PDA

View Full Version : Bling



Down Up Dick
09-18-2018, 01:05 PM
Ya know. Iím wondering why so many UUers look down their noses at bling. Especially right now.

Brass instruments are now being made in colored plastics, and woodwinds are being made in bright colors too. Glass flutes have been made for a long, long time. Iíve even seen some gussied up violins. And guitars in wild shapes and colors one sees everywhere. There are lotsa really fancy pianos shown on the internet.

So why do ukuleles have to be flat brown with absolutely no bling on Ďem? A lotta ukers donít even seem to like glossy finishes.

Iím just curious. Thatís all. Somethiní ta think about. :old:

mikelz777
09-18-2018, 01:38 PM
For the purposes of the discussion, how is "bling" being defined?

EDW
09-18-2018, 01:40 PM
It is a personal thing. Certainly cheap woodwind instruments (often crappy instruments meant to appeal to the young student) are are sometimes made in flashy colors. This is not so much the case in high end pro instruments.

On a uke, I really don't like bling, (lots of abalone, mother of pearl) and I am one of those who does not even like a high gloss finish. On the other hand, I love woods where the color and lovely grain show through. A nice french polish finish is lovely and subtle. Some instruments look gaudy to my tastes. On the other hand, some with the beautiful wood designs and mix of woods, like some of the deco inlayed designs Barron River does are stunning to me.

To each his/her own. Often a simple lovely old vintage uke with lovely patina really does it for me.

Down Up Dick
09-18-2018, 01:45 PM
For the purposes of the discussion, how is "bling" being defined?

By bling, I ment decoration. Something, mebbe, to add to it’s music and fun. :old:

Down Up Dick
09-18-2018, 01:56 PM
It is a personal thing. Certainly cheap woodwind instruments (often crappy instruments meant to appeal to the young student) are are sometimes made in flashy colors. This is not so much the case in high end pro instruments.

On a uke, I really don't like bling, (lots of abalone, mother of pearl) and I am one of those who does not even like a high gloss finish. On the other hand, I love woods where the color and lovely grain show through. A nice french polish finish is lovely and subtle. Some instruments look gaudy to my tastes. On the other hand, some with the beautiful wood designs and mix of woods, like some of the deco inlayed designs Barron River does are stunning to me.

To each his/her own. Often a simple lovely old vintage uke with lovely patina really does it for me.

You may be correct, but to me a ukulele is not a Stradivarious or Amati violin. I play and study music for fun and jus’ somethin’ ta do. And you are correct, the colored, plastic instruments are probably crappy, but some “young students” will never become professionals of the top water. They will just have fun, marching with a bright red tuba, or gittin’ down with a blinged out git-fiddle.

You are correct, however, in liking what you like, and more power to you. Thanks for your post. :old:

Down Up Dick
09-18-2018, 02:56 PM
Yeah, Bill1, I couldn’t agree with you more. I very seldom sell my stuff, so, if it wears a little, I don’t care much. A few scratches and nicks and worn spots add character. And, God knows, I’ve plenty on me too.

Bling, to me, makes an instrument somethin’ to look at, somethin’ to admire. Maybe recalling memorys . . .

Lots of the UUers seem to buy ukes with selling them in mind, so it behooves them to take good care of them. They even resist putting strap buttons on them because it might hurt their resale value. I understand, but well . . .

Anyway, I guess we all do it our way. Thanks for the post.

Ukecaster
09-18-2018, 03:09 PM
I think that alot of folks are just traditionalists, and like em plain, as their uke heroes of old played. Not sure if blingy ukes were even readily available when Iz was with us, but it seems he played plain old Martin tenors. To me, there is a charm to a plain instrument, while others find happiness with the beauty of an ornate uke. Whatever floats your boat!

Down Up Dick
09-18-2018, 03:30 PM
I have a very old Ka-Lai Pineapple soprano uke with a pineapple painted on it that my Hawaiian Godmother gave to me. It usta have real wooden, carved tone pegs in the headstock, but my kids took ‘em out and lost three of them.
It’s cracked and glued and rubbed and has violin pegs holding very, very, very old strings.

Anyway, it’s on a prominent bookcase shelf in my music room, and I just enjoy looking at it now. :old:

EDW
09-18-2018, 03:35 PM
the colored, plastic instruments are probably crappy, but some “young students” will never become professionals of the top water. They will just have fun, marching with a bright red tuba, or gittin’ down with a blinged out git-fiddle.


It is not the color of those instrument that bothers me, it is the quality. I could go on about it, but it is not uke related, so I'll save it.

Whatever people want to play is fine if they enjoy it.

Some even manage to do fairly well with some colored instruments.

112104

Down Up Dick
09-18-2018, 03:55 PM
It is not the color of those instrument that bothers me, it is the quality. I could go on about it, but it is not uke related, so I'll save it.

Whatever people want to play is fine if they enjoy it.

Some even manage to do fairly well with some colored instruments.

112104

I guess some of us don’t care so much about quality. I once bought a second hand Blessing Cornet for $35 and enjoyed playing it for years. I also bought a $105 flute from Sears years ago and taught myself how to play, and I enjoyed playing my flute (another, different one) today. I usta check-out trumpets from the USAF Service Clubs overseas and play them.

I guess if one is gonna be a famous musician though and not just enjoy music, he oughta have the very best ukulele. :old:

mikelz777
09-18-2018, 04:00 PM
I know from personal experience that I'm not happy with a plain looking ukulele even if it sounds great. It was an expensive lesson to learn. I wanted a Pono ukulele because of their reputation for great sound at its price point but I was reluctant to buy one because I thought they looked so boring. Despite my reservations I bought one anyway thinking I would grow to like its look. It sounded beautiful but I couldn't get over its plain look and I never bonded with it. (That and because it was a tenor so the second lesson learned was that I'm strictly a concert guy) I ended up selling it at a significant loss.

I like my ukes to both look and sound pretty. All of my ukes have binding which is a bare minimum for me. My spruce top has an abalone rosette which is elegant rather than garish. The real eye-catcher is the spalted flame maple wood grain which is beautiful and the color of the wood and binding complement each other very well. My solid acacia has a beautiful curly grain pattern and wonderful color, comfort edge binding and a wood inlay rosette with a kind of antique looking finish on the tuners. My sinker redwood/rosewood has a special inlay down the center of the back and on the bottom seam plus a somewhat subtle rope purfling. I wouldn't call any of them "flashy" or over the top by any means but they are all pretty/handsome and interesting to look at and I think they all sound good/great. Sometimes I'll stop playing them just to turn them over in my hands and look at them. I can get pleasure from them without even playing them!

Down Up Dick
09-18-2018, 04:31 PM
Yeah, mikelz777, I have a spalted flame maple baritone uke that I enjoy looking at too. I also have an “Exotic Mahogany” soprano that I seldom play but really enjoy lookin’ at. My Luna “Peace” concert has a bunch of foreign words for Peace carved in the top—always interesting.

I agree with you that it’s nice to take them in my hands and just look at ‘em when I get tired playing. :cheers: :old:

70sSanO
09-18-2018, 05:04 PM
When I was a kid it was all show and no go. I'm not saying I don't like bling or an exquisite looking ukulele. If I were spending a substantial amount, I'd want all the bells and whistles. But for a uke to play out, I'd rather take a cool looking, but less bling, good sounding uke. I would probably never take a blinged out ukulele to a uke group unless I knew everyone really well and had the chops to match the bling.

John

Rosendust
09-18-2018, 05:15 PM
For me personally, I like my Ukes to have character- and it's not like I'm going to sell mine, so scratches don't bother me. It's the memories you make learning to play that are the most important. But that said, I can't resist the thought of having a Luna Tattoo as they are so beautiful and the designs just take my breath away.:drool:

El Viejo
09-18-2018, 06:14 PM
It's all in the eye of the beholder. Some people find beauty in inlays or binding/purfling or things like that. I personally love the beauty of wood itself. My all time favorite ukes in terms of looks are Kanile'a basic K-1 gloss instruments, which show off beautiful cuts of koa in with a simple build. Kala has done a lot of that with their Elite basic koa models- very simple design, very beautiful wood.

Just as a practical example I ordered a custom instrument recently and specifically asked that no rosette be added, since I know the builder does a great job of choosing nice cuts of wood for the top, back, and sides. I'm looking forward to seeing how it turns out.

I guess I'm the opposite of others in this thread- I find binding (especially plastic binding) to be ugly, and rosettes and inlays (unless they are wood inlays) are not my thing, either.

So it's all personal preference! To each their own.

Down Up Dick
09-18-2018, 08:30 PM
I’ve been thinking about this subject alot. Many UUers talk about how beautiful the wood grains and the colors of the different woods are, but to me the woods are just woods. Nice woods mebbe, but still just blond or brown wood. I am by no means an outdoor, forest loving person or a wood worker, so mebbe that has somethin’ ta do with my view. I’m more into meaningful decoration, design and beautiful colors.

As far as the sound of the special woods some rave about, I’m wearing hearing aids now, and, though I can still hear okay, I probably don’t catch all the nuances that others do. I mostly enjoy studying and trying to improve.

So I guess that’s why I enjoy a more highly decorated, glossy, fun instrument with a little personality. :old:

Jerryc41
09-19-2018, 12:58 AM
For the purposes of the discussion, how is "bling" being defined?

Right! And then we need a definition of "pretty." :D

Jerryc41
09-19-2018, 01:01 AM
People buy what they like, but some people say they prefer extremely plain and simple, as if the only thing that matters is the music the uke produces. I'll admit that appearance has a lot to do with what I buy, but it's not the only thing that matters.

hollisdwyer
09-19-2018, 02:07 AM
For me ‘Bling’ occupies a location on a subjective continuum. I have always set my mandatory selection criteria as sound and playability. My definition of bling has been focused on master grade woodsets, interesting rosettes and maybe a small inlay. When I was young I always wanted an intricate ‘tree of life’ inlay on a guitar or banjo fretboard but now a days that’s just not me.

Down Up Dick
09-19-2018, 03:17 AM
For me ‘Bling’ occupies a location on a subjective continuum. I have always set my mandatory selection criteria as sound and playability. My definition of bling has been focused on master grade woodsets, interesting rosettes and maybe a small inlay. When I was young I always want an intricate ‘tree of life’ inlay on a guitar or banjo fretboard but now a days that’s just not me.

Well, different strokes for different folks, I guess. I just wondered why so many UUers had negative views of bling. :old:

hollisdwyer
09-19-2018, 04:08 AM
Well, different strokes for different folks, I guess. I just wondered why so many UUers had negative views of bling. :old:

The different strokes maxim is true for all human choices it seems. But I am also befuddled by why some users, in general, have such negative views on other Ukers who acquire visually beautiful instruments. But as you say, beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

bariukish
09-19-2018, 04:33 AM
My mantra is "understated elegance in all things". That would include my ukuleles.

strumsilly
09-19-2018, 05:25 AM
Bling is fine and so is a pretty finish but in the end it comes down to sound and play ability,My current favorite is a 23 Martin soprano it looks like hell but sounds like heaven

Down Up Dick
09-19-2018, 05:37 AM
Well, it’s very interesting to see that so many UUers are so serious about their ukuleles. I guess I’m outta step yet again. :old:

Dansimpson
09-19-2018, 05:41 AM
Theres different depths of bling, I am happy with a mahogany sop that has no decoration whatsoever, I love my spalted maple sop, the lil ohana sopranissimo with binding top and bottom, abalone rosette is fasntastic, but I did aquire one guitar that was welll over the top for me... I just cant play it, it aint me...
112112

Down Up Dick
09-19-2018, 06:59 AM
Theres different depths of bling, I am happy with a mahogany sop that has no decoration whatsoever, I love my spalted maple sop, the lil ohana sopranissimo with binding top and bottom, abalone rosette is fasntastic, but I did aquire one guitar that was welll over the top for me... I just cant play it, it aint me...
112112

Ha! That guitar looks like one could play very fast pieces on it like “Sabre Danse” or “Flight of the Bumble Bee”.

Have you seen any of the hand-painted ones, usually sopranos, on the internet? I think that would be fun to do, but I am definitely not a painter. But if one paints something on his/her uke, he/she could have one that was really unique.

How ‘bout a decal? That might work. :old:

janeray1940
09-19-2018, 04:19 PM
I'm not a fan of bling on my ukes, but then I'm not a fan of bling in my life, period. I don't wear jewelry, drive a flashy car, wear clothing with sequins or artwork on it, or really buy anything that is purely decorative. Just a personal preference and something I can't imagine spending extra money on.

Arcy
09-19-2018, 06:33 PM
I'm a magpie. I love bling. I love bright colours. I have a seafoam green acoustic guitar, a bright pink strat, and a blue uke. My car is volcano orange.

Bling can be used to enhance or it can be used to distract.

There's a big difference between tarting up a cheapie and enhancing a good one. I love the harlequin effect on the Koaloha Naupakas. I adore high figure woods and elaborate inlay on a high end instrument.

High figure veneer and overdone inlay on an instrument that costs less than a good family dinner just look like they're trying too hard to be something they aren't. The super-shiny, high gloss, intensely "abalone" purfled uke on the super-store's wall just looks tawdry to me. The plain ones, the simple colored ones, and the laser etched ones seem more honest. They can be interesting without being pretentious

That said, I'm still secretly in love with the blue-dyed high-figure laminate maple Kala ('cause: blue!), but I'm not sure I'd want to be seen in public with it :)

"It costs a lot of money to look this cheap" -- Dolly Parton

Iulia
09-20-2018, 12:47 AM
I agree with you about the coloured stuff for kids, I think its a great idea. Things like the Nuvo and Pbone ranges are phenomenal, and get easier to play instruments into the hands of kids a lot more cheaply than in the past. Yeah you probably wouldn't want to see them in a symphony orchestra ;) but that isn't why they are made.

I'm not good enough to play in public, but when I am and take a uke on holiday etc I'd want something bright and fun looking. People seem to love the Outdoor blue uke and its pretty blingy to my eye. ;)

My first experience of the ukulele - where I live there is a lake and it gets crazy busy on hot days. one day I was in my kitchen, and I heard music - and I'm what is that? bright happy summer music, and I stick my head out of the window and someone is at the bus stop playing a little painted uke ...

Sorry bit of a digression. If I had a 'collection' I'd want both plain and bright.

I think these look great!

Iulia
09-20-2018, 12:48 AM
sorry didn't attach

Jerryc41
09-20-2018, 01:41 AM
But I am also befuddled by why some users, in general, have such negative views on other Ukers who acquire visually beautiful instruments.

A Beau Hannam uke is hardly bare bones, but people love them - and for good reason. Beautiful sight. Beautiful sound.

Jerryc41
09-20-2018, 01:43 AM
I don't...wear clothing with sequins on it...

Oh, man! You don't know what you're missing! :D

Croaky Keith
09-20-2018, 02:30 AM
I admit to liking the look of the wood grain of my ukes, a rosette & a bit of plainish edge binding is as far as I want to go with mine. :)

I dislike that rope binding imensly, not sure why, because when I started out I quite liked the look of it. :confused:

Plain brown wrapper's OK by me. ;)

Down Up Dick
09-20-2018, 03:58 AM
How does one know how a uke sounds until he/she has gotten it home or opened it’s box and banged away at it awhile?

When one goes shopping for a uke he/she probably knows the size and maybe the wood he/she wants, but then he/she has to pick using it’s look and availability.

I’ve bought all of mine by their type and their looks. I’ve liked ‘em all except the cheap looking, expensive Flea. :old:

Snargle
09-20-2018, 06:01 AM
I guess I'm straddling the middle on this issue. My KoAloha concert is pretty plain (except for the abalone fret markers and headstock logo) and my Kala "MGM" tenor is kind of blingy. The others are somewhere between the two (although the fancy binding on my aNueNue could be considered bling by some). The beautiful koa wood on the KoAloha is plenty, but I do enjoy the more elaborate decoration on the others. I would draw the line at an over-the-top model like some Bruce Wei "let's see how much inlay we can put on one instrument" models.

hollisdwyer
09-20-2018, 06:09 AM
A Beau Hannam uke is hardly bare bones, but people love them - and for good reason. Beautiful sight. Beautiful sound.

My BH is my most blingy instrument in a way. Except for a comfort edge and cutaway it has about every option but all are restrained. No lashings of paua shell purfling but that’s just my personal preference. It started out as a relatively plain model but while I was waiting for it to start I kept on adding more and more options as I saw Beau’s craftsmanship in the build photos he posted on FB. They were so beautiful I couldn’t help myself and I’m glad that I didn’t. My other Ukes are blingy in different ways. I always find the extra cash for master grade woodsets. You can’t beat natural beauty. I also always insist on bindings and BWB purfling for the body at least. All of this is not really bling IMO but more of a mainland design vernacular. But then again I have never visually favoured the plainer traditional Hawaiian style of build. They maintain a continuity of heritage but have never floated my boat.

hollisdwyer
09-20-2018, 06:15 AM
How does one know how a uke sounds until he/she has gotten it home or opened it’s box and banged away at it awhile?

When one goes shopping for a uke he/she probably knows the size and maybe the wood he/she wants, but then he/she has to pick using it’s look and availability.

I’ve bought all of mine by their type and their looks. I’ve liked ‘em all except the cheap looking, expensive Flea. :old:

Buying a new or 2nd hand Uke sight unseen or commissioning one from a Luthier is a leap of faith always. Living on the edge of the known universe I have always had to make that leap. Luckily I have never been disappointed.

mikelz777
09-20-2018, 06:53 AM
How does one know how a uke sounds until he/she has gotten it home or opened it’s box and banged away at it awhile?

When one goes shopping for a uke he/she probably knows the size and maybe the wood he/she wants, but then he/she has to pick using it’s look and availability.

I've owned 5 ukes, 3 which I still have and 2 which I've sold. Each was purchased over the internet so I had no way of trying them out before receiving them. They were from Lanikai, Ohana (2), Pono and Kala. I was pleased with the sound of all of them but some sounded better and different than others. If the brand is reliable and has a good reputation and you have a chance to hear sound samples of ukes from the same model or similar then it's more than likely you'll get one with satisfactory sound or better. Since I can be fairly assured I'll like the sound with this approach, I let my eyes do the shopping! I want a beauty or something interesting to look at!

Croaky Keith
09-20-2018, 08:04 AM
How does one know how a uke sounds until he/she has gotten it home or opened it’s box and banged away at it awhile?

I go online & listen to as many samples of it being played as I can find & assess whether it's the uke or the player, & whether I like the sound/tone or not - some ukes I thought I might like, after hearing several sound samples, I decided against buying, but usually they sound pretty good, then when I get mine, I put my favourite strings on it anyway. :)

bratsche
09-20-2018, 01:24 PM
The only "bling" for me and my simple tastes is the natural looks of the wood grains. Excess abalone (other than a modest rosette, perhaps) is like the overdone "look-at-me" makeup of a painted whore, and inlaid designs remind me of garish tattoos and body piercings. (I've never worn makeup or gotten tattooed, either, and the only things I have pierced are my earlobes, FWIW_)

bratsche

Down Up Dick
09-20-2018, 02:54 PM
The only "bling" for me and my simple tastes is the natural looks of the wood grains. Excess abalone (other than a modest rosette, perhaps) is like the overdone "look-at-me" makeup of a painted whore, and inlaid designs remind me of garish tattoos and body piercings. (I've never worn makeup or gotten tattooed, either, and the only things I have pierced are my earlobes, FWIW_)

bratsche

Well, I suppose we must do what we must do. I like fun decoration, and, a long time ago. I was very interested in painted whores. I would, even now, like a garish tattoo—musical of course, but I draw the line at them and piercings because I’m too chicken for either.

Apparently, woodgrain is what for UUers, and it really is nice . . . and understated. :old:

Nickie
09-20-2018, 02:57 PM
I usta really like bling, a lot. I was distracted by shiny and fancy. Not anymore.
Probably because nowadays I tend to play the snot outta my ukes. They are scratched up and can get pretty dirty. My favorite bling is contrasting woods (heartwood and sapwood like my cocobolo) and fancy fretboard side markers.
Maybe even contrasting purfling, but that's about it for me.
I'd rather wear my bling.

raffrox
09-20-2018, 03:02 PM
Buying a new or 2nd hand Uke sight unseen or commissioning one from a Luthier is a leap of faith always. Living on the edge of the known universe I have always had to make that leap. Luckily I have never been disappointed.

I know the feeling sharing the tyranny of distance with you. With the selection locally being pretty limited almost all my ukes have been purchased because of how they look, fingers crossed when they arrive. No bad ukes but a few that haven't suited my playing style.

Down Up Dick
09-20-2018, 03:06 PM
Well, all, at least I have answers to my questions. UUers mostly like different nice woods and a very nice sound. I just wondered why most looked askance at decoration.

And, again, I am playing to a different strummer. Thanks for all your answers. :old:

Iulia
09-23-2018, 10:50 AM
I did come across this on Alibaba once. I believe they do gold also. I did try to contact the supplier but they weren't interested in selling me just one.

Otherwise I would have so bought one ;)

mikelz777
10-05-2018, 06:22 PM
Natural wood grain (ziricote) bling!

112550112551

hollisdwyer
10-05-2018, 07:44 PM
Natural wood grain (ziricote) bling!

112550112551

That’s the type of bling I like most.

kohanmike
10-05-2018, 09:08 PM
I like more decorative than less, but I have my limits, though I did buy a uke with fish inlays on the fretboard that I wouldn't normally do, but I liked everything else about it. My tendency is to go for more figured woods, finish color, binding, fret markers and rosette. I've been thinking about a myrtle uke styled a little differently as well, mockup at the bottom.

http://www.kohanmike.com/uploads/1 Ukulele All.jpg
http://www.kohanmike.com/uploads/Myrtle leaf hole dual 800.jpg

8 tenor cutaway ukes, 5 acoustic bass ukes, 10 solid body bass ukes, 6 mini electric bass guitars

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