View Full Version : Is There as Doctor in the House?

06-30-2011, 06:21 PM
As a relatively new UU member and a budding ukulele fanatic, I'm interested in the reality of UAS...ukulele acquisition syndrome. I note that many of you have multiple ukuleles and yet, for what purpose? How many can you play in the average day? Is it just a "collecting" mania or is it the pursuit of some sort of musical perfection? If the latter, why don't you just sell those that don't measure up to your expectations and move on?

Now, I'd be the first to admit that I'm a collector. When I first got into wine, I swear I was more intent on gathering interesting wines than in drinking them. It seemed really cool to have the "good stuff" stashed away as a conversational piece. Perhaps ukuleles are the same. They can be expensive but over time one can still put together a notable collection. Something to feel good about. Is that what UAS is all about?

06-30-2011, 06:28 PM
Well for me it's about being prepared for the occasion.

Mostly I play the Grech soprano 'Frankengretch' at most gigs although on a nice day I might bring out the 'pretty gretch' but mostly that’s for home.

When playing outside I will use the royal as it tends not to change tone as much as the gretch does in the sun, cold, wind etc:

And I have the ashton or a mahalo hanging around at work so I can ‘stress bust’ when needed.

So you see, mine are all necessary ;)

06-30-2011, 06:41 PM
I bet you will get a dozen or more answers. It can be such a rush you know. The shopping, deciding, negotiating, waiting for the uke to arrive in the mail. That in itself can be a bit addicting. It is FUN. For me I think I am looking for the ONE. The one perfect uke for me. Since most of us don't have a good uke store with a wide variety of ukes we have to buy to try. I have bought and sold quiet a few ukes in the year I have been learning to play. I am learning what I like and what I don't like and settling down to what my favorites are. Also I like having a couple with different tones and different sizes. As a collection I think I will always keep my Mainlands. I think I am pretty close to done with my accelerated acquisition of ukuleles. And like potato chips and for me, dogs, one is never enough.

06-30-2011, 06:42 PM
As someone with over 500 bottles of wine in my cellar (actually, the basement of the house), I have no idea what you are talking about.

But I can tell you that the ukes all sound different, and some songs sound better on the banjo ukes, some are better on the kala, some on the Cordoba, some one the Fluke - which is my main travel instrument.

Everything is different, akin to a Pinot Grigio vs a Dry Riesling - or a Columbia River Valley Riesling, vs a German Riesling. All good, but at different times.


06-30-2011, 06:48 PM
How many can you play in the average day?

Well... I just played three out of the four I own, and the night isn't over yet :)

Seriously though... generally I'm a diehard minimalist, but I can't seem to get by with fewer than four ukes at any time. In the couple of years that I've been playing, I've owned seven total. Three have been re-homed, mainly due to not enough frets, as I learned that 12 frets were not enough for what I wanted to play. I think this is pretty typical as players become more experienced - you come to realize how much you didn't know in the beginning, and you learn what you like/need in a uke. I do sell those that I no longer need, but the longer I play, the more my needs seem to change - so I've learned that when I say "I'm done with UAS!" I mean I'm done for now, not forever.

06-30-2011, 08:06 PM
The different sizes play and sound so different that I feel it's almost unfair to count them as the same instrument. And you might also want to have a beater uke in case you're traveling and don't want your spendy stuff possibly damaged.

06-30-2011, 08:09 PM
I'm currently on my fourth Ukulele. I started with a cheap soprano, advanced to a cheap concert. Then to a mid/low-range lanikai concert. And now a mid/low-range Kala Tenor. Though I'm buying a Kamaka HF-3 in three weeks time(!) And all the time I've been wanting a new one. Could be I just need a proper one to cure my personal version of the UAS :)

07-01-2011, 12:10 AM
As someone with over 500 bottles of wine in my cellar (actually, the basement of the house), I have no idea what you are talking about.

But I can tell you that the ukes all sound different, and some songs sound better on the banjo ukes, some are better on the kala, some on the Cordoba, some one the Fluke - which is my main travel instrument.

Everything is different, akin to a Pinot Grigio vs a Dry Riesling - or a Columbia River Valley Riesling, vs a German Riesling. All good, but at different times.


:agree: this is my answer!

07-01-2011, 01:35 AM
It seems like I spend more time shopping for ukes than learning to play. Perhaps this is why I am not a better player. Real UAS involves some profound psychological principles such as obsession, denial, rationalization, justification, defensiveness, etc. etc. LOL
Sound familiar? One UU'er suggested a twelve step program for UAS. Buy 12 ukuleles, admit you are powerless over ukes, and start over.....LOL

07-01-2011, 01:56 AM
I am going with the "Different sound types" Defense. I own 5, but I sell the ones that I feel are redundant. I am always looking for new sound types to use in different songs. My ultimate collection would be
standard koa soprano, Concert pineapple, nice banjo uke, tenor, solid body, 5 string, guitarlele, 8-string tenor, cigarbox uke, mahaogany tenor
beyond that I feel my collection would be a bunch of duplicates.

07-01-2011, 02:19 AM
Gee I thought it was Ukulele Anonymous Syndrome <g>. At the very least we ought to agree on a diagnostic number of ukes - more than five of one size with no intent to sell and you've got UAS <g>. One factor involved in UAS, well actually two factors, is that as far as acquisitions of something esthetically pleasing and useful (i.e., you can play them) ukes are relatively affordable for middle class incomes (i.e., you can buy a nice new uke for between $200-350) and they're portable (you can't exactly lug a good painting or case of wine around) so they're more user friendly. In addition, there aren't many folks who live close to stores where they can try a lot of different ukes so from watching this board there seems to be a relatively constant stream of "I bought it but hadn't tried it and now I don't really like it so it's for sale" posts that mostly result from buying through the mail. Unfortunately there seems to be little solution to this problem unless uke stores start popping up like Burger Kings but that isn't very likely. So I think that UAS is a combination of the psychological problems mentioned above and the the relatively low cost yet great beauty, portability and utility of ukuleles, coupled with low local availability. Also right now there seem to be some really good deals out there for the patient shopper so I know that I've bought a few ukes recently that I can always sell later for a profit. And for you wine collectors out there I've got some old bottles of wine that have been well kept with little ullage, including a 78 Diamond Creek Cab, that I'd gladly trade for a good uke, seriously!

07-01-2011, 02:23 AM
I really have no idea. -_^
I play alot of instruments and I buy a lot of them all so I guess I'm just a wee bit obsessed or something.
But it's all necessary, I swear!
I need one guitar for normal tuning one for drop tuning one for an open tuning, one for travelling...
This sort of applies to everything I play. Except drums. It would be kinda weird to have a house filled with drum kits I guess.

07-01-2011, 03:55 AM
For us, the collection is about the history of the instrument and how the different scales and styles affect the different genres of music. We've been collecting for quite some time and the collection is nearing 100. Do we play them all? Not regularly. But I do cycle through and make sure that they do get strummed and dusted and kept properly humidified.

Although I perform with Pono Baritone Ukuleles exclusively, we also do quite a few educational/historical programs in libraries, etc. We usually bring along ten or twelve instruments and talk about them in a historical context.

Last week a friend of mine, who happens to be a stringed instrument aficionado, was visiting. We must have spent four or five hours going through out collection room. It was amazing...

mr moonlight
07-01-2011, 04:05 AM
For me a lot of it is not being able to try a variety of them before buying. If I want a nice uke I don't really have much of a choice but to just shell out a lot of cash and hope for the best. I currently have a custom uke on order for a brand I've never played.

I think the wine analogy works great for me. I used to live in San Francisco and get all my wine straight from the producers in up North in Napa, Sanoma, Russian River.... If I wanted a bottle of wine I rarely went to the market. I'd go talk to the people who make it, try a glass, then decide if I wanted to buy it or not. I didnt mind spending a lot more because I knew it would be good bottle ...as long as I bought early in the trip... ;). Ever since I moved away it's more of a crap shoot. I get recommendations from the starff at Total Wine, but I'm still working with about a 60% hit rate vs. 100%. Without the recommendations it would be even lower. Now I buy twice as many $10 - $12 bottles instead of $25 - $50 bottles. If I open up a bottle I don't like, I use it for cooking and I open up another. If I get a uke I don't like, I send it back and buy another. The custom uke I have on order right now feels just like dropping $75 on a bottle of wine I've never tried.

07-01-2011, 05:14 AM
Buying stuff (any stuff) is addictive. There's nothing else quite like the rush of buying stuff. The limiting factors are money and buyer's remorse.

I play my Eleuke when I want privacy, and my KoAloha when I don't. For me, three 'ukes would be a crowd. I loathe buyer's remorse.

07-01-2011, 07:48 AM
Last week a friend of mine, who happens to be a stringed instrument aficionado, was visiting. We must have spent four or five hours going through out collection room. It was amazing...<snip>
Holy moly, you've got a lot of ukes! :eek: How many altogether?

For me, it was high G, low G, pineapple, mahogany, cedar, spruce, thinline, baroqulele, fluke... they're all different in their own way. I'm up to six in various combinations of the above.

As someone mentioned, ukes are relatively inexpensive compared to other things, like classical guitars. I only have two "good" guitars, one's a pure classical, the other's a flamenco negra.

07-01-2011, 09:55 AM
At this point and time I think the Black Bear pineapple cured mine.

07-01-2011, 11:21 AM
For me it's purely emotional. It is indeed a major rush to hunt, play, connect and purchase the next one. Absolutely not justifiable in any rationale or intellectual sense. I know I can't play more than one at a time but it's nice to have alternatives. Most of my early UAS was related to the thinking that maybe a better uke will make me a better player. True to a point, but having tread into "K" territory I know it's me, not the uke. Heck, I knew it when I got my Fluke. As others have said, different ukes, different tunings, different songs. Each uke I own has a story behind the acquisition. The same is true for each uke I sell too. I need that story.

Obviously, sound and playability is very subjective, so I want to know about the builder, history, or feel good about the company and what they represent before I pull the trigger. Of my current ukuleles, some are definitely temporary to the stable. They'll fund the next "one" down the road. Lately, I've been playing the game, what one ukulele would I hold onto if I had to? No answer yet.

If it ever comes to that, at least I'll have the stories.

07-01-2011, 05:39 PM
Thank you all for your insightful comments. I'm not sure I feel better but at least I feel loved and in good company. I've only been smitten for six months and I have three already, plus two in process. Cheers!

07-01-2011, 06:27 PM
The hunt for "the One".
Looking for instant skills.
Appreciation of the appearance and sound.
A little OCD, or sometimes depression, as in "one uke makes me so happy, more should make me even happier".

I could get down to maybe three if necessary.:rolleyes:

07-01-2011, 06:33 PM
I've recently trimmed down the herd but here is a useful thought:

Buying this other uke won't make me a better musician. That's what's kept my UAS down.

07-02-2011, 01:14 AM
"the grass is always greener on the other side", which means that there will always be a prettier, better sounding or just different ukuleles than the one you can have. Thus, creating wants.

I find that UAS is no different than women and their shoes, for example (I'm sure there are many other examples). Shoes for winter, for when it's cold, for the summer, for the beach, to look sexy, in that specific color 'cause it matches the outfit. An ukulele for low tuning, for high tuning, to go camping or fishing, for concerts, for this type of song, or just 'cause it's original...

I have nothing against UAS (or shoe shopping); it's great for ukulele manufacturers and happy people is always better than sad and frustrated people - so long as the UAS doesn't hinder the person's life. Some women have gone into debt for shoes & designer clothes, I imagine it can be the same way with just about anything - including the ukulele.
That's when there's a serious addiction problem; when life revolves around the object of desire and nothing else matters. That is sad and help is needed.

Is UAS about finding "the one"? For some probably. Like finding your "soul mate". You have to go out with different types of men or women to find out what you like or not until you find "the one". You can stay friends with your ex, or not depending on the relationship you had. Like with an ukulele, you can keep an ukulele even though it isn't "the one", just because you have fond memories with it, or sell it because the memories weren't that important.
I really liked the video there was somewhere on the forum, with Jake talking about his ukulele, saying that he uses the same one all the time to get to know it and develop a relationship with his instrument.

For others, like said, it's the thrill of the chase, or like collecting art, or being surrounded by friendly instruments...
Many reasons for UAS, as many reasons as there are people, which is what makes life interesting.

07-03-2011, 05:39 PM
In the past, I had a lot of disdain for people who seem to spend more time collecting ukes than playing them, even as I was accumulating several, largely on the "different sounds" theory. :-)

I made a decision (helped out by my current poverty as the father of 1.8 kids) to stop acquiring ukes until my better playing could justify them. I stopped buying ukes when the Bushmans were coming out.

But I have to say, I have gone through different moods, and I am glad that I have different ukes. For a while, I was playing my Johnson dobro knockoff a lot, and I have recently rediscovered my Risa Ukestick, purchased in 1999 or 2000. I used to play my martins a ton, and now I find myself playing my Akulele, mostly because it's my "beater" (it's not really a beater, but it's the one that I take around most because I would be the least distraught if it was destroyed and it is extremely sturdy). I've only ever sold one of my ukes for lack of interest (a banjo-uke).

So, I'd add another one to the DMR, namely Ukulele Attention Deficit Disorder (UADD) or UADHD (uke attention deficit haole disorder?)

07-03-2011, 06:24 PM
Well the great thing about buying instruments, is that if you take care of them they can last a lifetime. Its like an investment. People send so much money on consumables and worthless stuff that is here today and gone tomorrow. At least when you buy a uke you have something to show (and play) for your money. As long as you UAS isn't out of control, I think its ok. People collect all sorts of different things, why not ukuleles.