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King FarUke
02-06-2010, 01:18 PM
Guys and Gals: Anyone know if the shops in Hawaii negotiate at all on the retail price of new K-Brand ukes. I will be on Oahu and Maui for two weeks at the end of February and I am considering a new tenor Kamaka, Ko'Aloha, Kanilea, G-string etc. I noticed online that the shops tend to have different prices for the same basic model Hawaiian ukes. Some are even higher than the MSRP set by the manufacturer. I don't mind paying a fair price, but when one shop has an uke for $1050 and another is $980for the same uke, I don't want to feel ripped off. If there is some other service for the higher price (good set-up, included case, good customer service), I would understand that and consider the higher price. I appreciate any input from those with experience dealing with the shops. Any suggested shops would also be appreciated. My other ukes have been purchased online where the prices are generally competitive.

wickedwahine11
02-06-2010, 01:27 PM
If I were you, I would try to see if musicguymic is in town. There are lots of stores around Waikiki but they are pretty high on prices. For example, a $1500 KoAloha Pineapple Sunday was $1700 at Aloha Ukulele in the Hilton Hawaiian Village. There are good selections at Bob's, Puapua and Ukulele House in Honolulu but I don't think their prices are competitive with Mike. As for Maui, they had some nice Kamaka tenors at Lahaina Music, and I think Bounty Music in Maui has a pretty good selection too.

And the customer service at Aloha Ukulele is either horrible or wonderful depending on who is working. There is a woman there who is really mean...I was staying in the hotel and she acted like I was putting her out by asking to see ukuleles. She also treated me like dirt. On the other hand, I went once and met a very nice young man who was quite helpful there, so it is hit and miss. But regardless, I would never pay their prices at that store.

Good luck on your search, and have fun and drink a mai tai for me! :)

King FarUke
02-06-2010, 01:44 PM
Wicked - Thanks for the quick response. I was considering calling Mike, but I was not sure if he had an actual shop. But I figured for a sale he would at least meet up with me. When I was in O'ahu, Maui and Kaua'i last year I checked out a lot of ukes but was only looking for one under $200 (wife didn't understand the uke lifestyle at that time). I ended up buying a Kamoa from Larry's on Kaua'i (which has a real good sound for an imported laminate uke). The wife is going to let me spend a little more on my so-called "souvenir" this year! I do remember Bob's in Waikiki having a good selection but high prices. I did not check out any other shops while there. I also had many a good mai tai!

Scott Stahlecker
02-06-2010, 02:27 PM
You might want to check out the Mele ukes on Maui. I've bought one of theirs at the store and one online. They have a great selection. Been fair on the price as well.

King FarUke
02-06-2010, 02:39 PM
Thanks Scott. I had not heard of that shop. I will check them out while there.

experimentjon
02-06-2010, 03:17 PM
Dan's Guitar and Easy Music have about 15% off MSRP. And Music Guy Mike has similar prices. If you visit the KoAloha factory, I belive their seconds are 25% off list prices. And I know that the Kamaka factory gives some discount (15%?) for buying direct from them. I just wouldn't reccomend shopping in Waikiki, since they're all exepsnvie there thanks to high rents. But the local favorits like Dans and EMC have good selection, although yeah, the service is spotty sometimes.

King FarUke
02-06-2010, 03:28 PM
Thanks. I was not aware that the factories sold directly to the public. I may have to check them out. I was focusing on a KoAloha due to the somewhat unique looks and apparent satisfaction of KoAloha owners but eanted to try the other brands to see how they felt/sounded. I know Mike often has KoAloha's available so I will at least drop him a note. Anyone know if the big swap meet at the stadium on Wednesdays and the weekends is worth visiting?

itsme
02-06-2010, 03:43 PM
Anyone know if the shops in Hawaii negotiate at all on the retail price of new K-Brand ukes.
If it's an independent shop, the owner always has the option to negotiate, whereas a regular employee may not have that power. You can always ask to speak to a manager and see if they'll can do better on the price or price match another store (if you really like a particular instrument they have) or if they'll give a discount for cash, since they have to pay extra for processing on a credit/debit card.

And you can always walk away with the "I'll have to think about it" attitude, which sometimes gets you a better offer on the spot or some freebies, like maybe a hardshell case included.

King FarUke
02-06-2010, 04:11 PM
Thanks.... good tips!

Kanaka916
02-06-2010, 04:14 PM
Guys and Gals: Anyone know if the shops in Hawaii negotiate at all on the retail price of new K-Brand ukes. I will be on Oahu and Maui for two weeks at the end of February and I am considering a new tenor Kamaka Ka, Ko'Aloha, Kanilea, G-string etc. I noticed online that the shops tend to have different prices for the same basic model Hawaiian ukes. Some are even higher than the MSRP set by the manufacturer. I don't mind paying a fair price, but when one shop has an uke for $1050 and another is $980for the same uke, I don't want to feel ripped off. If there is some other service for the higher price (good set-up, included case, good customer service), I would understand that and consider the higher price. I appreciate any input from those with experience dealing with the shops. Any suggested shops would also be appreciated. My other ukes have been purchased online where the prices are generally competitive.
Check the Hawai'i listing in the Ukulele Stores thread (http://www.ukuleleunderground.com/forum/showthread.php?16519-Ukulele-Stores-USA). You can also reference the 808 Builders Thread (http://www.ukuleleunderground.com/forum/showthread.php?16211) which includes the builders you mentioned and then some. There are some good deals to be found.

As far as the Swap Meet at Aloha Stadium, they do have a few vendors there showing their wares, some even have a few of the Hawaiian built instruments as well. You'll also see Lanikai, Kala, Leolani and some other lesser brand names. Prices will vary, but way cheaper than shopping in Waikiki.

experimentjon
02-06-2010, 04:17 PM
Thanks. I was not aware that the factories sold directly to the public. I may have to check them out. I was focusing on a KoAloha due to the somewhat unique looks and apparent satisfaction of KoAloha owners but eanted to try the other brands to see how they felt/sounded. I know Mike often has KoAloha's available so I will at least drop him a note. Anyone know if the big swap meet at the stadium on Wednesdays and the weekends is worth visiting?

If you're pretty set on KoAloha, you should definitely go visit their factory. I've got 5 KoAlohas now. I love them all. It's kind of hard to find KoAlohas in retail stores, and a lot of them haven't to keep them in stock. The swap meet is worth visiting, but not necessarily for ukulele buying.

mackfam
02-06-2010, 04:23 PM
I just saw Mike at the Denver Ukefest today. I got his card. His store address in Kaneohe is 46-483 haiku Plantations Drive, Kaneohe Hi 96722. Phone is 757-777-7873. Put it in MapQuest and you can see where it is located. I think you can call ahead and meet him there. I think he has a lot of ukes in stock. If not there I think he can find it for you with a little notice beforehand.

King FarUke
02-06-2010, 04:25 PM
Thanks again for all the info. I will certainly have to schedule a factory visit.

P-co
02-06-2010, 05:10 PM
I like this thread, I'm trying to wrangle a trip to Hawaii this year and it's great to know that you can get the "local knowledge" from other UU members. Great stuff.

countrybumpkin
02-06-2010, 05:47 PM
Kamaka did not mention anything about a price other than list price at the factory even when I asked. Koaloha factory has a number of seconds that I would look into. In Honolulu, for retail I like PuaPua, Goodguys and Harry's. Scottie's in Kalaheo, Kauai had a nice selection and is interested in making someone a repeat, loyal customer.

Lori
02-06-2010, 07:35 PM
Check the Hawai'i listing in the Ukulele Stores thread (http://www.ukuleleunderground.com/forum/showthread.php?16519-Ukulele-Stores-USA). You can also reference the 808 Builders Thread (http://www.ukuleleunderground.com/forum/showthread.php?16211) which includes the builders you mentioned and then some. There are some good deals to be found.

As far as the Swap Meet at Aloha Stadium, they do have a few vendors there showing their wares, some even have a few of the Hawaiian built instruments as well. You'll also see Lanikai, Kala, Leolani and some other lesser brand names. Prices will vary, but way cheaper than shopping in Waikiki.

I bought my Kanile'a at the Aloha Stadium swap meet. One vender had a good selection of Kanile'a Ukes and I was able to sit and play some really nice ukes. They had at least 2-3 of each size, and a guitarlele. I found the one that really sang, and bought it. I don't think I got a really "good" deal, probably near list price, but I don't think I was overcharged. Remember if you are not living in Hawaii, you shouldn't have to pay local sales tax. That can really add on to the cost of your purchase. Not many music stores open on Sundays, so it is worth it if you find yourself there on Sunday.
–Lori

experimentjon
02-06-2010, 09:50 PM
I bought my Kanile'a at the Aloha Stadium swap meet. One vender had a good selection of Kanile'a Ukes and I was able to sit and play some really nice ukes. They had at least 2-3 of each size, and a guitarlele. I found the one that really sang, and bought it. I don't think I got a really "good" deal, probably near list price, but I don't think I was overcharged. Remember if you are not living in Hawaii, you shouldn't have to pay local sales tax. That can really add on to the cost of your purchase. Not many music stores open on Sundays, so it is worth it if you find yourself there on Sunday.
–Lori

Hawaii does not have a sales tax. We've got a GET. http://www6.hawaii.gov/tax/a7_faq.htm
:D

King FarUke
02-07-2010, 01:42 AM
Thanks members. This is some really good information I did not have that will be very useful during my trip. My only fear now is that my wife mentioned that since I was getting a nice new uke for a souvenir, she wanted her souvenir from some place called "TIFFANY'S" in Waikiki! I'll bet you they don't negotiate! I think she has JAS (jewelry acquisition syndrome). Thanks again all......

sukie
02-07-2010, 04:51 AM
Thanks members. This is some really good information I did not have that will be very useful during my trip. My only fear now is that my wife mentioned that since I was getting a nice new uke for a souvenir, she wanted her souvenir from some place called "TIFFANY'S" in Waikiki! I'll bet you they don't negotiate! I think she has JAS (jewelry acquisition syndrome). Thanks again all......

Holy smokes!!! If she wants a little trinket from Tiffany's, you , my friend, should be able to buy your dream ukulele. Damn the cost. Have a great trip.

King FarUke
02-07-2010, 05:33 AM
Yeah... I think I may need to re-negotiate with the wife and start looking at some of the costlier ukes. Maybe I can jump up to a new Ko'olau. No wonder she smiled and said "no problem" on the $1000 uke when I agreed she could get her Hawaii souvenir from that Tiffany's store on the strip in Waikiki! Hmmmm..... now I am not sure about those private surfing lessons and the hot rock massage she has planned from some guy named "Mano" while I am uke shopping! How far will a man go for a new uke?? May be a good test of my UAS prevention therapy!

haole
02-07-2010, 05:42 AM
Hit up the swap meet. Grab a nice uke and a nice piece of jewelry. Then try to bum a box from the Tiffany store, and BAM. Tiffany jewelry. ;)

King FarUke
02-07-2010, 07:14 AM
Now that is some good thinking!

Ahnko Honu
02-07-2010, 07:31 AM
Jon already mentioned it so I'll "second" it (pun intended). Go to the KoAloha factory and purchase one of their "factory seconds" which look better than most factory firsts (slight finish blemish etc.) best bang for da buck in K brands.
The MELE are excellent 'ukuleles (I own one) but they are made in the Philippines and set up on Maui just in case you were looking for a true Hawaiian made 'ukulele.

Tigeralum2001
02-07-2010, 09:22 AM
Is the only place to buy seconds at the factory? Do they sell them if you call or must you be in person?

MGM
02-07-2010, 09:51 AM
That i snot my store address It is 46-013 Alaloa street behind windward mall and appoinbtment is needed. Unless you are coming over for dinner then the other address is fine lol

mackfam
02-07-2010, 11:05 AM
Sorry I put down the wrong address. That's the one you have on your card. By the way are you having any trouble getting out of Denver?

King FarUke
02-07-2010, 11:48 AM
I'll note the address Mike. I may be giving you a call before I leave to see what you have available. I'll be leaving Maui for Honolulu on March 6 and will be there until March 11.

molokinirum
02-08-2010, 05:02 AM
If I were you, I would try to see if musicguymic is in town. There are lots of stores around Waikiki but they are pretty high on prices. For example, a $1500 KoAloha Pineapple Sunday was $1700 at Aloha Ukulele in the Hilton Hawaiian Village. There are good selections at Bob's, Puapua and Ukulele House in Honolulu but I don't think their prices are competitive with Mike. As for Maui, they had some nice Kamaka tenors at Lahaina Music, and I think Bounty Music in Maui has a pretty good selection too.

And the customer service at Aloha Ukulele is either horrible or wonderful depending on who is working. There is a woman there who is really mean...I was staying in the hotel and she acted like I was putting her out by asking to see ukuleles. She also treated me like dirt. On the other hand, I went once and met a very nice young man who was quite helpful there, so it is hit and miss. But regardless, I would never pay their prices at that store.

Good luck on your search, and have fun and drink a mai tai for me! :)

Yes Wicked...the same thing happened to me at the Hilton with that witch. I stopped in to look at the ukes and see the prices, but that nasty bit.h acted like I there trying to steal a uke! Avoid this overpriced store with their world famous nasty customer service.
I bough my Kamaka at Lahina Music. The two guys, Kerry & Jason were great to deal with. I was allowed to play the uke as long as I wanted. Kerry showed me the uke (that I bought) had a minor light scratch in the finish below the sound hole. He took off $100 and threw in a hard case. Could not pass up that deal.
Also visited Bounty Music, bought two ukes for my nephews (student ukes) they set them up with aquila strings, gig bags and chord charts. A great bunch of guys at Bounty. Also at bounty, you can play any uke you want, no pressure.
Lastly, when you buy your new uke, head to the beach, grab a mai tai and play while watching a great sunset!!!

bbycrts
02-08-2010, 08:10 AM
Tell your wife you'll get her a similarly-priced souvenir from Tiffany's as long as it's made in Hawaii - like your uke. After all, a souvenir should be crafted in the islands, right?

(Hmm...does Tiffany's in Waikiki carry any Hawaiian heirloom jewelry? This strategy may backfire...)

Dino
02-08-2010, 12:01 PM
Hi KF,
MGM has a shop on the Windward Side of the island in Kaneohe. You can visit and try what he has for sale. The Aloha Stadium has a bunch of ukulele selers to ....Sunday is probably the best day. I would recommend stay away from the Waikiki shops and even Aloha Tower Marketplace. You will not get a good deal there. Take the KoAloha tour. You can also visit Kanile'a ukulele & Ko'olau ukulele.

King FarUke
02-08-2010, 03:53 PM
Thanks again for all the good tips and information. I will be much better prepared now! Have to get ready to shovel another 20 inches of snow after the 30 inches we got 2 days ago.... .and the 6 we got a few days before that and the 8 or so we got a few days before that....... and.... it is getting old

ceviche
04-10-2010, 02:06 PM
So how did the trip turn out? Did you score your dream uke? One thing that people forget to mention is that you can instantly lower the price if you offer cash--not check, but real greenbacks. When I bought my Kamaka, I noted the price Bounty Music was offering and figured out how much the total package of case and shipping would be. From there, I calculated how much the same instrument package would cost before tax--for the sake of the haggling phase. When I went in to my local store and asked about their cash discount, they quoted a considerably better price than Bounty's. I definitely walked out the door with the best possible price I could find. Never underestimate the power of cash!

Then again, you could just as easily get jumped by the hoods who overheard your talk with the manager. You walk around town with that big of a wad in your wallet? That kind of weight would make you walk funny and make the sharks circle.


--Dave E.

King FarUke
04-10-2010, 05:04 PM
Ceviche - I actually ended up getting an uke at Bounty in Maui. The clerk at Bounty quoted prices on all the ukes that was about 10% off msrp (price on their tags). I never had to do any negotiating. I had a Koaloha in my hand ready to purchase when I decided at the last moment to get a Kamaka tenor. The sound was great on both, but I opted for the Kamaka for my first K brand. The Kamaka ended up being more than the Koaloha, but seemed a better fit for me for my purchase on that trip. I paid $880 for the Kamaka (purchased on American Express since it would be insured for 90 days against theft or damage - which was good since it was left in hotel rooms and vehicles for several days), which included a soft case. I found that Bounty's in-store prices are much better than their online prices. The instore price on the Kamaka H-3 was $980 while online I believe it was listed for $1020 or more. They were heavily discounting some G-Strings ( about 40% off) - which I considered, but did not really like the sound or feel. Of all the stores on Oahu and Maui, Bounty actually had the best prices for what I was looking at. The uke has been great and has a much different sound than my other ukes (Kalas, Lanakais, Kamoa). The others all sound good in their own way, but the Kamaka seems to have the most "Hawaiian" sound to me. I also had it signed by Fred Kamaka Sr. at the Kamaka factory before I returned home. I posted pics in another thread around March 15th.

DogBisquit
04-10-2010, 06:09 PM
I came to the conversation late, but YEAH for Bounty!

I've never shopped for anything of that grade, but it just never seems to matter to those guys. They have pulled ukes down that I was too nervous to even touch, and then encouraged me to try them out, even though they knew they were well out of my price range.

I have browsed for hours in that store, on multiple occasions, sometimes with nephews running around like banshees playing drums and picking-up noise makers. How did they react? They taught them a riff or rhythm and tried (successfully-ish) to get us all playing together.

They are beautiful, honest people that truly love music, and they know ukuleles! I mean, really, is there another shop in the world that carries that amount of inventory?

Again, I came late to this thread, and before I read the dates of these posts, I was waiting to add these two cents. Congratulations.

PS - No offense Mike. I hear many wonderful things about you from everyone.

ceviche
04-15-2010, 02:43 PM
Ceviche - I actually ended up getting an uke at Bounty in Maui. The clerk at Bounty quoted prices on all the ukes that was about 10% off msrp (price on their tags). I never had to do any negotiating. I had a Koaloha in my hand ready to purchase when I decided at the last moment to get a Kamaka tenor. The sound was great on both, but I opted for the Kamaka for my first K brand. The Kamaka ended up being more than the Koaloha, but seemed a better fit for me for my purchase on that trip. I paid $880 for the Kamaka (purchased on American Express since it would be insured for 90 days against theft or damage - which was good since it was left in hotel rooms and vehicles for several days), which included a soft case. I found that Bounty's in-store prices are much better than their online prices. The instore price on the Kamaka H-3 was $980 while online I believe it was listed for $1020 or more. They were heavily discounting some G-Strings ( about 40% off) - which I considered, but did not really like the sound or feel. Of all the stores on Oahu and Maui, Bounty actually had the best prices for what I was looking at. The uke has been great and has a much different sound than my other ukes (Kalas, Lanakais, Kamoa). The others all sound good in their own way, but the Kamaka seems to have the most "Hawaiian" sound to me. I also had it signed by Fred Kamaka Sr. at the Kamaka factory before I returned home. I posted pics in another thread around March 15th.

Awesome!!! I think that it should be law that musicians are not allowed to leave Hawaii until they buy a locally made ukulele. Kidding! But, seriously, I think there's nothing more pure than being able to buy a uke in Hawaii. It's like, if I found myself having to fly to Hawaii to find a Matson ship to work on, I would travel light and buy a 4-string koa tenor (either KoAloha or Kamaka) over there--at the factory, if possible. And I would have Da Man sign it, too.

King FarUke, you did the right thing, brah! The Uke Gods are smiling on you.

--Dave E.