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Laelia
07-25-2018, 04:45 AM
You guys are so lucky, I remember when I wanted to play uke and I went to the local music store. All they had was a sad lonely little row of mahalos above the counter. 'you' re crazy' they said. 'it'll never catch on'

Fast forward about seven years and they now sell more ukuleles than all other instruments combined! I got to any music store now and there's a bright display of different coloured, different sized ukes to choose from at various price points.

I also believe cheap ukuleles have gotten a lot better: my first mahalo was a horrible little screamer but I picked up a mahalo tenor that's sweet as a lil nut. I think you're all so lucky to be spoiled for choice and yes those are green eyes I am insanely jealous! But I still wish you all the best on your uke journeys :D

Choirguy
07-25-2018, 06:39 AM
I think you’re right...the popularity of the ukulele has resulted in local stores carrying more entry level models, and the emergence (or continued success) of three to four well-established internet retailers who carry more expensive models.

The only caveat I would add is that one of our local Minnesota music stores chose to carry Kala Elites, and they don’t move—and there is only one Kamaka dealer in the area (no KoAloha, Ko’olau, or Kaniela, but another local dealer now carries Pono). The average music store (outside of Hawaii) can’t move $800+ ukuleles.

They can sell $45-$200 ukuleles, however.

The other negative is that so many of the beginner ukuleles are in need of a set-up, which should be included in the cost of the instrument (not an add-on). Most local shops are happy to send a buyer off with a ukulele with sharp fret ends and high action (and likely more intonation issues) thinking about the bottom line of the sale versus the bottom line of a life-long customer. I’ll be honest...the Ortega, Luna, and Dean instruments I have played in local music stores have fret ends that can cut your finger. That doesn’t mean they are bad instruments—but they are desperately in need of some set-up attention.

And finally, not only are beginners lucky because of the choices of instruments, but because of the resources available in the form of books, websites (UU, The Ukulele Way, and Rock Class 101 among others), and YouTube. There are also increasing numbers of ukulele instructors for private lessons due to the popularity of the instrument.

Junie Moon
07-25-2018, 07:12 AM
I'm one of the lucky, spoiled beginners, of which you speak. I started playing in earnest this past fall, after a failed effort 6 or 7 years ago.

The biggest contributor to my ukulele education has been this forum. UU members are so generous with their knowledge. I've learned so much about all things uke, especially when it comes to finding good, trustworthy dealers that carry quality ukes in all price ranges.

Thanks to all!

June

Laelia
07-25-2018, 07:16 AM
I'm one of the lucky, spoiled beginners, of which you speak. I started playing in earnest this past fall, after a failed effort 6 or 7 years ago.

The biggest contributor to my ukulele education has been this forum. UU members are so generous with their knowledge. I've learned so much about all things uke, especially when it comes to finding good, trustworthy dealers that carry quality ukes in all price ranges.

Thanks to all!

June

It's so true I've only been here a couple of days and I feel like reading all the quality threads would take me the rest of my life, haha :eek: so I have to pick and choose and so far I'm loving how everyone here approaches everyone else with an open heart and how differing opinions are respected!

I wish you the best of luck on your awesome journey darling :D

Croaky Keith
07-25-2018, 08:38 AM
Good quality ukes at affordable prices does have one down side though...........


........it creates a symptom known as U.A.S.........


......a lot of people have caught it........


.......just look at all those happy faces. :smileybounce:

Swamp Yankee
07-25-2018, 10:52 AM
ain't this a kick... when I was a kid you got a Harmony, a Silvertone from Sears...or you went without... maybe in New York City you'd find a shop with a Martin

Swamp Yankee
07-25-2018, 11:11 AM
... oh yeah, TV pals, too

sculptor
07-25-2018, 11:23 AM
I think you’re right...the popularity of the ukulele has resulted in local stores carrying more entry level models, and the emergence (or continued success) of three to four well-established internet retailers who carry more expensive models.

The only caveat I would add is that one of our local Minnesota music stores chose to carry Kala Elites, and they don’t move—and there is only one Kamaka dealer in the area (no KoAloha, Ko’olau, or Kaniela, but another local dealer now carries Pono). The average music store (outside of Hawaii) can’t move $800+ ukuleles.

They can sell $45-$200 ukuleles, however.

The other negative is that so many of the beginner ukuleles are in need of a set-up, which should be included in the cost of the instrument (not an add-on). Most local shops are happy to send a buyer off with a ukulele with sharp fret ends and high action (and likely more intonation issues) thinking about the bottom line of the sale versus the bottom line of a life-long customer. I’ll be honest...the Ortega, Luna, and Dean instruments I have played in local music stores have fret ends that can cut your finger. That doesn’t mean they are bad instruments—but they are desperately in need of some set-up attention.

And finally, not only are beginners lucky because of the choices of instruments, but because of the resources available in the form of books, websites (UU, The Ukulele Way, and Rock Class 101 among others), and YouTube. There are also increasing numbers of ukulele instructors for private lessons due to the popularity of the instrument.

Kala Elites not selling might be more about the general economy than anything. As my screen name suggests I know a thing or two about sculpture. Twenty years ago there were many times more galleries around selling some pretty high end works of art. These days most of them have shut down and only a fraction of them carry the high ends works that used to sell quite well.

-- Gary

sculptor
07-25-2018, 11:28 AM
Good quality ukes at affordable prices does have one down side though...........


........it creates a symptom known as U.A.S.........


......a lot of people have caught it........


.......just look at all those happy faces. :smileybounce:
I think that UAS distorts the market for custom instruments. I'm not sure if custom ukuleles would be any cheaper, though they might be, but I'm sure there would be a lot less luthiers.

-- Gary

SandChannel
07-25-2018, 12:01 PM
I'm spoiled with endless instruction... and limited talent.

Graham Greenbag
07-25-2018, 08:47 PM
Prices seem to have skyrocketed recently for custom & high end factory ukes, sadly they are fast becoming out of reach for many players :(

I’m inclined to think that Ukes in general have increased in price at a rate well ahead of ‘normal’ or ‘common’ inflation figures. Occasionally I find the receipts for Ukes that I have and typically think that to replace those Ukes would cost me disproportionately more in comparison to how much prices for other goods have risen.

Are we so spoiled now, are Ukes made better today than they were ten years ago? I’m really not sure that there is a vast difference (from ten years ago) though don’t dispute that there was a change in the availability of decent enough beginner Ukes at some point (circa 2000 in the USA?). At one point I had a Lanikai LU-21P (Soprano Pineapple) and that was a really nice starter Uke, once I’d set it up properly it worked really well (for the simple laminate that it is) and I found it to be well made too. Lanikai were a big name in the Uke market but now things are very different, we barely hear of them. I suspect that the ready availability (mass production and sale) of good learner Ukes really dates to around the time that Kala got started, was that a bit over a decade ago? ( More details of Lanikai and Kala History here: https://kalabrand.com/blogs/lifestyle/meet-mike-upton )

Edit. Plastic backed Dolphins, which replaced the earlier all wooden ones, were available in the U.K. in 2009, see #13 on this old thread: https://forum.ukuleleunderground.com/showthread.php?9418-Are-the-Makala-brand-of-Ukuleles-good/page2 . For what it’s worth my own Dolphin was likely amongst the earliest plastic backed ones and like #13 in the other thread they’re great players once they’re sort out - mine was bought used, sounded rough and had the original black strings on it. Interestingly, in comparing the work that I’ve done to my Dolphin and the work done by the other contributor in 2009 one of the key differences is in the strings, IMHO Fluorocarbon strings are significantly better than what was commonly available then.

Croaky Keith
07-25-2018, 10:41 PM
I started out with 3 Makala ukes, a tenor, a concert, & a pinapple soprano, none of them were expensive, nor were they duff ukes, good quality for a beginner.
Next on my agenda were Kala & Baton Rouge concerts, then I found 'long necks', (Kala & Ohana).
Baritone was next on the list, Kala cedar top, great sounding uke, (but still not quite what I was looking for).
Eventually I found the long neck concert, first an Ohana, & then bought my most expensive uke, an acacia long neck concert KoAloha Opio.
I'd found my perfect uke.......no more purchases needed.

RichardDavis
08-19-2018, 04:52 AM
You guys are so lucky, I remember when I wanted to play uke and I went to the local music store. All they had was a sad lonely little row of mahalos above the counter. 'you' re crazy' they said. 'it'll never catch on'

Fast forward about seven years and they now sell more ukuleles than all other instruments combined! I got to any music store now and there's a bright display of different coloured, different sized ukes to choose from at various price points.

I also believe cheap ukuleles have gotten a lot better: my first mahalo was a horrible little screamer but I picked up a mahalo tenor that's sweet as a lil nut. I think you're all so lucky to be spoiled for choice and yes those are green eyes I am insanely jealous! But I still wish you all the best on your uke journeys :D

I`m one of these beginners. :D You should have been a purposeful person to overcome all the obstacles - I`m not sure, that I would succeed.