View Full Version : YOUR MGM UKES: Post a Picture

10-26-2013, 07:08 AM
I'd love to see, all in one place, a visual representation of the influence MGM had on all of us.

So I'll start by posting two of the ukes Mike sold me; lovingly set up.

From a Dolphin to a Kamaka.

Thanks, Mike.

(My First Ever Uke.)


10-26-2013, 08:23 AM
A couple of years ago when Mike was really sick, someone was selling Ukes from Mike's personal collection on eBay and I bid on and won Mike's Oscar Schmidt official Mousekulele. I still have it so my MGM Uke is actually one of his own Ukes from his collection.



Moore Bettah Ukuleles
10-26-2013, 08:32 AM
Nice thread to keep the memories of Mike alive.
This is a little twist on the thread but i hope it still qualifies.
I never bought an uke from Mike but he bought many from me back when he had his ebay business. Here is the first one he bought.

10-26-2013, 08:42 AM
I bought 3 ukes from Mike over the years. The first two found new homes.
But the last uke I bought from Mike in January 2011 will always stay.

A flamed cherry Compass Rose tenor that sounds as good as it looks!

There is a YT video of Mike playing this very uke. I think of Mike whenever I play it.



Toucan Mango
10-26-2013, 09:08 AM
I bought this Kala from Mgm back in 2008, I thought it was a toy and I was going to hang it in my tiki bar for decor. While it was in transit I found out it was a good starter ukulele rather than a toy and thats where it all started for me.
At a later date I saw a Honu Deluxe in MGM's store I had to have, he had the best offer option on it at the time, so I placed an offer & he replied back with a phone number & said to call him.
I did call & he gave me his best price, I said I wanted it and I had the money in my paypal account but I needed to wait & build a little more money first, he asked why, I told him I was a hobbyist/seller on ebay and I like to keep a little money in my account in case of a lost package I might have to refund, he said oh ok and he said to give him what I was comfortable with & mail the rest with a personal check to his shop address when I can, at the time he did not even know me & he sent the ukulele out with just a partial payment!
That is the kind of person MGM was and since his passing every time I look at my ukulele cabinet I can't help but think of him.
I attached a pic of the Kala he sold me, it was my first ukulele and I still have it.

hawaii 50
10-26-2013, 10:26 AM
I never bought a uke from MGM but he had played all my favorite ukes in the last 9 months....
I did order a Ko'olau from Noa on Oct. 8 2013 and told Mike about it when he was in the hospital...and since Ko'olau is a part of HMS I will always remember Mike when I play/see this beautiful uke....

mm stan
10-26-2013, 10:40 AM
I bought a couple amazing holy grail vintage ukes from him in the past....I will play them in honor of him while remembering what a great friend and nice guy he was....>>>>> :)
While I would post pictures, I may not....I am a too private guy, so sorry gang....

10-26-2013, 10:51 AM
This is the video I did as a 'get well' wish for MGM for the "Healing Powers of the Uke for Musicguymic" contest that chrimes organized a couple of years ago. I'm playing the Makala Dolphin that I got from Mike's ebay site.


10-26-2013, 11:01 AM
I was lucky enough to snag this custom KoAloha cedar-top concert. And the best part is, I was able to share Mike's aloha, and gave this uke to a good friend.


10-26-2013, 12:54 PM
My husband and I got a couple of Ukes from MGM. I got this one from him in 2008, and I still have her. MGM will be missed.


10-26-2013, 12:59 PM
I no longer have the first uke I bought from Mike. But he went above and beyond in getting me this Kanilea. He drove it from HMS to Kaneohe so Joe could install my pickup, and it would be easier for me to pick it up in person. Plus, after he forgot to include the case, he drove one to my hotel in Waikiki. His customer service and aloha were incredible.


10-26-2013, 02:24 PM
I bought six ukes from Mike. Here are four of them. After playing a sub par uke for three months, the Kanilea super concert he sold me started me on my uke journey.

http://i1106.photobucket.com/albums/h368/dkcrown1/Kanilea%20SC/KanileaSC002.jpg (http://s1106.photobucket.com/user/dkcrown1/media/Kanilea%20SC/KanileaSC002.jpg.html)
http://i1106.photobucket.com/albums/h368/dkcrown1/KoAlohasuperconcert011.jpg (http://s1106.photobucket.com/user/dkcrown1/media/KoAlohasuperconcert011.jpg.html)
http://i1106.photobucket.com/albums/h368/dkcrown1/008-1.jpg (http://s1106.photobucket.com/user/dkcrown1/media/008-1.jpg.html)
http://i1106.photobucket.com/albums/h368/dkcrown1/KoAlohaconcert002_zpsa7b928ff.jpg (http://s1106.photobucket.com/user/dkcrown1/media/KoAlohaconcert002_zpsa7b928ff.jpg.html)

10-26-2013, 02:27 PM
I bought this Kelii from HMS. Naturally, it's a group effort when it comes to buying a uke online, so more than one person had a hand in it. MGM was one of them, I know, and he certainly left a legacy at HMS in his short time there.


10-26-2013, 05:26 PM
I got a Kala tenor from MGM (via eBay). It had a solid wood top and was my first uke with any solid wood.


10-26-2013, 09:12 PM
I had the Kala Acacia Tenor - the first solid wood uke I owned - until just a few weeks ago. Mike set it up perfectly and strung it up low-G. I loved that uke! Just recently sold it on to another enthusiastic beginner so Mike's work will continue to draw people in the aloha of the ukulele world.


10-26-2013, 09:39 PM

When I told Mike I wanted to buy this Ana'ole ukulele with Hawaiian Islands sound holes, he pointed out a minor blemish on the front that I hadn't noticed before and gave me a discount. There are things way more important than a minor blemish on an ukulele, such as honesty. I knew I could trust Mike...

10-27-2013, 02:22 AM
My wife and I went to Hawai'i for our 30th wedding anniversary. While we were there we went by Mike's shop and I fell in love with this little KoAloha soprano. So my wife bought it for me for my birthday, which just happens to be two weeks after our anniversary.

10-27-2013, 03:09 AM
After couple of Chinese made uke, I bought my first K brand uke (a Sceptre) from MGM in 2010. Love his Youtube videos, his Ebay photos - really class act with the black background.

Still have it in my collection. Keep coming back to play it every now and then.


10-27-2013, 07:23 AM
By the time I joined this wonderful community, Mike was already with HMS. I never had the pleasure of meeting him or speaking to him on the phone, but in August he started a thread here about some Takamine tenors HMS had received. Believe me, the last thing I needed was another uke, but I was intrigued by his description and so I ordered one. It has become one of my favorites, and it's my go-to uke, always on the sofa, always ready for some chord practice. I'm not much of a player, but I have improved more in the 7-1/2 weeks that I've had it than in the previous eighteen months.

Here it is:

http://i1255.photobucket.com/albums/hh638/kvehe/photo_zps9f490f0e.jpg (http://s1255.photobucket.com/user/kvehe/media/photo_zps9f490f0e.jpg.html)

10-27-2013, 07:52 AM
here is a picture of mikey playing one of mine.60323

10-27-2013, 09:21 PM
Years ago Kala made a model with his name inlaid on the headstock. He figured everyone else should sign too. So cool. Corey dedicates one after work-


10-27-2013, 09:29 PM
here is a picture of mikey playing one of mine.60323

I made this pic big for you. It deserves to be one that is an attention grabber.


hawaii 50
10-27-2013, 10:20 PM
Years ago Kala made a model with his name inlaid on the headstock. He figured everyone else should sign too. So cool. Corey dedicates one after work-


Thanks Andrew and Corey...I got to be there today too...we spent a lot of the day talking about Mike,so many stories and memories....

Andrew asked Corey to learn this song today,and it took Corey only a couple hours to do...Andrew brought his recording equipment down to the store and watching the video I now see it was the perfect thing to do....

Mike's Kala...Beautiful Ukulele!

10-27-2013, 10:34 PM
Years ago Kala made a model with his name inlaid on the headstock. He figured everyone else should sign too. So cool. Corey dedicates one after work-


Beautiful arrangement of a great John Mayer song. (Heart of Life, for those who aren't familiar.) RIP, Mike.

Pain throws your heart to the ground
Love turns the whole thing around
No, it won't all go away, it should
But I know the heart of life is good

10-28-2013, 07:12 PM
Thanks Andrew for posting that great picture of Mike's uke--and the lovely song.

10-29-2013, 03:55 AM
I bought this Loprinzi Nova flamed maple uke. At the time, I still hadn't spent a lot of money on any individual uke, so I was pretty nervous about it and bugged mike about it at the NY uke fest and many times afterwards. Mike gave me a good deal on it, and it really sounded great.


10-29-2013, 04:05 AM
For my 39th birthday gift, my wife contacted Mike in August of 2009 knowing that I was in love with the Kala Acacia Tenor with the slotted headstock. She told me how kind he was and helpful. Simply said, I know just what he will like, I'll pick a good one and set it up! AND HE DID! I called him after I got it and thanked him for picking a great one PLUS being so nice to my wife helping her like that. He's good people and will forever be missed!

10-31-2013, 11:13 AM
This was my first good uke, I think it was early 2009 that I bought it from MGM Mike.

Actually this uke pictured is a replacement; the first Pineapple Sunday I got from Mike had a rough edge on one side of the fretboard.

Mike told me to play the original until Pops Koaloha made a new batch and then Mike would send me the brand new PS in exchange for returning the original with the rough edge.

Thanks Mike!!!


10-31-2013, 12:18 PM
This was the second ukulele I ever owned, a Kala solid acacia tenor I bought from Mike when he had his eBay store. I spoke to him on the phone and described the kind of grain I wanted. He was incredibly friendly and helpful. He picked out a great ukulele for me, set it up nicely and shipped it quickly and safely. I later bought a Kamaka tenor on Kauai, and I sold this Kala ukulele about a year ago to a friend who has given it a great home. Mahalo, Mike. A hui hou.


10-31-2013, 01:15 PM
Here is a video that Mike made for me before I bought my KoAloha. He was over the top helpful. I had asked him for a sound clip of the uke, and he made this video. Mine is the Low G KoAloha :)


10-31-2013, 05:10 PM
Mike had some real McGyver repair techniques. But sometimes there's no hope. He decided to salvage this one, I can see him cracking up as he did this.


So me and Aaron pull this out the other day and I'm like, "ok, who would want a one string uke?" We stare at it for a few seconds and Aaron says, "Stan?"

11-07-2013, 03:29 PM
I never knew Mike personally, or bought a ukulele from him, but like many of us, I felt like I knew him and I felt like he was a friend. I've been touched by all the wonderful things everyone has said about MGM, and I aspire to live my life the way he lived his, and to be remembered as he has been. I try to be a good Christian, but I often fall short. I try to be a good man and a kind, caring person, but sometimes I get caught up in my own stinking thinking, and say and do things in a less than gentlemanly manner. For that I am sorry. Mike was a great example for us of how to live life, how to enjoy our work, and how to provide top quality merchandise and excellent customer service. The world needs more people like Michael Aratani.

Anyway, last week I ordered a ukulele on-line from HMS in memory of Music Guy Mike, and I put a note in the "special instructions" box asking them to give it their best MGM-style setup. Here's my "MGM Uke":


It's a Pono ATD and it's set up perfectly. Whoever did the setup included the note pictured above. I'll always keep that note in the case and I'll think of Music Guy Mike whenever I play this uke. Aloha and mahalo to MGM and everyone at HMS.

11-07-2013, 09:12 PM
That is so cool Steedy. I love you for being so open and real. Mike was as imperfect as you but gave in a selfless way that I am sure you do as well within your circle. His radius was wide and it went beyond what he did or said. It was how he made people feel. There's not an hour that goes by that I don't think about him. We were so close and talked so much that I still hear him giving me instruction and advice. It's like he is still with me. It hurts, but nothing can take away what he gave. Joel set up your uke and Mike trained him for 4 years before he started with us. No doubt about it, you got the MGM treatment. Aloha my friend. Your kind and humble thoughts show your true heart and soul.
A big Mahalo to you my friend for the support and love you shared here.

hawaii 50
11-07-2013, 09:27 PM
Yeah Steedy...

I have been seeing Joel a lot lately and I know he was very close to Mike....I believe that your ukulele was Setup by one of the best in the Islands...

I know he was proud and sad at the same time to write you that note and be able call it the MGM treatment....Joel does not visit the UU, but I know he misses Mike too....

11-08-2013, 04:47 AM
Thanks guys, that means a lot. Andrew, please give Joel my thanks for a great job and tell him I'm thrilled with my new MGM Pono.

11-08-2013, 01:59 PM
When I was on O'ahu in october 2012, Stan (mm stan) and I drove up to HMS to visit with Mike. When we got there, I told Mike how my search for an 8-string baritone had ended at Mele Ukulele on Maui, where I found a longneck 8-string tenor that Mele was nice enough to restring for me in Baritone tuning. Mike smiled and left for a moment, returning with this beautiful (and rare) 8-string Kamaka baritone. After thinking, "man, this guy can get his hands on anything,", I bought it almost immediately. I've bought several ukuleles from Mike, including my first tenor, a Kala solid acacia (since sold to a friend) that he sold me through eBay, and several that I've given away as gifts. I'll cherish this 8-string baritone because it represents, to me, the magic that was Mike when it came to ukuleles.


Here's a photo that was taken at HMS that day of Mike, Stan and me.


11-09-2013, 04:21 AM
I have sold the Kala cutaway cedartop tenor and the Kala slothead acacia tenor that I bought from MGM many moons ago. I spoke with him several times on the phone and remember him as friendly and helpful. Rest in peace Mike.