Should you trust a ukulele review?

JustinJ

New member
Joined
Feb 3, 2015
Messages
271
Points
0
I saw this topic on a guitar forum. It was about how unreliable reviews can be as the price of the guitar goes up. I thought about all the nice ukes that have been showing up in the marketplace.

As the price of a uke goes, should you take the review more critically? Also, is someone going to criticize their ukulele purchase when we start looking above the $1300.00 price mark. In other words, people are not going to be honest about the uke they bought.

There is a post-purchase rationalization which occurs with more expensive items https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Post-purchase_rationalization

One of the funniest things I've noticed in the marketplace is how people praise the uke for sale as the best sounding and playing, but they're selling it.

I've not seen someone point out any flaws in their custom or expensive uke, only accolades. Are we ignoring the flaws in the more expensive ukes? I've seen a few expensive ukes above the $3000.00 mark that have some flaws in them or do not sound the best. I'm not naming any makers but I just saw one recently with the trim done poorly in one of the corners.

Is there a group think that goes on in a forum? In other words, it's a type of religion but the object is not gods or god but certain ukes. Some ukes are revered while others are looked at as inferior. This brand of ukulele is the preferred one because it's what the group likes. There is no rationality only emotions and if you want to be part of the group then you buy the same uke brands.
 

DownUpDave

UU VIP
UU VIP
Joined
Mar 15, 2014
Messages
6,205
Points
38
No offense Justin J but you always seem to dwell on the same topic, it appears you have something against expensive ukuleles.

I read lots of reviews, I listen to as many sound samples as possible and I ask questions of people who own an instrument I am interested in.

But at the end of the day I make up my own mind, as most others do. Sure people will gush all over something they own or are trying to sell. That is human nature and we as adults already realize that........next

I own at present a LdfM, Collings, Compass Rose, Mya Moe, Webber, Loprinzi, Koaloha, Pono........and on the cheaper end Gretsch, Gianinni, Islander. I can tell the difference in all of them but likes and dislikes are all personal preferences. No I did not buy all of these because I thought they would make me a better player ( your usual next assumption) . I bought them because I wanted to and I can afford it.
 

Sanfe

Member
Joined
Jul 5, 2014
Messages
96
Points
6
Don't trust reviews. Only trust what you hear, and even then it's subjective at best.
 

SteveZ

New member
Joined
May 20, 2014
Messages
1,567
Points
0
Relying on another's product review as the main yea-nay buy factor may not be a wise thing, as experiences and opinions differ. I've never used another's review as the yea-nay buy factor for any purchase, but I do tend to use these reviews for adding items to investigate the product further.

What I do appreciate about reviews is that they often make me look at a brand/model that I may have overlooked previously. Whether the review is bad or good doesn't matter, because one person's dislike is often someone else's like. So, just getting my interest piqued makes me glad to see these reviews.
 

Lori

Uke Crazy
UU VIP
Joined
Feb 19, 2009
Messages
3,979
Points
0
You need to read a lot of reviews to get a clear picture on any product. Ukuleles are no different from many other items you can buy. Each customer will have different requirements. So just like shoes, cell phones, cameras, vacation travel.... the best choice is going to be different from person to person. When people sell an expensive uke, and say it is a great uke, it probably is a good uke, but has some subtle feature that the player isn't personally enjoying. That might be the feel of the neck, or the way the tuners work, or the sound. Maybe the size of the uke is not a good fit anymore. Most luthiers that can charge the big bucks, do so because of their good reputation, which is built on many years of making customers happy. The product speaks for itself, so if there are flaws, they are easily detected. So, when reading reviews, supplement that with listening to sound samples, and if you can, play as many different kinds of ukes as possible. Find out how thick the neck should be for you, and apply that knowledge to selecting your uke. That is why it is a good idea to try a variety of ukes so you can make a good guess on what will be best for you. Once you have determined what's best for you, sell off those ukes that didn't work out for you.
There will always be fan-boys and fan-girls for various brands. For them, part of their experience is the brand, it's image and it's history. If it makes you happy, I have no problem with that. It can tint a review, so just be aware of that. Sometimes people are more complete in their comments (complaints) if you are talking to them in person. Putting things in writing makes people more careful about what they say. It can be very damaging to criticize a product in print, and unless it is framed with the right circumstances, it can damage reputations.

–Lori
 

spookelele

New member
Joined
Dec 15, 2014
Messages
1,244
Points
0
I dunno.. I think of a review like an opinion because that's what it is.
I may or may not agree with the reviewer, but that doesn't mean that person is right or wrong.
But in the end, it's my opinion that matters to me, so I use my own judgement which isn't always the same.

I used to snub the sound of a soprano as being not very full.
But at a recent uke fest, one of the performers played the crap out of a vintage martin and I was blown away.
So.. was I wrong, or did my opinion just change and now I appreciate it differently?

I don't think there's a right and wrong answer. There might be a right or wrong answer for a particular person though.

As far as selling something goes.. that might be different. The seller might love it, but have to sell it. Or there might be some other reason other than no longer liking it. I don't think theres a one answer fits all to the question.
 

JustinJ

New member
Joined
Feb 3, 2015
Messages
271
Points
0
I'm not criticizing expensive ukulele. I own a very expensive ukulele which I like. I'm not trying to make you feel guilty for your purchases nor do I have problem with people buying them. I take my instruments to a professional luthier who makes very expensive guitars.

What I'm questioning here is the honesty of the review. As a buyer of an expensive uke, I can not expect myself to honestly evaluate something. Of course I'm going to accentuate the positives. I bought it.

What I'm proposing here is that people ignore the reviews or our suggestions and listen with their own ears. Do not take what others say. You may miss out on a great instrument by listening to other opinions. This may be why we see so many ukes being traded and sold in the marketplace.

A major thing that I hear is how thick Pono necks are. People just repeat this from what they read. I do not not think Pono necks are that thick.

I know when I went shopping for an archtop. I did not read reviews. I went to several music stores and sat down with the instruments. I did not look at the price tag but just played it.

I actually liked one better that was half the price. Now if I had gone to the newsgroup, everyone would have praised the higher priced one preferring it over the one I tried.



No offense Justin J but you always seem to dwell on the same topic, it appears you have something against expensive ukuleles.

I read lots of reviews, I listen to as many sound samples as possible and I ask questions of people who own an instrument I am interested in.

But at the end of the day I make up my own mind, as most others do. Sure people will gush all over something they own or are trying to sell. That is human nature and we as adults already realize that........next

I own at present a LdfM, Collings, Compass Rose, Mya Moe, Webber, Loprinzi, Koaloha, Pono........and on the cheaper end Gretsch, Gianinni, Islander. I can tell the difference in all of them but likes and dislikes are all personal preferences. No I did not buy all of these because I thought they would make me a better player ( your usual next assumption) . I bought them because I wanted to and I can afford it.
 

M3Ukulele

Well-known member
Joined
Jun 20, 2013
Messages
1,474
Points
48
I read all reviews. Take what I can out of them. Look for other reviews of same models. I look for a consistent picture if it exists. Then listen to lots of sound samples. There are certain reviewers I trust and I ask questions often with PM.
Since I'm only two tears playing , I have avoided doing my own NUD until I know a little more. When I do get to review my ukuleles hopefully readers will get an honest opinion because I've learned and experienced a few things. Ultimately a review is an opinion. I find them useful and filter all things I read.
 

Recstar24

Active member
Joined
Oct 11, 2014
Messages
1,046
Points
36
As a reviewer, I find it helps to also lost what other ukes you own and just a general background on your experience. That at least gives the reader an informed viewpoint of the inherent bias that may be present in a review, which can't be avoided but it's good practice to be honey about it. So let's say someone is reviewing a $3000 uke, if there previous ukes are all $100 laminates we can take their impressions under a certain context, whereas if someone is reviewing a $3000 uke and they have owned and currently own $1000-$3000 quality ukes we have a different context to read their impressions.

In my short time here I've learned to rely on certain impressions from certain users with more weight based on their background and uke experience. For example, doc J has owned and owns so many quality ukes I feel confident letting his reviews bear some weight with me personally. Others like downupdave I've learned to trust not only because of experience but I just happen to get along with him very well online and we see eye to eye. Others like hollisdwyer we've owned similar ukes before so I know his ears are similar to mine. And I can't forget my local friend stevepetergal as I've hung out with him and met and played with him and know how he hears things.

Basically you have to do your research on who is doing the reviewing and you'll learn quickly how serious to take their impressions. For me, I make sure to state upfront my background and what I currently own and have owned so people have an idea who I am.
 

janeray1940

Active member
Joined
Nov 19, 2009
Messages
5,670
Points
36
When it comes to the actual purchase, I only trust what I can see and hear in-person. I pretty much already knew this but buying a custom ukulele was what cemented it for me - while there was really nothing wrong with the uke and it was made to the specifications I discussed with the luthier, it just wasn't what I had envisioned it would be, sound-wise, even though I'd only seen high praise for the luthier in reviews. Bad fit, that's all.

I've sold about a half-dozen ukes over the years, either because they were not a good fit (the custom; a uke with a scale length that was too big for my small hands; etc) or because I'd found something that I liked the sound of better. I've got space limitations (250 square foot house) and therefore keeping them wasn't really an option, but I'm pretty sure I made this clear in all of my for-sale posts.

I think reviews can be a good way of gathering information to hone in on potential candidates for purchase, but they're no stand-in for actual in-person experience. Over the years I've seen a few "flavor of the month" manufacturers or luthiers get all the accolades on UU, only to see the Marketplace flooded with those makers some months later. I can think of a couple that I had thought, sight-unseen, I would really like, but in each case after encountering a few in person they turned out not to be to my liking at all even though the reviews had been absolutely glowing.
 

Croaky Keith

Active member
Joined
Nov 13, 2015
Messages
6,809
Points
38
Read as many revues as you can, listen to as many sound samples as possible, check the measurements if you can, because sometimes how something looks can dissapoint your expectations. My preferences are not likely to be your preferences, so take them or leave them. :)
 

Doc_J

Active member
Joined
Aug 16, 2009
Messages
4,660
Points
38
It depends on who does the review

+1 on this. Hopefully a seller will provide detailed pictures and good sound samples so that a potential buyer can (to some degree) make their own opinion.

Don't expect a store review to anything but positive. If they did like a model they probably wouldn't be selling them.
 

JustinJ

New member
Joined
Feb 3, 2015
Messages
271
Points
0
How many NUD has anyone read about a negative of the instrument? What I want to point out here is the influence of the group on peoples' decisions. We read these opinions and think we will get a perfect instrument. Then to our surprise when we buy the same one, disappointment comes through or we convince ourselves that it is good.


Now, if we take a cheaper instrument then you will see people point out more things out in their review usually. You will not see this as the price goes up. It's just not human nature.


There for a while on this list, it seemed that there was a new custom builder cropping up ever couple of months. So everyone would start buying these ukes. Some nicknamed this phenomenon "the flavor of the month" builder. This is some of the group think that I was referencing in my first post.
 

janeray1940

Active member
Joined
Nov 19, 2009
Messages
5,670
Points
36
How many NUD has anyone read about a negative of the instrument? What I want to point out here is the influence of the group on peoples' decisions. We read these opinions and think we will get a perfect instrument. Then to our surprise when we buy the same one, disappointment comes through or we convince ourselves that it is good.


Now, if we take a cheaper instrument then you will see people point out more things out in their review usually. You will not see this as the price goes up. It's just not human nature.


There for a while on this list, it seemed that there was a new custom builder cropping up ever couple of months. So everyone would start buying these ukes. Some nicknamed this phenomenon "the flavor of the month" builder. This is some of the group think that I was referencing in my first post.

Exactly what I posted about several posts north of yours :) Group-think, at least in my experience, is very strong in the ukulele community - I see it in person as much as I do online, and I don't think it's especially unique to the ukulele community. I do think social media and the internet amplify it - reviews, photos, Facebook marketing, and so forth.
 

DownUpDave

UU VIP
UU VIP
Joined
Mar 15, 2014
Messages
6,205
Points
38
In response to your response to my repsonse :p you made some intersting points. I love Pono necks and my ET-PC is one of my favorite ukes. I totally agree that we need to trust and buy with our own ears and hands, but for many of us that is next to impossible. Many people don't have acess to the ukes they are intersted in possibly purchasing. So we are between a rock and a hard place.........how do we make an informed intellegent decision. It can actually be quite hard. As Ryan said most of us here have formed relationships and developed trust with other members, we rely on their opinions to help us decide

The old saying of "Buyer beware" is certainly appropriate. But whether or not people are purposely misleading when reviewing a product can be discussed for a long time.
 

Recstar24

Active member
Joined
Oct 11, 2014
Messages
1,046
Points
36
JustinJ,

I personally would not take much weight of NUD into my own buying decisions and have never done so. A NUD post is about excitement and sharing a new toy, and I love reading them and I love that people feel OK to share with the community. If you have done so, sorry that is your issue not the boards or the community itself.

Again it all comes down to context of what's being written. I would never expect someone to post a negative in a NUD, that is not its purpose. At the same time I would never make a buying decision solely on one NUD post, that would be silly. A good community is one that allows people to share willingly, which these boards for the most part encourage.
 

JustinJ

New member
Joined
Feb 3, 2015
Messages
271
Points
0
Exactly what I posted about several posts north of yours :) Group-think, at least in my experience, is very strong in the ukulele community - I see it in person as much as I do online, and I don't think it's especially unique to the ukulele community. I do think social media and the internet amplify it - reviews, photos, Facebook marketing, and so forth.


I was writing my post at the same time. I noticed yours when I came back. You make many good points about groupthink. I belonged to an astronomy forum many years ago and got caught up in the group think myself with eyepieces. There was always some new or better eyepiece to buy.
 

JustinJ

New member
Joined
Feb 3, 2015
Messages
271
Points
0
I see nothing wrong with sharing but people should take it as that. Many come on to UU and do research to buy a uke.

I understand that it is hard to get out and try ukuleles and perhaps we have obligation. That obligation is to list even the negatives of an instrument, no matter the price. So that when people do their research, they get a better picture.

My point is that this would be hard. Since most people are not able to even see any negatives about their purchases.





JustinJ,

I personally would not take much weight of NUD into my own buying decisions and have never done so. A NUD post is about excitement and sharing a new toy, and I love reading them and I love that people feel OK to share with the community. If you have done so, sorry that is your issue not the boards or the community itself.

Again it all comes down to context of what's being written. I would never expect someone to post a negative in a NUD, that is not its purpose. At the same time I would never make a buying decision solely on one NUD post, that would be silly. A good community is one that allows people to share willingly, which these boards for the most part encourage.
 

natchez

Member
Joined
Oct 7, 2015
Messages
243
Points
16
How many NUD has anyone read about a negative of the instrument? What I want to point out here is the influence of the group on peoples' decisions. We read these opinions and think we will get a perfect instrument. Then to our surprise when we buy the same one, disappointment comes through or we convince ourselves that it is good.


Now, if we take a cheaper instrument then you will see people point out more things out in their review usually. You will not see this as the price goes up. It's just not human nature.


There for a while on this list, it seemed that there was a new custom builder cropping up ever couple of months. So everyone would start buying these ukes. Some nicknamed this phenomenon "the flavor of the month" builder. This is some of the group think that I was referencing in my first post.

Folks get excited about new purchases; and it nice that they do. Yes, some may get over exuberant. But, if they are having fun, so much the better.

If you are intellectually curious, there is some quite interesting academic work on "herd" mentality. There is also good research on early adopters of technology versus late adopters. There are many here that would qualify as early adopters.

As to your comments about price versus praise, I have seen quite a number of sale posts for high-end instruments here disclosing rather de minimus issues, such as light fingernail marks on softer topped ukuleles from playing.

Before joining this forum I lurked; the folks here impressed me as incredibly knowledgeable and, consequently, would logically be interested in what is new and different. IMHO- this is a very big plus, not a detriment, and one of the main reasons I decided to join and support this forum. I figured it is very cheap tuition for all that I have already learned and expect to learn going forward.

For example, before purchasing two Ponos- a concert and a tenor from the marketplace, I learned that some here feel that some Ponos might have a little less projection, and some others felt some Ponos might have thicker necks than other makers. So, from my reading here, I was able to adjust my expectations and to pre-check one purchase regarding neck size. I benefited from the learning that the early adopters provided. And consequently, am quite pleased with my marketplace purchases.

So from my persopective keep those NUD posts and reviews a comin' :eek: