View Full Version : Quality of swap meet ukes from Hawaii

06-01-2012, 10:12 AM
Just curious. I have two friends who at different times went to Hawaii and bought ukes from the swap meets over there. How are they? they got their ukes at $150 and $200

Uncle Rod Higuchi
06-01-2012, 12:16 PM
Depends on the brands and if they were new or used.

Local 'luthiers' or simply ukulele makers sometimes sell their projects at the swap meet.
Some are good, some, not so good.

Sometimes you can get a very good uke, but most times, well, they're savvy, you know.

They will probably know what they have and what it's worth. :)

That being said, if you're not too fussy, you can get some imports (laminates) for a pretty
good price. You may not recognize the name brand, but if you have a chance to play them
and they sound good to you....

NOTE some of these are fairly INconsistent in build and finish so please try several to find
the one that looks and sounds good to you.

That being said, Caveat Emptor (let the buyer beware) :)

Good Guys in Kapahulu about .5 to 1.0 miles from Waikiki is a good, reputable place and being
away from Waikiki, can be a bit less expensive than shops in Waikiki - just because. :)

It's fun to look, but difficult to find a really good deal. (unless you're not picky).

keep uke'in', and hopin' and searchin'...,

06-01-2012, 12:35 PM
Look real hard at the ones there at the stadium. I bought one there from local builder, GREAT player-all solid koa but had some wear not too noticeable . He made it years ago & one of his last koa pineapples. I looked it over & sound is what I wanted. I can give you the name if you really want it and I would buy from him again. I have about 25 ukes & counting-play them all. Did I mention a good price?

mm stan
06-01-2012, 12:52 PM
There are good starter ukes like Nice Ukes and Leolani...Like unko rod says...try before you buy....beware I have nothing wrong with swap meet stuff
but always wondered if they're like seconds they had a hard time selling elsewhere, I mean not ukes in general but everything..shouldn't have said that...

06-01-2012, 01:08 PM
The last time I was there, the vendors carry an assortment of instruments from Kala, Lanikai and Leolani and so on. One had a few Kanile'a and Pono. I wouldn't call Nice ukuleles (another brand made in the PI and finished locally) starter instruments. Some of those instruments actually sound good and the price point is about $350 and up. If you plan on getting one from there, I would suggest play as many as you can and get the one that sounds and plays best to you. The swap meet is also held on Wednesdays and only one or two of the vendors are there. Best bet is to hit on the weekends and then you gotta deal with the crowds. Have fun shopping.