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View Full Version : Oscar Schmidt has multiple personalities



deach
04-19-2008, 03:18 AM
I ordered 2 Oscar Schmidt OU4 Tenor Ukuleles from the same company, at the same time.

Here is the description:
Select spruce top
Tenor size
Chrome tuners
Rosewood body
Abalone inlay

I opened the boxes and noticed right away they were different. One was made in China and the other in Indonesia.

The one on the left is from China. (The size is almost the same but the camera angle makes the Chinese version seem larger.)

http://pic50.picturetrail.com/VOL435/10947091/19512400/313875043.jpg

The Chinese version has clear strings and the Indo - black.

Back view - Notice the difference in wood.

http://pic50.picturetrail.com/VOL435/10947091/19512400/313875042.jpg

continued...

deach
04-19-2008, 03:19 AM
Saddle/bridge - China - screwed in
...also notice the inlay...

http://pic50.picturetrail.com/VOL435/10947091/19512400/313875039.jpg
http://pic50.picturetrail.com/VOL435/10947091/19512400/313875038.jpg

Headstock - China - plain, Indo - "Aloha"

http://pic50.picturetrail.com/VOL435/10947091/19512400/313875037.jpg

deach
04-19-2008, 03:21 AM
Tuners - Indo - Open

http://pic50.picturetrail.com/VOL435/10947091/19512400/313875036.jpg


Inside (sorry don't know the correct term)
Chinese - top picture

http://pic50.picturetrail.com/VOL435/10947091/19512400/313876303.jpg
http://pic50.picturetrail.com/VOL435/10947091/19512400/313876304.jpg


The Indonesian version is lighter, has a slightly smaller body and neck and has nicer inlay. It's hard to compare how they sound since the strings are different.

UkuleleHill
04-19-2008, 03:34 AM
Wow thats crazy... You would think a company like Oscar Schmidt wouldn't let something like that happen... Or at least let the same person get one of each...

UkuLeLesReggAe
04-19-2008, 03:36 AM
wtf...

So you bought them at the same time at the same place

Like ordering a UU shirt but 2 of them, correct??

Im not sure how it would work but get them to give you 2 exactly the same ukuleles... I could tell right away with the aloha and the circle things in the frets...

as the saying goes - you get what you pay for.. u paid for 2 ukuleles exactly the same and you got different...

I would be pretty annoyed, expecially if you waited a while for them.

deach
04-19-2008, 03:42 AM
...So you bought them at the same time at the same place
...

Yes, I ordered them at the same time from the same place. They came individually boxed but both boxes were in a larger box.

I'm not mad but I did call the people I bought from to alert them of this. They were shocked as well.

UkuLeLesReggAe
04-19-2008, 03:47 AM
Are they going to fix the problem or just leave it there??

deach
04-19-2008, 03:51 AM
Are they going to fix the problem or just leave it there??

I'm not sure what they are going to do but they definitely need to have some type of disclaimer or display the exact model you are buying.

menehunenyc
04-19-2008, 05:26 AM
Yea, I don't think they will do anything, although they should have been more considerate and smart about sending one person two ukes. I guess you could eventually change the strings on both, put the same new strings on both and then see which one you like the sound of better. Clearly its just a matter of a central warehouse somewhere packing the ukes that are manufactured in different places. All that said, it is a bit disconcerting and curious that this would happen.

Fred Miu
04-19-2008, 05:49 AM
test the durability of the chinese and indo and see which one i should order from hahaha.

but if they dont really have that much of a difference in sound and in performance, then there should be no problems. but that is weird though how different places make them a lot different.

menehunenyc
04-19-2008, 06:42 AM
test the durability of the chinese and indo and see which one i should order from hahaha.

but if they dont really have that much of a difference in sound and in performance, then there should be no problems. but that is weird though how different places make them a lot different.


I guess this is to be expected, companies outsource the labor to wherever the parts and labor are cheapest. The positive spin on this is that the uke is kinda sorta legitimized now that its being manufactured worldwide!! Most likely the quality will suffer as the quantity goes up.

seeso
04-19-2008, 06:53 AM
That's really odd, especially the kerfing. I've never seen kerfing without notches in it like the Indonesian one. I wonder if it would result in a weaker joint.

Is there any way you can check if the soundboard bracings are the same? If you shine a light in the inside of the uke behind the soundboard you may be able to see how they braced each one.

deach
04-19-2008, 07:34 AM
...

Is there any way you can check if the soundboard bracings are the same? ...

The bracing appears to be identical.

deach
04-19-2008, 07:36 AM
test the durability of the chinese and indo and see which one i should order from hahaha.

but if they dont really have that much of a difference in sound and in performance, then there should be no problems. but that is weird though how different places make them a lot different.

I'm far from being an expert but the Chinese is heavier, slightly larger and has different wood. I don't think they will sound exactly the same with the same strings.

Dominator
04-19-2008, 07:49 AM
That's really odd, especially the kerfing. I've never seen kerfing without notches in it like the Indonesian one. I wonder if it would result in a weaker joint.

Actually, the one without the kerfing is simply called "lining" and I think it was a pretty common thing some years back. It has no negative effect whatsoever. I think the kerfed lining which is wider at the top is primarily to provide support for instruments that have binding. Without it there would be just open space after cutting the binding ledge.

Those stew mac kits use lining and those ukes can sound amazing.

Howlin Hobbit
04-19-2008, 09:51 AM
The Indonesian one also has a screwed on bridge, they've just covered the screw heads with those little circles of MOTS.

It also looks as if the Indonesian one has a compensated saddle and the Chinese one doesn't. It might be that the Chinese saddle is just more subtly shaped and it doesn't show up as well in the pics.

Interesting how it's essentially the same bridge but one did the "poke through the hole with a knot at the end" thing and the other did the classical guitar string tie.

The one that looks larger also has more of the thick-waisted dreadnought look to the body. It might actually be a bit larger because of that.

Phil Major
04-20-2008, 04:46 PM
The Indonesian one also has a screwed on bridge, they've just covered the screw heads with those little circles of MOTS.

It also looks as if the Indonesian one has a compensated saddle and the Chinese one doesn't. It might be that the Chinese saddle is just more subtly shaped and it doesn't show up as well in the pics.

Interesting how it's essentially the same bridge but one did the "poke through the hole with a knot at the end" thing and the other did the classical guitar string tie.

The one that looks larger also has more of the thick-waisted dreadnought look to the body. It might actually be a bit larger because of that.

I'm curious about which of these differences are differences that matter? Can you tell me about the compensated or not saddle, and what value it is? Is the difference in body size and waist of one preferred to the other?

Vroom
04-20-2008, 06:43 PM
I would convince them that one is poorer quality than the other and weighs more or something and get them to send me another,.... and then either sell one on ebay or give it to a friend. haha...

Phil Major
04-22-2008, 06:19 PM
I'm curious about which of these differences are differences that matter? Can you tell me about the compensated or not saddle, and what value it is? Is the difference in body size and waist of one preferred to the other?

No one responded the first time I posted this comment, so I figured i'd give this a go again. I'm mostly responding to howlin hobbit's post, but anyone who knows can answer.

Can you tell me the significance of the differences between these two ukes?

Thanks

degracia
04-22-2008, 06:39 PM
No one responded the first time I posted this comment, so I figured i'd give this a go again. I'm mostly responding to howlin hobbit's post, but anyone who knows can answer.

Can you tell me the significance of the differences between these two ukes?

Thanks

Well Phil, I remember him stating that he couldn't really compare the 2 since there were 2 different strings. I believe one was black and one was clear. It's very hard to tell by the sound quality if they don't have the same strings. Hope that helps :)

seeso
04-22-2008, 07:47 PM
I'm curious about which of these differences are differences that matter? Can you tell me about the compensated or not saddle, and what value it is? Is the difference in body size and waist of one preferred to the other?

I'm not positive about any of this, but I think:

A compensated saddle could be better than one that is not compensated, but it depends on the ukulele. An ukulele may not need a compensated saddle, so it's impossible to say that one is preferable to the other.

If your ukulele has better intonation without a compensated saddle than it does with one, then go without.

I would imagine the same can be said of the difference in waist size. A larger waist might make the tone of an ukulele mellower, while a narrower waist would brighten the tone.

It's all conjecture on my part, as I haven't had the opportunity to test out many different body styles, but this stuff really all comes down to personal preference, from what I gather.

I mean, look at all the different brands of strings and how many people claim allegiance to one brand over another. Does that mean that one's preferred string is "better" than another? To the player, it does.

puremarkska
04-22-2008, 07:55 PM
Really odd find. Question though, what were you doing buying two Oscar Schmidts?

CedarCreek
04-22-2008, 11:36 PM
I bought an OU4 from a company in Spring Hill, Missouri that turned out to be a combo music store and pawn shop. This guy had bought a bunch of leftover stock from an Oscar Schmidt "representative" at the NAMM show in California. I paid immediately and hadn't received a shipping notification almost a week later. When I called, the owner told me he wasn't making enough on the sale of the instrument to make it worth his time to see if it had shipped yet. When it arrived, it looked great but had zero tone and lousy intonation. I made arrangements to return the instrument under the "no questions asked" return policy, and the guy left negative feedback for me. It took extreme measures to persuade him to remove it. Hope these aren't the people you bought from, but this sounds like the kind of thing they would do. Why bother looking inside the boxes to see if the instrument is in one piece before shipping? Waste of money, right?

The "Aloha" uke is an older incarnation of this model number. If you search on the OU4, you will find pictures of this on at companies that never update their stock photos. Chances are that it is of better quality because they didn't shift the manufacturing to China to spend MORE on the instrument. I'm not knocking Chinese ukes because all of mine are Chinese, and they are just fine.

What you have are two ukes built to different specifications in two different factories in two different countries perhaps years apart in time. They just happen to both have the same Oscar Schmidt model number. If you like one or both, keep them. Otherwise send them back before too much time elapses.

deach
04-22-2008, 11:59 PM
Really odd find. Question though, what were you doing buying two Oscar Schmidts?

http://www.ukuleleunderground.com/forum/showthread.php?t=1946

deach
04-23-2008, 12:03 AM
Is the difference in body size and waist of one preferred to the other?

Because of the angle I took the picture, the difference in size is exaggerated. In reality, one was larger by less than 2 cm. I doubt it will make a noticeable difference in sound/tone quality.

deach
04-23-2008, 12:25 AM
I bought an OU4 from a company in Spring Hill, Missouri that turned out to be a combo music store and pawn shop. This guy had bought a bunch of leftover stock from an Oscar Schmidt "representative" at the NAMM show in California. I paid immediately and hadn't received a shipping notification almost a week later. When I called, the owner told me he wasn't making enough on the sale of the instrument to make it worth his time to see if it had shipped yet. When it arrived, it looked great but had zero tone and lousy intonation. I made arrangements to return the instrument under the "no questions asked" return policy, and the guy left negative feedback for me. It took extreme measures to persuade him to remove it. Hope these aren't the people you bought from, but this sounds like the kind of thing they would do. Why bother looking inside the boxes to see if the instrument is in one piece before shipping? Waste of money, right?



If you mean Pleasant Hill, Missouri, then yes it is. I received mine in 4 days and I even got a confirmation number and shipping notification. After I noticed the difference I emailed and called the guys. The first thing I said was "I am not calling to complain or to get money back or to get an exchange but rather to alert you." They were very friendly and quite surprised to hear about the differences. But like you said, I doubt they will open boxes.....

As far as zero tone an intonation, I really can't vouch for that. I played the ukes for 10 minutes each with the stock strings. I did warn the winners of the contest that they should upgrade the strings as soon as they get it though.

I felt the ukes were a good value and the purpose of me buying them was to provide someone just starting out a step up from a $30 Mahalo NOT to provide them with their dream instrument.

I am sorry you had a lousy experience and I hope you got everything cleared up. I usually buy from MGM exclusively but when the contest came up I saw this as a way to provide a couple more ukuleles for people that needed them and wouldn't kill my wallet.

Phil Major
04-23-2008, 04:55 AM
You're the best deach!