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Linho
08-02-2012, 02:21 AM
Thanks for your replys, I'm back from my journey. I wasn't able to go to San Jose or other places near SF, but fortunately I could visit Aloha Warehouse. They had neither KoAloha nor Kamaka in stock, but the Kanileas were amazing.

But since I travel next year to Hawaii and I had three weeks of camping before me, I decided to buy a cheap Makaii Pineapple Soprano. It brought me much fun on romantic campfire evenings, I guess it was the right descision. I really look forward to a Koa Ukulele next year! :)

Cheers,
Linho



Hi Uke Players,

I live in Germany and I am glad to visit the USA in four weeks (California, Arizona, Nevada, Utah). I thought about satisfying my UAS in the USA, because it's such a nice acronym.

Which ukes are very special, only available in the United States or much cheaper than in Europe?

Flea? LoPrinzi? Kiwaya (seem to be cheaper in the USA, although they are from Japan)? :cool:

Next year I'm honeymooning in Hawaii, so I want to buy a Hawaiian Koa Ukulele (maybe a (custom?) KoAloha) directly from there. :o

Do you have any special secret hints for me? :D

And: Do you know any good ukulele shop in San Francisco, Las Vegas or Los Angeles (that are the biggest towns I gonna visit)?
Of course without a shop I cannot buy a ukulele. ^^

Thanks in advance,
Linho

dnewton2
08-02-2012, 03:02 AM
Where are you goingto be in Arizona? I would make a trip to acoustic vibes if you are in the Pheonix area. Besides that there is a shop list here in this thread (http://www.ukuleleunderground.com/forum/showthread.php?16519-Ukulele-Stores-USA)

I am not sure what is/is not availible in Germany so for specifc brands, Not sure.

katysax
08-02-2012, 03:45 AM
The Kanilea made Islander Ukes seem to be available in the US and nowhere else. The laminated ones are incredibly good and under $200. The solid mahogany ones are great, but more expensive. I own both a Kanilea concert and an Islander Laminated concert, and the Islander is not as refined and doesn't have the sound quality of the Kanilea but it is better than some other more expensive ukes that I own. Kay's music scene in Tarzana (Los Angeles suburb) sells them.

In LA, McCabe's Guitar Shop has many high end ukes and a wall of moderately priced ones. Kay's has over 200 ukes. Island Bazaar in Orange County has quite a few ukes. The best places to try out a lot of ukes seem to be McCabe's and Kays.

The Big Kahuna
08-02-2012, 03:55 AM
You'll save a huge amount by buying in the USA (well, you should do). Make sure you do your research before you go...check prices in Germany then check the prices of the same Ukes on the websites of the stores you're planning to visit. I bought my Ukes in New York and saved a lot of money, but check customs regulations for Germany, the maximum value they allow for a "souvenir" might be lower in your country.

To give you an example, my Uke sells for the equivalent of $ 320 in England. I bought it in the USA for $ 199.

RichM
08-02-2012, 04:02 AM
And: Do you know any good ukulele shop in San Francisco, Las Vegas or Los Angeles (that are the biggest towns I gonna visit)?
Of course without a shop I cannot buy a ukulele. ^^


If you have access to a car when you are in the San Francisco area, you have some awesome options:

Sylvan Music in Santa Cruz (~90 minutes drive from SF) is a great high-end shop that carries (last time I was there) Kamaka, Compass Rose, Santa Cruz as well as more moderately priced brands like Kala and Mainland. Santa Cruz is also a fun beach town that's worth a visit on its own merits.

Ukulele Source in San Jose (~60 minutes drive from SF) is a wonderful ukulele-only shop with kind and helpful owners. Although the shop is tiny, it is packed top to bottom with ukes, from top-end to bargain.

Gryphon Strings in Palo Alto (~30 minutes drive from SF) is one of the top music shops in the US, Gryphon has a broad range of instruments inlcuding mostly high-end ukes. A great place to visit if you like stringed instruments.

nix
08-02-2012, 05:09 AM
Where are you goingto be in Arizona? I would make a trip to acoustic vibes if you are in the Pheonix area. Besides that there is a shop list here in this thread (http://www.ukuleleunderground.com/forum/showthread.php?16519-Ukulele-Stores-USA)

I am not sure what is/is not availible in Germany so for specifc brands, Not sure.

Yes, what part of Arizona will you be visiting? There are a couple shops in Tucson. If you are in the Phoenix area, Acoustic Vibes, like dnewton2 said, is probably the nicest. You can also buy cheaper ukes that might not be available in Germany at big stores like Sam Ash and Guitar Center. If you are in the Phoenix area on a Tuesday night, come jam with the Phoenix Ukulele Meetup Group from 6-8pm at the Sam Ash. We have a really good time :-)

Nix

mds725
08-02-2012, 05:44 AM
I agree that if you have a car in the San Francisco area, you should try to get to Ukulele Source in San Jose and Gryphon Stringed Instruments in Palo Alto. As mentioned, Ukulele Source (website: http://ukulelesource.com/), is an ukulele-only shop and has an amazing selection of ukes in all price ranges, including Kamaka, KoAloha, Kanile'a and Pepe Romero on the higer end, and Kala, Mainland and Ohana the mid-to-low price range. It's owners, Smiley and Janet, love ukuleles and are very knowledgeable and helpful. Gryphon (website: http://gryphonstrings.com/) has mostly guitars, one of its owners is Frank Ford, a highly respected ukulele repair guy, a staff that's knowledgeable about ukuleles, and a nice selection of high end ukuleles like Kamaka and Compass Rose ukes built by Rick Turner (website: http://www.renaissanceguitars.com/), as well as the occasional used ukulele (right now it has several used Martins) and some Ponos, Kalas, Fleas and Flukes. Gryphon lists its inventory (http://gryphonstrings.com/inventory/instrument_page.php?I=6) on its website (and it has an archive of instruments it's sold recently), so you can see whether there's anything you're interested in there before you go. I've never been to Sylvan Music (website: http://www.sylvanmusic.com/), but I've heard good things about it.

In San Francisco itself, try Aloha Warehouse in Japantown (website: http://www.alohawarehouse.com/index.php). It's a Hawaiian store that carries a nice selection of ukuleles, including Kamaka, Ko'olau, and Kanile'a on the high end, and Kamoa and Islander (by Kanile'a) and Kala in lower price ranges. There's also Guitar Solo (website: http://gspguitar.com/) on the other side of the city near the baseball park. Guitar Solo has mostly guitars but it has a few ukuleles, and occasionally a few made by Bay Area luthiers. If you can get to the East Bay, by car or BART (public transportation; website: http://bart.gov/), Music Works in El Cerrito (website: http://ecmusicworks.com/), which is a general music store, carries a nice selection of lower and mid-priced ukes, including Ohana, Lanikai and Kala/Makala, as well as Kamaka, and its owner, Duane (aka Pudgy) is an ukulele player who is very knowleadgeable and very helpful.

Good luck! Please post about your trip and let us know what you decide to buy!

Shazzbot
08-02-2012, 07:02 AM
Why don't you swing by Hawaii on your way home?
;-)

RichM
08-02-2012, 07:17 AM
It's also worth mentioning the Peter Hurney (Pohauku) is based in Berkeley, a quick trip across the Bay from San Francisco. If you're looking in that price range, it might be worth contacting Peter to see if you can connect up while you're in town.

mds725
08-02-2012, 08:43 AM
It's also worth mentioning the Peter Hurney (Pohauku) is based in Berkeley, a quick trip across the Bay from San Francisco. If you're looking in that price range, it might be worth contacting Peter to see if you can connect up while you're in town.

Here's Peter's website: http://www.pohakuukulele.com/ If you're interested in checking out local luthiers on your trip, Mike DaSilva (website: http://www.ukemaker.com/ukemaker.php) is also in Berkeley, and the aforementioned Rick Turner is in Santa Cruz (Renaissance Guitars (http://www.renaissanceguitars.com)).

ukuLily Mars
08-02-2012, 11:47 AM
I've looked into ordering the Flea from some of the French online retailers and it didn't look like they were that much cheaper in the US, but I had not gotten as far as figuring out shipping costs. At any rate, it would appear that Fleas, Flukes and Fireflies are readily available in Europe at reasonable cost. As someone mentioned, do your research before you go. Also, from what I have seen and heard, you might want to get in touch with any shops you plan to visit beforehand, to make sure they have what you are interested in actually in stock.

If you know where you are staying, you could consider ordering online and having the instrument shipped there. It's not the same as buying in person, but as we know there are some very good online merchants who will make sure your 'uke is well set up. It would still be a lot cheaper than having it shipped to Europe. Also, at least in Switzerland, Customs lets you carry in significantly more than they let you ship in. And you will get to try a lot of 'ukes in person when you go to HAWAI'I!!!! (Woo-hoo!!!)

Our Customs allowance is enough for a good 'uke (I forget the exact amount, but yours is probably different anyway). Really they only get concerned here if you're bringing in a bunch of instruments and they think you are going to sell them. Silly Customs! Just because I'm bringing in a bunch of 'ukes doesn't mean they're not all for me! :smileybounce:

Have a wonderful trip!

Linho
08-03-2012, 03:07 AM
Thanks a lot for the many tipps, especially for shops in SF and LA. Tucson/Phoenix are far away from my route. We go from Grand Canyon to Las Vegas and from there directly to LA.

I'm sure I gonna find something perfect, either in SF or in LA. Or maybe in both of them? ;)


Why don't you swing by Hawaii on your way home?
;-)

I fly the Atlantic route, ot the Pacific one. That means, my plane goes east and I cannot stop over Hawaii. :o

Rick Turner
08-03-2012, 05:32 AM
You are welcome to come visit our workshop when you're in the SF Bay Area. We have ukes for sale at Gryphon in Palo Alto, Sylvan Music here in Santa Cruz, and you can see how they're made here at the shop.

Lori
08-03-2012, 06:25 AM
If you find that you are in the San Francisco area September 7-9 th, you might check out the Wine Country Ukulele Festival in St Helena California (in the Napa Valley). There will be several ukulele vendors and luthiers there. http://winecountryukefest.com/sponsors/

–Lori

lookingforcurly
08-03-2012, 02:51 PM
Ither people have given you good places to go for ukuleles in California. If you are in the Phoenix/Tempe/Scottsdale area of Arizona go to Acoustic Vibes:
Acoustic Vibes Music Inc
2070 E. Southern Ave.
Tempe, Arizona 85282

Nice selection of high end instruments and usually some nice ukuleles.

Louis0815
08-04-2012, 02:42 AM
but check customs regulations for Germany, the maximum value they allow for a "souvenir" might be lower in your country.As long as the total value of all souvenirs does not exceed 430 Euro* (~530 US$) per Person (>15 years of age) it is tax free. "Total value" is calculated from the original purchase price incl. local VAT at point of purchase.
To ease calculation, German customs issued a smartphone app (iPhone and Android) recently.

Be aware that the limit is on a "items per person" level: a couple cannot import a single 1000$ uke tax free, but they can carry two 500$ ukes for free. (see zoll.de (http://www.zoll.de/DE/Privatpersonen/Reisen/Rueckkehr-aus-einem-Nicht-EU-Staat/Zoll-und-Steuern/Reisefreimengen/reisefreimengen_node.html) for all details)

*provided you arrive by plane directly from USA in Germany

Linho
08-05-2012, 06:24 AM
Thanks for the further informations.

Unfortunately I cannot go to the uke festival, at this date I'm around Grand Canyon.

Phoenix is far away from our route: We go from Grand Canyon to Las Vegas and from there directly to LA.

@Louis: Ok, 530$ should be enough for this time.
But I fear that this limit will be a problem at our journey to Hawaii next year. :(

Louis0815
08-05-2012, 08:09 AM
Check zoll.de (http://www.zoll.de/DE/Privatpersonen/Reisen/Rueckkehr-aus-einem-Nicht-EU-Staat/Zoll-und-Steuern/Ueberschreiten-Reisefreimengen/ueberschreiten-reisefreimengen_node.html) for more details; generally there is a flat tax of 17.5% of goods value (present the original proof of purchase to avoid any discussions) up to 700 Euro (~860 US$) value. Might be worth asking German customs before departure for details, they should be able to tell you the taxes and duties for a ukulele.
And don't forget the tax refund upon departure from USA, you might need the money for the import duties in Germany.....

PS: And check the exchange rates, the limits are in €uro and calculation will be done upon arrival in Germany.

Gillian
08-05-2012, 12:38 PM
Ukulele Source is the best place to go to in San Jose, but a runner-up store would be Guitar Showcase (http://www.guitarshowcase.com/index.shtml). While their website doesn't mention them, they have a pretty good selection of low to mid-price range ($40-$350) ukes, (Kala, Lanikai, Cordoba, Martin). Kelly is their ukulele go-to guy.

hawaii 50
08-05-2012, 12:55 PM
You are welcome to come visit our workshop when you're in the SF Bay Area. We have ukes for sale at Gryphon in Palo Alto, Sylvan Music here in Santa Cruz, and you can see how they're made here at the shop.

wow you got an invitation to rick turners shop///take him up on it..he is quite famous in the music world..plus santa cruz nice place to visit(it is a beach town with a boardwalk and one of the last wooden roller coasters in the world)..beautiful drive down highway 1 from san francisco to santa cruz..pacific ocean on your right(maybe about 1 1/2 hour drive)

austin1
08-05-2012, 11:34 PM
there are ways around the zoll tax. I don't know them but my boyfriend does, I can ask him. We're going to the US in December, and he said something about having to register his trip with the Zollamt, which I object to because I refuse to pay my adopted country for things I buy in my mother country. I think I'm going to wind up carrying most of his souvenirs back in my suitcase.

Linho
09-20-2012, 04:09 AM
Thanks for your replys, I'm back from my journey. I wasn't able to go to San Jose or other places near SF, but fortunately I could visit Aloha Warehouse. They had neither KoAloha nor Kamaka in stock, but the Kanileas were amazing.

But since I travel next year to Hawaii and I had three weeks of camping before me, I decided to buy a cheap Makaii Pineapple Soprano. It brought me much fun on romantic campfire evenings, I guess it was the right descision. I really look forward to a Koa Ukulele next year! :)

Cheers,
Linho