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View Full Version : Whats the most you would spend on a uke?



rayan
12-12-2007, 07:17 AM
Whats the most money you'd spend on a uke if you knew it was super high quality? These suckers are getting expensive these days!

NukeDOC
12-12-2007, 07:43 AM
$500

im just too careless sometimes. as much as i try to be careful, i always end up banging my stuff on something. and then i start cussing like a sailor.

misterlee
12-12-2007, 07:45 AM
Between 3 and 5. I'd like to think that $60 is enough, but if I had to splurge on a custom one, then it'd have to be between 3 and 5.

Fred Miu
12-12-2007, 07:54 AM
i would spend $300-$500. i try to see, now, the quality of the wood. and the sounding that fits me.

i really want a new tenor, i need to save up for a kamaka haha, though that is $850 -_-"

deadeye
12-12-2007, 08:58 AM
in the UK u cant get anything of quality for $500 or for us £250...if im looking to import a uke its gunna be WAY more in the region of $1000

Fred Miu
12-12-2007, 01:06 PM
Deadeye: are there any websites in specific that you favor that i can browse? perhaps maybe you have a website that i have yet to see.

pakiboy949
12-12-2007, 02:30 PM
i spent $50 ($63 after purchasing new d'addario strings), but if i HAD the money i'd probably blow $200 - $300 on a ukE.

seeso
12-21-2007, 06:25 PM
I'd spend $1000+ and not bat an eye. If I'm spending that much though, I need to be able to play it first. With the ones that I have my eye on, that's a problem because there aren't any stores in the area that carry them. I'd have to go to Hawaii to buy it, wouldn't I? What's the best area in the states for ukuleles?

grappler
01-07-2008, 12:20 AM
i'd spend probably 600-700.. on a super good one..
LOL

no_surf_today
06-25-2008, 01:35 PM
800 to 1K, could go more but,....pssst....don't tell Musicguymic. :D

MGM
06-25-2008, 01:40 PM
I have spent up to 6,000.00 for a new ukulele and up to 20,000 for old ukes but would spend close to 40,000.00 for certain vintage ukes....

Keonikapila
06-25-2008, 01:51 PM
I don't make enough money to even look at 5-digit price tags

my next (planned) ukulele purchase is probably going to be a custom, and I'm hoping to keep it somewhere between $1500-$2000 (give or take)

h-drix
06-25-2008, 01:54 PM
I have spent up to 6,000.00 for a new ukulele and up to 20,000 for old ukes but would spend close to 40,000.00 for certain vintage ukes....

wow...just...:bowdown: i think you win lol.

i myself don't intend to spend that much (in the foreseen future) for a uke. The way i see it is $500 for really nice uke (one that can last me FOREVER) This is one i would practice on at home and take it to special occasions and stuff.

Then i would like to get a flea or fluke, just so i can have a quality one to take around with me. Right now i carry my no name one where ever i go, and im worried that ill crack the wood.

russ_buss
06-25-2008, 02:01 PM
no more than $500. can't justify spending more than that. the most i've spent so far is $170 and i'm pretty content with what i have.

deach
06-25-2008, 02:07 PM
..... but would spend close to 40,000.00 for certain vintage ukes....

I think I'd rather have 20 - $2000 ukes than 1 - $40,000 uke.

I think I'd rather have a nice Harley Davidson, a new laptop, a couple pairs of socks, and 10 decent ukes instead.

la_ingrit
06-25-2008, 02:24 PM
from $100 to $500!!! :D

Poi Dog
06-25-2008, 02:33 PM
I would easily pay up to $2500 for a high quality custom uke... but that's my limit as far as musical extravagancies goes. :D

Plainsong
06-25-2008, 02:45 PM
I think if I got upwards of 3000, I better be headlining gigs, and talking record deals.

... or at least sounding like I could if I wanted to.

I'd be willing to pay that, but willing and able are different things. ;)

UkeNinja
06-25-2008, 03:25 PM
This is a really funny thread. I see people posting they wouldn't spend more than 300-500 but when you see their videos they either have a $2000 guitar or a room full of all kind of other instruments. Perhaps the trick is to spend not to much on one uke so you can buy another?

I would be very happy with a nice tenor in the $300 range, but playing a little bit on a Kanilea tenor in the local shop was like being struck by a ray of the Lord's forgiveness in church on a Sunday morning. Ouch, that was so smooth I can still remember the feeling. Oh, and it was $1000...

h-drix
06-25-2008, 04:02 PM
you also have to remember that a $500 = $1000 guitar when it comes to quality, a mid range soprano costs about $200-300, while a mid range guitar is about 300-400

Plainsong
06-25-2008, 04:33 PM
But you get to a certain level, like the luthier built stuff or the mid to top tier of what brand name offers, and the price difference between uke and guitar and most other instruments start to be very similar.

I say most, not all of course.

There's going to be a certain level of crasftsmanship needed so that you know to that kind of quality, you'll need to drop 2k, and that rule is true for a lot of instruments.

That's why I'm so surprised to see musicians coming from other instruments get shocked that the same rule they're used to with other instruments ain't any different on uke.

The main difference I see is that at the bang-for-buck price point of sub-1000, the money spent gets you a lot more in terms of quality and craftsmanship and playability and sound, then it would get you on other instruments.

UKISOCIETY
06-25-2008, 04:43 PM
If I could think up a good excuse, I'd buy the 1000+ National resonators and koa martins.

Anybody got a good excuse? :rolleyes:

Ian Boys
06-25-2008, 04:59 PM
Currently playing on a $150 uke.... and a $30 uke... and a $230 uke... and a $?? piece of junk that I've reincarnated.

I plan on putting a few hundred dollars down at some point down the road to get a nice uke... something that is solid koa.... maybe around 800 dollars.... maybe I'll try to get my folks to pitch in a bit as a present of some sort... who knows.

However, if I end up financially secure ten years down the road... or 15 or so, I'd feel comfortable putting down 1000+ if I knew the uke was a great uke.

The fact that I already own four of the buggers, am only 15, and have been playing for about a year slightly scares me.

drubin
06-25-2008, 05:30 PM
I'd spend $1000+ and not bat an eye. If I'm spending that much though, I need to be able to play it first. With the ones that I have my eye on, that's a problem because there aren't any stores in the area that carry them. I'd have to go to Hawaii to buy it, wouldn't I? What's the best area in the states for ukuleles?

I hear you Seeso about wanting to play 'em BEFORE buying 'em, but when it comes to ukuleles in the $1000+ range, as you rightly recognize, that's simply not possible for most of us (unless you are one of the rare and lucky folks who live next door to Elderly or Buffalo Brothers or in Hawaii). My guess is that many of us who frequent this board are lucky if we even have a shop in our neck of the woods that carries lower-end ukes or ukulele strings for that matter. :biglaugh:

FWIW, however, it is worth pointing out that any custom builder worth his or her name in salt will have a 24-48 hour "approval" period. Meaning, basically, you order the uke with the specs that you agree upon with the luthier, she or he makes the uke in a given and agreed upon time period, and you pay for it (a deposit is often required to start the commission); upon receipt of said uke, you have a certain time period to decide if you want to keep it or send it back to the luthier for a refund minus shipping charges. Mike Pereira, Mike DaSilva, Dave Means, William King, Kepasa, and a number of other well respected luthiers have such policies in place to insure customer satisfaction. After all, they make fine instruments for a living--and know what it takes to keep their customers happy. ;)

nikolo727
06-25-2008, 05:37 PM
I'd spend $1000+ and not bat an eye. If I'm spending that much though, I need to be able to play it first. With the ones that I have my eye on, that's a problem because there aren't any stores in the area that carry them. I'd have to go to Hawaii to buy it, wouldn't I? What's the best area in the states for ukuleles?

I think you'll have to start looking in either texas or california.

idk why but texas has a lot of ukulele stuff(so i hear)

Ian Boys
06-25-2008, 05:53 PM
idk why but texas has a lot of ukulele stuff(so i hear)

Hmm... apparently not around where I live... there's a serious lack of ukulele stuff in the dallas area...

nikolo727
06-25-2008, 06:13 PM
Idk I have just heard and seen a lot of ukulele stuff around the texas area. idk it was just a thought.


anyway i would definetly spend over 1000 bones on a uke.

but that would be a custom from like kamaka, or the glyph dude, or even like the one dude mg or something. idk.

anyway it would have to be a custom uke, perfect to my liking for me to spend that much.

UkuLeLesReggAe
06-25-2008, 08:10 PM
once i pay off my car... (only have $900 left!!) im going to buy an ukulele off Gaby, Gaby!! :) the flea for i think its around 300-350 then im going to buy a ukulele for about $500... the pono one and then prob an ukulele over 1k :D

brokenwing
06-25-2008, 09:27 PM
Past a certain point you're paying for something other than simply great quality - bling, collectibility, craftsmanship, rarity... A thousand bucks buys you a very nice uke, but it's not extravagant.

I think the $1000 limit is still way shy of the "great" instrument level but in the end it's the player - not the instrument - that's making the music. I'd happily spend 1K on a uke and be content knowing that I had an instrument that I wouldn't ever outgrow.

Look at what people spend on other big ticket items that not only don't hold their value but ultimately don't sustain the same "smile factor" that a uke (or guitar) does.

Lanark
06-26-2008, 02:12 AM
I'd be kind of hard pressed to imagine myself spending more than $800 on a ukulele. (that was the most I've already ever spent on a guitar.) Beyond that it becomes a bit harder to justify the expense in relation to the rest of my life.

But I also suppose I'm lucky in that I'm not really into the kind of extra stuff that tends to drive the price of a ukulele up. I'd be looking at baseline models without bindings or MOP or any fancy stuff, so I'm still conceivably in the ballpark of a luthier built and I'm still very much in the running for the vintage Kumalae I'd like to have. But I would still have to play them before I could spend that much.

I also have to kind of wonder beyond bragging rights how much more do you get with your extra cash at a certain level. At what point is there a diminishing return on your investment in terms of sound and quality vs. dollars spent. A $2000 ukulele isn't necessarily twice as nice sounding and playing as a $1000 one. I've got to be practical.

A solid wood, beautiful sounding factory player preferably Hawaiian made will do me quite nicely. (or rather a few more than I already have.)

But I can also really appreciate and respect the level of dedicated collector that MGM is at. I'd be afraid to even pick up a 40K instrument. I'd be scared it'd depreciate just from exposure to my sweaty bare hands...

Nuke-ulele
06-26-2008, 02:39 AM
you also have to remember that a $500 = $1000 guitar when it comes to quality, a mid range soprano costs about $200-300, while a mid range guitar is about 300-400

My custom Kanile'a came to about 1400 when all was said and done and I have not regretted it. You can't take a 150 dollar uke and a 1500 dollar uke and not tell that there is some sort of serious difference...there definitely is. My custom is not only one of the finest ukuleles I have seen, but honestly one of the finest musical instruments I have played.

It is sort of unfair to compare high quality ukes and guitars...high end ukes are mostly handmade from scratch. That is what you really need to get that high-high quality. The only reason Kanile'a is even able to offer such high quality for the prices they do is because of economies of scale (they make about 60 ukes a month) and that fact that they have started employing the UV finish and CNC machining for the necks. Inspired by Bob Taylor, of Taylor Guitars.

See, most high end ukes are made by a guy producing on uke at a time in a small sop. But in the guitar world, you don't have to get a one-off handmade to get a very high-quality guitar…Taylors and Martins use a large amount of computer milling and robotics, but make some of the finest instruments in the world. To get a luthier-made guitar, really handmade, like many custom ukes (in the 2000 range)…you are usually looking at 4-10,000 bucks easy for an instrument of similar quality. A uke is just less materials-intensive. The time it takes to make one is probably not necessarily that must shorter, though…but there is a lot less area to finish and less inlay, etc on a uke.

Craig
06-26-2008, 03:18 AM
These suckers are getting expensive these days!

Although custom ukuleles are getting more expensive and one does not need a $1,000.00 + ukulele to enjoy it, my Ko'olaus are worth every penny.

What I do is try and prioritize my spending. I mean, I was drinking a large ice blended mocha, five days per week at $5.00 per day....that's $1,300.00 per year! I'd much rather spend this on something that gives me so much pleasure and will last a lifetime.

BTW, I own a tenor Fluke (my first ukulele) and a concert Flea, both with rosewood fretboards. They're great and I keep them at work and travel with them.

Plainsong
06-26-2008, 03:40 AM
But there better guitars in the guitar world as well, made by luthiers from scratch and by hand, and they can be had for about the same price as a uke built the same way.

But what I do think is awesome is that you can get, from the 350-1000 USD price point, an instrument that will sound strong and true, and will be so wonderful to hear and play, and so beautiful to look at, that it stays in the family even after you're gone.

On a lot of other instruments, the bang-for-buck simply isn't as good. But even above that price point, you can certainly get what you pay for.

brokenwing
06-26-2008, 03:45 AM
It is sort of unfair to compare high quality ukes and guitars...high end ukes are mostly handmade from scratch. That is what you really need to get that high-high quality. But in the guitar world, you don't have to get a one-off handmade to get a very high-quality guitar…Taylors and Martins use a large amount of computer milling and robotics, but make some of the finest instruments in the world. To get a luthier-made guitar, really handmade, like many custom ukes (in the 2000 range)…you are usually looking at 4-10,000 bucks easy for an instrument of similar quality. A uke is just less materials-intensive. The time it takes to make one is probably not necessarily that must shorter, though…but there is a lot less area to finish and less inlay, etc on a uke.
I gotta say, it's not the materials cost that bump a guitar to more than twice the price. Sure, that's some of it, but a high-end guitar does take longer to build. The stresses and scale are more involved.

Martin and Taylor are huge companies which offer some high-end models, but a large part of their production is lower-end and they churn them out like chewing gum. You don't really start getting into nice guitars under $1500 and many players believe the real baseline begins at $3K.

Esy
06-26-2008, 12:26 PM
I plan to order new tenor custom uke 1000$+ :music:

And Now i planed custom made electric ukuelle for 500$ max

Plainsong
06-26-2008, 12:55 PM
Oh oh, is it a uklectic? :D

h-drix
06-26-2008, 01:08 PM
My custom Kanile'a came to about 1400 when all was said and done and I have not regretted it. You can't take a 150 dollar uke and a 1500 dollar uke and not tell that there is some sort of serious


holy crap, im sorry :( i meant $500 uke=1000 guitar. then after that it seems that guitars and uke quality are about the same. boy do i feel stupid.

edit: also everyone has to remember that another reason for the high costs is because they can. The Luthers realized that there products are highly sought after, thus they can sell them for extremely high prices-to a point. when prices get high enough people start saying "hey i can go to another company/Luther a a get a better product or much cheaper." BOOM amazingness of capitalism. That said brokenwing said that it takes longer to build. I doubt that the build time between a guitar and a uke differ to the point where the prices increase THAT much, but its all goes back to "because they can"

lastly the reason i stated that below ~$1000 a $500 uke=$1000 guitar (in my experience) i can get a very good gstring or koalhoa and the price that i pay SHOULD blow any of the 200-300 ukes out of the water. while a $500 guitar isnt that much substantial diffrence to a 200-300$ guitar, or at least not a big enough diffrence to upgrade.

i think plainsong said it best


But what I do think is awesome is that you can get, from the 350-1000 USD price point, an instrument that will sound strong and true, and will be so wonderful to hear and play, and so beautiful to look at, that it stays in the family even after you're gone.

On a lot of other instruments, the bang-for-buck simply isn't as good. But even above that price point, you can certainly get what you pay for.

nikolo727
06-27-2008, 12:39 PM
I think I'd rather have 20 - $2000 ukes than 1 - $40,000 uke.

I think I'd rather have a nice Harley Davidson, a new laptop, a couple pairs of socks, and 10 decent ukes instead.


agreed. nothing against you MGM, your like an ukulele god, but I really need some wool socks for skiiing. lol.

AshleyB
06-27-2008, 11:19 PM
You get what you pay for in my opinion. I would probably spend more but it depends on the exchange rate and how many $$ i get for my ££

Ukulele Dude
06-28-2008, 07:14 AM
For the right uke, i'd spend $1,000 or more. As long as it was one that I would be playing alot. I look at it like this.... if you spend 1,000 hours playing a $1,000 uke, it was only a dollar an hour. That's pretty cheap entertainment.

Valerie
06-28-2008, 07:34 AM
For me to pay more than 300 dollars I'd have to really love the uke. It would have to be screaming: I'm your missing piece!

And then it would have to be under 800 dollars- but not so much because 801 is too much money- more because I'm scared of really nice stuff. Koa sound excellent- but I like to display my instruments and I'd constantly be afraid that it would warp in the open air, get knocked over and break, become the cat's scratching post, etc.

I want my instruments to be things of relaxation not things that cause worry.

And I think if I payed more than 800 bucks- I'd worry a whole bunch. But under 800 I'd have a good chance of finding a similar instrument again if it were to break or some such (and I could replace it within a year- if I pinched pennies).

brokenwing
06-28-2008, 07:48 AM
I want my instruments to be things of relaxation not things that cause worry.
Don't worry so much, Valerie.:) Life is too short. I've read similar posts on guitar forums, but some of the most treasured guitars in history have been played and handled to within an inch of their lives. Ukes, especially very good expensive ukes, are meant to be played, played, played and that's gonna leave some marks. The wear and tear (not abuse) is testimony to your enjoyment and respect of the instrument.

Kekani
06-28-2008, 08:52 AM
The way I see it, when someone buys an `ukulele and doesn't play it, that's like my Hardley Driving 'em (which is crashed) sitting in my garage. Of course, collectors notwithstanding. Its like getting leather seats for your car, then putting a seat cover on - what are you doing, saving it for the next guy?

Play it, don't worry, and be happy.

As for price, the material cost on any given small shop instrument can run anywhere from $25 to over $100, and all you have is wood. What pushes an instrument cost higher is quality (or perception of it). Anything under $1000 is a factory instrument, and subject to what that entails.

I've heard statements to the effect of "bling" doesn't make an instrument sound better or play better. I disagree, somewhat - depends on the bling. Artwork on an instrument can be very personal, in some cases more so than the instrument itself.

The neat thing about delivering a custom instrument is when the client takes hold, and strums the first time, you can see that it is an instrument that becomes a part of them.

I too, was never much into artwork. Long story short, I am. It was very great to see the reaction of a good friend's (insert Hawaiian music slack key player's name) completed instrument in the hands of him, and his wife (and friends). The inlay, while somewhat kapakahi, made sense to them, and only them. For him to say "nobody touches this one except me" says something about the relationship a player can have with his/her instrument. Of course he lets other people play it, but not just anyone (which is why he'll usually carry two `ukulele now).

Sorry to hijack this thread, but sometimes what may seem to be a cost prohibitive endeavor, is really the one that is more value conscious, or investment worthy.

As for the thread, definitely over $1000, and if it were a guitar, well over that as well.

h-drix
06-28-2008, 09:51 AM
As for price, the material cost on any given small shop instrument can run anywhere from $25 to over $100, and all you have is wood. What pushes an instrument cost higher is quality (or perception of it).

Your also buying the experts expertise, his precision in making an instrument, the amount of time hes been building, etc. IMO its not the perception, it truly is a higher quality, because said luthier is (hopefully) very reputable.

as for art, as you said i think its much more of a personal thing, i went though countless inlay sites to find what i might like. It wasn't till i truly thought about where i came (heritage wise) from that i realized everything i was looking at was some one else's personality not mine, it was pointless for me to go though those hundreds of images. Thats why im thinking of a British lion, nothing large, but it has value to me, not anyone else.

i really have no idea how much inlays(mother of pearl" are, but i think the extra cost is well worth it.

also very good quote:


sometimes what may seem to be a cost prohibitive endeavor, is really the one that is more value conscious, or investment worthy.

j312311
06-28-2008, 10:42 AM
300-500 max; 200 is already a lot but ill get a more expensive one if it's worth it.

Plainsong
06-28-2008, 11:12 AM
Yeah after having a drink with a sampling one luthier's wares, and comparing it to some of the ukes others had that were built by different luthiers - their is real real quality there, not just perception of it. The quality varied, and you could see how one might choose one over the other, but it was all higher quality than I'd ever handled. One strum, you feel the difference.

nikolo727
06-28-2008, 11:16 AM
For the right uke, i'd spend $1,000 or more. As long as it was one that I would be playing alot. I look at it like this.... if you spend 1,000 hours playing a $1,000 uke, it was only a dollar an hour. That's pretty cheap entertainment.



agreed. if i find a nice uke that i like. that is over 1000 bones, i would buy it in an instant.......if i got to play it first.

lol.


if it was from a custom dealer that i knew was trustworthy then thats cool too.

koa
06-28-2008, 11:19 AM
No problem in having to pay over $1000 for a custom uke. The people that build fine instruments deserve to be compensated for their creations.

Regarding the effort and labor of building a custom uke vs. guitar based on the feelings I get from William King (chantusmusic) who was originally a Flamenco and classical guitar only luthier the time and effort that goes into a uke is not significantly reduced with the size of the instrument.

For all you Texans close to Austin, Tx check out the King 'ukuleles.

Kekani
06-28-2008, 01:48 PM
It wasn't till i truly thought about where i came (heritage wise) from that i realized everything i was looking at was some one else's personality not mine

i really have no idea how much inlays(mother of pearl" are, but i think the extra cost is well worth it.

Most inlay artists go $50 an hour (material included), unless you want gold or platinum (or other precious metals) - even Ivory is doable. The factory I work with starts at $150 and goes up from there.

Engraving, now that's another art in an of itself. An engraved inlay (required when doing faces) will take longer than building the instrument itself, and pretty much becomes the cost of the instrument. This is where realism (and Grit Laskin) is the norm.

As for "your" inlay, you hit the nail on the head in researching "you", and not anyone else. I consulted with Danny Kaleikini on his inlay for 1 1/2 hours, just to come up with a simple signature. And, it didn't even say "Danny". Same with Led's - started small, got really big, ended up kapakahi, causing the chicken skin response once it was done. Once you tap into heritage and create the artwork from a spiritual sense, it really doesn't matter what it costs, only what it means, to you.

And what better place to have fun with this stuff than on an instrument.

Plainsong
06-28-2008, 01:52 PM
Ivory?? Really?? Ewww!!

UkuLeLesReggAe
06-28-2008, 03:23 PM
For the right uke, i'd spend $1,000 or more. As long as it was one that I would be playing alot. I look at it like this.... if you spend 1,000 hours playing a $1,000 uke, it was only a dollar an hour. That's pretty cheap entertainment.

thats actually the best way to approach things money wise, and it makes sense. would only take about 3 years to get 1000 hours of playing ukulele ( for me anyway) :) but worth it.

Kekani
06-28-2008, 04:04 PM
Ivory?? Really?? Ewww!!

Actually, pre-CITES Ivory is still available, as is Mammoth Ivory. I had never thought about using Ivory, figuring the cost would be too prohibitive, until I got some. From the Inlay materials I've cut so far, Ivory has to be the nicest to work with. Pretty much ups the ante and adds inherent rare value to artwork.

The pieces I use are only for inlay, although MGM wants me to throw a saddle and nut on one of his ukes. There are still builders out there using Ivory for nuts and saddles. . .must be nice.

Of course, now I'm looking at antique places to find that piano that just isn't anymore. Ivory and ebony keys, whooo hoooo!

Now, post-CITES Ivory, that another story. I'm not asking (for it), and I hope nobody tells (where it is). Wouldn't use it anyway.

soliman
06-28-2008, 04:15 PM
$600.00. but afraid to take it anywhere. so I bought a mango Kala.

Snow
06-28-2008, 06:58 PM
You guy's are insane!! INSANE!! 1000+ wtffkers. Jeez, I buy my ukes at Wal-Mart.

redsedge
06-28-2008, 07:32 PM
in the UK u cant get anything of quality for $500 or for us £250...if im looking to import a uke its gunna be WAY more in the region of $1000

Have a look at this chap - he makes ukes for the Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain among others. And he lives in South Wales. http://www.uklectic.com/ukulele.html

UkuLeLesReggAe
06-28-2008, 08:01 PM
$600.00. but afraid to take it anywhere. so I bought a mango Kala.

yeah true, i wouldn't take it everywhere like i take my lanikai... my area isn't to safe for carrying anything thats more than $150... get rolled for your necklace/shoes/ring/braclet... even shirts -.-