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View Full Version : Ouch! Burnt by first uke purchase!



the_dude
09-23-2011, 09:38 AM
I suddenly got inspired to take up the ukulele and started researching brands, styles, etc. At one point I decided I would forgo my usual over-thinking of things, so I went to a local "Mom and Pop" music store to experience the ukes firsthand.

Well, I got impulsive as always and bought something. I figured it was worth the extra $10-20 premium I might be paying to support a small, local business. So I paid $130 for my pineapple-shaped Lanikai LU-21P and went home to start learning.

After a while my curiosity got the better of me (again, as it always does) and I went online. BIG mistake. Said instrument was available from Amazon for less than $60!! And from other smaller online merchants for about the same!

Ugh.

:o

Now I feel torn; I feel good about supporting a local business, but am mad at myself for being impulsive and not doing a little more research. Honestly, if I'd done that I might have still bought from them, but I would have bought something that had a price more in-line with other retailers' prices, such as the Fleas they had for $250.

Lesson learned.

Coconut Willie
09-23-2011, 09:42 AM
Ahhhhh...live and learn!! Now you know for the next time, but always remember, you helped the little local guy and there is nothing really wrong with that!! Next time, shop online prices and go to the Mom & Pop tell them the online price and see if they will take a few dollars off. Also, that Mom & Pop store might have a much larger overhead than the online sellers and that will lead to higher prices.

PoiDog
09-23-2011, 10:48 AM
Good for you for supporting local merchants, but, wow ... what a markup!

Even the Flea price seems a bit ... um ... elevated.

I guess this is a good example of just what sort of pressure local places have to deal with from online sales. It's a shame.

v30
09-23-2011, 10:52 AM
I've done the same thing and with the same model actually. Locally I bought it for about 110 before taxes and then found another music store locally (that I didn't know existed since I don't play anything else) that had the kala version for about half.

Tootler
09-23-2011, 10:58 AM
If I'm going to spend serious money on a musical instrument, I like to try some out first. I did that when I recently bought myself my first decent quality uke and I'm glad I did because I found an instrument that I really liked. Now it may be that they are available cheaper on line, but you can't try out instruments on line so there is the dual benefit of supporting your local store and being able to choose the "right" instrument for you.

Also beware with online sales, especially eBay, as shipping charges can often add considerably to the overall cost and the on line bargain may not seem quite so great once they are added in.

Geoff

OldePhart
09-23-2011, 12:07 PM
Assuming that the mom and pop shop you purchased the uke from set the uke up properly, adjusting the nut and saddle as needed to ensure proper intonation and playability, and the $130 you spent included sales taxes, then the $130 you paid for that uke is less out of line than it seems, though still pretty much at the high end.

Of course, not all locally owned business set up their instruments, and some I wouldn't trust to do so. Still, purchasing your first uke from some place like Amazon is not a good idea, at all. My first uke was a Lanikai LU21-C - a decent starter uke and one I purchased from Amazon.com after doing my research - but I've played and worked on guitars for years so when it came in with a high nut (not at all unexpected) I was able to take care of it easily. Anyone that doesn't have that ability though would be wise to avoid places like Amazon.com like the plague - especially for instruments at the lower end of the price range. There is more chance that you'll get a poorly intonated, not particularly easy-to-play, uke than a really good one.

Online uke specialists like Mim and Uke Republic are another matter - they set their instruments up - so you get a good price and a playable instrument.

John

deadpool
09-23-2011, 12:23 PM
Assuming that the mom and pop shop you purchased the uke from set the uke up properly, adjusting the nut and saddle as needed to ensure proper intonation and playability, and the $130 you spent included sales taxes, then the $130 you paid for that uke is less out of line than it seems, though still pretty much at the high end.

Of course, not all locally owned business set up their instruments, and some I wouldn't trust to do so. Still, purchasing your first uke from some place like Amazon is not a good idea, at all. My first uke was a Lanikai LU21-C - a decent starter uke and one I purchased from Amazon.com after doing my research - but I've played and worked on guitars for years so when it came in with a high nut (not at all unexpected) I was able to take care of it easily. Anyone that doesn't have that ability though would be wise to avoid places like Amazon.com like the plague - especially for instruments at the lower end of the price range. There is more chance that you'll get a poorly intonated, not particularly easy-to-play, uke than a really good one.

Online uke specialists like Mim and Uke Republic are another matter - they set their instruments up - so you get a good price and a playable instrument.

John


Exactly correct!

dnewton2
09-23-2011, 01:31 PM
I have done the same thing but I paid 400 for a uke I could have got for about 260. The worst part was I specifically asked if the uke was solid wood. I was told yes, the I later found out it was laminate. I was pretty upset about the whole situation. Live and learn though.

FlyedPiper
09-23-2011, 01:42 PM
Don't feel bad, I am a little displeased with my first uke purchase as well.

I bought a decent model at a decent price but I hadn't heard about the "setup" thing yet. I could have got one set up with decent strings for the same price. Oh well, now I know.

nickie_66
09-23-2011, 02:13 PM
I have done the same thing but I paid 400 for a uke I could have got for about 260.


wooh that hurts....

but you've also been openly lied to, so you can blame the seller quite much, at least ...


personally, i wanted something kinda fancy, to motivate me, so i got a flea :)
but i wanted it mango, also concert, and also rosewood, so i had it custom made !

luckily, it's an awesome instrument, but like PoiDog said, there are cheaper alternatives for sure especially for the price of the rosewood option .... maybe if i could go to a shop with it, and kalas, and ponos or whatever, i'd have chosen something else .. but one thing is sure, i would have written down some internet prices! ;)
everybody should do that ;D


but hey, i don't know about you , but local businesses in my place, or even my whole country, when they have ukuleles, wich is kind of rare, they usually have the always ever same mahalo, stagg, and another brand i had never heard about, for the price of a really really good uke.... it's like they just don't care :(

Nickie
09-23-2011, 03:42 PM
I have done the same thing but I paid 400 for a uke I could have got for about 260. The worst part was I specifically asked if the uke was solid wood. I was told yes, the I later found out it was laminate. I was pretty upset about the whole situation. Live and learn though.
Shoot, I'll bet they didn't even know what you were talking about. A lot of people don't know the diff between "laminate" and "solid" wood. If I didn't have a carpenter brother, I might not have known, either. Lots of people sell things they don't know sh-- about.
This is great thread!

foxfair
09-23-2011, 03:58 PM
I suddenly got inspired to take up the ukulele and started researching brands, styles, etc. At one point I decided I would forgo my usual over-thinking of things, so I went to a local "Mom and Pop" music store to experience the ukes firsthand.

Well, I got impulsive as always and bought something. I figured it was worth the extra $10-20 premium I might be paying to support a small, local business. So I paid $130 for my pineapple-shaped Lanikai LU-21P and went home to start learning.

After a while my curiosity got the better of me (again, as it always does) and I went online. BIG mistake. Said instrument was available from Amazon for less than $60!! And from other smaller online merchants for about the same!

Ugh.

:o

Now I feel torn; I feel good about supporting a local business, but am mad at myself for being impulsive and not doing a little more research. Honestly, if I'd done that I might have still bought from them, but I would have bought something that had a price more in-line with other retailers' prices, such as the Fleas they had for $250.

Lesson learned.

Welcome to the UU, and I would say that you spent the right money at a right place for first time purchase. Like other experts said, you should buy your first uke in local store. So you will be able to go back and check action/innotation/strings and many other customer service questions. I don't think you can get those from amazon freely.

And, I'll bet on seeing you to buy another uke soon! hehehe.... This is what we all start!

the_dude
09-24-2011, 03:50 AM
Assuming that the mom and pop shop you purchased the uke from set the uke up properly, adjusting the nut and saddle as needed to ensure proper intonation and playability, and the $130 you spent included sales taxes, then the $130 you paid for that uke is less out of line than it seems.

That's a really good point, though I don't think they did that. Though I'm new to the uke, I've played guitar for many years, so one of the things I asked them was if it needs any setting up. They said it shouldn't. I assumed that to mean that they took care of it already, but now that I think about it, I think it really means they didn't feel it was worth the effort.

Score one more for impulsiveness...

Diamondengraving
09-24-2011, 05:55 AM
Give the local shop the benefit of the doubt. I am a small business owner and often my cost is more than some products can be bought retail online. I just can't buy in the volume to get the great price breaks as the online stores. We try to make up the difference with great service. You may find that Mom and Pop are a great value and their mark up is completely fair.

Shastastan
09-24-2011, 07:36 AM
I've bought 2 ukes so far. 1 was from Amazon and the other from a respected online dealer. Both needed to be set up after I received them. I had it done at our local guitar shop because I know the owner who's an expert technician and pro level player. It was $23 for the setups of both. Both were easier to play after the setups. Regardless of who I buy from, I'll take it in for a setup. I have bought a few guitars from this local store also.

I've never understood why we torture ourselves and check prices after we have already purchased. Of course some places have a policy to give you the same price if you paid them more within a certain time period. I've done this also but now I do most of my purchases online using a price comparison program. Some of us have to buy online because we have no local sources for some things such as instruments. I only buy from those who have some type of return policy. This has helped me to avoid impulse buying. FWIW.

Would your local store let you do a trade-up for the Flea?

SuzukHammer
09-24-2011, 07:50 AM
I've been shanghaied many times; but, I get lucky too.

Next time, go in there the wiser and see if you actually do get the good stuff from that local shop.

Markr1
09-24-2011, 08:23 AM
I learned years ago when buying guitars to stop buying from music stores I got burnt to many times and then the Internet came along and since have gotten instruments at good prices usually at what I could get back out of them if I didn't like them. I lost thousands at music stores before the Internet. I wish local stores would come down on their prices some so I could buy from them but they don't and won't so I'll continue doing my ukulele shopping via the Internet.

Keef
09-25-2011, 11:30 AM
This price difference is the norm ... If you really want to see a huge gap in price go to a camera store then shop on line if this keeps up one day their wont be any walk in stores anymore

deadpool
09-26-2011, 06:09 AM
I think to some degree the first uke purchase is a crap shoot, especially if you don't know what you want or need. I bought my first one (mail order) from a dealer that advertises their "expert set up". It arrived and I played it a lot and then bought a much better one from Uke Republic. I notice the action was way better on the second one. I checked the intonation on the first one and it was way off at the 12th fret. I pulled off the saddle and shaved it way down (and I mean way down). Now it has great playability and intonation. I had never done any work on any of my instrumens before and felt pretty cool at doing that - although I was kind of nervous about it at first. So.......I guess you never know on stuff like that. Could mine have just slipped through with out getting a good set up - yep, I think so; or the shop doesn't do a great job of setting them up in the first place even though that is part of their sales "pitch". Not sure what the point of that rant was but.....................

Shastastan
09-26-2011, 08:51 AM
I think to some degree the first uke purchase is a crap shoot, especially if you don't know what you want or need. ....snip.... Could mine have just slipped through with out getting a good set up - yep, I think so; or the shop doesn't do a great job of setting them up in the first place even though that is part of their sales "pitch". Not sure what the point of that rant was but.....................

This is where I feel very lucky. My local guy looked a long time at the string height before he decided to take them down a tad. In fact, he said it might not make more than a slight difference. He was surprised a little as to how much difference it made though. I think this is because he mainly works on guitars. Whenever I buy a new uke, regardless of where I get it, I'll always take it in for him to check out. If it's already ok, he'll tell me. I totally agree about the "crap shoot" comment. People who are lucky enough to discover this forum before buying, we'll do okay. IMO

strumsilly
09-26-2011, 09:10 AM
my local music store will match online prices. best of both worlds.

the_dude
09-26-2011, 01:32 PM
Well, thanks to all for your replies and war stories. I'm feeling a bit better now. I'm new to this forum (and to the ukulele) and it's refreshing to see a community that's actually a community and not a bunch of jerks trying to one-up each other or throw sarcastic comments around. Thanks again!

UkuleleThreads
09-29-2011, 06:55 PM
It really is tough with small stores, I often see ukes at flea markets, thrift stores and antique stores that are really cool but grossly over-marked. The best thing I can suggest is google it on your phone and don't ever be afraid to ask for a better price. Often times, the shops have lots of padding on things like ukes cause they don't know what they have exactly, so they over price. They have space to wiggle.

gitarzan
10-04-2011, 05:33 PM
Mine was the opposite experience. I was in a Music Go Round and they had a bunch of Ukes mostly new. They had a few new Lanakai LU21-Ts there. I tried them and picked one out. It was $39.95. New. I went home and found out they list for about $179 and typically retail for $129. Wow. It sounded great. A few days later I went back to buy the rest to put on eBay. They were gone. I had been beaten to the second and third punch, but I got the first one in. I figure they mispriced them.

modern day ukuleleist
10-07-2011, 01:46 PM
I made the mistake of buying an Ovation Applause acoustic/electric uke.

You can find them online going for anywhere from $159-$240 (I paid $150 for mine), but apparently they are one of the least popular ukuleles. No music store wants to buy them, and I have had no luck selling it online.