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Thread: If the instrument is good, does the maker matter to you?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2015

    Default If the instrument is good, does the maker matter to you?

    This is just something I've been thinking and wondering about. Other than selling points of an instrument itself (materials used, workmanship, sound, playability, etc. etc.) what other things, if any, play a role in your purchase of an instrument? What could keep you from buying an instrument?
    Lets put price aside too.

    Here's one example:
    I know of a uke company who had a politician from a certain party at their offices for an event. If you were solidly involved in the other party, would you avoid buying from this maker or would it simply not matter so long as their product was good?

    Here's another example, that is a personal one:
    I've e-mailed a certain ukulele manufacturer (not one of the largest ones, but not one of the custom builders either) and never even got a simple reply back. For me, if a company can't at least acknowledge and answer some simple questions with the e-mail address they've provided it's a no-go.

    What if the company has religious affiliations that you strongly agree or disagree with? Does that sway you one way or the other?

    These are just some examples.

    This thread is not meant to be a political or religious debate, but more just asking if these types of things do indeed have an effect on you as a buyer or do you simply not care so long as you're getting a quality product?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2016
    Twin Cities Area, Minnesota


    This is a really good question. I am sure there are bad examples of any ukulele. In my second year of playing, I am finding that I want to buy ukuleles from people that I know. Some examples of this would be wanting to buy a Mainland from Mike IN Indiana, and my recent purchase of a Bonanza from Pete and Shelley Mai.

    But I have also fallen in love with KoAloha, partially because of their sound, and partially because of the story of the company along with its outstanding customer service (stories are legendary here on UU).

    I would instantly accept any Kamaka, Kaniel'a, Moore Bettah, Mya Moe, Pete Howlett, Da Silva, etc., as I would hope that anyone else would.

    But what seems to happen as you play longer is that you learn what you really like and that becomes your dream ukulele or a target ukulele. You can appreciate nearly any ukulele, but have your own preference.

    Sort of like riding're just glad any time you see another rider on two motorized wheels.
    My ukulele blog:

    My ukulele YouTube channels:

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2009


    Nah, it just gets in the way of the music, for me. I'll try any uke, if it sounds and plays good, I'll consider buying it. I've had the email example happen to me, kinda pissed me off, but stuff happens, and I'd still buy their uke, if I really liked it, and the price was right. If not, it's their loss, forget em. I go to ukes for peace and relaxation, and to escape all the political stuff in the media.
    Last edited by Ukecaster; 04-02-2017 at 03:27 AM.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2012
    Milwaukee, WI


    For political or religious views? Would not matter in the slightest to me, I might debate with them, but if they make a good product I'd even go so far as to recommend them. Now, moral issues, say a rapist, or someone who sells drugs to children, or some other extreme behavior that harms another, no matter how good the product I could not finance thier behavior. Basically, anyone continuing felonious behavior, I would have to walk away.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2016


    Yes, the maker matters to me because I buy items with sentimental value (like ukuleles) based on relationships. When or not the maker matters enough to sway a purchase is another story, though. Even though I buy with relationships in mind, I tend to be fairly pragmatic.

    That said, I'm also imperfect. Hopefully all of these make sense.

    Regarding your examples:
    Political affiliation: Wouldn't affect my decision unless the politics were extreme. If the person shoved their politics in my face when we talked about the sale, then I'd probably go elsewhere.

    Religious affiliations: Wouldn't affect my decision unless the religious display was extreme. If the person shoved their religion in my face when we talked about the sale, then I'd probably go elsewhere.

    Perceived skill: I hate braggarts and people with low self-esteem. If the conversation spent a majority of time about how they're way better better than KoAloha or worse, if how they aspired to be KoAloha one day, then I'd probably go elsewhere.

    Customer service: If a luthier didn't respond to my email, I'd call. If they didn't respond to my call, I'd try again in a month. Some people are just disorganized, others take vacations, many think that getting back to an inquiry within a week is acceptable. Just because I live online and demand instant gratification, doesn't mean that I'll always get it. The longer they take to get back to me, the more likely they'll lose the sale. In my view, it's a ukulele, not a 911 call...y'know?

    Trustworthy?: If the person isn't trustworthy, I'm not giving them my money.

    Jerk: If the person is a jerk, I won't give them my money. If the person was a jerk to me or my family, I will encourage others to follow my example.
    My Ukuleles
    KoAloha Naupaka soprano
    KoAloha Noah sopranino
    DJ Morgan Mini Pineapple
    Luna Pearl concert
    Cocobolo concert #384 (Teak!)

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2014


    interesting question, one that I haven't considered before.

    In the end though, it's an instrument. If I like an instrument I'd buy it because it's not what the maker does with the instrument, its what I do.

    If the maker was, say.... anti gay. I'd buy it anyway, and make a donation to a lbgtq cause in their name, and hope that counters the karma.

    As a liberal, I believe in everyone's freedom to choose what they believe.
    I just don't support their need to force a belief on someone else, just as I don't believe I should force mine on someone else.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Sep 2013
    Los Angeles, near the Beverly Center.


    The knowledge I have of any of the companies or luthiers where I buy has only been about the instruments, so I have no other criteria on which to judge. I wouldn't even think about delving into their political, religious or personal details. But the way they conduct their business is another matter.

    A few years ago I contacted three luthiers here in North America for feedback on a custom I wanted, two took a few days to respond and only gave me limited feedback, one did not return my contact. The only other one I contacted was Bruce Wei in Asia and he responded within hours with details about how he would do the build. I was impressed and went with him, he was also the lowest price. About 6 months later I got an email from the one who didn't respond asking if I was still interested in a build. If he took that long to respond, I figured he'd take forever to do a build (Bruce took only five months).

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 2014
    West Virginia


    I chose my first uke because of the co-founder of the company - Yvonne de Villiers of Luna, who was still with the company at the time. Most of what I was looking at in the $150-ish price range was pretty similar (Luna, Kala, Ohana etc.) for a laminate solid top uke. I chose Luna partly because of what Ms De Villiers accomplished in a mostly male-ownership world and I admired her vision, and partly because HMS was running a deal for $139. It is a pretty nice uke that will be passed down to my granddaughter.

    I have purchased because of being made in America - Zither Heaven & Outdoor Ukulele, for example. I also admire Outdoor Ukulele because they refunded my money when it was apparent that the first tenor was not going to meet expected production schedules. Many of us who were in on that first attempt offered to let them keep the money (we had pre-ordered) as seed money until they got things worked out, but they said no and refunded. That impressed me. Some also were not happy about what was perceived as slow response to emails, but it is pretty much a two person operation, and what was posted above by derbyhat on customer service was my take on it, too.
    Last edited by actadh; 03-30-2017 at 05:56 PM.
    - Laura

    Martin, KoAloha, Brueko, Mele, Mainland, Outdoor, Kala, Enya, Harmony, Tempo, Globe, Vega, Silvertone, Kay, Luna, Vorson, Zither Heaven, First Act

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Mission Viejo, CA


    Hmmm... a thread that talks about political and religious affiliations and how it may effect a ukulele purchase. I wonder how long it will take to get out of control and be locked?


  10. #10
    Join Date
    Nov 2015
    Upper Hale, Surrey/Hants border, UK.


    All my uke purchases have been by sound samples online, not a clue about their affiliations, I was after getting a new uke!
    Trying to do justice to various musical instruments.

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