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buddhuu
04-22-2009, 11:13 PM
Throughout my instrument playing years I have always played mostly good, but cheapish instruments. The most expensive guitar I ever had was a Gibson SG I had when I was about 18 - but I let that go when I realised it was really not much better than an Antoria copy I tried that cost a fraction as much.

The most expensive mandolin I ever had is a J Bovier Tradition which is a good, low-cost mando (although I love the Bovier I'm hoping to sell it to buy a tenor uke!).

My fiddle is a sub-200 Romanian one.

My ukes are a Makala soprano and a Stagg mahogany concert (like Baron plays in some of his vids from a while back). Cheap, but really pretty ok.

For some reason, I never quite got the hang of lusting after expensive instruments. I do like nice instruments, and I love to play my friends' 3,000 guitars and 4,000 mandolins, but I've always been pretty satisfied with owning cheapo ones.

What is wrong with me? Surely an expensive instrument would instantly make me a kick-ass player! :D So, why can't I work my way up to full blown UAS? Why don't I want an expensive Hawaiian uke? Why can't I be normal? :confused:

What do you guys lust after (instruments only! :stop: No perving!) ? What would be the level at which you think you'd say "Yup, that'll do for me"?

Guting
04-22-2009, 11:16 PM
as long as not broken

ukeshale
04-22-2009, 11:21 PM
i've got a lot of animals and family to look after so when i'm ready to buy i've gotta be 200% sure it's what i want (and need). i keep telling myself i won't let my addiction outweigh my playing ability - but i'm sure that rule'll go down the drain once i get hold of a nice koaloha sometime next year ;)

deach
04-22-2009, 11:46 PM
.....
What is wrong with me? .....So, why can't I work my way up to full blown UAS? Why don't I want an expensive Hawaiian uke? Why can't I be normal? ....

Consider yourself lucky.

buddhuu
04-23-2009, 12:10 AM
Consider yourself lucky.

Oh, I do.

Lucky... but maybe odd! :D

Seriously, I am the luckiest guy I know. Not complaining at all. :music:

UkuLeLesReggAe
04-23-2009, 12:59 AM
Consider yourself lucky.

you are right!!

but of course, i am in the middle. i want expensive ukuleles but... alas(wtf does this word mean?) i cannot offord one

maybe if the currency changes to around the same or maybe 10% i will buy one but that may be a while..

:old:

UkuLeLesReggAe
04-23-2009, 01:00 AM
Oh, I do.

Lucky... but maybe odd! :D

Seriously, I am the luckiest guy I know. Not complaining at all. :music:

by looking at ur avatar, yes... odd well not odd, different??

..no, odd

FourChordWonder
04-23-2009, 01:01 AM
I'm pretty satisfied with my MK-SD now that I've dress it up (http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v68/ju571n/ukulele/a34fw66gd.jpg) a bit so it doesn't have that tourist trap vibe anymore. That dolphin was really getting to me. At this point I don't want a better uke so much as I just want a bigger uke. I'm looking at concerts and tenors in the $200-$350 because that's about the price range you start getting into solid wood. I feel like once you get over $600 you start getting into gibson/fender territory where you're pretty much paying for a name.

I played pawn shop sax in jr high that my parents paid like $150 for and I was happy with that, even though it was a little beat up and couldn't play certain notes. I dropped that after 1 1/2 years and took up percussion anyway.

UkuEroll
04-23-2009, 02:07 AM
I've only been playing from just before xmas and have gone from a ebay £20 special to a clearwater soprano, then a ashbury concert, now i've got a Lankia C-Ck.
Ebaying everything that is not nailed down to upgrade again, and think I've got a serious problem.
No one told me I would become addicted.

Ahnko Honu
04-23-2009, 02:12 AM
I was happy with my $45 Mahalo pineapple for the past 10 years until I came across a couple excellent deals on Koa pineapples from locals luthiers.

Yopparai
04-23-2009, 02:58 AM
Usually whatever I can get for $35 or less. Any more than that I head out to the garage and start trying to figure out how to make it from my kids' bikes, toys, and assorted scraps of wood.

The nicer instruments that I have were all gifted to me.

erikro
04-23-2009, 03:05 AM
There is nothing wrong with the two Kala laminates I have but I did just order a Kanilea. I really enjoy the instrument as a piece of art as much for its sound.

Erik

buddhuu
04-23-2009, 03:22 AM
Oh yeah! Some of those really curly woods are certainly beautiful, and some of the instruments made from them are surely art...

One of my bandmates works with UK luthier Patrick James Eggle. Some of the quilted and flamed woods Pat has used in his custom guitars are simply breathtaking.

Art indeed. Thank goodness I don't feel the need to own art! Gotta love that pretty stuff though! :D

ukeshale
04-23-2009, 03:34 AM
Kanilea's are beautiful. I've really taken a liking to that zebrawood soprano mgm posted pics of the other day too. It'd be nice to play around on a concert or a tenor but I don't feel like I actually NEED another ukulele for quite a while to be honest. More than happy with what I have at the moment.

Toucan Mango
04-23-2009, 04:01 AM
I started playing towards the end of 08 and I figure until I can play well enough to draw a crowd I really do not need anything over $500.00, plus on another thread & I can't remember which one but MGM said he blind folded a friend & had him several instruments for sound and I don't remember word for word but some lower end ukes were chosen over the more expensive ones.

hoosierhiver
04-23-2009, 04:01 AM
I once had a fairly flash pick-up truck and found that I didn't like it as much as my old beater. I'm the same way with ukes, mostly I want ukes that I feel like I can take with me to a party or gig and not be too worried about it getting nicked up.

Someone ended up totaling my flash pick-up, but I've still got my rusty old truck.

buddhuu
04-23-2009, 04:29 AM
I once had a fairly flash pick-up truck and found that I didn't like it as much as my old beater. I'm the same way with ukes, mostly I want ukes that I feel like I can take with me to a party or gig and not be too worried about it getting nicked up.

Someone ended up totaling my flash pick-up, but I've still got my rusty old truck.

That's sort of what I'm talking about. :)

Lanark
04-23-2009, 04:45 AM
I find that I'm not a big fan of eyecandy on my instruments. Essentially, if it doesn't directly effect the sound of the ukulele and how it plays for the better, I'm not interested. I am however very keenly conscious of tone, so for that reason I couldn't really be satisfied with the cheapish end of the spectrum. Maybe it's a certain snobbishness on my part.

I have been good at hunting down some good bargains on the quality range of Hawaiian made production instruments. For me it's worth the extra scratch for the extra playability, solid wood, reputation and guarantee of intonation and quality sound that I get out of say, a Koaloha. But I'm also used to buying used. I've bought maybe a handful of musical things in my life that weren't used or NOS. There's also that part of my backbrain that comes from years of vintage guitar buying that looks at it in terms of future investment and resale. My Koalohas are going to retain more value over the long haul than a perfectly acceptable Kala might, if not gain. And while I can certainly appreciate the qualities of an instrument that cost someone 2.5X what I've shelled out for one of mine, I can't always say I'd trade. There's also that certain level of personal pride in the cache of having solid koa Hawaiian made. I'm not above the bragging rights but the instrument still has to play like butter and sing since that's what it's there for.

It would be pretty awesome to have something built especially for me, but I'm not completely convinced that I'm ready to commit a grand and more to the endeavor. I'm also not really sure how much more I'd get soundwise out of the extra cash compared with what I've already got. (though I have entertained the idea of selling my '67 Gretsch to fund a custom) But the thought isn't completely off the table.

outsidenote
04-23-2009, 05:27 AM
You are quite sensible. My teacher has a bunch of Ukes, all used and under $30. He sounds great on all of them. I do think my Pono sounds better than my Kala, but I was (and still am) very satisfied with the Kala.

A cyclist friend of mine says that every cyclist should get at least one really expensive bike, just to prove to themselves that its not really about the bike.

tryan
04-23-2009, 05:41 AM
You are quite sensible. My teacher has a bunch of Ukes, all used and under $30. He sounds great on all of them. I do think my Pono sounds better than my Kala, but I was (and still am) very satisfied with the Kala.

A cyclist friend of mine says that every cyclist should get at least one really expensive bike, just to prove to themselves that its not really about the bike.

a bit off topic, but the cycling thing is new. i had a friend in college who sold me his old bike when he got a new one, and we went out riding that afternoon and i buried him.

i have a $250 uke which i enjoy more than my $30 uke, but mainly because it has better intonation and what not...it's a better built instrument. the $250 uke costs 8x the $30 uke, and it is a big difference. but i wonder if i spent 8x the $250, if the difference would be *that* notable.

i should probably just practice more...

deach
04-23-2009, 06:18 AM
...

i have a $250 uke which i enjoy more than my $30 uke, but mainly because it has better intonation and what not...it's a better built instrument. the $250 uke costs 8x the $30 uke, and it is a big difference. but i wonder if i spent 8x the $250, if the difference would be *that* notable.

i should probably just practice more...

maybe not 8X noticable but you'll be saying "damn this is niiiiiiice" a lot.

haole
04-23-2009, 06:22 AM
I'd be a lot more content with cheaper instruments if Chuck Moore wasn't making ukes and the Pineapple Sunday was never invented. ;)
Although, I don't own anything with more than 15 frets and I'm broke, so pretty much any good-sounding tenor at any price range would tide me over.
But then again, any uke purchase will destroy my relationship immediately.

I try to be somewhat realistic about stuff I want to own someday. Not even interested in exotic cars or $5000 custom ukes or fancy houses. Let's face it; I majored in anthropology. ;)

8890
04-23-2009, 06:28 AM
If only the intonation was decent, I'd be pretty happy with my Mahalo. (Black Les Paul! How cool is that? :rock:) It's noticeably flat already at fret 10ish, which probably means it starts going flat before that without me hearing the difference. And this crazy soprano has 19 frets! If I ever play up there, I have to bend the strings to get close to a clean note.

tryan
04-23-2009, 06:57 AM
maybe not 8X noticable but you'll be saying "damn this is niiiiiiice" a lot.

i'll look forward to someday to knowing how wrong i am and/or how right you are.

nonetheless, i *do* need to practice more...

GX9901
04-23-2009, 07:48 AM
i have a $250 uke which i enjoy more than my $30 uke, but mainly because it has better intonation and what not...it's a better built instrument. the $250 uke costs 8x the $30 uke, and it is a big difference. but i wonder if i spent 8x the $250, if the difference would be *that* notable.

i should probably just practice more...

If you go by "dollar to sound/build quality" ratio, in my opinion you would reach the highest point at in the $300-$500 range. An instrument that costs 8 times more than a $250 instrument most likely isn't 8 times better. It would be difficult to even quantify what it means to be 8 times better.

But that instrument would almost certainly be BETTER. That's what I've found with most things in life. The cost usually increase exponentially when you go for better and better things. Whether it's a guitar, ukulele, cars, food, etc. To get something truly better, you usually have to pay a lot more, and the price does not go up proportionally. It goes up exponentially.

By the way, I'm not equating cost to better quality. What I'm saying is something of better quality usually cost a lot more than the next level down.

beeejums
04-23-2009, 07:55 AM
A lot of people have been telling me that nice instruments have severe drawbacks...

I'm pretty happy with what I've got. I have a relatively nice Ibanez bass guitar that originally cost over a grand... I love it to death, but I've played cheaper basses that were different (not better or worse) and were much cheaper. And whenever it goes anywhere, I tend to baby my nice bass, and I think that gets on people's nerves every now and again. They give me looks that say "get over yourself."

The conclusion I've drawn is that it's about what makes you happy... and as long as I spend spend more time playing than searching eBay for new ukes, I'm golden.

The impression I get from the populace of UU is that really nice ukes are kind of like jewelry... they're great, we love them, but they aren't essential.

I have a laminate Kala tenor and a cheap Mahalo and I'm perfectly happy with both... they have very different sounds. I keep telling myself that I'm going to be happy once I get one of each size and a banjo uke (still need a baritone and a sopranino), but I've never had a lot of money (and probably never will) and I get bored of lusting after things quickly.

buddhuu
04-23-2009, 10:16 AM
[...] I've never had a lot of money (and probably never will) and I get bored of lusting after things quickly.

Same as that, brother! But life is good :D :shaka:

ichadwick
04-23-2009, 10:27 AM
Define cheapish.

I was accused of collecting cheap ukuleles by some members of another forum, simply because mine were all under $1,000 and made in factories (gasp!). I suffered their slings and arrows for not taking their advice to sell every uke I owned (and saving for a few more years) to help fund the purchase of a custom-made instrument like they had. We exchanged strong words.

My least expensive ukulele cost $250 USD plus shipping and the obligatory taxes added on by the government - so about $400 CAD when all was paid. I don't think that's cheap. But obviously some people do. My most expensive is a Pono that cost me more than $700 CAD when landed. I can buy a used motorcycle for that amount!

So if you think a $250-$500 USD instrument is "cheap" then yes, I'm happy with my cheap instruments. But to me they are expensive (and much loved) treasures.

Ahnko Honu
04-23-2009, 10:36 AM
My most expensive Ukulele is Koa MELE concert pineapple I paid a tad over $300, she looks and sounds great. I have 2 more local luthier made Koa ukuleles I paid even less for which sound even better. Does common consensus here consider these cheapish? I can't imagine any ukulele sounding better at any cost than the ones that I currently own. :cool:

haole
04-23-2009, 11:53 AM
Define cheapish.

I was accused of collecting cheap ukuleles by some members of another forum, simply because mine were all under $1,000 and made in factories (gasp!). I suffered their slings and arrows for not taking their advice to sell every uke I owned (and saving for a few more years) to help fund the purchase of a custom-made instrument like they had. We exchanged strong words.

My least expensive ukulele cost $250 USD plus shipping and the obligatory taxes added on by the government - so about $400 CAD when all was paid. I don't think that's cheap. But obviously some people do. My most expensive is a Pono that cost me more than $700 CAD when landed. I can buy a used motorcycle for that amount!

So if you think a $250-$500 USD instrument is "cheap" then yes, I'm happy with my cheap instruments. But to me they are expensive (and much loved) treasures.

I never understood music gear snobbery. I'm glad UU isn't known for being elitist; there are great players here who have cheap instruments, and even the folks who collect customs have good things to say about their Kalas. The ukulele is a humble instrument, and it's all about enjoyment. It's fine to drool over a new Kanile'a or a Glyph, but if you can't even enjoy a fun, inexpensive uke in the meantime, what's the point? ;)

mailman
04-23-2009, 12:08 PM
I want an instrument that is at least a bit better than I am (at playing).

Right now, my Kala fills that bill very nicely. Not to say that I don't lust after more ukes! I'd still like a tenor (because I think I'd like the size), a solid Koa (because I know I'd like the looks), a K-Wave Tele (just because I think they're cool)....and who knows what else?

But it'll be a long, long, time before I ever consider spending $500 or more on one uke....

Link
04-23-2009, 12:14 PM
Indeed. I think my Mainland tenor is $280 or so, and I couldn't be more content. Well, with the tenor size. Gotta get a nice concert and nice sop now :) But as you can see in my sig, nice to me doesnt mean custom or expensive by most standards(they are to me.. haha). Neither of those is even $150.

raypierre
04-25-2009, 01:03 PM
I recently bought two Skylark tenor ukes...a triangular uke and a pear shaped f-hole uke. They were £35 each (about $52). They are both laminate, but are well made. I also got an Ohana all solid mahogany tenor Tk-35g at £160 ($235). There is a difference in sound quality...but they all have pretty good intonation and now that I have fitted aquila strings to the cheaper ukes, the difference is not that great.

Saying that, I still hanker after a luthier built uke, a curly mango, all solid curly koa, even Pineapples and Flukes and Fleas, just about every uke I haven't got or tried yet. It's just an OCD thing, a UAS thing, or perhaps a 'the grass is always greener' thing...or a combination of the three. I want it, I need it, I must have it!!! Or perhaps I just like to have the choice of different tonal qualities of the various ukes. Or perhaps I'm just arguing myself in ever decreasing circles. I just love ukes....I've got twelve so far...and I've only been playing a few months.:music: