View Full Version : For those who want a good uke but think they can't afford one

04-19-2009, 09:14 PM
In search of an affordable, playable uke? Let me list a few I've found in the past five years at swap meets, junk stores and the like:

-Kamaka soprano, '60s white label, $35 (no work needed)

-Regal soprano, '40s, $15, (glued cracked back and sides, cut a new nut from a scrap of wood)

-Harmony soprano, '50s, $10, (new saddle, $5, new tuners, $9)

-Hilo soprano, '50s, made in W. Germany, $10, (glued neck back on)

-Favilla baritone, '60s, $35 (glued side cracks, shaved down bridge)

The point is, there are a ton of seriously nice ukes out in the world that can be had, and fixed up, for a song. The added benefit is that I have several very nice ukes that I don't stay up nights worrying about. Got one I leave on the floorboard of my car. Got one next to the toilet even. I loan 'em out or give 'em away to people (sorry, today is not your day). Take 'em backpacking in Yosemite. All without worrying. (I have a nice old Martin soprano that I paid top dollar for and use only once in a great while.)
PS: my tool kit consists of a bottle of glue, 3 mini bar clamps, a rat-tail file with one corner ground down for fret dressing and a tiny Japanese dozuki handsaw, all of which fits into a soprano case and cost me less than $50. And if you're worried about your fix-it abilities, think of it this way. If you can't glue back together a $10 uke, what are you out? Do the math.
Luck to all.

04-20-2009, 01:25 AM
I recently found a slightly soiled Northern in a local pawn shop. And last year a vintage Diastone in a yard sale.

04-20-2009, 01:48 AM
great lesson there!
have been keeping my eyes out but haven't found much yet!

Ahnko Honu
04-20-2009, 01:51 AM
Ebay used to be a great place to find deals 10 years ago but the popularity of ukuleles has changed all that. I picked up my 1915 Kumalae for a great price back in '98 but not any more. I think I'll call my local pawn shop just for jollies. ;)

04-20-2009, 04:33 AM
I dream of my future yard sale Martin.

04-20-2009, 04:46 AM
I recently found a slightly soiled Northern in a local pawn shop. And last year a vintage Diastone in a yard sale.

/inquiring minds, you know!:)

04-20-2009, 05:54 AM
My best find was a whole bunch of Harmony sopranos, $30 each, in Tucson. Usually my luck is poor, and NY is a terrible place to look for ukes. Still, I keep my eye out.

But I will gladly give you $36 for that $35 Kamaka. ;)

04-20-2009, 07:34 AM
...But I will gladly give you $36 for that $35 Kamaka. ;)

"I’d gladly pay you tomorrow for a hamburger today."- Wimpy

04-20-2009, 10:08 AM
-Kamaka soprano, '60s white label, $35 (no work needed)

i will give you 200 for the kamaka if you want?:D:D:D

04-20-2009, 10:12 AM
I doubt they would have ukuleles here in PA but now im gonna start looking!!!!