that at least a few locals are employed. And all the music stores that carry those ukuleles benefit as well, in addition to those who sell uke supplies and uke lessons.

–Lori

ukulele2544
05-24-2009, 09:32 PM
Maybe sometimes.. 'Cause China does anything to make money....

Ahnko Honu
05-24-2009, 10:02 PM
The Communist may not know it but they are not too slowly but surely turning into Capitalist. :D

Nobody makes Chinese food like the Chinese do, though Korean do make very decent sushi. ;)

kissing
05-24-2009, 11:03 PM
Nobody makes Chinese food like the Chinese do, though Korean do make very decent sushi. ;)


Sushi aint Chinese :confused:

Ahnko Honu
05-24-2009, 11:42 PM
Sushi aint Chinese :confused:

Yes I know that, I lived in Japan for 7 years and speak it fluently. I'm saying Koreans can make decent Japanese food but Only the Chinese make great Chinese food. ;)

jkevinwolfe
05-25-2009, 01:17 AM
A little irony: In the next five years economists predict that about 1/3 of China's jobs will disappear. All that work will be going to factories elsewhere in poorer Pacific nations that will make the product for a few cents less.

uke142464
05-25-2009, 03:31 AM
I would suggest a fluke :D

ichadwick
05-25-2009, 03:42 AM
What have you done about the problems you see besides have a snit? How many of the out of work factory workers have you employed? What are you doing to make something better and cheaper to compete with an import?
I am distressed, albeit not surprised, that you missed the point of my comment. It wasn't a snit - a word that seems to endlessly entertain you - nor am I suggesting people buy or not buy anything. I was responding to other "I don't give a shite about anyone else but me" comments.

I believe we make our own choices and have to live with the moral, social and economic implications of them. But we must equally be cognizant of the chain reaction each decision makes. We we are willfully ibnorant about those implications, we are harming ourselves and everyone around us.

Every choice we make should be a conscious one, as Thoreau once said. We should not make choices simply as a consumer reflex.

And the answer is: the latest employee I hired for my store was an "out of work" factory worker. I have hired several in the past decade, and I have trained them in computer and office skills to help them find something better. I have a standing offer to pay for any computer courses that will advance the skills of any employee.

How many have you hired?

TheUsualSuspect
05-25-2009, 04:51 AM
ive been to the local chinese buffet so much that they know me by site. They try to create small talk but i cant understand them, so i just let them pile my plate with food that they say i should try lol. and i have to say, its working out good so far.

You might be interested in knowing that the word "buffet" is Chinese for "go eat three times."

Yeah, I made that up.

hoosierhiver
05-25-2009, 04:57 AM
Trying to keep your money in the local or regional community is a good thing to do. Even if the product you are buying isn't made locally, is the business owned by local people? Shopping and eating at big chain stores and restraunts will make it tougher on local ma and pa shops. Ineveitably we all buy some things that are made overseas, but I'd rather buy that shovel at the locally owned hardware store than at Walmart. When I lived overseas in a small town I witnessed a 7-11 open up at the edge of the night market, it really hurt some of the poorer vendors at the market.

Tanizaki
05-25-2009, 07:46 AM
Yes I know that, I lived in Japan for 7 years and speak it fluently. I'm saying Koreans can make decent Japanese food but Only the Chinese make great Chinese food. ;)

In my experience, because of the buffet, most westerners wouldn't know Chinese food if it fell on their face out of the sky and started to wiggle. The first problem is the term "Chinese food". Well, are we talking Sichuan, Cantonese, Hunan? I just a kick every time I prepare mapo tofu to self-described lovers of Chinese food when I see the look on their face when they get their first taste of 麻辣.

Tanizaki
05-25-2009, 08:18 AM
I am distressed, albeit not surprised, that you missed the point of my comment. It wasn't a snit - a word that seems to endlessly entertain you - nor am I suggesting people buy or not buy anything. I was responding to other "I don't give a shite about anyone else but me" comments.
Which comments were those? I didn't read anyone writing that. But, as long as you are knocking down that straw man, I would be remiss if I neglected to point out that you don't go to work every morning out of the goodness of your heart. You do it to make a profit for yourself.

But, if that was the point of your comment, I am glad you have clarified. It was not discernible in the rambling tirade about soup kitchens and how you have to lock your car at night.

But really, it was your point. You said, "Whether it's made in Japan, Korean, China or Vietnam, it's not being made in the USA, Canada, Germany, the UK or some other Western nation and that means jobs." You are simply concerned with saving western manufacturing jobs. If you're going to be protectionist, just say so.

By the way, how about the Canadian who works as a shipping dock unloading container ships from China? Imports keep him employed. Whose job is more important, the Canadian dockworker or the Canadian factory worker?


I believe we make our own choices and have to live with the moral, social and economic implications of them. But we must equally be cognizant of the chain reaction each decision makes. We we are willfully ibnorant about those implications, we are harming ourselves and everyone around us.
No one is being ignorant. There is a limited need for labor, thus any one person working means everyone else on the planet doesn't get to work that job. That is not harmful to anyone; that is simply cause and effect. I have not harmed myself or anyone else by purchasing an imported good.


Every choice we make should be a conscious one, as Thoreau once said. We should not make choices simply as a consumer reflex.
Winston Churchill once said, "it is a good thing for an uneducated man to read books of quotations". Which goes back to one of my several unanswered questions: how much attention did your out-of-work townspeople pay to their educations?

"Consumer reflex" is a straw man. When people part with their money, the action is generally deliberate rather than reflexive. If it's so reflexive, as I asked before and you didn't answer, why can't we get people to reflexively buy books about science or opera tickets?

To give a local example, in my town of Orlando, the opera company announced last month that it is suspending operations. Meanwhile, almost next door to the opera, a new basketball stadium is being built for our NBA team. While I am sad, as a regular opera patron, that I now have to drive to Tampa, I cannot have a snit about how more people would rather watch The Apprentice than Salome and oh-what-harm to the opera players. And I certainly don't blame The Evil Corporations. I simply accept the cause and effect of the market.


And the answer is: the latest employee I hired for my store was an "out of work" factory worker. I have hired several in the past decade, and I have trained them in computer and office skills to help them find something better. I have a standing offer to pay for any computer courses that will advance the skills of any employee.

How many have you hired?

Zero, but I haven't declared a problem based on other people's economic choices. Free trade and all that. I only make efforts to fix problems that I see, and free trade is not a problem.

I am also forced to wonder if anything produced by you or any of the closed factories in you now lament happened to make its way outside of Canada's borders? It hardly seems equitable to condemn imports while availing yourself of the privileges of exporting.

Tanizaki
05-25-2009, 08:19 AM
Trying to keep your money in the local or regional community is a good thing to do. Even if the product you are buying isn't made locally, is the business owned by local people? Shopping and eating at big chain stores and restraunts will make it tougher on local ma and pa shops. Ineveitably we all buy some things that are made overseas, but I'd rather buy that shovel at the locally owned hardware store than at Walmart. When I lived overseas in a small town I witnessed a 7-11 open up at the edge of the night market, it really hurt some of the poorer vendors at the market.

I bet the people who work at your town's Wal-Mart are local.

Ahnko Honu
05-25-2009, 09:25 AM
In my experience, because of the buffet, most westerners wouldn't know Chinese food if it fell on their face out of the sky and started to wiggle. The first problem is the term "Chinese food". Well, are we talking Sichuan, Cantonese, Hunan? I just a kick every time I prepare mapo tofu to self-described lovers of Chinese food when I see the look on their face when they get their first taste of 麻辣.

Personally I've only tried Mandarin, Cantonese, and Sichuan, love all three but Sichuan my favorite, I like my chow spicy! ;) Haven't tried Hunan, Fujian, etc. but one day when I go to China to visit the Great Wall and the Forbidden City... :shaka:

Tanizaki
05-25-2009, 10:03 AM
Personally I've only tried Mandarin, Cantonese, and Sichuan, love all three but Sichuan my favorite, I like my chow spicy! ;) Haven't tried Hunan, Fujian, etc. but one day when I go to China to visit the Great Wall and the Forbidden City... :shaka:

Then you should enjoy Hunan, which is generally hotter than Sichuan. In the US, it's very rare to find restaurants that use Sichuan pepper. The import ban on it was lifted a few years ago, but I think the mala flavor is offputting to most. I consider it a vital ingredient.

Fuchsia Dunlop has a cookbook each for Sichuan and Hunan cuisine, and I highly recommend both of them.

I recommend the Simatai section of the Great Wall when you go to China. It's the best preserved section of the Ming wall. It's a few hours' drive from Beijing.

ichadwick
05-25-2009, 10:58 AM
I am also forced to wonder if anything produced by you or any of the closed factories in you now lament happened to make its way outside of Canada's borders? It hardly seems equitable to condemn imports while availing yourself of the privileges of exporting.
Actually what I provide is service-oriented: graphic design, shipping, packing, flyers, copies, etc. My efforts tends to be localized. But local factories did (and those remaining do) produce items for export, although most products were/are (I believe) for domestic consumption.

I'm not condemning imports. Forgive me if I'm not clear (as I forgive you for misinterpreting me ;)...) Imports are wonderful things. Like most of us, I have a house full of them. I am not trying to be protectionist, either. Merely trying to point out the emperor - globalization - is wearing rather transparent clothing.

Perhaps we should stop fighting this here and take it to another area.

Tanizaki
05-25-2009, 12:56 PM
Actually what I provide is service-oriented: graphic design, shipping, packing, flyers, copies, etc. My efforts tends to be localized. But local factories did (and those remaining do) produce items for export, although most products were/are (I believe) for domestic consumption.
If the local factory makes goods for export, its workers have no business complaining about imports.


I'm not condemning imports. Forgive me if I'm not clear (as I forgive you for misinterpreting me ;)...) Imports are wonderful things. Like most of us, I have a house full of them. I am not trying to be protectionist, either. Merely trying to point out the emperor - globalization - is wearing rather transparent clothing.
Why do you think the emperor's new clothes reference makes sense here?

But, it's not a matter of misinterpretation. You shift your position. You said, "Whether it's made in Japan, Korean, China or Vietnam, it's not being made in the USA, Canada, Germany, the UK or some other Western nation and that means jobs." You are simply concerned with saving western manufacturing jobs. Can you tell me why a Korean's job is less important than a Canadian's job?

Speaking of misinterpretation, you appear to interpret my questions as rhetorical. They are not.


Perhaps we should stop fighting this here and take it to another area.

Who's fighting? If you are confident enough in your position to state it here, you should be confident enough to defend it here.

Russ Sonny Kemner
05-25-2009, 01:04 PM
The bottom line is that just about everything is now made in either China, India, Vietnam, Korea or the war torn Czech republic.

I work in the automotive industry and have seen first hand a general decline for the past decade. Even cars, appliances, etc built here are being made with Chinese parts.

Why: It's all about stock holders' benjamins. The average Chinese laborer makes approximately 30 cents US per day. The average UAW worker makes approximately $25 per hour. So for the price of one UAW worker to work for one hour you could literally hire 83 Chinese workers for an entire day. We simply can not compete. I am in no way anti patriotic, I just do not see any quick resolution to this dilemma as I watch literally thousands of industrial workers lose their income right here in the US.

I don't think the solution is to not buy foreign made products, the solution is to develop American made goods and factories so that we can once again become competitive in the world market. Stop giving tax breaks to the outsourcers, and start giving incentives to companies that stay in the US.

Tanizaki
05-25-2009, 02:22 PM
I work in the automotive industry and have seen first hand a general decline for the past decade. Even cars, appliances, etc built here are being made with Chinese parts.
A decline in what? Demand for US cars? Yes. For more information, see the Chrysler bankruptcy and the upcoming summer hit, the GM bankruptcy.


Why: It's all about stock holders' benjamins. The average Chinese laborer makes approximately 30 cents US per day. The average UAW worker makes approximately $25 per hour. So for the price of one UAW worker to work for one hour you could literally hire 83 Chinese workers for an entire day. We simply can not compete. I am in no way anti patriotic, I just do not see any quick resolution to this dilemma as I watch literally thousands of industrial workers lose their income right here in the US.
Could it possibly be that the UAW has anything to do with it? Naw. NEWSFLASH: Unions are there to be protectionist for people who cannot compete. For more, take a look at comparative employment numbers for right-to-work states versus union states. There is no "dilemma". The unions are simply continuing on their way to oblivion.

THIS JUST IN: a for-profit corporation is always about the stock holders' money. Hence the adjective "for-profit". When I invest money in a corporation by buying its stock, I expect to see a return on that investment. There is a word for businesses that operate at a loss: bankrupt.

UAW=U Ain't Workin'. Good job pricing workers out of the market.


I don't think the solution is to not buy foreign made products, the solution is to develop American made goods and factories so that we can once again become competitive in the world market. Stop giving tax breaks to the outsourcers, and start giving incentives to companies that stay in the US.

What tax breaks do outsourcers get? Outsourcers don't get tax breaks. They are simply taking advantage of lower overhead in other countries and states. Have you noticed that Nissan has its US factories in right-to-work Tennessee? Why do you think that might be?

seeso
05-25-2009, 03:28 PM
Who's fighting? If you are confident enough in your position to state it here, you should be confident enough to defend it here.

Although I agree that there hasn't been any "fighting" in this thread, let's make sure it stays that way. I think both sides have been adequately argued and defended.

Let's try to keep the discussion to ukuleles. Thread locked.

If anyone has a compelling reason for me to re-open the thread, send me a PM and I'll consider it.

P.S. I'm proud of the way most of us kept our composure and aloha throughout this debate.