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Thread: Most expensive Uke you bought, that is unworthy of its price

  1. #1
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    Default Most expensive Uke you bought, that is unworthy of its price

    What is the most expensive uke you have purchased so far, that you think is worth way less than you paid for it?

  2. #2
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    None!

    My most expensive is what a lot of people term an intermediate - but I think of it as expensive.

    Every uke I bought was researched, via the internet, & bought when I was satisfied the price was worth it.

    When I started out, I wouldn't have considered buying anything over 300 - but with a bit of knowledge, I stretched it up to 500 - but that is where you pay for looks &/or the name - that is where I stop.
    Trying to do justice to various musical instruments.

  3. #3
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    I own 4 ukuleles that cost over $300 but less than $1000, and I'm happy with all of them. I did own one in that price range that I didn't bond with because of neck shape, but it was totally worthy of the price. I sold it to someone who was very happy with it.
    Last edited by RafterGirl; 07-02-2018 at 01:24 AM.
    My ukulele family.....
    KoAloha Koa concert - circa 2006 (Living Waters)
    aNueNue Moon Bird concert - Spruce & Rosewood - 2018 (Blackwater)
    Blackbird Clara - 2019 (Oasis Bright)
    Cocobolo concert - 2019 (Worth Brown)

  4. #4
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    This is very subjective, so I hesitate a bit, but the Blackbird Farallon that I had bought (and then returned within a week) didn't give me the feeling it was worth the price (craftsmanship, feel, sound). It cost as much as the Kanile'a GL6, which was light years ahead in every way. But many people love it, which just shows that these things can't be generalized.

    At the bottom end, I'd list the Kala Waterman which was complete garbage. With molded plastic, they could have gotten action and intonation uniformly right, but at least the (early) batch that I got was not even worth the low price. It tainted my view on Kala.

    On the positive side, I felt the aNueNue Moonbird concern, the Barron River tenor, Black Bear soprano, and the Pono spruce/rosewood PC baritone were all exceptional and exceeded what I expected relative to the price tags.

  5. #5
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    I think this is going to be a tough topic. When someone buys anything that's expensive, he'll do a lot of research beforehand. It's unlikely that he'll be dissatisfied when he gets it. I've never been disappointed by a uke, regardless of price. It will be interesting to see how this goes.

    At a uke session recently, a new member was surprised that someone she knew spent $300 for a ukulele. When I first started, I was surprised that someone in our group had a Koaloha Opio that cost almost $500. "Expensive" is a relative term.
    Too many ukes, but I can't stop buying!
    https://www.catskillukulelegroup.com/

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jerryc41 View Post
    When someone buys anything that's expensive, he'll do a lot of research beforehand. It's unlikely that he'll be dissatisfied when he gets it.
    With luthier-built instruments (often unique models) and expensive ukuleles you're unlikely to have a chance to play them before you get them (sometimes from around the world). There is no good way to predict how they'll feel or sound to you when you play them in your own home, using your own fingers. You can make a guess about size and wood, and some features you might value (radiused fretboard, side soundhole, etc), but sound and feel are hard to evaluate in advance.
    Last edited by Mivo; 07-02-2018 at 02:34 PM.

  7. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jerryc41 View Post
    "Expensive" is a relative term.
    Fully agree! Also here we are talking about musical instruments which can last a lifetime or more. I also regards many of them to be a piece of art. Some people buy mobile phones that costs more than many of our instruments and are just expected to last for a few years...

  8. #8
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    I feel like the topic is too subjective to be meaningful. Here are my reasons:

    1. Many people buy ukes sight-unseen, and develop expectations based on reviews, or appearance, or reputation. Then they expect the uke to be life changing, and are disappointed when it's, you know, just a uke.

    2. "Good" isn't a universal measure. The Farallon mentioned above is a great example. My Farallon is a fantastic sounding uke. I first played it at a music store and loved the tone, and then went back and played it for a long time, to make sure it wasn't just infatuation. But up above we have a player who found it disappointing. Which of us is right? We both are. By the same token, I have owned ukes by two incredibly well-regarded makers that many would consider "grail" ukes. Neither of them did a thing for me, and both were sold. In both cases, the new owners were thrilled by their purchases, and one of them has posted frequently here about finding the "one." How could ukes I found disappointing make other people so happy? That's why I don't post the makers; why start a "brand x is disappointing" thread when obviously the "disappointment" is about my preferences, not the instrument itself?

    3. I have found that my favorite instruments are ones that I live with, play often, and discover what I need to do as a player to make them sound their best. Often, "disappointing" instruments are quick-lifted at music stores, or purchased online and sent back after a few days. I'm not saying a bad instrument will suddenly sound good, but familiarity can often bring out the best in an instrument. A good example for me was Hofner basses. I never like the look, and felt the violin bass was too closely associated with Paul McCartney to be something I'd want to be seen playing. A lot of the reviews I read of Hofners dismissed them as one-trick ponies. But a couple of years ago I was playing bass in a band and was looking for an extremely lightweight bass that I could play when I started having some back problems. Hofners fit that description, so I gave them a try. At first I was unimpressed, but I gave it some time and found the style and attack that made them sound great. Now my Hofner bass is a go-to instrument, expecially when I want more of a stand-up bass tone.

    And finally, sometimes we have to admit that "disappointing" lives in our hands, not the luthier's. I took banjo lessons for a while from Tony Trischka, one of the finest players in the world. At the time, Tony was playing a custom Stelling Sunflower (a *very* pricey banjo) and I was playing an inexpensive import Fender. Tony's banjo sounded fantastic, of course, and mine was sort of plinky-plinky. At one point, Tony wanted to show me something on my banjo, so we swapped for a bit. Shockingly, Tony's bazillion dollar banjo sounded awfully average in my hands, while my cheap import sounded pretty damn impressive in his.



  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by RichM View Post
    And finally, sometimes we have to admit that "disappointing" lives in our hands, not the luthier's. I took banjo lessons for a while from Tony Trischka, one of the finest players in the world. At the time, Tony was playing a custom Stelling Sunflower (a *very* pricey banjo) and I was playing an inexpensive import Fender. Tony's banjo sounded fantastic, of course, and mine was sort of plinky-plinky. At one point, Tony wanted to show me something on my banjo, so we swapped for a bit. Shockingly, Tony's bazillion dollar banjo sounded awfully average in my hands, while my cheap import sounded pretty damn impressive in his.
    This..

    Kimo Hussey has said this often that each ukulele has a personality and it is up to the player to play to it. Most expensive ukuleles have good sound and their own personality. The beansprout banjo I got second hand did not wow me for the price I paid but the sound is like any other banjo uke and I have no clue how to use a banjo. Unlike a ukulele banjos are not as forgiving.

    I do think in ukulele festivals semi prof players should offer a paid service where they play your uke to let you know the additional mileage in ones instrument that one had not tapped into.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by kerneltime View Post
    I do think in ukulele festivals semi prof players should offer a paid service where they play your uke to let you know the additional mileage in ones instrument that one had not tapped into.
    Like cars and cameras, an expert can get the best out of any equipment. Having James Hill make one of my ukes sound fantastic would be depressing.
    Too many ukes, but I can't stop buying!
    https://www.catskillukulelegroup.com/

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