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View Full Version : Do premium ukes get played often?



hammer40
09-16-2012, 07:17 AM
I have a question for those who own premium ukes, I'd say in the 1,500 to 2,500 dollar range. Do they get played as often as your other ukes? Do you get concerned over potential strum marks or scratches?

I ask this because as I progress in my ability, I have begun to research and to save my pennies, for a custom and/or premium uke. As I see them online they all look gorgeous, so I can't help but wonder if it ever restricts how you handle it. I know they are bought to be played, but I do see many come up for sale and usually the first questions are about the strum marks or scratches, from both the seller and the buyers.

It seems like when you get to a certain level of value it almost becomes more of an investment rather than an instrument that gets played all the time. Not so much that it will appreciate in value, but more that you try to limit the depreciation of it. So while you do get to enjoy it and play it every now and then, it's in the back of your mind the condition it will be in.

What are your thoughts on this?

costaricadave
09-16-2012, 07:42 AM
I play my Moore Bettah everyday. I doubt I would play the Mainland at all but I strung it Low G. I do take really good care of it and try to be careful when it's out. I put it in the case every night after I am done playing. I bought mine to play and I feel like some light strum marks give it character. If it gets too bad in a few years I'll send it back to Chuck to get a makeover....

coolkayaker1
09-16-2012, 07:45 AM
My thought is that premium ukes hold their value much better than cheap or midrange ukes. A popular K brand, like Koaloha, even with strum marks will sell well.

Example: Koaloha Pineapple Sunday $1350 new. Buy new, play it, enjoy it, strum mark it, and in a year or two, sell it. How much? Likely $1150 or so.

Ohana tenor, $250 new. Buy new, play it, enjoy it, strum mark it, and in a year or two, sell it. How much? Likely $150 or so, if it can be sold at all. Why? Because new is affordable to many, and with so many retailers offering free shipping on new, why would I buy a used one at almost new price and then pay the guy to ship it to me?

Point: cost of overall ownership is, roughly, the same for a premium popular uke (Mya Moe, KoAloha, Kanilea, Kamaka, and such) in a re-sale situation. So, yep, buy better, and play it. Enjoy it.

If you plan to keep it forever, then it doesn't matter, if one can afford it to begin with.

One thing: when you hit the $2500+ range, I don;t know if people play them, but I know they are diffucult to re-sell. There are, simply, few that can afford them. That's all.

janeray1940
09-16-2012, 07:48 AM
I had similar concerns before I ordered a custom, since I do a lot of uke playing away from home. I've always owned higher-end factory ukes, thinking that they were easily replaceable should something happen to one of them. The thing is - even this isn't really true, since (in my opinion, anyway) every factory uke sounds and plays a bit different from any other.

My DaSilva custom came in at the low end of the range you quoted, mainly because it's very plain and unadorned (inlays and other ornamentation are what really drives up the cost of custom ukes; personally I could care less about "bling"). And it's my main player, which means it leaves the house with me any time I head out to anything uke-related. It gets played daily and is always the first uke I reach for.

No strum marks or scratches yet, but it's already got a couple of dings on the corners of the headstock, since I am a bit clumsy thanks to lousy vision and lack of depth perception :) I don't stress out about this - it was meant to be played, and as far as I'm concerned, every little ding shows that the uke is being used for its intended purpose.

I didn't buy a custom with value or investment in mind; I just couldn't find what I wanted in a uke off the shelf. I'm not concerned with resale value at all, as I don't plan to ever re-sell it. When I ordered the custom, I kept in mind that I wanted this uke to get long-term use, so I carefully considered what my current and future needs are. Should my future needs ever change and I end up ordering a "fancier" custom, I don't plan to sell this one - it will become the travel uke, beach uke, etc., but I don't really foresee that happening.

Hope that helps!

Dan Uke
09-16-2012, 07:56 AM
For tenors, I have one in the lower range and I play it as much as my other one just because they have diff't G strings. Even if I had more, I would play the ones that sounds the best in low and reentrant G.

efiscella
09-16-2012, 08:00 AM
I have 9 ukulele's, most would be purchased new in the $1000+ range. I play all of them and I take really really good care of all of them. Even my Kala travel uke, the lowest purchase price of my ukes, gets the same attention and care. I keep each in a humidified case. When playing, I always put them in a uke stand when I have to put them down. I try like crazy not get strum marks and have been pretty successful so far. I wipe each one after playing. My goal is to have the ukulele look the same as the day I bought it. As a result, my 1979 Kamaka that I purchased in August 1979 looks like the day I bought it, yet it is played often.

uke4ia
09-16-2012, 08:02 AM
My Kawika tenor is my premium uke, and I play it far more than my other ukes.

Tigeralum2001
09-16-2012, 08:13 AM
Short answer is yes, they get played. Coolkayaker is spot on as well.

I may be unusual, I'm not sure, but I allow (encourage even) people to play my high end ukes at kanikapilas. (perhaps this stems from my inability to ever see nice ukes before I moved to the Bay Area) It does drive me a little crazy when people have a strumming technique where their nails scrape the sound board with each strum. I'm learning to be a bit more diligent in watching their technique before handing over my uke. So far, there have been no incidents, but I thought there was going to be one once. I don't use my ukes as investments, but I am careful with them.

Another note on ukes as investments- history teaches us about boom and bust cycles. I truly believe we are at the peak, or near the peak, of the uke boom. I would not buy an "investment" uke, unless you plan to hold it for 80 years until the next boom. There are much better places to put one's money. Oh, I also cannot wait for the bubble to burst. I am going to be a life-long player and I can't wait to pick up nice ukes at rock-bottom prices!

BassGuyukin'
09-16-2012, 08:24 AM
To the OP, I hear ya'. I am one of those guys that for some reason "preserves" my better ukes. Actually not just ukes, but I am mainly an electric bassist and it starts there. I have two Fender Custom Shop basses, both that I purchased around $2,000/$2,500. I take them to a gig every once in a while, if the setting is nice and I am not so worried about crowds or splashing beer and where I'll have plenty of room onstage and won't bump into a bandmate. I really never play these at home. Rather, I play my mid or lower valued instruments which are 100% as good as the better ones when it comes to learning new tunes, practicing or dragging around the house. And let's be honest. Do you think ANYONE is going to notice the difference in tone or quality when I use a $300 ax as compared to a $2,500 ax? I'd say barely no one would notice. And my cheaper instruments do not sound bad, just maybe not "as good".

So now with ukes. I am not a professional here, so really I am just playing at home or out and about with a few friends. It may not be high end to some, but I did purchase a $800 Kamoa tenor and though it is my nicest playing uke, I just don't play it as much as my others (mass produced $200-$300 models). Reason being, at least for me, the extra sustain or fullness or the nicer playability isn't really so necessary for what I am doing right now. I guess I just feel more comfortable grabbing a $250 Mainland, leaning it against my desk, throwing the gigbag in the car, just playing.

I think this is a bad habit. I didn't buy the better ukes (or basses) to sit in their cases. I just have this bad habit of wanting to protect my better instruments, keeping them fresh, in great shape, etc. I think I need to lighten up and just play the better ones more. We only live once.

Newportlocal
09-16-2012, 08:26 AM
Some people add a pick guard. Clear pick guards you won't even see. I have debated using one. I think Aldrine has one.

ukeeku
09-16-2012, 08:27 AM
I almost wore a hole in my Boat paddle. then Jerry at boat paddle fixed it. all is good. Why have something that you don't play?

Canoe Lady
09-16-2012, 08:28 AM
I play my Moore Bettah almost exclusively now. The only exceptions are if I have chemicals on my body...sunscreen or bug spray...or if I will be around the campfire where it is smoky. My other ukes, although really good ukes, just don't feel or sound as good to me anymore. I do take care of it....I treat it with the same level of care as I do my photo gear. I got it to play it, and it makes me happy every time I do.

wickedwahine11
09-16-2012, 08:42 AM
The only two ukes I have in that price range are my Kanilea and my Pineapple Sunday - the KoAloha and Kamaka tenors cost less than that. I don't play the PS often. but not because it is expensive, I just don't play a lot of high g.

I play the Kanilea every day, the only allowance I make is that I wipe the high gloss finish down with a microfiber cloth when I am done playing it.

I don't hesitate to take it everywhere though, that and my KoAloha tenor are my travel ukes. I figure they are meant to be played, not just displayed. That being said I will probably feel a little sick when it gets its first scratch or ding.

OldePhart
09-16-2012, 09:00 AM
I almost wore a hole in my Boat paddle. then Jerry at boat paddle fixed it. all is good. Why have something that you don't play?

Exactly! Musical instruments are meant to be played - really good musical instruments are inspirational to play so if you have one logically it should be your most-used uke.

Personally, I don't care if an instrument cost $50 or $5000 - if I don't play it I don't need it. If the $50 uke is good enough to make me want to play it it's going to get used. If a $5k uke doesn't get played it's just eye candy and I don't have room in my life for expensive eye candy. (For the record, my most expensive uke is more like $700 - but you can put any upper limit you want - if I am going to be afraid to play it and play it often I don't want it in my house.)

John

Doc_J
09-16-2012, 09:33 AM
Exactly! Musical instruments are meant to be played - really good musical instruments are inspirational to play so if you have one logically it should be your most-used uke.

Personally, I don't care if an instrument cost $50 or $5000 - if I don't play it I don't need it. ....

.......- if I am going to be afraid to play it and play it often I don't want it in my house.)

John

Amen to that!

hawaii 50
09-16-2012, 10:45 AM
Exactly! Musical instruments are meant to be played - really good musical instruments are inspirational to play so if you have one logically it should be your most-used uke.

Personally, I don't care if an instrument cost $50 or $5000 - if I don't play it I don't need it. If the $50 uke is good enough to make me want to play it it's going to get used. If a $5k uke doesn't get played it's just eye candy and I don't have room in my life for expensive eye candy. (For the record, my most expensive uke is more like $700 - but you can put any upper limit you want - if I am going to be afraid to play it and play it often I don't want it in my house.)

John


I agree with what you say..
Why buy a musical instrument if you are not going to play it..
i have many high end ukes that i bought to Play not sell..the only reason i would get rid of one is if can not stand the sound of it but.. i would give it many years till then..if you play it you are going to scratch it..
but i hate the latches on the case..Ouch! now the gets me mad.. Lol

dnewton2
09-16-2012, 11:28 AM
I play my Moore Bettah more than any other uke I own.

Once you have played a premium uke it is real hard to go back to non premium ukes. To me it sounds and plays/feels Bettah.

gyosh
09-16-2012, 11:59 AM
I play a Kala in my classroom and my Kamaka when I am home. I have a Compass Rose on order that will be strung low "g" and the Kamaka will go to reentrant. They will all be played.

I plan on using the CR if I get the nerve and develop the talent to play publicly.

NatalieS
09-16-2012, 12:42 PM
Personally, I don't care if an instrument cost $50 or $5000 - if I don't play it I don't need it. If the $50 uke is good enough to make me want to play it it's going to get used. If a $5k uke doesn't get played it's just eye candy and I don't have room in my life for expensive eye candy.

Absolutely agree! I have one uke right now, it's an expensive one but it would be worthless to me if I treated it like a baby and didn't play the heck out of it. To me, a uke has to be the ultimate package: 1) pretty, 2) good craftsmanship, 3) sounds fantastic. I would never buy a uke just to have 1) and 2). If I can't play it like mad, it's going out the door to someone else.

Zenin
09-16-2012, 01:09 PM
It does drive me a little crazy when people have a strumming technique where their nails scrape the sound board with each strum.
While I don't hit the soundboard, I do hit the fretboard on every strum.

Is it even possible not to? I'd love to learn a better way...I hate the nail/finger against fretboard sound.

quiltingshirley
09-16-2012, 01:50 PM
We don't have that high of the spectrum ukes but I find I play my "NoName" koa custom uke most of the time cause it has the Low G and sounds and plays best, for a high G, I play My Kamaka Pineapple. Husband almost always plays his Kamaka Deluxe Tenor unless he wants to use a Low G. If I want something light, I play my long neck KoAloha soprano. We both are more than happy to pass the ukes around and have others play them. We're not worried about scratches or such cause we knock into everything ourselves. We don't play that well and it's a joy to hear others play the ukes. We do have lower end ukes but they don't get the play time that the better ones do. Now if I had something costing $2800, I'd probably never play it. Some one handed me their new uke and I played around with it and it sure looked good and sounded good. Later I found out it was near to $3000! Had I known that I never would have touched it!!

patico
09-16-2012, 02:02 PM
i cause frecuent marks in my instruments, can't avoid it
it's unavoidable for them when they're out of the case.
my right hand nails always crap the finish near the soundhole.

ps, don't buy a used uke from me LOL !!!!

Freeda
09-16-2012, 02:06 PM
We don't have that high of the spectrum ukes but I find I play my "NoName" koa custom uke most of the time cause it has the Low G and sounds and plays best, for a high G, I play My Kamaka Pineapple. Husband almost always plays his Kamaka Deluxe Tenor unless he wants to use a Low G. If I want something light, I play my long neck KoAloha soprano. We both are more than happy to pass the ukes around and have others play them. We're not worried about scratches or such cause we knock into everything ourselves. We don't play that well and it's a joy to hear others play the ukes. We do have lower end ukes but they don't get the play time that the better ones do. Now if I had something costing $2800, I'd probably never play it. Some one handed me their new uke and I played around with it and it sure looked good and sounded good. Later I found out it was near to $3000! Had I known that I never would have touched it!!
Maybe I am a little tacky but I love to touch high end ukes and check them out. I mean, it's like buying a sports car and then never driving over 40.

Loz
09-16-2012, 02:17 PM
My Mya Moe falls into that price range and I play it every day. I've only had it for a few months and it has nail scratches and other assorted love marks but they don't cause me to lose sleep. My primary concern is making it sound great and that's enought of a challenge - if I was worried about fingernail scratches and other minute aesthetic things I would never learn anything new. The bottom line is that I don't beat it up but I definitely don't baby it - its a great instrument so I play it.

Hippie Dribble
09-16-2012, 02:29 PM
If you save $2500, you have solved the money part of buying a uke and can stop worrying about how much it costs and you can make your choice based on other attributes. You don't have to spend the whole $2500 and you will have the choice of almost any uke that is available of the shelf or from a maker, just focus on buying a uke that you wont want to put down. If you are already worried about whether or not you will use it, keep reminding yourself how hard it is to put together $2500 for a musical instrument when there are so many other things that need to be paid for, then make sure you find a uke that you wont want to put down, and don't worry about the cost.
If you are worried that you are going to scratch it, months before you have the cash, just by playing it, or it might melt if you take it out of the house, or some bad person will look at it, could I suggest you stick to something like a Mahalo u30 and spend the rest of the $2500 on a nice looking jewelry box that you can keep in your bedroom and admire every morning. Unless you are a devoted collector who never plays then you will already have a nice cupboard or display case where you keep all your ukes.
Some ways of avoiding scratching your fretboard; 1. learn how to control your strum so your fingers move and not your wrist. 2. Strum right where the neck meets the fretboard, not over the hole, just fingerpick over the hole. 3. Cut your fingernails and refrain from making them as hard as steel with goop. 4. Use a felt pick.
It is interesting how we keep getting posts specifically referring to $2500 ukes, sometimes I cynically wonder if someone is just try get the uke market to accept higher prices for the low and mid range ukes, or if there are a few ukes sitting on shelves that no-one will buy because they are at the wrong price point for the market.
Most of the better ukulele players I watch, would have ukes that cost $200 - $250 max which they have picked out to suit their sound. They usually have just one or two. One or two may have a single nice custom that they are going to use until it falls apart and that needs to be surgically removed form their arms. They just play and play and sound great. They don't spend much time looking at ukes, they spend time looking at new tunes to learn or ways to sound better. When I look at my own skills and the skills of some others, I often think that the ability of a person as a uke player can be inversely proportional to the total cost of the uke "herd".
Gee I wish that one of these days, you'd just tell us what you really think Bill. :p Great points mate, very interesting things to ponder over there. Confronting to me too, as I have spent a lot of time looking at ukes to snavel, as well as learning songs and practicing.

I used to be one of those who was a sucker for pretty instruments and they would be babied so as I wouldn't scratch/damage them etc. Thankfully I've gotten over that now and play em all into sawdust. The main question one needs to ask oneself when pondering the issue raised by this thread is: for what purpose are you buying the thing in the first place? Are you buying it to KEEP and play or are you buying it with an eye on resale in the near or distant future? This will surely effect how you treat the instrument while you own it. My own problems with this always stemmed from the fact of my OCD with buying and selling, I was too afraid to play them hard as I didn't want to lose dollars on resale. These days I only have instruments I will be keeping and have no plans to resell. Knowing that has totally changed my outlook and now I have a freedom in playing and enjoying them that I've never had before. It's a nice place to be.

PS sorry to see your beloved Eagles lose on the weekend. I'm a Swans man but am also a firm upholder of the ABC principle of Australian Rules Football: ANYONE BUT COLLINGWOOD! :)

mds725
09-16-2012, 02:32 PM
I have a few Kamaka tenors, a Kamaka baritone, a Mya-Moe tenor and a Mya-Moe baritone that all fall a bit under the OP's $1,500 lower limit. They all get played at the expense of playing time to less expensive ukuleles. Zthe only exception was last winter when I played holiday songs outdoors with a small group of ukulele friends. because it was damp that day, i brought my Big Island tenor instead of one of my Kamakas. At the Wine Country Ukulele Festival last weekend, I had a chance to show the Mya-Moe tenor I got this past April to Gordon and Char, and the first thing each of them did was inspect it for "signs that it was being loved."

Tigeralum2001
09-16-2012, 02:33 PM
While I don't hit the soundboard, I do hit the fretboard on every strum.

Is it even possible not to? I'd love to learn a better way...I hate the nail/finger against fretboard sound.

I would have to say "yes" as I do not do it and many others don't, either. It's hard to know what you are doing over the internet, but I keep my arm parallel with my body, then point to myself with my index finger. I would offer that if you are hitting the instrument beyond the strings, you may need to move your arm away from your body a little bit more. Hope that helps!

mm stan
09-16-2012, 02:52 PM
Aloha All,
I play my 24.95 rogue everyday and I am proud of it....damn it LOL and yet I went thought the laminate ukes, then to the mid level ukes, then to the premimum ukes and then to the customs
and then to the holy grail...for me price does not matter, if I enjoy the uke....I will play it no matter what the cost is..am I worried about wearing them out...yup even my 24.95 rogue....but
that doesn't stop me from playing the crap outta them....I strum about from the 10th fret to 12th fret depending on what size scale uke I am playing..I believe if you buy something use it
and get your jollies outta it... it's just not purchased just for looking at..
PS...at one time I thought I was babying my OU5, and thought I was saving it by not playing it...then realized it was not because of that, but because I was having fun with my other ukes more...
As for letting others play them, ha ha if I see you respect and take care of my ukes, I will let you play them..if not, no ways in hell.... I had a friend for over 25 years and he used to eat and
drink and try to play my ukes with his dirty greasy wet hands....he no longer is invited to my house..

janeray1940
09-16-2012, 03:10 PM
As for letting others play them, ha ha if I see you respect and take care of my ukes, I will let you play them..if not, no ways in hell.... I had a friend for over 25 years and he used to eat and
drink and try to play my ukes with his dirty greasy wet hands....he no longer is invited to my house..

I hear you, I have a no-food-around-the-ukes policy as well. But aside from that I'm pretty much okay with letting others play them. The only time I've hesitated was when a friend who has EIGHT dogs, three of them still puppies, asked me to bring a couple ukes to her house next time I was in her town... it'll be a while before that happens and meanwhile I'm thinking I may pick up a couple of Dolphins and leave the custom and the Kamakas at home :)

OldePhart
09-16-2012, 03:31 PM
...The only time I've hesitated was when a friend who has EIGHT dogs, ...

That's just wrong...that's more dogs than I have ukes!

mm stan
09-16-2012, 03:33 PM
I hear you, I have a no-food-around-the-ukes policy as well. But aside from that I'm pretty much okay with letting others play them. The only time I've hesitated was when a friend who has EIGHT dogs, three of them still puppies, asked me to bring a couple ukes to her house next time I was in her town... it'll be a while before that happens and meanwhile I'm thinking I may pick up a couple of Dolphins and leave the custom and the Kamakas at home :)

Aloha Miss M,
That even applies to my 24.95 soprano rogue... why should I have to clean up everytime they grease it up....

OldePhart
09-16-2012, 03:34 PM
While I don't hit the soundboard, I do hit the fretboard on every strum.

Is it even possible not to? I'd love to learn a better way...I hate the nail/finger against fretboard sound.

It depends on the action. I love low actions on ukes and I have one (Kiwaya longneck soprano) with action so low that I have rounded off the lower corner of the fretboard where my fingernail hits it on the up strum. My other ukes are also lower than average but I don't usually hit the fretboard unless I'm just wailing on it.

John

joekulele
09-16-2012, 08:19 PM
Not just payin' lip service here, but personally, I think Janeray 1940's DaSilva is the finest instrument I've ever seen. I always thought I'd want a Mya Moe until I was cruising Mike DaSilva's website and saw that beautifully simple, unadorned, gorgeous mahogany soprano with the extended fretboard. I was smitten with it. I could imagine how it sounded, and kept going back thinking if I ever order a custom, it will be a clone of that one. Imagine my surprise when I saw that extended fretboard in her avitar pic! Haha! And to keep with this thread, I'D PLAY THE HELL OUT OF IT!! Congratulations Janeray. IMHO, no contest, you are the winner!

janeray1940
09-16-2012, 08:23 PM
I think Janeray 1940's DaSilva is the finest instrument I've ever seen...
I'D PLAY THE HELL OUT OF IT!!

Hey thanks! And, I do. Every day!

joekulele
09-16-2012, 08:32 PM
Hey thanks! And, I do. Every day!

You're welcome! And I hope you don't mind if I copycat that sweet soprano some day.

Patrick Madsen
09-16-2012, 08:42 PM
I'm like Tiger; I play 'em and encourage others to try them. It shows them the difference of the usual ill setup uke they're playing and what a proper one plays like. I've learned to watch how they strum before handing it over. Thing is they don't want to give them back lol.

My customs will never be sold in my lifetime and trustfully will be put in the family instrument library for future family members to play. I do take care of them as I envision these around in a hundred years being played by some future family member.

kissing
09-16-2012, 09:33 PM
I'm saving for a premium Hawaiian uke within the $1500+ price range.

And SHE WILL BE PLAYED :D

joeybug
09-16-2012, 09:49 PM
I don't own an expensive (well *that* expensive, some of mine were out of my own price range and took saving or were gifts) Ukulele, but my next purchase will most likely be a Koaloha Soprano and although it won't be for a while, my point is that I play ALL eight of my Ukes, all the time, except maybe Astrid who is a cheapie and buzzes occasionally, but she was my first. So, I think the answer to your question is yes, they do get played, otherwise why spend that huge amount of money on something and then never use it! Doesn't make sense to me :D

consitter
09-16-2012, 09:59 PM
I have two very expensive ukes and I play them everyday. Both are "go to" instruments for me.

consitter
09-16-2012, 09:59 PM
I'm saving for a premium Hawaiian uke within the $1500+ price range.

And SHE WILL BE PLAYED :D

What exactly are you planning on getting?

kissing
09-17-2012, 03:49 AM
What exactly are you planning on getting?

At first i was thinking Kamaka...then i changed my mind to getting a Koaloha...but now i want a premium Kanilea. Specifically the Kanilea Kuuipo with Mi-Si installed. Theyre the ones with the really curly Koa and the love heart soundhole... Mmmmmmm

efiscella
09-17-2012, 03:58 AM
At first i was thinking Kamaka...then i changed my mind to getting a Koaloha...but now i want a premium Kanilea. Specifically the Kanilea Kuuipo with Mi-Si installed. Theyre the ones with the really curly Koa and the love heart soundhole... Mmmmmmm

Get it and play it all the time. I have a Kanile'a custom super tenor with premium koa and it is my favorite to play. I will admit to being careful about where I bring it. I think about the conditions I will be playing in and then decide which uke is best for that situation (like thinking about which clothes are best for a situation). However, when I want just a fun, smooth, fantastic sounding, uke experience, it is my Kanile'a that I go to.

kissing
09-17-2012, 05:25 AM
Indeed indeed! I have plenty of beaters for situations that call for them.
But I've come to a point in my collecting hobby where I want a handful of premium ukuleles.

I'm so glad that I play uke.
If it was violin, or even guitar.. the cost to premium ratio would be ridiculous

SailingUke
09-17-2012, 05:50 AM
I play my high end ukes most of the time.
I unfortunately have a few more nicks on some of them than I would like, but I guess it goes with playing.
A lot of folks still think the ukulele is a toy and are not careful when asking to play mine.
I have gotten a little snobby if I don't know the person when they ask if they can play my uke.
The other thing I have noticed is once you play/own a high end instrument it can be difficult to pick up that beater.

stevepetergal
09-17-2012, 06:03 AM
Your question is like the "Which K brand should I buy?" question. Some people will play their high-end ukes all the time, and some will be a little afraid to, (but tell you they play them all the time).
When the day comes for you to get one, you will have some idea which way you will go. This is a good factor to keep in mind when ordering. If you're terribly afraid of strum marks, you should be realistic about those feelings when you put together your specs, or even before you decide what brand to buy.

consitter
09-17-2012, 06:11 AM
At first i was thinking Kamaka...then i changed my mind to getting a Koaloha...but now i want a premium Kanilea. Specifically the Kanilea Kuuipo with Mi-Si installed. Theyre the ones with the really curly Koa and the love heart soundhole... Mmmmmmm

Ooohhh nice!

hawaii 50
09-17-2012, 08:52 AM
I'm saving for a premium Hawaiian uke within the $1500+ price range.

And SHE WILL BE PLAYED :D




check out Vento Music full custom ukes with great sound/finish full customs in your price range unless he raised prices again..lol.. you can choose your own Koa>> he has 3A and 4A koa to choose from
www.ventomusichawaii.com

haole
09-17-2012, 09:00 AM
I wouldn't spend a small fortune on an instrument with superior craftsmanship, playability, and sound if I was just going to keep it locked up in a case and treat it like a sculpture. If I could afford a uke in that price range, I would try to get as much out of it as possible.

My Flea gets played as much as my Kamaka and KoAloha, if that means anything.

Skinny Money McGee
09-17-2012, 09:20 AM
Some people add a pick guard. Clear pick guards you won't even see. I have debated using one. I think Aldrine has one.

I just started using "Papilio Inkjet Static Cling Decal Paper" I bought on ebay. It's that rubberized static clingy clear film used for window decals. So far works great on my Kanile'a with gloss finish. Feels much more comfortable strumming not worrying about smacking the finish with my finger. Don't know how well it would work with satin finishes. The film as no sticky glue on it and is easy to take off, clean the uke and stick back on.

lennymac
09-17-2012, 11:39 AM
I've a few mid priced ukes I play, but my go to uke is an 80 samick Greg bennet concert which I love. I've a Cole Clark concert which I gig mainly due to the fantastic pick up, but rarely play in the house due to the lack of volume - great uke, but very quiet unplugged. Now I have on order a Kamaka concert long neck special, which due to uk import tax etc will work out somewhere towards the upper end of the OP $2,500 range (I have always wanted a Hawaiian premium uke and am selling a 1937 epiphone zenith arch top guitar to fund it) - and I envisage playing it every day - however, I know I will still regularly reach for the cheap laminate samick - it is and will always be my first uke love!!!

UkuleleSprinter
09-17-2012, 12:26 PM
You cannot go wrong with leaving your premium ukulele(s) at home, and just playing it when you practice or for visitors to your home. Which is what I do.

I have a "beater" G-String Koa tenor that I bring out to tailgates, beach, parties, etc. and don't mind letting other people have a shot at playing a little.

Of course, if your performing for an audience, it's a good time to bring out that special ukulele.

hawaii 50
09-17-2012, 03:26 PM
I've a few mid priced ukes I play, but my go to uke is an 80 samick Greg bennet concert which I love. I've a Cole Clark concert which I gig mainly due to the fantastic pick up, but rarely play in the house due to the lack of volume - great uke, but very quiet unplugged. Now I have on order a Kamaka concert long neck special, which due to uk import tax etc will work out somewhere towards the upper end of the OP $2,500 range (I have always wanted a Hawaiian premium uke and am selling a 1937 epiphone zenith arch top guitar to fund it) - and I envisage playing it every day - however, I know I will still regularly reach for the cheap laminate samick - it is and will



always be my first uke love!!!








Wow maybe you should of flown to Hawaii and brought it back with you as a carry on..how much would the airfare of been?

hibiscus
09-17-2012, 07:10 PM
I treat all 4 of my ukuleles gently; I have arthritis, so I fingerpick most of the time. I take turns playing them and love them all. I really couldn't sell one of them!

patico
09-17-2012, 11:30 PM
i can't imagine not playing a nice instrument.
if it sounds good, get the most out of it, play it till it wears, bond with your instrument, feel it.
your musicianship will thank you (and listeners too)

Nice waves for everybody
Iorana

lennymac
09-18-2012, 01:19 AM
Wow maybe you should of flown to Hawaii and brought it back with you as a carry on..how much would the airfare of been?

Well flights are 700ish which is about $1130 US, do sadly paying the 23% import tax is the most economical was to get the kamaka special!!

Skrik
09-18-2012, 05:13 AM
Best ukulele stays at home, and I play it constantly. Next best ukulele goes out with me.

sukie
09-21-2012, 12:56 PM
I have a question for those who own premium ukes, I'd say in the 1,500 to 2,500 dollar range. Do they get played as often as your other ukes? Do you get concerned over potential strum marks or scratches?

I ask this because as I progress in my ability, I have begun to research and to save my pennies, for a custom and/or premium uke. As I see them online they all look gorgeous, so I can't help but wonder if it ever restricts how you handle it. I know they are bought to be played, but I do see many come up for sale and usually the first questions are about the strum marks or scratches, from both the seller and the buyers.

It seems like when you get to a certain level of value it almost becomes more of an investment rather than an instrument that gets played all the time. Not so much that it will appreciate in value, but more that you try to limit the depreciation of it. So while you do get to enjoy it and play it every now and then, it's in the back of your mind the condition it will be in.

What are your thoughts on this?
I pretty much only play mine custom. That's what I got it for. It is a stunner, but it is meant to be played. I think Chuck would be disappointed if all I did was look at it. I find other ukuleles just don't make the same sound so why play 'em?

wearymicrobe
09-21-2012, 01:44 PM
I have a few that are getting on above 4K now and I gig the heck out of them. I drink beer and eat while playing, I hand them off to let people try them out all the time. They are fine, I did go for a UV finish over a french though as my last french polished one got DESTROYED by my frailing, its almost got holes in the top of it now.

They can be replaced, my go to tenor must have 5000 hours on it at this point and it looks as good as when I ordered it. I do have a a cheap 1.5Kish uke that has a pickup in it that I use when I get worried about having to leave it out.

mds725
09-21-2012, 01:57 PM
....... 1.5Kish uke that has a pickup in it that I use when I get worried about having to leave it out.

My $1.5Kish ukuleles ARE my premium ukuleles. :)

dnewton2
09-21-2012, 03:17 PM
I find other ukuleles just don't make the same sound so why play 'em?

I know exactly what you are talking about.

garyg
09-22-2012, 04:44 AM
Just some early morning ramblings here <g>. I suppose one really good reason to get a great vintage uke (and pay way less than $2500) is that they sound like nothing else and they usually have a few scuff marks on them already <g>. Like many folks on here I can't imagine buying an incredible sounding uke and putting it away in a humidified cabinet for life. It's like an art collector buying a great painting and immediately putting it in a closet (or vault) so it's in perfect condition when they resell it at a great profit later on (of course we shouldn't even call these folks collectors, and although there are many folks who do this they're just speculators and could just as easily be buying lumps of heated and pressurized carbon <g>). Once again, as many folks have stated, when you get used to the tone and playability of a really good uke it's pretty damn hard to go back to a cheap one, and I'm surprised by the many folks who have posted here and have a really good uke but still love playing a "starter" uke. I am really surprised by some comments about high end ukes like Microbes post about having several ukes in the $4K range as well as a "cheap" $1.5K or the OP's comment on $1.5K to 2.5K being high end but then "De gustibus non est disputandum est" (always a great dis, ha ha jk). I am curious about these $4K ukes though, what brands are those because I've certainly missed them, new Martin 5K's maybe??? I'd be curious to hear from the luthiers but my guess is that once you get above $1000 in price, it's almost all about the bling which adds nothing to sound quality or playability of the uke. Like several other posters I'm all about sound not about looks, but if you are about looks maybe you do want to keep that blingy uke pristine. It is funny how you get accustomed to great sound though. I bought a beater Martin 1M from the 20's for travel (i.e., if it get's stolen from a hotel room it won't be a tragedy) and it has a great sound but not as good as my other pre-32 Martins and frequently I end up traveling with one of them rather than the beater <g>. Also we may be on a "uke bubble" as suggested by another poster for new ukes but certainly the trend is the opposite for vintage ukes. And bubble is all relative. I doubt that most custom builders are earning what expert luthiers make for instruments with a longer heritage or wider audience such as violins or guitars. Although I don't want to pay custom guitar nor violin prices for a uke <g>, I do want to see great luthiers make a solid middle class wage. Right now my guess is that in relative terms, most custom ukes quality-wise are bargains in comparison to other custom-built stringed instruments.

WOBster
09-22-2012, 02:25 PM
I am late to this topic but my wife simply can't keep her Mya Moe out of her hands... She will be in the middle of doing something around the house, stop and say "I gotta go play my UKE" and off she goes! So the...at least in my house they get played...all the time!