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Thread: Wish list ukes? ... Uke Safari?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    McDonough, GA

    Default Wish list ukes? ... Uke Safari?

    Over the years, I've had plenty of ukes on my wish list. Usually these are well researched and hard to get. With patience, luck, and financial planning I've been pretty fortunate to get many of those ukes on my wish list. Many times it means selling a wish list uke to get a wish list uke.

    I'll borrow and modify Joe Bonamassa's Guitar Safari term and call searching for a wish list uke an Uke Safari.

    My wish list/uke safaris have included Moore Bettahs, Beau Hannam, Pete Howletts, Larrivee, Kamaka, Ko'olau, Kanile'a, Pohaku, Collings, Taylor, Pegasus, Hive, Compass Rose, Little River, Boat Paddle, LFdM, Kinnard, Talsma, Pu'uwai, TODA, Kawika, Mya-moe, Lichty, Ono, Blackbird, Martin, Wise ..... and so on. This is a great time in history for finding and tracking down quality ukes.

    Recently on my wish list is ....or was a Gary Zimnicki Baritone. I was pleasantly surprised when Elderly had a recently built WRC/Walnut one for sale....arriving here Thursday. I gotta stop window shopping for ukes. The sound sample sealed the deal.


    What's on your Uke Wish list? Or what have you found on a recent Uke Safari?
    Humble strummer of fine ukes.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    JoCo, NC (near Raleigh)


    My wish list is a bit more pedestrian than yours.
    I have a couple of Bonanza models I'd like to get. And I'd like something in mango. All of that has a pretty good chance of happening this year. After that, I dunno. (ETA: and maybe a Blue Frog SLN )

    As far as the safari, I'd say I've been on the hunt/lookout for builders that do interesting/different things that are still in the "three figures" range. This has mostly limited the search to folks that aren't really trying to make a living from their luthiery - hobbyists, retirees, "up and comers" - but I'm still amazed at the quality of work these guys have produced and pretty happy with my collection at this point.
    Last edited by Jim Hanks; 06-25-2019 at 05:01 PM.
    Iriguchi Tenor "Weeble" - A, WoU Clarity
    Blue Star 19" baritone Konablaster - DGBE
    Cocobolo 16" SC#1-gCEA, SC SLMU
    Ono #42 19" baritone, Ab, LW
    Imua iET-Bb, M600
    Covered Bridge CLN pineapple - Eb cuatro, SC XLL
    Rogue bari
    Bonanza super tenor, cFAD SC LHU
    Kala KSLNG, Eb SC XLU
    Hanson 5-string tenor, dGCEA
    Bonanza SLN GCEA
    Bonanzalele concert
    Jupiter #47, G, TI CF127
    Pelem, B reentrant
    Jupiter #71, A, UG1


  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2016
    Twin Cities Area, Minnesota


    I was just talking about this on another thread.

    On my incoming list of wanted ukuleles is the new Hydra by Ortega. I know it's a laminate, but it has two necks and that's just too much fun. And they'll be about $400.

    On a more serious note, I'd like to get a Blackbird Clara someday, as well as a Kamaka Concert. Also on my list: a KoAloha Opio Sapele Concert. I have the tenor, and it is perhaps my best sounding instrument (really, really close to my KoAloha Concert), and I want to see what the sapele did on the concert scale. If KoAloha ever adds a baritone, I'll add that to the list--and I did want one of the new KoAlana models that never made it to market,

    I also have plans for a very special Bonanza for teaching purposes. I'm not sure when I'm going to ask Pete to build that one.

    There will be other instruments that show up; I can't help myself when I see a ukulele on Amazon for $25 (that previously was more, such as the goofy Enya sales of the past years).
    My ukulele blog:

    My ukulele YouTube channels:

  4. #4


    My safari list is short. I really only want 3 ukes.

    Blackbird Farallon - I travel a lot and want to be able to bring one along with me somewhat worry free. This safari stop is close by as I have one on the way.

    Hive - Adi Spruce and dark, dark African ebony. I love the contrast of a spruce soundboard with a dark tonewood, and I’ve never heard a Jake Maclay built uke that doesn’t sound fabulous. Got 2 years left on the waitlist for that one.

    Moore Bettah - Solid koa, no fancy inlay work. I love his inlays, but they’re just not my style. This one may be hard to come by given his newfound and well-earned freedom from custom orders and waitlists, but I’ll have one one day. Just don’t know when.

    I know I have expensive tastes, but I’m looking at probably a 5 year safari. Once I make those three stops I’m pretty certain I’ll hang up my safari boots and enjoy the local scenery.

    Then again, 5 years is a long time to ponder new adventures...

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2019
    Marin County, CA


    My mind can barely put together a simple custom build wishlist, but the ukes/builders I’m most interested in, in no particular order: a near-mint pre-WWII Martin S2 soprano, Kamaka HF-2D Concert Deluxe 100th anniversary, Beau Hannam, Hive, Goat Rock, Little River, TyDe, Kinnard and Iriguchi.
    Current UAS fallout:

    Ohana SK-21A — ‘10s L. Nunes Ukulele 0 Hawaii Soprano — 1918-19 Martin 2M Soprano — ‘60s Kamaka ‘Keiki’ Soprano — ‘70s Kamaka White Label Soprano — Blue Frog Soprano — aNueNue Moon Bird US200 — Ohana SK-30L — Cocobolo Concert #382 (teak!) — Outdoor Ukulele Carbon Tenor — ‘50s Harmony Baritone

    Mead Ambassador/Horticulturist at Heidrun Meadery since 2017

    Teaching Music Together since 2019

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2015
    Near Lake Okeechobee, Florida


    My year-long safari ended a few days ago. My quarry were a pair of high-caliber ‘ukulele (one for linear, the other for re-entrant). After many days in the bush, my senses attuned to the sweet whisperings the wild game, I bagged a J. Rieck tenor purchased from the OP and a Ko’olau tenor.

    I’m more a player than a collector, so these ukes will satiate my hunger and guide my development for years to come. I might even sell the spoils of earlier successful hunts. At this point, the only uke on my wish list would be a deeply personal commission, but I’d like to mature more as an ‘ukulelist before I travel that road.
    "Who hears music, feels his solitude Peopled at once -- for how count heart-beats plain / Unless a company, with hearts which beat, / Come close to the musician, seen or no?" - Robert Browning, "Balaustion's Adventure"

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jul 2018


    A National Steel.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Mission Viejo, CA


    I don’t have a wish list because I have no names to put on it. I like finding local builders who make instruments because it is their passion and not as a primary means of support. I have a ukulele that was made by John Fitzgerald that he made a few years ago for the Orange County Fair. It was his first uke and has great wood working and embellishments. I finally tuned it to B and now it really sings. My uke journey is truly like a Safari as I have no clue what or where I might find my next one. By the same token, I’m pretty content with what I currently have.


  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jul 2015
    Catskill Mountains, NY


    Fortunately, I've never had a wish list. I buy a uke when something special catches my eye.

    Speaking of wish lists, I'm sure most people here use Amazon's Wish List feature. Last night, I made another Wish List just for ukulele stuff. Very handy.
    Too many ukes, but I can't stop buying!

  10. #10
    Join Date
    May 2016
    Honolulu, HI


    I’m winding down on ukes I want after getting sizes/combinations I might need for recording. Now it’s just the hard stuff:

    1) Moore Bettah. Ideally with a beach/hut inlay, but I’m not picky.

    2) Blackbird Farallon for deployments. I go to some interesting places with wild temperature changes and it would be nice to not worry about my uke.

    3) A grande bouche gypsy jazz uke with a proper tailpiece so I could string it with metal strings.

    Anything beyond that is icing on the cake, but those are the last three big ones I’m hunting for on this safari.

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