View Full Version : Gretsch ukes into Australia?

Fred Ukestone
03-17-2014, 04:43 PM
Hi Folks,

I'm a brand new member to this site. I live in Australia and have a question about purchasing a Gretsch uke (9120SM) online from Hawaii. Has anybody done this? Was the experience positive? Did your uke arrive in one piece? Did you pay import duty? Did you get a warranty?

I would prefer to buy one in Australia but the local price is very high.
Even with the postage costs from Hawaii being around $100 Australian, it is still cheaper to buy overseas.

03-17-2014, 05:35 PM
I just ordered the cutaway version with the pickup a couple of days ago. All past experiences with HMS have been positive.

03-17-2014, 08:53 PM
After reading many positive reviews and deciding to limit my expenditure to under $200 US, I ordered a G9121 cutaway A/E (my second uke) last July from a dealer in Pennsylvania (I'm in Los Angeles) for $199 delivered. The dealer said a bunch of them are on a boat from China, no one in the States had one. It took over two months for it to arrive (I have a feeling it arrived on the west coast not far from me, then was trucked to Pennsylvania on the other side of the country, then sent to me all the way back across the country). It was packed well so no issues. While waiting, I got caught up in UAS ands actually bought two more ukes online for under $200 each.

Over all the Gretsch is pretty nice for the price, but for me, the neck is a little too narrow, and the dealer didn't do a setup, the action is a little high and the pickup balance is off when plugged into an amp, one string is much louder then the others. I'm debating whether to have it setup by my luthier for a price, do it myself hoping it will come out well, or sell it along with a couple of my others with the same problems to fund a properly setup uke in the $750-$1000 range. Obviously I'm not staying with my price restriction anymore after improving enough in the last few months to realize the shortcomings of the ukes I bought.

Hippie Dribble
03-17-2014, 10:52 PM
Bought many, many ukes from O/S and several from HMS. Never had a problem. You can certainly buy with confidence from those guys. Customer service and set up = first class.

Provided the cost of your instrument is less than $1000AUS you are not liable for any additional taxes and your uke will clear customs pretty much immediately. If you are concerned for the welfare of your uke in transit (i) purchase a hardcase in which to ship it and (ii) make sure the guys insure the package when they post it. This way all bases are covered.

I sympathise with your position Fred. I have found exactly the same thing, that, even with relatively large shipping fees, it is still cheaper to buy O/S most of the time. And, even better, the range of instruments you can choose from - either factory made or through custom builders - is immense.

Welcome to the forums brother. Please give Wilma a kiss from me and say g'day to Betty and Barney. :p

03-18-2014, 04:12 AM
Glad you have had a positive ordering experience and that is what I'd expect from HMS. I hope you have an equally satisfying experience when you receive it. My husband plays the Gretsch tenor and loves it. I love it too. It plays, sounds and feels very nice. HMS will do a great set up for you and it will be smooth as butter out of the box, I bet.

Fred Ukestone
03-19-2014, 01:44 PM
Hi Ukejenny, eugene,kohanmike, camsuke and icelander,

Really appreciate your help. I will go with HMS.

cheers....and yabba dabba doo !!

Fred Ukestone
04-10-2014, 03:47 PM
Just an update. I ended up purchasing the Gretsch 9120-SM from Hawaii Music Supply. From what I can determine it looks like this model has now been discontinued by Gretsch. If so, I got lucky.
HMS are great people to deal with. Uke arrived safely. Thanks to Andrew and Joel at HMS for their email and phone help. The 9120-SM is a beautiful sounding instrument in my humble opinion. Definitely recommend it.

04-10-2014, 11:04 PM
Haha bad timing; i live in Australia and just sold the same Gretsch tenor for really cheap in the UU marketplace.

My local music store is able to stock them also

Fred Ukestone
04-11-2014, 03:58 AM
You sold a different model I think. The one with the laminate back and sides (9121). I was after the solid bodied 9120

04-11-2014, 04:48 AM
Would love to buy from HMS but UK import duties make this a really expensive situation -unlike Australia there is no such thing here as a $1000 cap before import duties are levied on a uke, anything over about 15 attracts vast duties and surcharges. Maybe one day I can factor it in and treat myself to an HMS setup uke!

04-11-2014, 02:03 PM
You sold a different model I think. The one with the laminate back and sides (9121). I was after the solid bodied 9120

They can be bought through local music stores in Australia. My favourite music store in Australia can get them; Eastgate music: 03 9817 7000
Give them a ring