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Rllink
09-22-2016, 11:59 AM
You ever gift someone a uke, so that they can learn to play the ukulele, and then they don't? I won a Waterman, and I gave it to the next door neighbor girl. High school age girl. So four months later her father gave it back to me and told me that she wasn't playing it, so I could have it back. So then my sister-in-law wanted it, so I gave it to her. I keep asking her how the ukulele playing is going, and she says that she doesn't have the time to play it, but might some day. Oh well, what is to be, is to be. I think what I've learned is that not everyone really wants to learn how to play the ukulele enough to actually make the effort to lean how to play the ukulele, and giving one away is not always going to inspire a new player.

Mivo
09-22-2016, 12:37 PM
If my Kala Waterman ukulele had been my first ukulele, I'd have taken up trumpet. ;) I feel a bit bad about saying that, but at least my Waterman was a complete letdown and more of a toy than an instrument. The plastic bucket sound aside, which is to be expected, the intonation was off already in the third fret, and that just isn't much fun.

Haven't given away any ukuleles yet (would gift my Opio concert or ukuMele tenor to my elderly neighbor who lost her husband earlier in the year, if she wanted to learn, but she is wavering and just now decided to take up French, so she's busy learning something else), but actually sold two today... a first for me. That was hard.

Rllink
09-22-2016, 12:45 PM
Maybe it is the Waterman? There are pages of comments on UU which indicate the Waterman is not a uke for beginners. It is too late now, but what if you took the time to gift a well set up good quality beginners uke? Would you get a better result?
I have met a person who I swapped my custom uke with at a workshop or lesson several years ago, for 20 minutes, I took their Mahalo for the lesson. They never looked back and still remember the workshop and it started them off on a nice journey. 20 minutes with one of the best ukes available is a lot of time for a first time player.You are probably right. I should have just thrown that Waterman in the trash. As soon as I win a good quality beginner's uke that is well set up, I'll make sure to take the time to make that effort. Thanks for the suggestion.:) It is true though that it wasn't much of a uke and probably wouldn't inspire anyone. I don't even know why I posted this, because I don't really care if my neighbor girl or my sister-in-law learn to play the uke. It was just something to talk about. I think that I'm striking out in that effort today.

Rllink
09-22-2016, 01:04 PM
I would not be disparaging about the Waterman, the discussions about it indicate that it is not suitable for beginners, but it is what it is. Gift it to a more experienced player who is looking for a plastic uke, they do exist. Use the marketplace to arrange a swap, the Waterman for some photos of the new owner having a lot of fun with it at a beach or on a mountaintop.I don't think that I'm going to get it back. I think that my sister-in-law is going to keep it and not play it. Like I said, I don't even know why I posted this tread. It was more something in passing. I had no intention of getting people concerned about it.

mds725
09-22-2016, 01:40 PM
I have an ukulele that I won in a raffle. It's a factory-made tenor that probably retails for about $100. I lend it to people who think they may want to learn ukulele with the understanding that they have to return it after a specified amount of time because if they decide they like playing, they should upgrade to a better ukulele and if they don't like playing, they don't need to have the ukulele in their possession. So far, it has been in the hands of four different people, all of whom eventually went out and bought a nicer ukulele. I have also gifted a few ukuleles, but with the understanding (for myself) that I can't control whether the recipients will play it and it's not my place to worry about whether they do. I do tell them that I hope that if they decide the ukulele (or even that ukulele) is not for them, they will find it a good and loving home.

Choirguy
09-22-2016, 01:43 PM
I think you have a great thread going. You bring up a great subject that has a lot of different implications.

What if you give an instrument to someone and it collects dust?
What if they sell it or give it away?

Once you make the decision to gift an instrument (just as if you sell it), you have to be able to walk away. And thankfully, the Waterman is a $40-$65 gift (not a $1500 ukulele).

I would guess that most of us give away instruments with the intent to spur the love of ukulele in someone else's life. As a person teaching ukulele to nearly 400 students, I can attest that not every one appreciates it or falls in love with it. That saddens us, but we need to respect others.

Perhaps a ukulele can be gifted saying, "If you end up dropping the instrument, please give this back to me so I can pass it on to others."

The other example of ukulele gifting I have seen is from an experienced player to another existing player--there is a fellow in our area who has cancer who has started gifting his most precious instruments to his ukulele playing friends, knowing they will appreciate the instruments as well as think of him every time they play them.

WCBarnes
09-22-2016, 01:44 PM
I have gifted 2 ukes. My sister went to Hawaii last year and brought me back a ukulele. Before she got to give it to me she began strumming it and told me how much she liked it. So, when I saw her next I brought along one of my ukes to give to her so she would still have one to play. I also sent her some better strings, a tuner and a book. She had said she wanted to take lessons, but I have no idea if she has done that yet and if she plays it at all.

The 2nd was to my sister-in-law. She had expressed interest in learning the guitar, but didn't think her hands were large enough. I sent her a Makala Dolphin and 2 of Aaron Keim's books. I know she has begun to play as she has FaceTimed (is that a word....) with me asking how to hold it, tune it, play different chords. So, I know that at least 1 of the 2 are playing.

UkerDanno
09-22-2016, 03:36 PM
I bought a Shark a couple years ago for my grandson and just for a little entertainment for me. The first year he didn't show much interest, so I kept it and loaned it to Mom for a few months. Well, even though she plays piano, she just didn't get the hang of strumming or even tuning for that matter! ;-D

Last summer I left the uke with my grandson, but he hasn't played it much if at all. His parents don't encourage him much either. Hopefully at some point I can spend a little time with him. (he lives half way across the country) Before they moved, the music teacher at his school taught ukulele to 4th graders, but he was only in 2nd.

I also gave a Dolphin to a friend who showed interest and was having some health problems, but she hasn't done much with it either.

That's my story and I won't stop encouraging people to play when ever I can. Not sure about further gifting...

southcoastukes
09-22-2016, 04:41 PM
By far the best thing is to give an Ukulele to someone who already has an interest. We're in a relatively easy position to do that with seconds, and have done so frequently. They are played to death, the feedback is gratifying, as is seeing the player grow as a result of having a quality instrument to play.

Give one to someone who's shown no prior interest? Don't think it's a good idea compared to the joy and growth you'll see when the gift goes to someone who's inclined to make good use of it.

kohanmike
09-22-2016, 06:33 PM
Why not donate those ukes to a local elementary school or kids music program or hospital.

AndieZ
09-23-2016, 12:36 AM
I agree its a good thread.

I think inspiration comes from hearing beautiful music. When I was a child, my mother taught herself the guitar and she was a beautiful singer. On hearing i decided i wanted to learn the guitar. She bought me one. I never got very good but that's another story and not my mother's fault.

Inspiration comes from beauty and/or brilliance. Not junk. But you had a good intention and it is nice to hear about it.

jollyboy
09-23-2016, 01:31 AM
@Rllink

I'm going to suggest that maybe the instrument (and its suitability, or lack thereof, for beginners) is perhaps not the issue. It may just simply be the case that the people you gave the Waterman to just aren't as interested in playing uke as you are. Hard to imagine, I know :)

In the case of your sister-in-law, maybe she saw how much enjoyment you derived from playing (from things you've posted I have an impression of you as someone who really gets a lot of pleasure out of your uking) and it made her think that she'd like to give it a go too. Enthusiasm can be infectious but it's often so 'in the moment'. And it can wear off pretty quickly. Maybe after the initial 'buzz' her interest just started to wane. So, y'know, different strokes...

Just a thought :)


I don't think that I'm going to get it back. I think that my sister-in-law is going to keep it and not play it. Like I said, I don't even know why I posted this tread. It was more something in passing. I had no intention of getting people concerned about it.

I wonder what did prompt you to post about this. Are you just curious as to why your sister-in-law isn't playing the uke? Do you feel disappointed that you gave someone a ukulele and they don't seem to be as enthusiastic about playing it as you? Are you annoyed that you probably won't get it back?

SteveZ
09-23-2016, 02:26 AM
Have found that gifted used instruments, more often than not, end up at dust collectors which the recipent just keeps around for no good reason. Unless the recipient already knows how to play the instrument, the question is whether s/he is motivated to learn?

Gifting an instrument without concurrently gifting personal time to teach (if necessary) finds the recipient with something which never gets used.. I found that out with grandkids. My guitar-playing grandkid plays a gifted guitar all the time, but the gifted ukes ended up wedged into the closet. Another grandkid happily accepted a mandolin and uke after hearing me play with promises to learn, and then never touched them (always too busy!).

Instead of gifting, I find it's better to trade or sell at a (very, sometimes) significant discount. The "sell low" at least has the instrunent going to someone who will play it, and good feelings happen at both ends of the deal. Better to gift what the recipients really want, rather than what my "good intentions" would like them to want.

bunnyf
09-23-2016, 03:07 AM
I have six adult children and have gifted 4 with ukes over the years (2 kids have no interest). Of the four who got ukes, 2 are avid players, the third is an on and off, decent beginner player and the fourth learned a few chords but has put it aside for now (just had a baby). Looking back, I can see that the two who really took to the uke were the ones who actually took the initiative to pick up my ukes and actually spent time noodling and trying to learn something when they visited me. Gifting someone with only a passing interest is a hit or miss proposition. I'd sit and play a bit with someone and gauge their interest before I gifted. But you never know, that person you gifted to may get back to it down the road (my husband did, though it took him 10 yrs) or it may spark an interest in someone else in their family.

UkeInTW
09-23-2016, 03:23 AM
I have gifted one uke and I am not sure she plays it much any more. But, will have to check some day if she is still into it. If not, hope she can give it to someone who can make use of it.

I also have 4 ukes loaned out to people, 3 who were interested to learn and one already was practicing. Two I know are still played somewhat regularly, but the other two I dont think are being used much, so this reminds me that I think I will ask for them back.

Maybe good to loan it first, and if they end up not using it, easier to ask for it back, so you can lend it to someone who will make use of it. And if they do make use of it, then you can let them keep it.

2 of my loaners, I will definitely want back, as they are really nice ukes and I want them back. The other 2 I may consider to gift them.

Tudorp
09-23-2016, 03:38 AM
I woudn't worry about it. You did what you thought was right. It was good the father gave it back to give someone else a shot tho, so kudos to him. I gave my grand daughter a pink dophin as she loves it. Problem is, my son (oldest son 33 yo), also loved it. He played it as much if not more than my grand daughter does. When he and the kids were here last Christmas we were laughing about it. He is a big burly dude and he mentioned sometimes he was embarrassed sitting around with this little pink uke playing it, but ultimately he really didn't care... We laughed about the image he conveyed. When they left to go back to Washington after the holidays, just before they left, I gave him my Ohana soprano for himself. He was ecstatic, and mentioned that NOW he can play the uke and still maintain some integrity.. lol. But, I wanted him to have it so that he and my grand daughter can now play and learn together. Sometimes it works out, sometimes it doesn't. But don't let it stop you from spreading the uke spirit around.

2manistrings
09-23-2016, 05:00 PM
One experience was similar for me. My niece wanted a uke for Xmas, coming up on 2 years ago now. I gave her links since she's a Youtube junkie and taught her some lessons myself, because she asked me to. Almost 2 years later, what does she play? Nothing. The uke, a Dolphin, is in their garage. :(

But I've given a uke to a uke player and "well received" is an understatement!

igorthebarbarian
09-23-2016, 07:38 PM
to me, this thread reminds me of the idea that "if you ever loan money to someone, don't expect to get it back."

padlin
09-24-2016, 01:40 AM
I gave a couple Dolphin's to the grandkids this summer when we went away for a week at the beach. They played with them each night giving us a concert, it made for god memories. Since that week they sit unused in their bedrooms, maybe they'll pick them up again some day. I'm certainly not going to ask for them back.

The question does bring up another though. I just ordered a Fluke to replace my first uke, a Luna Tattoo. Not having a use for the Tattoo, I'd like to give it away rather then just sit unused. After reading all the above I think I'll post it on Craigslist for $20 or some such. Thinking if someone is willing to drive over to get it and pay $20, they must have a better use for it then me. All they teach at the local elementary school is recorder.

kkimura
09-24-2016, 02:17 AM
Gifting a uke can be a long term investment. Worse case scenario is it sits in a closet for a few generations until a descendant makes a happy discovery and starts playing it.

Choirguy
09-24-2016, 03:43 AM
I gave a couple Dolphin's to the grandkids this summer when we went away for a week at the beach. They played with them each night giving us a concert, it made for god memories. Since that week they sit unused in their bedrooms, maybe they'll pick them up again some day. I'm certainly not going to ask for them back.

The question does bring up another though. I just ordered a Fluke to replace my first uke, a Luna Tattoo. Not having a use for the Tattoo, I'd like to give it away rather then just sit unused. After reading all the above I think I'll post it on Craigslist for $20 or some such. Thinking if someone is willing to drive over to get it and pay $20, they must have a better use for it then me. All they teach at the local elementary school is recorder.


Wish you were in my area...I'd certainly drive to buy it for my school. While I am working on getting Caramels to replace the Mahalos we purchased in January--I have no problems having a few "other" makes (including the 40 Waterman that came from Kala as a donation) for students to see and try.

Rllink
09-24-2016, 04:47 AM
@Rllink

I'm going to suggest that maybe the instrument (and its suitability, or lack thereof, for beginners) is perhaps not the issue. It may just simply be the case that the people you gave the Waterman to just aren't as interested in playing uke as you are. Hard to imagine, I know :)

In the case of your sister-in-law, maybe she saw how much enjoyment you derived from playing (from things you've posted I have an impression of you as someone who really gets a lot of pleasure out of your uking) and it made her think that she'd like to give it a go too. Enthusiasm can be infectious but it's often so 'in the moment'. And it can wear off pretty quickly. Maybe after the initial 'buzz' her interest just started to wane. So, y'know, different strokes...

Just a thought :)



I wonder what did prompt you to post about this. Are you just curious as to why your sister-in-law isn't playing the uke? Do you feel disappointed that you gave someone a ukulele and they don't seem to be as enthusiastic about playing it as you? Are you annoyed that you probably won't get it back?
Good question. I had to think about it. I don't care whether my sister-in-law ever learns to play the ukulele or not. I don't think that she ever even heard me play the ukulele, and I don't really talk to her about ukuleles, so I doubt that I inspired her. I'm not even sure how she ended up with it. I think that it aggravates me that she will never learn to play it, but she will never give it back. I should probably just get past it.

bunnyf
09-24-2016, 05:46 AM
Good question. I had to think about it. I don't care whether my sister-in-law ever learns to play the ukulele or not. I don't think that she ever even heard me play the ukulele, and I don't really talk to her about ukuleles, so I doubt that I inspired her. I'm not even sure how she ended up with it. I think that it aggravates me that she will never learn to play it, but she will never give it back. I should probably just get past it.
I gifted my husband a uke about 15 years ago. He played bass and some guitar. He didn't ask for it but I just thought he might have fun noodling with it and would entertain me and the kids. Well, like was a bit hectic then and hr wasn't really interested. I didn't play myself and didn't have the time or inclination to learn. The uke sat in a closet for 10 years. After I retired, I was cleaning up, saw the uke and thought "what the heck. I love music, I'm gonna give it a go". I looked up the chords to a simple tune. And voilą! In 10 minutes, I was making music. I was hooked. I've been playing ever since (5yrs). Playing uke gives me more joy than I could have imagined. I can entertain myself (and others) endlessly (literally, until my arm is tired). I play several hours a day, nearly every day (you think I'd be better). Now my husband and 3 of my kids play too. None are as nutty about the uke as me, but one is close and another is a very good player but has moved to guitar. So....my point is, you never know. If that gifted uke sits around for a while, it might just be waiting for that perfect time and perfect person to connect with. If my husband's unused uke was not sitting around in the closet, I might never have picked it up and I think of all the fun I'd have missed.