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View Full Version : Is There a Race to buy the best high end ukes possible now?



mm stan
04-07-2013, 12:30 AM
Lately I've noticed uke players today are much different than before and prefer quality premimum ukes to custom and are not too worried on prices...is it that we are more knowledgable now and have the financial resources or is there another reason...I have been watching some members buy one after the other in hopes to find their holy grail.
Okay this is my question, do you think luthiers today have risen to the highest point in their game? You know this is about the buying frenzy....hee hee
I know I am trying to hold back as much now, as what I have learned that luthiers no matter how good they are and on top of their game, they will continue to hone their skills....Should I be patient and wait further and get one then...because I see no room for redundancy in my financial situation...I believe I never would buy all my eggs at one time...:)

consitter
04-07-2013, 12:34 AM
You should be able to answer that question yourself....Mr Moore Bettah Man!! ;)


BTW...I dare you to list all your ukes in your signature area. :)

Hippie Dribble
04-07-2013, 12:44 AM
If there is a race Stan, you're already in the lead with daylight second. :worship: Prices are only worrying if you can't afford to pay them.

But to answer the question, I think in all facets of our lives we learn as we live and continue to refine, not only our skills, but other things, like our character. For that reason I don't believe any builder would comfortably admit to being at the top of their game as they will always strive to improve. It's like saying "I've made it"; once you do that, it's all a downhill slide afterwards.

Nickie
04-07-2013, 12:54 AM
If there is...you've won!
And I'm not even in the starting gate....
I wouldn't even enter that race...just lemme keep my Kala...I'm soooo baroque! And I would NEVER go in debt for one, except to flip it at a fabulous profit!

dkcrown
04-07-2013, 01:03 AM
If there is a race Stan, you're already in the lead with daylight second. :worship: Prices are only worrying if you can't afford to pay them.

But to answer the question, I think in all facets of our lives we learn as we live and continue to refine, not only our skills, but other things, like our character. For that reason I don't believe any builder would comfortably admit to being at the top of their game as they will always strive to improve. It's like saying "I've made it"; once you do that, it's all a downhill slide afterwards.

Well said Jon. No matter what your trade or craft, there is always more to learn and new heights to achieve.

coolkayaker1
04-07-2013, 02:05 AM
..I believe I never would buy all my eggs at one time...:)
Correct. Especially since the chicken that lays them---the third wave of ukulele popularity--- is about to croak.

The high priced ukulele will be the next dodo bird.

kissing
04-07-2013, 02:37 AM
I think people are falling more deeply in love with the ukulele.
People are learning that ukuleles are not just gimmick instruments at the level of Mahalo sopranos, but beautiful, intricate instruments capable of amazing things.

As with any instrument, people are willing to spend the extra money for desired quality.

I've come a long way from my first Mahalo uke. Last year I tasted Kamaka for the first time. I'm waiting for a Pono Pro-Classic to arrive from HMS as we speak!

Dan Uke
04-07-2013, 02:53 AM
I dont think people who buy quality stuff are buying recklessly. Most people who are buying are within their means and I believe have a true love for the ukulele. I bet if they weren't into ukulele but something else, their buying pattern would be the similar.

guitharsis
04-07-2013, 02:57 AM
I dont think people who buy quality stuff are buying recklessly. Most people who are buying are within their means and I believe have a true love for the ukulele. I bet if they weren't into ukulele but something else, their buying pattern would be the similar.

Yes, I agree.

hawaii 50
04-07-2013, 03:01 AM
I dont think people who buy quality stuff are buying recklessly. Most people who are buying are within their means and I believe have a true love for the ukulele. I bet if they weren't into ukulele but something else, their buying pattern would be the similar.


As usual Daniel you make a lot of sense..I saved money for gifts to myself on retirement..so glad to have found the Ukulele so glad..but if had not done so I would of used money for something else..

I think Stan started the thread to have fun with it..but it might turn into something else..maybe people trying to understand why they(me too) doing what they do..Btw it could be a good thing too!

Stan kind of getting back to your question..who are going to be building the great ukes for the 40 and under guys..you and me old so in twenty years who the builders that are going to take the place of the top ones now?

Daniel you and I up early huh?

Dan Uke
04-07-2013, 03:08 AM
As usual Daniel you make a lot of sense..I saved money for gifts to myself on retirement..so glad to have found the Ukulele so glad..but if had not done so I would of used money for something else..

I think Stan started the thread to have fun with it..but it might turn into something else..maybe people trying to understand why they(me too) doing what they do..Btw it could be a good thing too!

Daniel you up early for a Sunday

You and Stan up late, u guys should make zippys run. I am at at beach cottage right now and on a full size bed w wife and son since my son threw up on da other bed. loving playing uke on the porch but a little early and cold...nothing like Hawaii.

haole
04-07-2013, 03:16 AM
Definitely an arms race going on lately. Probably not my position to question how people spend their money, but it does make me wonder if it's always about a genuine passion for the ukulele and the willingness to get the most out of a top-notch instrument or if it's just about having the coolest, shiniest toy on the block. Considering how many super-high-end instruments end up in the marketplace with no playing time on them, it looks like it could go either way.

hawaii 50
04-07-2013, 03:23 AM
You and Stan up late, u guys should make zippys run. I am at at beach cottage right now and on a full size bed w wife and son since my son threw up on da other bed. loving playing uke on the porch but a little early and cold...nothing like Hawaii.


Daniel..sometimes I wake up and can not go back to sleep..if you see Richard say Happy Birthday for me..I know he said he was getting together with Pueo..

I love practicing early mornings too..my hands feel good and my mind more clear,now if I could only play better..Lol
have and nice Sunday bruddah..

Kayak Jim
04-07-2013, 03:24 AM
Correct. Especially since the chicken that lays them---the third wave of ukulele popularity--- is about to croak.

The high priced ukulele will be the next dodo bird.

Start buying your high end accordions now!

Dan Uke
04-07-2013, 03:25 AM
Daniel..sometimes I wake up and can not go back to sleep..if you see Richard say Happy Birthday for me..I know he said he was getting together with Pueo..

I love practicing early mornings too..my hands feel good and my mind more clear,now if I could only play better..Lol
have and nice Sunday bruddah..

Haha...I saw Richard Thurs and Sat as I'm on his neck of da town. He one young looking guy.

hawaii 50
04-07-2013, 03:30 AM
Haha...I saw Richard Thurs and Sat as I'm on his neck of da town. He one young looking guy.


Nice you guys meet up,he one very nice person..maybe I see you guys all on Oahu one day at the same time..Ukulele festival in July coming soon..

who are the builders you and Richard going to be using in 20 years, I been thinking about this lately,cause I getting old I guess.. hehe

Dan Uke
04-07-2013, 03:36 AM
Nice you guys meet up,he one very nice person..maybe I see you guys all on Oahu one day at the same time..Ukulele festival in July coming soon..

who are the builders you and Richard going to be using in 20 years, I been thinking about this lately,cause I getting lol I guess.. hehe

I'm hoping da same ones but to be honest, there will be a new luthiers and as Stan is pointing out, there are quality production ukes these days.

hawaii 50
04-07-2013, 03:44 AM
I'm hoping da same ones but to be honest, there will be a new luthiers and as Stan is pointing out, there are quality production ukes these days.


I hope the great luthiers past their skills down to someone..but I don't think there is going to be anyone like Chuck again can you imagine how much detail he puts into his work,,crazy good!..

but hopefully the young luthiers are still here in 20 years and getting better as we speak..

fyi info no Zippy's but I had some pork Lau Lau from Young's Market for dinner

haole
04-07-2013, 03:47 AM
I'm hoping da same ones but to be honest, there will be a new luthiers and as Stan is pointing out, there are quality production ukes these days.

I'm curious to see which luthiers will be in the next class of holy-grail uke builders as well! Part of that equation is how the players respond, because that will determine if the luthier wants to stay in the uke world and keep improving, or jump ship.

Pondoro
04-07-2013, 04:02 AM
I've been on the uke forums since 2006. The high end is blossoming - the third wave has produced a large population of ukers and that allows more people to move up to the level of playing that justifies a high-end uke. And the economy seems to have improved.

On the other hand people on the forums are far more tolerant of those who play cheap ukes. In 2007 I bought a $60 Lanikai and had to do a home set-up to make it play in tune. Three or four people mentored me but for every post they made there were two posts telling me to "Scrap that piece of junk and buy a $500 or $800 or $whatever uke." Today questions about uber-cheap ukes get mostly polite replies and the high-end aficionados either accept or ignore those posts.

mm stan
04-07-2013, 04:19 AM
I hope the great luthiers past their skills down to someone..but I don't think there is going to be anyone like Chuck again can you imagine how much detail he puts into his work,,crazy good!..

but hopefully the young luthiers are still here in 20 years and getting better as we speak..

fyi info no Zippy's but I had some pork Lau Lau from Young's Market for dinner

Aloha Len,
I've been trying to tell Chuckie to take on his daughter as an apprentice to carry on his ukulele building....as I agree there is no one to carry on after he retires...he
is on the top of his game now and probally no body close...I hope he continue as long as he enjoys and able to do so....
As for Rick, he has several workers under him so his building style will carry on....

mm stan
04-07-2013, 04:22 AM
I've been on the uke forums since 2006. The high end is blossoming - the third wave has produced a large population of ukers and that allows more people to move up to the level of playing that justifies a high-end uke. And the economy seems to have improved.

On the other hand people on the forums are far more tolerant of those who play cheap ukes. In 2007 I bought a $60 Lanikai and had to do a home set-up to make it play in tune. Three or four people mentored me but for every post they made there were two posts telling me to "Scrap that piece of junk and buy a $500 or $800 or $whatever uke." Today questions about uber-cheap ukes get mostly polite replies and the high-end aficionados either accept or ignore those posts.
I do have high end ukes and enjoy them very much, but I do enjoy my Chinese and Indonesian ukes very much too..nothing wrong with them at all.....I believe they are closer to traditional
vintage ukes sound to me which I like...

Pundabaya
04-07-2013, 04:28 AM
Don't say terrible, horrible things like that. An accordion craze... brrrr.

igorthebarbarian
04-07-2013, 04:28 AM
As someone who is new to ukes and has absolutely zero musical ability/training, the easy learning curve on the uke is a big draw. You can learn a few chords and find some songs online and you're off. And for people like me, that's good enough but you wonder what other ukes will sound like and if they'll be fun to play too....
So then UAS hits big-time, and ukuleles are fairly 'affordable' ($500 will get you a very nice ukulele but a so-so guitar)... Then you wind up on the first episode of Hoarders-Ukulele Edition.

Doc_J
04-07-2013, 04:41 AM
I love trying new things. Playing different or new ukuleles is certainly enjoyable. Each uke I have ever played sounds different to me, Some are better than others. I buy what I can afford, sometimes I have to sell a couple. I re-home ones I don't play. I'm not looking at my ukuleles as an investment, they are musical instruments that I enjoy!

I appreciate and love to play All of the ukuleles that I have. If the market for them went to 0 tomorrow I'd be okay with that, as I would still have them to enjoy.

Playing and experiencing ukuleles is not a race, but a pleasant journey (and you meet a lot nice people along the journey).

Dan Uke
04-07-2013, 05:39 AM
I don't care what others have but I would like to be known more for trying to be a nice guy and my playing ability. I would hate to be known just as the Honu Tapa Guy or LFDM Guy...Sounds like I want to be like Jon. :o

Doc_J
04-07-2013, 05:58 AM
I don't care what others have but I would like to be known more for trying to be a nice guy and my playing ability. I would hate to be known just as the Honu Tapa Guy or LFDM Guy...Sounds like I want to be like Jon. :o

:agree: I agree. Sounds like the beginning of a new mantra WWJonD.

Newportlocal
04-07-2013, 06:20 AM
I don't care what others have but I would like to be known more for trying to be a nice guy and my playing ability. I would hate to be known just as the Honu Tapa Guy or LFDM Guy...Sounds like I want to be like Jon. :o

Daniel after spending time hanging out with you this weekend I think you are doing a great job of achieving your goals had a great time.

In regards to the thread I have always been a quality over quantity guy.

Patrick Madsen
04-07-2013, 06:29 AM
For me, It's about the quality of the instrument. Expensive or cheap, if the action is low, the neck slim and fast; I'll buy it and play it.

I've been playing stringed instruments for 55 years and have passed many of my high quality guitars to the younger generation in my family. We call it the family instrument library. One can keep the instrument as long as it's being played or it's returned to my niece, the eventual caretaker of all my and the brothers instruments. I buy and sell with them in mind. I have a really close new build coming up that will basically define who I was to future generations of my family. In the meantime I'm going to play the heck out of it; put my soul into the wood.

hawaii 50
04-07-2013, 06:34 AM
[QUOTE=Patrick Madsen;1236245]For me, It's about the quality of the instrument. Expensive or cheap, if the action is low, the neck slim and fast; I'll buy it and play it.

I've been playing stringed instruments for 55 years and have passed many of my high quality guitars to the younger generation in my family. We call it the family instrument library. One can keep the instrument as long as it's being played or it's returned to my niece, the eventual caretaker of all my and the brothers instruments. I buy and sell with them in mind. I have a really close new build coming up that will basically define who I was to future generations of my family. In the meantime I'm going to play the heck out of it; put my soul into the wood.





Yes Pat I am starting to feel exactly like you..
i have many great/beautiful ukes and plan to pass them on to someone when I am done playing..

stevepetergal
04-07-2013, 06:45 AM
I find this whole subject interesting. I have few opinions on the buying trends or frenzy, but love watching it. (I think I've successfully extricated myself from it) But I like your question "do you think luthiers today have risen to the highest point in their game?". I'm quite sure they have. But, my belief is that they've reached their high point, for the moment. Although the frenzy may fade, the better instruments are certainly still to come. I say the "better" because I believe the best will never be reached.

hawaii 50
04-07-2013, 06:55 AM
I find this whole subject interesting. I have few opinions on the buying trends or frenzy, but love watching it. (I think I've successfully extricated myself from it) But I like your question "do you think luthiers today have risen to the highest point in their game?". I'm quite sure they have. But, my belief is that they've reached their high point, for the moment. Although the frenzy may fade, the better instruments are certainly still to come. I say the "better" because I believe the best will never be reached.



Hey Steve
who do you think are going to be the great luthiers in 20 to 25 years..are they leaning their craft now? I know of maybe 2 that will carry on but if you are in your 30's who is your great luthier when you are 60's

Stevelele
04-07-2013, 08:16 AM
I love all my ukuleles. Even the cracked Ohana zebra-striped willow soprano I bought from MGM for $15. I am actually more embarrassed by my high end purchases than I am proud to flaunt them. Although I truly love them, they sometimes make me feel financially irresponsible and overly materialistic. It's when the latter feeling overtakes me that I go on a selling spree. But at the same time I love trying new things, so I can't help buying more, and I have loved almost every ukulele I've sold. It's sort of the devil on one shoulder and angel on the other, but I'm not sure which one is which.

808boy
04-07-2013, 08:26 AM
Aloha Bruddah Stan,
You know about my buying frenzy and about how many I collected in 2 years. But it's been fun and educational. I'm happy to have a source to try high end ukes and see for my self what the fuss is all about, that said, Mahalo Bruddah.
I went the gamet from entry level to mid then higher end production ukes. With your encouragement purchased my first custom and haven't looked back.
I tend to be cost effective when buying but still have a hard time walking away from bargains, yikes.
I placed my order for my next custom and should have it by the end of May.
I'll surely bring it to you for your critique when I get to Honolulu in July or maybe sooner. In the meantime, I'll be on Maui strumming away in my patio or at the beach waiting for the fish to bite.
I'm sure they will be replacements for the elite builders but as far as to what capacity, that remains to be seen.............Bo............

OldePhart
04-07-2013, 08:43 AM
BTW...I dare you to list all your ukes in your signature area. :)

No! No! We can't afford the bandwidth! :)

John

hawaii 50
04-07-2013, 08:48 AM
Aloha Bruddah Stan,
You know about my buying frenzy and about how many I collected in 2 years. But it's been fun and educational. I'm happy to have a source to try high end ukes and see for my self what the fuss is all about, that said, Mahalo Bruddah.
I went the gamet from entry level to mid then higher end production ukes. With your encouragement purchased my first custom and haven't looked back.
I tend to be cost effective when buying but still have a hard time walking away from bargains, yikes.
I placed my order for my next custom and should have it by the end of May.
I'll surely bring it to you for your critique when I get to Honolulu in July or maybe sooner. In the meantime, I'll be on Maui strumming away in my patio or at the beach waiting for the fish to bite.
I'm sure they will be replacements for the elite builders but as far as to what capacity, that remains to be seen.............Bo............


Aloha Bo

I hear you going to the Hayward Uke fest today..

if you see Gary,CJ,or Mark say hello for me also Tony Graziano..

when you visit Oahu let me know we go to lunch or whatever with bruddah Stan
take care
Len

OldePhart
04-07-2013, 08:52 AM
Okay this is my question, do you think luthiers today have risen to the highest point in their game?

I think there are several who have, yes, because they have become complacent and content cranking out stock that is "good enough" that it will sell at a comfortable price...and that is the goal for those particular luthiers (and maybe luthiers should be in quotes, for those folks).

I think the really top ones, though, are still improving and will be 'til the day they hang up their clamps and sandpaper.

Luthiery is like any other profession where creativity is involved. I've been a software developer for well over twenty years but I learn new stuff every day and every day I continue to strive to write software that is efficient and goes beyond just meeting the requirements to do so with a certain amount of elegance so that those who come behind me to maintain my product years from now might come across a little bit of my code and go, "wow, that is cool."

John

stevepetergal
04-07-2013, 01:02 PM
Hey Steve
who do you think are going to be the great luthiers in 20 to 25 years..are they leaning their craft now? I know of maybe 2 that will carry on but if you are in your 30's who is your great luthier when you are 60's

Impossible to know who they will be. There will probably be fewer of them because (sadly) there will less money in it. But, as the cycle takes some builders out, the new Chuck Moores and Rick Turners will emerge. Let's just hope they will be able to make a living.

Ben_H
04-07-2013, 10:14 PM
From personal experience I am seeing quite a few experienced musicians discovering the uke and turning to it as a source of fun and a new outlet for indulging their musical passions, particularly as a social instrument.

Although just as much fun can be had with a cheaper instrument, I think that if your musical ear is already well developed you may want to progress on to a higher quality uke far more quickly than other "beginners", wallet permitting of course.

Quality ukes are, relatively speaking, cheaper than other types of instrument so if you're used to spending a lot of money on your music then buying a higher end ukulele is not such a shock.

Katz-in-Boots
04-07-2013, 10:43 PM
From personal experience I am seeing quite a few experienced musicians discovering the uke and turning to it as a source of fun and a new outlet for indulging their musical passions, particularly as a social instrument.
Although just as much fun can be had with a cheaper instrument, I think that if your musical ear is already well developed you may want to progress on to a higher quality uke far more quickly than other "beginners", wallet permitting of course.
Quality ukes are, relatively speaking, cheaper than other types of instrument so if you're used to spending a lot of money on your music then buying a higher end ukulele is not such a shock.

Hear hear. I am one who might be considered to have bought a higher quality instrument (or 2) than my playing standard warrants. I do have a love & appreciation of good instruments however and ukes are much cheaper than cellos.

I started with a Lanikai tenor, progressed to an Islander concert, was considering various others, then decided to stop faffing around and bought a Kanilea and a KoAloha. I am happy with both in their own way and don't feel the need to buy more at the moment.

Can't comment on the luthier side of this question. I do think that a forum like this does play a large role in pushing demand for certain brands/luthiers, and can make a particular one more popular than it might otherwise have been.

uketeecee
04-08-2013, 12:08 AM
Yes, I agree, quality costs money, whether you're buying a ukulele or a toaster. The higher the quality of uke, the better the sound. Old Martin ukuleles cannot be beaten, but they don't come cheap.

mm stan
04-08-2013, 12:59 AM
I just saw a couple of Sarah Maisel personal high end ukes....I know they are pricey, but she sure can bring the best sound out of them...Wow

Sporin
04-08-2013, 01:28 AM
It's amazing how fast trends happen, I've only been on the scene for a couple of years and I feel like it's changed over and over already.

When I found the UU forums, to my eye, it seemed to be all about the K-brands. Then suddenly everyone wanted "custom" built ukuleles. Now I think we are seeing (or will see) a swing back to the K-brands again.

The well-known custom luthiers have such long wait lists now, and the demand for top end, top-priced ukuleles is so big, that you'll see folks who have $1-$2k to spend now go with a K-brand instead because they don't have to wait 6, 8, 12+ months to have it in their hands.

I also see the K-brands doing more to compete with the customs. More options, more bling, etc.

Personally, I think, there is a lot of market potential at the $500ish price level.

guitharsis
04-08-2013, 01:49 AM
I've always loved the K brands. They sound good, some better than others, and depending on your preference, you can find bright to more mellow sounding. They are usually pretty well set up and play easily. Don't like a lot of bling and prefer to have the beauty of the wood speak for itself.