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ed531
08-06-2009, 11:09 AM
It seems that companies like Kanilea, G String, Kamaka, Koaloha and Collings make 4 string ukes that cost between $800 for the basic no frills model to $3200 for the full custom models (binding, inlays, etc).

My question is... if you were given as much as $3200 to buy ONE uke (only ONE). Would you go all out and get the $3200 uke ? Or would you think, "This uke is too fancy looking and cost too much money that I'm afraid to play it, scratch it or bring it outside." Would you get a $1600 Uke that's semi custom (some binding here and there) or would you get an $800 no frills uke ?

Assuming of course that you bought the UKE on the web and are unable to play it before buying it.

My answer is I probably go all out and get a $3200 uke... because no one has that uke. But if I actually had $3200 for a uke, my answer might change.

Ken
08-06-2009, 11:11 AM
I'm trying to resist UAS as much as possible and I want to improve my playing before I upgrade my Uke. Once I'm worthy of a nice Uke I'll get one :D.

I'd probably get the $800 no frills Uke.

ukerazy
08-06-2009, 11:13 AM
100% blow the lot on a Moore Bettah ukulele, more bling than you've ever seen so much bling you need sunglasses on to play it!! I'm getting excited just thinking about having that much money to spend on a uke! LOL!

haole
08-06-2009, 11:14 AM
I'd spend roughly half of that getting a semi-blinged Moore Bettah, and the rest of the money on some talent. :D

ed531
08-06-2009, 11:21 AM
I'd spend roughly half of that getting a semi-blinged Moore Bettah, and the rest of the money on some talent. :D

Well, that's the thing... you can't use what you didn't spend on anything else.

It's basically a matter of would you go for that extra bling just because you had more $$, knowing that it's not going to make the uke sound better. Just make it more custom...

I ask this question because I've been looking at the ukes available online and I search by highest price first. Then I wondered, well what's the difference between this $$$ and this $ uke from the same company. Didn't seem to be much...

1014
08-06-2009, 11:26 AM
i would choose the best sounding `ukulele.

ed531
08-06-2009, 11:31 AM
i would choose the best sounding `ukulele.

You can't, you have to order it online... how would you know which one is the best sounding ? You can only order it once, no returns...

MGM
08-06-2009, 11:32 AM
It would have to be a uke that first sounded good...Nothing is more disappointing to me than a wonderfully handcrafted ukulele that has only mediocre sound in the high range.
I just had a chance to review two beautiful ukes from an apparently well known independant small one man operation guitar maker who commands very high prices for his guitars. As beautiful and well made as these were I would not pay the prices he was asking for his ukuleles as although craftsmanship was world class the sound wasn't.....

Guting
08-06-2009, 11:35 AM
I would grab me a kala f-hole and save the rest of the kala, even if I could afford it i wouldn't pay 3200 for a uke, probably around 6 bills at the most.

DaveVisi
08-06-2009, 11:36 AM
Can I buy two?

ed531
08-06-2009, 11:39 AM
Can I buy two?
No, you can only buy one.

MGM is probably the most knowledgeable person to answer this question judging by his experience and answer...

1014
08-06-2009, 11:46 AM
You can't, you have to order it online... how would you know which one is the best sounding ? You can only order it once, no returns...

you buy from somebody that has those `ukulele and have them play all of them on the phone for you or provide sound bites ala MGM. why have a blam `ukulele if only going be one wall hanger?

if i had my choice would be `oiwi `ukulele. dave's won UGH best sound a couple times so get strength and rep. could be bare bones but if the buggah sound `ono to me, well worth whatever i pay for it

RyanMFT
08-06-2009, 11:52 AM
Fun question to think about. I keep weighing it out in my head.

I had a little bit of this "problem" a while back as I was given some money to do something special with, which of course I wanted to use to buy a uke. I could have bought something custom, and looked on the web at lots of beautiful high end ukes. After a while I found that I kept cruising the net late at night looking over and over at pictures of KoAloha uke's. When I did hold one it made my heart jump!

I am not a flashy guy. For me simple = beautiful. However, I know that for some people beautiful binding, inlays, and other bling makes their heart sing....which is what they should have.

Thanks for posing the question, had me off in fantasy land for a while!

ed531
08-06-2009, 11:56 AM
if i had my choice would be `oiwi `ukulele. dave's won UGH best sound a couple times so get strength and rep. could be bare bones but if the buggah sound `ono to me, well worth whatever i pay for it


Would you have oiwi make a uke for you or buy one he's already made and play the uke for you via youtube ?

I think I would probably buy something that was already made instead of having one made for me, I think it would be riskier to buy something that you imagine one way and the builder imagines it a different way.

Ukulele JJ
08-06-2009, 11:57 AM
If I had $3200 to spend on a uke, I'd use most of the money to fly to Hawaii to buy it. :D

JJ

Moore Bettah Ukuleles
08-06-2009, 11:59 AM
The price difference just isn't in the bling. The higher price should also allow you to have a better choice of wood and materials as well as some functional upgrades like radiiused fret board, bound fret board, some electronics, side sound port, perhaps some "designer" tuners, etc. Your also getting a one of a kind instrument that also imparts some of the soul and character of the builder FWIW.

1014
08-06-2009, 12:00 PM
Would you have oiwi make a uke for you or buy one he's already made and play the uke for you via youtube ?

I think I would probably buy something that was already made instead of having one made for me, I think it would be riskier to buy something that you imagine one way and the builder imagines it a different way.

i'll take any of kawika's used `ukulele.

ed531
08-06-2009, 12:05 PM
The price difference just isn't in the bling. The higher price should also allow you to have a better choice of wood and materials as well as some functional upgrades like radiiused fret board, bound fret board, some electronics, side sound port, perhaps some "designer" tuners, etc. Your also getting a one of a kind instrument that also imparts some of the soul and character of the builder FWIW.

Oh I agree, and I'm not disputing that a uke shouldn't cost $3200 if there's a lot of work done on it.

BTW, when are you going to make another Bamboo Tenor ? :D:D

But isn't that why people asked you to make the "Your Not So Basic Uke" ? You use the same good wood, but less bling ?

ukerazy
08-06-2009, 12:05 PM
The price difference just isn't in the bling. The higher price should also allow you to have a better choice of wood and materials as well as some functional upgrades like radiiused fret board, bound fret board, some electronics, side sound port, perhaps some "designer" tuners, etc. Your also getting a one of a kind instrument that also imparts some of the soul and character of the builder FWIW.

I agree, i would love to know that me and only me had that one ukulele, designed in my mind and brought to life by a true artist.

Moore Bettah Ukuleles
08-06-2009, 12:23 PM
[QUOTE=ed531;18885 But isn't that why people asked you to make the "Your Not So Basic Uke" ? You use the same good wood, but less bling ?[/QUOTE]

Yes, to be more competitive in price with the big Ks. But even those models go beyond "basic" (hence the name "Not So Basic") to include full body and headstock binding, rosette, headstock inlay, etc. Most custom builders I know also offer a basic ukulele. You may not often see these because we like to showcase our top work on our websites.

uluapoundr
08-06-2009, 12:24 PM
I would spend it all on a custom from a maker who's built the reputation of building good ukes..sound, looks, durability, playability, yada, yada, yada. Believe it or not, there are makers who will spend more time on a custom as discussed in other threads on things like soundtop thickness, adjusting the bracing, etc. So, you "may" be paying for more than just bling. If I was to purchase an off the rack uke, I'd have someone I trust pick it out for me.

uluapoundr
08-06-2009, 12:32 PM
The price difference just isn't in the bling. The higher price should also allow you to have a better choice of wood and materials as well as some functional upgrades like radiiused fret board, bound fret board, some electronics, side sound port, perhaps some "designer" tuners, etc. Your also getting a one of a kind instrument that also imparts some of the soul and character of the builder FWIW.

Yes, yes, and yes! I guess it's like people and their cars. Some don't mind driving a stock car, however, others want the rims and tires, leather seats, custom paint job, etc. Although some of that is purely aesthetics, other upgrades do boost performance and driveability but either car will get you to the same destination. And yes, it is a means of expression, as is playing style, singing style, on stage antics, etc.

vahn
08-06-2009, 12:32 PM
If I had that money, could I spend it to fly to Rick Turners class, and build myself a pineapple w/him? would that cover it? Cuz thats totally what I would do. :) I'd try to use woods also available in WI, so it'd be unique and interesting, and different in style but similar in spirit :)

freedive135
08-06-2009, 12:39 PM
Shoot I only paid alittle over 4bills for my KoAloha Soprano and am afraid of taking it outside!!!!!

I agree with UJJ I'd fly to Hawaii with some of those bucks to hand pick one. If I couldn't do that I would get one built here in Colorado from Palm Tree Ukulele's.
He ages his wood here so I wouldn't be as worried about it cracking but I still wouldn't be taking it outside thet's what all my laminate ukes are for!!!!

drjond56
08-06-2009, 12:40 PM
It is all about the sound and playability. If the extra money buys custom wood that [I]sounds[I]better, perhaps. If the extra money buys a different neck shape, custom scale, or otherwise improves the playability, perhaps. Bling for the sake of bling--my name on the fretboard or other garish inlays--definitely no. Actually the topic is somewhat of a practical consideration for me. Unfortunately I have not been given 3200 green to spend, but I am gravitating more and more to the baritone, and seems you really have to look to the customs to find much availability or variety in a pro quality instrument.

bbycrts
08-06-2009, 12:53 PM
It seems that companies like Kanilea, G String, Kamaka, Koaloha and Collings make 4 string ukes that cost between $800 for the basic no frills model to $3200 for the full custom models (binding, inlays, etc).

My question is... if you were given as much as $3200 to buy ONE uke (only ONE). Would you go all out and get the $3200 uke ? Or would you think, "This uke is too fancy looking and cost too much money that I'm afraid to play it, scratch it or bring it outside." Would you get a $1600 Uke that's semi custom (some binding here and there) or would you get an $800 no frills uke ?

Assuming of course that you bought the UKE on the web and are unable to play it before buying it.

My answer is I probably go all out and get a $3200 uke... because no one has that uke. But if I actually had $3200 for a uke, my answer might change.

Can I keep the rest? Seriously, Chuck Moore and I would probably be on the phone planning out my perfect uke - I don't think it would take anywhere near the $3200, but I wouldn't be skimping, either.

LindsayOfSaturn
08-06-2009, 12:57 PM
I dont know if I could justify spending over 600 for a uke. Not as an ordinary person with a job ever, especially since I like to buy guitars as well! :) But if I were Bill Gates/Oprah rich the sky would be the limit!

ed531
08-06-2009, 12:59 PM
It is all about the sound and playability. If the extra money buys custom wood that [I]sounds[I]better, perhaps. If the extra money buys a different neck shape, custom scale, or otherwise improves the playability, perhaps. Bling for the sake of bling--my name on the fretboard or other garish inlays--definitely no. Actually the topic is somewhat of a practical consideration for me. Unfortunately I have not been given 3200 green to spend, but I am gravitating more and more to the baritone, and seems you really have to look to the customs to find much availability or variety in a pro quality instrument.

I think that we all agree that sound and playability are the most important aspects of the uke. And of course the advantages of having a uke custom made for you is a big plus, you'd get exactly what you want.

But in a situation where I surf the web see two pics of lets say 2 Kanilea Tenors (just an example). One is $1200 and the other $2400, and assuming that both have identical bracing... the koa wood grain looks similar, and the only visual difference are the inlays... would it be worth to pay twice the price on looks. BTW, this applies to all uke brands out there, not just Kanilea.

From a builders perspective, it is absolutely worth more because they know the amount of work they put into building it.

But as a buyer, are you willing to spend the extra $$$ for bling or for something added to the uke that may or may not have a better sound ?

dnewton2
08-06-2009, 01:08 PM
The price difference just isn't in the bling. The higher price should also allow you to have a better choice of wood and materials as well as some functional upgrades like radiiused fret board, bound fret board, some electronics, side sound port, perhaps some "designer" tuners, etc. Your also getting a one of a kind instrument that also imparts some of the soul and character of the builder FWIW.

That sounds like a man that knows his stuff and would get my up to (hypothetic) $3200. Probably nothing too fancy. Some Super Curly Koa, some sort of binding, prob. no purfling, Pick-up, a nice Headstock inlay, Pegheads and probably some more things. I need to write this stuff down.

I would play that bad boy daily!

KC8AFW
08-06-2009, 01:37 PM
Here's an analogy: I went shopping for a pickup truck a few years back. I was looking at the full size trucks and started down the "ooh, I want this" road. After I had the truck picked out...it was $32,000. Eventually (before I actually made a commitment to buy), I came to my senses and realized "if I spend $32,000 on a truck...I won't want to haul stuff in it", which was it's intended purpose. I ended up getting a used truck for about 1/10 of that and drove it into the ground. It served me well for many years.

I would like to spend around $1000-$1500 on a really nice uke (someday), but if I went too much more than that, I would be afraid to play it...then what's the point.

ed531
08-06-2009, 02:57 PM
Here's an analogy: I went shopping for a pickup truck a few years back. I was looking at the full size trucks and started down the "ooh, I want this" road. After I had the truck picked out...it was $32,000. Eventually (before I actually made a commitment to buy), I came to my senses and realized "if I spend $32,000 on a truck...I won't want to haul stuff in it", which was it's intended purpose. I ended up getting a used truck for about 1/10 of that and drove it into the ground. It served me well for many years.

I would like to spend around $1000-$1500 on a really nice uke (someday), but if I went too much more than that, I would be afraid to play it...then what's the point.

Great analogy KC8AFW, which brings up a good point. How many members have a "nice" uke and a fluke they take with them camping... and which one do you end up using more ?

GX9901
08-06-2009, 05:12 PM
I'd max out the $3200 as much as I could and would play the heck out of it. In some ways I've already done this, as I ordered a William King long scale concert last winter. It was more or less maxed out on options I'd want, with maybe the possible exception of abalone purfling on the back, and it was just under $2k. I play it almost daily and I've been taking it with me to play outside during the summer when taking my dog out to the front yard to relief himself. :p

To me, the best uke in my possession should be the one I play the most. Of course, it doesn't mean I would take it camping or in other potentially dangerous situations, but given a relatively safe playing environment, I always reach for the great ones first.

By the way, as much as I love bling, sound always comes first. For me King is a known quantity so I don't have to worry about it not sounding great.

Hobgoblin Steve
08-06-2009, 05:27 PM
100% blow the lot on a Moore Bettah ukulele, more bling than you've ever seen so much bling you need sunglasses on to play it!! I'm getting excited just thinking about having that much money to spend on a uke! LOL!

I totally have to agree with that, have you seen that Macadamia nut one? :drool:

wearymicrobe
08-06-2009, 05:31 PM
Here's an analogy: I went shopping for a pickup truck a few years back. I was looking at the full size trucks and started down the "ooh, I want this" road. After I had the truck picked out...it was $32,000. Eventually (before I actually made a commitment to buy), I came to my senses and realized "if I spend $32,000 on a truck...I won't want to haul stuff in it", which was it's intended purpose. I ended up getting a used truck for about 1/10 of that and drove it into the ground. It served me well for many years.


Got to get over that hangup, I haul mulch and go to the dump in the my SRT-10 and get funny looks all the time. Get what you want, use it the way you want and to hell with what other people think.

I bring my full customs out to play at the park in the backyard at the office. If it gets dented or scratched I will get it fixed if not I just keep playing it. Now vintage instruments do not leave the home, so I don't have anymore of them.

Over 3200$ I would be giving Ko'olau a call and having a 500 made myrtle and Koa with a vine. Everything that I have played out of that shop above a 100 is golden.

Under 3200$ Chuck something along the lines of the white eye bird tenor. Just hand him the cash a tape of the music that I play and the style that I want, some slight tone requests and let him go to town.

Weird. Call Bill at Kanile'a and have him make me a mandolele.

specialmike
08-06-2009, 05:51 PM
If I made enough money, I would buy as many as possible.

experimentjon
08-06-2009, 06:02 PM
Hmm, I have enough ukes for now...I'd throw the 3200 in my IRA. Then when I'm 65, I can buy 3x of the maxed out ukes (assuming roughly 5% annual returns.) Hah! Youth and time value of money FTW.

Providence
08-06-2009, 06:06 PM
I don't need $3200 for an awesome ukulele when my dream ukulele costs $1050 :D.

UkuEroll
08-06-2009, 10:38 PM
As much as I love ukuleles I don't think I could ever spend $3200 on one, It's all very well to dream but most of us are ordinary folk with all the bills that come with life. I'm sure that there would be lots and lots of other things that could be bought.
When ever we have any extra cash, which is not often, the wife always has sensible stuff to spend it on, so for now I'll dream and stick with what I can afford.

clayton56
08-06-2009, 10:44 PM
somebody once posted a theory that all that binding and cuts in the wood spoils the sound.

I don't like the fancy, I would go for the nicest wood with less ornamentation.

If I were spending $3200, I would probably spend it on an antique that was fairly plain but with a great sound. The kind of uke that has travelled all around the world during the last century.

Plenty of those on MGM's site!

clayton56
08-06-2009, 10:55 PM
You can't, you have to order it online... how would you know which one is the best sounding ? You can only order it once, no returns...


ah, the miracle of digital sound recording...

Ahnko Honu
08-06-2009, 11:29 PM
I would talk Kanile'a into making me their first pineapple tenor out of AAA curly Koa. ;)
If Ko'olau makes an 8 string pineapple tenor I'd be all over that too.
I would even be tempted to let Mike Perreira make me a 8 string baritone pineapple.

If da buggah soun' good az da main ting, no need extra bling. :shaka:

ed531
08-07-2009, 01:35 AM
somebody once posted a theory that all that binding and cuts in the wood spoils the sound.

I believe that...

I have a no frills, no binding, satin Martin Acoustic Guitar that didn't cost alot of $ that sounds great.

Sretnev
08-07-2009, 03:41 AM
The middle Collings Ukulele....UC-2 is Mahogany with gloss nitro, bound in Tortise and features "peghead" brand tuners that look like violin friction pegs, but are 4-1 geared..but you sure can't see any mechanism... These sell with awsome case at $1,440.00 really not too bad, and sound? Kicks my 1929 Martin style 1..altho the Martin is a soprano, and the Collings is a Concert.

ukerazy
08-07-2009, 03:53 AM
I totally have to agree with that, have you seen that Macadamia nut one? :drool:

I don't think i have seen that one, is it on his website?... i'm always on there lusting after them, everytime i have guests round and conversation moves to Ukuleles i get on there and show them how beautiful they are.

ed531
08-07-2009, 05:07 AM
The middle Collings Ukulele....UC-2 is Mahogany with gloss nitro, bound in Tortise and features "peghead" brand tuners that look like violin friction pegs, but are 4-1 geared..but you sure can't see any mechanism... These sell with awsome case at $1,440.00 really not too bad, and sound? Kicks my 1929 Martin style 1..altho the Martin is a soprano, and the Collings is a Concert.

I saw the new Collings Tenor @ Elderly Music. Very nice...

The 3 ukes that I would choose if I had $3200 is either, Kanilea Custom Tenor (the one they are selling @ Aloha Ukulele), Moore Bettah Bamboo Tenor or Collings Tenor (the one @ Elderly Music).

http://elderly.com/images/new_instruments/180N/UT3_front.jpg
http://www.moorebettahukes.com/909a.JPG

dnewton2
08-07-2009, 05:48 AM
I don't think i have seen that one, is it on his website?... i'm always on there lusting after them, everytime i have guests round and conversation moves to Ukuleles i get on there and show them how beautiful they are.

Chuck does make some beautiful ukes. Thay sound amazing and are real players too. I love my NSB concert.

He posted a thread a while back about the Mac Nut uke. Some pics in this thread. (http://www.ukuleleunderground.com/forum/showthread.php?t=11806&highlight=Macadamia)

ukerazy
08-07-2009, 06:48 AM
Chuck does make some beautiful ukes. Thay sound amazing and are real players too. I love my NSB concert.

He posted a thread a while back about the Mac Nut uke. Some pics in this thread. (http://www.ukuleleunderground.com/forum/showthread.php?t=11806&highlight=Macadamia)


Gosh thats gorgeous, i love the ones with all the bling more though lol! Those ukes are a serious work of art! Thanks for the link to the pictures.

ichadwick
08-07-2009, 07:07 AM
...if you were given as much as $3200 to buy ONE uke (only ONE)....
I'd purchase a week's holiday in Hawaii with my wife, then purchase a ukulele with whatever was left over...

Thumper
08-07-2009, 07:16 AM
I'd purchase a week's holiday in Hawaii with my wife, then purchase a ukulele with whatever was left over...

Ditto. I can think of many better things to do with 3K than buy a uke. I'm just not into exotic/bling-oriented ukes, and can't really imagine spending much more than $500 for one.

Anything more than that, and for me it would become something to stress over - I'd be worried about taking it outside, traveling with it, getting scratches, etc. And stress is the opposite of what I look for in a ukulele!

Moore Bettah Ukuleles
08-07-2009, 08:19 AM
somebody once posted a theory that all that binding and cuts in the wood spoils the sound.

I don't like the fancy, I would go for the nicest wood with less ornamentation.

If I were spending $3200, I would probably spend it on an antique that was fairly plain but with a great sound. The kind of uke that has travelled all around the world during the last century.

Plenty of those on MGM's site!

Utter nonsesnse. If anything, binding reinforces the edge around the sound board making it stiffer and further isolates the body so that the vibrations can be focussed on the sound board. Some guitar builders will even go as far as incorporating a solid wooden rim around the perimeter of the sound board to further increase itís stiffness.

1014
08-07-2009, 08:39 AM
Utter nonsesnse. If anything, binding reinforces the edge around the sound board making it stiffer and further isolates the body so that the vibrations can be focussed on the sound board. Some guitar builders will even go as far as incorporating a solid wooden rim around the perimeter of the sound board to further increase itís stiffness.

mahalo for the functionality of the binding. never liked the look of it but seeing that its more than ornamental, gives me renewed interest if i ever i should take the custom route. in which case i'd like something with less contrast.

to clarify, if the `ukulele was $3199 and no bling made out of no curl koa but sounded like an angel's choir to me. i'd get it. if the `ukulele was $200 had tons of bling and sounded like an angel's choir to me, i'd get that. sound to me is just the most important factor.

RonS
08-07-2009, 08:42 AM
I'd purchase a week's holiday in Hawaii with my wife, then purchase a ukulele with whatever was left over...


+2

Couldn't have said it better

Teek
08-07-2009, 10:17 AM
Wasn't the original post that you HAD to spend the $3,200. completely on a uke? Not an IRA, not airfare?

I think that's kinda nuts, but if I had to do that, I'd try to find the sweetest sounding custom from an established and respected luthier, with emphasis on best sounding wood and latest quality building technique, and then consider it an investment. I'd still play it, but with care, and would leave it in my will to someone in the family who is a lot younger. Then in 50-100 years it would potentially be worth quite a bit more, and their offspring could reap the profit and put it towards their college education, which by then would likely cost over a few million.

ed531
08-07-2009, 11:12 AM
Wasn't the original post that you HAD to spend the $3,200. completely on a uke? Not an IRA, not airfare?

I think that's kinda nuts, but if I had to do that, I'd try to find the sweetest sounding custom from an established and respected luthier, with emphasis on best sounding wood and latest quality building technique, and then consider it an investment. I'd still play it, but with care, and would leave it in my will to someone in the family who is a lot younger. Then in 50-100 years it would potentially be worth quite a bit more, and their offspring could reap the profit and put it towards their college education, which by then would likely cost over a few million.

Good plan and good answer... but if you're buying for investment, why not just buy a mint condition vintage ? That'll raise value a heck of alot more than a brand new technologically advanced uke today... Remember, today's best technology is tomorrow's Atari video game.