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View Full Version : How do you "trust" ordering a uke online?



Preacher
12-07-2013, 03:33 PM
I really like to hear the different models of ukes in person so I can get an accurate idea of the sound. So I've been to several music stores in the last couple weeks, some of them pretty "high end" in what they carry. Except for the ukuleles, apparently.

At one store, I tried a $400+ Gretsch concert. If this was my only encounter with a Gretsch, I'd assume they were crap. The friction tuners wouldn't even hold the strings in tune. I tightened the A string, and it unwound about a quarter turn when I let go of it. And while I'm still a newbie at this, I'm guessing I shouldn't be able to fit 3 quarters in between the strings and the frets of the expensive Islander uke I looked at.

In another store, I played a Mainland tenor that had a terrible buzz on one of the strings. From everything I've heard about him, I'm pretty sure Mike wouldn't send it out like that. But it's probably been handled by a hundred people and Lord knows what's been done to it.
Very few stores had more than a couple ukes in tune. So buying from a store is not looking very promising.

But that means I have to do it sight unseen. Given how much sound can vary from uke to uke, even within the same type and wood, how can I know I'm getting something good? There's Mainland, Mim's, HMS, Uke Republic---all have great reputations on here. But what if it doesn't sound like I had hoped based on some YouTube video I saw?

Not to be too picky about it, but if I'm going to spend $300 or more, how can I order with confidence?

Right now, my only plan for a new uke is to drive 90 minutes out of my way to visit Mainland Ukes when I'm in Indiana next month and hope I find something that works for me. (Which, by the way, I'm really looking forward to, but still!)

(Sorry for the length of this rant.)

RichM
12-07-2013, 03:40 PM
About the only thing you can do is work with a reliable seller and talk to him/her about what you're looking for. While hearing a uke over the phone or on a YouTube video is imperfect, it should give you some idea of what you're buying. Most sellers will allow time for you to determine if the instrument is a good fit, but if you don't like it, you generally are responsible for shipping both ways, which is expensive.

I've bought a lot of ukes by mail, and my success rate has been very high, although I do admit I have sent back a couple that just weren't a fit for me. Only you can know if you can deal with the ambiguity that goes with buying a uke remotely. If you're not, that detour to Mainland will be well worth it. After all, you'll probably have your uke for years; isn't that worth a few hours of driving?

Dwave
12-07-2013, 03:43 PM
This is the dalema we all face when ordering sight unseen and un-played. I have had great success with Hawaii Music Supply and I have ordered from most of the others hear on the mainland as they say. Good luck.

bigphil
12-07-2013, 03:50 PM
I have had great success with Hawaii Music Supply

I have dealt with HMS several times via the internet as well as in person at the store. In my experience, they will tell you exactly what they have to offer and do a great set up on all instruments, even very inexpensive ones. If you have limited options, do not hesitate to deal with them and expect they are telling you the truth.

Doc_J
12-07-2013, 03:52 PM
While not a complete list HMS, UkeRepublic, Mim, and Mainland all check and setup their ukes before sending one out. So, good action, no buzz, and no observable defects. If something is wrong they care of it.

Peterjens
12-07-2013, 03:55 PM
Preacher,
Don't you live in america's dairyland? Spruce Tree Music on East Johnson in Madtown has a great selection of 'ukes. They even have some great vintages, too. Check out http://www.sprucetreemusic.com/new.html and give Will and Julie a call.

ukemunga
12-07-2013, 04:31 PM
While not a complete list HMS, UkeRepublic, Mim, and Mainland all check and setup their ukes before sending one out. So, good action, no buzz, and no observable defects. If something is wrong they care of it.

What Doc_J said. Do your homework. Trust your seller.

bnolsen
12-07-2013, 05:26 PM
I notice my friction tuners slip when it gets colder. A shame the shop didn't keep on top of that gretsch. You should have asked them to tighten up the tuners for you.

For the lower end you probably can't go wrong with getting a flea (or fluke) online. They are consistent and reliable and you can trust that it will be very playable out of the box (keep on top of the tuners initially). At the very least one of these will help you to develop a good ear so you'll be able to pick a good one 6+ months down the road. Call for blems and seconds.

jimmysworking
12-07-2013, 05:49 PM
I agree it's tough to judge which uke to get online because of the mikes and speakers thing. That being said, read up on the different wood sounds and the different band characteristics. After that, contact one of the major sellers mentioned above, talk to them and have faith. They have no interest in steering you wrong and they know the instrument well enough to take of you.

HBolte
12-07-2013, 08:59 PM
As those above said, there are excellent online sellers. If you're in Indiana you might think about visiting Elderly Instruments in Lansing, MI, they have an excellent selection.

kohanmike
12-07-2013, 09:24 PM
I've bought 8 ukes in the last 5 months since I started playing (yep, UAS has me good), 1 in store, 7 online (a blem and 2 directly from China), sold 1. So far I have had no problems with any of them. They each have their particular sound, and I've changed or added a preamp on a few, lowered the action and added strap buttons. They're all medium priced, but I got them for deep discounts when I bought, that's the main reason I buy online.

Wagster
12-07-2013, 10:31 PM
Not to be too picky about it, but if I'm going to spend $300 or more, how can I order with confidence?


Ukulele Buying 101:

(1) Go to a vendor that KNOWS ukuleles. Doesn't matter if you walk in their door, call them on the phone or order it online. Your new uke will be everything you desire or they will bend over backwards to make it so. Your passion is their passion.

(2) Go to Mega Guitars Supermart (We will beat any price!), Overstocked.com, Sam's Klub, Bernies sandwich shop, DiscountDeals.com or "Huge Liquidation Sale" room 247 @ Holiday Inn North (this weekend only!), etc., etc., ad nauseam.
Be sure to keep your receipt. Roll it up tightly and it makes a great shim to keep the nut from wobbling.

The Big Kahuna
12-07-2013, 11:15 PM
Right now, my only plan for a new uke is to drive 90 minutes out of my way to visit Mainland Ukes when I'm in Indiana next month and hope I find something that works for me. (Which, by the way, I'm really looking forward to, but still!)

My daily commute comprises a 90 minute drive in the morning and a 120 minute drive home at night. Every day. 90 minutes isn't a hardship if you get to see Mike and his ukes at the end of it :)

savagehenry
12-08-2013, 12:36 AM
I've been able to check out many ukleles by going to ukulele meetups. It's a fun time and people usually let you check out their ukulele. Once you have identified what you like, you can get in touch with one of the dealers mentioned and get something you'll love.

phil hague
12-08-2013, 12:36 AM
I suppose we are lucky in the UK , we have a law which states we can send items back for a full refund if we bought them on line or mail order. It is the distance selling regulations. So if we dont like the goods or they are not as described we can send them back to the seller for a refund.

seneystretch
12-08-2013, 12:52 AM
I'm guessing I shouldn't be able to fit 3 quarters in between the strings and the frets of the expensive Islander uke I looked at.

At the first fret, a dime on the fretboard should be held by the string. A quarter on the twelfth fret should be held by the string.

OK, you're fussy, you have a Kamaka. Here's another place to stop on your drive https://www.oldtownschool.org/musicstore/ukuleles/ It's on the north side of Chicago, they're as good as the other suggestions in this thread. They have lots of brands to try.

I think your best bet is Sprucetree in Madison, been there bought there. If you go to Nashville IN give yourself some extra time. Plenty of gift shops (open in Jan?), walkable and it's a nice drive.

It's a simple matter to tighten a friction tuner, just take it to the counterman and ask for a phillips screwdriver. I imagine you've done that plenty of times already with your K.

Barbablanca
12-08-2013, 01:03 AM
When you see Mike, ask him about his "Blems" - I got a wonderful deal on a blem from him in summer. But he had to point out the "blemish"!!! His quality control is first rate, indeed, judging by my lovely Red Cedar Concert - he's incredibly meticulous! I wasn't bothered in the slightest by the two tiny aesthetic flaws Mike pointed out and was more than pleased at the price drop he suggested. The instrument looks and sounds absolutely fine and no untrained eye I have asked to find the blems has managed it so far ;). BTW I'd ring him first to ensure he will be in and don't look for the Barn in his picture, the store doesn't look like that at all ;). His town is well worth a visit too, it's a kind of successful hippy place with a real arts and crafts vibe.

Whatever you do, sticking to established dealers who have a reputation to keep in the Uke world is probably a good idea, rather than the mass market guys. I've had two instruments that turned out to be disappointing. One was returned for a full refund and the other was actually given to me as a gift and my cash refunded. I then spent some time fixing it and have a serviceable instrument now.

byjimini
12-08-2013, 04:31 AM
If you're buying used on eBay, I would ask for a few sound samples, pictures etc. If I'm buying new, I go to Youtube for samples and Google for reviews. If someone on here mentions having one I'll message them asking for a sound sample and their opinion.

You just have to do your research.

vanflynn
12-08-2013, 04:48 AM
If you have to buy online check out the return policy. Most reputable dealers will give you 48 hr to return for any reason. You're only out the shipping. It isn't as good as trying first but at least you have an option

OldePhart
12-08-2013, 06:15 AM
...90 minutes isn't a hardship if you get to see Mike and his ukes at the end of it :)

Big +1 on that! Make sure you call him first and let him know what you're looking for - he'll go out of his way to check his inventory, etc. and make sure that they have some models that you're interested in set up and ready to play.

HMS is also great to work with. Their various demo and comparison videos are quite possibly the most useful on the internet because they try to use the same high-quality recording setup for all their demos. They did one video comparing similar ukuleles made from different woods - with eyes closed I was able to pick out the koa models with almost 100% accuracy. Most YouTube videos are pretty useless for tone and volume comparisons because often they are using in-camera microphones and you have no idea how much compression, EQ, and auto-leveling was applied by the camera.

John

iamesperambient
12-08-2013, 06:27 AM
I really like to hear the different models of ukes in person so I can get an accurate idea of the sound. So I've been to several music stores in the last couple weeks, some of them pretty "high end" in what they carry. Except for the ukuleles, apparently.

At one store, I tried a $400+ Gretsch concert. If this was my only encounter with a Gretsch, I'd assume they were crap. The friction tuners wouldn't even hold the strings in tune. I tightened the A string, and it unwound about a quarter turn when I let go of it. And while I'm still a newbie at this, I'm guessing I shouldn't be able to fit 3 quarters in between the strings and the frets of the expensive Islander uke I looked at.

In another store, I played a Mainland tenor that had a terrible buzz on one of the strings. From everything I've heard about him, I'm pretty sure Mike wouldn't send it out like that. But it's probably been handled by a hundred people and Lord knows what's been done to it.
Very few stores had more than a couple ukes in tune. So buying from a store is not looking very promising.

But that means I have to do it sight unseen. Given how much sound can vary from uke to uke, even within the same type and wood, how can I know I'm getting something good? There's Mainland, Mim's, HMS, Uke Republic---all have great reputations on here. But what if it doesn't sound like I had hoped based on some YouTube video I saw?

Not to be too picky about it, but if I'm going to spend $300 or more, how can I order with confidence?

Right now, my only plan for a new uke is to drive 90 minutes out of my way to visit Mainland Ukes when I'm in Indiana next month and hope I find something that works for me. (Which, by the way, I'm really looking forward to, but still!)

(Sorry for the length of this rant.)


Its just like anything else you order on line.
Even a pair of jeans you order online could have a ripped pocket or
not fit right etc. same goes for ukuleles. I have ordered every uke i have now
online and i had no issues what so ever with any of them. I'm not to worried about
ordering online especially when their online stores i have used before with good results.


I've actually online bought 3 ukuleles in person as far as i remember.
My martin soprano (which i dont have anymore and totally regret selling)
and this no name brand soprano, and a samick concert uke (which was my first ukulele actually).
The rest of every uke i have ever had i ordered online i had one bad issue maybe 9 years ago
with an oscar schmidt. I bought an acoustic/electric concert uke for live gigs (back when i played folk music
i make ambient music now) the intonation was horrible, so bad that any chord you would play would sound
dissonant, so i sent it back and the 2nd uke i got was slightly better where i could use it but i had to make
adjustments to it to make it stay in tune. I eventually just gave the uke to someone i dont remember who it was
i hated the oscar schmidt brand so much i just wanted rid of it. So my theory is oscar schmidt is garage but ordering
online is perfectly fine from my experience haha.

Cornfield
12-08-2013, 06:35 AM
I like to support my local shops if possible. I tried a couple Kamaka tenors before mine found me. A good local shop may even get a specific model from their supplier for you to try out.

iamesperambient
12-08-2013, 06:57 AM
I like to support my local shops if possible. I tried a couple Kamaka tenors before mine found me. A good local shop may even get a specific model from their supplier for you to try out.

Good call although not many of us can afford kamaka's or could afford what a small shop can offer.
With me my budget at max would be 300 bucks and thats like a zillion dollars to me. So i find way
more deals online.

Preacher
12-08-2013, 12:19 PM
My daily commute comprises a 90 minute drive in the morning and a 120 minute drive home at night. Every day. 90 minutes isn't a hardship if you get to see Mike and his ukes at the end of it :)

90 minutes isn't tough. It's the 9-hour drive I have afterward that's tough. I have to drive 90 minutes to see Mike's place, then spend (hours!) some time checking things out, then drive 9 hours back to Wisconsin. Totally worth it, but, it's a long drive.

dismount
12-08-2013, 12:24 PM
mike at uke republic has been spot on with customer service. e-mail him and tell him your concerns and he will talk to you about it no problem!

Bill Mc
12-08-2013, 01:11 PM
In addition to those mentioned you can also shop with confidence at Koa Pili Koko. Jason does a great set up and his acacia ukuleles are wonderful sounding instruments. And there is Brüko ukuleles also. Finely crafted gems with their own unique sound at an affordable price. You've got lots of good choices.

GregT
12-08-2013, 04:53 PM
I have dealt with HMS several times via the internet as well as in person at the store. In my experience, they will tell you exactly what they have to offer and do a great set up on all instruments, even very inexpensive ones. If you have limited options, do not hesitate to deal with them and expect they are telling you the truth.

Agree 100%

ranilus
12-08-2013, 06:39 PM
In addition to those mentioned you can also shop with confidence at Koa Pili Koko. Jason does a great set up and his acacia ukuleles are wonderful sounding instruments. And there is Brüko ukuleles also. Finely crafted gems with their own unique sound at an affordable price. You've got lots of good choices.

^This. My KPK solid acacia soprano is one of the most resonant and smoothest-playing uke I own. And I own a Koaloha and have had a Kanile'a. Of course the KPK is no match in terms of the tone being complex and yet beautifully refined like the Ks, but it is loud, sustains forever, has a fast flat thin neck and responsive fretboard. The action is as low as can be, yet I cannot get a buzz out of it no matter how hard I try to abuse it at any fret any string, which is more than what I can say for some of my other ukes that I paid over $600 for from one of those set-up places, but again they offer great customer service and I was able to return with no problem.

That being said, I am finding that I am not a big fan for the tone of my KPK - or acacia/koa soprano tone in general... I'm more of a mahogany when it comes of sopranos I guess. But that's the kind of things you find out after trying/owning a few ukes.

Cornfield
12-09-2013, 02:19 AM
Good call although not many of us can afford kamaka's or could afford what a small shop can offer.
With me my budget at max would be 300 bucks and thats like a zillion dollars to me. So i find way
more deals online.

One local music shop in my area has many quality ukes under $300. Now I'm not talking about a Big Box store but a true local music store.
Anuenue ukes from $239, Several Fireflys, Fleas and Flukes from $179
Islanders, Lanikai's, Ohana's, Riptide and Pono's (many Pono's are priced over $300 but some are real close).
They also have the Mahalo and other cheapies. Occasionally they have used instruments too.

How many Starbucks coffees will it really save you if you shop for one of these ukes online? When you buy from a LMS, you support music in your community, you get a real setup and you might hook up with other players in your area. If you decide to drive three states over, what about your driving expenses?

BBQUKER
12-09-2013, 03:15 AM
Hey Preacher. If you want to try out my Mainland tenor (low G) let me know. Then you can order one from Mike and then make the 9 hour trip in June for UWC VI instead with you Mainland in hand. I also have a Pono (high G) tenor which you can try.

Dan

Preacher
12-09-2013, 05:04 AM
then make the 9 hour trip in June for UWC VI

Pardon my incredible ignorance, but I have no idea what UWC VI is.

And thanks so much for the offer to try yours!!! We will have to figure out a way to connect soon.

Preacher
12-09-2013, 05:12 AM
How many Starbucks coffees will it really save you if you shop for one of these ukes online?

John, I think you're missing the point of my post. I have gone to the local music stores. That's what the issue is. The stuff they had in stock was awful. They weren't set up--they weren't even in tune.

But I really want to hear the uke before I play it, which is why the online question came up. I'd love to support the LMSs---I'm trying! But none of them gives a whole lot of attention to the 'ukulele section. Like I originally posted, if I based my view of Gretsch ukes on the $400+ Gretsch I tried out at the "high end" store near me, I'd think Gretsch makes crappy ukes.

And I don't even drink coffee, so Starbucks is not an issue. This isn't about money, it's about getting a uke I'll love the sound of. Given the praise heaped on Mike at Mainland Ukes, his shop seemed the best opportunity to get very good quality with firsthand knowledge of what I'm buying. But, online may have to be the way I go.

bnolsen
12-09-2013, 05:23 AM
John, I think you're missing the point of my post. I have gone to the local music stores. That's what the issue is. The stuff they had in stock was awful. They weren't set up--they weren't even in tune.

Sadly his experience is like mine. I've gone out shopping with a list of models in mind. Generally none of the models I wanted to look at were in stock (specialty guitar/banjo/uke store) or the mostly miss you get at big box stores. Worse yet these stores are typically out of the way and have limited hours.

OldePhart
12-09-2013, 06:46 AM
Pardon my incredible ignorance, but I have no idea what UWC VI is.

And thanks so much for the offer to try yours!!! We will have to figure out a way to connect soon.

UWC is the big annual...well...it's not a festival...it's not a show..."meetup" I guess will do - that Mike at Mainland hosts each spring (usually the first weekend in June, I believe).

Usually several hundred people show up over the course of the weekend (and some get there a week early and camp out) and folks come in from as far away as Australia, Belgium, France, England, the Bahamas (:evilgrin: for Uncle Elvis) and of course from all over the US and Canada.

John

I've made the last three and hope not to miss any more as long as my pump is running... :)

iamesperambient
12-09-2013, 03:47 PM
One local music shop in my area has many quality ukes under $300. Now I'm not talking about a Big Box store but a true local music store.
Anuenue ukes from $239, Several Fireflys, Fleas and Flukes from $179
Islanders, Lanikai's, Ohana's, Riptide and Pono's (many Pono's are priced over $300 but some are real close).
They also have the Mahalo and other cheapies. Occasionally they have used instruments too.

How many Starbucks coffees will it really save you if you shop for one of these ukes online? When you buy from a LMS, you support music in your community, you get a real setup and you might hook up with other players in your area. If you decide to drive three states over, what about your driving expenses?

Ha starbucks! I make 8 bucks an hour, i have to drink powdered instant coffee hahah.

The Big Kahuna
12-09-2013, 07:02 PM
Ha starbucks! I make 8 bucks an hour, i have to drink powdered instant coffee hahah.

Funnily enough, I was listening to a feature on acceptable "living wage" Vs "minimum wage" on NPR yesterday on my way to work (Smartphone + TuneIn Radio + Bluetooth enabled car stereo + unlimited data phone contract = WIN!). Very interesting. They were saying that $ 7 to $ 9/hour was considered a "poverty" wage, $ 15 was the acceptable "living" wage, but in states such as New York, the living wage was nearer $ 22, due to the higher cost of living.

ps. I also listen to the NOAA weather forecast for the Hawaiian Islands in the car...I highly recommend it for that "It's almost like being there" feeling :)

gbeckwith
12-09-2013, 08:05 PM
Living in Japan I have access to a butt-ton of high end music shops, all of whom have high end ukes. The normal music stores' good instruments start at around $350 for a soprano. Tenors are rare and pricey. Concerts are the norm.

Having decided to throw some ukulele into my local non-pro acoustic performances of Parrot Head/Caribbean Soul music, I did some shopping around. (I don't do Hawaiian music.) I'm a Navy retiree making ends meet with a full time job so I have a limited budget. I now never pay more than $250 and usually about $180 (not including shipping). I don't have the skill level to justify a custom/high-priced ukulele/guitar and I know that such instruments won't make me any better.

All of that being said, I've tried Oscar Schmidt (two pieces of garbage with lousy everything), Lanikai (not bad but definitely not great), Luna (more garbage) and Kiwaya (Les Paul) and Eleuke for electrics, (both good for what they do but with intonation issues). I have a Fender koa tenor that I put a low G on and added a USP which, again, isn't bad, but looks great and gets a lot of attention. I bought two Eddy Finn tenors; a spruce and a bamboo, just to see how they were and they are cheap and easy to play but not a whole lot of sound output. Most recent is a KPK Deluxe Tenor which is great right out of the box. Every one of these are made somewhere in Asia. Except for the Eddy Finns and the KPK, they are all laminates. They all cost between $200 and $350.

I believe, arguably, that laminates are no better than the base wood that they're laminated to. And not one maker of laminates will tell you what that base wood is. (The koa laminate on my Fender tenor is no thicker than shelf paper. But it LOOKS GOOD!) Now I've limited myself to solids which means my budget needs to go up because we all know how much they cost.

BUT WAIT!

After researching the properties and origin of the various woods, custom builders, reading forums and getting some training from my luthier brother adn YouTube, I charged my PayPal account and headed off to eBay.

While I still visit shops and visit custom builders when I can find them, my heart still goes to my number one choice of Alulu from Taiwan. My koa tenor required no set up and with a JJB Electronics pickup, a preamp and a Fishman amp I'm off and running. I also have a few Bruce Wei instruments that are wonderful as well. I just received a KPK solid acacia tenor deluxe and am very pleased with that, but I can still see that it's made in SE Asia, and KPK HMFIC Jason admits to that.

I bought a couple of cheap boxes to practice setting up and have a nice little tool box all set for when I need it. I occassionaly have to do setups on my guitar collection as well so all is good. You should learn to do setups if you're going to stick around and buy lots of ukulele.

Aside from the really high shipping costs of SE Asia, here's what I've found from doing business with Bruce Wei and Alulu:

1 Lots of excellant MOP inlay (Alulu) and laser engraving.
2 Alulu has a high production rate and you can go through new listings every week until you find the wood pattern you like.
3 Bruce Wei does custom and volume builds and guarentees his products 100%. But you pay shipping.
4 Both use high quality solid wood and their builds are better than ALL of the "famous" ukes you'll find in the same price range.
5 Low priced boxes (<$50) require setup and are usually blemished or defective in some way.
6 With four or five grand I'd buy a whole bunch of these, some cheap gig bags and tuners and hit the swap meets and ukulele festivals around here.
7 Both manufacture for the big guys but will never tell you who.
8 These two sell ONLY on eBay.
9 Solid construction. The bracings, joints, fittings and finish on these instruments are superb.
10 Finishes are satin and protective. Don't look for glossy.
11 Only Alulu brands their instruments.

My experience takes me to Alulu as the go-to company where I never have to worry about anything. I have a hard time NOT buying from them. I forgo the elaborate inlays and concentrate on the wood patterns instead. Bruce Wei is a very close second on my favorites list and KPK a distant third. Besides price and quality, timely service, excellant communications and customer service are a must and available from all three.

These are observations from my research, experience and preferences. (If someone were to buy me one, I'd take a Mya Moe custom to my specs. ;-) )

Thanks for your time.

UkeJordi
01-03-2014, 07:56 AM
Hi

Living in a remote corner of Belgium I have no choice but to buy online. There are plenty of music shops around the area which carry plenty of guitars, but you are limited to 2 or 3 ukuleles gathering dust hanging by the wall. I have not found a proper shop yet. Conversely I have only had good experiences when ordering online. My two Mainland ukes were ordered from Eagle Music in the UK. They set up the instruments properly, they packaged them extremely well (in 3 interlocking ukulele card boxes with plenty stuffing material in between) and I knew that if i wasn't happy they would have a top notch returns policy. And herein lies the answer: you can take the leap of faith if you have a trusted online seller which sets up the instrument and have a good after-sales service. It's like everything those days, buying online can not only be the only option (for people like me) but also the best option, if they are experts at what they are selling.

Happy shopping

Jordi

pixiepurls
06-10-2014, 04:41 AM
I really like to hear the different models of ukes in person so I can get an accurate idea of the sound. So I've been to several music stores in the last couple weeks, some of them pretty "high end" in what they carry. Except for the ukuleles, apparently.

(Sorry for the length of this rant.)


I am very lucky we have a lovely ukulele shop each uke setup perfectly from $50 to $1,200. I would say seek out a better shop, even if its a 2 hour drive having a favorite place to go is really nice. Or plan a vacation someplace that has a nice shop so you can have a few days to "play". I think being able to take your time is important. I do love my bari pono from HMS, for that one I went off the video. I think I would like any baritone though, but with concerts/tenors I am way more picky.

Andy Chen
06-10-2014, 05:46 AM
Another vote of confidence here for HMS. I've bought two Blackbirds which were shipped to Singapore. Excellent service.

Brian W
06-10-2014, 09:13 AM
Out of all the on-line retailers that I have dealt with, I would have to say that HMS is the best, hands-down. Give them a call and ask to speak to Andrew Kitakis, the owner of Hawaii Music Supply; by the way, his family also owns Koolau and Pono ukulele as well, so he knows a thing or two about ukuleles. Have a nice relaxed conversation with him over the phone and tell him exactly what you are looking for: tone, playability, size, cost, etc... I can guarantee you that he will have something in his vast supply of ukuleles that will meet your needs and budget. I have bought two fantastic instruments from him and have not been disappointed. And best of all, he absolutely does ensure every instrument is looked over and properly setup prior to shipping. I hope you find what you are looking for, because when you do, great music can happen! ;)

Edgeguy
06-10-2014, 09:49 AM
I ordered my KoAloha from HMS, because of this forum. No store carried KoAloha's and it was the one I wanted after doing my research. I was very pleased with HMS and I totally happy with my KoAloha concert.

bobinde
06-10-2014, 09:56 AM
My local music shops all have low end Lanakais and Kalas and maybe a few upper end Martins (One guy has a pair of Kamakas, but he tried to steer me into a Martin - "It's a MARTIN!" at list price, no less) so I was either stuck with a long drive or go inline. After taking all my limitations into consideration, I purchased a KPK deluxe acacia Pineapple which was outstanding in terms of Quality control and setup (I ordered the bone nut/saddle conversion) and I loved the warm sound. I was so pleased that I ordered a deluxe acacia Tenor and had the same experience. Since then, I've emailed Jason several times and he invited me to stop in when I'm in Oahu nest year.

Good People, there.

my 2 cents worth.

bobinde

BigD
06-10-2014, 10:21 AM
Ah i wish id known that i was just in madison recently!!