Ukulele Source in San Jose - FANTASTIC shop and owners!

PorkLover

New member
Joined
Jan 29, 2010
Messages
44
Points
0
Just wanted to post about how cool Smiley and Janet, owners of Ukulele Source in Japantown in San Jose, CA are. If you're in the San Francisco Bay Area, they're definitely worth visiting.

I was down in San Jose for the NCAA Basketball Tournaments and stopped by to check out their humble shop. On one side of the shop are the "Chinese" ukes: Kala, Ohana, Mainland, and Nalu were well represented. There was also a Flea and a Fluke on the "China" side although I think those are US made. I would guess that there are at least 50 ukes on this side of the shop. All available to fondle and play with.

On the other side of the shop was the Hawaiian made ukes mainly Koaloha and Kanilea. Smiley also had a few Kamaka ukes that I believe were sold as used... one was signed by Jake. There were perhaps 20 ukes on this side of the shop.

Prices were very comparable to what I've seen on Ebay, and other various popular uke internet sellers. Sales tax is added of course. In San Jose, I think its 9.25%.

It took 3 visits to the store and countless fondles of the ukes (lingering longer on the Ohana SK-21 and Koaloha Noah -- cute buggers they are) before I finally narrowed on a Koaloha concert and super-concert. No pressure from Smiley or Janet through it all. On the contrary, I get the feeling that they truly enjoy talking and sharing ukes. Visiting the shop feels like going to some cool people's house that has 100 ukes, all of which you can play with.

I needed a night to think about the concert vs super-concert (as well as get permission from the fiance). Smiley gave me his cell phone so I could call him when I was ready to purchase the uke since I would not be available during their normal business hours due to the Tournament. He said "I'll see you tomorrow". He gets it.

They ended up opening the shop an hour before normal business hours so I could once again play the ukes. At one point Smiley and Janet reached deep into their stock to pull out 3 different Koaloha super-concerts and 3 different Koaloha concerts to test. Janet even handed me her own personal Koaloha low-G concert so I can better compare it to the super-concerts which were strung low-G.

I ended going with a Koaloha concert and have ZERO buyers remorse fully satisfied that with Smiley and Janet's help, I ended up with the uke that was the best for me. All for a price that is comparable to what is available on-line.

Couple other things about the shop: the whole shop is humidified so their ukes are well taken care of. Smiley and Janet also stock Worth and Aquila strings.

Having had horrible experiences purchasing a uke here in Sacramento, I HIGHLY recommend checking out Smiley and Janet's shop in San Jose. Good prices, great people, and tons of ukes to check out. Smiley gets it... he told me on my way out with my new baby, "You'll be back".
 

Moller

New member
Joined
Aug 28, 2008
Messages
43
Points
0
Sounds like the perfect ukulele shop... to bad I live in Denmark :(
 

dkcrown

Active member
Joined
Dec 1, 2009
Messages
2,671
Points
38
What a great buying experience, and ending up with a KoAloha concert to boot! A fine choice. Sounds like a great store to do business with.
 

Fluke&Martin

New member
Joined
Jul 31, 2008
Messages
43
Points
0
Ukulele Source is the best!!! The shop is one street over from my uke lesson so afterwards i just walk on over and jam a little on the top o the linee ukes!

Smiley rulez!
 

Ronnie Aloha

Mahalo Sen. Dan, R.I.P.
UU VIP
Joined
Aug 6, 2009
Messages
2,004
Points
38
Wow, that sounds like a GREAT shop. I'll have to stop by one day when I'm up there.
 

UkeDan77

New member
Joined
Mar 23, 2010
Messages
41
Points
0
I got my Ko'aloha sceptre from them a few weeks ago! They were absolutely the best and the price was comparable to everything I saw online. They packaged it up very well and mailed it next day delivery (didn't charge me for that). I ended up receiving it several days later but that was due to post office error, not them.

They threw in a very nice case, a humidifier and chord chart and an extra set of worth strings. I agree with Porklover, Smiley and Janet are top notch people. You can tell they truly care and I've never had a more satisfying buying experience before!
 

centr0

New member
Joined
Apr 1, 2010
Messages
12
Points
0
i went there 2 weekends ago only to find that they were closed till the 24th. i hear a lot of good things about this store, ill definately check them out when they open again. hopefully they have a kala solid acacia im lookin for.
 

Gillian

Member
Joined
May 2, 2010
Messages
950
Points
16
i went there 2 weekends ago only to find that they were closed till the 24th. i hear a lot of good things about this store, ill definately check them out when they open again. hopefully they have a kala solid acacia im lookin for.

I was also interested in the Kala solid acacia and mentioned it to Smiley. He was not too complimentary of that model and he doesn't carry it. He is quite particular which models he sells, which is good because you know you are going to end up with a decent instrument no matter which model you buy.
 

beergeek

New member
Joined
Mar 7, 2010
Messages
206
Points
0
I got my Ko'aloha sceptre from them a few weeks ago! They were absolutely the best and the price was comparable to everything I saw online. They packaged it up very well and mailed it next day delivery (didn't charge me for that). I ended up receiving it several days later but that was due to post office error, not them.

They threw in a very nice case, a humidifier and chord chart and an extra set of worth strings. I agree with Porklover, Smiley and Janet are top notch people. You can tell they truly care and I've never had a more satisfying buying experience before!

My brother and another Uke maniac friend of ours swear by Smiley and Janet. I was going to visit him in SF and we had planned on a trip to Ukulele Source so he took pictures of their shop.

Here's one that you might like (it's a pic of your Sceptre hanging on the wall so be sure to click for the larger version):

IMG_0165..jpg

Yep, that pic was taken on March 20th. I figured I'd buy that Sceptre when I was out there but you snapped it up before I got there! I wound up getting mine from MGM after I read your post.

Back on topic, my brother bought a KoAloha concert from them on that trip and our friend went there later that day and bought a fabulous sounding Kamaka Ohta-San. They weren't open when I went out there so I'll have to wait until my next trip to visit Smiley and Janet!
 

wickedwahine11

Super Moderator
Staff member
Joined
Dec 1, 2008
Messages
3,951
Points
38
Anyone know how hard it is to get there from San Francisco? I will be in SF at the end of the month and I'd love to stop by, but I won't have a car, so I'll be going by BART and bus. It looks like it will take about 90 minutes each way via public transport if I make all the connections. Has anyone gone there from SF via this route?
 

lochtessmonster

New member
Joined
Nov 11, 2009
Messages
85
Points
0
Sweet. Next time I'm out that way I'll definitely swing over! Thanks for the recommendation. Have you asked them if they're on UU yet? or suggested it to them? Great way for them to get involved with the uke community if they haven't already.
 

les_maverick

New member
Joined
Jul 2, 2008
Messages
4
Points
0
Ukulele Source has a web site:
ukulelesource.com

They are located at:
599 North 5th Street
San Jose CA 95112
408 998 2640
info@ukulelesource.com

Store Hours:
Tuesday 12 - 7
Wed to Fri 11 - 6
Saturday 11 - 5
Closed Sunday and Monday
 

mds725

UU VIP
UU VIP
Joined
Oct 12, 2009
Messages
12,041
Points
63
I bought a Lanakai concert ukulele there a few months ago, and when I told Smiley that I was buying it to donate to a friend's school fundraiser auction, he donated a digital tuner. Really nice guy who let me play his Kanile'as and KoAlohas for as long as I wanted. I don't get down to San Jose that much, but I'd buy an ukulele from Ukulele Source without any reservations.
 

mds725

UU VIP
UU VIP
Joined
Oct 12, 2009
Messages
12,041
Points
63
Anyone know how hard it is to get there from San Francisco? I will be in SF at the end of the month and I'd love to stop by, but I won't have a car, so I'll be going by BART and bus. It looks like it will take about 90 minutes each way via public transport if I make all the connections. Has anyone gone there from SF via this route?

Staci, did you ever get to Ukulele Source? (I hope you discovered CalTrans, which goes from SF to San Jose.) if you went, what did you think?