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View Full Version : Is the uke bubble bursting?



Tigeralum2001
04-16-2013, 08:08 PM
Or is that just the sound of some people curing UAS?

I have noticed the marketplace has been busy with a lot of nice ukes at very good prices. Some of them have been hard to sell- several price reductions and weeks before selling. Why is this the case? Is it coincidence or a movement?

hawaii 50
04-16-2013, 08:18 PM
Oh CJ now I understand your question..is the the buying slowing down..good question

I am close to that..but I will keep what I have and keep playing/practicing more..for me playing the ukulele is not going away..but for me I am at the end of my UAS..for sure..you too right?

but check with me at the end of 2014...lol

Tigeralum2001
04-16-2013, 08:21 PM
Yes, I admit my buying has slowed. I can only imagine 2-3 ukes even tempting me, quite frankly. Well, that is at current prices. If there is a fire sale, I might have to be one of those who picks up all of the bargains! I'm a player for life. I almost look forward to the bubble bursting so I can pick up some cheap, nice ukes... Then again, I have some vintage Martins I may need to cash out of while they still command a good price! ;)

hawaii 50
04-16-2013, 08:31 PM
like I been saying forever,,since you knew me I am keeping all of my ukes and now starting to feel relived that I am going to stop buying soon..and practice more etc..try to focus on the real goal..to play the ukulele better/for real..

so good question CJ I just never thought it out before>> see what the others say..

Ken Middleton
04-16-2013, 08:43 PM
I have just got back from the Frankfurt Musikmesse where I spoke to dealers from all over the world. The latest markets include places like South Africa, Egypt, Russia, Hungary, Israel, Brazil, as well as quite a number of new areas of Asia.

In time, older markets, like the USA and UK, may become saturated with UAS-crazed players as well as those that have found a cure. But the world is still a big place and eventually the whole planet will become infested. But this will take time. Then there's the rest of the galaxy ...

hawaii 50
04-16-2013, 09:02 PM
If I were a ukulele builder or ukulele company I would be looking into Asia..they are going ukulele crazy,they have the money and they want the best..i know there are problems with shipping to other countries,but the great builders can just use different materials..maybe no abalone and for sure no Brazilian Rosewood

I always wondered if you ship a uke via the airline cargo service do they really check what you are sending if only sending one or two at a time?

I know if you take it on the plane as baggage or carry on ..I can see them questioning you on what is made of..if they even know what they are looking for..

just my 2 cents

bborzell
04-16-2013, 09:02 PM
Yes, it has burst. Case in point; as of March 14th of this year, I had never touched a ukulele. By the 15th, I owned a Pono ATDC. Last Sunday, I bought a mango/cedar tenor MP and sometime after the 22nd of April, I will receive a practicably indestructable polycarbonate uke. I am done.

mm stan
04-16-2013, 09:08 PM
Actually I think the bubble is far from bursting...it is just that ukers want to upgrade and get better ukes, for whatever reasons...why not clear out the less popular ones and
you buy and search again....am I saying there might be some lemons, well maybe....be careful then when buying second hand and choose wisely...

Tigeralum2001
04-16-2013, 09:10 PM
Good points by all. Maybe the English speaking world is slowing down. I hear Asia is white hot. Plus attention span in the US is approaching that of a gnat, and the uke has been on quite a tear. Maybe it is something else's turn?

keliiyama
04-16-2013, 09:13 PM
I'm with Len, I'm almost done. BUT China is RED HOTTTTTTT!!!!

Ahnko Honu
04-16-2013, 10:24 PM
Times are hard, I haven't bought a 'ukulele in over 2 years and sold 2/3rds of my herd

The Big Kahuna
04-16-2013, 10:40 PM
The custom builders will always be in demand. The people to ask are the dealers such as Mainland Mike, Mim and Andy K or MGM from HMS. They are the only people who can look back at sales data over the past few years and gauge any increase or falloff in trade.

Be interesting, but ultimately pointless, because it's impossible to say whether a downturn in trade (if there were a measurable drop) was directly connected to the current economic climate.

My guess would be that at the lower end of the market (read "cheaper"), sales would probably be level or even rising, because people will always want to learn to play a musical instrument, regardless of economy, but when money is tight, they will naturally gravitate toward the sub-$ 100/ 100 Ukes, rather then the mid/upper range Kala's/Ohana's etc.

Please be aware that the validity of my opinion should be judged against the fact that my A-Level Economics studies were characterised by an utter inability to remember what "CBI" was short for.

Luke El U
04-17-2013, 12:00 AM
BUT China is RED HOTTTTTTT!!!!

Really? This week I'm here in Xiamen, Fujian (just across the straights from Taiwan) and although I do see a few cheap Chinese-made ukes in every music store when there were none just one year ago, it's nothing like the uke craze we have in Thailand. I'm hoping you're right, however! Have you heard of any big sales in Shanghai or Beijing?

OldePhart
04-17-2013, 07:21 AM
I think what you're seeing in the marketplace is the sobering impact that income tax day has on luxuries - it seems to happen every year about this time on our side of the pond... :)

John

bnolsen
04-17-2013, 07:29 AM
I think what you're seeing in the marketplace is the sobering impact that income tax day has on luxuries - it seems to happen every year about this time on our side of the pond... :)

Depend on if you get a tax return or not.

I'm stuck with my current inventory unless i get way more serious about playing this ukulele in public. Just very tempted to use one for leading music at church but that might go over like a lead brick. I think I might be able to get away with it if the piano player is absent and the backup piano player (me) decides to play ukulele instead. It's only a couple of songs anyways.

OldePhart
04-17-2013, 07:34 AM
Depend on if you get a tax return or not.

I'm stuck with my current inventory unless i get way more serious about playing this ukulele in public. Just very tempted to use one for leading music at church but that might go over like a lead brick. I think I might be able to get away with it if the piano player is absent and the backup piano player (me) decides to play ukulele instead. It's only a couple of songs anyways.

I think everyone that is getting refunds files early and blows their return by February. As 4/15 approaches all you've got left is us folks who are going to owe and don't want to pay up one minute before we absolutely have to...though this year I was pleasantly surprised in that the damage wasn't as bad as usual - of course that was because my alternate sources of income pretty much dried up, so I guess it's not really worth cheering about.

I used my baritone to lead worship when I filled in for our leader while he was out of town a few weeks ago. Puzzled the old folks but all the kids knew what it was. :)


John

SailingUke
04-17-2013, 08:08 AM
I believe it is far from bursting as well.
At the Reno Festival I saw many new builders with nice ukuleles.
I saw a lot of folks drooling and many new expensive ukes bought and taken home.
Mya-Moe has almost a year back log. A few years ago our choices for $1,000 + ukes was limited, today our choices are greater,
I believe buyers having more choices are being more selective.
I sold a few high end ukes just because I was not playing them.
I gave away many inexpensive ukes just to spread the ukulele joy.

Doc_J
04-17-2013, 08:27 AM
Or is that just the sound of some people curing UAS?

I have noticed the marketplace has been busy with a lot of nice ukes at very good prices. Some of them have been hard to sell- several price reductions and weeks before selling. Why is this the case? Is it coincidence or a movement?

I think many folks (me included) buy a uke to try it. If you don't love it, you sell it. There are lots of great ukes to try. So some great ukes get sold.

Prices are supply and demand driven. Is there more supply, or less demand? While the economy may be improving in the US, I don't think folks have any more money to spend on non-necessities.

RichM
04-17-2013, 08:53 AM
Ask HMS if the bubble is bursting. They're struggling to get ukes out the door fast enough.

904cc
04-17-2013, 09:02 AM
Yeah, it is definitely over.

This year I bought a new (but heavily discounted) LoPrinzi koa concert, a used Collings koa tenor, and a used Larrivee mahogany soprano.

No baritones for me, so I have the set, definitely done.

Wait a minute ....... I just watched some videos of people playing resonator ukes, now they look really interesting :drool:

Captain America
04-17-2013, 09:23 AM
I think this is true. I used to track Guild guitars, and starting in March you'd start seeing some good buys.

dkcrown
04-17-2013, 10:10 AM
Times are hard, I haven't bought a 'ukulele in over 2 years and sold 2/3rds of my herd

Great to see you back here Ahnko. It has been awhile. You still into mostly pineapples?

Dan Uke
04-17-2013, 10:26 AM
I am only talking of UU.

I thought the used marketplace was out of whack where prices were discounted 10% to 15% because the prices kept on rising by the "K" brands. I always find it humorous when you see a older uke that was hundreds of dollars cheaper when new being compared to a new one so it's discounted 10% of new retail price. There are thousands of K brands sold so it's not rare enough to warrant those prices. Consumers are more educated.

Secondly, I think people are deciding to purchase a couple of really nice ukes vs. owning many lower priced ones, with lower priced
ones being relative. Consumers are more educated.

What's really funny is I will comment something like "That's a great price!" but what dictates a great price and how do I know?

Finally, some rude sellers

vanflynn
04-17-2013, 10:35 AM
I think part of the increase in sales and resales is a result of the uke being used more and more alongside other instruments in bands and getting more general exposure. Someone sees it being played and wants to give it a try. The price of an entry level uke is appealing so they buy one and after a bit they either try to sell it because for whatever reason they didn’t like it or they upgrade (and upgrade and upgrade….).

bborzell
04-17-2013, 11:07 AM
Yeah, it is definitely over.

This year I bought a new (but heavily discounted) LoPrinzi koa concert, a used Collings koa tenor, and a used Larrivee mahogany soprano.

No baritones for me, so I have the set, definitely done.

Wait a minute ....... I just watched some videos of people playing resonator ukes, now they look really interesting :drool:

I guess you must have missed the lap steel uke e Mike Pereira made.:drool:

Paul December
04-17-2013, 12:35 PM
Do pianists, violinists or guitarists ever ask this question?
It's not the stock or housing market, it's music. Must everything be turned into a commodity?
I only concern myself with the next song I'm learning.

gitarzan
04-17-2013, 01:01 PM
I'd suspect that perhaps the fad / fashion part of the boom may be fading as the youth driven part of the market drops away as they might be seeing the ukulele as so last year or as "old" people stuff.

Howevah, as the guitar was a considered moribund country/folk instrument pre-Beatles, and has been on a roll since, I think the ukulele may remain more mainstream than before, supported by the high quality of builders, the fanaticism of current players who may proselytize the instrument, and the implementation in schools as a "starter" instrument.

Perhaps even the sheer mass of ukuleles purchased in the last several years may insure the instruments presence in the future.

bborzell
04-17-2013, 01:04 PM
Do pianists, violinists or guitarists ever ask this question?
It's not the stock or housing market, it's music. Must everything be turned into a commodity?
I only concern myself with the next song I'm learning.

Mandolin players certainly do; mostly folks who troll the classified ads. Whenever more than one high end mando shows up, people begin talking about the end of mandolinism.

Paul December
04-17-2013, 01:35 PM
Mandolin players certainly do; mostly folks who troll the classified ads. Whenever more than one high end mando shows up, people begin talking about the end of mandolinism.

They are treating them as commodities, and IMO anyone who does that deserves to lose-their-shirts!

Art For Art's Sake!

gitarzan
04-17-2013, 01:37 PM
Mandolin players certainly do; mostly folks who troll the classified ads. Whenever more than one high end mando shows up, people begin talking about the end of mandolinism.

Mandos have bluegrass as a life support system. As long as there is BG, there will be mandolins.

OldePhart
04-17-2013, 02:01 PM
Mandos have bluegrass as a life support system. As long as there is BG, there will be mandolins.

Oh, no, maybe the bluegrass bubble has burst? :biglaugh:

As long as you have bluegrass and Jethro Tull, the mando will survive... :)

OldePhart
04-17-2013, 02:05 PM
Lets face it, if you have decided that you need to sell a ukulele to fund another purchase, it is nice to reminisce about all the fun you had together, but reality is you want to get the most money you can for it and hope it goes to a nice new home. When you decide to sell, the instrument turns into a commodity whether you wax lyrical about art or not.
If you don't want to treat it as a commodity, just give it away. If you sell it for money so you can buy something else, don't pretend you are doing anything about art.
I would be pleased to receive PMs from anyone interested in art who would like to gift me their Moore Bettah, Mya Moe, Baron River etc ukulele. I do dabble in art and could send you one of my prints or a water colour as a thank you note.

BWAAA-HAAA - this might be the post of the day...it just struck me funny. :)

Paul December
04-17-2013, 02:12 PM
Lets face it, if you have decided that you need to sell a ukulele to fund another purchase, it is nice to reminisce about all the fun you had together, but reality is you want to get the most money you can for it and hope it goes to a nice new home. When you decide to sell, the instrument turns into a commodity whether you wax lyrical about art or not.
If you don't want to treat it as a commodity, just give it away. If you sell it for money so you can buy something else, don't pretend you are doing anything about art.
I would be pleased to receive PMs from anyone interested in art who would like to gift me their Moore Bettah, Mya Moe, Baron River etc ukulele. I do dabble in art and could send you one of my prints or a water colour as a thank you note.

IMO Arguing extremes gets silly.

Hippie Dribble
04-17-2013, 02:17 PM
yep it burst...




all over my face.




:p

OldePhart
04-17-2013, 02:20 PM
yep it burst...




all over my face.




:p

No...wait...this is the post of the day... :)

John

Nickie
04-17-2013, 02:28 PM
Well, it certainly has burst for me....I'm not even close to buying another uke this year...last year I bought 3. I could spend my tax return in a pretty decent uke, or I could be responsible and pay some debts...
However, there was 1 player in the Hospice Talent show last year....this year there will be three...

Tifflery
04-17-2013, 02:30 PM
Oh, no, maybe the bluegrass bubble has burst? :biglaugh:

As long as you have bluegrass and Jethro Tull, the mando will survive... :)
Dont Forget The Jazz Flute...(I Belive Its A Soft J....)

OldePhart
04-17-2013, 02:35 PM
I could spend my tax return in a pretty decent uke, or I could be responsible and pay some debts...

Responsibility is highly overrated. I've spent my whole adult life being responsible - all it got me was a massive heart attack at 41... ;)

(Not that I've really mastered the art of being really irresponsible, yet, but I'm going to give it my best shot in the years I have left.)

John

Tifflery
04-17-2013, 02:36 PM
yep it burst...




all over my face.




:p
. Wow. Glad Someone Else Went There Because It Just Would Have Been Improper If I Had Said That...Even Though I Was Thinking It Since I Read The Title Like Two Hours Ago.....

coolkayaker1
04-17-2013, 05:23 PM
"The uke is so ten minutes ago, Dad."-- my 18 year old kid.

Draw your own conclusions (not about my kid--I have plenty of those drawn myself already:D).

AndrewKuker
04-18-2013, 01:11 AM
The ukulele is a musical instrument, a tool for enjoyment. Most of us will never stop lovin' it. "Those who feel it, know it."

The cockroaches that see dollar signs while reading their industry report could take some advice from Kayaker's kid. (btw Steve, 18 is the magical year you can kick them out ;))

mm stan
04-18-2013, 01:15 AM
"The uke is so ten minutes ago, Dad."-- my 18 year old kid.

Draw your own conclusions (not about my kid--I have plenty of those drawn myself already:D).

" Kids Say the Darnest Things" well at 18, he is probally over opinioniated, he has a choice to do whatever he wants...whatever that means....He he :)

coolkayaker1
04-18-2013, 01:27 AM
(btw Steve, 18 is the magical year you can kick them out ;))
LOL.

Abracadabra! Parents smile again.