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View Full Version : UAS...my perspective.



mailman
10-11-2009, 02:40 PM
I admit it. I have UAS. Most of us here on UU do. But I'm not sure it means the same thing to all of us.

I have decided that certain things just can't be argued with.

1) A great ukulele player can make an average ukulele sound good.

2) A hack ukulele player can make a great ukulele sound bad.

Put Jake Shimabukuro and I on the same stage, and have us exchange ukes. He'll make my $139 Kala sing, and I'll make his expensive custom Kamaka sound terrible, guaranteed. This is just reality. I know I'll never play like Jake, and that's okay.

The point is that I've finally decided that it's alright for me to want Kalas, or Mainlands, or Ohanas or the like. I don't have to aspire to a "big K" brand uke or a beautiful custom instrument. I can have five $300 ukes and be just as happy or happier than I would be with one $1,500 uke.

Whew! I feel better already. :D Remember, this is my perspective. Yours may be different, and that's cool, too....

freedive135
10-11-2009, 02:51 PM
:agree::agree::agree:
even though I do own one of the K's It has done nothing to make me a better player!!!!!

hoosierhiver
10-11-2009, 02:52 PM
My favorite thing is getting deals on used ukes.
That's a hoot!:shaka: Ukes with Roots!:shaka:

Steiner
10-11-2009, 02:55 PM
I admit it. I have UAS. Most of us here on UU do. But I'm not sure it means the same thing to all of us.

I have decided that certain things just can't be argued with.

1) A great ukulele player can make an average ukulele sound good.

2) A hack ukulele player can make a great ukulele sound bad.

Put Jake Shimabukuro and I on the same stage, and have us exchange ukes. He'll make my $139 Kala sing, and I'll make his expensive custom Kamaka sound terrible, guaranteed. This is just reality. I know I'll never play like Jake, and that's okay.

The point is that I've finally decided that it's alright for me to want Kalas, or Mainlands, or Ohanas or the like. I don't have to aspire to a "big K" brand uke or a beautiful custom instrument. I can have five $300 ukes and be just as happy or happier than I would be with one $1,500 uke.

Whew! I feel better already. :D Remember, this is my perspective. Yours may be different, and that's cool, too....

:agree: But maybe that has something to do with my lack of funds. Your explanation sounds more philosophical though so I'm going with it.

Duddles
10-11-2009, 02:59 PM
I am a terrible player, but I want the biggest (figuratively of course, these are ukes we are talking about after all) and best ukes I can find, no matter the cost... That and I love electric instruments, so that is why I went for a Howlett Uklectic... and that is why I want a minimum of two more Howlett Uklectics.

Brewerpaul
10-11-2009, 03:01 PM
I think you have a sensible attitude.
With so many things,including musical instruments, price goes up exponentially but actual improvement as far as the average user is concerned is only incremental.
Now, I make wooden pennywhistles that are well up there as far as price is concerned (although NOWHERE near what a custom uke, guitar, mandolin etc costs). I'll be the first to tell potential buyers that my whistles will NOT make them play any better. For those who really enjoy the hand crafting, the uniqueness of exotic wood and having something made just for them, the price is worth it. However, there are plenty of mass produced whistles that play perfectly well and lots of people are perfectly happy to stick with those. Different strokes...

eleuke
10-11-2009, 03:01 PM
I have to agree. Well said. I have a unique way of dealing with my UAS. I don't actualy Aquire on a permanent basis. I aquire temporarily to rebuild, refurbish, repair, and the like. It works for me. I make them as beautiful and as healthy as I can, and of course I have to strum to check my work. When I'm done, sometimes it's hard giving them back. It kinda feels like giving your adopted child back to the biological parents. I love every uke I touch as if it were my own.

mailman
10-11-2009, 03:04 PM
My favorite thing is getting deals on used ukes.
That's a hoot!:shaka: Ukes with Roots!:shaka:

I haven't found any used ukes around here yet....but I'm still looking! Still looking forward to someday putting a Mainland in my line-up!

wickedwahine11
10-11-2009, 03:04 PM
I think you have a very healthy and wise perspective on it, for me, though it is the opposite. I can't let the expensive Kamaka and Kanile'a sit unplayed, so it actually forces me to play more, and therefore get better. I still have a LONG way to go before I consider myself a good player, but at least having spent that much gives me the motivation to continue. And probably, maybe just a tad, makes my bad playing sound a little more palatable.:o

ritzer012
10-11-2009, 03:26 PM
i learned on a 30 dollar lanikai and when i knew i loved it i went out and bought a koaloha. it still is the most expensive thing i've ever purchased all on my own in my life....my reasoning was that i put so much time and effort into teaching myself this instrument that was so foreign to me and i came so far that i DESERVED to get the best (arguably, of course) uke i could at that time.

lukuleles
10-11-2009, 04:25 PM
I can't even touch most ukulele's without thinking about how nice it would sound if i was playing my Da Silva instead. Most ukuleles now feel like toys compared to my custom.

Even if you aren't Jake, a fine instrument is worth EVERY penny. You WILL sound better and you will progress faster because of two reasons...

1. It is easier to play.
2. It sounds like heaven, encouraging you to play more.

If you can afford it, sell all you ukes and buy your dream custom. It will be worth it.

deach
10-11-2009, 04:29 PM
.....
1) A great ukulele player can make an average ukulele sound good.

2) A hack ukulele player can make a great ukulele sound bad.
....
I agree 100%


....
I can have five $300 ukes and be just as happy or happier than I would be with one $1,500 uke.
...
I thought this too until I played some $1500 ukes.

dnewton2
10-11-2009, 04:34 PM
I thought this too until I played some $1500 ukes.

:agree: There are some mighty fine $300 ukes but man oh man there is nothing like a fine instrument in your hands.

Different strokes for different folks!:p

specialmike
10-11-2009, 04:45 PM
i agree, but you buy what you can afford. If you can afford a hawaiian K (and want one), get one. If you want afford a ohana, get one.
If you can afford it, and feel its worth the money, you should buy it. They'll hold their value.

I only played about for about 6 months when decided to purchase my tenor koaloha; never will regret it. And Definitely will be purchasing more K's. Why? because I can :) The way I see it, I've only been playing for 1 year so far. Unless I lose my hands or arms in a freak accident anytime soon, I'm going to still be playing with all my heart and learning to become better. And if I do happen to lose my hands and fingers.. or arms, I'll learn with my feet. And it it so happens that I lose all of my appendages that allow me to play the uke, by god I will learn how to play with my nose and tongue. The ukulele, I will not quit. So If I'm going to play for the rest of my life until I'm pushing up daisies.. well, I might as well satisfy my UAS with something incredible.. that way, it'll sty at bay for longer... :)

sukie
10-11-2009, 04:54 PM
I thought this too until I played some $1500 ukes.

i'd be afraid to touch them!

Milla
10-11-2009, 04:58 PM
I hope to one day own a nice custom ukulele.But until then, I'm happy with my Kala.

GX9901
10-11-2009, 05:05 PM
I think there are good instruments in just about every price range. But I think you'd be short changing yourself if you don't at least try some of the best (usually most expensive) instruments that you can afford. There are usually some pretty good reasons why a given instrument is in a given price bracket. But it's hard to find out without getting your hands on one of them. Of course, after trying the stuff at the upper end of affordability for you, you might decide you can live without them, but at least then you would know for sure.

leftovermagic84
10-11-2009, 05:13 PM
I actually agree with mailman, but in full disclosure, until tomorrow when my mainland gets here, I will have never played a solid wood uke. In all honesty it will likely be the most expensive and nicest ukulele I will ever play. A lot of us don't live in an area where ukuleles are common, and so playing before we buy is out of the question. If i got to play a K_____, I may change my mind and decide I want to buy one, but the only way I'd ever get my hands on a uke that nice is to first buy it online.

Uncle-Taco
10-11-2009, 05:37 PM
My favorite thing is getting deals on used ukes.
That's a hoot!:shaka: Ukes with Roots!:shaka:

:agree: You can get a lot of bells & whistles on a $1500 uke, but a well-loved old uke has pre-installed mojo!

spots
10-11-2009, 06:39 PM
The point is that I've finally decided that it's alright for me to want Kalas, or Mainlands, or Ohanas or the like. I don't have to aspire to a "big K" brand uke or a beautiful custom instrument. I can have five $300 ukes and be just as happy or happier than I would be with one $1,500 uke.


Absolutely!!

I think MGM's recent blind uke test is a very good illustration that one does not need to pay huge dollars, or even get solid wood, to get a good sounding instrument.

Most of us aren't in a situation where the subtle difference in sustain, highs, lows, etc. will be noticed, much less really matter.

So buy a uke whose sound you like, that is comfortable, at a price you can afford, try different strings until you find a sound you really like, learn how to tune it (Please!) , work on technique, build your repertoire, listen to music, listen to more music, practice, practice, practice. You'll have a blast (and so will others around you).

One day you'll wake up and it will dawn upon you that somewhere along the way you became a musician.

Spooner
10-11-2009, 07:09 PM
Absolutely!!

I think MGM's recent blind uke test is a very good illustration that one does not need to pay huge dollars, or even get solid wood, to get a good sounding instrument.

Most of us aren't in a situation where the subtle difference in sustain, highs, lows, etc. will be noticed, much less really matter.

So buy a uke whose sound you like, that is comfortable, at a price you can afford, try different strings until you find a sound you really like, learn how to tune it (Please!) , work on technique, build your repertoire, listen to music, listen to more music, practice, practice, practice. You'll have a blast (and so will others around you).

One day you'll wake up and it will dawn upon you that somewhere along the way you became a musician.

I have to say that while the test was cool and all...listening to ukuleles on a video (YouTube and the like) is really no way to judge the true sound of an ukulele. Everyone posts vids/sound samples of their ukuleles. Everyone says "it sounds great." I listened to an MGM sound sample of an uke I was buying. it sounded fine...like an ukulele but when I got it I was beyond impressed. I have heard sound samples of ukuleles that I have purchased beforehand...the sound was fine...sounded like an ukulele...but when I got it the sound was not as good as it sounded on the video. These are high ends ukes I am referring to...but the same is true for $100 ukes.

The only true way to know what an ukulele sounds like is by playing one. YouTube and similar videos really dont express the true voice an ukulele.

Dose are my dos Lincolns.

thejumpingflea
10-11-2009, 07:15 PM
I have to say that while the test was cool and all...listening to ukuleles on a video (YouTube and the like) is really no way to judge the true sound of an ukulele. Everyone posts vids/sound samples of their ukuleles. Everyone says "it sounds great." I listened to an MGM sound sample of an uke I was buying. it sounded fine...like an ukulele but when I got it I was beyond impressed. I have heard sound samples of ukuleles that I have purchased beforehand...the sound was fine...sounded like an ukulele...but when I got it the sound was not as good as it sounded on the video. These are high ends ukes I am referring to...but the same is true for $100 ukes.

The only true way to know what an ukulele sounds like is by playing one. YouTube and similar videos really dont express the true voice an an ukulele.

Dose are my dos Lincolns.

QFT.

All of those ukes were strung with Aquilas too. Aquilas have a pretty specific sound and over youtube you won't be able to hear the difference all to well. In person is a different story.

I am just going to guess that anyone that thinks having 5 $300 ukes is better than one $1500 uke has never played a $1500 for very long. The difference between these a quality import and a hand made piece of art is something else.

I own 13 ukes and would prefer to play my Moore Bettah over any of them. It is simply because it is a superior instrument. As far as Tenor ukuleles go, my UAS is gone because of this incredible instrument. (Now if I wanted a Banjolele or Pineapple Soprano sound, that is a different story!)

Just my 2 cents.

Boozelele
10-11-2009, 07:37 PM
There are guys that are incredible players and only OWN one uke. UAS doesnt get everyone. But I can see where 5 $300 ukes is a lot more fun than 1 $1500 uke. It's not to say that that expensive uke isn't 5 times better, it probably is. But it's fun to own a fluke, and a banjolele, and a concert, and a pineapple and a couple tenors, and a cheap soprano.....they are just FUN to play! And it is a different kind of fun than you could get out of owning just one $1500 custom tenor.

But what the hell do I know. :)

thejumpingflea
10-11-2009, 07:41 PM
There are guys that are incredible players and only OWN one uke. UAS doesnt get everyone. But I can see where 5 $300 ukes is a lot more fun than 1 $1500 uke. It's not to say that that expensive uke isn't 5 times better, it probably is. But it's fun to own a fluke, and a banjolele, and a concert, and a pineapple and a couple tenors, and a cheap soprano.....they are just FUN to play! And it is a different kind of fun than you could get out of owning just one $1500 custom tenor.

But what the hell do I know. :)

That is the key though. Exactly what you said, " But it's fun to own a fluke, and a banjolele, and a concert, and a pineapple and a couple tenors, and a cheap soprano...."

This is very true. I agree when that is the case. But when you have 5 $300 dollar tenors, just buy that awesome tenor to start and that problem won't emerge.

To each their own. :D

Boozelele
10-11-2009, 07:44 PM
But when you have 5 $300 dollar tenors, just buy that awesome tenor to start and that problem won't emerge.

I agree whole heartedly. Either that or when you finally find that kick-ass tenor, sell the rest...you probably wont ever play them again anyway.

Spooner
10-11-2009, 07:48 PM
I agree whole heartedly. Either that or when you finally find that kick-ass tenor, sell the rest...you probably wont ever play them again anyway.


I play My MBU, Pegasus, Compass Rose and all other customs I own AS WELL as my Kala. Having a collection allows you to grab the uke and sound you feel like enjoying at any given time. I play all of my ukuleles. Price tag has nothing to do with it.

Ahnko Honu
10-11-2009, 09:41 PM
Being an unemployed disabled ex government worker with a very set income which will in the near future be reduced more while the cost of living goes up I know I will never own a new "K" 'ukulele so I have to be satisfied with what I can get and so far the getting has been good with only one 'ukulele costing over $300 ($310 Koa Mele pineapple concert), and my used Craigslist Kamaka pineapple at exactly $300, the rest falling quite a way below these costs. I've played much more expensive instruments and loved their sound but the reality of the situation lets me accept and be happy with what I have.
I'll be selling a bunch if not all of my non-pineapple 'ukuleles in the near future hopefully all locally on Craigslist but what doesn't sell I'll post here.

deach
10-12-2009, 12:41 AM
....In all honesty it will likely be the most expensive and nicest ukulele I will ever play. ....

Famous last words.

Sambient
10-12-2009, 12:54 AM
Some of the OP mindset definitely appeals to this uku-newbie.
After all, I'm a person who has far more fun with many delightful pieces of costume jewelry vs.
a
serious
piece
of jewelry.

I also recognize in myself that once I get into something I want to know much about it. In me, that has to do with the gadgetry.
Yesterday's Oscar Schmidt purchase was my third ukulele, when I haven't even mastered all my flats and sharps yet. But how could I not snap up a sweetie that I know usually sells for $99-$139 when it's marked down to $45 just because it's flawed, not as pretty as it's supposed to be?
And support a favorite local business at the same time?

The ukes are still outnumbered by my baseball gloves (when all I do is play catch in the yard with my man). Still outnumbered by my sewing machines.
Still outnumbered by the cats and dog.
So far.

spots
10-12-2009, 06:27 AM
The only true way to know what an ukulele sounds like is by playing one. YouTube and similar videos really dont express the true voice an ukulele.

Dose are my dos Lincolns.

The main point I was trying to make wasn't that MGM's sound files were the gold standard to use for comparison.

The main point I was trying to make is that technique, skill, repetoire, practice, experince, will make more of a difference in the quality of sound and playing than just the instrument alone. Most times going through that process is what allows you to gain the experince needed to hear and feel the differences between instruments.

That's why I said,


Most of us aren't in a situation where the subtle difference in sustain, highs, lows, etc. will be noticed, much less really matter.

For a lot of people this is just a fun hobby, and a way to learn music up to a certain degree.

When you are at the point where subtleties of sound and playability are noticed, then you are also at the point where you will appreciate and really take advantage of the sound qualities and playability of a much nicer instrument.

But no one should feel bad, or feel like less of a musician, for learning and gaining that experience on a more modestly priced instrument.

GX9901
10-12-2009, 06:40 AM
Most of us aren't in a situation where the subtle difference in sustain, highs, lows, etc. will be noticed, much less really matter.


I think you might be surprised by how much difference you would notice. I was a total noob when I was afflicted with UAS about 3 years ago and bought a Pineapple Sunday like half a year into my ukulele oddesy. I was no good at all at playing the ukulele yet I noticed a huge difference between it and the less expensive ukes I had at the time (Pono, Flea, etc).

Now I'm not saying that everyone must spend tons of money on their ukes, but I'm saying that it's very possible that a less experienced players could notice the difference in a great instrument compared to a lesser one.

UKISOCIETY
10-12-2009, 06:40 AM
I've found that it's best to own 3 ukes for every mood. minimum.

leftovermagic84
10-12-2009, 06:59 AM
I've found that it's best to own 3 ukes for every mood. minimum.

which three for eclectic? :D

HaileISela
10-12-2009, 07:23 AM
I'm not really in the position to say much about this matter (at least not on Ukes) since the most expensive Uke I played so far is my beloved Pono Mango Tenor. But I think there are huge differences not only in the sound, but also the playability. I can tell you that a baritone saxophone for 3k$ doesn't play and sound as good as one for twice the price. and a bagpipe by a good builder is not only worth the 3-6k$, but also the 3-many years you sometimes have to wait for them.

A good instrument is always a pleasure. a better instrument (if you can afford it) will be of much greater pleasure.

existence
10-12-2009, 07:39 AM
Well, right now I own two ukes in the $200 range, but my first "high end" ukulele, a Koaloha concert, will arrive today. I still have limited experience with different makes, and this will be the first time I've tried out a K brand. I really am curious as to whether it will live up to he hype...frankly I'm trying to keep my expectations low, as unreasonable hopes breed disappointment.

Maybe after I've played it I'll come back here and post my reaction...

Tsani
10-12-2009, 07:58 AM
My favorite thing is getting deals on used ukes.
That's a hoot!:shaka: Ukes with Roots!:shaka:
:agree: Me too!!!

UKISOCIETY
10-12-2009, 09:05 AM
which three for eclectic? :D

Electric for eclectic.:p

sukie
10-12-2009, 09:10 AM
Well, right now I own two ukes in the $200 range, but my first "high end" ukulele, a Koaloha concert, will arrive today. I still have limited experience with different makes, and this will be the first time I've tried out a K brand. I really am curious as to whether it will live up to he hype...frankly I'm trying to keep my expectations low, as unreasonable hopes breed disappointment.

Maybe after I've played it I'll come back here and post my reaction...

you will not be disappointed at all. trust me!

existence
10-12-2009, 03:55 PM
As promised, I'm back with some thoughts now that I've played the Koaloha. In a word: whoa. Impressive. It sings, that's the best way to say it. The notes don't just hang in the the air and die, they blossom (I have had a chance to play it when I'm not just sort of staring, drooling, and giving praise to whatever benevolent power has seen fit to bring this instrument to my doorstep. ) It's crazy resonant. I think the only thing I don't like about it is the size of the frets (they're kinda big and lumpy, though I suspect I'll get used to it.)

Anyways, as pertains to this thread, I still like my Kiwaya and Flea, and will still play them, but this ukulele is undoubtedly better. Worth the money, yes. But I still agree with the general sentiment of the thread, which is to say you don't need fancy equipment to play great sounding music and have fun.

Duddles
10-12-2009, 04:27 PM
Electric for eclectic.:p

Uklectic (http://petehowlettukulele.co.uk/electric_ukulele_tenor.html) for eclectic!