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View Full Version : Why do we accept such cheap junk ukes on the market



bazmaz
03-17-2014, 02:55 AM
One for beginners to read. Who is buying the flood of ultra cheap ukes on the market?

I decided to look closer at those awful examples and found one so badly built it would never play accurately. Ebay is awash with this sort of thing. It's a real shame.

Take a look at the pictures and video on this post

http://www.gotaukulele.com/2014/03/why-do-we-accept-cheap-junk-ukuleles.html

Ukejenny
03-17-2014, 03:24 AM
I've been dealing with this for years in the wind band field. I've had kids walk in with some "instrument" that has pot metal keys and you can't even adjust it without breaking the keys off. Reputable technicians won't touch these horns. And the instruments don't even play. It's been going on for years. There are a ton of junk ukes out there, too. If you buy something like that, you are setting yourself up for failure and frustration. It won't play, so therefore you can't play, and you'll want to give up. This is especially true for a kid who may not understand that the instrument sucks, not them.

Condor
03-17-2014, 03:34 AM
Baz, I guess we "accept" them as we have no choice over who sells what and for how much - as long as people buy truckloads of junk, it will be produced. Like everything else, its personal choice really. And we don't all make identical choices, thank heavens. I know you say that Mahalos for instance, are dire, but my first little uke, a U50G, is nicely made and finished and sounds good restrung with Aquilas. And it had a decent setup from the box. So they are not all junk even if they are cheap. I think we do run the risk of developing Snooty Ukulele-itis with some of the budget brands and wild comparisons to ukes costing 1000s of . In the same way a Nissan Micra being compared to a Ferrari is simply not sensible and the buyers concerned probably want different qualities in their cars.

I think that dooming all ukes costing less than 100 in the UK as being junk is also a bit harsh - Omega have a few nice ukes under 100 and I would not call them rubbish. I have an Aria concert from them which cost under 100, is solid wood all round and sings like a dream. Definitely sub 100 and definitely not junk.

So while I agree in part with your rant. (The uke you described was the worst of the worst!) I don't think I agree with all of it - people should be free to spend their money as they wish and if quality is not something they recognise or want, or if they couldn't be bothered to spend some time looking for a reasonable uke, then they will continue to buy cheap junk. Happens with everything, not just ukes.

bazmaz
03-17-2014, 03:39 AM
Thanks both.

Condor - I didn't say that all ukes under 100 are junk, just that I think things start to get sensible above 100. I did say there would be exceptions.

Of course people can spend their money on what they like. Think it is helpful though to alert new buyers to the fact that 10 doesn't buy you a uke!!

OldePhart
03-17-2014, 03:50 AM
@bazbaz I agree with your sentiment wholeheartedly but as long as we aim to live in a free society then we can't stop people from spending their money on crap if they want to...and as long as people are willing to spend good money on bad rubbish there will be those who are happy to fill the "need."

The real issue for me is I'm pretty sure that the vast majority of these things are bought by parents for their children when their children begin expressing interest in music and there is a very real chance that the unplayable junk will put the kids off music forever, convincing them that they have no talent or ability. For many years I've had people ask me what kind of guitar they should buy for a child and I always ask them: "Do you want your child to learn to play and risk that someday they may choose to be musician or do you want them to get over such nonsense quickly so they can become doctors or lawyers?"

When the parents finally realize that I'm serious I'll explain that if you want your child to learn to play successfully then get them the absolute best instrument you can afford. If you want them to do something sensible then buy them the cheapest piece of crap you can find on eBay...usually described as "perfect for beginners."

The bottom line...as long as people are willing to buy crap...and especially as long as people think so little of their children that the first thing that comes to mind when the child wants something is "how can I appease them without spending too much money" this kind of crap will be on the market.

That doesn't mean you have to buy a 5-year-old a Kamaka to be a good parent - but it does mean that you need to put in the research to figure out what they will need and then provide it if at all possible.

(And I've raised three kids and have umpteen grandkids in the process now...so I'm not just talkin' out my backside about the kids.)

John

bazmaz
03-17-2014, 03:56 AM
well said dude.

OldePhart
03-17-2014, 03:59 AM
I've been dealing with this for years in the wind band field. I've had kids walk in with some "instrument" that has pot metal keys and you can't even adjust it without breaking the keys off. Reputable technicians won't touch these horns. And the instruments don't even play. It's been going on for years. There are a ton of junk ukes out there, too. If you buy something like that, you are setting yourself up for failure and frustration. It won't play, so therefore you can't play, and you'll want to give up. This is especially true for a kid who may not understand that the instrument sucks, not them.

I knew the owner of the only music shop that handled band instruments in the last small town we lived in. He got to the point that he wouldn't touch any of the cheap eBay crap for repairs. The last straw for him was when a woman threw a complete hissy fit when he explained to her how much it was going to cost to fix the POC horn she had bought her kid...she'd bought it on eBay and actually expected him to fix it for nothing...ranted about how her husband was a lawyer and she'd have his store for not serving the community...then flounced out the door to her luxury car and burned rubber out of the parking lot. All in front of her 12-year-old kid. A real parent-of-the-year candidate, for sure.

John

bazmaz
03-17-2014, 04:09 AM
I am interested in pinpointing the era this junk problem began. Going back to the original 'toy' ukes - TV Pals and the like, they actually sound ok, and at least they fulfil basic build requirements.

Condor
03-17-2014, 04:26 AM
@oldephart - I guess my parents obviously failed me miserably in the music arena then, as I ended up a doctor :( However, I know that it simply is not true that in order to steer kids to a non-music related career, that parents should buy rubbishy instruments to put them off . Mine bought me the best instruments they could afford and paid for the best teaching they could afford. When the choice finally came - and it did- as to whether I would become a professional musician or study for a career in medicine, I made that choice. And it wasn't based on rubbish instruments either. I am a senior doctor now at the height of my career in medicine but I still love playing my guitars, piano, French Horn, ukes and mandolin........they might not all be worth 1000s, but they are in tune and sound good to me.

I don't think elitism should be dragged into discussions like this, I agree the cheap, nasty ukes like Baz showed in his video /blog are a sad travesty, but people can buy whatever they want and as long as they buy junk, more junk will be available. Ukes do not have to be ultra expensive to sound good though and a Lanakai can sound as good as a top K brand depending on who the player is - old computer saying goes "rubbish in rubbish out" !

Condor
03-17-2014, 04:31 AM
I am interested in pinpointing the era this junk problem began. Going back to the original 'toy' ukes - TV Pals and the like, they actually sound ok, and at least they fulfil basic build requirements.

Baz, cheap mass market mandolins flooded the market in around the 50s and 60s, and even before then - loads of the old taterbugs lying about, mostly unplayable junk - while cheaply produced banjo ukes and banjo mandolins were mass produced in the Formby era from the 20s onwards- lots still pop up on ebay and if carefully examined, are just cheapo mass market instruments albeit slightly better than that 7.99 uke you bought! Its not a new thing, just the old law of supply and demand - everything seems to drop to the lowest common denominator in terms of quality. If really rubbishy stuff sells at insanely low prices, why should those churning it out bother to improve on the quality?

pootsie
03-17-2014, 04:36 AM
See, the problem with that uke is that they did not use lag bolts to hold the bridge in place properly.

BTW, diamonds are also small, so they should be cheap, too.

RichM
03-17-2014, 04:43 AM
See, the problem with that uke is that they did not use lag bolts to hold the bridge in place properly.

BTW, diamonds are also small, so they should be cheap, too.

Now that's just silly, apples to oranges. What you meant was that violins and mandolins are also small, so they should be cheap, too. I'll give you ten bucks for that Stradivarius. If you can't break a twenty, you can throw in that 1924 Lloyd Loar F-style, too.

bazmaz
03-17-2014, 04:50 AM
I've had a few comments back elsewhere claiming that this is a toy and was never meant to be played - like that is some kind of excuse.

In that case, why does the box say 'comes with how to play guide' and inside there was this little chord chart and how to tune up leaflet!!?

64967

Icelander53
03-17-2014, 05:06 AM
One for beginners to read. Who is buying the flood of ultra cheap ukes on the market?

I decided to look closer at those awful examples and found one so badly built it would never play accurately. Ebay is awash with this sort of thing. It's a real shame.

Take a look at the pictures and video on this post

http://www.gotaukulele.com/2014/03/why-do-we-accept-cheap-junk-ukuleles.html

IMO this brings us into the realm of psychology. Humans in general are an ignorant lot and not necessarily any fault of their own but how they are educated in the home and in our schools and society in general. If one is not able to think critically then one will be prone to fall for wild advertising claims. Any material field/hobby etc. can show the same things going on. Cheap telescopes that make wild claims to magnification but the optics are so poor you can't tell what you are magnifying and I could go on and on endlessly with examples. It's amazing to me that humans survive as well as we do. Thanks mostly to the few who do the thinking for the rest.

So I'd say don't worry about what others do but make sure you don't get duped too badly yourself. :2cents:

Skinny Money McGee
03-17-2014, 05:10 AM
One for beginners to read. Who is buying the flood of ultra cheap ukes on the market?


People have an inherent belief they can get something for nothing.




When the parents finally realize that I'm serious I'll explain that if you want your child to learn to play successfully then get them the absolute best instrument you can afford.


In addition, parents should also realize a quality instrument has resale value, and also a good lesson for Children to respect and care for an instrument, which lesson carries on to other things throughout life.

katysax
03-17-2014, 05:44 AM
I think cheap instruments in childhood are at the root of my Instrument Acquisition Syndrome. I had a cheap, but playable clarinet, and was much better on my friend's Buffet. People who don't play instruments really don't understand the differences.

When I was 14 my parents bought me a Zim Gar guitar. It was awful. The neck bowed about an inch and a half by the time I threw it out. I saved my money for a year to buy a Gibson.

A few years ago I decided to learn flute and bought a cheap $100 flute off of Ebay. It was OK for about a week, then one day I was playing it and something went "sproing". Keys literally went flying off the instrument. I threw it away and bought a Yamaha.

fynger
03-17-2014, 05:51 AM
Just looked at them in our local discount shop...7:99.....needless to say they didn't sell one to me.

peaceweaver3
03-17-2014, 06:25 AM
I don't think the point is whether junk exists and/or whether it continues to do so. "Junk" is always a matter of opinion. I think the point is whether buyers truly know what they're looking for. Many times they don't, especially if they're beginners, or a non-musical parent is buying for an aspiring child. So, it's up to us--assuming people listen--to demonstrate quality instruments and musicality.

People will still buy what we think are junk ukes. All we can do is be there to pick up the pieces, as it were, and do our best to keep the number of pieces to a minimum. But they say experience is the best teacher, and I'd have to agree... :o

Also, not everyone wants the same thing in a uke, physically or musically. Some people do want a toy, and we know there's an abundance there. Others want a playable uke. And still others, as they progress, want a higher quality, better-sounding uke. What that is, varies from person to person. Again, I think the best we can do is be available to people.

seneystretch
03-17-2014, 06:37 AM
[QUOTE=bazmaz;1494128 Who is buying the flood of ultra cheap ukes on the market?
[/QUOTE]

Innocent sheep who don't know any better.

I bought a cheap junk guitar, at a premium price. Sold to me by my music teacher, I relied on his judgement. Hey, who was I to contradict the expert?

Action way too high at both the 1st and 17th frets, intonation off, fret ends sticking out, other problems. I thought this was the way it was. How or why he expected me to continue paying for lessons after my fingers hurt so much I couldn't type or hold a pen, is a mystery to me.

I own one of these low end ukes, but now I know what makes for a playable instrument. The internet is a treasure trove of information and is why I made a second try.

bazmaz
03-17-2014, 06:40 AM
Interesting comment re the internet that was put to me earlier on Facebook in response to this.

The likes of ebay and online shopping makes it so much easier to find junk like this uke and hit 'buy'. This guy pointed out that people consider nothing wrong with spending 100's on a smartphone, laptop, iPad to do just that, but then assume that a 10 quid ukulele is normal. Would those people expect a $50 dollar smartphone or tablet to work as well as the top end ones?

OldePhart
03-17-2014, 06:43 AM
@oldephart - I guess my parents obviously failed me miserably in the music arena then, as I ended up a doctor :( However, I know that it simply is not true that in order to steer kids to a non-music related career, that parents should buy rubbishy instruments to put them off . Mine bought me the best instruments they could afford and paid for the best teaching they could afford.

My point is that if you want kids to succeed you have to give them the means to do so - I merely use the extreme example to make the parents stop and think about what they are really doing. I've had several thank me later - including one whose kid is about 16 now and he already has the chops that if he chooses to follow music as a career he could step right into any major hit band and be completely comfortable. Now, much of that is because of his own talent and determination - but suppose they'd given him an unplayable piece of crap at 11 - there's a very good chance he'd have been discouraged and quit.

And, frankly, there are some parents who would rather their kids not take any interest in music. It's sad, but true. Also sad, there are a lot of parents who just don't want to be inconvenienced by what their kids are interested in. If it takes a verbal wake-up slap to some of these parents to make them stop and think then I'll be happy to be the slapper. :)


I don't think elitism should be dragged into discussions like this, I agree the cheap, nasty ukes like Baz showed in his video /blog are a sad travesty, but people can buy whatever they want and as long as they buy junk, more junk will be available. Ukes do not have to be ultra expensive to sound good though and a Lanakai can sound as good as a top K brand depending on who the player is - old computer saying goes "rubbish in rubbish out" !

I'm not being elitist at all. My first uke was a Lanikai LU21-C and after I set it up it played fine. I've bought every one of my grandkids a Lanikai LU-11 as soon as they became old enough to begin plinking. The key is that I've set every one of them up to play easily and intonate well. Those grandkids who go beyond plinking and really show an interest I've given better instruments later - one of my grandsons is now very accomplished on ukulele, guitar, and mandolin and another didn't show much interest in the uke but he took off when I gave him a short-scale (28") bass - again, not super expensive but set up to play well.

Other grandkids just haven't had the interest in music, at least not yet, and that's fine. I'm not going to push it on them. I'm just making sure that they have good (not necessarily expensive) tools to experiment with.

So, I'll stand behind my statement that if you want your kid to succeed at music give them the best instrument you can afford - that isn't always the most expensive and if all you can afford is a Lanikai then that's fine - get it set up and let 'em go to town on it. Any kid who has the desire and determination to learn can learn on a well set up Lanikai LU-11. The point is that even someone with desire and determination can be very discouraged by an unplayable piece of crap - of which there are many out there.

The kind of instruments we're talking about as rubbish really are rubbish. Many of them simply cannot be made to play well.

John

Steveperrywriter
03-17-2014, 07:07 AM
One man's trash is another man's treasure, we all know that. There's a sucker born every minute. And the often misquoted one from H.L. Mencken:

"No one in this world, so far as I know—and I have searched the records for years, and employed agents to help me—has ever lost money by underestimating the intelligence of the great masses of the plain people.”

Ignorance is easy to cure, it requires only knowledge; willful ignorance shades right into stupidity, and there is no cure for that, short of divine intervention. While it is not always the case, things that sound too good to be true often are.

CeeJay
03-17-2014, 07:31 AM
Is perhaps another way of looking at this ...." Who is selling this stuff ? "......music shops ...your trusty old music shops....as well as e-bay......so let's not keep kicking the punter in the teeth ...lambs to the slaughter is your average punter.

If this tat and dross is out there then there is a perception by the poor deluded customer that "this instrument" must be okay because they trust the dealer not to sell them crap....:rolleyes:......and let's face it when beginners do research these things many potential buyers or beginners won't know about the likes of UU and the spin off pearls of wisdom available from here and similar.

They are guided by the blurb at the shop/site/in the catalogue......which does not say I am a cheap Ukulele and potentially will not play as well as a more expensive one.......

So , some ones making a buck making them .....but someone is accepting the dross and selling it ......ain't free market enterprise wonderful....and three cheers for Music Businesses who say no to cheap tat........but I suppose that we must realise that the Music Business is in the Business of being in Business and the Music.....welllllllllllll...ya know.....it's just business.....it ain't personal that I am shaking you down for about 30 for some firewood....

( Oh , dear , I can feel all the letters and replies.....stacking up ...bear with me )


On the other hand I got back into the Ukulele saddle about 4 years ago.. just for a laugh ...and did so by investing about 10 -15 in a Lazy Ukulele.....the strings needed " stretching and snapping " to get them to maintain tuning ......and the build is a bit like a battering ram.....

but it does for me ...now known as "Red" (go on guess ) it's a little stumpy twelve fret neck..quite thick strings (the original ones still !! I am somewhat tight - fistedly embarrassed to say) but they are punchy and responsive at the 5 to 7 fret mark and take a little bit more persuasion below the 7th ....but it is a playable little sod....altho' I will have to repair or replace one of it's tuners due to a disastrous foot /ukulele interface situation last week. Oops....that will also probably double it's value !! So cheap isn't necessarily disastrous........in fact my subsequent other two purchases; Mahalo (The electro acoustic Les Paul look alike...thank you :o)

and Ohana Concert CK-10s thingy were less than a hundred squids....and seem fine (the Mahalo plays better when it has a PP3 9v battery in it's holder as otherwise the battery springs do vibrate) but I'm probably a pants player..........

sorry ,I digress........the point is that I knew what I was buying ...I realised that I was sloshing around in the Cheap and possibly tricky to play shallow end of the Ukulele Build Pool....luckily pound for pound I have no problem with my purchases...but for an outright beginner ...they think that they are being SOLD the real deal....IF the dealer explains and gos through it openly and honestly ....well no problem and fair do's.....now I am going to find a bunker and take my little Red plunker with.

bazmaz
03-17-2014, 07:44 AM
I get that CeeJay - some great bargains can be had with ukes. This one seems to mine a new depth though.

Just had a comment from a very well renowned uke performer and teacher over here in the UK. He has parents dropping their kids off for uke lessons with instruments this bad, and then they hand over more money than the uke cost on the lesson. Crazy! That echoes Olde Pharts comment - some parents seem to be satisfied in giving their children a pile of crap and then expect them to be playable. Very sad.

Adults buying these - I don't have sympathy - they are grown up enough to learn from the mistake. Kids though - no good really.

EDIT - had a response comment earlier from someone saying that because these are aimed at kids, then its acceptable that it is rubbish. That is even more sad!!!

CeeJay
03-17-2014, 08:02 AM
I get that CeeJay - some great bargains can be had with ukes. This one seems to mine a new depth though.

Just had a comment from a very well renowned uke performer and teacher over here in the UK. He has parents dropping their kids off for uke lessons with instruments this bad, and then they hand over more money than the uke cost on the lesson. Crazy! That echoes Olde Pharts comment - some parents seem to be satisfied in giving their children a pile of crap and then expect them to be playable. Very sad.

Adults buying these - I don't have sympathy - they are grown up enough to learn from the mistake. Kids though - no good really.

EDIT - had a response comment earlier from someone saying that because these are aimed at kids, then its acceptable that it is rubbish. That is even more sad!!!



That is appalling....why is a kid any more entitled to be ripped off than an adult....

I do think that you're being a little harsh on the Old Grown Up....you know I've been in and out of music shops a lot in my life ....and I still find them a little intimidating ...the Shop becoming a temple of holy relics and the sales people the high Priests and Priestesses of the said relics lol.( I mean these people really CAN play ....).....

I just think that if the dealers would sprinkle a little honesty into the mix...say explain that this 30 box of kindling will get you playing the basics but if you want to advance you WILL need to get a better box .....But overall , you are right ....reputable (allegedly ) manufacturers should not be producing unplayable dross.

bazmaz
03-17-2014, 08:12 AM
Yeah true - what I mean is - that if a grown up loses 10 on a bad uke, then in the majority of cases it won't be the end of the world. For a kid on his birthday though - completely different matter.

WestyShane
03-17-2014, 08:22 AM
I spend a lot of weekends camping in Montana where temperatures can be in the high 80s F during the day and down to freezing at night. Couple that with typically low humidity, intensely dry heat from a campfire, and the potential for some libations to enter into the mix....

And there's no way I'm bringing my Martin along. I'll even think twice about bringing the Kala. As a result, my Mahalo gets a lot of use!

I can buy 4 or 5 Mahalos for the cost of one Outdoor Uke or Fluke.

pixiepurls
03-17-2014, 08:27 AM
@oldephart - I guess my parents obviously failed me miserably in the music arena then, as I ended up a doctor :( However, I know that it simply is not true that in order to steer kids to a non-music related career, that parents should buy rubbishy instruments to put them off . Mine bought me the best instruments they could afford and paid for the best teaching they could afford. When the choice finally came - and it did- as to whether I would become a professional musician or study for a career in medicine, I made that choice. And it wasn't based on rubbish instruments either. I am a senior doctor now at the height of my career in medicine but I still love playing my guitars, piano, French Horn, ukes and mandolin........they might not all be worth 1000s, but they are in tune and sound good to me.

I don't think elitism should be dragged into discussions like this, I agree the cheap, nasty ukes like Baz showed in his video /blog are a sad travesty, but people can buy whatever they want and as long as they buy junk, more junk will be available. Ukes do not have to be ultra expensive to sound good though and a Lanakai can sound as good as a top K brand depending on who the player is - old computer saying goes "rubbish in rubbish out" !

Yup. Truth is everything in the world that can be mass produced has terrible awful cheap versions. I bought my kid a beach bucket with a shovel for $1 at a craft store, the shovel broke when I put the bucket down on the floor. It was not even worth the $1 it cost. I knew what I was getting into when I bought it though.

I in general, avoid buying crap because if you buy the cheap thing it will break and then 3 later you could have just bought 1 good one. Smetimes it means going much longer without, and waiting for it longer then you would if you just got the cheap one but its worth it to wait and save. our society likes instant gratification and cheap manufactured goods make it even easier then before to have that.

We have a Vitamix blender now, the 4 pervious ones purchased over the last 10 years almost cost as much as the vitamix does, not to mention all the times I didn't make a smoothie because the one we had sucked, which resulted in me making poorer food choices!

bazmaz
03-17-2014, 08:31 AM
Shane - if they play in tune, then that is totally cool. You wouldn't want four or five ukes of this quality though!

WestyShane
03-17-2014, 08:49 AM
Shane - if they play in tune, then that is totally cool. You wouldn't want four or five ukes of this quality though!

Right, certainly not at the same time. But since my "camp uke" needs to be considered disposable the fact that I can get 4 or 5 in a row for under $200 would keep me in "camp ukes" for over a decade.

As such, I imagine I'll always have a "cheap junk uke" in my quiver.

Captain America
03-17-2014, 08:51 AM
I'm a fan of cheap ukes.

They can be a good entry-point into music.

This is such a classic dilemma: does one put $50 into a cheap uke, and if he likes it, continues on to a more expensive one? Or does he buy the more expensive one first. . . and HOPE that he can play and that he likes playing?

I think like most instruments, the first one bought is bought in order to test the waters. It's probably best to have your uncle hand you a good instrument free! Perhaps the wise option is to try to buy a good used uke, so the potential investment loss is lower.

JamieWG
03-17-2014, 09:05 AM
I don't get the "cheap, unplayable instrument thing" at all. The whole point of playing an instrument is to communicate something in sound. For me it's all about tone and playability. If it doesn't allow me to play what I want to play, with a "voice" I like to hear, then it serves no purpose at all. Wrestling notes out of an unwilling ukulele is not how I want to spend my time. Playing music is really a duet with an instrument. Choose your partner carefully!

Jamie

bazmaz
03-17-2014, 09:05 AM
Shane - me too!
Captain - me too also - love them and own several. Just getting tired of entry level ukes being physically 'wrong'. There is such a thing as a good bargain uke. This one wasn't!

bazmaz
03-17-2014, 09:21 AM
VERY nicely put Jamie.

janeray1940
03-17-2014, 09:23 AM
Same reason we accept cheap anything: because the majority of us are probably hardwired to impulse buy at a lower price point; to think we're getting a good deal when the cost is under a certain amount; or to be easily deluded into thinking we are getting more for less. No matter what the item, I would always rather spend more, get better quality, and buy fewer.

Some non-uke examples to illustrate this: clothing, and cars. I've worn vintage and handmade clothing most of my life, but every now and then need to buy something off the rack - but my forays into mall shopping are few and far between (thankfully). When I do find myself at (insert name of mall store or big box retailer here), I am constantly appalled at the quality of both materials and workmanship. At least in the USA, most clothing even from high end stores is made overseas, in sweatshops, of materials usually blended with lycra, polyester or other synthetics to keep costs down. I wouldn't wear that junk if you paid me, let alone pay someone for it!

As for cars - I'm on my third Corolla. My first was a second-hand 1979 model year, which I drove until 1997 and upgraded to a recent model year. Since then I've upgraded yet again. In each case, while mechanically I have no complaints, in terms of materials used I've seen a steady decline, so much so that for my next car (if there has to be one) I may defect from Toyota entirely. My first Corolla, when I sold it at nearly 20 years old, had nothing wrong in terms of broken knobs, plastic, upholstery, etc. My second Corolla, at 10 years old, was similarly problem-free. My current one developed broken plastic bits within a year after the warranty was up: the window stripping is shredded to bits, the cup holder is held together with gaffer's tape, the wiper fluid reservoir looks like a piece of Swiss cheese, and all of the little plastic bits holding the floor mats and seat belts have popped off. My point being: the previous two cars didn't have all that cheap plastic. Adjusted for inflation, both probably cost more than the most recent one, which looked like a bargain on paper (hey, it was the top of the line model and cost less in dollars than my previous mid-level one did!) - but personally I'd rather live without doodads like cup holders and drive a more solidly built car - you know, one without power windows and Bluetooth and everything else we are conned into thinking we need.

Sorry to respond to the OP's rant with my own tangential rants, but - in my mind, they're related. As long as consumers keep buying shoddy overseas construction because they think they are getting a deal, this stuff will continue to be produced and the quality stuff will continue to disappear.

pixiepurls
03-17-2014, 09:32 AM
Yeah true - what I mean is - that if a grown up loses 10 on a bad uke, then in the majority of cases it won't be the end of the world. For a kid on his birthday though - completely different matter.

I don't like when parents buy a cheap instrument so the kid can "beat it up" I believe all children should be taught to respect instruments, however at the same time I DO want them to feel comfortable "playing" music on them. If they want to sit outside on a pile of dirt and play I want that to be okay. My daughter has a Chao violin and if I could find a "cheap" electric 1/8th violin I would get it for her in a heartbeat so we could take it on trips and stuff! They do make cheap full size ones but no 1/8ths.

Her violin cost $500. it is very hard to get good sounding tiny violins :(

So we do have a makala and while *I* don't worry about it as much I am still teaching them to respect it and treat it well.

bazmaz
03-17-2014, 09:35 AM
no need to apologise Jane - I agree with you all the way.

It really irritates me when I see things like this I saw today (on an unrelated discussion I was having). Along the lines of 'I would really like a <insert uke maker here that is based in the USA> but they are just too expensive. Said ukes were not all that expensive, but certainly expensive compared to the one the subject of this thread.

It kind of creates a whole other issue - it makes the real price of anything good look hyper expensive because the cheap is so ridiculously cheap.

stevepetergal
03-17-2014, 09:37 AM
I've seen these kind of things at the party supply stores. They're (the ones I've seen) intended to be party favors at Hawaiian-themed parties. When advertised and sold as such, are they still so offensive? Just asking.

stevepetergal
03-17-2014, 09:42 AM
I've had a few comments back elsewhere claiming that this is a toy and was never meant to be played - like that is some kind of excuse.

In that case, why does the box say 'comes with how to play guide' and inside there was this little chord chart and how to tune up leaflet!!?

64967

Yeah, good point. But, some people have actually picked up the guitar after going nuts with "Rock band" toys.

Truth is, after nearly thirty years in the acoustic instrument business, I too hate this kind of junk. But who knows where the next ukulele genious will come from?
Yours Truly,
Devil's advocate

bazmaz
03-17-2014, 09:45 AM
Steve - perhaps not - but a couple of important points here that informed my blog post

1. The uke was being sold as an 'instrument' Was in a music section in a store, and in the box came a booklet showing how to tune, hold, etc - also with a chord chart. That said to me they were on the bandwagon.

2. The makers name comes with a tagline of 'Quality Musical Instruments'

3. The post wasn't meant to single this one out - I am seeing more and more of them. Cheap badly made ukes in a far eastern factory, and stores wanting to get on said bandwagon just ordering a load and getting a new name screen printed on the headstock to capitalise on the boom.


Had they been sold as 'toy pretend ukulele' or 'novelty ukulele' then perhaps I agree. Sadly they are not, and a glance at eBay or Amazon will show you that there are a ton of ukes like this being touted under an increasing number of 'brand names'.

As such, my post is likely to get lost in the noise and as someone said above, we can only be here to help those who make the bad choice (assuming the uke has not put them off for life, or worse still, reinforced the mythical view that the uke is a 'toy instrument'. That is why I posted this.

pootsie
03-17-2014, 09:48 AM
Steve - perhaps not - but a couple of important points here that informed my blog post

1. The uke was being sold as an 'instrument' Was in a music section in a store, and in the box came a booklet showing how to tune, hold, etc - also with a chord chart. That said to me they were on the bandwagon.

2. The makers name comes with a tagline of 'Quality Musical Instruments'

3. The post wasn't meant to single this one out - I am seeing more and more of them. Cheap badly made ukes in a far eastern factory, and stores wanting to get on said bandwagon just ordering a load and getting a new name screen printed on the headstock to capitalise on the boom.



4. It had a label that said it was an instrument! "Acoustic Guitar," IIRC

bazmaz
03-17-2014, 09:52 AM
Steve I agree totally.

Still not an excuse for making something that is physically defective

bazmaz
03-17-2014, 09:53 AM
Well yes Pootsie, though all the other packaging was very much ukulele. Was probably originally touted as a 'toy guitar' but back to bandwagons again! It's certainly uke centric in every other way - tropical flower on the box, ukulele history on the manual it included.

Either way though - the store is now selling this as a ukulele. It is not even a 'musical instrument' in any way!

FrankB
03-17-2014, 09:58 AM
I bought a $20 uke for my nephew's 5th birthday...about 8 years ago(???). He loved it. He strummed the strings, beat the dog with it, dragged it through the backyard, etc. That's who they're meant for, and how they're meant to be treated. I bought it at Sam Ash, and the guitar department manager made it sound like a dream (he was a ukulele and mandolin fanatic). The kid stayed interested in music, and now plays French horn in the school band. Buying a kid a serious instrument means leaving it at home, getting scolded for not taking care of it, etc. In other words, they could very well hate it in no time at all. ;)

I used to have a bike shop, and we didn't carry cheap adult bikes. We did carry very affordable, but well built kid's bikes. Prices began at around $79 for a tricycle, and $129 for a small bicycle. We did get plenty of Sears bikes brought to the shop to be repaired, but usually to be reassembled properly right after being bought. We had a repair menu behind the counter, and the price for reassembling a Sears or Huffy bike was $100. Basically, we were saying they weren't worth the effort. They were also dangerous to ride. This was back in the 1990's, and I've noticed that cheap bikes seem to be made a bit more sturdy, and have much better brakes than before. Lawsuits will have that effect, along with cheaper labor costs: China, Malaysia, and Vietnam, rather than Taiwan and Japan.

My son is our only child, and he was wild about violin at around age 6, so we spent a couple hundred dollars. He eventually had a rather expensive 4/4 violin (they're sized according to the child's size), and he played in the school orchestra until he graduated high school. Many of the other kids never had a decent violin, and cheapies sound awful. A good bow goes a long way as well. I never asked the parents why they bought cheap violins for a student that was still playing when they reached high school, so no idea there. I do know a couple of the kids had very expensive violins, and I should mention this was a string orchestra, and not the school band. I have four brothers and sisters, and even though my father made a great deal of money, my clarinet cost about as much as Sears suit. I was on the golf team in high school, and you don't even want to picture what my clubs looked like! If I had nine clubs, they were from eight different manufacturers.:( I didn't even have golf shoes!!! Needless to say, my balls were generally scrounged from what was laying around the golf course, and in varying states of being worn out. This was the varsity golf team!!! We did go to expensive restaurants several times each week, however.

Damn it! I'm buying something from Chuck Moore!!! Does he have a phone out in the jungle? :D

JamieWG
03-17-2014, 10:28 AM
I've seen these kind of things at the party supply stores. They're (the ones I've seen) intended to be party favors at Hawaiian-themed parties. ......

They should be used as pinatas! ;)

Jamie

janeray1940
03-17-2014, 10:52 AM
no need to apologise Jane - I agree with you all the way.

It really irritates me when I see things like this I saw today (on an unrelated discussion I was having). Along the lines of 'I would really like a <insert uke maker here that is based in the USA> but they are just too expensive. Said ukes were not all that expensive, but certainly expensive compared to the one the subject of this thread.

It kind of creates a whole other issue - it makes the real price of anything good look hyper expensive because the cheap is so ridiculously cheap.

This exactly! I have a very talented seamstress make dresses for me; these cost around $80 each. A coworker recently complimented me on one, and asked where she could get one and what they cost. She reacted with shock when I told her, and told me she never spends more than $40 on a dress, and usually less than $20.

I'm far from wealthy, but to me, $80 doesn't seem all that extravagant. It just means I buy one or two rather than ten or twelve. Come to think of it, that's my uke philosophy right there: a few really nice ones, made in USA, and I'm satisfied.

stevepetergal
03-17-2014, 11:14 AM
They should be used as pinatas! ;)

Jamie

Or used to whollop pinatas!

Ukejenny
03-17-2014, 11:59 AM
I'm hearing you, Katysax. My parents couldn't afford a Buffet clarinet for me when I started, so they got the best wooden instrument they could afford, an ancient Normandy. Played, but goodness, it was tough. I played that thing for five years and then got a much better instrument, which led me to my current forever clarinet, a Buffet R-13. I've had many children come to me, wanting to quit band because they "aren't good at it" and 9 times out of 10, it was the instrument. More than 9 times out of 10.

What kills me, is people will make sure to have the best computer, cell phone, automobile, expensive purse and all the bling they can drape on themselves, and then not want to pay for a decent instrument for their child. It is absolutely the worst introduction you can give a child, into the world of music. Here is a p.o.s., enjoy your music/band/ukulele class. It is crazy.

Another real shame is, there are a lot of very nice instruments out there that are not expensive. A good, used instrument is so much better than a new, crappy one. A blem that plays in tune is also a lot better. If it's too good to be true, it probably isn't true.


I think cheap instruments in childhood are at the root of my Instrument Acquisition Syndrome. I had a cheap, but playable clarinet, and was much better on my friend's Buffet. People who don't play instruments really don't understand the differences.

When I was 14 my parents bought me a Zim Gar guitar. It was awful. The neck bowed about an inch and a half by the time I threw it out. I saved my money for a year to buy a Gibson.

A few years ago I decided to learn flute and bought a cheap $100 flute off of Ebay. It was OK for about a week, then one day I was playing it and something went "sproing". Keys literally went flying off the instrument. I threw it away and bought a Yamaha.

Ukejenny
03-17-2014, 12:05 PM
Oh, and I shudder to think what a $100.00 flute would sound and feel like!!!

Ukejenny
03-17-2014, 12:07 PM
Oy yoyoy!!!! I had a parent get huffy with me when they got an internet instrument that had different keys and was based on a different system - like some East German thing. I was told that I was responsible for teaching that child to play that instrument even if it was based on a system we don't use in the US. Not to mention, the instrument was horribly made. Keys of tin foil. I somehow found a fingering chart for the thing, gave it to the kid and helped as much as I could, but I couldn't even play the thing. Guess how long the kid lasted in band...


I knew the owner of the only music shop that handled band instruments in the last small town we lived in. He got to the point that he wouldn't touch any of the cheap eBay crap for repairs. The last straw for him was when a woman threw a complete hissy fit when he explained to her how much it was going to cost to fix the POC horn she had bought her kid...she'd bought it on eBay and actually expected him to fix it for nothing...ranted about how her husband was a lawyer and she'd have his store for not serving the community...then flounced out the door to her luxury car and burned rubber out of the parking lot. All in front of her 12-year-old kid. A real parent-of-the-year candidate, for sure.

John

CeeJay
03-17-2014, 01:14 PM
Oh, and I shudder to think what a $100.00 flute would sound and feel like!!!


A piece of plumbing pipe with articulating stoppers an it .....at a guess.....but I have never tooted a flute......

CJ

CeeJay
03-17-2014, 01:28 PM
But we still seem to be having a go at people who buy the things.

If they were not available to be bought then you would not be having this conversation........

I may be really naive ...a champagne socialist ...or an eternal optimist
but surely the problem is with the dealer manufacturere....if these things are such Sh***

Why are they being sold ?

Where is the morality in a dealer selling something that he/she KNOWS to not be what it is billed as .." a quality playable instrument "

These are the people who will stand on You Tube and say I am an expert ,Trust me ....blah blah....it is legal fraud in my book.......

If these dealers are going to sell tat then here's a radical and desperately radical at that concept:

SAY SO in the blurb in large shiny writing

....THIS IS A BEGINNERS INTRODUCTORY TOOL ...IT IS NOT A VALID EXAMPLE OF A UKE ....BUT IT PLAYS A BIT LIKE ONE AND IS ONLY LESS THAN A TENNER....IT IS NOT A LONG TERM INSTRUMENT BUT A FLAVOUR OF WHAT CAN BE HAD . LITTLE JOHNNY DO NOT PART WITH YOUR HARD EARNED POCKET/NEWSPAPER ROUND BLACKMAIL MONEY UNLESS YOU ARE GOING TO ACCEPT THAT THIS IS SUB-ENTRY LEVEL AND REALLY ONLY SHOULD BE BOUGHT BY SOMEBODY WHO WANTS TO TAKE IT TO THE BEACH AND AFTER THE BEACH BARBECUE OR EVEN AS PART OF THE BARBECUE......
loud and clear......no problem.....

for me it is the that dishonesty that bites...

look these things have their uses ....I absolutely love "Red" my 15 Lazy Uke ....

You can buy cheap Ukes when on holiday ...why take the good one?....it gives you an excuse to go to a music shop and scope out the toys on offer ...and then you have something to play with for the fortnight (Two weeks to my US compadres). Throw one in the boot or the passenger seat...though I bet Old Bill would have something to say about it if you were Formbying away in stopped traffic...you can even scoop poop...though I personally would not want to play it immediately afterwards ..to be fair.

But give the learners beginners and kids a break...tell them at least what they are buying , and stop trying to pass them off as quality goods .......

Nickie
03-17-2014, 01:47 PM
I in general, avoid buying crap because if you buy the cheap thing it will break and then 3 of them later you could have just bought 1 good one. Sometimes it means going much longer without, and waiting for it longer then you would if you just got the cheap one but its worth it to wait and save. our society likes instant gratification and cheap manufactured goods make it even easier then before to have that.

Truer words were never spoken....I get so fed up with people who want something great for little or nothing, and complain about prices constantly! either you can afford to play music, or you can't....sorry, but it's that simple! I bought two of my friends Dolphins, because they wanted to play, but had no money....but first, I made sure it was a good purchase by playing my own Dolphin...before I loaned it out...permanently...ha ha

Ukejenny
03-17-2014, 02:17 PM
... either you can afford to play music, or you can't....sorry, but it's that simple!

I don't feel it is that simple. One of the best students I ever taught got a lot of financial help moving up to a professional clarinet, the one that took her to college on a music scholarship. Think of a music room full of ukuleles, or violins, or Orff instruments... for some of the kids who will touch those instruments, that will be it, the one chance for them to get to do something like that.

Booli
03-17-2014, 02:47 PM
They should be used as pinatas! ;)

Jamie

LOL - That's the best thing I've read all day!

Nickie
03-17-2014, 02:51 PM
I don't feel it is that simple. One of the best students I ever taught got a lot of financial help moving up to a professional clarinet, the one that took her to college on a music scholarship. Think of a music room full of ukuleles, or violins, or Orff instruments... for some of the kids who will touch those instruments, that will be it, the one chance for them to get to do something like that.

I stand corrected, jenny...I wasn't including kids in my comment....they're usually innocent in all this....

mm stan
03-17-2014, 03:03 PM
Nothing wrong with inexpensive ukes..I have a rogue soprano for 24.95 and love it...but I do agree there some cheap ukes are unfixable..some can be for toys for kids and unfixable or unplayable
also some are inexpensive just for those on tight budgets....I would say try to change the strings and do a set up...of course some are not fixable...I have this deal on craigslist for like 24 ukes and hula impliments for get this 75.00 without tuners...sounds like a deal, the guy said they can be used for teaching kid...yeah right.. do your homework and pick the most popular brands in your budget with good reviews, I have a hello kitty 29.99 and changed the strings...not the best but playable...as you get better, you will learn how to even make a cheap uke sound okay...when I first started, I always blamed the uke...Never pass any uke you can try before you buy...he he I am not a uke snob :)

WKerrigan
03-17-2014, 04:29 PM
Why do cheap ukes exist? For the same reason that WalMart rules the world.

stringy
03-17-2014, 04:41 PM
First I admit I am an instrument snob. My problem with low quality is I know we all get use to what we hear. I want my kids to hear the better sounds to develop their ear. I really don't want them to get use to a toy uke and think it sounds good! I want them to know/hear the difference. I also don't want them running around with it because I want to teach them that instruments are not toys. It is never to young to instill that in a child.

No offense to anyone who does the opposite, I just thought I would give my reasoning for not buying them.

OldePhart
03-18-2014, 03:13 AM
First I admit I am an instrument snob. My problem with low quality is I know we all get use to what we hear. I want my kids to hear the better sounds to develop their ear.

:agree: - This, exactly! For many years I was completely happy if my guitars were within 10-cents at the first fret and I considered 5-cents really good. I had friends with better ears and they would sometimes talk about how out of tune some of my chords were. The worst "offender" in this regard was a blind friend with perfect pitch and I figured he was just too picky.

Then, this amazing thing happened. I bought a set of nut files and started setting up my guitars. Today, if a string pulls 10 cents sharp at the nut it drives me absolutely bonkers. But, I also now can tune by ear more accurately than with a tuner (provided the room is quiet). I can hear and figure out chords much more easily (though still not as well as I'd like) and so on.

John

RichM
03-18-2014, 03:59 AM
I think the premise of the thread is kind of funny. Why do we "accept" cheap ukes on the market? We don't! We don't buy them, we don't recommend people buy them. If ever there was a forum recommending that people pay a few dollars more and get a quality instrument, it's UU, home of UAS. The best we can do is be good advisors to those who are considering a purchase and steer them in the right direction.

I recently helped a friend pick out her first uke. It was a lot of fun pulling down different ukes, explaining to her what the different sizes, parts, etc were, and why one uke was preferable to another. We were at an excellent music store, so there was no cheapie junk, and everything they had was set up reasonably well. She ended up with a Kala long-neck soprano, which I thought fulfilled all of the requirements of a starter uke: good intonation, playable action, and enough tone and volume to be a good musical experience. We paid a "bricks and mortar" price of about $120, and got a very nice musical instrument in the deal. That seems a very fair price to pay for a solid, basic instrument.

Kayouker
03-18-2014, 04:05 AM
My point is that if you want kids to succeed you have to give them the means to do so

My first uke was a Lanikai LU21-C and after I set it up it played fine. I've bought every one of my grandkids a Lanikai LU-11 as soon as they became old enough to begin plinking. The key is that I've set every one of them up to play easily and intonate well. Those grandkids who go beyond plinking and really show an interest I've given better instruments later

So, I'll stand behind my statement that if you want your kid to succeed at music give them the best instrument you can afford - that isn't always the most expensive and if all you can afford is a Lanikai then that's fine - get it set up and let 'em go to town on it. Any kid who has the desire and determination to learn can learn on a well set up Lanikai LU-11.

The kind of instruments we're talking about as rubbish really are rubbish. Many of them simply cannot be made to play well.

John

This hits the proverbial nail on the head. Why a thread need go on for 6 excruciating pages may be part of the problem. But springboarding on John's observation that the issue is not great expense - but playability and intonation (ie a good setup) is - such a uke can be on one of John's Lanakais or a Dolphin, no matter. Children may destroy an instrument or quickly lose interest. Thus cost is a definite consideration.

With all this in mind I am mystified why the Schoenhut 5400, licensed by Fluke, and with Martins at around $35 delivered, great action, playable and excellent intonation, lovely tone and not so loud as to take over the house - and NO setup required - yes, why this instrument is not yet a common recommendation is a contradiction in the stated goals.

If the child is interested, this uke will not disappoint. If not, or if the instrument gets destroyed, no great loss. It's cute and competent and it will surely last long enough to find out whether a mid or higher priced uke is justified. A no brainer, unless of course...

bazmaz
03-20-2014, 01:37 AM
Kayouker - I ordered a Schoenhut - review coming soon.

Pukulele Pete
03-20-2014, 02:15 AM
I feel there are three types of ukulele . Some ukuleles are toys , some ukes are playable toys , and some ukes are musical instruments. Until a few years ago when I started playing the ukulele I thought all ukuleles were toys and not worth bothering with. Then I heard Iz and somewhere over the rainbow .

Geez , my sneakers cost $150 and how long do they last?

Booli
03-20-2014, 08:10 AM
Kayouker - I ordered a Schoenhut - review coming soon.

Barry, THANK YOU! This is what we really need - the BazMaz/Gotaukulele treatment!

I've always appreciated the honest, detailed and straight-forward approach of your reviews. You always cut through the hype and represent the true nature of whatever it is your are reviewing. I am sure that others appreciate them as well.

I am really looking forward to your review. Will it include a video as well?

Thanks again for the effort...

Booli

bazmaz
03-20-2014, 10:36 AM
Arrived today!

Initial experience - strings - fit for the bin

Tuners - one is broken - sheared inside button so turns, but doesnt turn the post.

Not a great start.

However - swapped all the pegs out for some others I had lying around, put some fluorocarbons on. Loud and scarily closer to the Flea than I feel comfortable admitting...

stringy
03-20-2014, 02:36 PM
I feel there are three types of ukulele . Some ukuleles are toys , some ukes are playable toys , and some ukes are musical instruments. Until a few years ago when I started playing the ukulele I thought all ukuleles were toys and not worth bothering with. Then I heard Iz and somewhere over the rainbow .

Geez , my sneakers cost $150 and how long do they last?

Great post! ITA
You have toy ukuleles, then you have novelty ukuleles that someone has to change and set up to make it play like a musical instrument. Then you have "musical instruments" that are actually made correctly and don't have to be set up to play.

When my friends ask I never recommend anything that has to be set up to in order to sound or play correctly.

bazmaz
03-20-2014, 09:17 PM
stringy - get your point, but I think even the finest ukes can often need a bit of setup

bnolsen
03-21-2014, 02:25 AM
...Initial experience - strings - fit for the bin

Tuners - one is broken - sheared inside button so turns, but doesnt turn the post.

...

However - swapped all the pegs out for some others I had lying around, put some fluorocarbons on. Loud and scarily closer to the Flea than I feel comfortable admitting...

schoenhut flakes...so close yet so far. if they used real strings, harder plastic fretboard and actually did QC they could probably charge 60 even 70 usd and just kill it. otherwise its just a cheap but possibly rewarding project uke.

stringy
03-21-2014, 07:53 AM
stringy - get your point, but I think even the finest ukes can often need a bit of setup


I hear ya bazmaz, that is why I never buy instruments on-line.
I realize anyone can get a dud in any model in any brand.

When I choose an uke I have to play it and test it. The action, intonation, sound, and sustain is important. If the uke is not up to par I never ask for a set-up, I politely ask to see another uke.

But there are brands that the shop owners tell me have to be set up to play and intonate correctly. These are the brands I avoid. If they need to be set up... they are not making quality instruments.

RichM
03-21-2014, 08:04 AM
I hear ya bazmaz, that is why I never buy instruments on-line.
I realize anyone can get a dud in any model in any brand.

When I choose an uke I have to play it and test it. The action, intonation, sound, and sustain is important. If the uke is not up to par I never ask for a set-up, I politely ask to see another uke.

But there are brands that the shop owners tell me have to be set up to play and intonate correctly. These are the brands I avoid. If they need to be set up... they are not making quality instruments.

I respectfully disagree. Setup is based on preferences, not absolutes. Many builders opt for higher action out of the box because it is much simpler to adjust a uke for lower action than higher action. And some factory-made ukes are quite good, but have had little attention to final playability at the factory.

What I will agree with is that good dealers will generally 1) weed out substandard instruments so they never go on sale, 2) tweak instruments with playability issues before they go up for sale, and 3) setup an instrument to typical player preferences before they put them on the shop floor. So I think when you find an instrument you like in a shop, it may have as much to do with the due diligence your dealer put in as it does with the overall quality of the instrument. It's not that those instruments didn't need to be setup; it's that they *were* setup.

stringy
03-21-2014, 08:53 AM
I respectfully disagree. Setup is based on preferences, not absolutes. Many builders opt for higher action out of the box because it is much simpler to adjust a uke for lower action than higher action. And some factory-made ukes are quite good, but have had little attention to final playability at the factory.

What I will agree with is that good dealers will generally 1) weed out substandard instruments so they never go on sale, 2) tweak instruments with playability issues before they go up for sale, and 3) setup an instrument to typical player preferences before they put them on the shop floor. So I think when you find an instrument you like in a shop, it may have as much to do with the due diligence your dealer put in as it does with the overall quality of the instrument. It's not that those instruments didn't need to be setup; it's that they *were* setup.

Where i shop they do not set up all the brands before displaying them. But there are certain brands that they tell me must be set-up first.

I want to support the companies that are making quality instruments. I do not want to support brands that are making low quality, mass-produced, instruments that need to be "fixed" so they play correctly. These brands give the ukulele a bad name and are obviously more interested in high profit margin than producing quality instruments.

Sorry for the rant...and yes I know there is a huge market for the low quality brands.*

Peace...

RichM
03-21-2014, 08:55 AM
Where i shop they do not set up all the brands before displaying them. But there are certain brands that they tell me must be set-up first.

I want to support the companies that are making quality instruments. I do not want to support brands that are making low quality, mass-produced, instruments that need to be "fixed" so they play correctly. These brands give the ukulele a bad name and are obviously more interested in high profit margin than producing quality instruments.

Sorry for the rant...and yes I know there is a huge market for the low quality brands.*

Peace...

I understand. Since I primarily play low quality brands, I probably just don't understand. :)

bazmaz
03-21-2014, 10:16 AM
No I think you are right Rich

It is a misconception that you reach a certain quality level and they don't ever need adjusting. They all need adjusting as peoples preferences on actions differ.

But I also get where Stringy is coming from - many ultra cheap ukes need a good deal more tinkering!

OldePhart
03-21-2014, 12:03 PM
The way I see it the bottom line is that the nut should never need lowering on a "good" uke. Nut height is not a matter of personal preference, it has to be as low as possible for good intonation at the first few frets. A high bridge - no big deal - easy to bring down and some people like them high so it's fine to leave that to the store for final fitting.

The problem is we have way too many mid-priced (~$300) that need work at the nut to make them intonate properly.

John

bazmaz
03-21-2014, 12:07 PM
That sure is the truth OldePhart
(or worse! - I would kind of expect a tuner to work too!)