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View Full Version : How do you abuse your ukulele?



Rllink
02-14-2017, 03:15 AM
I take reasonably good care of my ukuleles. I have two of them that I play regularly, one is my Makala that goes to the beach, camping, and on bike rides, and the other is my Mainland that does everything else. Now the Mainland gets a lot more attention than the Makala, which makes sense. The Makala gets beat around, it gets sand in it, it occasionally gets rained on, and I got to say that, except for rusty tuners that still work fine, it looks pretty darn good after three hard years in the salt air. So I read lots of threads where people are looking for an indestructible ukulele to "beat around", and people who enthusiastically recommend some plastic or carbon fiber ukulele that is inexplicably proven indestructible. Now I have seen the Waterman video where the young fellow is paddling with his Waterman, and while quite impressive, I've never had the urge to paddle my canoe with my ukulele, and frankly one could do that with any ukulele, if they were willing to sacrifice it for a marketing video. So my question is, just what do people do with their ukuleles that they have to have these indestructible plastic or carbon fiber ukes, or is that just a marketing image? I guess I'm wondering if there really is anyone out there paddling their canoes around with their ukulele? Anyone sit in the surf and let waves break over them while they play? Anyone using their ukulele as a flotation devise, and if so are they using a Coast Guard Approved ukulele?

actadh
02-14-2017, 04:11 AM
I have the Outdoor Ukulele Tenor. It lives in my car, and when I go camping, it lives in my travel trailer or boat. All vehicles experience extreme heat and cold. I just have to tune it up and it is good to go. (If it stayed in my house I would only rarely have to tune it.)

It goes with me to our local uke meetup and to various grandkids houses. It is a perfect young kid instrument. All the grandkids play it. They are are schooled on how to handle it properly, but.....it has had drool, snot, vomit, mud, and various food residue all over it. I just wipe it down with a wet washcloth. They also are fascinated with tuning it, so the tuners get a workout when I am not looking. When they play it, they have been known to pull out on the strings instead of a standard strum. Every time I get it back from them, I am amazed at how indestructible it is.

When I camp, it is subjected to humidity, smoke, sweat, bug spray.

When I take it fishing, it is subjected to fish scales, worm goo, and drenching in water when there are errant waves.

Again, a wet washcloth cleans it up just fine and it plays like a champ.

Here it is on Lake Erie on a really hot day when I first got it, and about 18 months later on a pretty cold camping trip. Except for the addition of a sticker, it looks and plays the same.

Uncle Rod Higuchi
02-14-2017, 04:44 AM
I don't mean to abuse my ukes, however, I don't even take 'reasonable' care of them,
except to wipe down the A-string side upper bout, where it seems to get most of my
fingernail, strumming 'scratches'.

I also, occasionally try to wipe away the dust that collects near the bridge, under the
strings, but other than that, and keeping them in their cases, I just take them along,
take them out, and play them... well the Martin OXK anyway, weekly (Wed and Thurs
nights - Wed Song Circle, Thurs Class).

I'm glad my ukes are sturdily built and made for daily use, and designed, for the most
part, to be user-friendly and low-maintenance :)

Thank you Luthiers and manufacturers!

UkerDanno
02-14-2017, 04:50 AM
I don't abuse people, dogs or ukuleles!!!

Ziret
02-14-2017, 04:55 AM
I don't abuse people, dogs or ukuleles!!!

I've abused both people and dogs...with my ukulele.

plastuku
02-14-2017, 09:15 AM
I lazily permit mine to collect dust. Worse than that, though, I play them poorly (though I'm trying to get better) and not often enough.

Seriously, my biggest worry is my cat; I'm amazed he hasn't yet tried to figure out if he can destroy them.

Debussychopin
02-14-2017, 09:25 AM
Whether you let them collect dust or collect sand&water, it is just how we use them. I think the word abuse is the wrong word here.
If I intentionally or carelessly keep my solid wood uke in the car all day during blazing summer or leave it next to the fireplace during winter , that is abuse!

weeshan
02-14-2017, 12:14 PM
I can't soak in a nice hot bathtub with a drink and a wood uke floating next to me, or play a wood uke while standing in the shower...unless I want it ruined. I choose to not take even my laminates hiking, camping etc because despite them being more durable than a solid, temp variances can still cause warping, glues to weaken, tops/sides to loosen up etc. Also, just because I CAN beat the crud out of a laminate compared to a solid, doesnt mean I want my laminates any more dinged up and scratched them my solids. My Outdoor uke solves all of these issues. While I dont foresee myself "needing" to use it as a paddle in a canoe...it can be thrown over my back while hiking, banged into trees, dropped on the ground, floated in the bathtub, dropped in a lake on accident, left in my car when its 105 degrees or 16 degrees etc. I even have a paracord strap on it so if im in an emergency situation, I have some cord. Even thought about fastening a knife sheath on the neck for outdoor excursions. For me...the fact that it fulfills all of these things means that for me personally, yes...its a need. I wholeheartedly recommend Outdoor Ukulele.

DownUpDave
02-14-2017, 01:24 PM
I have been known to verbally abuse them. If I play a wrong note I blame it on the uke......you no good piece of........:mad:

Booli
02-14-2017, 04:23 PM
Neglect.



Having more than a dozen ukes, some are neglected for a while when out of the rotation.

Neglect is a form of abuse, and being unplayed for long periods of time is one reason of several WHY I am preparing about 7 ukes to be re-homed.

Hence the tag-line next to my avatar.

Croaky Keith
02-14-2017, 10:53 PM
Simple answer is that I don't, even the cheap laminates have got a good home here with me. :)

hollisdwyer
02-15-2017, 12:47 AM
I pay a lot of attention to all my instruments. Always have. That includes monitoring and controlling humidity, using quality products for cleaning and maintenance and even wiping them down with a quality microfibre cloth after each play. But, I do not obsess with keeping them in museum condition. I commissioned them to play and I play with gusto at times. I try and make my ukes an extension of my mind and body, unfortunately I don't always succeed but I always give it the best I have every time I play.

Rllink
02-15-2017, 02:01 AM
Simple answer is that I don't, even the cheap laminates have got a good home here with me. :)


I pay a lot of attention to all my instruments. Always have. That includes monitoring and controlling humidity, using quality products for cleaning and maintenance and even wiping them down with a quality microfibre cloth after each play. But, I do not obsess with keeping them in museum condition. I commissioned them to play and I play with gusto at times. I try and make my ukes an extension of my mind and body, unfortunately I don't always succeed but I always give it the best I have every time I play.

Do you take any of them outside where they are subjected to adverse conditions? That is what I'm talking about really, not how well people maintain their ukuleles. What I want to know I guess is what kind of experiences people have had with their ukuleles who take them outside of a sheltered environment, and if those ukuleles that are marketed as being indestructible and impervious to those types of abuses are actually worth the money and concern.

But I think that some are getting caught up on the word abuse, rather than the concept that I am trying to explore. And I think that some have also given some very adverse conditions that their ukuleles marketed for that kind of environment are withstanding. But it would be expected that they would withstand such treatment, so that does not surprise me, although I wonder how many buy them for that reason but never subject them to such treatment. But some do. More so, I'm wondering about ukuleles that are not marketed to be impervious to that kind of environment and use. In real life, do those ukuleles come through just as well? My Makala is subjected to those types of environments and has shown little or no damage as a result. Is the Makala, or any ukulele for that matter, in real life circumstances as rugged as those rugged ukuleles?

Booli
02-15-2017, 02:21 AM
Do you take any of them outside where they are subjected to adverse conditions? That is what I'm talking about really. What I want to know I guess is what kind of experiences people have had with their ukuleles who take them out side of a sheltered environment, and if the ukuleles that are marketed as being impervious to those types of abuses are actually worth the money and concern. But I think that some are getting caught up on the word abuse, rather than the concept.
The only ukes of mine that have ever left the house were both kept in canvas-covered hard-foam cases, one concert Fluke and one concert Flea, and were not bashed around like some may claim they can withstand -- rather they were both treated with kid gloves, and much the same as I would treat any solid wood uke, i.e., with great care.

Anything can be destroyed with a big enough hammer. :)

I have not had a vacation in over 10 yrs, so taking a uke to the beach or on a cruise ship or anything like that has never come up, and no reason for me to obsess over traveling with a uke since I'll cross that bridge when I am forced to...

I'd not treat any instrument left in the car, any differently than I'd treat an infant or a pet, as in NOT leave it in the car, expectically NOT overnight.

Rllink
02-15-2017, 03:04 AM
The only ukes of mine that have ever left the house were both kept in canvas-covered hard-foam cases, one concert Fluke and one concert Flea, and were not bashed around like some may claim they can withstand -- rather they were both treated with kid gloves, and much the same as I would treat any solid wood uke, i.e., with great care.

Anything can be destroyed with a big enough hammer. :)

I have not had a vacation in over 10 yrs, so taking a uke to the beach or on a cruise ship or anything like that has never come up, and no reason for me to obsess over traveling with a uke since I'll cross that bridge when I am forced to...

I'd not treat any instrument left in the car, any differently than I'd treat an infant or a pet, as in NOT leave it in the car, expectically NOT overnight.

Yes, anything can be destroyed. One can take a ukulele to the beach and push it until it is destroyed. I could take my ukulele down to the beach, fill it with sand, sit in the surf playing it with waves breaking over me, then if it doesn't fall apart, I can bash it on the rocks. I could take it out on a surf board and try to play it while I'm waiting to catch a wave. But seriously, who does that? Really though, what we are talking about is a ukulele that can withstand a little sand, some direct sunlight, salt air, maybe some splashes of sea water, and a little rain. Just how rugged does a ukulele really have to be to withstand that? Same with camping, or bicycling, a little rain maybe, some mud, not really that horrendous. I would expect most any ukulele to survive a camping trip or a bicycle ride.

Twibbly
02-15-2017, 03:08 AM
I lazily permit mine to collect dust. Worse than that, though, I play them poorly (though I'm trying to get better) and not often enough.

Seriously, my biggest worry is my cat; I'm amazed he hasn't yet tried to figure out if he can destroy them.

Cats who were not even mine destroyed my doumbek years ago.

Twibbly
02-15-2017, 03:11 AM
Do you take any of them outside where they are subjected to adverse conditions? That is what I'm talking about really, not how well people maintain their ukuleles. What I want to know I guess is what kind of experiences people have had with their ukuleles who take them outside of a sheltered environment, and if those ukuleles that are marketed as being indestructible and impervious to those types of abuses are actually worth the money and concern.

My most expensive ukulele is my Outdoor Ukulele tenor. Why? Because I tend to run around in the car a lot, and it gets over 110F here in the summer. I don't want to have to babysit a ukulele and carry it around every time I leave the car. We also go camping, and I have had it happen where between wind and rain, the tent flat out laid down and just let all the water in (I was low on the totem pole for dry bedding on that trip, too - luckily my friend's cot slid over on top of half my sleeping bag!).

Oh, and the "well, they're cheap ukes, you can replace them" theory doesn't always work in my house. Sometimes we have a bit of money I can spend on things, sometimes I'm scrounging for change for groceries. We're working on it. Mom bought me the OU, with the comment, "I guess you're not planning on going pro anyways."

UkerDanno
02-15-2017, 03:37 AM
I don't abuse people, dogs or ukuleles!!!


I've abused both people and dogs...with my ukulele.

haha...well, that's probably true...:shaka:

Griffis
02-15-2017, 04:08 AM
Yes, anything can be destroyed. One can take a ukulele to the beach and push it until it is destroyed. I could take my ukulele down to the beach, fill it with sand, sit in the surf playing it with waves breaking over me, then if it doesn't fall apart, I can bash it on the rocks. I could take it out on a surf board and try to play it while I'm waiting to catch a wave. But seriously, who does that? Really though, what we are talking about is a ukulele that can withstand a little sand, some direct sunlight, salt air, maybe some splashes of sea water, and a little rain. Just how rugged does a ukulele really have to be to withstand that? Same with camping, or bicycling, a little rain maybe, some mud, not really that horrendous. I would expect most any ukulele to survive a camping trip or a bicycle ride.

I have this old laminate el cheapo Japanese uke that went through a flood. I don't know how long it was submerged but when I got it back it was covered inside and out with silt.

I let it dry thoroughly, cleaned it well, but it had seam separation and the fingerboard was coming away from the neck, tuners shot. Became a wallhanger for 6 years.

Some glue & clamps, and new tuners n strings later, back in the saddle. Many things can be fragile and resilient at once.

hollisdwyer
02-15-2017, 04:54 AM
Do you take any of them outside where they are subjected to adverse conditions? That is what I'm talking about really, not how well people maintain their ukuleles. What I want to know I guess is what kind of experiences people have had with their ukuleles who take them outside of a sheltered environment, and if those ukuleles that are marketed as being indestructible and impervious to those types of abuses are actually worth the money and concern.

My regular Saturday gig is at a farmers market and although we play under a veranda, I try and play throughout the year with any of my instruments that take my fancy that day. Note though that we don't get extreme weather here in Perth, Australia.

Pueo
02-15-2017, 05:39 AM
I was lucky enough to win a Kala concert (laminate) in a contest about three years ago now. It has basically lived in the trunk of my car since then. It gets quite hot where I live, yet every time I pull it out to play it, at the beach, or the parking lot, it has been ready to go.
I keep hearing horror stories about warping or glue failure but so far so good.
I do *not* recommend this behavior, just sharing my experience. Having an extra ukulele around at all times is wonderful. Once even Kimo Hussey played it and it sounded better than I have ever heard it.

Pueo
02-15-2017, 05:45 AM
My point is musical instruments are pretty tough. I have had a Pono for ten years that is my gig ukulele. It has done lots of traveling and played many outdoor events, in full sun, and even a light rain. And heavy rain (UWC 2011) but was quickly wiped down and put away. Just care for and ENJOY your ukulele and it will be OK.

2manistrings
02-15-2017, 12:36 PM
I've wondered this myself. But people have many different lifestyles, and that is as it should be. For me, the worse my uke is subjected to... is my songwriting attempts. Most turn out well and that's a relief. But the writing time--let's just say I would not want to be the uke at that point! :o

Nickie
02-15-2017, 10:42 PM
My playing is abuse enough, let alone leaving my ukes to rot in the weather....

sopher
02-15-2017, 11:28 PM
I keep my ukes locked in a dark case except when they are servicing my personal needs. I allow them no input on the TV shows that are playing in the background. I and I alone choose the music that we play together. I'm amazed I haven't been arrested yet!

sopher

TCK
02-17-2017, 05:59 PM
Seasons. I have played right through the tops of a Baritone Kala and an Ohana vita...but I had fun doing it. Took five years and at least a song a day ;)

willisoften
02-17-2017, 10:18 PM
I try not to, with one exception they live in their cases when not being played. My Kanilea sits on its stand, beside my desk, waiting to be grabbed and played. I constantly think of parting with it as it is a poor fit for me. However its the one I grab for stress relief and problem solving. If not keeping it in its case when not actually playing is abuse...
97904

TheCraftedCow
02-18-2017, 09:25 AM
In that the Eddy-Finn concert has a large side port, it is very easy to drain out any water which might get in it while in my single-double or triple kayak. I still stash it behind the seat in a plastic garbage bag. It is nice to not have to worry as I did when taking a wooden one. The longer necks on my all composite 4 or 5 string banjos won't fit behind the seat in the single, but I will need to check the space in the double/

bikemech
02-18-2017, 03:25 PM
My solid koa Martin C1k hasn't seen any extended use out-of-doors nor would I say it has been abused. But there are some who might say I abuse it by leaving it laying on or propped up against my sofa all year long. It's there to be played when ever I get the urge, which is often. And, yes, I've dropped the laptop on it. I've knocked it against the coffee table. I've banged it up against walls, accidentally of course. Thankfully, I've not spilled my tea on it.

It never sees the inside of a gig bag unless I am traveling or going to my neighbor's to give a lesson. I live in a relatively mild climate and the humidity is fairly consistent in the house. When I change the strings, which is probably twice a year, I slather the entire uke in Howard's Feed-n-Wax.

So maybe some would consider this uke-abuse but my uke is no worse for the care, or lack of, I give it. And the little dings and scrapes it has acquired are a testament to the joy it has given me.

David

Tootler
02-19-2017, 11:24 AM
The ones I have in regular use are left out on stands. I wouldn't play them otherwise. I keep an Alic soprano (plastic body, laminate top) in the car but conditions here are not as extreme as some of you folks over there experience. The car can still get pretty warm in summer though. I give them an occasional wipe to remove finger dust from under the strings.