Beginners should just buy from Amazon

Rakelele

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I suppose the lesson here is that in some cases, Amazon might not be the worst of all places to buy an ukulele, especially if you are looking in a price range of, say, less than 65 Dollars. There's certainly a point to be made about local music stores that will either make you feel inferior or just sell you the cheapest crap they have in stock for such occasions, especially if they are general music stores with no specific expertise in ukes. Whereas on Amazon, you can find a "pretty good deal", and just return it in case you happen to not like it. No "real" store can make a living with that kind of hassle for that kind of money that might eventually even be withdrawn from them.

Still, my advise would be to stretch your budget just a little further to somewhat above 100 Dollars and then order from one of the recommended ukulele specialists, like The Ukulele Site, Mims, Uke Republic, or Southern Ukulele Store, The Uke Room, and World of Ukes if you are in the U.K. From all I know, these stores will select decent brands in the first place and then set them up properly to make them as enjoyable as possible.
 
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ukantor

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As well as Amazon, you could have a look at AliExpress. There seems to be some resistance, from Americans, to dealing with Chinese companies. I have no such reservations and have bought at least ten ukuleles (and other stuff) direct from China, either through AliExpress, or by dealing direct with a Chinese supplier. One of the ukes had a serious problem, which I was able to fix myself, and the seller gave me a generous partial refund as compensation.

It's worth a try, if you are looking at the low price end of the market.

John Colter
 
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GF1

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I like Ali Express more than Amazon. You get the same ukes direct from where they are made, often with free shipping into Australia.

A catch is the time it takes to for the parcel to get to Australia, but its often not all that long. And you get similar consumer protection to what you get on eBay. Also you need to be kind with the translations to English.

I just did a search on "ukulele" on Ali Express, 51,000 results, starting with a set of black nylon strings at 53c up to the $3000 end of the Enya range. Maybe in the USA you wont get such a good choice. But, for Australian buyers it is definitely worth a look.

Nothing with a wide neck though, that I can see.
 

chris667

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Nothing with a wide neck though, that I can see.

Ukes with wide necks, narrow necks and everything between. I think they have the right idea not publishing neck width.

I have been very pleased with all the instruments I bought on AliExpress. I was always willing to lose the money when I bought one though. I bought a pen once which turned out to be a different design than the one I ordered. I got it for free.

If it was a "proper" amount of money to me, I wouldn't buy any instrument unseen. You get lemons at all price points from all suppliers and nothing beats trusting your ears.

I have played some really terrible "high end" instruments. Either manufacturing defects or just not liking them.
 

tm3

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The last sentence is so true! I'll never forget my 1st experience with Mim. We met at the 1st or 2nd TBUG, I don't recall. We were alone in a hotel lobby, and she was setting up her booth. I told her I wanted to purchase an ukulele at the festival. She let me try several models, and I picked one. She examined it, and said, It's not quite right, you can't have it." She didn't have another of that model, so she promised to send me one after the festival.
She contacted me and told me all the ukes of that model went back to the factory, and she was sending me something else that met my criteria. It was another make, when I got it, I realized it was more expensive than the one I picked, but she didn't charge me a nickel more! And it was set up right, and after 10 years has never given me any trouble.
So even though it wasn't' exactly in person, it was as close as one can get.

That's a great story and a way to create customer loyalty.
 

Jerryc41

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Yes, I understand. Unless you live in Hawaii, vising several ukulele stores and examining good quality ukes is not possible. Buying online is a good alternative. My only in-person purchases have been from the Magic Fluke store. Everything else has come from the reputable online dealers. I've also bought from eBay, Amazon, Fleamarket, and Reverb. With probably 150 ukulele purchases, I've never had a problem.
 

Cadia

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...Still, my advise would be to stretch your budget just a little further to somewhat above 100 Dollars and then order from one of the recommended ukulele specialists, like The Ukulele Site, Mims, Uke Republic, or Southern Ukulele Store, The Uke Room, and World of Ukes if you are in the U.K. From all I know, these stores will select decent brands and then set them up properly to make them as enjoyable as possible.

I totally agree with this. You know you will get a nice, playable uke from them that's already been inspected for issues and quality flaws.
 

Rllink

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At this point I'm all about buying from some reputable on line seller. My go to sellers are Mim and Elderly. My local music stores don't have anything. But speaking from my limited experience, I don't buy a lot of ukuleles, buying a cheap ukulele on line without a setup doesn't always result in an unplayable instrument. I bought my first ukulele, a $65 Makala concert from Austin Bazaar. No set up, came sealed in the box straight from the factory, no one touched it. It is a very good beginner ukulele and I still play it.
 

Jerryc41

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As well as Amazon, you could have a look at AliExpress. There seems to be some resistance, from Americans, to dealing with Chinese companies.
John Colter

A friend bought a nice, cute uke from Ali, and then I bought one. No problems.
 

Graham Greenbag

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As well as Amazon, you could have a look at AliExpress. There seems to be some resistance, from Americans, to dealing with Chinese companies. I have no such reservations and have bought at least ten ukuleles (and other stuff) direct from China, either through AliExpress, or by dealing direct with a Chinese supplier. One of the ukes had a serious problem, which I was able to fix myself, and the seller gave me a generous partial refund as compensation.

It's worth a try, if you are looking at the low price end of the market.

John Colter

I don’t like buying anything that’s made in China; I believe that supporting China to grow further is going to end up badly for the World and I would also prefer to support local (to me) manufactures. Having said that every Uke that I own was made in China and so was much else that I use, you can only buy what’s available and (also) affordable.

Ali Express is an alternative to Amazon as is eBay, both can be gambles but if you can afford to loose what you’ve paid then I reckon it’s worth the risk.
 
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rustydusty

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Amazon is fine for a first uke, but research on what you want or need is very important. Where I live it's a 50+ mile trip to the closest music store. I have never been to a music store that carries ukuleles, but then I haven't been to a music store in about 15 years... I guess that's life on an island.
 

Rosendust

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It's interesting that you bring this up, because I am technically in the market for my third ukulele. I found that Amazon is actually more expensive than Mim(when comparing the prices of Ohana Ukes). I echo everyone else's advice about getting a good ukulele with a setup you can know is right for you & you can enjoy playing all that much more ��
 

Tlhss

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Another vote for Mim. Bought my first uke from her shop at a very reasonable price because it was a blem. Even at a low price it included set up. Can’t say enough about the positive experience for a beginner.
 

Jim Yates

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I have never bought any instrument (except a few mouth harps) that I didn't first have a chance to hold in my hands and inspect and play. I couldn't fall in love with an instrument just by seeing a photo on line or in a catalog.
My son gave me a few instruments that he picked up in pawn shops and my friend Jimmy Bowskill did the same. Maggie bought me an octave mandolin from Mandolin Brothers about 20 years ago as a surprise birthday gift, but I didn't buy these.
 

Cadia

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The last sentence is so true! I'll never forget my 1st experience with Mim. We met at the 1st or 2nd TBUG, I don't recall. We were alone in a hotel lobby, and she was setting up her booth. I told her I wanted to purchase an ukulele at the festival. She let me try several models, and I picked one. She examined it, and said, It's not quite right, you can't have it." She didn't have another of that model, so she promised to send me one after the festival.
She contacted me and told me all the ukes of that model went back to the factory, and she was sending me something else that met my criteria. It was another make, when I got it, I realized it was more expensive than the one I picked, but she didn't charge me a nickel more! And it was set up right, and after 10 years has never given me any trouble.
So even though it wasn't' exactly in person, it was as close as one can get.
THAT is the kind of service you will never get from Amazon, but WILL get from a uke specialty retailer. like Mim's or HMS. Great people who know their stuff! They can help beginners avoid some of the common pitfalls of buying online as well.
 

richntacoma

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In terms of the position advocated in the title, I could not disagree more. I would pose just the opposite--I beginner should never buy from amazon. A well-set up instrument is going to be one that one is far more likely to stuck with, and gives one a true idea of whether or not they like playing. A poorly set up instrument, with high action, sharp frets and poor intonation is just not going to give someone a true indication of what playing the uke is really like.

The caveat to this, of course, is economics. I don't wish to be classist, so yes, my "never" is just a rhetorical position.

And yes, Mims is great. I have also had a nice set up from Uke Republic as well.
 

Sporky

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To me it really depends on where you live. My experience in Canada has been that music stores have very little inventory of interest to me, particularly when it comes to ukuleles. And noone with expertise. And the ukuleles they do have have been sitting there and touched and dried for ages. I've gotten to the point where I'm spending more on higher end instruments, but my personal conclusion for entry level has been that Amazon was the best and often only way to go. It's rolling the dice but returns are so easy. I'd love to have a local ukulele shop to encourage, but I don't. And specialized stores in other countries charge more for shipping (and in the case of HMS, for shell inlay export) than the value of an entry level ukulele.

If you live in the US or UK where you get cheap or free delivery from a place like TheUkuleleSite or SUS, then it would be crazy to go with Amazon. Enjoy the wonderful online access to reputable specialized stores that you have!
 

kaimuki

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Yes , it is .
But not every total beginner wants to spend that .
So Amazon and other online vendors can be a viable option .
Or not ?