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View Full Version : Someone explain the Ibanez hate to me, are their ukes bad?



graybones
08-11-2013, 01:07 PM
Hey guys. So today I was in our local music store for an unrelated reason and decided to check out the ukuleles. I tried all the Kalas and Lanikais they had for under $200 and didn't really love any of them. I noticed an Ibanez on the wall because of its interesting shape, I didn't expect anything out of it because it wasn't a brand I had heard of but gave it a try anyway. I immediately loved how it sounded and had so much fun playing with it. So, I bought it for $179.

When I got home I looked Ibanez up on this forum and found a lot of dislike / contempt for the brand. Now I feel bad about my new ukelele :( Do they make bad ukuleles and I just can't tell because I'm a beginner? Or is there another reason people don't like the brand?

Here is what I got:
http://www.ibanez.co.jp/products/u_ag_page13.php?data_id=292&color=CL01&year=2013&cat_id=3&series_id=143

coolkayaker1
08-11-2013, 01:17 PM
If you did the Ibanez search of past UU therads, then you know more about the reasons otehrs have given for Ibanez contempt than we do.

I own the exact IBanez concert as you, but maple. I think it sounds lovely--quiet (as are all laminates), but intoned superbly. The resale on them, because of the low initial cost to begin with and the general contempt, is atrocious (but better on eBay that the UU Forum, from those that I have tracked). I'd pick my Ibanez over any Luna, or Lanakai that I have ever seen or played.

graybones
08-11-2013, 01:25 PM
If you did the Ibanez search of past UU therads, then you know more about the reasons otehrs have given for Ibanez contempt than we do.

I own the exact IBanez concert as you, but maple. I think it sounds lovely--quiet (as are all laminates), but intoned superbly. The resale on them, because of the low initial cost to begin with and the general contempt, is atrocious (but better on eBay that the UU Forum, from those that I have tracked). I'd pick my Ibanez over any Luna, or Lanakai that I have ever seen or played.
It's good to hear that others have been enjoying their Ibanez ukes. I'm not sure of the reasons, several threads said things like "Ibanez are maligned around here" or "People around here dislike Ibanez" but they don't give a reason. Maybe because they are chiefly a guitar company? For $179 I'm not worried about resale value, but I can see how it would be hard to get rid of one of these if you needed to.

lakesideglenn
08-11-2013, 01:25 PM
If it feels good and sounds good to you, you can't go wrong at that price. You loved the feel and sound of it and that's what it's all about, right? Enjoy your new uke!
Cheers!

Steedy
08-11-2013, 01:36 PM
Here is what I got:
http://www.ibanez.co.jp/products/u_ag_page13.php?data_id=292&color=CL01&year=2013&cat_id=3&series_id=143

I know nothing about Ibanez ukes (hence I'm qualified to comment on the Internets, right?), but this looks like a very pretty ukulele, and I imagine it has a pleasing mellow sound, and plays very nicely with the Grover tuners and good intonation.

The biggest drawback to ukes like this is the laminated rather than solid wood. It just isn't going to sound as loud and clear as a higher quality, solid wood ukulele. But, ukes are like kids. As long as their parents (owners) love them, that's all that matters. :)

allanr
08-11-2013, 02:16 PM
I don't get it either. They look awesome, and I've tried several in stores. They all sounded very nice, and the intonation was on on all of them.

ksiegel
08-11-2013, 02:40 PM
If you like it, it is a good uke.

I imagine that the Ibanez ukes have (or had), like the Cordobas, an issue with quality control. I played several Cordoba ukes at a GC, and ordered one from my local music store when GC couldn't locate the included gig bag after 2 weeks. The one I got is significantly better than any that Guitar Center had. Now, when I got it, I knew next to nothing about ukulele quality. Now that I know something about quality, I feel comfortable in saying that I Got A Good One.

I've had an Ibanez acoustic guitar since the later 70s - the neck was "fixed" once at a local shop - and I say fixed, because the repair failed in under 6 months. (separated about 3 inches from the body). I still have it, and WILL have the neck replaced one day, because that dreadnaught guitar had incredible sound. Maybe someday I can play it again - if not, I'll find someone who deserves a good acoustic guitar, and make him/her happy.

But the only two Ibanez ukuleles I've ever seen in music stores have been dead. No resonance, no response at all when I played them. The strings were probably crap, and the instrument was probably hung on the wall by people who knew nothing about ukes (based on the responses I got when I started asking questions).

So, to answer your question- why no love for Ibanez? Because I haven't come across one that was worth loving. Several of you did, and that, as Robert Frost would say, has made all the difference.



-Kurt

jwieties
08-11-2013, 02:54 PM
Nothing better then trying a bunch of ukes and having one jump out as head and shoulders above the rest. At that point brand doesn't matter.
Congrats

graybones
08-11-2013, 03:08 PM
Yeah, you guys are right, if I like it that's what matters. The scenario ksiegal laid out makes sense, if their quality is inconsistent I see how people would get fed up with them. Luckily it looks like I got a good one! Have been playing it since I got home and having a blast.

UkeKiddinMe
08-11-2013, 03:52 PM
I have owned or played a number of Ibanez guitars and basses over the years.
I think they build some of the highest quality low end instruments on the planet.
I wouldn't hesitate to check out an Ibanez uke. The one you posted is very beautiful.

Enjoy.

cantsing
08-11-2013, 03:54 PM
One of the most commonly repeated bits of advice here on choosing a ukulele is: "if you can, play before you buy." You did that, and you were lucky enough to find a ukulele that called to you. That's all that matters. Play it, love it, and don't look back.

Wicked
08-11-2013, 04:03 PM
I'm playing mine now...

ArtOfDavid
08-11-2013, 04:35 PM
That is a very nice looking instrument! I know nothing about these things yet but I imaging something that sounds good to you, you'll play more; so what could be do bad?

Doug W
08-11-2013, 06:20 PM
My daughter has an Ibanez Ice Man concert. It plays in tune and the tone is good.

Radio Flyer
08-11-2013, 06:27 PM
i've got an Ibanez plywood guitar and like it. it looks good, sounds good and is overall a quality instrument. i can't imagine me making such an instrument for the $200 that i paid for it. it is not like a Martin but it makes music. your Ibanez uke is, to me, beautiful. you should be proud of it. the japan issue of the same model cost $800. the chinese are sometimes not so careful in their production but overall make a good instrument for the money and if you like it then you got a good one. play on!

tigersister
08-11-2013, 06:34 PM
There's Ibanez hate?:confused: This is the first time I've heard of it. Maybe I need to get it from under my rock more?

Glad you found a uke you enjoy. It is very pretty. Congrats on your new uke. Well wishes for it to bring you much music making joy.

PhilUSAFRet
08-12-2013, 01:25 AM
I've tried several in music stores and think they are fine ukes. Classic ukes? No, but that's ok. I haven't heard a bad sounding one yet and actually covet one of the curly maple concerts. Since I have so many ukes, I'm waiting on a "steal." Those Nyguts should make it sound about as good as it's going to. Maybe, as a project, you can install a bone nut and saddle. I have an Oscar Schmidt OU5 that is somewhat similar in construction and I have been toying with the idea of installing Guadalupe fiber core's. Good luck and enjoy your uke.

ukuLily Mars
08-12-2013, 04:26 AM
Please don't feel bad about your 'uke. You like the way it sounds and you like to play it and that's what matters. I suspect ksiegel probably summed things up correctly, and if so, and you got a "good one," then good for you! I don't know anything about Ibanez but I got a decent Makala Dolphin from Amazon so it happens. Keep enjoying your Ibanez!

Tailgate
08-12-2013, 04:39 AM
Ibanez was my first purchase about a year ago from limited options at local music store. I ddn't keep it long, but not because it didn't play ok.. UAS just hit me very early and I moved on.

2 points from my experience: Resale: I posted in the marketplace with zero response. I would up putting it into to a contest on UU (Free Uke For A Kid) and gave it away. Quality: tons of glue leaked out from the bridge. Noticeable and pretty ugly. Didn't affect playing, but very sloppy.

If yours sings to you, it doesn't make any difference what name is on the headstock! Cheers.. Bob

ukeeku
08-12-2013, 04:43 AM
My issue with them is that as a company they are not very nice to the uke community.
at NAMM they will not talk to anybody who wants to talk about ukes. they see them as a secondary sale item that is ordered with guitars.
I like companies that embrace their uke people, Like Oscar Schmidt.

Wicked
08-12-2013, 05:12 AM
Interesting, ukeeku.

Perhaps the introduction of their Japanese made model is a sign of their taking the ukulele market more seriously... time will tell.

graybones
08-12-2013, 05:27 AM
Thanks for the info & encouragement everyone! I guess people don't dislike Ibanez as much as I thought, I wish I could edit the thread title to be a bit less dramatic.


I've tried several in music stores and think they are fine ukes. Classic ukes? No, but that's ok. I haven't heard a bad sounding one yet and actually covet one of the curly maple concerts. Since I have so many ukes, I'm waiting on a "steal." Those Nyguts should make it sound about as good as it's going to. Maybe, as a project, you can install a bone nut and saddle. I have an Oscar Schmidt OU5 that is somewhat similar in construction and I have been toying with the idea of installing Guadalupe fiber core's. Good luck and enjoy your uke.
It certainly a flashier-looking than what I intended to get (I like the traditional ukulele look) but it doesn't bother me. I quite like the color of the maple and the shape certainly makes it stand out. More importantly it fits comfortably in my hands. The bone nut and saddle sounds like a fun project, I'm the crafty type so it'd be up my alley. Would that improve the sound significantly or is it more an aesthetic thing?


My issue with them is that as a company they are not very nice to the uke community.
at NAMM they will not talk to anybody who wants to talk about ukes. they see them as a secondary sale item that is ordered with guitars. I like companies that embrace their uke people, Like Oscar Schmidt.
Oh I see, that experience would turn me off to a company as well. After learning more, when I'm ready for a more high-end ukulele I'm sure I'll go with a company that specializes in ukuleles. But I think this one is good for now!

coolkayaker1
08-12-2013, 05:36 AM
Swapping to Bo e nut and saddle would be interesting, indeed. Perhaps the volume would be a tad better ( and brighter) with that mod.

The Ibanez concert uke is one of he very few concert ukuleles with a cutaway body design. Love it

hammer40
08-12-2013, 07:04 AM
Glad you found a uke that you love. As all the others have said, don't worry about what others think, it's what sounds good to you that matters and that's it.

Shastastan
08-12-2013, 09:29 AM
Nothing better then trying a bunch of ukes and having one jump out as head and shoulders above the rest. At that point brand doesn't matter.
Congrats

This applies to any musical instrument. We are too hung up on brands and price. The one that grabs you is the one to get.

The Big Kahuna
08-12-2013, 09:50 AM
Ibanez get about the same amount of bad press as Fender Ukes. I love my $ 200 Fender NoHea just as much as I love my $ 1,100 Kanile'a (maybe even a bit more). If you love your Uke, it's a good Uke.

justincaseuke81
08-12-2013, 12:13 PM
Got one just like it except in quilted maple. Bought it used for 90 bucks. Love it! Would recommend it to any beginner. Best 90 buck I spent in a long time.

ProfChris
08-12-2013, 01:39 PM
What everyone needs to understand at this price point is that there is little room for quality control. Even laminates are variable material, and tiny differences in construction make big differences in sound and playability, so once the complete dogs have been discarded you are still left with three broad categories:

Bad
OK
Good

The OP clearly got a Good Ibanez, so hurrah for that.

But this is why it's not really sensible to recommend (or discourage) a particular low-end brand/model based on one example - all you can helpfully say is that the proportion of Bad is low/high, or Good low/high, and you can't even say that unless you've played several examples of that make/model. My limited experience with Cordoba is that there were lots of Bad ones, though I gather they have improved in recent years. But even if that experience were accurate, that wouldn't mean there were no Good ones.

At the higher end of production ukes (say, K brands, Martin, etc) one hopes that all the Bad ones are weeded out and an extra category of Excellent gets added.

At the lutheir-built end you might expect only Good and Excellent (though this is not true of non-specialist luthiers - I've played a uke made by a guitar-specialising luthier which was merely OK, and would expect that a mainly uke-building luthier might fail to achieve a Good guitar).

If you're buying unseen, then price+ reputation only tells you how good your *chance* is that the uke you get is of a particular quality. Once you can see and play it, the price/brand becomes irrelevant.

Tailgate
08-12-2013, 01:55 PM
What everyone needs to understand at this price point is that there is little room for quality control. Even laminates are variable material, and tiny differences in construction make big differences in sound and playability, so once the complete dogs have been discarded you are still left with three broad categories:

Bad
OK
Good

The OP clearly got a Good Ibanez, so hurrah for that.

But this is why it's not really sensible to recommend (or discourage) a particular low-end brand/model based on one example - all you can helpfully say is that the proportion of Bad is low/high, or Good low/high, and you can't even say that unless you've played several examples of that make/model. My limited experience with Cordoba is that there were lots of Bad ones, though I gather they have improved in recent years. But even if that experience were accurate, that wouldn't mean there were no Good ones.

At the higher end of production ukes (say, K brands, Martin, etc) one hopes that all the Bad ones are weeded out and an extra category of Excellent gets added.

At the lutheir-built end you might expect only Good and Excellent (though this is not true of non-specialist luthiers - I've played a uke made by a guitar-specialising luthier which was merely OK, and would expect that a mainly uke-building luthier might fail to achieve a Good guitar).

If you're buying unseen, then price+ reputation only tells you how good your *chance* is that the uke you get is of a particular quality. Once you can see and play it, the price/brand becomes irrelevant.


very well stated!

graybones
08-12-2013, 03:41 PM
That's a great point, ProfChris. I guess what I've learned from this is that for low-end instruments, it's critical to try before you buy.

What would you say is the price range for low-, mid-, and high-end ukuleles?

Nickie
08-12-2013, 04:18 PM
Congratulations! Like what was said before, if you love the uke, who cares what the brand is? I own a Kala concert cutaway, and I wouldn't trade it for anything in the same price range....and I don't care what the brand name is....yours is really a beautiful uke. I don't understand why the Reps at NAMM would thumb thier noses at ukulele players, a good company can sell just as many ukes as guitars these days.
Less importnat than the brand, I think, is the way the seller treats the customer....some music dealers down play the uke, and I don't waste my time with them, but if they seem to feel that the uke is an important part of their stock, then they have some of my biz....

Ukejenny
08-13-2013, 10:17 AM
Nothing better then trying a bunch of ukes and having one jump out as head and shoulders above the rest. At that point brand doesn't matter.
Congrats


If you like it, it is a good uke.

I agree. What matters most is whether or not you like it and will love playing it.

addicted2myuke
08-13-2013, 11:53 AM
I bought the exact same ukulele at Daddy's Junky Music just before they closed for good. I fell in love with the look of it. It is georgous, and I loved the cutaway. I kept it for almost a year. I even loved it until I played a Kala and the Ibanez sounded muted to me compared to it. I changed strings and it didn't help. Maybe it's the wood that they made it from. Ibanez makes great guitars, but I think they just wanted to jump on the band wagon and make ukuleles for the resurgence. I'd say keep it and learn on it. The neck is wide so it is easy to fret. That's one thing that I miss about my Ibanez. Once you get better, you may want to upgrade to a better ukulele. I ended up selling mine for $100.00 and I paid the same that you did. I don't regret getting it. It was my favorite to play, but not the best sounding. That's my 2 cents.

graybones
08-14-2013, 04:57 AM
I bought the exact same ukulele at Daddy's Junky Music just before they closed for good. I fell in love with the look of it. It is georgous, and I loved the cutaway. I kept it for almost a year. I even loved it until I played a Kala and the Ibanez sounded muted to me compared to it. I changed strings and it didn't help. Maybe it's the wood that they made it from. Ibanez makes great guitars, but I think they just wanted to jump on the band wagon and make ukuleles for the resurgence. I'd say keep it and learn on it. The neck is wide so it is easy to fret. That's one thing that I miss about my Ibanez. Once you get better, you may want to upgrade to a better ukulele. I ended up selling mine for $100.00 and I paid the same that you did. I don't regret getting it. It was my favorite to play, but not the best sounding. That's my 2 cents.
Thanks for the advice, addicted2myuke. I'm having a much easier time fretting this uke than the Makala Dolphin I was using, which makes it so much more enjoyable to play. Also, I have a feeling my duplex neighbor might even appreciate a more muted sound... Once I am better / more experienced I hope to get a higher-end ukulele anyway, I might even want to go for a tenor at that point.

Anyway thanks for your perspective as a former Ibanez owner!

mm stan
08-14-2013, 06:08 AM
Perhaps why many have a dislike it is because it has a bad reputation for inconsistancy....but even so, I am sure there are gems as a whole....every brand or maker is not perfect....
as the old adage goes, "Try before you Buy" is the best advice I can give you.....Happy Strummings....

nukealaily
08-15-2013, 08:06 AM
most contempt for any ukulele is due to snobbish behaviour about brand . ibanez , kala , etc make good ukuleles for beginners and upwards . its just a personal distaste for most parts . i personally do not enjoy playing ko'aloha but that doesnt mean they are not good :)

Wicked
08-15-2013, 08:19 AM
Not to veer off topic... but I think it interesting that Ibanez has no tenor size available. They seem to be focused on this concert model, with incremental tweaks... culminating in their new Japanese model.

Is concert the preferred size in Japan? Most other (predominantly) guitar companies seem to focus on the tenor size.

sukie
08-15-2013, 08:43 AM
If it feels good and sounds good to you, you can't go wrong at that price. You loved the feel and sound of it and that's what it's all about, right? Enjoy your new uke!
Cheers!

Exactly. It's what YOU like. Not what anybody else likes.

Wicked
08-15-2013, 11:17 AM
Exactly. It's what YOU like. Not what anybody else likes.

This works for me... because, in my mind, "NOT ME" = "IDIOT"

It's a great way to go through life, since I am never disappointed.

The Big Kahuna
08-15-2013, 12:23 PM
Having never suffered from peer pressure, I wholeheartedly agree.

mm stan
08-15-2013, 03:48 PM
Having never suffered from peer pressure, I wholeheartedly agree.


Really Niq....on a stack of bibles....LOL hee hee :)