View Full Version : Why Do You Buy?

05-28-2018, 02:00 AM
Two things cause me to buy: appearance and quality.

I have a problem buying multiples of things. Ukuleles are a good example. I have to put part of the blame on the ukulele designers and builders. They make such beautiful ukes that I often find I cannot resist buying them. I also have to lay part of the blame at the feet of Barry Maz and Vic Schmeltz. They do very good reviews.

People in our uke group are concerned about sound, but I lean more toward appearance. As far as I'm concerned, every uke I have (all 38) sounds acceptable. I have no duds. I'm attracted toward appearance and quality (reputation). I have sopranino, soprano, concert, and tenor, 4-string and 8-string, cigar box and kit build, banjo uke, and anything slightly unusual-looking. Lately, I'm attracted to slotted headstocks.

So what makes you decide to buy a ukulele?

Croaky Keith
05-28-2018, 02:46 AM
Ease of playing & sound quality. :)

It took me quite a while to find 'my' uke, not many long neck concerts about, but that seems to be the ones I was really trying to find all along. :D

My UAS really stopped when I got myself a couple of long neck concerts, all I've bought since was a solid body steel string electric, because I've always wondered what one would be like, but I haven't really played it at all.

A good quality acoustic, of the right size, & now I'm happy. :cool:

05-28-2018, 02:51 AM
Playability is first. I have a left hand issue and only play well on a radius fretboard and 1-3/8" nut width. So when I am searching for tenors or baritones a radius fretboard is number one prioirity. I have owned Mya Moe, Collings, Compass Rose, Pono, Koolau, Kimo, I'iwi, Farallon, Webber, Godin, LfdM and Enya all with radiused fretboard. Next is sound and I have a certain tone I prefer, open, resonant and lively bordering on warm.

Appearance is next, don't bet me wrong I LOVE beautiful objects made from wood. None of my uke are ugly but I have sold off some beauty queens that didn't make the grade for playability or tone. I have commissioned a few ukes and once the woods are picked for tone then the process of picking out the best looking pieces begin. Yea I like them pretty too:D

05-28-2018, 03:05 AM
Looks will make me pick a uke off the wall, but sound and playability make sure the instrument stays in my hands. I've got concert, tenor and baritone ukes, but I need to move all but the tenors along. It's tenor for me all the way now. :)

05-28-2018, 05:11 AM
I buy mostly based on how different the uke is than the ones I already have, plus tenor cutaway and does it play and sound good. I've had a few custom made ukes by Bruce Wei in Vietnam, I know his sound and build quality so I recently bought one of his ready made paddle style ukes with Hawaiian Island sound holes on eBay, a really good one as well. I also do research if anything else that interests me, like the Godin Multiuke I bought last year from the UU Marketplace, finding out it's an exceptional ukulele, I jumped on it at $400 US.

I modified a bookshelf into an enclosed humidity controlled cabinet that will only fit 8 ukes, so if I buy another, I have to get rid of one. Which I did when I received the paddle uke. I had a custom Hawaiian Island brown burst uke made in Vietnam, but I liked the look of the paddle version better, so I decided to raffle off the brown burst to my 60 strong uke group, awarding it later today at our Memorial Day pot luck party, and donate all the proceeds to The Ukulele Kids Club. The brown burst, strap, stand and Worth Browns cost me about $390 and so far ticket sales amount to $550, enough to provide 12 ukes for the kids in UCLA/Mattel Children's Hospital.

8 tenor cutaway ukes, 3 acoustic bass ukes, 8 solid body bass ukes, 8 mini electric bass guitars

• Donate to The Ukulele Kids Club, they provide ukuleles to children's hospital music therapy programs. http://www.theukc.org
• Member The CC Strummers: https://www.youtube.com/user/CCStrummers/videos (https://www.youtube.com/user/CCStrummers/videos)

05-28-2018, 05:16 AM
Looks will make me pick a uke off the wall, but sound and playability make sure the instrument stays in my hands.

Same here. I've accumulated 12, probably too many, but only one of the current crop cost very much, and each has a purpose (even if it's my silly Steelers-decorated uke, a cheapie present from my wife). If needed, I could get by with two or three, but I'd take such a bath selling them that, so long as I have the room and still enjoy playing them, I'll keep them.

Interestingly (to me), I have tended to pick things up on impulse, and those are the ones that rarely stick around very long.

05-28-2018, 05:58 AM
I bought my first ukulele, a Makala concert, because I decided that I wanted to play the ukulele and I had to pick something. It was an excellent choice by the way. The second I bought, a Mainland mahogany concert with MiSi, was because after that first year of playing I thought that I needed to upgrade from the Makala. I thought that the Mainland was a very good working man's ukulele, not so fancy or so expensive that I would be afraid to take it out and play it, but good enough that I could count on it to sound good and look good. My third was my Ohana spruce top soprano last year. I had an important gig coming up and I was in way over my head. I got real nervous. I got to thinking that I needed another ukulele that I could use as a backup if something happened my Mainland. I wanted a spruce top so that I could get some volume out of it if I couldn't amplify, and I just thought that a soprano might be fun. So that is why I bought each one. Other than those, I don't just buy ukuleles. It just seems like such a futile endeavor. If I got started I would never be satisfied. As soon as I bought one, there would always be another beautiful ukulele taunting me.

05-28-2018, 06:06 AM
I like mine for uniqueness.

Some are entry level and have a different sound (Zither Heaven, Globe camp uke).

Many are no longer made (Silvertone, the Globe, Harmony, Kay, Martin SO, sapele Opio).

One was a limited production run (Kala ASOV).

Others fill a niche I need such as a camping/car uke (OXK and Outdoor Ukulele).

Or they are gorgeous (the ASOV, Opio, Brueko maple, Luna Dragonfly, and Mainland gloss mahogany tenor with rope binding).

I have sopranino, soprano, concert, and tenor.

Most are secondhand. Added all up, I have the money invested in several where I could have bought one great expensive uke. But, I don't yet play well enough to justify an expensive uke. But I do play well enough to enjoy the differences in all my ukes. And, I am having a far better time than with just one for the same outlay.

05-28-2018, 06:17 AM
Interestingly (to me), I have tended to pick things up on impulse, and those are the ones that rarely stick around very long.

Yes! I have two very nice ukes, both of which were impulse buys, and I rarely play either of them. They're safe inside their humidified cases, and I should really get on selling them. The ones I took my time in finding and buying are the ones I play all the time. :)

Grizzly Adams
05-28-2018, 06:39 AM
I rarely buy an instrument unless it fills a specific need/voice in the music I am doing. In terms of Ukuleles, I have a "one-in and one-out" policy. I currently have a vintage Martin Style O, a Kala concert, a Kanilea Tenor and a banjolele. Each serves a different need. My mainstay in terms of gigs now is a banjolele.

05-28-2018, 06:46 AM
I have far too many ukuleles, but in my defence I made eight of them myself, so they mean a lot to me. My most recent acquisition was a KoAloha soprano.

Every KoAloha uke I have played was a good 'un, and the fact that they are made in Hawaii from Koa gives them a certain cache. Their design is distinctive and eye catching. Not having a KoAloha seemed to leave a hole in my life - so I've plugged that gap and am delighted to have done so.

I'm never going to buy another ukulele. I've said that many times before, but it would now take something truly exceptional to make me break that vow.

I wonder what it will be?

05-28-2018, 07:37 AM
Two things cause me to buy: appearance and quality.

I think I'm in the same boat.

I bought my first uke, a Lanikai concert, because it wasn't too expensive but it was much better than a cheapo/toy starter uke. It was my test uke to make sure I liked playing ukulele and would stick with it because I didn't stick with the guitar. I loved it up until I sold it to make room for another uke. Looks-wise, it was OK but nothing special.

I bought my 2nd concert because I wanted an all-solid wood uke and I loved the look and the story behind sinker redwood plus it was a limited edition Ohana so it was somewhat unique.

I bought my 3rd because I had an unexpected windfall and was curious about playing a tenor. I bought a Pono which sounded wonderful but I never bonded with it. I didn't like the tenor size and the look, which gave me pause before I even ordered it, never grew on me. The look was very plain and boring. It was then that I learned that looks were very important to me. I like contrasting binding, purfling and other visual adornments. Ultimately, the only thing I liked about it was it's sound and reputation so it started gathering dust and I ended up selling it.

My 4th uke was a total impulse buy based solely on looks. It was a Kala solid spruce top concert with spalted, flame maple sides and back. The wood grain was stunning and the spruce top would give me a brighter sound than what I already had so I trusted that it would be a purchase I wouldn't regret. I love it!

My 5th and final uke was inspired by a large balance in my PayPal account. This purchase too was largely based on its looks. It was advertised as an all-solid, grade 5A acacia with comfort edge binding and I fell in love with everything about its look. It too was a limited edition Ohana and I like my other one so much that I kept coming back to this one even after months of extensive shopping for other ukes.

For those of you keeping score, that's 5 ukes purchased and 2 sold leaving me with 3 concert ukes I'm sticking with and that's going to be it for me. I'd call two of them beautiful and the other one very handsome. I'm very happy having ukes that have both good looks and good sound!

05-28-2018, 08:37 AM
For me the first consideration is if the ukulele fills a niche, size, materials, etc. that I don't have. My first question is when would I play this ukulele over what I already have. My wife encourages my purchases, but keeps me grounded in not just buying a near duplicate on impulse. I went through a time when I got a few 3 string ukuleles. One was for my wife and mine are basically for those times, and maybe years, when I'm struggling to be able to play. I am on a little synthetic materials ukulele kick right now so I can find a take anywhere instrument. And I would like to find a good electronic ukulele, Godin Multi-uke will probably fit the bill. I have a Godin electric guitar that is great.

After all that... the specific ukulele is based on sound and then intonation, and playability. If the ukulele sounds great and is well made, I can usually make it play well. But if I don't care for the sound, it will never get played.


05-28-2018, 08:58 AM
I think I'm in the same boat.

I bought my first uke, a Lanikai concert, because it wasn't too expensive but it was much better than a cheapo/toy starter uke.

I find that when I get involved in a forum, I discover all sorts of things that I have to buy. ;)

06-20-2018, 04:05 PM
For me, it's almost exclusively playability and sound. Quality of sound is hard to quantify, but I look for clarity and volume, and just a sound that appeals to me (although I have noticed that the latter isn't really static or constant, perception of sound seems to change).

Appearance, well, it's an attention getter, but I've seen and owned beautiful ukuleles that I couldn't connect with. It's a bit like with people: some are very attractive and gorgeous, but you still don't click with them. I think I prefer little or no bling and more simplicity, over all, but still appreciate the stunning instruments out there.

And yes, this forum is a dangerous place. The majority of my ukulele purchases and the resulting confusions were direct consequences of reading this forum, but that has pros and cons. :)