PDA

View Full Version : Hi-End Factory vs. Entry Level Custom?



Paul December
10-07-2011, 03:16 PM
I'm thinking I am ready to blow $1k - $1.2k on a uke.
How do you think the $$$$ would be best spent? High end factory uke or something custom? What would you do?

Trinimon
10-07-2011, 03:31 PM
Haha, too easy! I'd be looking for a Kamaka HF3 without thinking twice.

ukestah
10-07-2011, 03:36 PM
Haha, too easy! I'd be looking for a Kamaka HF3 without thinking twice.

At that price, a Vento custom tenor is an option outside of a Kamaka HF-3! I own an HF-3, a really great sounding one, but my Vento blows it out of the water and at a similar price.

coriandre
10-07-2011, 03:37 PM
I have a different vision......I would go with a custom from a reputable luthier.

In the end, it all comes down to what you prefer.....different people will have different opinions on this subject. There are no good or bad answers to this question.

RyRod
10-07-2011, 03:46 PM
Talsma's custom tenors start at $900. then with your budget you can add a little bling.

or if you get something smaller, you have even more blingtastic options.

The way I saw it when I made my decision was I could get a nice factory uke that looks almost identical to the hundreds of others out there, or I can get a one-of-a-kind uke of my design. (not taking anything away from factory brand/owners)

mangorockfish
10-07-2011, 03:48 PM
I think that in the end, unless it is a very well known luthier, when it comes time to sell the money will be in a factory job.

erivel
10-07-2011, 04:09 PM
I'd take a look at Pohaku ukuleles by Peter Hurney.

Doc_J
10-07-2011, 04:47 PM
For that kind of $$, I'd look into a custom, possibly a Mya-moe, Compass Rose, Boat Paddle, or Kepasa. It all depends on what kind of sound, look and other features you like. You can get a custom uke to your liking for that money.

Lexxy
10-07-2011, 05:09 PM
With that money, i'd go for a custom. Or the K brands! (KoAloha, Kamaka, Kanile'a, Ko'olau)

foxfair
10-07-2011, 05:46 PM
I'd say go for big K brands. I'm not sure which size you want, but for custom uke 1k-1.2k is the base line of any build size. By saying "base line" I mean the default build option without any customized choice.
Mya-moe base price is : 800(traditional soprano)-1000(tenor), or 1150(classic soprano) - 1350(tenor). Moore Bettah's from 1900-2000. Add up with any fancy option you want... definitely not in your budget range.

OTOH, 1.2k will get you a really good uke in any size of all K brands.

southcoastukes
10-07-2011, 06:06 PM
Talsma's custom tenors start at $900...

Ryan, I had no idea Dave was that cheap! Considering what you'll end up with, that is quite a bargain.

Paul, if you are thinking along the lines of the classical uke you were asking about, having someone like Dave guide you and then build for you at that price would be hard to pass up. You won't get that from a factory.

(Also, you probably wouldn't want to sell it, but the Talsma name is well known - it wouldn't be hard to get a good price)

Scott Stahlecker
10-07-2011, 06:42 PM
I'm thinking I am ready to blow $1k - $1.2k on a uke.
How do you think the $$$$ would be best spent? High end factory uke or something custom? What would you do?

I'm with Trinimon on this one, splurge on a high end factory uke. You are paying for years of experience. Have $2,000 to spend? Go with a trusted custom builder.

janeray1940
10-07-2011, 06:51 PM
Haha, too easy! I'd be looking for a Kamaka HF3 without thinking twice.

Same here! As others have said, it comes down to personal preference, both in terms of sound and aesthetics. There's no one-size-fits-all answer.

I've never even considered a custom because (um, obviously...) I like the Kamaka sound and the understated design - I'm not into inlays and bling and all that. And I like the idea of being able to hear what I'm getting before committing to buy.

ksiegel
10-07-2011, 06:57 PM
Go play the ukes. Really.

I got a KoAloha Sceptre this summer - when I played it, the feel and sound were awesome - even my wife stopped what she was doing, sat up, and took notice. Our mutual reactions were "Wow."

A few weeks later, I played a couple of Rick Turner's Compass Rose ukes. They were wonderful, but didn't quite bring out the "Wow." that the Sceptre did.

That being said, the compass rose ukes are easily among the best instruments I've played, after the Sceptre and the Pineapple Sunday, and right there with the Kamaka Liliu HF-36 Six String tenor ukulele.

(I have never played a Custom built Ukulele

sukie
10-07-2011, 07:04 PM
Talsma's custom tenors start at $900. then with your budget you can add a little bling.

or if you get something smaller, you have even more blingtastic options.

The way I saw it when I made my decision was I could get a nice factory uke that looks almost identical to the hundreds of others out there, or I can get a one-of-a-kind uke of my design. (not taking anything away from factory brand/owners)

I have seen Ryan's Talsma. It sounds lovely. It looks lovely. I thought that it was a great bargain for the price. You couldn't go wrong.

consitter
10-07-2011, 08:19 PM
Go play the ukes. Really.

I got a KoAloha Sceptre this summer - when I played it, the feel and sound were awesome - even my wife stopped what she was doing, sat up, and took notice. Our mutual reactions were "Wow."

A few weeks later, I played a couple of Rick Turner's Compass Rose ukes. They were wonderful, but didn't quite bring out the "Wow." that the Sceptre did.

That being said, the compass rose ukes are easily among the best instruments I've played, after the Sceptre and the Pineapple Sunday, and right there with the Kamaka Liliu HF-36 Six String tenor ukulele.

(I have never played a Custom built Ukulele


Completely agree here. Play many, buy one. One that you play, will make you go "Holy cow," and you'll just know. IF you're looking at production models that is. I'm fortunate enough to own a custom, and it's head and shoulders above it's production siblings I own (all are KoAloha). The customs just have a different feel. Of course, most customs will have a starting price of $2,000 for a bare bones model. When you get into a completely hand made instrument, it's just gonna be that way.

Also, expect a wait for most customs. Kamaka isn't taking orders according to their website. Spoke to Paul Okami of KoAloha a couple of weeks ago, and they won't be taking any custom orders for 2 years until they get their backlog filled. Before now, it was 3 to 5 year waits on customs. So he's now allowing himself to get caught up before another onslaught.

In any event, the hunt for a uke is always a fun task. By the way, earlier I said you'll just know about a uke when you play it. If you think you do, move on to another. If it is the one, you'll keep gravitating back to it.

joekulele
10-07-2011, 09:37 PM
I agree with Consitter. Truly, it is not you that chooses the ukulele; the ukulele chooses you.

ksiegel
10-08-2011, 03:38 AM
In any event, the hunt for a uke is always a fun task. By the way, earlier I said you'll just know about a uke when you play it. If you think you do, move on to another. If it is the one, you'll keep gravitating back to it.

I heartily agree.

When I bought my Fluke, I kept going back to it.

When I bought my KoAloha Sceptre, I kept going back to it- and each time, it still elicited a "Wow."

And I want to point out that's a "Wow.", not a "WOW!" it was such a subtle, complete experience that I just had to pause and look at what I was playing, and think about exactly how it felt, and resonated. The overwhelming "WOW!" can wear off, but a "wow." just keeps on keeping on.


-Kurt

roxhum
10-08-2011, 03:42 AM
I heartily agree.

When I bought my Fluke, I kept going back to it.

When I bought my KoAloha Sceptre, I kept going back to it- and each time, it still elicited a "Wow."

And I want to point out that's a "Wow.", not a "WOW!" it was such a subtle, complete experience that I just had to pause and look at what I was playing, and think about exactly how it felt, and resonated. The overwhelming "WOW!" can wear off, but a "wow." just keeps on keeping on.


-Kurt

Wow! I have never heard it said better. I may have found my wow in this little Kamaka soprano.

RyRod
10-08-2011, 05:50 AM
All good arguments.

If you choose a luthier that does picture updates, nothing is better than watching YOUR ukulele come to life.

You take that chance of not liking the end product, but if you tell the builder up front what sound you're looking for they should be able to make it happen.

And there was that thread a couple days back talking about return policies, or whatever.

olgoat52
10-08-2011, 08:49 AM
Second how good Ryans uke sounds. I didn't know it was that affordable. But then it doesn't hurt to play like Ryan does.. Little *@!%#! I hate 'im! :D

sukie
10-08-2011, 05:44 PM
Second how good Ryans uke sounds. I didn't know it was that affordable. But then it doesn't hurt to play like Ryan does.. Little *@!%#! I hate 'im! :D
But you say it with love!

Any chance, OP, you can go to a Uke festival or something to check out different ukuleles? People are very nice about letting you play their instruments if you ask nicely. You're getting into an expensive item and you should try some out if you're unsure.

I have a Moore Bettahs and I love the sound. But Ryan's Talsma sound was incredible. Different but beautiful.

rasputinsghost
10-08-2011, 06:12 PM
Mya-Moe. Without question.

I own several customs and K-brand productions and my MM sounds the best. Bar none.

olgoat52
10-08-2011, 06:33 PM
Bar chords aren't that hard. Just takes a little practice... ;)

Mya-Moe. Without question.

I own several customs and K-brand productions and my MM sounds the best. Bar none.

olgoat52
10-08-2011, 06:34 PM
Of course I do... At least I think I do.. Nah! I still hate 'im. :)


But you say it with love!

Any chance, OP, you can go to a Uke festival or something to check out different ukuleles? People are very nice about letting you play their instruments if you ask nicely. You're getting into an expensive item and you should try some out if you're unsure.

I have a Moore Bettahs and I love the sound. But Ryan's Talsma sound was incredible. Different but beautiful.