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NatalieS
09-26-2012, 01:06 PM
I need to see how you all feel about this.

Whenever I tell someone I play ukulele, I'm proud of it. But for some reason, if they see my uke and start asking about the cost of it, I'm uncomfortable discussing that and get very self-conscious. Some people seem flabbergasted that a uke can cost more than $100, so I'm extremely reluctant to reveal my custom uke's real value. I guess I'm afraid of coming across as pretentious or rich, two things which I am not. I live really modestly in most respects. I have cheap clothes, I refuse to pay for a smart phone, and I hardly use the A/C (in Florida!) to save money. So my uke is by far the most cost I've ever put into a possession.

I'm also not a great uke player. I play for happiness and fun, I don't know how to play scales or know music theory, and I sure as heck am not a professional quality uker. So I tend to seize up when someone wants to get into a discussion about having such a high quality instrument, because I feel that they'll view it as ridiculous.

I feel that this would not be the case if I were playing, say, a really nice guitar. So what is it about playing a nice uke that makes me become self-deprecating whenever someone brings it up? I have no clue. But I'd love to know if any of you feel the same way.

RichM
09-26-2012, 01:12 PM
People who ask you what your things cost are rude. Period. They deserve no explanation whatsoever.

And never, ever feel like you need to justify the fact that you own a great instrument. They aren't reserved for virtuosos. Love it, enjoy it, and don't give a darn about what anyone else thinks.

OldePhart
09-26-2012, 01:13 PM
It's very simple. You don't have to justify yourself, or your choice of a ukulele, or the amount you spent on one, to anyone else. Period. Full stop. End of story. When they start paying your bills, then they may have a right to know how you are spending your money. Until then, they can butt-out.

Now...for close friends who are genuinely interested, it doesn't hurt to explain that having a very high-quality musical instrument makes it far more likely that a player, whatever their current skill level, will progress to become a better player.

Finally...this whole idea of "I need to be good enough to justify owning such and such an instrument" is pure and utter bullpooh! The instrumen you play must be good enough to justify your spending your valuable time with it, not the opposite. I so wish I could get people to understand that!

John

mm stan
09-26-2012, 01:28 PM
Some people are just inquisitive....and want to learn and not judge....if they are not too shallow on what materialic things cost...
I tend not to talk about prices unless they are truely intrested in getting a uke like mine or ukers with intrest to buy...
for non ukers, that may be a different story....I just say, not that much but I get a whole lot of enjoyment outta it....LOL
If it makes you happy girl, that is all that matters...it's your money and it's nobodys business anyways...:)

NatalieS
09-26-2012, 01:48 PM
You all make a lot of sense. Your comments have made me think about why I'm among so many people who are this way, and I think it's because I'm a student. I've been a "poor starving college student" for 11 years :( , and I'm among many others who are in the same situation. None of us has a lot of money, so when a person gets something nice, someone always pipes up and says, "Wow, what did you pay for that?" I think in many cases, people are just being curious and not meaning to be rude; however, it makes me really uncomfortable. But you guys have definitely helped me justify why I have this instrument. I may not be an awesome player but uke does bring me an incredible amount of happiness, so in that respect it's definitely worth it. :) I just wish people weren't the way they are, constantly asking others how much their things cost. Unfortunately it's somehow become accepted for 20-somethings, just starting out in the world, to compare each other's success/wealth/possessions. I hate it.

fitncrafty
09-26-2012, 01:56 PM
You all make a lot of sense. Your comments have made me think about why I'm among so many people who are this way, and I think it's because I'm a student. I've been a "poor starving college student" for 11 years :( , and I'm among many others who are in the same situation. None of us has a lot of money, so when a person gets something nice, someone always pipes up and says, "Wow, what did you pay for that?" I think in many cases, people are just being curious and not meaning to be rude; however, it makes me really uncomfortable. But you guys have definitely helped me justify why I have this instrument. I may not be an awesome player but uke does bring me an incredible amount of happiness, so in that respect it's definitely worth it. :) I just wish people weren't the way they are, constantly asking others how much their things cost. Unfortunately it's somehow become accepted for 20-somethings, just starting out in the world, to compare each other's success/wealth/possessions. I hate it.

You have received some great feedback. Glad that you feel better about your uke, and from the sound sample you put up you are a fine player. I don't think I would ever ask anyone how much something cost, it's really not my business. Maybe only a close friend if I was intrested in purchasing something similar..
Has nothing to do with your uke or playing but from someone that has lived in Florida wow hardly ever use your air conditioning. My husband has the air running in our house more than I would like in NY and it isn't near as hot here..humid yes. What's your secret? :)
Have a great night and enjoy your uke..

The Village Woodworker
09-26-2012, 01:57 PM
You all make a lot of sense. Your comments have made me think about why I'm among so many people who are this way, and I think it's because I'm a student. I've been a "poor starving college student" for 11 years :( , and I'm among many others who are in the same situation. None of us has a lot of money, so when a person gets something nice, someone always pipes up and says, "Wow, what did you pay for that?" I think in many cases, people are just being curious and not meaning to be rude; however, it makes me really uncomfortable. But you guys have definitely helped me justify why I have this instrument. I may not be an awesome player but uke does bring me an incredible amount of happiness, so in that respect it's definitely worth it. :) I just wish people weren't the way they are, constantly asking others how much their things cost. Unfortunately it's somehow become accepted for 20-somethings, just starting out in the world, to compare each other's success/wealth/possessions. I hate it.
A good reply to "Wow, what did you pay for that?" is simply - not as much as it means to me.
Folks are normally inquisitive. How much would a student pay for a laptop computer which will be out of date in three years?
Essentially, it is none of their business and you don't have to justify anything. I would go without something else to own a good musical instrument.
Cheers
Tom

1937Scott
09-26-2012, 02:07 PM
Natalie,

If your 'friends' are judging you for something you LOVE to do......are they really your friends? My friends know I play uke. Some think it's funny, some don't care. But NONE of them look down or criticize me for it! If it makes you HAPPY, that's one of the BEST reasons to play!! I'm right there with you, seriously!

Take heart in the fact you have REAL ukulele friends here at UU.

Scott

Dan Uke
09-26-2012, 02:29 PM
It's odd how society works...They'll ask you how much you bought something and for the most part, people oblige and let them know. However, people are so secretative about salary.

I know for the longest time I refused to buy or play a uke because it sounded like a cheap instrument. Where I really lucked out on was I started with a Koaloha (purchased without playing) and the sound from that baby was so awesome that I was hooked. I am still embarassed about how much it costs but I am embarassed about most of my possessions.

itsme
09-26-2012, 02:51 PM
I feel that this would not be the case if I were playing, say, a really nice guitar.
Not really. I bought a luthier-made guitar (used) for a bit over $2K when I was driving a car that was worth a fraction of that. Most everyone at work thought I was crazy to spend that much on a used guitar. I'm not into clothes or jewelry or image and I had saved my pennies for a long time before I even started looking. One person who "got it" was another secretary who had spent $5K on a Rolex (the most expensive watch I've ever owned is a Seiko).

PhilUSAFRet
09-26-2012, 02:54 PM
Having traveled a emotionally "dark path" much of my life, I usually judged the things other people said/didn't say and did/didn't do as a a reflection on my basic worth as a person. I've since discovered that people are rarely as sinister as I made them out to be. Even if I discovered they were, it still wasn't a reflection on my worth. I am ok regardless of what they say or do. I don't buy my ukes to please others and for the first time, I bought a uke have been coveting a long time, just because I deserve it, and to top it off, I bought it from an incredibly sweet uker that lives in the Tampa area. I'll paraphrase a rather famous quote: "forgive them Natalie, for they know not what they do." :cool:

mm stan
09-26-2012, 03:49 PM
Aloha Phil,
Congrats on the buy of the year...enjoy your kanilea......happy strummings....Glad you got it and your Dream uke.....MM

mm stan
09-26-2012, 03:53 PM
Not really. I bought a luthier-made guitar (used) for a bit over $2K when I was driving a car that was worth a fraction of that. Most everyone at work thought I was crazy to spend that much on a used guitar. I'm not into clothes or jewelry or image and I had saved my pennies for a long time before I even started looking. One person who "got it" was another secretary who had spent $5K on a Rolex (the most expensive watch I've ever owned is a Seiko).
Wow Mrs S,
My most expensive was a Seiko too long long ago....now this has been my 5th ironman timex watch and I just love them...good time, large numbers and great features...need I need more...nah

Steedy
09-26-2012, 04:03 PM
Tell 'em: "If ya have to ask, ya can't afford it!"

Or just say: "I'll never tell!" :)

NatalieS
09-26-2012, 04:12 PM
I don't buy my ukes to please others and for the first time, I bought a uke have been coveting a long time, just because I deserve it, and to top it off, I bought it from an incredibly sweet uker that lives in the Tampa area.

:) This makes me happy.

I thank you all for helping me. I think this is something in my head that I'm going to have to get over. I'm the one that worries about it when it happens, I need to be able to shrug it off and not feel like I have to address it or justify myself.

RichM
09-26-2012, 04:26 PM
I'll say the same things I always say in this situation:

If you ski, you'll spend hundreds of dollars on equpment and another big chunk on lift tickets every time you go

If you golf, you'll spend hundreds (or thousands) on a good set of clubs and then a ton of money on greens fees.

For a fraction of that, you can buy a fine musical instrument that, with proper care, will last more or less forever and provide you and the people around you with immense pleasure.

It's a no brainer.

NatalieS
09-26-2012, 05:29 PM
Has nothing to do with your uke or playing but from someone that has lived in Florida wow hardly ever use your air conditioning. My husband has the air running in our house more than I would like in NY and it isn't near as hot here..humid yes. What's your secret? :)


Lots of ceiling fans, iced drinks, and not wearing much around the house. (Now now, I mean tank tops and shorts, nothing less than that, haha.) It's been a slow acclimation, but I can keep the house in the mid-80s and stay pretty comfy. :) When I walk into a normal air-conditioned building, like a mall, I freeze!


I'll say the same things I always say in this situation:

If you ski, you'll spend hundreds of dollars on equpment and another big chunk on lift tickets every time you go

If you golf, you'll spend hundreds (or thousands) on a good set of clubs and then a ton of money on greens fees.

For a fraction of that, you can buy a fine musical instrument that, with proper care, will last more or less forever and provide you and the people around you with immense pleasure.

It's a no brainer.

Wow, absolutely true. There are many expensive hobbies out there! And many of them are a lot sillier than playing an instrument. :)

kirbo
09-26-2012, 07:50 PM
Where I live, strangers often ask the most invasive questions like how much you make or why you're not married yet or if you are why don't you have any kids etc. It's a cultural thing, I guess like it's rude not to ask. I get asked a lot and while I don't have a custom (yet), my ukes are pretty expensive in this part of the world. In the end I just lie and say it costs 1/3 of whatever it costs. It's easier than having to try to explain.

000Kanaka000
09-26-2012, 08:14 PM
One pays for what they value --- So you value your music interludes and the enjoyment they bring you.
Some may think you foolish and some may be envious in either case it's their own drama and not
something you need to take on. Am right up there with you in being willing to pay for the opportunity
to play an instrument that gives you every reason to never put it down. Just invested in a custom Mya
Moe this evening after buying a couple that were up for new homes. Love them enough to finally invest in an
instrument that i have to wait a number of months to get. But at last it will have all the features that i have
wanted to have. What a great day it will be when it's done and i get to enjoy such a beautiful Ukelele.

dkcrown
09-27-2012, 02:18 AM
If someone asks me how much something costs and I think that they are out of line for asking, I answer with a question.

How much do you weigh?
How old are you? or
How much do you make for a living?

This usually gets the point across.

Cooper Black
09-27-2012, 02:20 AM
First things first - I heard your playing in the Kanile'a thread in the Marketplace. You deserve a quality instrument. How much that costs is secondary to the uke's role as a tool for you.

When people ask me about one of my instruments, I usually deflect the cost question and move on to discussing aspects of construction. "This banjo was made in Lansing, MI in a small shop dedicated to quality." The conversation goes on from there, and the expense becomes an implied thing. Or I might say, "You can get some good imported ukes today, but I really wanted a piece of Aloha."

The last thing, just play some music on it. Once someone hears you are in no way a hack, there are no further question about why you have this instrument and not the one their friend got that is "... made out of a coconut shell! Isn't that something?"

Lalz
09-27-2012, 02:44 AM
"Not as much as you spend every month on getting hammered, pet :old: " is a reply I once used when someone wouldn't get off my back... hehe

philpot
09-27-2012, 03:00 AM
A couple things.

First, as everyone else has said, it's no one else's businesses how much you spent on your instrument. That said, it seems like when people are sincerely wondering about getting into a hobby, or you seem really interested in something, sometimes it can be LESS rude to ask how much something cost. For example, last night I got to help do some work on a Lotus Elise. The guy doing most of the work commented on how cheap it was, the guy who owned it agreed, and at that point, one of the other guys in the shop felt it was appropriate to ask how much it was (which WAS cheap for a car like that. 25k). No one considered it rude, no one got flustered, it was just an honest question. I would hazard a guess that people who ask you how much your ukulele cost aren't trying to be offensive, they're probably just genuinely curious. It IS difficult for some people to wrap their head's around how such a small instrument with a small reputation can cost that much, but I usually just say violins have the same number of strings and they're smaller, and people pay more for some of those than I would spend on a house ;)
You are under no obligation to justify your hobby or your purchases to anyone else. However, if someone needs the ukulele "justified" as an instrument, I point them to some Jake/James Hill/Aldrine videos. Those silence critics pretty quickly.

bnolsen
09-27-2012, 04:55 AM
You really shouldn't feed to offended by this question. It's not really personal one. They are really just curious.

What you need to do is to tell them how much *they* should expect to pay for a ukulele if they want, what they absolutely should avoid, and stress the importance of having a setup done for them. Tell them about a set up makala dolphin at the very low end, and also about the nicer ones more like what you have there. Since they probably just can't go buy one like yours you can just avoid telling them what *you* spent and just give them rough numbers on what *they* should expect to spend.

And yeah I understand what you are going through. Sometimes I wonder why I paid the money I did for some of the ocarinas I have. Doing this music stuff is way better for you than watching trash TV and the money you save from NOT paying for cable way more than makes up for the cost!

Keep it positive!

NatalieS
09-27-2012, 05:43 AM
I just typed this nice eloquent post then my computer froze-- dang!

Okay, I guess I could have stated this better, but I love my uke and I'm not at all embarassed to have a nice one. But it's unfortunate to get questioned/teased by people who think the uke is a joke and can't believe that a person would save up to get a nice one. I'd love to tell them to bugger off but usually just say, "Oh well, it makes me happy" and smile so they can see that they're missing out by not having one. :) I am kind of known as a weird eccentric in my workplace and group of friends, but I don't care. But I do get miffed when people want to make fun that I take the uke seriously enough to have a nice one.

And you guys are absolutely right, my very closest friends have never been anything but supportive of me playing uke, and that's why they're my friends. My best friend used to tease me until I played for her and she went, "Ooh, that's so relaxing!"

OldePhart
09-27-2012, 06:26 AM
I know a guy who spent almost $30k on his wedding and honeymoon eleven years ago - he just got divorced and I have no idea what that cost him but anyway you look at it he probably would have been better off spending all that money on something that was going to last...

acmespaceship
09-27-2012, 12:22 PM
When someone who knows nothing about ukes asks me how much I paid for mine, I go into lecture mode. "There's a wide range of prices for ukuleles. You can get a playable beginner's uke for under a hundred dollars, or you can pay thousands for a fine-quality custom-built instrument. Just as you could spend thousands on a fine guitar."

This answer ensures that: Anyone who was actually interested got useful information; anyone who wasn't really interested gets too bored to ever ask me a stupid question like that again, and anyone who was just trying to be a wiseass about ukuleles gets a dressing down.

Now when someone who plays uke asks how much I paid, I figure that's genuine interest and I tell them.

SailingUke
09-27-2012, 12:44 PM
We all make choices as to what we spend money on.
I'll assume you worked for it, so how you spend it is nobody's business.
I provide food and housing for my senior Mother, she never cares how much I spend or what I spend it on.
I am not depriving anyone else from necessities so she tells me go wherever I want and buy whatever I want.
I have worked hard to get what I have and I know I am fortunate.

peaceweaver3
09-30-2012, 02:32 PM
People who ask you what your things cost are rude. Period. They deserve no explanation whatsoever.

And never, ever feel like you need to justify the fact that you own a great instrument. They aren't reserved for virtuosos. Love it, enjoy it, and don't give a darn about what anyone else thinks.
Yeah this! But I wasn't gonna say darn. :o

stevepetergal
09-30-2012, 04:13 PM
Natalie, I like your priorities. My ukulele is worth one million dollars. I got it for a song.

Nickie
09-30-2012, 05:02 PM
Natalie,
You can be proud that you play ukulele, no matter how much it cost. If someone asks me how much it costs, I either tell them I'm not comfortable talking about it, or it's none of thier biz, depending on my mood. Unless it's another uker. Then I tell away... I might wanna know how their's was in case I want one like it!
I live in Floriduh, too, and live modeslty, well within my means. But I use the hell outta the AC! I'm old, can't take the heat anymore... ha ha
My uke is just as important to me as my car, and it's probably worth more. I live around a bunch of pretentious status seeking posers who think it's cute that I play, and probably judge me behind my back for my old jalopy, but I don't care what anyone thinks of me, it's none of my biz.

pulelehua
09-30-2012, 09:43 PM
I feel like the odd one out a bit. When people ask, I just tell them. If they're shocked, I usually go with something about how it's just money. Sometimes, they then ask about why it costs that much. I tell them that. Most people pursue it for a while, then get a glazed "I don't really understand what you just said" look. I think the problem with this whole argument is it just shows how stupid we are as a society about money. While I appreciate the importance of savings, I've never got much joy in my life from collecting money, or from owning money. I've got a lot of joy from owning a small number of nice musical instruments.

Skrik
09-30-2012, 10:21 PM
One thing I have learned as I have grown older is that I don't have to answer every question people put to me. Sometimes I will tell my inquisitors to mind their own damn business, sometimes I will redirect the conversation, but I have most fun when I tell outrageous lies.

My ukulele is worth $1.000.003.00. I also had to let a Big Kahuna sacrifice my dog.