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View Full Version : how careful are you with an expensive ukulele? is it for home only or gigs anywhere?



3nails4holes
02-12-2010, 11:37 AM
i've never had a new car. so if i get a ding on the fender or accidentally hit a tree when i open the door, i don't like it, but it's not that big a deal in the long run. i imagine that if i were to have a new suv or bmw or other letters, that i'd be much more careful with it.

those of you who have high end ukuleles, how careful are you with it? do you use it for home only or is it your everyday uke?

my first uke was prob more expensive than i wanted it to be (who hasn't experienced that, huh? budget, schmudget!), but case and all was under $200. and i keep it always on a hanger or in its case when not in use or i'm taking it on the road. but if i accidentally hit it on the edge of my office desk, i don't freak out excessively.

in my mind, if instead i hit the edge of a sceptre, kamaka or some other $1k+ or $2k+, etc. on the edge of the desk, i just might lose it as i buff the ever living mess out of the wood until the whole thing is devoid of fingerprints. and forget about taking it to play at chick-fil-a as my two kids frolic to the lyrics of chris tomlin or the laurie berkner band. actually, forget about maybe taking such a uke any where other than its tweed hard case with requisite humidifier.

so is this really how it is for high end uke owners, or does such kid-glove treatment wear off with familiarity. or is $2500 so relative that it's like my $200 uke so for some ppl so it's no big deal?

feedback? anyone? thanks!

:shaka:

sukie
02-12-2010, 11:49 AM
I only have a $600 ukulele but to me that's expensive enough. I won't take it on a plane or anywhere outside where I may start neglecting it. Unless I'm playing it it stays in its case -- with requisite humidifier. I figure what is it for if I don't use it and enjoy it. But I'm not careless either. No dents yet!

haolejohn
02-12-2010, 12:04 PM
I only have a $600 ukulele but to me that's expensive enough. I won't take it on a plane or anywhere outside where I may start neglecting it. Unless I'm playing it it stays in its case -- with requisite humidifier. I figure what is it for if I don't use it and enjoy it. But I'm not careless either. No dents yet!

I'm not sure if I'm ocd protective of my ukes. I do own some cheap makalas but those are for the kids to play. My Mele is my classroom uke but I take my koalohas everywhere else with me. I am a little perinoid after my weather incident with my mele but my philosophy is that a uke is made to be played not neglected.

Brad Bordessa
02-12-2010, 12:11 PM
I took care of my Kamaka tenor for a couple of months (no, really!). Not that now I abuse it, but I've knocked it into enough things to know how to avoid them and not worry when I do. The first injury I gave to it was a whipped end of an instrument cable below the bridge on the soundboard. It put a small dimple in the top - after that it was a bad day. But now I've moved on. I bought it for sound and durability, not to be a showpiece. I take as good care of it as I can, but it will be used. I take it on the plane (carry on), to non-sandy beaches, my friend's house, music camps, etc.. I worry about it being stolen more than being damaged. I haven't polished the top in years.

Ken Middleton
02-12-2010, 12:17 PM
I put a dent in my Pete Howlett tenor just yesterday. The phone rang and as I was rushing to pick it up the side of the uke hit the sharp corner of the table. My uke is made from the prettiest koa imaginable and now it's no longer perfect.

The thing is that now i can just play it rather than worrying about it.

haole
02-12-2010, 01:00 PM
My Kamaka soprano has been on beaches on two Hawaiian islands, in a tent in Maine, in the Sonoran Desert of Arizona, and many places in between. And that was before I even got a hard case for it!

Now I use my Flea for travel, open mics, etc., but I still like to bring out my nicer ones occasionally. If I had a crazy custom, I'd probably still bring it with me occasionally and give it a workout. Every uke deserves to be played at the beach at least once.

Ronnie Aloha
02-12-2010, 01:24 PM
Not careful enough...accidental knock off desk.

http://i14.photobucket.com/albums/a340/RonnieTrojan/P1000418.jpg

MartinLil
02-12-2010, 01:42 PM
My Sceptre is my number one, and only, ukulele. I love this little lady and she certainly gets played. At first, I would worry about scratching the top with my finger nails. Then about hitting her many corners on corners, and wouldn't take her near anythign but open space and her case. But now, I've put a small little dent in the neck (from the case latches) and some minor scratches, as all ukes have, on her upper bouts of the top.

I had the same dilemma with my Martin for the first year or so that I had it. But, they are both made to be played and I play the hell out of them. If it were a $4,000 uke, I honestly don't think I would treat it any differently. Little nicks are going to happen. Having fun and jamming out are much more rewarding than knowing my instruments are mint.

paraclete
02-12-2010, 02:09 PM
If I kept all my good instruments at home all the time, I'd never get to gig anywhere at all. The only time I've really been nervous was the first time Jimi and I went on a gig with two guitars, a uke, and a violin.... But honestly, I was more concerned that we might get in a wreck than accidentally dinging something.

None of my instruments are absolutely mint. They are well-cared for, but I play them. That said, I really don't envision hanging out around a campfire with my $4000 Ramirez... I'd take my $400 Seagull instead. Something about all that blazing hot fire and sticky marshmallows....

molokinirum
02-12-2010, 02:57 PM
My Kamaka stays in the case with a humidifier and stays at home. Never leaves the house. I got a Makala to travel around to the beach, outside to visit family & friends. If the Makala gets a ding...not to worry, but the Kamaka.....well that is a whole different story!!

Tigeralum2001
02-12-2010, 03:43 PM
I struggle with this a lot with my Pineapple Sunday. My version is no longer made and I fear scratches, nicks, dents, cracks, or ANY damage. However, I bought it to play it so I play it every day. But when it is not being used, it goes straight to the case-- no exceptions. The phone, door, dinner-- whatever-- can wait a couple of seconds. On the few occasions I have traveled with it I am extra cautious to protect it.

After all, what is the point of having a nice instrument if you can't play it?

Teek
02-12-2010, 05:00 PM
From my herd, if it was $250 or less, it can travel, over that it stays in its case when it isn't actually in my hands. With the lid down and latched, to get the phone, get a coffee refill, whatever. I live in earthquake country! I only have two over that price limit. All but one have cases, and that one is a cigar box that was pre-dinged when I bought it, with a big sliver off one side and a twisted neck that wasn't mentioned in the listing (bought from a high end re-seller who frequents several uke forums). But the edge ding on a little vintage soprano I'm working on still made me blue.:(

Lori
02-12-2010, 05:22 PM
To me, it doesn't matter if it is a $90 Kala Kiwi, or an expensive Kanile'a, I am very careful with them all. But, so far (my most expensive by far) the Kanile'a is a home uke, with only occasional visits to places where I know people will not mishandle it.
The other ukes go out more often, especially the sopranos for lunchtime work fun. The concert and tenors go to Uke meetings too. So, I am most protective of the Kanile'a, but at least 80% as careful with all of the others.

I too, am concerned with earthquakes (I live a short distance from Teek), and it is best to have stuff you want protected in their cases. I have been in several large quakes over the years, and a good case would protect a uke in every one I have been in. The main thing is to not have heavy things that could fall on your uke near your uke storage. The other problem is that they might fall off their table onto the floor... I should secure their box to the wall, I think.

–Lori

scottie
02-12-2010, 05:22 PM
I've had my Collings for a little more than a month and I don't treat it any differently than any other instrument. I keep it in the case with a humidifier to protect it against accidental damage and dehydrating. If I get up to get coffee, I'll put the ukulele back in its case. . . but I do this with all my instruments. I bought this ukulele for its great sound and playability and so I would not hesitate to gig or busk with it because I wouldn't get to experience that great sound and playability as a part of giving music to others. . . which sort of goes back to why I bought it.

ritzer012
02-12-2010, 06:35 PM
laurie berkner band. ]

f-a-m-i-l-y!

pretty catchy stuff for nick jr =)

clayton56
02-12-2010, 08:40 PM
mine aren't super-expensive (600 max) so I've taken them all to work with me, to play in the car or at lunch. I try to be careful with the nicer ones. I take the cheaper ones more often, but most of my playing is done on the run.

But if it tells you anything, last Friday a bite of peanut butter sandwich went down the wrong way while I was playing (and eating). It completely sealed my windpipe, I could not breathe at all. I was alone, this was potentially life-threatening. What did I do? I calmly put the Kanilea back in its case before dealing with it.

experimentjon
02-12-2010, 09:05 PM
I take reasonable care of all my instruments and would not do anything to put them in immediate danger. But they're instruments and are meant to be played. And if it accidently gets damaged along the way, hopefully it isn't too bad.

Ukuleleblues
02-13-2010, 01:11 AM
I know someone who bought a new car and kept it in the garage for about a month, would not drive it, afraid to get it dirty. They would go out and polish it and wipe it down and look at it. I thought that was insane. I guess it comes down to what you bought the uke for, playing, status or an investment.

nohandles
02-13-2010, 01:34 AM
I have a pair of custom Kanile'a Ukuleles that I take everywhere with me. I've been playing music a long time and that being said I used to have a practice instrument, festival and a performance instruments now I just use my instruments. I'm still really careful with them though. I've been caring an upright bass around for 6 years now and have only dinged it 2 times- both spots repaired. So use those Ukuleles why have them sit in a case?

darkwater
02-13-2010, 03:02 AM
My KoAloha tenor gets used at home and for acoustic band practices. It doesn't have a pickup, I don't want to modify it, and I don't want it hanging out in bars, anyway. For gigs it's my solid body Eleuke through an effects pedal to minimize feedback. At school (I teach elementary music) it's usually my Kala archtop tenor. I can plug it in when I have to be heard above a roomful of ukes. For travel it's my Fluke or the Eleuke with headphones if I know I have to be silent.

Raygf
02-13-2010, 03:47 AM
All of my instruments get pretty much the same treatment. I am not afraid of traveling or performing with any of them, but tend to take the Bushman Jenny when flying. I have kicked my fluke over once or twice and that felt awful, but it survived unscathed. I love performing with my KoAloha long neck soprano, so it does leave the house. I have put up 2 uke hangers, one in my music room and one in the living room/dining room area where I teach and play. The other day I was walking around with my KoAloha and the hanger already had my flea in it. I had to stand it on the floor to hang the KoAloha. (It's case was upstairs.) I think I will be getting another hanger for the family room. If they are not in my hands or on a hanger they go back in a securely closed case.
Regards,
Ray

MGM
02-13-2010, 05:18 AM
I used to be very paranoid but now have gained clamness in handling even very valuable ukes....I scare people when i hand them a very old expensive uke lol

Tubedog
02-13-2010, 05:48 AM
I had a heart problem lately, and it scared me A LOT, so now I'm looking at life a littl differently. There might not be a tomorrow. So I take my Bean Sprout with me and just take good care of it. It might get dinged, but then so might I.

3nails4holes
02-13-2010, 07:20 AM
from clayton 56:
"But if it tells you anything, last Friday a bite of peanut butter sandwich went down the wrong way while I was playing (and eating). It completely sealed my windpipe, I could not breathe at all. I was alone, this was potentially life-threatening. What did I do? I calmly put the Kanilea back in its case before dealing with it."



lol! yeah, cause, y'know, you've got to have priorities! i'm a super-crunchy man myself.

3nails4holes
02-13-2010, 03:56 PM
Not careful enough...accidental knock off desk.

http://i14.photobucket.com/albums/a340/RonnieTrojan/P1000418.jpg


ouch! is something like that covered under the "better than the weather" or will it be glue/epoxy and polish? seriously, ouch.

is/was that a koaloha concert or tenor?

haolejohn
02-13-2010, 07:07 PM
ouch! is something like that covered under the "better than the weather" or will it be glue/epoxy and polish? seriously, ouch.

is/was that a koaloha concert or tenor?

I think that was a soprano and Ronnie contacted Koaloha. There was a thread somewhere about the incident but I can not seem to find it. New search function doesn't work for me.

ukecantdothat
02-13-2010, 08:40 PM
I know most of you are tired of these pics, but what the hey... This is why I don't go too high end... This is (was) my former Lehua long neck soprano (satin finish, Aquila strings), soon to be a CBU...

Denno
02-13-2010, 09:04 PM
In the beginning, REAL CAREFUL! After a year or so....not so carefull. :)

luvdat
02-14-2010, 01:12 AM
Only want to own stuff I can play everywhere, home, gigs. I primarily plays sopranos and see no need for a "high end" instrument. I'm not too sure sopranos are really a "high end" sound, and for me, BTW that's why I love them.

mcnilly
02-14-2010, 02:15 AM
My ohana ck35 isn't treated badly but i wouldnt say im particularly careful with it, it has 1 little chip in it, I pick it up so often theres no point putting it in its case, however I don't chuck it around!

ukecantdothat
02-14-2010, 05:15 AM
Here's another reason I don't go high-end... You never know where you'll "have to" play...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d4M5WL9SP4E

david98116
02-14-2010, 04:21 PM
[QUOTE=Ronnie Aloha;320264]Not careful enough...accidental knock off desk.

As the quote above proves......enemies to your baby are everywhere, even at home. Take it where you want (excluding places you'll get rolled for it) and use the same rules as you would inside your house. Don't bump it, only place in case if you are not playing, and keep it out of the hands of children and morons. Now PLAY THAT SUM B!$%H and let the world here it sing.

GX9901
02-14-2010, 04:40 PM
I own a few high end ukes, and the thing is, the more custom it is, the less I worry about scratches and dents, because I know I will be their sole owner forever and battle scars are part of the deal. It's not to say that I toss them around or anything. Most of my ukes stay in the house and in humidified cases when they're not played, but I have taken my best ukes out of the house on many occasions. In fact, in an upcoming trip to Hawaii next month, I plan to take along my William King custom concert. I just hope I don't forget it at an airport restroom (something I actually did with my Collings concert but luckily was able to retrieve it)!

Harold O.
02-14-2010, 04:47 PM
My basic approach is to not reply to posts with sigs larger than the post.

HO.

haolejohn
02-14-2010, 07:32 PM
My basic approach is to not reply to posts with sigs larger than the post.

HO.

Good thing his post was longer than his sig because the wealth of knowledge you hold would still be a secret.
He must become more. I must become less. Me<+>Me

thejumpingflea
02-14-2010, 08:18 PM
I take care of my ukes. I don't let paranoia prevent me from playing my ukes hard and bringing them with me though.

I don't know why anybody would buy a uke and never bring it places and worry about scratching it. That is part of owning and experiencing the joy of a musical instrument.

Ahnko Honu
02-15-2010, 05:15 AM
I have a Flea, a Fluke, and my Mahalo pineapple as my ruff & tumble truck/boat/hiking/camping 'ukuleles BUT (and everybody has one) I'm not afraid to take my more expensive 'ukuleles to friends homes or the beach to kanikapila sharing the sound and beauty of these instruments. Won't play any of my 'ukuleles in the pouring rain though until I get a aluminum pineapple that is.

csibona
02-15-2010, 05:53 AM
I have what I consider an expensive ukulele and I would be willing to take it out of the house to play at a friend's house (I'm not playing any gigs since I can hardly play anyway :) ). At the same time I'm looking at getting a Fluke to carry around with me not because they are particularly inexpensive but they appear to me to be very durable.

SailingUke
02-15-2010, 06:47 AM
I love all my instruments and care for them, but they are made to be played.
Once you play a good instrument it is hard to go down in quality. When I play I want to play and be seen with my "A" uke and guitars.
My biigest concern is letting others play them. I am very careful about who I let play one of my instruments.
I have a fluke for boating, camping and hiking trips. I take my applause guitar camping too. Fiberglass is pretty durable.
If I am going someplace where there may be folks who want to borrow an instrument I take a cheap uke for them.
I dislike being rude, but if there is a ding going on one my instruments it is going to me.

perep
02-15-2010, 06:48 AM
I have 13 ukes most expensive, I think what is the use of taking something like a plywood uke to play when I want the tone I love & ease of play with mine. I have one I take EVERYWHERE- cruises, long RV trips, planes etc, it is solid koa concert & playes beautiful, always have it in a 20mm gig bag-tweed, always on my shoulder except when playing, mostly to myself. Big part of playing is playing a beautiful uke wherever you are. When on cruises which is 4 a year I always get up around 5AM & go to top of ship, AFT outside and play till 9-10am, people start showing up around 7-8am for eats but I keep playing not noticing the people around me. My wife says to see the looks I get-they don't know if I am part of ship music or looking for handouts- a uke player would not think i was a pro but most people don't care how good or bad you play-its the uke-makes people happy & forget about their cares & maybe going to Hawaii.
TAKE YOUR GOOD ONE & PUT INSURANCE ON IT AS A RIDER ON HOMEOWNERS INSURANCE IF YOU MUST-KEEP STRUMMIN
PEREP

Chris Tarman
02-15-2010, 07:38 AM
I haven't gigged much with ukes, and have only used my pawnshop laminated Oscar Schmidt with the pick-up for actual gigs. I took my laminated Kala mahogany concert camping, but kept it in the case all the time if I wasn't playing it. With BASSES, on the other hand... I remember in High School a few months after I finally saved enough to buy the Rickenbacker I had longed for for 2 years, we were practicing in a basement and I hit the headstock on an overhead water pipe, knocking a little ding in the paint. I was crushed. But my guitarist friend said "It's a battle scar", and that INSTANTLY changed my outlook. I felt much better about it after that. Now I have a '77 Fender Jazz that was in near mint condition when I got it 11 years ago. I have worn the white paint down to the undercoat where my arm rests, and to bare wood in a couple of small spots. I catch myself between songs unconsciously rubbing that area with the skin of my forearm, I guess trying to accelerate the process. Instruments were meant to be played, and as long as they aren't abused, I don't think a little playing-related wear or damage hurts anything. That said, I cringed last month when my most expensive uke (about $400) fell over in the stand next to the desk (where I had JUST set it seconds before) and got a TINY little nick to the headstock when it bumped the desk. I guess it's one thing in THEORY and a whole different thing in PRACTICE!

GrumpyCoyote
02-15-2010, 07:40 AM
I'm not particularly reckless, but I expect all of my instruments to suffer wear and tear. It's part of the charm of a nice instrument - those battle scars.

I have a martin guitar that is the most expensive member of my stable... retail is about $4kUS (not that I paid that much). It's got top gouges and pick marks - even has a little ding on the back. Plays great. More than that, if you put 10 of them in a room and mixed them up, I could pick mine right out. It's got character, and evidence of my playing. It’s mine.

A “case trophy” is pretty much worthless to me, regardless of price. I’m not a “collector” of things these days. Anything I have that could be considered a collection are actually all working instruments that get played and worked with every day.

I read my comic books and then get rid of them. My motorcycle gets ridden in the rain and put under a tarp wet and muddy (bikes should be dirty), my instruments get played nearly every day – and usually hauled out to gigs and such a couple of times a week. Stuff gets beat up. It’s just stuff.

I simply can’t imagine those who go through life worrying about the well being of inanimate objects. It’s beyond my comprehension.


I’ll leave you with this picture of Mr. Nelson’s Martin N20. I’d rather have one that looked like this than have to ever touch a polish cloth again. He loves it, even named it "Trigger"...

"I like to just sit around in a room and play it. I like to write on it. I just like the sound of it." - Yes he said "write on it", not with it. Zoom in...

10062

haolejohn
02-15-2010, 07:46 AM
I'm not particularly reckless, but I expect all of my instruments to suffer wear and tear. It's part of the charm of a nice instrument - those battle scars.

I have a martin guitar that is the most expensive member of my stable... retail is about $4kUS (not that I paid that much). It's got top gouges and pick marks - even has a little ding on the back. Plays great. More than that, if you put 10 of them in a room and mixed them up, I could pick mine right out. It's got character, and evidence of my playing. It’s mine.

A “case trophy” is pretty much worthless to me, regardless of price. I’m not a “collector” of things these days. Anything I have that could be considered a collection are actually all working instruments that get played and worked with every day.

I read my comic books and then get rid of them. My motorcycle gets ridden in the rain and put under a tarp wet and muddy (bikes should be dirty), my instruments get played nearly every day – and usually hauled out to gigs and such a couple of times a week. Stuff gets beat up. It’s just stuff.

I simply can’t imagine those who go through life worrying about the well being of inanimate objects. It’s beyond my comprehension.


I’ll leave you with this picture of Mr. Nelson’s Martin N20. I’d rather have one that looked like this than have to ever touch a polish cloth again. He loves it, even named it "Trigger"...

"I like to just sit around in a room and play it. I like to write on it. I just like the sound of it." - Yes he said "write on it", not with it. Zoom in...

10062

Grumpy you touched on two of my favorite topics. Dirty bikes (can't stand chrome and polish sunny weather riders) and Willie Nelson's guitar. I'd like tomentionone other guitar, SRV's.

Chris Tarman
02-15-2010, 07:48 AM
I’ll leave you with this picture of Mr. Nelson’s Martin N20. I’d rather have one that looked like this than have to ever touch a polish cloth again. He loves it, even named it "Trigger"...

"I like to just sit around in a room and play it. I like to write on it. I just like the sound of it." - Yes he said "write on it", not with it. Zoom in...

10062[/QUOTE]
'Nuff said.

Chris Tarman
02-15-2010, 07:52 AM
Grumpy you touched on two of my favorite topics. Dirty bikes (can't stand chrome and polish sunny weather riders) and Willie Nelson's guitar. I'd like tomentionone other guitar, SRV's.

Also, Jaco Pastorius' Fender Jazz bass.

3nails4holes
02-15-2010, 11:55 AM
TAKE YOUR GOOD ONE & PUT INSURANCE ON IT AS A RIDER ON HOMEOWNERS INSURANCE IF YOU MUST-KEEP STRUMMIN
PEREP


hmmm... interesting idea! thanks!