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SoloRule
06-08-2016, 01:31 PM
Just wondering how many of you are like me spending lots of money and time buying , searching for that one perfect sounding uke . In the end, the ONE that won your heart took the least of your hard earned money and the maker that you never gave it a second look.
Life is full of surprises.

jollyboy
06-08-2016, 02:00 PM
I have a Kala cedar top concert and a Pono solid acacia concert. After quite a bit of messing around with strings, set up etc. I've decided to keep the Kala and sell the Pono. Just prefer it *shrugs*. I bought it second-hand and it has a wonky strap button (really badly off-centre) and a couple of dings but it's still my go-to instrument :)

Griffis
06-08-2016, 02:02 PM
There's no "right or wrong" to this. I'm sure many here are on that road with you, spending time and money seeking just the perfect uke for them.

I've already been down that road with numerous other instruments, and ukes as well years ago.

A large part of the appeal of the uke to me is I now just play them. They ALL sound different, even mass produced ones made to the same specs on the same day at the same factory.

Obviously so many contributing variables there--size, shape, wood type and thickness, bracing, even strings. One uke can also sound very different depending on how you play it.

I don't really have the desire or funds to chase the tone dragon, though I understand why people are inclined to do this, and I cheer them from the sidelines. I just hope to play my cheapies into the ground, having as much fun as possible. No agonizing, no searching, no swapping - buying - selling - shopping. Just playing.

Nickie
06-08-2016, 02:16 PM
Griffis, wiser words were never written.
I have chased the ukulele rainbow, and have found my true love. My Cocobolo ukulele simply cannot be beat. I'm not sure if I'd even trade it for a Kamaka or a MB.
Maybe.....
We did recently purchase another tenor, a Tiny Tenor, to be exact. A close friend, who has UAS real bad, wanted to rehome it, and we couldn't resist.
I cannot tell the tone from my Ohana concert, but the intonation of the Ohana is so off that the tenor is a welcome addition to our small family.
I hope the buying is done. I just wanna play.

Ukulelerick9255
06-08-2016, 02:24 PM
It all depends on what you want and what you want to spend you can play cheapies into the ground as he said or if you want something from a talented luthier plan on spending from $2,000 and up, some like Chuck Moore go as high as over $10,000. I had mine custom made by Beau Hannam but he also makes a less customized Uke called The Players Model that are still incredibly beautiful looking and sounding, check out his website.

WCBarnes
06-08-2016, 03:46 PM
I recently bought a few customs as well as a vintage Martin and they are all amazing! To me they were worth every penny of what I paid for them. However, if I were to rank my ukuleles as best bang/fun for the buck, none would come close to my Ohana SK-25! I picked it up 2nd hand for about $100 and it is a blast to play and has that wonderful mahogany sound. If I were ever in financial trouble and was forced to sell my more expensive ukuleles I would keep this little guy and survive quite nicely.

janeray1940
06-08-2016, 04:06 PM
I think most of us go through this at some point, usually when we first start playing - the expenditure of time and money on finding the "right one(s)" at least as our time and money allows. I was pretty fortunate to have settled on the sound I like early on (koa, Kamaka, Martin fluoro strings - this hasn't changed for me in 7 years); for me it was chasing down the right scale length that had me buying and selling a few times.

Joyful Uke
06-08-2016, 04:40 PM
It all depends on what you want and what you want to spend you can play cheapies into the ground as he said or if you want something from a talented luthier plan on spending from $2,000 and up, some like Chuck Moore go as high as over $10,000. I had mine custom made by Beau Hannam but he also makes a less customized Uke called The Players Model that are still incredibly beautiful looking and sounding, check out his website.

Wow, the Beau Hannam on the Ukulele Review (owned by MM Stan) is beautiful, as well as beautiful sounding.

kohanmike
06-08-2016, 04:55 PM
To me there's no such thing as the prefect sound. I like the bright sound of my Chinese dual hole acacia koa with Martin strings, I also like the slightly warmer stronger sound of my Kala solid cedar top, acacia koa body with stock Aquila strings, I also like the deeper sound of my custom solid acacia koa glossy black mandolele, my custom gypsy jazz solid flame maple top and solid Indian rosewood body does not have a lot of projection or sustain, but has a very sweet sound with Aquila strings. My newest one, a Brice Wei Arts $100 eBay all solid acacia koa with brown burst finish is right in the middle of the others. Of the 12 others I went through my first year of playing uke, I also liked the sound of the Gretsch G9121 A.C.E. solid 1/4 sawn mahogany top and mahogany body with Martin strings.

JackLuis
06-08-2016, 05:19 PM
Just when you think you've found 'the' Uke, you'll hear something different and it's UAS all over again!

Griffis
06-08-2016, 05:19 PM
...my custom gypsy jazz solid flame maple top and solid Indian rosewood body...

I, for one, need to see this! Do you play gypsy jazz? It's one of my goals, to learn some pieces from that neck of the woods.

kohanmike
06-08-2016, 07:49 PM
I, for one, need to see this! Do you play gypsy jazz? It's one of my goals, to learn some pieces from that neck of the woods.

I actually don't play any gypsy jazz, though I do like that style a lot. Through all the years I played guitar (almost 50), I always longed for a Django Grande Bouche Selmer Maccafarri but never could afford one. When I started playing uke, I thought I would get one made that looks like a gypsy jazz, but boy were the well known builders expensive, the I found Bruce Wei Arts out of Vietnam who quoted me less than half the price so I went for it ($780 US shipped).

I decided on the woods and details, but my mistake (according to Pepe Romero Jr.) was that I chose a solid flame maple top, which is too stiff to resonate well, exactly what happened. The build is very good, maybe too good for the lack of projection and sustain, but the mellow sound does have good tone and I added a pickup and preamp, so it's a keeper.

http://www.kohanmike.com/uploads/Gypsy me.jpg

SoloRule
06-08-2016, 11:38 PM
Just when you think you've found 'the' Uke, you'll hear something different and it's UAS all over again!

That is very encouraging and so very true!

DownUpDave
06-09-2016, 12:20 AM
Just wondering how many of you are like me spending lots of money and time buying , searching for that one perfect sounding uke . In the end, the ONE that won your heart took the least of your hard earned money and the maker that you never gave it a second look.
Life is full of surprises.

Well are you going to share with the others what ukulele now makes your new favorite sound. ;)

I know because you brought it over to my house a couple of days ago but it's not my place to spoil a secret

Griffis
06-09-2016, 03:01 AM
http://www.kohanmike.com/uploads/Gypsy me.jpg

Ummm...wow. Land sakes that is classy. Gorgeous. I don't usually care much for highly figured woods, but that top is amazing. Thanks for sharing.

Ukulele Eddie
06-09-2016, 03:28 AM
...if you want something from a talented luthier plan on spending from $2,000 and up...

While this is generally true, there are lower-priced excellent sounding custom ukes out there. Ono's start at $1,000 (HMS has one now with some "adders" at $1,400). And Covered Bridge makes a nice sounding uke for about $1,000 as well. I'm sure there are others but those are two with which I have personal experience.

And yes, BH's Player's Model comes in just under $2k at $1,850.

Rllink
06-09-2016, 03:53 AM
Just when you think you've found 'the' Uke, you'll hear something different and it's UAS all over again!I would think that it would get frustrating after a while. I mean, never being satisfied with anything and always wanting something else.

strumsilly
06-09-2016, 04:43 AM
I am no uke snob and have some ukes that cost less than $100 that I love to play, but the one that won my heart is a Collings.

Griffis
06-09-2016, 06:47 AM
I would think that it would get frustrating after a while. I mean, never being satisfied with anything and always wanting something else.

Sadly, this is something so many people succumb to and struggle with, myself included. It's part and parcel of living in a consumer-driven culture. People equate "desire" with "need." The simple yet functional and unadorned is rarely valued; even frowned upon.

There is no "perfect" one size fits all uke that will satisfy all of someone's wishes all the time. That can be a fun and edifying journey, but it's also a road with no end.

Griffis
06-09-2016, 07:56 AM
While this is generally true, there are lower-priced excellent sounding custom ukes out there. Ono's start at $1,000 (HMS has one now with some "adders" at $1,400). And Covered Bridge makes a nice sounding uke for about $1,000 as well. I'm sure there are others but those are two with which I have personal experience.

And yes, BH's Player's Model comes in just under $2k at $1,850.

I've no experience with luthier-built ukes, though I did own an early Beltona concert reso uke for a time. I have had luthier-built guitars and basses.

The Black Bear ukes I've seen (and admittedly lust for) come in well under a grand, as do many Earnest Instruments ukes by Joel Eckhaus, though I don't know if he's still building.

Croaky Keith
06-09-2016, 08:05 AM
I have bought several ukes since joining, the last one being my most expensive, & a baritone, it has a lovely sound to it, but I constantly get drawn back to my long neck soprano, there is just something about it that really appeals to me. :)

Ukejenny
06-09-2016, 08:32 AM
I greatly enjoyed the feeling of hearing my "dream" ukulele on Youtube videos, and thinking, "that's the one"... And then, after some waiting and saving, holding the ukulele in my hands and playing it, and loving the feeling of knowing it IS the one. I'm not saying I'll never buy another ukulele, but I don't feel the need to search for one to replace this one.

Griffis
06-09-2016, 08:36 AM
I greatly enjoyed the feeling of hearing my "dream" ukulele on Youtube videos, and thinking, "that's the one"... And then, after some waiting and saving, holding the ukulele in my hands and playing it, and loving the feeling of knowing it IS the one. I'm not saying I'll never buy another ukulele, but I don't feel the need to search for one to replace this one.

May we see pics, or am I the only one new enough here to not have seen it?

DownUpDave
06-09-2016, 10:04 AM
I am no uke snob and have some ukes that cost less than $100 that I love to play, but the one that won my heart is a Collings.

That truely warms my heart whenever you write this, which is often, thanks Andy

To think you were going to sell it soon after you got it, then you strung it low G. Which started this serious love affair.

I enjoy the sound of many different price levels of ukes. But I will not be shy in saying "the right sounding one" is my LfdM which is my most expensive. Yes I can have fun on my $112.00 Islander soprano but it ain't the "one" that transports me to another place

PTOEguy
06-09-2016, 10:25 AM
the one for me is the Clara - I've got a couple of other ukes to explore around the edges (Banjo, cheap for travel, baritone, etc.) but the Clara holds down the center. The only thing I waffle on is whether it sounds better with linear or reentrant tuning. Maybe I need a second Clara (or should it be the Farrallon?). Regardless, I always come back to the Clara, and it justs sounds better compared to whatever else I've played.

Mivo
06-09-2016, 05:56 PM
I actually find a high price tag to be a negative aspect, at least from the perspective of actually playing the instrument. If I spent 10k on a ukulele, I would probably rarely take it out of its case in fear of bumping it against something, of some dust spec micro-scratching it when I clean it, of potential damage when the humidity isn't exactly right, etc. It would completely intimidate me -- right into not playing it.

Admittedly, 10k isn't the same relative amount to everyone, but for me it's a substantial sum. The intimidation and knowing it would be a collectible whose value is mostly in "having it" rather than "playing it", instead of a tool to make music, is why ukes that cost much more than 1k don't really call out to me (there is also a lot of choice at the 1k price point anyway).

I definitely do not believe that there is a correlation between sound and price. There certainly is one between bling and price, but just like beautiful people aren't necessarily nicer people than average looking people (or vice versa), gorgeous ukuleles don't necessarily sound better than their plainer counterparts.

Croaky Keith
06-09-2016, 10:42 PM
The right sounding uke is the one you love to play. :D

Having said that, I wouldn't spend more than a couple of hundred pounds on anything that I want to play.

As like Mivo says, it just wouldn't get played.

Domiuke
06-09-2016, 11:44 PM
The right uke is the right one for what you wanna play, Will you play the same tune, the same way, with a Kamaka tenor low G or with a soprano vintage Martin ?
Before to look for the best uke, maybe the right question is what do I want to play ?
Following your changes of styles of music you get the right instrument (?) It is what happened to me, and I keep 3 or 4 instruments depending of the mood I am to play a tune, and now waiting the next one.
Sorry if my english is not enough perfect to express my thoughts.

DownUpDave
06-10-2016, 12:03 AM
The right sounding uke is the one you love to play. :D

Having said that, I wouldn't spend more than a couple of hundred pounds on anything that I want to play.

As like Mivo says, it just wouldn't get played.


This is not against either you or Mivo, just using this as a counter point.

In the guitar world a Martin D18 costs about $3000.00. They are very popular, considered the dreadnaught for sound. They get played out on stage, campuses backyards, and camp sites all the time. The trouble with the ukulele is the cheap $50.00 soprano, everyone takes that for the standard. Do you want to know why the ukulele is not taken seriously and we are laughed at, it's because we as ukulele players don't take it seriously. We figure any cheap thing will do. We publicly freakout over anything costing upwards of a $1000.00 dollars, saying we would never take it out of it's case and play it for fear of scratching it.

My golf club set costs upwards of $2500 and I "hit" things with them. Guys the own $40,000 $50,000 dollar hot rods drive them all the time. You don't even want to start to talk about bass boats, snowmobiles or ATV's.

My most played uke is my LfdM which cost $3000.00, it sounds WAY better than anything I own. It has nothing to do with bling. Mivo, you and I are friends but I disagree with what you are saying. When you own instruments of this caliper you can hear the difference and you want to play them all the time. The argument about a $3000.00 instrument not sounding 3X better than a $1000 one is true but and there is a big but. Going from good sounding to great is maybe 10% overall difference and going from great to WOW might be another 10% better. No different than a uke sounding good with one set of strings but great with another set. The difference might be small but it is enough to make all the difference in the world.

The OP talked about finding the "right sound" and I agreed in a previous post that you can get that out of anything and I do enjoy my $112.00 soprano and my all laminate Gretsch tenor. But when I really experienced outstanding sounding instruments I came to the conclusion that life in too short to play anything that doesn't move me to another place and time. It seems popular on this site to take shots at expensive instruments but those of us that own them usually just bite our tongue. I understand that because the beauty of the uke is it's ease of accessability. Both from amsize and economic point of view. I will never take a shot at any instrument because if the music you are making with it brings you joy and makes you happy that is what it's all about. Please take this "rant" with the respect that it was given, just my own opinion.

Griffis
06-10-2016, 01:22 AM
Seems like there are valid points all around, though from different perspectives. I would say nobody should feel ashamed of what they play or what their instruments cost, who made them, what year they were made, etc. None of these things make any instrument objectively better.

As Mivo and Dave said, these are relative issues and highly subjective.

Consider the world of classical string players. Pros sometimes play violins, etc., valued in the millions, where a repair alone may cost thousands and thousands of dollars.

Or fine autos. Some people desire having a beautifully restored classic, or a high-high-end sports car. Others just want something to tool around town in, and that's all they need and want.

Cars, instruments--they are, at base, just functional objects. The people who use them all have different aspirations, intentions, abilities and tastes. In a blind test, you might find as many experienced uke players prefer an inexpensive mass-produced instrument to a custom-built one made by a great craftsman. This is due largely to the subjective nature of this entire subject.

There is no "right and wrong" to any of this.

I would add that I do not claim to be an ace musician or any kind of expert, but I have been playing stringed instruments since 1977. I have played coveted pre-war Martin dreadnaughts, I have played and owned luthier-built guitars built to my specs. Just to say, I feel I can discern and understand nuances of construction, materials, etc.

Nobody admires a work-of-art, handcrafted instrument more than me.

But personally I think of instruments as tools. In the modern era of CNC machines, eminently playable, perfectly serviceable instruments can be turned out in high volume with pretty danged consistent quality. This wasn't the case when I started playing.

To me, if it has a true neck, holds tune, intonates well and its component parts are put together well enough that, say, the bridge isn't gonna fly off, that's most of the battle. But it is a wonderful thing that we do, if so inclined and are able, have the option to work with a true artist and have a hand in wood selection and other appointments to bring to life and into the world a unique instrument that is worthy of being an heirloom.

Some of the makers of today may be seen as the Stradivariuses (Stradivarii?) of the future.

As for people not taking the ukulele or its players seriously, my first thought is: who freakin' cares? I don't know whether, to the unwashed masses, we can ever overcome the image of the uke as a novelty instrument.

On the other hand, anyone--musician or no--who takes half a minute to investigate will find scores of incredible players playing incredible music in a serious way and with incredible skill. This wasn't always possible.

I like the old adage "play what you like, like what you play." That can be wildly different things to each player. Again, no objective right or wrong.

I don't believe price tag, brand name or anything else causes an instrument to magically make someone a better player (given that it is functional as outlined earlier) but one instrument or other with these qualities or those may inspire different players for different reasons.

Mivo
06-10-2016, 02:27 AM
We publicly freakout over anything costing upwards of a $1000.00 dollars, saying we would never take it out of it's case and play it for fear of scratching it.

Nobody is "freaking out". I said that a very expensive instrument would discourage me from playing it. That isn't a complaint, it's not a generalization (unless you are me), and it isn't an indirect way of dissing anyone or anything. It's simply how I feel about very expensive things that are meant to be used. I'm not driving a $100,000 car, either, and when I buy something, I usually look for a good compromise of quality and price. With ukuleles, I feel that spot (for me) is somewhere between $500-1000. For others, it may lower or higher, and that too is fine.


My golf club set costs upwards of $2500 and I "hit" things with them. Guys the own $40,000 $50,000 dollar hot rods drive them all the time. You don't even want to start to talk about bass boats, snowmobiles or ATV's.

It depends on what financial place you're in, and (probably more so) what your priorities are. To some people, $10,000 is relatively little money, to others it's more than they'll be able to save up in years. I'm somewhere in the middle of this, so I'm okay with buying a ukulele at around $1000 (which I make sacrifices for in other areas), but a $10,000 instrument would be such a substantial expense that it would pretty much be a one-time deal for me, unless I gain access to more money than I currently make or have. Knowing that I couldn't replace such an instrument, would take the joy out of it for me. (I think it would also lock me in too much and hold me back from experimenting, cf. the baritone.)


It seems popular on this site to take shots at expensive instruments but those of us that own them usually just bite our tongue.


From my perspective, what I see as being popular on this site is to show off expensive instruments, to praise certain luthiers and certain vendors in a somewhat cult-like fashion, and to enable others to spend heaps of money so that they too can belong to the club. Outside of the Seasons sub-forum, this place sometimes seems to be more about the material than the music, more about who owns what than who plays well.

Did you miss the post in this thread that essentially stated that you don't even need to look at instruments below $2000 if you want the "right sound"? That is the prevailing attitude here, and it was expressed in this very thread before Keith or I responded. The only belief I voiced is this one: I don't believe there is a direct connection between the price and a better sound, unless it's the price of lessons. Look at any Corey video where he plays a cheap ukulele. Look at any videos by WS64 where he plays inexpensive, super affordable instruments. Not to mention the blind tests that MGM did a few years ago that showed just how difficult it is to tell the difference in sound of expensive and less expensive ukuleles.

But pointing that out isn't "taking potshots" at people with expensive instruments. I have three ukes that each cost around a grand, plus several others, so I'm hardly in a position to criticize anyone for spending how much they want and can on whatever ukuleles make the person happy (and there is no doubt in my mind that if I spent half of that money on lessons, I'd be a better player than I am, but it's not only about improvement for me, but also enjoyment of the entire experience). I admire the beauty of some customs I've seen, and I dig the wood grain of others, and the history of some.

There is nothing wrong with appreciation. But what I disagree with is the implication, or outright claim, that a more expensive ukulele will always sound better than a less expensive one.

(This, too, was written with respect. I like you, Dave, you know that, it's not altered by us disagreeing, if we are even disagreeing. Friends sometimes brawl.)

wayfarer75
06-10-2016, 02:55 AM
I think there is a limit to how much money one needs to pay for a great sounding ukulele (meaning it sounds great to you, not necessarily to everyone). A lot of higher prices are charged for bling and rare woods that don't necessarily make a uke sound better than plain design and common timbers, but it makes the uke prettier and more meaningful to the owner. There are some diamonds in the rough--very inexpensive factory ukes that somehow got a bit extra mojo and sound fantastic. Likewise there are very expensive handmade ukes made from fabulous looking wood and sound like duds.

I agree with Mivo that more money doesn't always mean a better ukulele. My Kelii concert cost half as much as my Barron River concert and sounds just as good. They are simply different ukuleles, the Kelii is tenor-like, more heavily built with a thick neck and the BR is soprano-like, light as air with a slim neck but lots of sustain. I can get a Ko'olau for much less than a Moore Bettah (and more easily), and it will probably sound just as good to my ears. It would just be a different sound because Noa Bonk and Chuck Moore are individuals; they don't have the same sound in mind when building a uke.

What you get with paying more money is consistency, an expectation that the uke will sound like _____.

sam13
06-10-2016, 03:31 AM
I am no uke snob and have some ukes that cost less than $100 that I love to play, but the one that won my heart is a Collings.

I agree with Strum ... I have a cheap Keli'i Super Soprano I quite enjoy ... but my Kamaka's are amazing ... oh, but so are my Pro Classic Pono Tenors and Baritone ...

Rllink
06-10-2016, 03:48 AM
My most played uke is my LfdM which cost $3000.00, it sounds WAY better than anything I own. It has nothing to do with bling. Mivo, you and I are friends but I disagree with what you are saying. When you own instruments of this caliper you can hear the difference and you want to play them all the time. The argument about a $3000.00 instrument not sounding 3X better than a $1000 one is true but and there is a big but. Going from good sounding to great is maybe 10% overall difference and going from great to WOW might be another 10% better. No different than a uke sounding good with one set of strings but great with another set. The difference might be small but it is enough to make all the difference in the world.

The OP talked about finding the "right sound" and I agreed in a previous post that you can get that out of anything and I do enjoy my $112.00 soprano and my all laminate Gretsch tenor. But when I really experienced outstanding sounding instruments I came to the conclusion that life in too short to play anything that doesn't move me to another place and time. It seems popular on this site to take shots at expensive instruments but those of us that own them usually just bite our tongue. I understand that because the beauty of the uke is it's ease of accessability. Both from amsize and economic point of view. I will never take a shot at any instrument because if the music you are making with it brings you joy and makes you happy that is what it's all about. Please take this "rant" with the respect that it was given, just my own opinion. That seems to be a constant theme here when we talk about expensive ukuleles, "I enjoy my cheap ukuleles so much, but when I really want to hear something good, I play my expensive ukulele." When would you not want to experience outstanding sound? Why play the cheap ones at all, if the expensive ones sound so much better? Why even keep the cheap ones around? That is the thing that I don't understand about this argument. I would just play my most expensive uke, the one, or ones if the case may be, that sounds the best, and get rid of the rest of the baggage. But how can you enjoy your cheap ones so much, when you know that your expensive ones sound so much better?

DownUpDave
06-10-2016, 04:02 AM
Hey Mivo

Our discussions are always enlightening and mind expanding I enjoy them and I was just playing devils advocate. If you look at any thread regarding inexpensive ukes, say Rubin or Carmel, there are always 8-10 pages of replies. I would dare say there is much more support for affordable ukes, so should it be. They are great and I love them too.

The person who started this thread is a friend of mine and she came over with this baritone the day she bought. As she told other people I gave it a big thumbs up. Not that it matters but I loved the sound and told her she had a real keeper. So yes I feel I understand the premise of this thread better than most. I always feel uneasy talking about expensive ukes because of the elitist stigma and how it can divide a group of like minded people. I felt it was time to stop being overly sensitive. Ukes are ukes and we all love them or we wouldn't be here. That at least is my mind set.

I think we all agree it is the joy of making music and the thrill you get from whatever instrument you play. It is all good my friend

DownUpDave
06-10-2016, 04:28 AM
That seems to be a constant theme here when we talk about expensive ukuleles, "I enjoy my cheap ukuleles so much, but when I really want to hear something good, I play my expensive ukulele." When would you not want to experience outstanding sound? Why play the cheap ones at all, if the expensive ones sound so much better? Why even keep the cheap ones around? That is the thing that I don't understand about this argument. I would just play my most expensive uke, the one, or ones if the case may be, that sounds the best, and get rid of the rest of the baggage. But how can you enjoy your cheap ones so much, when you know that your expensive ones sound so much better?

I like hamburgers, I love steak. None of my ukes sound like crap. When I am playing something casual I will grab whatever is handy, kinda like fast food, I really do like a good cheeseburger. If I am playing a classical fingerpicking piece I will play my best sounding uke because it makes a diiference.

I like reentrant sopranos but cannot have a steady diet of them. I love low G tenors but would get tried of their flavour if that is all I ever consumed.

Mivo
06-10-2016, 04:35 AM
I think the difficulty with a topic of good sound is that it's entirely subjective. It's kind of like debating which fruit tastes the best. It's not necessarily the most exotic (and most costly) one, but the fruit that a person likes the most. Price doesn't factor into that, at least not primarily (perhaps not at all).

As Laura (and possibly others, but her post made me wake up to this again) said, different ukuleles sound different. Sound is just sound, but how we perceive it is subjective. From this perspective, all ukuleles are equal (or equally good), but may or may not meet our preferences.

This assumes that the objective quality factors, or requirements for suitability for the purpose of making music, such as proper intonation and tuners that hold the tune for a while, to be present, but you can get those boxes ticked in all price categories. (I would consider ukuleles with noticeably poor intonation to be defective of sorts.)

SoloRule
06-10-2016, 05:11 AM
Sound is definitely subjective even to the same pair of ears. Yesterday I may like uke A , today I may prefer uke B. I think it's the wood combination that trick our ears.
In my opinion KOA wood is the trickiest . It always sound nicer in the morning but then again may be my morning hearing is better after a cup of coffee?

All I am saying is that after owning a handful of high end ukes, I am surprised how beautiful this few hundred dollars factory made baritone sound. However, the playability is definitely not as good as the high end uke . Perhaps a different set of strings may improve but I am doubtful unless for some reason I hit the jackpot . May be the guy building it in the Chinese factory had a good day.

There is always a reason why there is such a huge price difference between factory made quality and custom quality.

strumsilly
06-10-2016, 05:23 AM
That truely warms my heart whenever you write this, which is often, thanks Andy

To think you were going to sell it soon after you got it, then you strung it low G. Which started this serious love affair.

I enjoy the sound of many different price levels of ukes. But I will not be shy in saying "the right sounding one" is my LfdM which is my most expensive. Yes I can have fun on my $112.00 Islander soprano but it ain't the "one" that transports me to another place
It sounded great reentrant too. I was only going to sell it because the finish is so smooth and pretty I was afraid of scratching it. I really love everything about it EXCEPT the slotted bridge, which looks neat but I find them fussy , especially when using thin or fat strings. I had an A string blow out on a vintage uke and that really soured me, but I digress and will stay on topic. It has been my experience that you get what you pay for [most of the time], and while there is a lot to be said about the law of diminishing returns, my VW manual shift Jetta turbo was a hell of a lot more fun to drive than the Toyota Corolla it replaced. So too with the Collings, it doesn't do anything that my laminate Islander can't do, but the quality and tone bring a smile to my face every time I play it. There is nothing wrong with playing the best instrument you can afford, and sometimes they are not the most expensive. So I'm keeping it and am playing the heck out of it. I did put a screen protector strum guard on it so the scratches don't go too deep. And thanks Dave , I think I'll call her Dud in your honor, but it ain't no dud.

PereBourik
06-10-2016, 05:34 AM
Different horses for different courses. From where I sit I can see 8 different ukulele, each distinctive for sound, scale, or shape. There is a considerable range in cost. Each one fits a particular "need" I imagine I have. I play what I play because it sounds right today. Within that selection there are some that get more play than others. But favorite status never lasts more than a couple of weeks. My hearing changes. I change the music I play. Maybe I just want to shift the sound from Martin tenor mellow to KoAloha l/n pineapple proud. My Clara is arguably the best sounding uke I have. But it is so bright it can be tiring to play.

I have a custom coming together in a luthier's workshop. I expect to love it. It will have special meaning because it marks a couple of profound passages in my life. I expect to play it a lot. But I know myself well enough to know that the others will each have their time.

Need?

Want?

We all need music and whatever we can do to get the music out is the right choice.

Croaky Keith
06-10-2016, 05:43 AM
"play what you like, like what you play."

Totally agree! :D

Griffis
06-10-2016, 06:14 AM
Nobody is "freaking out". I said that a very expensive instrument would discourage me from playing it. That isn't a complaint, it's not a generalization (unless you are me), and it isn't an indirect way of dissing anyone or anything. It's simply how I feel about very expensive things that are meant to be used.

Mivo, I want you to know I am on the exact same page with you, so please don't think I am coming down on you--nothing could be further from the truth!


Knowing that I couldn't replace such an instrument, would take the joy out of it for me. (I think it would also lock me in too much and hold me back from experimenting, cf. the baritone.)

Again, I am in the same boat and share this philosophy, but I acknowledge once again that this only holds for ME personally--I would never deign to tell others how to spend their money, how it could be better spent, that they are throwing it away, etc. And clearly I do not think you are saying any such things either.

Back in college I had a friend who was saving up for a fancy Jackson electric guitar. He went more than a semester without spending money even to do his laundry (he took it to his parents for that...) he never dropped coins into vending machines, didn't go out to eat with us, didn't buy beer or...other party supplies...great guy, but he was bound and determined to purchase this $2500 shred-metal electric guitar (which to me was a hideous abomination of an ugly stick, but to him it was a true beauty which is, after all, in the eye of the beholder.) So we all encouraged him on his quest to finally bag this guitar.

Well, finally he did. But from my angle, he never had fun with it. It rarely left its case, he wouldn't let anyone else touch it, when he went to jam sessions or played little local bar gigs, he always took his cheaper guitar because he was so paranoid about this new $2500 instrument getting stolen or scratched or otherwise damaged.

I don't think he regretted the purchase (as far as I know) but to me it seemed weird. Why scrimp and save and go without just to buy something that you aren't going to use? Seemed to me that for him it was more of a point of pride, as in "Hey, I have the exact same high-dollar guitar that player XXX from band YYY is seen playing on that MTV video! Cool, right?"

And that's fine for him, if it made him happy or whatever.

I just remember thinking "Heck, for $2500 I could have gone to the pawn shop, bought 6 or 8 cool guitars, set them up, passed them around and had a blast--and I would have had $$$ left over for a few good parties or whatever else."

I'm not saying everyone (or even most people) who shell out for very nice, very expensive instruments do so only for the bragging rights. I don't believe that is true. I know a lot of folks who spend way more than I ever would or could on a high-end instrument and play the heck out of them--use them as they were intended to be used.

But the above story just illustrates my feelings--my own personal feelings--on the subject, even though in my day I have owned some very nice pieces (mostly guitars and basses) that I would now not feel comfortable owning because at this point in my life, I just don't want to own or possess a bunch of things I have to worry about. This is why I prefer well-made but inexpensive laminate ukes. They are less fussy, less costly, less precious and more easily replaceable, and that's what works for ME.

Frankly, I have been successful and had decent income in the past. This is no longer the case for me and my family gets by, but just. We do struggle some, though I work very hard at a decent job. But where I live, there are a dozen families within a few miles of me who don't know how they are going to feed their children tonight, so in my personal case there is something of an ethical issue. I couldn't sleep at night if I spent thousands on a ukulele knowing I could have spent $1,000 and bought 10 ukes to share with other people, or used the bulk of that money to feed the less fortunate.

This is not a judgement call. I have already stated I fully believe people should spend their money however and on whatever they want, and I do truly believe this. It's just not for me.


From my perspective, what I see as being popular on this site is to show off expensive instruments, to praise certain luthiers and certain vendors in a somewhat cult-like fashion, and to enable others to spend heaps of money so that they too can belong to the club. Outside of the Seasons sub-forum, this place sometimes seems to be more about the material than the music, more about who owns what than who plays well.

I haven't spent enough time on this forum to agree or disagree with this, but I have seen this exact thing time and again on many other musician's forums--where people sneer at people who play "lesser" or more inexpensive brands or types of instruments. I've actually seen people say things like "You mean you only have $800 total invested in your bass rig? And you think you can call yourself a musician?!?!?!" It's pretty horrible.

But I think it behooves us to avoid reverse snobbery as well (and again Mivo--I am not saying you are engaging in that--I think you've stated your case very well, calmly and eloquently) but I have also, on various musician forums, seen that kind of thing: "Oh, he spends $3000 a month on a new shiny guitar and amp set-up. Bet he can't even play!" or "A real musician doesn't need all that fancy bells and whistles stuff--they can kick butt on a kleenex box with rubber bands on it!" and things like that.

I hope not to come off that way either. As I say, I really feel it is down to each individual players' abilities, tastes, goals and wishes. I don't believe it's a good/evil or right/wrong kind of thing. What business of it is mine what someone else wants to play?

Mivo
06-10-2016, 06:30 AM
Good post, Griffis. :) Yes, I think in the end it always comes down to personal preferences and philosophies, and the type of experience one aims for, and from that vantage point everyone is right.

I feel this is a good thread.

sam13
06-10-2016, 09:45 AM
I couldn't read all of the lengthy posts. It takes away from my practise time. Lol

good_uke_boy
06-10-2016, 11:54 AM
Just wondering how many of you are like me spending lots of money and time buying , searching for that one perfect sounding uke . In the end, the ONE that won your heart took the least of your hard earned money and the maker that you never gave it a second look.
Life is full of surprises.

The ONE for me took the most money. This one: http://forum.ukuleleunderground.com/showthread.php?118429-Belated-NUD-Moore-Bettah-Tenor

An amazing instrument. I feel lucky to own it.

SoloRule
06-10-2016, 04:33 PM
To me there's no such thing as the prefect sound. I like the bright sound of my Chinese dual hole acacia koa with Martin strings, I also like the slightly warmer stronger sound of my Kala solid cedar top, acacia koa body with stock Aquila strings, I also like the deeper sound of my custom solid acacia koa glossy black mandolele, my custom gypsy jazz solid flame maple top and solid Indian rosewood body does not have a lot of projection or sustain, but has a very sweet sound with Aquila strings. My newest one, a Brice Wei Arts $100 eBay all solid acacia koa with brown burst finish is right in the middle of the others. Of the 12 others I went through my first year of playing uke, I also liked the sound of the Gretsch G9121 A.C.E. solid 1/4 sawn mahogany top and mahogany body with Martin strings.


The ONE for me took the most money. This one: http://forum.ukuleleunderground.com/showthread.php?118429-Belated-NUD-Moore-Bettah-Tenor

An amazing instrument. I feel lucky to own it.

I heard a lot about this Moore Bettah uke. Don't think I will ever have the pervilage of playing one. It's a sweet uke and truly a piece of art!

SoloRule
06-12-2016, 04:11 AM
Griffis
I too have similar thoughts whenever I see women chasing designer purses that cost thousand of dollars.
I also feel that it's nobody business what I owned . However, a UU member recently made me see it from a different perspective . We don't have the privilege of touching high ends uke in Canada . The uke reviews forum is very helpful . Even if I have a chance to play one in the store, it is very difficult to tell if it's the right uke until you bring it home and have at least a day or two playing time on it..
The reviews here is no difference than reviews from other sites like Amazon or Bestbuys etc. It's just a user reviews, I don't see it as showing off . I don't remember seeing anyone bragging about how much they paid for their custom uke.
Having said that, I am thankful for the review on this particular baritone (that's why I started this thread). If no one writes about it, I probably won't even take a second look when I see one.
Here is the review in case anyone is interested . It is truly a great uke without breaking your bank. Highly recommended.

http://forum.ukuleleunderground.com/showthread.php?120848-Review-Kala-Baritone-Ukulele-(KA-SMHB)&highlight=kala+baritone

2manistrings
06-12-2016, 09:35 AM
I would think that it would get frustrating after a while. I mean, never being satisfied with anything and always wanting something else.

That's what happened to me - I got frustrated with the search and decided, no more! I still appreciate other ukes and play one whenever the opportunity comes along. But my one has the sound I want. When I doubt that, that's my cue to change strings! Works every time for me. YMMV, play on!