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ahgnuyen
05-31-2012, 03:05 PM
First, I'm 15 years old. Yes, a fair bit younger than most of the members here at UU. As of June 6, I will have been playing ukulele for a year and I plan to be playing for the rest of my life.

There's not really a way to exactly measure skill, but as a benchmark, I can get through Jake's Bohemian Rhapsody and Piano Forte with minimal error.

Lately, due to severe UAS, I've been window shopping and one question that has been on my mind is this. Am I too young to get a "professional" or custom ukulele (K brands, Collings, Breedlove, Mya Moe, instruments in the ~$1000 range)?

gyosh
05-31-2012, 03:14 PM
First, I'm 15 years old. Yes, a fair bit younger than most of the members here at UU. As of June 6, I will have been playing ukulele for a year and I plan to be playing for the rest of my life.

There's not really a way to exactly measure skill, but as a benchmark, I can get through Jake's Bohemian Rhapsody and Piano Forte with minimal error.

Lately, due to severe UAS, I've been window shopping and one question that has been on my mind is this. Am I too young to get a "professional" or custom ukulele (K brands, Collings, Breedlove, Mya Moe, instruments in the ~$1000 range)?

Yes, you're too young. You should leave now before all of what's left of my self-esteem is destroyed.

Totally kidding . . . about the "too young" part. My self-esteem is rather bruised and I am supremely jealous of your talent.

I'll repeat what I've seen on UU time and time again because it makes so much sense. Get the best you can easily afford, or the best your parent's can afford if they're footing the bill.

With minimal error . . . really?!?!? :bowdown:

Good luck and have fun.

ahgnuyen
05-31-2012, 03:20 PM
Yes, you're too young. You should leave now before all of what's left of my self-esteem is destroyed.

Totally kidding . . . about the "too young" part. My self-esteem is rather bruised and I am supremely jealous of your talent.

I'll repeat what I've seen on UU time and time again because it makes so much sense. Get the best you can easily afford, or the best your parent's can afford if they're footing the bill.

With minimal error . . . really?!?!? :bowdown:

Good luck and have fun.

Haha. You had me going there!

Minimal error, to an extent. I haven't learned the entire songs yet, but now that I'm out of school, I have more free time.

Ah, of course. I found a KoAloha tenor with pickup on Craigslist for $700. Hoping nobody else gets it before me!

Thanks!

Dan Uke
05-31-2012, 03:24 PM
First, I'm 15 years old. Yes, a fair bit younger than most of the members here at UU. As of June 6, I will have been playing ukulele for a year and I plan to be playing for the rest of my life.

There's not really a way to exactly measure skill, but as a benchmark, I can get through Jake's Bohemian Rhapsody and Piano Forte with minimal error.

Lately, due to severe UAS, I've been window shopping and one question that has been on my mind is this. Am I too young to get a "professional" or custom ukulele (K brands, Collings, Breedlove, Mya Moe, instruments in the ~$1000 range)?

Go for it!! You are allowed to have fun, change your mind, have no regrets!! You are invincible cuz you are young!!

gyosh
05-31-2012, 03:25 PM
At your skill level, you're really going to want to try the uke before you buy it. Especially since each K-brand kind of has it's own unique sound or playability. They're all awesome, but you might prefer one over the other and to purchase straight away without playing the different brands first might leave you wanting something else. Search for stores that carry the K-brands and play them first hand. Then scour the ads if you're looking for used.

Just my two cents.

ahgnuyen
05-31-2012, 03:29 PM
At your skill level, you're really going to want to try the uke before you buy it. Especially since each K-brand kind of has it's own unique sound or playability. They're all awesome, but you might prefer one over the other and to purchase straight away without playing the different brands first might leave you wanting something else. Search for stores that carry the K-brands and play them first hand. Then scour the ads if you're looking for used.

Just my two cents.

Exactly my thought. After extensive research, I've realized that what everyone hear says, and rightly so. However, here in Kenner, there are no shops that have ukuleles besides Guitar Center (shudder). However, I might go to Houston soon, and there are a few stores that have a few K's and higher end stuff.

Thank you for the advice, by the way. Very much appreciated.

ahgnuyen
05-31-2012, 03:33 PM
Go for it!! You are allowed to have fun, change your mind, have no regrets!! You are invincible cuz you are young!!

Ah, that's great to hear. Couldn't have put it better myself. Thanks!

gyosh
05-31-2012, 03:39 PM
You could also go to uke meet ups that may be near you. Most uke people are always willing to let you give their uke a test drive. Maybe some of them will have the K-brands. The other option you do have is to try out ukes with different top woods and/or wood combinations and see which one fits your ear. IMO if you're going to invest that much money you need to get what you really, really want. Maybe waiting to pull the trigger on a K until you know EXACTLY what you want may be the more prudent option. People will tell you that koa sounds like . . . and myrtle sounds like . . . . and so on and so on. You need to KNOW what you want. It'll prevent buyers remorse. Hope this helps. Good luck.

ahgnuyen
05-31-2012, 03:44 PM
You could also go to uke meet ups that may be near you. Most uke people are always willing to let you give their uke a test drive. Maybe some of them will have the K-brands. The other option you do have is to try out ukes with different top woods and/or wood combinations and see which one fits your ear. IMO if you're going to invest that much money you need to get what you really, really want. Maybe waiting to pull the trigger on a K until you know EXACTLY what you want may be the more prudent option. People will tell you that koa sounds like . . . and myrtle sounds like . . . . and so on and so on. You need to KNOW what you want. It'll prevent buyers remorse. Hope this helps. Good luck.

I'll have to check if there are any uke fests near. Looks are also a big factor for me as well. For example, I love the look of Myrtle, but the only ukes I've seen that use Myrtle are Mya Moes. Slightly out of my price range. Haha. I've had to rely on video/sound samples, which actually help a lot. But I'm pretty much open to anything.

Patrick Madsen
05-31-2012, 03:53 PM
Dang, I have shoes older than you; wait a minute. And I'm wearing them now. Heck no you aren't too young. I've given many top end instruments to deserving youth like you. Keep it up and pay it forward. Means play forever and ensure others after you learn what is taught to you by we elders.

Hoping to hear of your new UAS acquistion soon.

808boy
05-31-2012, 04:40 PM
Dang you youngsters are learning fast. I was that way a loooooong time ago. Congrats on your learning ability, keep it up.
As far as a uke, get what your heart desires, with your talent, you deserve it.
If your parents are helping you to obtain one, think of how proud they'll be when you become an accomplished uker, maybe even famous.
Good luck Keiki Kane..................................BO.......... ................

kapahulu50
05-31-2012, 05:05 PM
Figure out the most you think you can spend, then spend 20% more. Otherwise you'll be buying another in no time. The better it sounds, the more motivated you'll be to practice as 16-year old, then 17-year old, etc. distractions come your way. In a thread awhile back somebody calculated the cost per hour of a top $ no compromise uke, and for a full time player like yourself, it's the cheapest entertainment you can buy.

fernandogardinali
05-31-2012, 05:11 PM
Yes. You're very young. You should buy a Mya Moe or a Collings and I'll keep it to you until you are 60.

ahgnuyen
05-31-2012, 05:41 PM
Wow. I love UU. Haha. Yall are just great, and so encouraging. A huge thank you to everyone who replied here. Your advice is priceless.

And fernandogardinali (I apologize; I don't know your real name), I've fallen in love with both of those brands. Collings are stunning and Mya Moe's are simply amazing. I don't think I'll be able to afford one for a good ten years! Unfortunately, my parents don't have a lot of money to spend right now, so it'll probably have to stay well under $1000. :)

Lori
05-31-2012, 05:49 PM
You are at the perfect age to develop your musical skills. Get as many songs and techniques into your "muscle memory" now, because it is much easier to do at your age. Sounds like you are a dedicated musician, and that is who you will continue to be, I expect. So go for the best instrument you can get, and don't feel guilty. The KoAlohas are pretty consistent as far as tone and quality, but they do have a distinctive sound, so make sure you have heard them and like that sound. Hopefully you have played enough different sizes of ukes to know which one is the "right one" for you. That is the main thing you need to determine before spending the big bucks.

Happy hunting.
–Lori

PS– Bradford Donaldson makes myrtle ukes. You might check with him to see if he is available to make you one. http://donaldsonukuleles.com/

mm stan
05-31-2012, 11:45 PM
If you are budget minded, buy a second hand premimum uke in our marketplace or Flea Music Marketplace..that way you get a higher level uke for a better price..Good Luck...
if possible...try before you buy....in other words, Play it first if you can....Ukes all have their own voices like you and me..

Tudorp
06-01-2012, 01:23 AM
You got the money, you got the passion, you got the desire? Don't matter if your 2 years old, get ya one you'll be proud to play little brudda...

frankiefirefox
06-01-2012, 01:46 AM
If you are going to Houston, go to Rockin Robin. They are incredibly helpful and have ko'alohas. I agree with gyosh. play as many brands and varieties within the brand before buying. I played a couple a RR and learned that the I liked the concert best. Its all about personal preference. Good luck!

ChrisRCovington
06-01-2012, 03:12 AM
I agree with what everyone else here says, go for it! Get the best ukulele you can afford, one that will last a lifetime. Another consideration you need to have is your age vs. money. At your age you don't have many bills. Your income in disposable. I used to be that way. Now that I own a house, have to make repairs on it and my car, pay for my own insurance, alarm system, gas, water and electric and all that good stuff I can't drop a grand on something like I used to be able to when I was a teenager or a younger man in my 20's. I still have some of those luxary items from my youth though and I'm glad I do :) It also sounds like your parents are very supportive and willing to help you out.

jwieties
06-01-2012, 03:47 AM
There are other builders worth looking into. BlacK Bear often builds in you price range and has some of the finest ukes around. I also highly recommend Covered Bridge, especially if you like myrtle. You will be able to pick one up for around 1/2 of you budget and will get a fantastic uke. Search my post and you find a video review of my myrtle/redwood concert. I recently got to play a large sample of "K" brand ukes. They were fantastic and there were a couple I would love to own, but I left there being even more impressed with just how good the covered bridge sounds and plays.

Two others worth worth considering are Loprinzi (check out Elderly Music) and MP Ukuleles (who currently has a BEAUTIFUL tenor available for $800).

You are on the right track and I'm not trying to make things more complicated. Just pointing out a few other options.
Good luck!

ahgnuyen
06-01-2012, 04:12 AM
Wow. I didn't expect this many people to reply! Sage advice, indeed.


There are other builders worth looking into. BlacK Bear often builds in you price range and has some of the finest ukes around. I also highly recommend Covered Bridge, especially if you like myrtle. You will be able to pick one up for around 1/2 of you budget and will get a fantastic uke. Search my post and you find a video review of my myrtle/redwood concert. I recently got to play a large sample of "K" brand ukes. They were fantastic and there were a couple I would love to own, but I left there being even more impressed with just how good the covered bridge sounds and plays.

Two others worth worth considering are Loprinzi (check out Elderly Music) and MP Ukuleles (who currently has a BEAUTIFUL tenor available for $800).

You are on the right track and I'm not trying to make things more complicated. Just pointing out a few other options.
Good luck!

Loprinzi's actually caught my eye the first time I saw them! I found a great deal on a custom one on Craigslist ($700 for a $1600 instrument). MP ukuleles look great as well, but for me, they have a kind of love-it-or-hate-it look. Ultimately, it comes down to me being able to try out the instrument in person. Thanks!


If you are going to Houston, go to Rockin Robin. They are incredibly helpful and have ko'alohas. I agree with gyosh. play as many brands and varieties within the brand before buying. I played a couple a RR and learned that the I liked the concert best. Its all about personal preference. Good luck!

Ah, I just found out about them recently. Their selection looks awesome; I would've never expected them to have KoAloha's. I'll be going to Houston in a month or so and I'll make sure to stop by. Thank you!


If you are budget minded, buy a second hand premimum uke in our marketplace or Flea Music Marketplace..that way you get a higher level uke for a better price..Good Luck...
if possible...try before you buy....in other words, Play it first if you can....Ukes all have their own voices like you and me..

I've actually been scouring the marketplace for a while now, but I haven't seen a uke that I really, really like. And my parents will need a bit of convincing as well. Haha. And yes, trying before I buy is now my biggest concern. Thanks!

ahgnuyen
06-01-2012, 04:17 AM
You are at the perfect age to develop your musical skills. Get as many songs and techniques into your "muscle memory" now, because it is much easier to do at your age. Sounds like you are a dedicated musician, and that is who you will continue to be, I expect. So go for the best instrument you can get, and don't feel guilty. The KoAlohas are pretty consistent as far as tone and quality, but they do have a distinctive sound, so make sure you have heard them and like that sound. Hopefully you have played enough different sizes of ukes to know which one is the "right one" for you. That is the main thing you need to determine before spending the big bucks.

Happy hunting.
–Lori

PS– Bradford Donaldson makes myrtle ukes. You might check with him to see if he is available to make you one. http://donaldsonukuleles.com/

Yep, I practice literally all day, every day! Haha. I may actually get to try out a few KoAloha's in the neat future, so we'll see. And I'm currently in between concerts and tenors. I'll probably go with a tenor; the larger scale and body size and the ability to switch to low-G will give me a wider range of songs to play (instrumentals, etc). Thank you!

ahgnuyen
06-01-2012, 04:23 AM
The one instrument that I've been set on is the Breedlove Master Class Tenor. One member had it for sale here:http://www.ukuleleunderground.com/forum/showthread.php?64612-FS-Breedlove-Master-Class-Koa-Tenor-Ukulele&highlight=breedlove

I've always been a sucker for the bells and whistles, and Breedlove has got it all! Haha. However, there's no way I could get my parents to pay ~$2000 for a uke. Definitely gonna keep this in mind when I get a job.

And the Collings found here as well:http://www.elderly.com/new_instruments/items/UC2-KOA.htm
(Or all of the Collings ukes for that matter) :D

My friends tell me I have expensive taste...

ahgnuyen
06-08-2012, 03:22 PM
No one's on this thread anymore, but I wanted to let you guys know, that, unfortunately, my parents wouldn't bite on the new uke idea. Next time, then! Thanks for all the input, yall are great.

itsme
06-08-2012, 04:13 PM
Unfortunately, my parents don't have a lot of money to spend right now...


...unfortunately, my parents wouldn't bite on the new uke idea.
And why should they spend money on what they probably consider an indulgence for you if they are struggling to pay the bills and keep a roof over your head and food on the table so you can eat?

You're young, maybe not old enough to get a legit part-time job, but you can mow lawns or do other chores around the neighborhood for some pocket change. Save it up and earn it yourself and I can guarantee you it'll mean more to you than if your "rents" just bought it for you. :)

drbekken
06-08-2012, 08:05 PM
Exactly my thought. After extensive research, I've realized that what everyone hear says, and rightly so. However, here in Kenner, there are no shops that have ukuleles besides Guitar Center (shudder). However, I might go to Houston soon, and there are a few stores that have a few K's and higher end stuff.

Thank you for the advice, by the way. Very much appreciated.

if you're in Louisiana, why don't you check out Southcoast Ukuleles?

BIGDB
06-08-2012, 08:51 PM
I don't think your to young (I'm only 14) and I think at when you just start you should get a cheap ukulele and if you like it and plan in playing the rest of your life you should start saving or whatever for a good one so you don't have to buy a bunch of them. Or unless your more in to collecting them but I'm more of a player.

Personally I would save for a custom mya moe

kauaijim
06-08-2012, 10:19 PM
If you live in LA, email Dirk at Southcoast. If I still lived in the South, that's who I'd talk to. While I haven't heard the instruments, he certainly understands music theory and construction.

Get the best you can afford and work to get enough money to get a better one than you think you can. The more you help pay for it, the better it will sound to you. Ask any psychologist about sound perception and cognitive dissonance.

Oshwega
06-08-2012, 10:42 PM
I have played a number of stringed instruments (although I am new to the ukulele), and I have found that better quality instruments will help both the quality of the music I produce and the ease of playing. The upper level instruments are both musically and playability better. There is an adage in auto racing that goes "How fast do you want to go? How much do you want to spend?" And I have found a corollary to that statement in musical instruments.
Jake Shimabukuro is a fine player, and could make most any ukulele sound quite good. But I will guarantee you that he both sounds better and plays better on his Kamaka special!
If you're really serious about the music, get the best instrument you can afford. But try it first. Check how it feels in your hands, in your playing style. If you know someone else who plays the uke, try and get them to play the one that interests you while you step away to hear how the uke would sound to the audience. You will know when you have found the right one. In the meantime,save your dollars!

Plainsong
06-09-2012, 12:05 AM
I was 15 when my parents got me my Buffet R13 clarinet (a real clarinet and not a plastic POS), so going by that gauge, no you aren't too young. This is the age where the band kids are getting their quality instruments.. It's the right age.

I can't speak for what your parents can afford, and in this economy it may not be much, but if all things were equal and it's just that ukulele doesn't count to them, then I wish you luck on earning that coin on your own.

luluwrites
06-09-2012, 12:48 AM
This is an excerpt from Terry Gross's FRESH AIR interview with Doc Watson that I thought you might appreciate:


GROSS: Now considering that your early instruments were homemade banjos and a mail-order guitar, did you ever get really obsessed with the quality of instruments that you were playing? Some musicians just play what they have, and others get really obsessed with having instruments that are just right for them or custom made for them.

WATSON: I was fairly contented with what I had. I never had had my hands on a good guitar back in those days, and didn't for years. The first good guitar that I got hold of, that I would've considered much better than my mail-order box was a Martin guitar that Richard Green(ph) used to have a little music store under his - he had a boarding house or an inn there in Boone.

And I went in there one day with that little mail-order thing and he said: Why don't you let me help you get your good guitar? And I said, gosh, it cost too much. And he said: I'll tell you what I can do. I can get you a good Martin D-18 that will be a price that you can afford, and I'll take the payments down to five dollars a month.

And I couldn't beat that - I paid it off quicker than that - but I couldn't beat that with a stick. And at that time I was playing at the little fruit stand and a couple of - a little bean market they had in Boone and making me a few shekels on a Saturday, having a good time a-pickin', and I paid for the guitar that summer.

He got me that thing at his cost, and it cost 90 bucks, and I paid for it. Oh lord, I was proud of that guitar. But in all truth, compared to my guitar now, it was like fretting a fence.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

WATSON: It was really hard to play

GROSS: I guess it's almost good, in a way, to get used to something like that because it makes it seem so much easier when you get a good guitar.

WATSON: Oh, it really does, and when I got into the folk revival in the '60s, I ran into people who could set a guitar action up to where you could play it, and I came onto another Martin along about that time, played a Gibson first on the road - borrowed. Then I came into another Martin, and the action was brought down to where you could play it.

missameeames
06-09-2012, 01:56 AM
itsme makes an excellent point that earning the money yourself would make it mean so much more to you. It might be hard for your parents to swallow right now when they think of all of the hours they have to work to pay for that uke, when you already have a few to play and they have other bills to worry about.

You never know.....next major holiday, you may find a huge odd-shaped box wrapped up for you! (That's totally something my family would do....say no, shatter all my hopes and dreams just to make it a surprise)

pulelehua
06-09-2012, 03:11 AM
Jake Shimabukuro started when he was 4. You're not young. You're old. Get a good ukulele. And fast!

;)

As for MP Ukuleles, when you get the money, he's definitely worth a look. He is willing to do basically anything you want which he is capable of. He'll do real one-off, just trying something new ideas (he did a lapsteel for Baouke). Which MANY luthiers won't. My MP doesn't really look like anything else he's made, as far as I know (except for the fret markers, which I stole from Nuprin). The headstock is totally different. It's all Zebrawood. Which I'm not sure he's done in the past 100 ukuleles. It's a longneck soprano, which he hardly ever does. He really lets you say, "Can we try this?" and he says, "Sure!"

Mine's the top one (John's):
http://mpukuleles.com/Videos___Sound_Clips.php

Save your pennies. It doesn't take forever, and your parents will be impressed by your determination.

Good luck! And remember us when you're famous. :D

John

Plainsong
06-09-2012, 06:24 AM
Mike is a really top guy. If it happens that you earn the money and they say no, time to take a stand. :)

Dan Uke
06-09-2012, 06:51 AM
I'm sure they would consider buying you something if you played a real instrument!! :p

Most parents wouldn't understand a uke as it's still a novelty to most people in the world. Can you get a music degree in uke? Get a job and save your money.