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ukeinfused
05-13-2018, 10:16 AM
I've noticed that Ebay has been recently flooded with quality used ukes from Japanese sellers. Many of the best brands are represented, although prices are very, very high.
Does anybody know the nature of this phenomenon?
Leaves me scratching my head...
Are these more affordable in other currencies where the exchange rate is more favorable than the US dollar?

Dionysis
05-13-2018, 10:34 AM
I have spent time snooping around Japanese websites looking at ukuleles. Their prices tend to be higher over there. I also think there are higher taxes for sales to the home market vs selling as exports. I don’t pretend to understand it, but I think they have more taxes built into their prices than we do, and perhaps shipping costs are higher over there as well.

Having said all that, I did snap up a nice little Kiwaya with sunburst finish on it for $108 all in from a Japanese seller. This because it had been rode hard and put up wet. It has some dings in the edges. Also, the tuning pegs were messed up. Fortuneately, I had a set of Waverlys sitting around. That drove the cost of that uke up quite a bit! Of course, I could have put some cheaper frictions on there and been happy.

Speaking of cheap Japanese ukes, this one (Famous) is so similarly shaped to my white label mango sop that I think they copied the design. Sounds similar, too. But that aged solid wood beats it out. I also have a solid wood Kiwaya that is also shaped the same. Again, the voice is similar but without the benefit of aging yet. I think a laminate Kiwaya/Famous wluld be a great choice for someone looking to upgrade from their starter uke.

Rakelele
05-13-2018, 10:48 PM
Interesting observation, thanks for sharing.

A lot of it seems to be intersecting with "J-Guitar (https://www.j-guitar.com/eng/instruments?keyword2=&data%5Bcid%5D=&data%5Bexclude%5D=&data%5Bcid%5D=5&data%5Border%5D=opened+DESC)", a Japanese site for ordering from different music stores. Perhaps they only joined Ebay recently?

Apart from some new ones, a lot of the ukes offered from Japan are labelled "used" or "pre-owned". Maybe it's just one collector selling of a large collection via different stores? Or is the ukulele losing some of its huge popularity in Japan, with several people trying to sell their expensive imports?

I think Dionysis may be right about the prices: international sellers usually have a lot of taxes and shipping added to the total cost. In most cases, American buyers will probably be better off ordering from HMS or Mim.

Bales1983
05-13-2018, 11:21 PM
I have seen a fair few Vintage Martins listed for some time by a seller in Japan by the name of far.east.man , He did have 100% feedback until a couple of days ago when a customer appeared to be less impressed with a bass he was sold, obviously sells all instruments.

I was thinking possibly fakes on first sight but now figured there must just be a big market out there and the funds to invest in vintage instruments!

Lee

Jerryc41
05-14-2018, 07:57 AM
...although prices are very, very high.


Shipping can also be very high. I can't understand someone buying a uke from so far away when they are available much closer for a lower price.

kohanmike
05-14-2018, 12:04 PM
Shipping can also be very high. I can't understand someone buying a uke from so far away when they are available much closer for a lower price.I buy lots of ukes from a builder in Vietnam, both custom and off the shelf, Bruce Wei Arts. I’m in Los Angeles. He makes very good quality instruments for a very good price, even with the shipping cost of $65. The ones I like of his have something unique, which always attracts me.

merlin666
05-14-2018, 12:45 PM
I just bought a "vintage" Koaloha from a Japanese dealer for a price I thought was reasonable and shipping was free. However, the duty that was charged importing this into Canada was quite annoying.