View Full Version : Uke browsing impressions. UAS ain't got me down...

05-13-2011, 02:34 PM
Today, I had the opportunity to play a bunch of ukes and since my UAS seems to be in remission, I was curious to test it out by heading over to McCabes Guitars in Santa Monica. I hadn't been there in over 6 months and since they carry Ohana, I was hoping to try some of their newer models. On my list was the SK-38 and the resonator models and hoping to see the 5 string. Unfortunately, they didn't have any of them in, but they are now carrying Kiwaya, A Nue Nue and Magic Fluke.

My problem over the past couple of years has been lusting after ukes that I don't have and just wandering into a place like McCabes can be dangerous to my infant's college fund. I have my collection down to a manageable and satisfying six ukes, and I have plans to build a CBU soon using the box from the cigars I passed out when my son was born and some sinker redwood that I picked up on ebay last year.

They had the Kiwaya KTS-7 and it is beautiful as a Martin Style 3 copy. It feels and sounds similar to my KTS-5 and while I would love to own the KTS-7, I don't feel as if I need to upgrade to it. It is a beautiful uke, though. So if I were to score my experience after seeing the KTS-7 it would be: UAS - 0 College fund - 1

While I was there, another player was looking at ukes after a lesson and they offered me the opportunity to play their Martin 5K. Wow. What a gorgeous uke. Silky smooth to play and it sounded so sweet. But, it didn't sound any sweeter to me than the Kiwaya, other than having fluorocarbon strings on it, which I prefer over Kiwaya's factory installed strings. The price tag for the 5k is the perfect antidote for any UAS symptoms. Plus this uke wasn't for sale, so I'll count this as a push and won't score either side. UAS - 0 College fund - 1

The owner of the 5K was looking at concert ukes and the choice was between the KoAloha and the Kamaka concerts. I have a KoAloha tenor in my collection and gave my opinion and while I have had the chance to compare to Kanilea, I've not had any experience with the Kamakas. There has been a ton of talk about Kamaka on here lately and McCabes has a lot of Kamaka models. They have all sizes and two pineapples even. And a baritone and six string model. All very beautiful, but I thought the tenor felt heavier than my KoAloha and the concert was nice , but I thought the KoAloha concert had more depth in its sound. So did the player who was considering them. The baritone and six string models aren't for me, but the pineapples are nice and I would like one at some point. Just don't need it now. Since the pineapple intrigues me, but the other Kamakas don't, it's another push. UAS - 0 College fund - 1

The A Nue Nue models are nice. I'd really like the model with the rabbit and the bear as a gift for my son when he gets old enough to play, but we're a few years from that. The 1879 koa soprano model was hanging on the wall and I had heard a bunch about. It's a neat little uke with a nice sound, but the price tag at $800+ does not seem justified when compared to the KoAloha and Kamaka sopranos. Easy to pass on it. UAS - 0 College fund - 2

Magic Fluke is new at McCabes and they had 3 of the banjo ukes. Very cool little player. Not overwhelming like other banjo ukes I've played and really light. I didn't like the way it felt in my hands because of the open back and the lack of sustain really stood out to me. I suppose that's just the nature of banjo ukes, and I guess I prefer a little sustain, at least. I've played flukes and fleas before and while I think they're fun, I don't see the need to have one. I have a beach/camp/travel uke right now and if I ever need to replace it, I might consider one of these. UAS - 0 College fund - 3

There was a Collings Tenor that did sound and feel awesome. I had to take it into a private playing room to see if it truly was awesome, and it was. Light and smooth and complex in tone. Could I see myself upgrading from my KoAloha to this? Maybe. It's more guitar like and which might not be a bad thing for what I'm looking for with my choice of tenor. Could I consider selling my National Resophonic for it? hmmm. My UAS flared up for this one. UAS - 1 College fund - 3

Fun day and I left with my son's future still looking bright. The best part about it is that I was looking forward to coming home and playing the ukes in my collection. We'll see if I dream about the Collings and whether or not it infected me with the Syndrome. If you see a KoAloha tenor, or National Resophonic show up in the marketplace, then we'll know I didn't get out entirely unscathed. I don't know. We'll see...

05-13-2011, 04:14 PM
UAS is overrated as a disease for most. It can be a Bear for some but for most of us, it's just a case of trying to find "the" instrument. I'm kinda rare in that I got it in 3. But I get where you are coming from.

You have found "the" instrument. That is a matter for celebration. Go ahead and shop around some when you are in the mood, but you need to understand that you have already found the one you have been looking for. I still try other instruments from time to time but I have not found one that sings to me like my baby. Like me, you have been blessed. You need to celebrate and enjoy that fact. You also need to understand that to a large part of the Ukulele community, you will seem a little weird. It's OK. The difference between you and them is they have not found "the" instrument. You have.

Seriously, you have been blessed.

05-13-2011, 04:32 PM
Oh, I don't think it's overrated. I just think that the exposure we have to so many ukes makes it difficult because who doesn't get joy out of playing a quality uke? If I were to wander into a thread about all the custom luthiers I'd drool all over my keyboard. I haven't played Moore Bettah, Mya Moe, Pete Howlett or Bradford's ukes. They would probably make me feel the same way as I do about that Collings. But, you are right in that I've found three ukes that I'd match up to many that I'd consider upgrading to and that does feel good. I have a couple other ukes that help me out in certain situations such as quiet practice and a beater, but It took awhile. Maybe my priorities are sorted out because of my new responsibility as a parent, but I think I'm cool for now.

05-13-2011, 04:51 PM
Nice thread, didge!

UU always lights up when someone gives in to UAS. Nice to read about the less dangerous affliction, UBS (Ukulele Browsing Syndrome)!

My favorite lunch break activity is take a half hour to strum the nicest ukuleles at a local music store. I can play Collings, Martin and KoAloha ukuleles at my leisure---for FREE. Most music shops are cool with extended hands-on browsing as long as I occasionally buy some supplies and play with some rhythm---so tap that toe, UBS sufferers!

05-13-2011, 06:20 PM
UAS is overrated as a disease for most. It can be a Bear for some but for most of us, it's just a case of trying to find "the" instrument. I'm kinda rare in that I got it in 3.

Same here. Reading didgeridoo2's post I had a total moment of "wait, did I write that?" :) I'm at McCabe's a couple times a week for lessons and such, and rarely am I even tempted to look at what's for sale. Sure, there's nice stuff, but I've already got nice stuff.

Hippie Dribble
05-14-2011, 01:28 AM
UAS is overrated as a disease for most. It can be a Bear for some but for most of us, it's just a case of trying to find "the" instrument.

I think it is made light of far more often than it is overrated as a disease. And yes, that is what UAS is about at the end of the day, trying to find "the one"; that instrument that feels and sounds like it was built for you and you alone.

I have had UAS bad, in my search for that one perfect uke. I am thankful now to be in a state of UDS (Ukulele de-aquisition syndrome). After much refining and re-refining of the collection, I am thankful to have found the handful of ukes that please me more than any other and am satisfied with those. Meanwhile, I can't sell off the rest of them quick enough. It's a really nice feeling to get to the downward slope of the mountain after a real battle. For me it's been as wrenching as giving up drugs.