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View Full Version : What's your absolute "Deal-Breaker"?



bratsche
05-29-2019, 07:43 AM
Okay, I'll start a topic.

We all like to talk about what things we love the most about our instruments. But being the diverse group that all humanity falls into, we also know that what one person loves, another may hate just as passionately.

Without getting personal (please, let's not bash any brands or makers here), and assuming the hypothetical instrument is your preferred size, already sounds as great as you'd hoped, and price is no object (don't hate something because you can't afford it!), what specific "feature" on a ukulele would make you wrinkle your nose and say "No, thanks!" more than anything else?

bratsche

AQUATOPAZ
05-29-2019, 07:58 AM
Built in electronics which, if/when they fail, would not be able to be replaced to have all the features they had to begin with, (not using mass market easily replaceable electronic parts)

Pirate Jim
05-29-2019, 08:03 AM
Very slim neck profile. It's not that I hate it, more that it hates me. After hand surgery a few years back I can't play thin necks without pain. Had to move on a Takumi soprano because I couldn't play it without it hurting. That was the best sounding (and looking!) instrument I've ever owned. So now it's medium to thick necks for me only, which counts out some really lovely ukes.

keenonuke
05-29-2019, 08:08 AM
Hi
Assuming it's an instrument in a scale I want, I prefer to have both Fretboard markers and side markers. I'm okay if theses are combined. And I will purchase but do prefer a radiussed fretboards. Also I don't think I'd buy a uke with a nut over 1-1/2". I would get 1-1/2 but Not over and I prefer 1-3/8".

Lapyang
05-29-2019, 08:12 AM
Radius Fretboard at least 12 in or rounder!

AQUATOPAZ
05-29-2019, 08:30 AM
Radius Fretboard at least 12 in or rounder!

Are you saying you only want radiuses lower than 12 or that you don't want a radius fretboard?

glennerd
05-29-2019, 08:42 AM
Too much bling. I like a fairly simple looking instrument, so just about anything could trigger me to say no thanks. That and weight. If it feels heavy, I lose interest fast.

lakesideglenn
05-29-2019, 08:55 AM
Too much bling. I like a fairly simple looking instrument, so just about anything could trigger me to say no thanks. That and weight. If it feels heavy, I lose interest fast.

I agree with Glenn 100%. Don’t like a lot of excess inlay and bling work. Less is more and that goes for weight as well.
Cheers from another Glenn

Joyful Uke
05-29-2019, 09:03 AM
+1 on the excess inlay and bling. I do appreciate the skill involved in doing the inlay, but that would probably stop me from buying a ukulele, especially depending on what the inlay was. But, if someone wanted to give me a Moore Bettah concert ukulele, and it had naked ladies as inlay all over it, I'd figure out a way to deal with it. LOL.

mikelz777
05-29-2019, 09:28 AM
- friction tuners
- tuners that stick straight out of the back of the head rather than the sides of the head
- pin bridge
- knotted bridge

gochugogi
05-29-2019, 09:36 AM
Gotta say friction tuners are a bridge burner for me too. Hate them with a passion. A distant second are graphical inlays on the soundboard like turtles, palm tree and the Hawaiian islands. Finally, not too pleased with pin bridges either albeit I'm willing to grin 'n bear if the instrument is great otherwise. Greatly prefer a simple tie block bridge.

stevejfc
05-29-2019, 09:46 AM
Foam Hard Case or Gig Bag...……………….absolutely hate them!

Col50
05-29-2019, 09:50 AM
Neck feel, has to be comfortable.

Narrow Nut width.

Tone.

QA, that passes a bent and twisted neck means a certain manufacturer will never get any business from me.

Cheap tuning pegs.

Cheap unfinished looking Bridge.

Sharp fret edges.

Bad intonation.

Action to high/low.

Fret buzz.

Cluze
05-29-2019, 09:51 AM
I don't go for slotted headstocks. I know lot's of folks love them, but they just aren't my jam. (I won't say never, but I avoid them.)

pix.fairydust
05-29-2019, 10:03 AM
Mine would also be built in plastic looking electronics. I have some pickups installed (misi) and I'm not talking about those but rather the onboard inbuilt ones. Also over the top bling and decoration. I like striking ukuleles but ones where it is the wood and the sound that make you go "wow".

bkrownd
05-29-2019, 10:10 AM
visible electronics, slotted headstock, etched designs on bodies, "hawaii theme" inlays or designs on bodies

keenonuke
05-29-2019, 10:11 AM
I forgot to add having a sound I don't like. I have to like how it sounds.

And inlay work with nude people or semi-nude. It has to be a ukulele I can show my grandson.

I edited my post to add if I'm going directly to the builder and they don't respond to calls/emails then how can I even make a purchase or discuss a custom build?

Counter
05-29-2019, 10:12 AM
Cheap unbranded tuners.

Rllink
05-29-2019, 10:32 AM
No particular attribute that would be a deal breaker. Because if I don't like it there isn't going to be a deal to break. But if I do like a particular ukulele, not being able to communicate with someone. It takes me forever to buy something, and the more expensive the longer it takes. I don't need to get on the phone and talk directly to someone, but I need someone to at least answer emails or message me when I have questions. Sweetwater, Elderly, Mim, Mainland, those are places I have bought from and every one of them there is a person who I can communicate with. If I'm looking on a site and I go to the page to contact them and I just get an FAQ page and no way to actually get a response, I'm gone and I'm never going back. There's never anything I want that I can't go somewhere else to get it. That's a deal breaker for me. The second thing is waiting. Probably the reason I will never get a custom ukulele. As I said above, it take me a long time to pull the trigger, but when I do, I want it now. I don't want to wait. I hate waiting.

Edit: After reading the posts before and after me, I guess that I didn't realize that "deal breakers" meant what you don't like. I don't like ukuleles that look like mandolins.

bobhost
05-29-2019, 10:37 AM
Intonation. Oh, you said it already sounds great.
Then there is no deal breaker.
Pretty? Ugly? I am OK.
Tuner style? I have been replacing with Gotoh.
So far, I have stayed away from electronics, but I am not against one.

Swamp Yankee
05-29-2019, 10:44 AM
broomstick neck profiles.

kerneltime
05-29-2019, 10:46 AM
Okay, I'll start a topic.

We all like to talk about what things we love the most about our instruments. But being the diverse group that all humanity falls into, we also know that what one person loves, another may hate just as passionately.

Without getting personal (please, let's not bash any brands or makers here), and assuming the hypothetical instrument is your preferred size, already sounds as great as you'd hoped, and price is no object (don't hate something because you can't afford it!), what specific "feature" on a ukulele would make you wrinkle your nose and say "No, thanks!" more than anything else?

bratsche
Bridge pins... I have a couple of instruments that have them but I had to work really hard to look past it.
Heavy headstock (unbalanced body.. common with super sopranos)

Pleasure Paul
05-29-2019, 10:55 AM
Nice question.
For me it's....................... extended fretboards (12+ frets). So many nice soprano ukes have them (Kiwayas, Kamakas etc.), but they're in the way of my strumming, and they hurt my nails, I play classical guitar too, and take a lot of trouble to keep my nails in order.

DownUpDave
05-29-2019, 10:58 AM
My deal breakers are as follows.....flat fretboard, small thin fret wires and a skinny shallow neck. It all boils down to playability and what I have found that works best for me.

Nickie
05-29-2019, 11:06 AM
Good thread topic, bratsche!

I won't go into defects....

Features that break the deal?

Fat, round baseball bat necks. Ouch!
Mother of pearl fretboards, UGH!
Pin bridges. A friend of mine builds all his ukes with them. I won't buy one from him.
Too heavy headstocks, bleah.
Pre-amps that take a 9V battery. No, no, no.
Sharply pointed neck butts, Ouch, again.
Friction tuners....although If I loved the uke enough, I'd buy it and change them to planetary tuners.
Great big Mickey Mouse ear tuners sticking out the sides. Ugaleeee!
Thick finishes, paint. Yuck!
Rounded potato bug back, especially plastic. What for?

That's enough!

bratsche
05-29-2019, 11:18 AM
Intonation. Oh, you said it already sounds great.
Then there is no deal breaker.

If it were from a warped or twisted neck, I'd agree. But if bad intonation were fixable....I'd fix it. Let's just say that personally, I'm surprised that these big, reputable sellers don't include those necessary adjustments as part of their awesome setups. I've had to compensate the saddles on two secondhand ukes that originated from the big uke sellers and that sounded nice otherwise, so that they now play in tune. Took about 1/2 hour with a file each time. Mandolin family instruments come with compensation, and it would be ludicrous if they didn't. Why not ukes? Romero Creations have it.

I haven't weighed in on this topic I started, but I see a lot of people mentioned things I agree with. But if a thing is easily changed, such as buying a hard case for something that came in a gig bag, or tuner styles, or fixable intonation issues, I wouldn't consider those the absolute end. I'd save that for the unalterable features.

I don't like excessive inlay or bling, onboard electronics that required cutting into the instrument - or even side sound ports, for that matter. No cutaways, either. And I dislike any fretboard that isn't ebony or really dark rosewood. Those would be my deal-breakers.

Still waiting for Jerryc41 to weigh in. I am curious to know if he even has any deal-breakers. :rofl:

bratsche

glennerd
05-29-2019, 11:33 AM
Interesting the list developing here. Not a fan of the pin bridges either, but might live with it on the right instrument.

Forgot about extended fretboards on sopranos.

I'm going to assume the gig bag comment is a joke? "OMG! It's my dream uke and I'll never see one like it again! I've been looking for this exact ukulele for years! I'm in love! Oh, but it comes with a gig bag? Forget it." :p

Even friction pegs or cheap tuners are easy to change unless it's a super cheap uke that isn't worth upgrading. I guess it depends on how much you like the rest of the ukulele and how unique it is.

Jhud
05-29-2019, 12:07 PM
Interesting the list developing here. Not a fan of the pin bridges either, but might live with it on the right instrument.

Forgot about extended fretboards on sopranos.

I'm going to assume the gig bag comment is a joke? "OMG! It's my dream uke and I'll never see one like it again! I've been looking for this exact ukulele for years! I'm in love! Oh, but it comes with a gig bag? Forget it." :p

Even friction pegs or cheap tuners are easy to change unless it's a super cheap uke that isn't worth upgrading. I guess it depends on how much you like the rest of the ukulele and how unique it is.

Ha Ha ! Couldn’t agree more Glenn.
Just bought a Rebel Mango Super Concert Uke that came with the ugliest , most god awful gig bag known to mankind but it didn’t stop me spending good money on buying the Uke.

I do dislike ALL right handed strung Uke’s though as I’m left handed. :)

Jon.

Nickie
05-29-2019, 12:11 PM
Friction tuners (including UPTs)!
Radiused fretboard—though it makes barring slightly easier, otherwise it's a decided liability
Fewer than 17 frets
String-through bridge (a pin bridge is a different story)
Body-defacing factory electronics (though I've caved to get cutaways, and to have amped options)
Gaudy decoration and unnatural colors—okay for a cheap, "fun" uke only
Performer signatures in permanent marker

In recent years I've been passing up ukes that have standard width (35mm) nuts. Give me a wider nut and commensurately wider string spacing.

I've passed up most ukes that lacked side-of-fretboard markers, the ones that are truly functional. But the lack of them does allow me to install markers in a pattern I find clearer and less cluttered, so I'm changing my mind. Still, it does mean extra cost to have markers installed, which I have to factor in.

Ubulele,
I'm curious as to why a radiused fretboard is a liability???
Will you share that with us?
I really fancy mine.

bacchettadavid
05-29-2019, 12:20 PM
My dealbreakers are any of the following:
1) closed-gear tuners
2) Pono- or Kala-style neck profile
3) narrow nut width (or narrow string spacing)
4) tightly radiused fingerboard

I know several of these can be addressed quite easily, but I'm finicky.

70sSanO
05-29-2019, 12:26 PM
A nut width less than 1-3/8Ē. Doesnít matter how nice it sounds.

Intonation only if it were miss placed frets. I can compensate most anything. I have one ukulele where the bridge is almost off by 5mm and compensated it.

John

Josť de Londres
05-29-2019, 12:38 PM
Sound holes anywhere other than the traditional place, or non-traditionally shaped sound holes, are usually a turn off for me. I'm fine with a variation on a circle like the Koaloha shape or the Maccaferri ovals, but hearts or butterflies or violin style holes on either side of the top are a no-no. Can't stand sound holes set off-centre either.

Slade
05-29-2019, 06:51 PM
Donít hate me but Koa. I know, I know! Iíve had every K brand made out of solid Koa and Iím just not liking the tone. I donít mind sides and back made out of Koa (beautiful wood) but for soundboard I prefer cedar or redwood.

MopMan
05-29-2019, 07:46 PM
Intonation.
Action/Feel.
Tone.
Dynamic range.
Tuners.
Looks.

The higher it is on the list, the more likely a flaw in a particular ukeulele attribute will be a dealbreaker for me. Lower on the list, I can be much more forgiving.

ricdoug
05-29-2019, 07:55 PM
I do not give a scat about appearance or other's opinions. As a paid performing musician, it's totally about sound, playabilty and price.

Jan D
05-29-2019, 07:58 PM
A pale fretboard. They just don't work for me.
Jan D

mikhou
05-29-2019, 08:44 PM
I can't get past rope binding. I just don't care for it no matter the sound.

Well, sound is always first, but if there's an equivalent sounding uke with no rope binding then I'll go for it.

Like others have said, I don't care for bling either.

ukantor
05-29-2019, 08:51 PM
"What specific "feature" on a ukulele would make you wrinkle your nose and say "No, thanks!" more than anything else?"

I like a ukulele to look like a ukulele. Too many of today's products are wannabe guitars, but smaller.

John Colter.

Croaky Keith
05-29-2019, 10:51 PM
Bling (especially that ugly rope binding) - bridge pegs - string through bridge - skinny neck - slotted head heavy neck (I've got one on a bari, & don't like its weight) - fancy pattern woods, I like quality plain finishes (not keen on gloss finishes either).

Jerryc41
05-29-2019, 11:22 PM
Okay, I'll start a topic.

We all like to talk about what things we love the most about our instruments. But being the diverse group that all humanity falls into, we also know that what one person loves, another may hate just as passionately.

Without getting personal (please, let's not bash any brands or makers here), and assuming the hypothetical instrument is your preferred size, already sounds as great as you'd hoped, and price is no object (don't hate something because you can't afford it!), what specific "feature" on a ukulele would make you wrinkle your nose and say "No, thanks!" more than anything else?

bratsche

Too much bling.

AustinHing
05-29-2019, 11:57 PM
"What specific "feature" on a ukulele would make you wrinkle your nose and say "No, thanks!" more than anything else?"

I like a ukulele to look like a ukulele. Too many of today's products are wannabe guitars, but smaller.

John Colter.

To entice guitar players. Traditional Ukish looks are folkish and not considered real instruments for some guitar elitists.

AustinHing
05-30-2019, 12:05 AM
If the ukulele is a perfect 10 on playability, sound and size, then the deal breaker for me is if there is this ďless than satinĒ satin finish. almost to the point of no finish.

RafterGirl
05-30-2019, 02:45 AM
I don't know that I'd call these absolute "deal breakers" but I'd prefer not to have .....

Very thick or very thin neck
Very flat, squared off neck shape
Less than 1 7/16 inch (36mm) nut size. 1 1/2 is ok, but 1 7/16 is my favorite
Gloss neck. Yuk. I don't like the feel. Some semi-gloss necks are ok, but I prefer satin neck. Body of the ukulele can be gloss though.
Friction tuners. I'm ok with rabbit-ear geared tuners if they are good quality. Gotoh UPTs are my favorites. All 4 of my ukes have them.

Ragtop232
05-30-2019, 03:18 AM
The one thing that would absolutely be a deal breaker for me is no side fretboard markers. Second would D shaped neck profile.

kkimura
05-30-2019, 03:28 AM
Someone here on UU wrote that "the ukulele picks the player". For me that is that the ukulele speaks to me. Regardless of size, build, woods, bling/finish, cost, etc., when I pick it up, form a chord and strum, it has "to speak to me". It's totally non-intuitive. Some do, most do not.

Gmontema
05-30-2019, 03:42 AM
For me, how easy is it making Bb? For some reason, that chord shape defines a lot of the “feel” decision for me. If I can’t hit Bb consistently, the basically tells me it’s not for me.

Ukecaster
05-30-2019, 04:18 AM
Low volume or muted ukes are a deal breaker for me, also (g)ears on a soprano

andy2353
05-30-2019, 04:31 AM
Guitar style tuners on a soprano.

Andy

Jerryc41
05-30-2019, 05:30 AM
Still waiting for Jerryc41 to weigh in. I am curious to know if he even has any deal-breakers. :rofl:

bratsche

On the next page. : )

If I like it, I like it. If it has too much "stuff" on it, I probably won't like it. I'm not particular about necks and bodies. Maybe when I become a great player, things like that will matter. : )

YogiTom
05-30-2019, 05:42 AM
After seeing and reading through this thread, I have been struggling to think of what one thing would be my dealbreaker.

And then a Moore Bettah went up at auction on the HMS site, and I knew: inlays I didnít choose.

Chuck is an amazing artist, and Iím wowed by the detail he gets, but the ukes he does with the pin-up styled ladies just donít do it for me.

Didnít mean to pick on Chuck thereóas someone else said, I also hate the inlayed island chain, inlayed ďhonuĒ tattoo style...Iím sure there are other examples that escape meóbut seeing that MB uke was the catalyst for coming to my answer! I loved everything about it except the headstock inlay, even from an incredibly talented artist and luthier. But hey, at least someone thinks it is $10k+ worthy, and that to me is part of what makes this such a great community: weíve all got our own incredibly different tastes and opinions.

Great thread, bratsche, thanks for starting it!

SteveZ
05-30-2019, 12:07 PM
Deal breaker - any signs of sloppy glueing. If there are any external signs of improper glueing (any amount is too much), it's a no-deal. The way I see it, if I can see glueing errors onthe outside, then what's inside is not going to be any better. There are plenty of decently made instruments in the marketplace, so acquiring one where the workmanship is suspect is illogical.

Sven-Uke
05-30-2019, 01:23 PM
Glossy finish and a painted fretboard will make both stop my from buying a uke.

rhiggie
06-01-2019, 04:23 PM
Great posts, lots of "things" that are not favorites. I play lots of ukes and maybe because of that I'm more flexible. But I do have an issue when the neck is way fat or way thin. And I have a problem with most friction tuners but only because I don't have much practice. Good thread!

Ziret
06-01-2019, 08:15 PM
Yes to the first, don't really care about the second if the buttons are small.


Low volume or muted ukes are a deal breaker for me, also (g)ears on a soprano

rubykey
06-04-2019, 04:45 PM
If I don't like the tone...it can't be love. I f it can't be love, it can't be played.

I used to think Tenor size was a deal breaker til I met one I adore.

PetalumaRescuke
06-04-2019, 08:16 PM
+1 on the excess inlay and bling. I do appreciate the skill involved in doing the inlay, but that would probably stop me from buying a ukulele, especially depending on what the inlay was. But, if someone wanted to give me a Moore Bettah concert ukulele, and it had naked ladies as inlay all over it, I'd figure out a way to deal with it. LOL.
You'd get to in lay the naked ladies that were all under your strumming hand.