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View Full Version : If you had $1,000 and no ukulele......



BassGuyukin'
08-15-2012, 05:28 PM
Hello, I'm sure some form of this question has been asked before, but I am fairly new here and have only been playing ukulele for a few months now. I started out with a few inexpensive ukes ($100-$200 range), bought a nice one for $800, bought a few more affordable ones and am now thinking of a custom made Kanilea.

So my question is, if you do not have any ukuleles at all, and you have $1,000 to spend, do you buy one very nice uke, a couple decent ones, a bunch of cheap ones or what? Of course if you wanted a variety, say a 4-string tenor, a 6-string tenor and a soprano then you'd need to spread the money around. So of course having one of very good quality or a variety of cheaper ukes is to be considered. And yes I know some ukes are of very high quality for just a few hundred $$.

Anyway, I'm going through these questions for myself right now and was just wondering what you all thought!

janeray1940
08-15-2012, 05:37 PM
One very nice one. Eventually more will follow :)

mm stan
08-15-2012, 05:50 PM
If you can, afford a nice one get it....you will save in the long run and your house won't be cluttered with lots of low end ukes...Plus
you will have a way better sounding and more comfortable playing uke which you will learn faster....Go for it man...Happy Strummings..
be sure you try playing it before you buy it so you know you get the one you like.....if possible, as at that price, You won't want to make a
mistake and get one you don't like...

BassGuyukin'
08-15-2012, 05:57 PM
Thanks for the input so far! I keep seeing all these varieties and brands of ukes and I want them all! Some are very affordable, but then yeah, I end up with a bunch of cheap ukes that are OK, but not the kind of instrument I fall in love with. I am starting to agree with the trend, better to put my efforts into one or two nice ukes rather than an arsenal of mediocre ones.

MisterRios
08-15-2012, 06:18 PM
Me personally? I'd get a Koaloha Pineapple Longneck with case/humidifier upgrade and use the rest of the money to pay for shipping and customs into Germany.

didgeridoo2
08-15-2012, 07:26 PM
I'd get a Mya Moe tenor tradition and scrape up an extra 100 bucks for peghead tuners.

BIGDB
08-15-2012, 08:14 PM
i would get one really nice one

you can get a nice willie wixom for about 1000 i

coolkayaker1
08-15-2012, 08:26 PM
I'd get a Mya Moe tenor tradition and scrape up an extra 100 bucks for peghead tuners.

I agree.:D

ricdoug
08-15-2012, 09:00 PM
http://www.musiciansfriend.com/folk-traditional-instruments/applause-uae20-acoustic-electric-deluxe-soprano-ukulele

http://www.musiciansfriend.com/accessories/lr-baggs-para-acoustic-di

http://www.musiciansfriend.com/amplifiers-effects/roland-ac-33-acoustic-chorus-combo-amp

http://www.musiciansfriend.com/pro-audio/sennheiser-e838-dynamic-microphone

http://www.musiciansfriend.com/amplifiers-effects/acoustic-ag30-30w-1x8-acoustic-guitar-combo-amp

Done deal. Period! Ric

Rick Turner
08-15-2012, 09:06 PM
I'd buy a bunch of really nice wood and build about half a dozen ukes...

pakhan
08-15-2012, 09:24 PM
One nice one. Seriously. Afterall you can only play one at a time, and it gives you time to get acquainted with your new uke buddy!

bazmaz
08-16-2012, 02:38 AM
I'd get a stock Kanile'a K1 and possibly pocket a bit of change for other bits and pieces down the line (case etc)

Beyond the stock models, you are only paying for finish and bling, and if I was only having one uke, i'd want the money spent on tone.

The Big Kahuna
08-16-2012, 02:41 AM
Having spent an inordinately large amount of time swapping back & forth between high and low G, I'd spend the money on 2 Tenors, and have one in each tuning.

SmilingPanda
08-16-2012, 03:03 AM
+1 to Big Kahuna

I like having one low G and one high G tenor on hand.

But now that I think of it... I also subscribe to the idea of getting a quality instrument as opposed to a bunch of borderline ones.

Get a quality tenor. Play it and love it while you save up more money and then get another tenor to string it the other way... then you have a quality high g and a quality low g :)

Then play those two while you save up for a pineapple, or a long neck soprano, or a concert...


Having spent an inordinately large amount of time swapping back & forth between high and low G, I'd spend the money on 2 Tenors, and have one in each tuning.

molokinirum
08-16-2012, 04:41 AM
If you can, afford a nice one get it....you will save in the long run and your house won't be cluttered with lots of low end ukes...Plus
you will have a way better sounding and more comfortable playing uke which you will learn faster....Go for it man...Happy Strummings..
be sure you try playing it before you buy it so you know you get the one you like.....if possible, as at that price, You won't want to make a
mistake and get one you don't like...

I agree 100%!!!! :agree::agree::agree:

Newportlocal
08-16-2012, 08:07 AM
Yep, buy one good one.

ichadwick
08-16-2012, 08:15 AM
...if you do not have any ukuleles at all, and you have $1,000 to spend...
I wouldn't be a ukulele player if I didn't have any ukes, so why would a novice with no experience on the instrument (and obviously no prior interest in it) spend $1,000 on a totally unknown quantity? $200 might be a lot more reasonable.

If I had no ukes and $1,000 to spend... I would probably still be a guitar player, so I'd be looking at another six-string. Or maybe that Epiphone bass I've been reading about. Or paying my annual motorcycle insurance...

Freeda
08-16-2012, 08:18 AM
Well I have spent a lot on wallhangers so far, but am still scared of the solid wood instruments. I'd probably buy two decent laminates.

PoiDog
08-16-2012, 08:19 AM
I'd get just one nice one. But then again, I'm one of the minority that believes that having just one good one is enough.

SailingUke
08-16-2012, 08:20 AM
If I had a $1000, I would not be a musician, so it doesn't matter.

sukie
08-16-2012, 08:29 AM
I'd get just one nice one. But then again, I'm one of the minority that believes that having just one good one is enough.

Me, too.

Be "one" with your ukulele. Notice it is singular.

SmilingPanda
08-16-2012, 08:40 AM
If I had a $1000, I would not be a musician, so it doesn't matter.

Lol :P

This is so sad, and yet so true.

Cooper Black
08-16-2012, 09:19 AM
I'd get a stock Kanile'a K1

I had no ukulele. I tried many. I bought a K-1C. I will never need another uke.

coolkayaker1
08-16-2012, 09:22 AM
I had no ukulele. I tried many. I bought a K-1C. I will never need another uke.

unless it bellies.

MisterRios
08-16-2012, 09:24 AM
Well I have spent a lot on wallhangers so far, but am still scared of the solid wood instruments.

Wait, what? Scared of solid wood? Why?

Freeda
08-16-2012, 09:45 AM
Wait, what? Scared of solid wood? Why?

Because of the humidification needs. Because I'm a clutz. I'd just wreck it, or in taking care of it, would never play it.

gyosh
08-16-2012, 10:56 AM
Me, too.

Be "one" with your ukulele. Notice it is singular.

But your "one" is Moore Bettah than most people have :)

gitarzan
08-16-2012, 11:11 AM
I'd buy a $500 Uke and a lot of beer.

Robtjm
08-16-2012, 11:23 AM
If I had $1,000 I'd buy a $2,500 uke, and then probably 5 or 6 more.

Pukulele Pete
08-16-2012, 11:27 AM
I would buy a Kiwaya KTS-7 or ( this makes me drool ) a " Le Noir " built by Pete Howlett . I've only seen a couple pics of a Le Noir but a black soprano looks great to me.

mangorockfish
08-16-2012, 02:57 PM
Step aside folks and let "the devil's advocate " in. You all need to reread the question. This no uke person may not know how to play or else he would probably have one uke. You don't spend $1000 to see if you like something. Now young man, go call UkeRepublic Mike and order a new Chocolat Dolphin with a Kala hard case for about $125 and be done with it. Learn to play it and THEN you'll know what to look for and order. That Dolphin will hold you for a very long time. Wish I had known about them when I started. Anyway, good luck.

roxhum
08-16-2012, 03:14 PM
Hmmm interesting question because for me to spend $1,000 on a uke I would first want to play and learn and figure out what I like. Which is what I did. I bought and sold and for me my limit has always been $500 or less for a uke. That said I am happy with what I have. I bought a second hand Kamaka that I love love love and if I could only have one uke and I had $1,000 to spend I would buy a Kamaka. But I also like having a few ukes. I have a Mainland concert in low G that I am really enjoying and I love the sound of mahogany. I have been very happy with the Mainlands so for $1,000 I would buy a pre-owned ukes. I would have a Kamaka, and a Mainland concert and Mainland soprano in Mahagony. I also really enjoy my long neck soprano so I would "need" a fourth uke, a long neck soprano probably in the $300 to $400 price range. Pretty much what I have.

Dan Uke
08-16-2012, 03:20 PM
I wouldn't be a ukulele player if I didn't have any ukes, so why would a novice with no experience on the instrument (and obviously no prior interest in it) spend $1,000 on a totally unknown quantity? $200 might be a lot more reasonable.

If I had no ukes and $1,000 to spend... I would probably still be a guitar player, so I'd be looking at another six-string. Or maybe that Epiphone bass I've been reading about. Or paying my annual motorcycle insurance...

My first uke was a Koaloha Tenor and I spent it cuz I could. I'm sure there are other people who likes quality, even if it's the first one.

mangorockfish
08-16-2012, 03:43 PM
My first uke was a Koaloha Tenor and I spent it cuz I could. I'm sure there are other people who likes quality, even if it's the first one.

"I spent it cuz I could". What is that supposed to mean? Is it supposed to impress us? Well, it didn't!

haolejohn
08-16-2012, 04:58 PM
I wouldn't be a ukulele player if I didn't have any ukes, so why would a novice with no experience on the instrument (and obviously no prior interest in it) spend $1,000 on a totally unknown quantity? $200 might be a lot more reasonable.

If I had no ukes and $1,000 to spend... I would probably still be a guitar player, so I'd be looking at another six-string. Or maybe that Epiphone bass I've been reading about. Or paying my annual motorcycle insurance...

Ian, that is some pretty expensive motorcycle insurance. Glad I'm not living where you do. THen again, mine was $450 a year.

Ukuleleblues
08-16-2012, 05:14 PM
If I had $1,000 laying around....I would grab my $150 old scuffed up and worn Harmony concert and go out an play, entertain folks and have a good time meeting all sorts of nice people.

Nickie
08-16-2012, 05:25 PM
If I had $1000 lying around and didn't have a uke, I'd do exactly what I did. I'd get a Willie Wixom custom concert built!

myrnaukelele
08-16-2012, 06:22 PM
My first uke was a Koaloha Tenor and I spent it cuz I could. I'm sure there are other people who likes quality, even if it's the first one.
I agree with nongdam! My first guitar was a 1946 Gibson (the shopkeeper suggested a Yamaha since I was a beginner but I insisted on the Gibson). Once I had such a fine instrument I was determined to learn to play it well. There's a lot to be said for buying a quality instrument.
This would be a hard decision- if I had no ukes whatsoever I would buy a $500 soprano or concert and a $500 baritone. Or...I could spend $300 on a soprano, $350 on a concert or tenor, $350 on a baritone...Or $250 each on a soprano/a concert/a tenor/ and a baritone just to have all 4 sizes...you could get a very decent uke for $250...Or...

Dan Uke
08-16-2012, 06:38 PM
"I spent it cuz I could". What is that supposed to mean? Is it supposed to impress us? Well, it didn't!

It's not supposed to impress anyone as we don't know each other and I'm sorry if it offended you.

I'm saying that just because you don't know how to play, you should buy something cheap. I know people who decided to ride a motorcycle, they bought a Harley. I know many people who want to get into golf buy a new set for $$$$. I just said it diff't than other people on this thread. If you can buy quality, it's better to do it in the first place.

You save money in the long run as it retains its value vs. cheaper instruments depreciate quickly.

BassGuyukin'
08-16-2012, 07:21 PM
When I asked originally about buying one uke or several with $1,000, I wasn't really talking about someone brand new to the instrument, but rather someone trying to find their way. When I started I was so enthralled by ukulele that I just started buying every variety I could find. I was two months in and already owned five $100 - $200 ukes and also one I bought for $800. Now I am thinking maybe one or two very nice ukes is probably a better way to go than having a flock of mediocre ones. Hence the question, a variety of cheap ukes or one or two fine quality instruments.

It is like a trade off, maybe it is even a philosophical question. Is it better to own one of the best, or rather, many that are inferior but which gives you a variety?

Quality, or variety? Really, that is the question. Which way would you go if you had to pick one direction?

sillymonky
08-16-2012, 07:46 PM
For me, it would really be about what I want to do with it. When I bought my current uke, a spruce top Lanikai concert, I just doodled on every uke in the store until I found the one that spoke to me - one that had a tone I liked and fit me well, and I'm loving it. It was $180 and I liked it better than even some of the expensive ones, including the $1000 one (though I don't remember what make that was). The tone it produces works with my current skill level. Personally, I could probably drive a Ferarri, but I probably couldn't impress anyone with it using my current driving skills. Same as my uke.

My little green Mahalo is my office uke - if it's stolen, I'll be sad but I'll go on. My Lanikai is my around the house working out the tunes on it uke. There will also likely be bbq's and campfires in its future, which I may not be comfortable doing with a $1000 uke. I know I'm going to want to go electric eventually, and that will probably be another purchase instead of adding pickups to what I have (good excuse for a new uke).

But, when I did my shopping, I didn't have a budget in mind (other than "please don't go insane"). I spent at least an hour in the store, though it was probably more like 2. I asked all my questions. I might have walked out with a $300 one, or a $100. Just saying, get the one you love (and that seems to love you back). Take the time to find it.

It's like dating :)

PS - also make sure you get your ukes professionally set up, and they should go in for checkups periodically or if you notice changes. A good set up can do wonders for an instrument.

Dwjkerr
08-16-2012, 08:13 PM
If I had a thousand dollars and no Uke would I spend the entire thousand on a Ukulele. Once the shock of actually having a thousand bucks free and clear had worn off, probably not. I might like listening to Ukulele music. I might like the idea of learning to play one. But I donít know if I would want to spend the whole amount on the Ukulele only to have it propping up a spider web because I found out that I would much rather listen to you all play Ukulele music than play it myself.

I think I would take a hundred or two, buy a decent lower end Ukulele. That way, if I learn that Iím more of a listener than a player, I still have most of that money for other uses.

The UAS phase can come in later -after- I find out if I want to play.

Just my two cents.

Teek
08-16-2012, 10:39 PM
Didn't the OP just say he bought all the cheapies?

Yes on one good one, I have a Kanile'a Tenor Deluxe in my lap at the moment, it would run well over $1K now, if I had it to do over again I would buy it again, it blows 'most everything else out of the water though my Donaldson is right in there with it. I am in the process, lol, of downsizing and it is is the safety zone and blocked off with red cones as in stay out.

If I was a starving artist which I am at the moment and didn't need the $1K for a roof etc, I would buy good ukes used, sell the cheapies but keep one beater. Currently I have on my hopefully keep list two tenors (koa and 'hog, low and high), two Lili'us (koa and 'hog, high and low), and a custom long scale concert and a vintage Kamaka concert, plus a Risa LP. Seven is a lucky number. The extras will be moved along, except for anything I can "legally" according to house rules hang on the wall. ;)

PS: My moto insurance runs around $275 for a 500cc sportbike, Ian must have more engine than he really needs, or a lot of tickets, lolz.

webby
08-17-2012, 01:36 AM
If I had 1000 bucks and no ukes i'd spend it all on 1 nice one, if I had 1000 bucks and no instruments at all I'd buy an 800 dollar guitar and a 200 dollar laminate uke, probably a tanglewood.

bynapkinart
08-17-2012, 03:42 AM
Quality is better than variety for me. I have 5 ukes right now, and I play one 99% of the time. Therefore, if I had $1000 I'd probably get a Pono Pro Classic with a cedar top and a slot head, get either a Baggs 5.0 or MiSi installed, and call it a day.

stevepetergal
08-17-2012, 04:41 AM
http://www.ebay.com/itm/Pono-Solid-Acacia-Deluxe-Gloss-Concert-Ukulele-/130746991159?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item1e7120c237#ht_720wt_1344
http://www.ebay.com/itm/New-KoAloha-Concert-Ukulele-/160529378484?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item25604becb4#ht_934wt_1111

I'm over by five bucks.

ichadwick
08-17-2012, 04:54 AM
Well I have spent a lot on wallhangers so far, but am still scared of the solid wood instruments. I'd probably buy two decent laminates.
Wow. that's like saying I'm afraid of real beer, so I'll take a case of Bud instead...

Newportlocal
08-17-2012, 07:09 AM
I would try to win this Kamaka tiki concert.
http://www.ebay.com/itm/Kamaka-Concert-Ukulele-KOA-TIKI-GOD-timecapsule-/290761139276?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item43b2b6e44c
If you don't enjoy playing and don't like it you will certainly have no trouble selling it and getting your money back.

Cooper Black
08-18-2012, 10:37 AM
unless it bellies.

"Never trust a guitar without a belly."
- Norman Blake

v30
08-19-2012, 09:13 AM
+1 for buy a good one rather than several mediocre ones. Although it doesn't necessarily need to be really expensive, just one that you really like. Definately need to try before you buy. I think you can get a really nice uke for $500.

PS I need to practice what I preach as I have too many ukes that just don't get played.

The Big Kahuna
08-19-2012, 09:24 AM
$ 1000 just happens to be the base price for a Mya Moe Tenor. I know I seem to have a bit of a fetish for them at the moment, but I think that's where my cash would get splashed.

UkuleleSprinter
08-19-2012, 10:38 AM
I would buy a used Kamaka Tenor HF3 ($600-$800), nice case ($100) and a couple sets of strings (~$50).

Nothing beats the sweet sound and looks of a Kamaka Tenor!

haolejohn
08-19-2012, 11:28 AM
It's not supposed to impress anyone as we don't know each other and I'm sorry if it offended you.

I'm saying that just because you don't know how to play, you should buy something cheap. I know people who decided to ride a motorcycle, they bought a Harley. I know many people who want to get into golf buy a new set for $$$$. I just said it diff't than other people on this thread. If you can buy quality, it's better to do it in the first place.

You save money in the long run as it retains its value vs. cheaper instruments depreciate quickly.

I'm with you. I always recommend saving your money to buy quality. Regardless if it is your first or not. I was raised by a guitar playing dad who always had Strats and Teles. Mostly American (until no work then they were pawned) He got his first quality acoustic when I was around 12 (takamine). My dad has never owned a really nice quality acoustic (taylor or Martin...I know there are others but these are the two biggies) and he finally got himself a nice Gibson acoustic.

My first uke was a cheap OU-2. THat uke sucked. I owned it for 5 years and never learned anything beyond basic chords on it. IT almost made me give up ukulele. When I bought it, I was trying to decide if I wanted to spend the money on a Kamaka or a Mele. I couldn't justify $300 on a Mele when i could get a Baby Taylor for that price (I lived across the street from Mele so I spent a lot of time in the store trying out their product). Lo and behold I went with the cheap uke and it took me five years to correct that wrong (I could afford the Mele or Kamaka too).

I've owned many ukes since I joined UU back in 2008. I've owned cheap ones and nice ones. Honestly my main ukes are my Mele and my Koaloha (I'm currently only playing my Mele b/c I didn't want to bring my KoAloha to Alaska).

Cheap ukes do have their place. I currently have two three dolphins, a gecko, and 6 mainlands for my classroom (I do not consider mainland a cheap uke btw). I never play my dolphins and I never play my gecko unless I have nothing else to play.

If I had $1000 to spend I'd buy me a nice tenor or concert or soprano (depending on my size preference) and spend the rest on a nice 2nd size choice. Or I'd spend it on two quality imports in two sizes.

I've bought the cheap stuff and end up selling it or giving it away to buy the nice uke later. If only I had been patient...I would not have spent a bunch of money or owned over 50 ukes in my lifetime.

gyosh
08-19-2012, 12:50 PM
I'm with you. I always recommend saving your money to buy quality. Regardless if it is your first or not. I was raised by a guitar playing dad who always had Strats and Teles. Mostly American (until no work then they were pawned) He got his first quality acoustic when I was around 12 (takamine). My dad has never owned a really nice quality acoustic (taylor or Martin...I know there are others but these are the two biggies) and he finally got himself a nice Gibson acoustic.

My first uke was a cheap OU-2. THat uke sucked. I owned it for 5 years and never learned anything beyond basic chords on it. IT almost made me give up ukulele. When I bought it, I was trying to decide if I wanted to spend the money on a Kamaka or a Mele. I couldn't justify $300 on a Mele when i could get a Baby Taylor for that price (I lived across the street from Mele so I spent a lot of time in the store trying out their product). Lo and behold I went with the cheap uke and it took me five years to correct that wrong (I could afford the Mele or Kamaka too).

I've owned many ukes since I joined UU back in 2008. I've owned cheap ones and nice ones. Honestly my main ukes are my Mele and my Koaloha (I'm currently only playing my Mele b/c I didn't want to bring my KoAloha to Alaska).

Cheap ukes do have their place. I currently have two three dolphins, a gecko, and 6 mainlands for my classroom (I do not consider mainland a cheap uke btw). I never play my dolphins and I never play my gecko unless I have nothing else to play.

If I had $1000 to spend I'd buy me a nice tenor or concert or soprano (depending on my size preference) and spend the rest on a nice 2nd size choice. Or I'd spend it on two quality imports in two sizes.

I've bought the cheap stuff and end up selling it or giving it away to buy the nice uke later. If only I had been patient...I would not have spent a bunch of money or owned over 50 ukes in my lifetime.

Yea!!! You have internet again!!!!