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View Full Version : Should I bid? How much $$?



mailman
04-14-2009, 07:05 AM
I've been looking at ukes on eBay. There is one that has me really interested, but I don't know how to tell how much it's really worth.

It's old. It's a soprano. It's different. The condition is good to fair, cosmetically. No history with it, no name on it. Just a really pretty (to me) little uke that's calling out to me. No way to hear it played. No way to handle it before hand.

Definitely looks to be more than a bottom end "toy" instrument. I'm guessing mahogany/rosewood, although I'm not sure of that.

How much would you feel comfortable bidding on a uke with this limited information? How much $$ is a risk worth taking?

Auction ends pretty soon....:confused: :eek:

bt93
04-14-2009, 07:09 AM
any pictures? also, if you really want it then go for it and buy it

HoldinCoffee
04-14-2009, 07:14 AM
If you post a link to the auction page, somebody may be able to offer more help.

UKISOCIETY
04-14-2009, 07:15 AM
I've been looking at ukes on eBay. There is one that has me really interested, but I don't know how to tell how much it's really worth.

It's old. It's a soprano. It's different. The condition is good to fair, cosmetically. No history with it, no name on it. Just a really pretty (to me) little uke that's calling out to me. No way to hear it played. No way to handle it before hand.

Definitely looks to be more than a bottom end "toy" instrument. I'm guessing mahogany/rosewood, although I'm not sure of that.

How much would you feel comfortable bidding on a uke with this limited information? How much $$ is a risk worth taking?

Auction ends pretty soon....:confused: :eek:

Even If there are good photos, you still can't tell if it's a good uke. I've had many old ukes have necks that weren't attached to the body well, but they looked good in the photos. That said, I look for these photos before bidding - a side shot to show the action of the strings and to see if the neck is parallel with the body. That's important. Also a side shot of the sound hole to see how thick the body's top (or front) piece is. The thinner, the better.

Also depends on your financial situation. If you can blow $100 on a uke and chalk it up to experience if the uke stinks, then go ahead. Many times you can get a feel of the seller through the language they use. If they talk intelligently about the instrument, and if they have a good rating, then they might warn you if there were any issues with the uke.
Just some random thoughts...

mailman
04-14-2009, 07:23 AM
Excellent advice....thanks, everyone.

As far as posting pictures or a link to the auction....I guess it sounds awful, but I don't want to give that info out, especially here! I'm sure that someone with a bad case of UAS would end up bidding against me. I'm considering bidding, and want to maximize my chances of success. I hope that's not unforgivably selfish....

Ukisociety....

Excellent points. I'll go back and study the photos some more to look for the items you mentioned. Neck/body joint, action height, thickness of the top. I'm on it!

UKISOCIETY
04-14-2009, 07:29 AM
If the neck's loose, that's not a big deal - if it's a clean break from the body. Alot of the old ones like Harmony and the Japanese necks were simply glued to the bodies. I've used Elmers to fix them and let them sit over night with rubberbands wrapped around them and they played fine.

mailman
04-14-2009, 07:30 AM
Okay, just double-checked. No side-view pictures in the listing. Several front and back views, some close-up.

No way to assess the neck/body joint, no idea about action height or top thickness. :mad:

I guess what I need to do is decide once and for all what I'm willing to risk, and then just bid that much as my maximum bid....then let the chips fall where they may. :confused:

Ukulele JJ
04-14-2009, 08:13 AM
If there's no name on it, chances are it's not worth a hoot.

The only exception I can think of off the top of my head would be the Phineas-Taylor ukes made back in the 60's. Weird-lookin' bridge, funky cutaway on the end of the fretboard for no good reason... personally I think they're ugly.

But since only a handful were made, they're pretty collectible. Worth a small fortune. I seriously doubt anyone would be dumb enough to put one on eBay unless they just didn't know what they had.

JJ



P.S. Before you place a large bid, please realize that I am totally pulling your leg. :p

Tsani
04-14-2009, 08:22 AM
If you don't have a brand name in the description or anything else to tell you who made it and when, then it is a shot in the dark.

I really like old ukes... I mean really really old ukes. I look at the photos very carefully with as much magnification as I can get. I am willing to accept some cracking, but not detached necks or other major defects.

I would look at overall craftsmanship, the woods used, and what market it is made for.

I avoid novelty ukes and most painted ukes. If it was made for the souvenir market - and a lot of them were - I figure they did not put much effort into craftsmanship or sound quality.

Intonation is a big deal. If the frets are not placed precisely you will never make it sound good, no matter what you do. That is part of why I do not look at souvenir market ukes.

There were a lot uke makers who did not put a label on their product. Many of these are hand made high quality ukes. However, if you do not have any information about the maker, you are taking a chance. You can frequently tell by how difficult the uke was to build whether or not the maker was a pro. If you see fancy binding around the edge of the body, high quality inlays like mother-of-pearl or contrasting woods, or complex shapes in body, sound hole, bridge, etc., then you know that the guy at least had some skill and was trying to make a good instrument.

Good luck! In my opinion the sound of good instrument improves with age. One of my ukes is about a hundred years old, the other is in its late eighties. I love the sound of both of them.

My "Marca Aquila" is a gem and I paid a bit for it - although not much compared to many of the new high end ukes. I paid around $200. My P'mico is what I would call a "diamond in the rough". It has a really great sound. It is louder than my Marca Aquila, though maybe not as sweet. It has some serious condition problems that are going to have to be addressed by a professional luthier - but I only paid $30 for it. It is worth at least four or five times that much to me.;)

Ahnko Honu
04-14-2009, 08:41 AM
I guess what I need to do is decide once and for all what I'm willing to risk, and then just bid that much as my maximum bid....then let the chips fall where they may. :confused:

Can't help you if I can't see even a picture of the 'ukulele. Take your own advice and take the gamble, you may be pleasantly surprised. I win stuff on eBay quite often way below my max bid.

deach
04-14-2009, 10:15 AM
So did you buy/win it?

UKISOCIETY
04-14-2009, 10:34 AM
So did you buy/win it?

I sniped him.


/not really!

mailman
04-14-2009, 10:34 AM
Too early to tell yet....;)

ukeatan
04-14-2009, 10:38 AM
We should start a contest called, "Guess which item mailman is bidding on!"

cashew
04-14-2009, 11:29 AM
usually, if something calls my name on e-bay, I put a bid in for 75% of my max that I'm willing to bid.

beyond that, I have that 25% to play with, but if I get bid over my max, I say it wasn't for me...

Captain Google
04-14-2009, 12:04 PM
usually, if something calls my name on e-bay, I put a bid in for 75% of my max that I'm willing to bid.

beyond that, I have that 25% to play with, but if I get bid over my max, I say it wasn't for me...

If something calls my name on eBay, it usually has a "buy now" icon next to it. :D

deach
04-14-2009, 12:07 PM
something is always calling my name on ebay.

JT_Ukes
04-14-2009, 12:17 PM
something is always calling my name on ebay.

ain't that the truth.. I love how when i type in ebay my browser takes me to MGMs store. It knows me so well...

Now if i only had money to spend there!

JT

mailman
04-15-2009, 08:40 AM
Okay....the auction ended 5 minutes ago.

I waited until there was less than ten minutes left, and placed my "maximum bid" at $200. I was immediately outbid by someone else with a previous automated bid. Against my better judgement (Geez, she would have killed me!) I raised my bid to $227.50 with less than five minutes to go.

The same automated bid beat me out....and even then the reserve was not met. Another player got in on it at the last minute (literally), and the bidding ended up at $261.56....reserve not met. So, no sale.

I'd be lying if I said I wasn't dissappointed....truth is I'm major-league bummed. I really wanted that uke! But, no way could I part with that much cash right now. I've got the seller's name and phone number. I thought I could call him and make an offer if the reserve didn't get reached and the auction was a no-sale. But I can't even offer him as much as the highest unsuccessful bid. :(

Well, I saved the photos of the uke on my hard drive. If I can figure out how to post them here, you can all see what I was all excited about. I'm sure there will be other ukes....but this one just spoke to me, you know?

UKISOCIETY
04-15-2009, 08:48 AM
You can upload photos in an album under your "User CP" link. Up and to the left.

As a piece of unique ukulele history, it's probably worth it, but as a player, i don't know. (I know what uke you bid on) The fret board going up so high without a cutaway doesn't make sense and the bridge looks to big for the body. makes it look heavy. I bet the reserve was around 300. Maybe more, tho. Some sellers have no sense of proportion regarding some auction items. I've seen ukes that have previously sold for $20 priced at a "Buy it now" of 250. :eek:

You're better off without it. But still, I understand your disappointment. :mad:

NukeDOC
04-15-2009, 08:51 AM
now that you got outbid, can you send us a link so we can see what all this drooling was over? i would like to justify my own drooling vicariously through you.

smgold101
04-15-2009, 08:52 AM
You should have bid over Nine Thousand.

But I know what its like, i used to buy and sell on ebay all the time. Its frustrating when you keep getting auto out bid lol I would come up with random numbers to try to just outbid the person.
Example time. Current bid is $20, I am willing to spend $40. I would spend the extra dollar and bid like $40.86 lol so i would beat out the $40.50 the other person put as their max. (ovb they did the same and put in the .50 to beat the 40 lol) Ebay is thinking game lol.

UKISOCIETY
04-15-2009, 08:53 AM
http://www.williesguitars.com/_ebay/fancyuke1.jpg

As a piece of unique ukulele history, it's probably worth it, but as a player, i don't know. (I know what uke you bid on) The fret board going up so high without a cutaway doesn't make sense and the bridge looks to big for the body. makes it look heavy. I bet the reserve was around 300.

mailman
04-15-2009, 09:05 AM
Alan,

You beat me to posting a picture! I went to the CP as you suggested, and uploaded the pictures (6 of them) to a folder, but I don't know how to make them appear here....

UKISOCIETY
04-15-2009, 09:07 AM
Alan,

You beat me to posting a picture! I went to the CP as you suggested, and uploaded the pictures (6 of them) to a folder, but I don't know how to make them appear here....

I forgot that you can also jsut "Insert Image" in a post by clicking on the square with the mountain icon and paste the image url. Which is what I did.

mailman
04-15-2009, 09:24 AM
Well, I believe you, but I can't seem to figure out how to do it. I got the album made in the Conrol Panel (surprized myself, actually), but now I don't know how to utilize it.

Thanks for posting the one photo for everyone....I'm not sure if I'll be able to show the rest.

mailman
04-24-2009, 09:34 AM
Okay....an update. I can't get this uke off of my mind. I really would like to have it. So, today I called the owner to see if it was still available. If you'll recall, the eBay auction ended without reaching the reserve. High bid was in the $260 range.

He still has the uke. He'd still like to sell it. Unfortunately, he wants $350 for it. :( Ouch....

No can do. I don't know if his price is too high, or not. But I know I can't afford that much for a uke right now, especially sight-unseen. Now to figure out how to quit obsessing about it.....

Captain Google
04-24-2009, 10:35 AM
Just browse MGM's eBay shop. He's got lots of shiny, more affordable ukes to distract your UAS.

mailman
04-24-2009, 10:45 AM
Yeah, I hear you. I bought my Kala from MGM. But that eBay uke was just....I don't know....different. It's out of my league, so I need to forget about it.

The seller says he has a collection of 1,000 ukes :eek: and that he's thinning them out. Or is he? The one I want didn't sell.....

UkeNinja
04-24-2009, 03:59 PM
Get over it and get a decent budget one from MGM (people in the US are so lucky with all the great brands and the free shipping and all), or wait for a known brand with better info and a better price to come along. Instead of craving unknown overpriced collector attic sale ukuleles, try the plastic ones. They are equally mysterious, have a cool factor way below what's healthy for you, cost a fraction of the price, and you can silently keep saving up for the real Holy Grail when it comes along.

(I think ichadwick had a 60s Japanese uke he wants to sell. Where did that thread go...plunk (http://www.ukuleleunderground.com/forum/showthread.php?t=2385&highlight=diastone)... may be sold though)

mailman
04-24-2009, 04:14 PM
Yeah, I'm trying to get past it. The fact that it is older was part of the appeal, but a minor part. Most of the appeal for me was aesthetic. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, after all.

I like everything about the way this uke looks. Others wouldn't agree with me, but I like it. The shape, the size, the color, the wood grain. The bridge, the bridge pins, the fretboard cut-away, the brass frets. Everything about this particular uke appeals to me....but I can't afford it. So it isn't meant to be.

I know many folks like the plastic ukes, and some folks even collect them. They have no appeal to me at all. I'll leave them for the folks that really enjoy them.

I have a nice Kala KA-SC that I'm learning on, and it's great. But man, there was something special to me about that little no-name soprano....

Link
04-24-2009, 04:55 PM
Wierd, dude. lol. But to each their own. Sorry for you loss. Your auction loss. lolz.

Ahnko Honu
04-24-2009, 06:20 PM
I'm looking at an especially appealing old ukulele right now debating whether to bid or not, I've never been a master debater. :cool:

UkuLeLesReggAe
04-24-2009, 06:36 PM
its kinda hard to ask people how much u think its worth without a picture or a name..