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View Full Version : Ukes Up Front At Sam Ash



luvdat
07-18-2010, 12:15 AM
Stopped by a Sam Ash (Paramus, NJ) on Saturday and good to see ukes up front and center in the store..with a Lanikai display, some Kalas, Makalas, Cordobas and a few Oscar Schmidts and even 1 Martin S-O...

mm stan
07-18-2010, 12:27 AM
Aloha Luvdatuke,
Did ya shorten your username??? Anyways did they have any vintage stuff???
MM Stan

luvdat
07-18-2010, 12:44 AM
Yes, shortened user name. No, no vintage stuff.

jkevinwolfe
07-18-2010, 12:52 AM
The Sam Ash in Cincinnati started carrying Ukes about 2 years ago when they gotmin some Flukes and Fleas. They started with Makalas at the beginning of this year and can't keep them in stock. (Admittedly I bought a Makala Pineapple a couple weeks ago.) They now have a uke wall with Lanakai, Kala, Oscar Schmidt, Cordoba and a few others. With the economy still what it is, I think guitar sales must be off while the uke's popularity grows, so it's natural they're getting more space.

luvdat
07-20-2010, 11:30 PM
Will also say that aside from the location and number of ukes in the store, finding at least one staff member at any given Sam Ash who can talk about ukes either in person or over the phone is also becoming more common.

Spoke over the phone yesterday to a salesperson in the Springfield, NJ store...named Roger...who was very helpful and actually into the uke himself. We're not just talking what they had in stock help but he knew what he was talking about and had tried out a good number of ukes.

tnobes
07-21-2010, 03:56 AM
Will also say that aside from the location and number of ukes in the store, finding at least one staff member at any given Sam Ash who can talk about ukes either in person or over the phone is also becoming more common.

Spoke over the phone yesterday to a salesperson in the Springfield, NJ store...named Roger...who was very helpful and actually into the uke himself. We're not just talking what they had in stock help but he knew what he was talking about and had tried out a good number of ukes.

Wish the same could be said for Guitar Center. I went the other day just to see what they had (Lanikai's, Oscar Schimdt, and the new Fenders) and they were all locked away in a glass cabinet. When the salesperson came over I asked him what he knew about the Fenders and he said he didn't really know much about ukes at all, and just handed me a piece of paper with uke chords on them (that comes with the Lanikai ukes). Don't get me wrong, he was extremely nice, but when we went to ask others if they could help me nobody could. Luckily I had UU to come home to :)

Mim
07-21-2010, 06:00 AM
Will also say that aside from the location and number of ukes in the store, finding at least one staff member at any given Sam Ash who can talk about ukes either in person or over the phone is also becoming more common.

Spoke over the phone yesterday to a salesperson in the Springfield, NJ store...named Roger...who was very helpful and actually into the uke himself. We're not just talking what they had in stock help but he knew what he was talking about and had tried out a good number of ukes.

I know the sales guys at Sam Ash here in Charlotte are great! Before I sold ukes I went there and they were very helpful and just the nicest guys ever!

arashi_nero
07-21-2010, 06:22 AM
I know the sales guys at Sam Ash here in Charlotte are great! Before I sold ukes I went there and they were very helpful and just the nicest guys ever!

we don't have a sam ash here in utah, but most of the music stores that have ukes have people that know a good amount about them. the one store i like to go to for strings and where i bought my first tenor has been getting quite a bit more knowledgeable as they add more ukes (they have about 30 or so models out now!!).

and fwiw, i'm glad you started selling ukes, mim!!

bryanperk
07-21-2010, 06:39 AM
I remember going to the Sam Ash in NYC, maybe 3 months ago, and watching a couple struggle around with all the starter ukes, while the sales person just stood there staring blankly at their questions. It disappointed me, so I had to go help out the couple. Eventually, they decided to buy two ukes, both lanikais, instead of the Makala dolphins that they salesman was trying to sell them as a "solid wood" ukulele. hahaha ..still makes me laugh to think about how he thought a dolphin was not a laminate, but anyway, I'm glad to hear they've finally gotten themselves all figured out and are starting to understand the magic of the ukulele!

102263
07-21-2010, 06:58 AM
I bought a makala mk-c there about 2 months ago. It was a great experience. The salesman were knowledgeable although they tried to sell the uke as a solid mahogany uke but I'm pretty sure that it's laminate. It was also nice to play with almost a roomful of ukes. Overall, Sam Ash music sold me the best fifty dollar purchase I ever made.

RevWill
07-21-2010, 07:27 AM
....the Makala dolphins that they salesman was trying to sell them as a "solid wood" ukulele. hahaha ..still makes me laugh to think about how he thought a dolphin was not a laminate....

Not to mention that the back and sides are plastic.

bryanperk
07-21-2010, 07:45 AM
Not to mention that the back and sides are plastic.

..yes that's a big part of it too haha

haole
07-21-2010, 07:56 AM
The service/attitude/staff knowledgeability at my local Sam Ash ranges from tolerable to pretty bad. They have a decent selection of ukes, but I'm not a fan of how the chain stores operate and I feel better giving my money to sellers who genuinely love the ukulele. Sam Ash recently started selling Aquila strings but they're grossly overpriced.

Guitar Center does seem to stash all the ukes in a locked glass cabinet, even when the best thing they have in stock is a Hilo. And they want eight or nine bucks for Martin strings. Huh?

So yeah. It's nice to see more ukes in stores, because people who are interested but haven't really done a lot of internet research can still find something decent. But I've had better luck buying off the internets or from good indie stores that choose to sell things a little out of the ordinary.

kenikas
07-21-2010, 08:43 AM
I bought a makala mk-c there about 2 months ago. It was a great experience. The salesman were knowledgeable although they tried to sell the uke as a solid mahogany uke but I'm pretty sure that it's laminate. It was also nice to play with almost a roomful of ukes. Overall, Sam Ash music sold me the best fifty dollar purchase I ever made.
That gave me a chuckle, not only are Makala's not solid their not mahogany! They are Agathis laminate, but they are IMO they best sounding lower priced uke you can buy. I love my MK-T and it still gets a lot of play time even though I have several others now.
I wish we had Sam Ash stores up here in the high desert they sound much better than Guitar Center.

luvdat
07-21-2010, 12:31 PM
I think, yes, for awhile to come maybe? we'll encounter salesfolk who may or may not know much about ukes. BUT I think it's great that especially less expensive options are available at a place like Sam Ash and yes, 3 sizes to try out for newbies deciding or even not-so newbies to reconsider.

It might go along way not to treat these less informed or misformed salesfolk with a sense of superiority but gently and enthusiastically help them when we can with some info, in short, not just the customers.

SweetWaterBlue
07-21-2010, 02:07 PM
I think the selection and sales help at both Sam Ash and Guitar Center vary a lot from store to store. I know my Sam Ash has a wall of ukuleles, and the great thing about is that they really mean what the sign on the door says, "Come in a play awhile." Before I discovered the great resource I have in the next town (UkeRepublic), and before I started going to SEUkers bi-weekly meets, SamAsh was my major source of actually getting to touch a ukulele and play one. The big box stores try to keep costs as low as possible and they offer very low prices to consumers. When I go there, I don't expect someone to help me who played at Carnegie Hall. I actually prefer to be left alone with the ukes and other music toys in the store. I would probably not send a beginner there without adult supervision.

Guitar Centers also vary a lot. The one nearest me usually has about 3 ukes, and often terrible ones at that. I go there to look at and play the used guitars, one of which I bought last month. Again, I didn't need a salesman to extol the virtues of the guitar to me - I had already done my homework on the net. What I was looking for was a big inventory and a low price. The other GC I go to has a bigger selection of ukes, even used ones. They never hassle me if I want to play something, and when I bought a damaged uke from them (I knew is was damaged) at super low price they asked no questions when I brought it back after discovering it was worse than I thought.

Bottom line, I love both stores, because they offer me a very low price, long hours, large inventories (of mostly mediocre ukes with little or no setup, but sometimes mediocre is ok), and good return policies. I am perfectly capable of resetting and dressing frets, judging the quality of the instruments, and what they are made of myself. When I want to buy a really fine instrument with a guaranteed setup, I will talk to UkeRepublic. Mike also has better deals on strings and a much better selection on uke accesories than the big box stores do.

luvdat
07-21-2010, 02:18 PM
A word also about "Mom and Pop" stores...and their romanticization. They also vary. Some while owned by proverbial great folks, great. Others, good luck in at least one NY place (not East Village BTW which I like) when you can get treated like garbage. Also I have heard more than one report of folks going to Hawaii and being either ignored or worse, insulted, in uke shops. These were not yahoo mainlanders BTW but people I know who own instruments worth 3 times the price of a K-brand tenor...

Let's not romanticize smaller stores or alternatively look down on or even demonize bigger stores with yes, less expensive stuff.

ukecantdothat
07-21-2010, 02:39 PM
The Sam Ash store in Hollywood had exactly one Oscar Schmidt - upstairs - in the back - around a corner. This was a while ago, to be fair. Ukes are selling better these days. Plus that's Hollywood. Probably not a huge demand with all the gearheads running around! The staff was cool, though, told me about some new stuff that should be arriving soon. The Guitar Center across the street was pathetic, though. One uke. A Cordoba. Behind glass. No help. "Someone will be with you." Really? Why can't YOU be with me? "I don't have the key..." Pathetic. The Guitar Center in West L.A. was better. They had two ukes AND a key, but I stood there waiting for this idiot to show some guy 3 or 4 guitars before I finally walked away. Better, but still pathetic.