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View Full Version : Run over by a Dreadnaught



SweetWaterBlue
12-04-2009, 09:09 AM
I got a chance to drop by Sam Ash this morning, and wanted to take a look at the ukes. They had a half dozen or so, including a few Oscar Schmidts, the infamous Martin SO, an Applause, but none of the Lanikais they have in their catalog.

Anyway, the acoustic room was empty (and quiet) when I went in, so I got a chance to actually hear myself play the ukes. Not having played before, I don't really have any fingernails to speak of, so my playing is pretty quiet anyway. After playing all of the ukes there, my peace was broken by a man coming in and picking up what I can only describe as an acoustic dreadnought guitar. He sat down an proceeded to destroy any prayer I had of hearing the ukes. If I didn't know better, I would have sworn he was amped. He sat down and didn't seem like he was going anywhere, so I finally gave up.

The thought did pop into my mind that if I had an amp and plug in there, I could have plugged the Oscar OU2E in and cranked her up, but it was an acoustic room after all! Sheesh! That little Oscar did seem well put together, had a nice tone, and the built in electronics had some appeal anyway. That solution seems to work for Buffett (Warren, not Jimmy) with his OU2E:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v7ovjjwyLPg

I had noticed a similar effect at GuitarCity when I tried to hear the ukes there to no avail in the after Thanksgiving mayhem.

So, how in the heck do you guys ever hear yourselves playing a uke when you aren't in a dead silent room? I know letting the fingernails grow will help.

Lori
12-04-2009, 09:40 AM
Hey, I know your pain. I find it nearly impossible to really hear an instrument in a music store. Unless they have a separate sound proof room, there always seems to be someone making noise/ or showing off/ or testing instruments. My last music store visit managed to time it OK as far as other customers were concerned, but the drum lessons in the back room made it very hard to concentrate on the sound of the uke. And then, there was the swap meet. Here I am, a potential customer, trying to listen to the voice of some very expensive ukes, and a booth attendant (I think he worked there, but I am not sure) is jamming away like he's hoping to be discovered by a talent agent. Why music stores don't provide more quiet spaces for serious shoppers is a mystery to me. Some have what appear to be separate rooms, but they are not sound proof, and an electric guitar can overwhelm pretty much everything within the space of the store.

The only hope is to go there when they have the fewest customers. You might call first, and find out what time is typically the best. If they have a liberal return policy, maybe you can take one or two home to try, and review them in relative peace and quiet.

–Lori

Ahnko Honu
12-04-2009, 09:40 AM
ARGH, First thing that entered my mind was you in a canoe, and encountering...
http://www.history.navy.mil/photos/images/h63000/h63367.jpg

GrumpyCoyote
12-04-2009, 09:43 AM
Yeah - I'm a big fan of going to music shops, but there is a weird etiquette issue almost every time I go.

If someone is already there playing, I at least try to play in key/time with what they are doing. If I can't do that, I try to keep the volume down a bit. Unless of course I'm actually buying, then all bets are off and I'll wail away as I please.

Most stores have lesson rooms, and on occasion I'll ask if I can use one - again assuming I'm serious about buying.


If you liked that Wasburn (Oscar Schmidts are Washburns) just imagine how a real uke is going to sound :p

haolejohn
12-04-2009, 10:26 AM
I got a chance to drop by Sam Ash this morning, and wanted to take a look at the ukes. They had a half dozen or so, including a few Oscar Schmidts, the infamous Martin SO, an Applause, but none of the Lanikais they have in their catalog.

Anyway, the acoustic room was empty (and quiet) when I went in, so I got a chance to actually hear myself play the ukes. Not having played before, I don't really have any fingernails to speak of, so my playing is pretty quiet anyway. After playing all of the ukes there, my peace was broken by a man coming in and picking up what I can only describe as an acoustic dreadnought guitar. He sat down an proceeded to destroy any prayer I had of hearing the ukes. If I didn't know better, I would have sworn he was amped. He sat down and didn't seem like he was going anywhere, so I finally gave up.

The thought did pop into my mind that if I had an amp and plug in there, I could have plugged the Oscar OU2E in and cranked her up, but it was an acoustic room after all! Sheesh! That little Oscar did seem well put together, had a nice tone, and the built in electronics had some appeal anyway. That solution seems to work for Buffett (Warren, not Jimmy) with his OU2E:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v7ovjjwyLPg

I had noticed a similar effect at GuitarCity when I tried to hear the ukes there to no avail in the after Thanksgiving mayhem.

So, how in the heck do you guys ever hear yourselves playing a uke when you aren't in a dead silent room? I know letting the fingernails grow will help.

When you play my koaloha you will hear yourself and so will everyone else:)

johncaudrey
12-04-2009, 10:38 AM
I used to regularly visit a music shop in Hampshire, UK where they had a lovely sign saying 'Anyone playing "Stairway to Heaven" on any of our guitars will be immediately ejected from the shop!' (I guess they'd just heard it one too many times).
I wonder if there is a ukulele equivalent, perhaps "My guitar/ukulele gently weeps"?

bbycrts
12-04-2009, 10:49 AM
I used to regularly visit a music shop in Hampshire, UK where they had a lovely sign saying 'Anyone playing "Stairway to Heaven" on any of our guitars will be immediately ejected from the shop!' (I guess they'd just heard it one too many times).
I wonder if there is a ukulele equivalent, perhaps "My guitar/ukulele gently weeps"?

That may be a sly wink at the movie Wayne's World - Wayne starts to play Stairway and is stopped by an angry employee who shows him the same (or similar) sign...

Pippin
12-04-2009, 11:35 AM
That may be a sly wink at the movie Wayne's World - Wayne starts to play Stairway and is stopped by an angry employee who shows him the same (or similar) sign...

"No Stairway"

haole
12-04-2009, 12:24 PM
Best way to hear yourself play is to grab the instrument you're interested in and duck into the classical guitar room (if your store has one). It's the safest, quietest place in Guitar Center and there's never anybody in there. They have small amps set up too.

Usually smaller music stores are really uncomfortable for me. Either someone is busy thrashing away so loudly that nobody can hear the instrument they're testing, or it's so awkwardly quiet that you don't want to be the one responsible for breaking the silence and attracting all the attention. Even worse when it's the kind of store where every single instrument has a "PLEASE ASK FOR ASSISTANCE" sign on it, and the salesman stands over you the whole time, just staring at you and waiting for you to hurry up and buy the thing already. :uhoh:

freedive135
12-04-2009, 01:49 PM
Even worse when it's the kind of store where every single instrument has a "PLEASE ASK FOR ASSISTANCE" sign on it, and the salesman stands over you the whole time, just staring at you and waiting for you to hurry up and buy the thing already. :uhoh:

My local Uke shop is the exact oppisite of this... You can walk in and take anything off the wall, try them out for how ever long you want and they have some BIG BUCK & Vintage Uke's/Guitars/Mando's/Fiddles....
then one day I walk in to a different shop down the steet from them and got yelled at for talking a Makala Uke off the wall I will never go back to that shop again.

Last week I was in the local GC messing around playing Hawaii 5-O on a Strat at a low volume when this kid sits down next to me and plugs in a Flying V and starts cranking out some godawful death rock so I gave him the ol' stink eye and he sheepishly says sorry man and turns it down... as I was leaving one of the workers smilied at me and said thanks for that!!!

MartinLil
12-04-2009, 02:19 PM
When you play my koaloha you will hear yourself and so will everyone else:)

+1 My KoAloha Sceptre is a complete sound monster!! She's definitely not as loud as my Martin D-16GT, but you'd be amazed by the sound that comes out of that little body. KoAlohas are very loud in general. Maybe you should be looking at this brand instead. ;)

ukulelegal
12-04-2009, 02:56 PM
If you liked that Wasburn (Oscar Schmidts are Washburns) just imagine how a real uke is going to sound :p[/QUOTE]
LOL...yep totally ghetto (my Oscar-Schmidt that is) I still think I should win that contest due to the manufacturer.

I think the suggestions of trying to find the least busy time is the best. If you live in Michigan and plan to shop at Elderly instruments don't go on a Saturday...everyone is jamming away and you are lucky if you can even get near the ukuleles!!! It drives me CrAzY! Don't get between me and the ukes....

haole
12-04-2009, 02:56 PM
My local Uke shop is the exact oppisite of this... You can walk in and take anything off the wall, try them out for how ever long you want and they have some BIG BUCK & Vintage Uke's/Guitars/Mando's/Fiddles....
then one day I walk in to a different shop down the steet from them and got yelled at for talking a Makala Uke off the wall I will never go back to that shop again.


Whoa, exact same story here. Mandolin Bros. in NY is unusually laid-back for a place that carries only the good stuff. You can rock out on a vintage Martin 5K or a one-of-a-kind D'Angelico archtop or a Gibson F5 mandolin and they won't give you a hard time. They just want you to be comfortable and let the instruments speak for themselves. But I've also gotten yelled at (at a different store, of course!) for picking up a Makala dolphin. Whoa, sorry, man, I was just gonna tune it!

Harold O.
12-04-2009, 05:49 PM
One of the reasons (somewhere way back on the list...) that I even picked up a musical instrument was so that I could be 'that guy' who picked up a [ukulele] in the store and played something really bitchin'. Yeah, like the store guys are actually gonna care!

I've had a Walter Mitty kind of thing for being the guy banging out a cool tune on a piano near the front of a store in the local mall and having folks stop by and listen. I finish, get up, and head over to get a Hot Dog on a Stick, like nothing happened, pretending not to notice the crowd.:cool:

I can't play piano, but I've strummed enough uke to get some attention here and there. It's too cool.

SweetWaterBlue
12-27-2009, 07:14 AM
To post sort of an amusing (to me anyway) follow-up. I was in Sam Ash with my guitar playing son looking at all the goodies and they had a nice Kala spalted mango with Aquilas. I could not resist, so after tuning it up, I played "Five Foot Two," and a few scales and chord progressions on it. I really need to memorize more songs.

Wow - what a difference from my earlier experience there three or four weeks ago. Now that my fingernails are halfway grown out, and I know some chords and songs, you could actually hear me all the way across the acoustic room. I even had a lady who was in the room with her son, who was playing a guitar on the other side come over and ask me if the ukulele was hard to play. What a sweet sound (and loud) that mango had.

rubenken
12-27-2009, 07:24 AM
You were lucky. Last time I went into the acoustic room at a music store, a friend of the young guy who was in charge of the store that day plugged in an electric guitar, started to play at full volume and distortion, and didn't stop before I left in disgust.